Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Looking in the Mirror: Questions Every Leader Must Ask

Executive Summary:

"Show me a company or nonprofit or government in trouble, and I will almost invariably show you a set of leaders who are asking absolutely the wrong questions," says professor Robert Steven Kaplan. He discusses his new book, What to Ask the Person in the Mirror. Plus: book excerpt. Key concepts include:
  • Leaders need to address critical issues including: vision and priorities, time management, giving and getting feedback, succession planning and delegation, evaluation and alignment, being a role model, and reaching true potential.
  • Leaders must have a clear vision and a set of priorities for the organization, and must ensure that their key subordinates know what those priorities are.
  • Because CEOs don't have the benefit of feedback from their superiors, it's crucial that they solicit feedback about their leadership style from subordinates.
Robert Kaplan is a Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School.

When CEOs speak with Rob Kaplan looking for answers, he usually focuses them instead on figuring out and discussing the right questions.
"Show me a company, nonprofit, or a government leader that is struggling, and almost invariably you'll see someone who isn't sufficiently focused on asking the right questions," says Kaplan, a Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School. "Most leaders spend a lot of their time looking for answers. Very often, they may feel isolated and alone. I want to help them refocus their attention on framing and then discussing the key questions that will help them regroup, mobilize their team, formulate a plan of action, and move forward."
In his new book, What to Ask the Person in the Mirror , Kaplan argues against the notion that great leadership is about having all the answers. He believes that leadership skills can be learned--and that many of these skills require executives to rethink their conception of what a superb leader actually does. Developing and practicing these skills requires hard work and may demand that talented executives overcome some degree of discomfort and even anxiety in order to raise their game.
The book discusses several key areas of inquiry that can help leaders improve the success of their companies and nonprofit organizations including: vision and priorities, managing your time, giving and getting feedback, succession planning and delegation, evaluation and alignment, being a role model, and reaching your potential. "My objective is to help leaders reach their potential by helping them realize that they don't need to have all the answers or do this alone. I hope they will see that framing a question and listening can be enormously powerful in leading to excellent decisions. A leader needs to master the use of inquiry and reflection as well as advocacy in order to build his or her organization and career."

Have you developed a clear vision and key priorities for your enterprise?

"When I see a problem with a business or nonprofit, it often starts with a lack of clarity about the organization's aspirations," Kaplan says. The leader may have a clear vision in his or her head but has not communicated it effectively throughout the organization. "When there is not a clearly articulated vision along with a manageable set of key priorities, you may see an organization where employees are expending their energies in a number of divergent and uncoordinated directions."
Leaders need to ask whether they articulate a clear vision and, just as importantly, whether their key employees can rearticulate this vision in a consistent manner. For instance, DuPont's vision is "to be the world's most dynamic science company, creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer and healthier life for people everywhere." This vision helps DuPont employees better understand what (and why) they are spending their professional energies trying to accomplish.
Once the vision is established, Kaplan advises leaders to come up with and communicate a list of no more than three to five priorities that are critical to the organization in order to achieve the vision. In his book, Kaplan describes various approaches to formulating and adapting these priorities to each department and geographic region in order to better achieve overall organization objectives. "When a leadership has this discipline, they focus much more intently on what tasks they need to do superbly well in order to achieve their goals. This also can help them to question certain activities where they are spending substantial time and money yet not contributing to organizational goals and maybe they shouldn't be pursuing."

Does the way you spend your time match your key priorities?

Many CEOs tell Kaplan that they don't have time to figure out their vision and priorities--they're working 80-hour weeks! In his book, Kaplan discusses techniques for matching available hours with key priorities, so executives can learn to do much more effective work and better manage their time.
He recommends that executives track their time for a couple of weeks and then analyze how it is being spent. If substantial time allocations do not match top priorities, he discusses how these tasks should be either delegated or eliminated.
"When someone asks you to spend time on work that doesn't match your key priorities, the right action is probably to say no," Kaplan says. "Once you have a better matching of your time with priorities, you'll want to encourage your direct reports to do the same."

Do you coach and also solicit feedback from your key subordinates?

