Redesigning Leadership

aeda, John with Becky Bermot. Redesigning Leadership. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2011.

…courage is a noble form of stupidity that aids getting impossible things done.

Being prepared isn’t a matter of how much you practice. It’s about knowing that even if you fail, you won’t give up.

Doing right matters more than being right.

The primary challenge for a leader who is a natural doer is to discover the balance between the two; otherwise the specter of micromanagement can easily make a guest appearance.

Competency results in success results in complacency results in failure results in learning how to be competent again.

I’d rather be green and growing instead of ripe, ready to rot.

A leader’s job is to get people on board with his vision–and he’ll try whatever tools are at his disposal to do it.

If Harry Potter Ran General Electric

orris, Tom. If Harry Potter Ran General Electric: Leadership Wisdom from the World of the Wizards. New York: Doubleday, 2006.

The greatest teachers are always masters of their subjects who lead, train, guide, and inspire their student apprentices to their own forms of excellence. They never just pass on information. The master is a model, coach, helper, and motivator as well as a teacher and trainer.

The best leaders teach by example and guide with encouragement.

What we haven’t ourselves received, we can’t pass on to others. … A great mentor is a person who has filtered his or her own prior personal experience, along with the experience of many others, analyzed it fully, and extracted from it the wisdom it contains.

Ultimately, he is a great leader because he’s a wise man who knows human nature, and who acts in everything he does with great character.

Without truth, people can’t work effectively. Without trust, people can’t work efficiently.

The best leaders in most circumstances tend to be just completely committed people with keen intelligence, great skill, focused energy, a clear vision, the courage of their convictions, a passion for what they’re doing, strong character, and a robust sense of concern for others.

We can mess up, and then clean up, and end up better than we started.

The deepest emotions are compatible with the highest rationality in any life that is in full control of all its faculties. But without proper self-control, no amount of passion or intellect can guarantee either great leadership or even long-lasting personal success.

…Ethics is really about creating strength. It is a matter of making choices that preserve those values and qualities most deserving of preservation. It’s about doing what’s right in any given circumstances, regardless of the consequences we might happen to predict, and it’s about becoming a properly formed, strongly virtuous person as a result. All of ethics comes down to the choices we make every day. And who we become is a result of those choices.

There are many aspects to strength of character. An ability to make the right choices hinges on all of them. Honesty is important, as is a proper sense of loyalty, an empathetic appreciation for the needs of others, moderated desires, and a grounded, appropriate personal sense of self-worth and dignity. Any leader should seek to surround himself with people who have such qualities.

If you want to be a great leader, be a great person. Work on embodying and living the classic virtues. Broaden and deepen yourself as a human being. Seek to govern everything you feel and whatever you do in accordance with your most fundamental beliefs and values. Believe in other people. Show that you care about them. Never forget the power of apprenticeship. Make it a habit to exercise appropriate control over all your emotions and actions. And remember to have fun whenever it’s at all possible.

Greatest Leadership Principles

ockell, Leslie and Adrienne Avila. The 100 Greatest Leadership Principles of all Time. New York: Warner Business Books, 2007.

Leadership is a matter of intelligence, trustworthiness, humaneness, courage, and discipline.

A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others see. – Leroy Eimes

The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say “I.” And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say “I.” They don’t think “I.” They think “we”; they think “team.” They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’ sidestep it, but “we” gets the credit … This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done. – Peter F. Drucker

A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not. – Anonymous

Nobody rises to low expectations. – Calvin Lloyd

A community is like a ship: Everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm. – Henrik Ibsen.