LG CEO Shares Insight on Leadership at ‘CEO F.U.N. Talk’

LG CEO William Cho is a major proponent of open communication. Since taking office last year, he has been actively engaging with company employees to foster togetherness, growth and a healthy organizational culture.

Initiated just last year, but already on its sixth edition, the CEO F.U.N. Talk enables CEO Cho to discuss important matters and topics directly and transparently with LG employees. Well-received internally, the CEO F.U.N. Talk has received positive feedback from more than 90 percent of employees.

On April 13, Mr. Cho hosted his first CEO F.U.N. Talk of 2023 under the topic of leadership. The CEO spoke with more than 80 percent of team leaders from across LG as well as employees interested in leadership, with more than 4,000 attendees tuning into the event either in-person or online.

The talk began with the CEO sharing his firm belief that team leaders are crucial to further enhance the company’s competitiveness and innovate organizational culture, especially during uncertain times.

“When I first came for an interview and saw the company’s headquarters in the LG Twin Towers, the first smart building in Korea that was just completed at that time, I instantly fell in love,” said Mr. Cho. “The thought of wanting to work here has stayed with me even today. That was the first day of my journey here at LG.”

Reflecting on his 36 years of experience at LG, Mr. Cho shared his thoughts on leadership.

“A leader is someone who presents a clear direction, prepares for the future, exerts positive influence, makes bold decisions and creates results,” said CEO Cho, further explaining leadership in terms of strategic thinking, capability to execute plans, excellent communication skills and nurturing healthy organization culture.

In particular, the CEO emphasized that, to execute plans, leaders should establish a systematic process internally that involves partaking in intense discussions, asking sharp questions, persistently following-up with tasks and clarifying roles and responsibilities.

Also, CEO Cho highlighted that excellent communication skills are crucial for a healthy organizational culture. He added that communication is necessary for an organization to be able to reveal and resolve problems, and should be both transparent and sincere. He continued by expressing that issues shouldn’t be thought of as a nuisance and, rather, seen as problems that can be overcome together.

“To become a great leader that can make good decisions, you must be curious, have the willingness to learn and be well-balanced,” said Mr. Cho. In his view, leaders can only attain the insight needed to innovate the customer experience by having a curious mind and an eagerness to learn. These attributes must be supported by a balanced mindset, where many perspectives – both internally and externally – are weighed and measured to find the best possible solution.

The CEO also stressed the importance of and being open to feedback and opinions. “With the firm belief that the answer always lies with our customers, we all need to be brave optimists who always boldly take challenges and ceaselessly innovate the way we work,” added CEO Cho. “We should always remember that our future will be determined by how we think and work now.”

After talking about leadership and the characteristics of a good leader, the CEO addressed questions and concerns of team leaders regarding the relationship between executives and members of their teams.

First, to answer a question about how to become an executive from a team leader, CEO Cho said, “A phrase I always say is ‘lead your boss’, which means you need to convince your bosses and make results proving your capabilities with execution. Only by doing this will team members respect their leaders and management will also recognize these leaders.” Continuing, the CEO stated that, if a team leader has three bosses who have been promoted thanks to their performance and five team members who are willing to take part in any of their projects, it is a matter of time before that person is promoted to an executive position. “This means you have proven your value as a leader.”

In response to a question about his method of overcoming work burnout, CEO Cho answered, “Based on my own personal experience, it is imperative that you manage stress and release it before it builds up to the point of leading to burnout.”

To conclude the CEO F.U.N. Talk, Mr. Cho said, “The opportunity to listen closely to your experiences and opinions as team leaders is very meaningful to me, and it has been an absolute honor to be able to share my thoughts with you all.”

CEO Cho has already spent more than 150 hours in the air visiting nine countries across North America, Europe, Asia and Central and South America this year. Each time he visits local offices, he prioritizes partaking in open communications with employees to listen to their opinions as well as share his vision and philosophy with employees in each country.