Most good leaders understand they need to coach key employees, but fewer realize the importance of asking subordinates for coaching. The more senior you are in a company, the fewer senior executives and peers are able to effectively observe and coach you. Kaplan gives advice on several techniques that leaders can use to solicit coaching from their direct reports.
"Ironically, the executives most in need of feedback in many organizations are very senior," he says. "They may have become isolated or not realize that their direct reports have constructive advice regarding specific changes they need to make to improve their leadership effectiveness."
The book describes various approaches for giving and receiving feedback. In particular, it offers various techniques that should be implemented in advance of the year-end review, which typically arrives too late for professionals to make changes that would improve their compensation and/or promotion prospects in that year.
When senior leaders ultimately do cultivate junior coaches, they find that the criticism can feel "devastating at first because you realize it is accurate and that it is probably a widespread view within the organization. You have to thank the junior coach, and then go out and work on what they've told you." Not sure the assessment is accurate? Call a few close friends or loved ones and see what they think. Most likely, Kaplan says, they'll agree with your subordinates.
"Leadership is a team game," he says. "You have to solicit help from others or you're likely to under-achieve your potential."

Do you have a succession-planning process in place?

Kaplan stresses the importance of developing potential successors for key positions in your company-including your own-and creating a confidential list. "Many great companies do this but a surprising number don't," he says.
Senior leaders should leverage this depth chart information about up-and-comers by delegating to them more extensively. This also allows senior leaders more time to achieve a better match between their own time and key priorities. Leaders who fail to train successors risk not only doing too much themselves but also losing these valuable employees, who can become frustrated that they aren't being challenged to build their skills and careers at the company.

If you had to design your company today with a clean sheet of paper, what would you change?

The world doesn't stand still and it's natural for companies to fall out of alignment with achievement of key objectives. Too often, leaders don't realize how off-track they are until serious damage has been done to the business or the firm's reputation. Kaplan likens the situation to realizing your health is at risk only after you're stricken with a heart attack.
He describes various approaches for reviewing your organization with a clean sheet of paper. For example, one approach involves creating a task force of younger emerging company leaders. "Emerging leaders, organized and mandated properly, can give you fabulous strategic recommendations," he says. "Looking to up-and-comers is not only quite effective in getting great strategic advice but also in motivating these future leaders."

Do you act as a role model?

Leaders don't always realize that their actions set an example for the people who work for them, especially if they have risen through the ranks of a company so quickly that they fail to realize their influence as role models. Kaplan learned this from personal experience during his tenure at the Goldman Sachs Group, where he worked in several capacities, eventually serving as vice chairman before leaving the firm in 2005.
"I went from being a junior person to running a large business in what seemed like a nanosecond," he says. "And suddenly more people were watching what I did, and I had to adjust my actions because I wasn't quite ready for that." In his book, he discusses various approaches that leaders should take in order to connect their behaviors with the messages they want to be sending.

Are you reaching your potential and being true to yourself?

While much of this book is about tangible "blocking and tackling" to become a more effective executive, Kaplan dedicates the last two chapters to methods of gaining perspective and managing oneself more effectively.
"In the end, it's not about meeting everyone else's expectations," he says. "It's about reaching your unique potential and developing your own leadership style.

Rupert Murdoch and the Seeds of Moral Hazard

Executive Summary:

Many companies today operate like Russian nesting dolls, relying heavily on other companies or external individuals to conduct many of their activities. The result can lead to moral hazard, such as we are seeing in the News of the World fiasco, says professor Michel Anteby.
Michel Anteby is an associate professor in the Organizational Behavior unit at Harvard Business School.

The News Corporation/News of the World scandal has been described as a case study in bad management. What was there about the company's organizational culture that led to "Murdoch's Mess"? Professor Michel Anteby, who studies how meaning is built at work and how moral orders are sustained, provides an answer. He is the author of, among other publications, Moral Gray Zones, published by the Princeton University Press in 2008.

Many companies today operate like Russian nesting dolls, where one large figure is actually made up of many smaller ones. These organizations present a unified face to the outside world, but rely heavily on other, usually smaller, companies or external individuals to conduct many of their activities.

