Michelle Peluso, CEO of Gilt Groupe, spoke at the Bryant University Women's Summit in March 2008. I was quite impressed, as were the more than one thousand women in attendance. At the time, Peluso served as the CEO of Travelocity. About one year ago, she became the CEO of Gilt Groupe, an online shopping site that offers flash sales of designer apparel and accessories. In the New York Times Corner Office column several weeks ago, Peluso described her leadership style. Here's a terrific excerpt:
I don’t have an office. When I started at Gilt, I wanted to get to know the various teams, so I’d set up and work with them for a week. I joined their meetings and tried to do their work. When you’re sitting in the open with everybody, you pick up a lot. That was my schedule the first eight weeks, but I just loved it, and more than a year later, I haven’t stopped. I never want to be sitting in an ivory tower surrounded by people who tell me what I want to hear, or feeling that I don’t really understand how people feel and what’s going on.
Wouldn't it be great if other CEOs followed her example? Peluso clearly understands how isolated senior executives can become. She understands how easy it is for leaders to find themselves surrounded by sycophants. Her strategy keeps her finger on the pulse of the business, well-connected to front-line employees throughout the organization.