Hidden Lessons in Leadership #9

In a New York Times interview, Michael Mathieu of YuMe describes the means and meaning of success and the associated role of management/leadership.   Michael said, “the key to success is to wake up every day and do the best you can do.”   If this is the key to success then leadership, at base, should enable people to do exactly this. Continue reading

Morality in Leadership

Moral behavior requires understanding the difference between right and wrong, and acting accordingly.  However, right versus wrong can only be assessed in relation to a system of values.  But this does not mean that morality is relativistic.  If it was, we could not say any act is morally wrong since we would have to accept all value systems even those harmful to others.

Since people abhor the exploitation, manipulation, and destruction of life, we must acknowledge the existence of a universal set of (moral) values that are applicable to all of humankind. Obviously there is something in all of us that informs us of what is right in honor of life. In this light, moral issues concern a universal ‘we’ not what’s in it for ‘me’ or ‘us’. Continue reading

Hidden Lessons in Leadership #8

A New York Times interview with Niki Leondakis, chief operating officer of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, speaks to a fundamental issue of management. As Niki Leondakis relates “people seem to swing to one end of the pendulum or the other — overzealous with power or, “I’m everybody’s friend, and I want them to like me, and if they like me maybe they’ll do what I ask and then it’ll be easier.” Continue reading

When Order Means Control

Since we organize to serve a purpose, our sense of order is context dependent, not an absolute. In other words, while everything could be in order, the order in which each is in is not the same—all order is not the same order.  For example, the order of my desk suits my purposes and the order you create on your desk supports yours’.  To the degree that our purposes are different, correspondingly it is likely our desks will be ordered and managed differently. Continue reading

Hidden Lessons in Leadership #7

As Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of Nvidia, stated in a recent interview, “it’s okay to try, and if it doesn’t work, learn from it, adjust and keep failing forward.  And if you just fail forward all the time—learn, fail, learn, fail, learn, fail—but every single time you’re making it better and better, before you know it you’re a great company.”   What’s the message?  Successfully leading a business is not about just having successes, it is about whether with each initiative/action—no matter the judgment on the outcome—you move forward.  That is to say, whether you are making progress. Continue reading

Enacting Fear

It’s just business, nothing personal!  This in not an excuse, it’s a theory.  This phrase reflects the widely accepted paradigm that the conduct of business requires pragmatic impersonal interactions to ensure efficient profitable economic exchange. That is to say, the regulation of relationships is the responsibility of the market and such relationships are free of any purely human concerns and sentiments.  The market cares not about you personally—its survival of the economic fittest. Continue reading