What part of your iPad is made by Apple? Is the Verizon customer representative you're talking with really part of that company? How many parts of the Airbus or Boeing plane you're flying on are actually built by these firms? Many would argue that answers to these questions are irrelevant. As long as services are performed and products manufactured, they say, such organizational configurations are beneficial. They allow companies to remain lean and react to shifting demands. Yet the associated moral hazard often goes unnoticed. Such a risk can prove even greater when the various elements of the "delegation chain" obey different standards.

What does this have to do with the ongoing Rupert Murdoch case? Journalists at News of the World apparently hired people outside the company to illegally hack into the phones of select individuals. That these hackers seem not to be News of the World employees illustrates the Russian nesting doll model, which contains the seeds of moral hazard, since it allows for the plausibility of denial. While we readily recognize such a hazard in the food and apparel industries and the need to "secure" all elements of their production chain, most other industries have yet to recognize such a hazard.

In the media business, news items require fair and secure sourcing, despite the fact that a freelancer—or small doll—may be crafting the story. But at the News of the World, the people who were asked to hack the phones were apparently hired by journalists, but were not journalists themselves. This gave them the freedom to obey norms different from those of their employers. Needless to say, journalists are not supposed to act illegally. The 1993 Council of Europe's Resolution 1003 on the ethics of journalism clearly states that "In the journalist's profession the end does not justify the means; therefore information must be obtained by legal and ethical means." The hired hands at News of the World, however, did not have to respect this code of ethics.
When media groups employ external private investigators, health-maintenance organizations hire outside medical doctors, and governments occasionally rely on private mercenaries, people can plausibly deny knowledge of illegal activities. In addition, each professional group's distinct standards can create a false impression that all is well. Yet the Murdoch case teaches us that nesting dolls require our full attention. Although these configurations may seem nimble, they can also be highly problematic. Because professional groups are working separately for a common cause does not mean that the production line is secure. In fact, the nesting dolls model may be the best way to go wrong while seemingly doing the right thing.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lessons from Champions of Freedom

Allow me to share the thoughts of leaders, who in their life-time, were uncommon champions of human liberty and changed the destiny of their nations forever. 

As our country (Malaysia) goes through the cantankerous tantrums of its teenage years, let us ponder on the words of Abraham Lincoln (1809 -1865), the 16th US president. 
His heroic efforts during the Civil War helped preserve the Union, preventing the southern states from secession.  He conceived the Proclamation of Emancipation which ended slavery, years after his assassination.

The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty. 
Plainly, the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of liberty.
How many legs does a dog have, if you call the tail a leg?  Four. 
Calling a tail a leg does not make it a leg.
This country with its institutions belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it.

We the people are the rightful masters of both congress and the courts, not to over throw the constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the constitution.

To sin by silence when they should protest, makes cowards of men.
He has a right to criticise, who has a heart to help.

“With malice to none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right,
let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up our nations' wounds...”

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) had this to say about criticisms, fanatics and lies.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary.
It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. 
It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.

A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject

A lie gets halfway round the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on

A man does what he must, in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality

John F Kennedy (1917 -1963)
I have just received the following wire from my generous daddy: “Dear Jack, don’t buy a single vote more than is necessary. I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay for a landslide.”

Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.

We want to build a world of peace, where the weak are secure and the strong are just.

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable

NelsonMandela (1918 -    )
I detest racialism, because I regard it as a barbaric thing, whether it comes from a black man or a white man.

It always seems impossible until it is done

source :

Should Christians be involved in street rallies


One question is agitating the minds of the conservative arm of the church at this hour.
Should Christians or their leaders participate in civil disobedience, street marches and rallies to protest against governmental arrogance, tyranny, oppression and corruption?

