Xerox CEO: Leadership Is All About Culture

By Gregory Pings, manager of Content Marketing, Xerox

Jeff Jacobson at NYSE
CEO Jeff Jacobson rings the bell at the New York Stock Exchange earlier this year.

“Leadership is all about culture,” CEO Jeff Jacobson told Fortune senior correspondent Susie Gharib. Here’s how he put “culture” into action-oriented terms that Xerox employees can use while they transform the company:

  • Work collaboratively.
  • Be results-oriented.
  • Have energy.
  • Be empowered.

“I want them … to take some well-thought-out risks, and to drive the company,” he told Gharib.

More than a symbol

Jacobson is distributing lapel pins to every employee. A pin’s presence and location symbolizes the core of his message for employees.

“Xerox is not this amorphous name,” he told Gharib. “Everything we do is because of one of the 35,000-plus people. If they wear [the lapel pin] close to their hearts and embrace what they’re doing, and they understand that everything they do touches the customer – that’s what I really want them to understand.”

How to spread the word

Any message on culture or strategy must be communicated. Jacobson outlined four key points:

  • Get in front of employees. In-person encounters assure people understand his messages and the company’s direction.
  • Be accessible. Jacobson said he returns all employee phone calls and emails.
  • “People relate to people,” Jacobson noted. His weekly internal blog helps employees develop trust and understand who he is.
  • Hire and keep the best talent. “It’s all about diversity,” he said. “It’s about getting the best thoughts, the best minds, the best brain power we can, and having it all gel together.”

Careers at Xerox
Xerox is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Visit and discover your potential.

Top two lessons for leaders

The interview closes with Jacobson’s top two leadership lessons:

  • You’re alone. “When you’re running a public company … there aren’t all that many people [to talk to] because so much of what you’re dealing with is confidential information.”
  • Kick or hug. “The hardest part is pushing people when you know they don’t want to be pushed … you have to know when to figuratively kick and when to figuratively hug.”

“This is a boulder we’re turning. This is part of a transformation,” Jacobson concluded. “When we have the boulder going, you don’t want to slow down; you don’t want it to roll backwards; you want to keep going forward.”

Watch this Fortune video (approximately 4 minutes) of the interview between Susie Gharib and Jeff Jacobson.

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  1. Willie L. Washington October 2, 2017 - Reply

    Keep me fully informed.

    Thank You


  2. […] thought leadership includes thoughts on how to improve workplace culture. The project has also overtaken Xerox’s Instagram feed, […]

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