The recent events in Charlottesville and Barcelona have caused me to reflect on the importance of leadership in ensuring that we, as individuals and as members of our various fraternities, move forward in productive ways that enhance our lives and our society in general.
Leadership involves many things, but I believe the most important attributes of a leader are integrity, honesty and commitment to the common good. These traits develop over a lifetime. They ultimately reflect one’s beliefs and priorities as to what is important and right. My personal development has been driven by many experiences, and the current situation reminds me of the sixties. There was a great deal of unrest and division in the US.
My wife and I were in our early twenties at the time. I had just finished my undergrad degree and we had just established a new life in a new town when I received my draft notice. I did not support the war in Vietnam; however, I was a proud citizen and believed in many of the things that made our country great and felt an obligation, as a citizen benefiting from these great things, to support the war despite my beliefs about the war itself. As a result, I accepted my draft notice, joined the U.S. Army and spent a year in Vietnam. During that time, I learned so many things, from a diverse group of people, which improved my understanding of people and the world—things I would not have learned had I not had this experience or been willing to embrace people and perspectives that perhaps I disagreed with.
Among the things I learned is that anyone can tear something down, but to build a strong future requires people to stand up for what they believe in and commit to making things better. Improvement is best served by inclusion, valuing others’ opinions and realizing that we all have a responsibility to not only our own improvement, but also contributing to the overall good. Hate and violence are not productive tools in this process. They cloud judgment and reason.
At Teradata, we are about building an organization. We value differences of opinion, put forth in the spirit of improving our company and the people who are the core of what we do. Diversity is not an issue to be dealt with, but rather a wonderful opportunity to reach better solutions because broader views lead to better outcomes (and there’s much research to support this if it’s not intuitively evident). It is not something to fear, but to cherish. To the people of Teradata, I want you to know that I am committed to conducting myself with integrity, honesty and commitment to the common good, and it’s an honor to be given the opportunity to be part of influencing our principles and setting this standard for our company.
Victor L. Lund has served on Teradata’s Board of Directors since 2007, and has served as chair of its Audit Committee. Previously, Lund was the non-executive chairman of the board of DemandTec, Inc., a publicly-held, on-demand applications company, from December 2006 until February 2012.
Prior, Lund was non-executive chairman of the board of Mariner Health Care, Inc., a long-term health care services company, from 2002 to 2004, and he was vice chairman of Albertson’s, Inc. from 1999 to 2002. Lund was also chairman of the board of American Stores Company from 1995 until 1999 and its chief executive officer from 1992 until 1999. During his 22-year career with American Stores, Lund also held many operating executive positions. He also serves as a director of Service Corporation International and has served on a number of publicly-traded company boards, including Del Monte Foods Company and Delta Airlines.