What is the accurate Biblical standpoint on this issue?  
 Is there a place for proclamation and outcry in the streets or does the Bible forbid it? 
Let the Bible speak for itself:

1. The first time the word ‘street’ occurs in the Bible is in Genesis 19:1&2 (KJV) when the angels of God refused to enter the house of misguided but righteous Lot and preferred to abide in the street all night before destroying Sodom. That in itself was an indictment and a protest.
2. From the lamentation of David after King Saul died, it appears that when certain types of news are proclaimed on the streets of a city or nation, a sense of joy and triumph envelops the people therein. (See
2 Samuel: 1:17-20)
3. Oftentimes, when a people and their leaders persistently disobey God, He sends His prophets to the streets. (Jeremiah 11:1-6)
4. Outcry in the streets will only stop when a nation is rescued from the hands of strange men in government whose mouths speak lying words and whose right hands are right hands of falsehood. (Psalm

Are we there yet? NO. But someone may quote the prophecy of Isaiah out of context to confuse and
mislead religious minds from taking to the streets. Isaiah 42:1-4
If this scripture relates to Jesus Christ, how come any of His servants will take to the street and not be in rebellion?
Saints and strangers, scripture is not capable of private interpretation – it takes scripture to interpret scripture.

Let the Bible speak again:
i. In His earthly ministry, Jesus spoke in the streets. (Luke 13:22-27)
ii. Not only did Jesus teach in the streets, he commanded His disciples to take to the street and make proclamations against every city that rejected the message of the gospel. (Luke 10:1-12)
iii. What then is the concealed message in Isaiah 42? What is it that Jesus would not say in the street? Let scripture interpret scripture again: Matthew 12:9-21, verses 16&17 are key – “yet He warned them not to make Him known that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet Isaiah.”
iv. It is in the same vein that charitable deeds and prayers are forbidden in the streets, not strong protests against injustice, crass hypocrisy and corruption. (Matthew 6:1-6)
v. Whenever truth is fallen in the street and equity cannot enter, the voice of wisdom will cry aloud in the streets.
(a) Isaiah 59:1-15
(b) Proverbs 1:10-33.
vi. Even in troubled times, prophetic fulfillment does not happen except the street and the wall of a city are rebuilt. (Daniel 9:20-25)

Brothers and sisters, we have locked ourselves in the sanctuary for too long a time, fasting, praying and preaching for good governance in our nation. 
That in itself is not evil, but we need to do more than that as the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

We need to spearhead effective social mobilization, rebuild the spiritual streets and the walls of our nation and influence what is happening there.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fame, Faith, and Social Activism: Business Lessons from Bono

Published: June 20, 2011
Author: Kim Girard

Bono on business

The business takeaways from U2's story, according to Koehn, are universal and ring true whether she's teaching the case to advertising execs or second-year students in the MBA program.

They include:

Take smart (and onging) stock of how you are using your people, your authority, and your resources. Bono became interested in Africa in the mid 1980s when he and his wife, Ali Hewson, worked at an Ethiopian feeding station.
He used his growing celebrity status to forge a crucial longtime relationships with Eunice Kennedy Shriver (U2 recorded a song for her Special Olympics cause), and then Bobby Shriver, who connected him to the Kennedys and other influential politicians. Bono and Bobby Shriver helped form the political advocacy organizations DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa) and ONE, and the fundraising group (RED) to fight disease, poverty, and hunger in Africa.

He also used his fame and understanding of Christianity to convince North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms to change his position on government funding for AIDS. As Koehn points out, Bono chose to use his authority as a rock star for social ends, recognizing that his own status has been critical to his ability to make a difference: "Bono doesn't get to meet with Bill Clinton and shake hands with the Pope John Paul II if he's not a rock-and-roll roll star."

A leader's mission is not static; it evolves.
Bono continuously sets new goals around several related global challenges. For example, he started advocating for famine relief in Africa in the mid-1980s, and then in the early 1990s began raising awareness of the conflict in Sarajevo, playing live footage of the war during U2's Zooropa tour. After working to get eight industrialized nations in 1999 to agree to $100 million in African debt relief, he continued with a campaign to cancel debt owed by Third World nations to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Then he began lobbying the administration of George W. Bush for additional funding to fight AIDS (in 2003, the US government pledged $15 billion toward the disease). Like Bono, Koehn says, leaders "must take a hard look at (their missions) on an ongoing basis."

