Leadership Blog

When we established the Center for Leadership, we asked the business community to join the conversation and share their ideas and needs in leadership. This blog is intended to inspire that continued conversation.

We believe that the best leaders are humble by nature and influence others through their humility. They lead by example and support those they lead. To that end, we don’t presume that what we write here is perfect, only a perspective. So read on as we explore together some emerging thoughts on great leadership.


Persistence and Determination

Recently, we came upon a quote from President Calvin Coolidge that Ray Kroc positioned throughout McDonald's offices so every visitor could see. It came from a book by Warren Bennis we quoted on our first blog posting in October 2013. The quote was in a section entitled "Trust Through Positioning". We will reprint it here for the reader to ponder:

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with great talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost proverb.

Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence; determination alone are omnipotent."

 

December 7, 1941 - A Day of Infamy

At 12:30pm on December 8, 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered a speech, which became to be known as the “Day of Infamy” and launched the United States into World War II.  In the little over seven minute speech, President Roosevelt set the country on a path to free people across the world from oppression in 3 ½ years.  Prior to World War II the United States military ranked 17th in the world, just behind Romania.  Fast forward to the summer of 1945 and the end of the war.  This weekend will mark the seventy-first anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  Take a moment to be thankful for our freedoms.  Also, think of the leadership that made those freedoms possible.

 

Humble Leadership and Trust

A recently published book by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yeager, George Washington’s Secret Six, chronicles the exploits of a spy ring of six patriots during the American Revolution.   Of the six, one remains unidentified to this date.  None of the six ever received any recognition for their effort – an effort that Washington attributed to saving the American Revolution.  As I am just now starting to read the book, two points that come to mind.  They are how humble the six were and the trust they had in each other and the trust George Washington had in them.  Great leaders exhibit both of these characteristics – trust and humility.

 

Knowledge, Character and Commitment

Recently a conversation with a group of business executives focused on employee retention.  Often times key individuals return to school for a Masters in Business Administration, and upon completion change companies.  An executive said in effect, they were considering not providing emerging leaders with an opportunity to further their education.  We challenged this conclusion.  The Center for Leadership exposes emerging leaders to three key points of an effective leader.  They are knowledge, character, and commitment.  All too often executive focus on knowledge – it is easy.  The other two, character and commitment, are often discussed but not practiced.  Companies want employees to be committed to the firm, but at the first sign of difficulty lay people off. And character, just look at the news.

 

“Managers do things right while leaders do the right thing.” – Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus, Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge, March 2003

How does an individual start a blog?  This will be our first entry into the blog-a-sphere.  In a recent meeting discussing the needs of an organization’s leadership development, the discussion centered around all the management training “stuff’.  We sat back and asked are we training for management or are we developing leaders?  A similar quote is often attributed to Peter Drucker, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”  Regardless, leaders need to do the right things for both the stakeholders and stockholders, and we would add, need to develop the leaders of the future.

 

      

 

Leadership and The New Pope

The Papacy is a singular, unique position, one that can’t really be compared to any other leadership role. Still, the events last week surrounding the election of Pope Francis brought to mind three surprising reminders of something I’ve written about before: the qualities of sacrifice, humility and selflessness that all true leaders must possess.

[Via http://www.tablegroup.com/pat/povs/pov/?id=50]

 

Ernest Shackleton's Lessons for Leaders in Harsh Climates

The weather changed. The ice broke. The ship went down into the ice never to be seen again. Certain men became disillusioned and doubting and started to spread that toxicity among other men. So how do you, the Shackleton story asks, how do you manage and lead.

[Via http://blogs.hbr.org/ideacast/2012/11/ernest-shackletons-lessons-for.html]

 

Teamwork on the Fly

Stable teams of people who have learned over time to work well together can be powerful tools. But given the speed of change, the intensity of market competition, and the unpredictability of customers’ needs today, there often isn’t enough time to build that kind of team.

[Via http://hbr.org/2012/04/teamwork-on-the-fly/ar/1]

Leadership and the Psychology of Turnarounds

In recent years, I have been inside nearly two dozen turnaround situations, in various stages of progress, in which new leaders were bringing distressed organizations back from the brink of failure and setting them on a healthier course. Each of these executives restored their people’s confidence in themselves and in one another—a necessary antecedent to restoring investor or public confidence. 

[Via http://hbr.org/2003/06/leadership-and-the-psychology-of-turnarounds/ar/1]

Strategic Leadership: The Essential Skills

The storied British banker and financier Nathan Rothschild noted that great fortunes are made when cannonballs fall in the harbor, not when violins play in the ballroom. Rothschild understood that the more unpredictable the environment, the greater the opportunity—if you have the leadership skills to capitalize on it.

[Via http://hbr.org/2013/01/strategic-leadership-the-esssential-skills/ar/1]

Primal Leadership: The Hidden Driver of Great Performance

When the theory of emotional intelligence at work began to receive widespread attention, we frequently heard executives say—in the same breath, mind you—“That’s incredible,” and, “Well, I've known that all along.” They were responding to our research that showed an incontrovertible link between an executive’s emotional maturity, exemplified by such capabilities as self-awareness and empathy, and his or her financial performance.

[Via http://hbr.org/2001/12/primal-leadership-the-hidden-driver-of-great-performance/ar/1]

 

Page last modified April 10, 2014