The mission of the CEO should align with the organization's performance.
The band's mission is to make fulfilling music that comes from the four members' heads, hearts, and souls, and that connects to many audiences.
Koehn says the band would not have been as successful if its members had not remained true to themselves and this larger purpose.
For example, at various moments, Bono's commitment to the band was questioned by his colleagues because of all of the time he devoted to political causes.
In Koehn's case study, manager Paul McGuinness says Bono "takes far too much on but it is hard to criticize him because his political achievements are very real." Ultimately, the other members believed in what he was doing. "There was a sense that (the political activism) could demystify and devalue U2," Bono has commented. "It wasn't very glamorous work...It should have damaged us…but it didn't."

Who you are and what you stand for as an organization have great relevance to the people who buy your product. Many of U2's supporters embrace the band because the causes the four members work to address—from social injustice to hunger—are issues the fans themselves are concerned about.
By participating in Live Aid, Band Aid, and the Amnesty International Conspiracy of Hope tour, U2 also refuses to sell out creatively, which keeps fans loyal.
"People don't just buy (the single) "Walk On" or (album) No Line on the Horizon," Koehn says, "they are buying the backstory to that music, just like grocery shoppers buying organic milk or fair trade coffee."

This lesson applies across all businesses. "We think this is only true for artists and entertainers, but it's true for making tennis shoes and semiconductors, and for how you create limited partners at an investment bank," she says. "The backstory of organizations is now part of the value proposition for consumers. The lads from Dublin understood that early on and they still understand it."

Koehn says the U2 case remains a work in progress and she believes she will someday interview Bono for her work—just as Oprah showed up at her classroom to answer student questions during a case discussion about the talk show icon.. "Stay tuned," Koehn says. "I am meant to meet this restless, devoted, and inspiring leader."

Are You a Level-Six Leader?

Published: July 6, 2011
Author: Mitch Maidique

Executive Summary:

Asking the question, whom do you serve? is a powerful vector on which to build a useful typology of leadership.
Visiting professor Modesto Maidique offers a six-level Purpose-Driven Model of Leadership ranging from Sociopath to Transcendent.
Key concepts include:

The most telling question to ask a leader is, whom do you serve? Yourself? Your group? Society?
The answer to this question often reveals more about leaders than knowing their personality traits, level of achievement, or whether they were "transformational" or "transactional" leaders.
The six levels of leadership are Sociopath, Opportunist, Chameleon, Achiever, Builder, and Transcendent.

The central, most telling question to ask a leader is, whom do you serve?

Some leaders will tell you, using a popular descriptor, that they aspire to be "servant leaders." The question still remains, however, a servant to whom: to yourself, to your group, or to society (to cite three of several options)?

"Opportunists are the people who always ask, 'What's in it for me?'"

Asking the question whom do you serve? is a powerful vector on which to build a useful typology of leadership. Based on this idea, I have constructed a six-level Purpose-Driven Model of Leadership informed by the work of Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, and his colleague, Robert Kegan (see table 1).
The answer to the question whom do you serve often reveals more about leaders than knowing their personality traits, level of achievement, or whether they were "transformational" or "transactional" leaders.

Level One: Sociopath

At the base of the model is the person who literally serves no one: the Sociopath. The Sociopath, afflicted with what the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) describes as antisocial personality disorder, exhibits abnormally low empathy and destroys value, himself, and, ultimately, those who surround him as well. (I use the male pronoun because the vast majority of Sociopaths and psychopaths are male.) Fortunately, Sociopaths comprise less than 1 percent of the population. An excellent current example is Muammar Gaddafi, who is destroying his country, his tribe, his family, and, in time, himself. Indeed, he serves no one. The same was true of Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein.

Level Two: Opportunist

The second level is the leader who serves only himself or herself, often at the expense of others: the Opportunist. These are the people who always ask, "What's in it for me?"
Their moral compass is guided primarily by the accumulation of wealth and power, all else be damned.
Bernie Madoff, now in prison, is a poster boy for the Opportunists. While Madoff enjoyed the luxuries of a life of wealth and power, hundreds if not thousands of retirees saw their nest eggs evaporate because of their unwitting participation in a deliberately contrived Ponzi scheme that, in time, became the largest ($50 billion) in Wall Street history. By this measure, or in terms of the families brought to financial ruin, Madoff remains one of the modern world's greatest Opportunists. Also of this genre, although somewhat lesser known, is Jeffrey Skilling, the Enron CEO who sold off tens of millions of dollars of stock just before Enron filed for bankruptcy, claiming he had no knowledge of the scandal that would engulf his company. He was sentenced to 24 years and four months in prison.

Level Three: Chameleon

At the next level sits Chameleons. These are the "leaders" who bend with the wind and strive to please as many people as possible at all times.
In some cases this could be the group they work with; in other cases, the regional or national electorate. It is difficult to find renowned corporate leaders who fit this category because in business, typically, the Chameleons are weeded out before they reach the top. The world of politics is another matter.
Many politicians fall into this category. Those who follow presidential politics will remember Senator John Kerry (D-MA), who was pilloried as a "flip-flopper" after explaining a vote regarding the Iraq war: "I actually did vote for the [authorization bill] before I voted against it."
In Florida, former governor Charlie Crist changed colors so often that it was difficult to know with precision where he stood on any given issue, from climate change to which party, if any, he really belonged to.

There is a natural cleavage between the model's first three levels described above and the next three levels. There is not much to celebrate about the first three levels, although certainly levels two and three abound in organizations. There's much more to admire in levels four, five, and six.

Level Four: Achiever

"Achievers often substitute the needs of the whole with their personal striving to succeed."

The level-four leader, the Achiever, fills the senior executive ranks. These leaders rarely fail to achieve their goals and often exceed sales quotas, create generous profits, and are frequent stars at merit-award dinners. The Achiever, to use Peter Drucker's felicitous phrase, is often a "monomaniac with a mission" and is focused, energetic, results-oriented, and highly prized by top management. Achievers pursue goals established by their bosses or by themselves, in a single-minded manner. Therein lies the Achilles' heel of Achievers: They drive toward a goal without giving much consideration to the broader mission.
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd is an excellent example of a level-four leader. Under his watch HP's stock price more than doubled, but he decimated the infrastructure and intellectual seed corn (R&D) of the company to do so. By simply cutting R&D to a level of about 2.5 percent of revenue, down from 6 percent during the 1990s, the Carly Fiorina/Mark Hurd team "saved" HP about $4 billion—about the equivalent of half the profits earned during Hurd's last year. HP's once formidable technological and product strength was slowly sapped away. When I asked Dave Packard in the early 1980s what accounted for HP's extraordinary run he modestly replied, "I guess we found a way to make a better product." Where are those better products today? Referring to one of HP's most visible new product initiatives, the TouchPad, a late entry into the iPad dominated tablet space, a senior HP executive reportedly told the Wall Street Journal, "We know we're the fifth man in a four-man race." In their drive towards a goal, Achievers often substitute the needs of the whole with their personal striving to succeed.

Level Five: Builder

The level-five leader, the Builder, strives not to reach a goal but to build an institution. Builders are legendary leaders such as IBM's Tom Watson Jr., GM's Alfred P. Sloan, and Harpo's Oprah Winfrey.
These people serve their institutions by managing for the long term and not allowing themselves to be seduced by the twin mirages of short-term profit or stock market valuations.
They have a grand vision for the future of their organizations, and they infect others with their energy, enthusiasm, and integrity. These are the leaders we write books about, study, try to understand, and lionize.

Level Six: Transcendent

Builders are few and far between, but there is an even rarer type of leader who transcends the Builder: the Transcendent.
Level-six leaders transcend their political party, their ethnic or racial group, and even their institutions. They focus on how to benefit all of society.
These are "global citizens," in the words of Howard Gardner's recent book, Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed, who watch out not only for numero uno but for the wider public as well.
There is no better example of what it really takes to be a Transcendent than the first black president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.
He was able to soar above hatred for his white jailers, the political tug of the African National Congress, the pull of his racial and tribal group, and the rejection by the Afrikaners to build a South Africa for all South Africans. Now in his 90s, he is perhaps the world's greatest living leader.

"Nelson Mandela is perhaps the world's greatest living leader."

Like Martin Luther King Jr., Mandela wanted people to be judged by the "content of their character rather than the color of their skin."
The Dalai Lama, another Transcendent, told me that the first thing he does in the morning after he finishes his prayers is to ask himself, "How can I help to make the world better today?"
Imagine if our senior political and business leaders started their day by asking that question and acting on the answer.

Portfolio mix

No one is a pure Transcendent or a pure Opportunist. Rather, we are all a portfolio of the different types with one type being dominant. Even the Dalai Lama has to deal with the pull of his emotions when he makes decisions. And Madoff did his best to shield his wife and sons when he confessed his grand scheme to the FBI.

Figure 1 graphically illustrates what the portfolio of levels might look like for a 35-year-old executive. This picture, however, is not static. Man is capable, though not always assured, of continuing moral development. The sense or the meaning we give to our life at 60 may be considerably different than how we see life at 30.

The levels we propose, though not linear, are in a general way a path to what Erik Erickson calls generativity and integrity. Helping leaders to find their own path and follow it should be the ultimate goal of a leadership development program.

Figure 1: Profile of a Young Professional (35)

Table 1: A Purpose-Driven Model of Leadership

About the author

Modesto A. Maidique is a visiting professor at Harvard Business School. He is Professor of Management and executive director of the Center for Leadership in the College of Business Administration at Florida International University. He developed and serves as director of the university's Leading Decisions Executive Leadership Development Program.

Why Leaders Lose Their Way

June 6, 2011
Bill George
Professor of Management Practice, Henry B. Arthur Fellow of Ethics, at Harvard Business School.

Executive Summary:

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is just the latest in a string of high-profile leaders making the perp walk. What went wrong, and how can we learn from it?
Professor Bill George discusses how powerful people lose their moral bearings.
To stay grounded executives must prepare themselves to confront enormous complexities and pressures.
Key concepts include:

Leaders who move up have greater freedom to control their destinies, but also experience increased pressure and seduction.
Leaders can avoid these pitfalls by devoting themselves to personal development that cultivates their inner compass, or True North.
This requires reframing their leadership from being heroes to being servants of the people they lead.

In recent months several high-level leaders have mysteriously lost their way. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the International Monetary Fund and a leading French politician, was arraigned on charges of sexual assault.
Before that David Sokol, rumored to be Warren Buffett's successor, was forced to resign for trading in Lubrizol stock prior to recommending that Berkshire Hathaway purchase the company.
Examples abound of other recent failures:
Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd resigned for submitting false expense reports concerning his relationship with a contractor.
US Senator John Ensign (R-NV) resigned after covering up an extramarital affair with monetary payoffs.
Lee B. Farkas, former chairman of giant mortgage lender Taylor, Bean & Whitaker, in April was found guilty for his role in one of the largest bank fraud schemes in American history.

These talented leaders were highly successful in their respective fields and at the peak of their careers. This makes their behavior especially perplexing, raising questions about what caused them to lose their way:

Why do leaders known for integrity and leadership engage in unethical activities?
Why do they risk great careers and unblemished reputations for such ephemeral gains?
Do they think they won't get caught or believe their elevated status puts them above the law?
Was this the first time they did something inappropriate, or have they been on the slippery slope for years?

In these ongoing revelations, the media, politicians, and the general public frequently characterize these leaders as bad people, even calling them evil. Simplistic notions of good and bad only cloud our understanding of why good leaders lose their way, and how this could happen to any of us.

Leaders who lose their way are not necessarily bad people; rather, they lose their moral bearings, often yielding to seductions in their paths. Very few people go into leadership roles to cheat or do evil, yet we all have the capacity for actions we deeply regret unless we stay grounded.

Self-reflection: a path to leadership development

Before anyone takes on a leadership role, they should ask themselves, "Why do I want to lead?" and "What's the purpose of my leadership?"
These questions are simple to ask, but finding the real answers may take decades. If the honest answers are power, prestige, and money, leaders are at risk of relying on external gratification for fulfillment. There is nothing wrong with desiring these outward symbols as long as they are combined with a deeper desire to serve something greater than oneself.

Leaders whose goal is the quest for power over others, unlimited wealth, or the fame that comes with success tend to look to others to gain satisfaction, and often appear self-centered and egotistical. They start to believe their own press. As leaders of institutions, they eventually believe the institution cannot succeed without them.

The leadership trap

While most people value fair compensation for their accomplishments, few leaders start out seeking only money, power, and prestige. Along the way, the rewards—bonus checks, newspaper articles, perks, and stock appreciation—fuel increasing desires for more.

This creates a deep desire to keep it going, often driven by desires to overcome narcissistic wounds from childhood. Many times, this desire is so strong that leaders breach the ethical standards that previously governed their conduct, which can be bizarre and even illegal.

Very few people go into leadership to cheat or do evil.

As Novartis chairman Daniel Vasella (HBS PMD 57) told Fortune magazine, "for many of us the idea of being a successful manager—leading the company from peak to peak, delivering the goods quarter by quarter—is an intoxicating one.
It is a pattern of celebration leading to belief, leading to distortion.
When you achieve good results… you are typically celebrated, and you begin to believe that the figure at the center of all that champagne-toasting is yourself."

When leaders focus on external gratification instead of inner satisfaction, they lose their grounding. Often they reject the honest critic who speaks truth to power. Instead, they surround themselves with sycophants who tell them what they want to hear. Over time, they are unable to engage in honest dialogue; others learn not to confront them with reality.

The dark side of leadership

Many leaders get to the top by imposing their will on others, even destroying people standing in their way.
When they reach the top, they may be paranoid that others are trying to knock them off their pedestal.
Sometimes they develop an impostor complex, caused by deep insecurities that they aren't good enough and may be unmasked.

To prove they aren't impostors, they drive so hard for perfection that they are incapable of acknowledging their failures. When confronted by them, they convince themselves and others that these problems are neither their fault nor their responsibility. Or they look for scapegoats to blame for their problems. Using their power, charisma, and communications skills, they force people to accept these distortions, causing entire organizations to lose touch with reality.

At this stage leaders are vulnerable to making big mistakes, such as violating the law or putting their organizations' existence at risk. Their distortions convince them they are doing nothing wrong, or they rationalize that their deviations are acceptable to achieve a greater good.

During the financial crisis, Lehman CEO Richard Fuld refused to recognize that Lehman was undercapitalized. His denial turned balance sheet misjudgments into catastrophe for the entire financial system.
Fuld persistently rejected advice to seek added capital, deluding himself into thinking the federal government would bail him out.
When the crisis hit, he had run out of options other than bankruptcy.

It's lonely at the top, because leaders know they are ultimately responsible for the lives and fortunes of people. If they fail, many get deeply hurt. They often deny the burdens and loneliness, becoming incapable of facing reality. They shut down their inner voice, because it is too painful to confront or even acknowledge; it may, however, appear in their dreams as they try to resolve conflicts rustling around inside their heads.

Meanwhile, their work lives and personal lives get out of balance. They lose touch with those closest to them̬their spouses, children, and best friends—or co-opt them with their points of view. Eventually, they lose their capacity to think logically about important issues.

Values-centered leadership

Leading is high stress work. There is no way to avoid the constant challenges of being responsible for people, organizations, outcomes, and uncertainties in the environment. Leaders who move up have greater freedom to control their destinies, but also experience increased pressure and seduction.

Leaders can avoid these pitfalls by devoting themselves to personal development that cultivates their inner compass, or True North. This requires reframing their leadership from being heroes to being servants of the people they lead.
This process requires thought and introspection because many people get into leadership roles in response to their ego needs.
It enables them to transition from seeking external gratification to finding internal satisfaction by making meaningful contributions through their leadership.

Maintaining their equilibrium amid this stress requires discipline. Some people practice meditation or yoga to relieve stress, while others find solace in prayer or taking long runs or walks.
Still others find relief through laughter, music, television, sporting events, and reading. Their choices don't matter, as long as they relieve stress and enable them to think clearly about work and personal issues.

A system to support values-centered leadership

The reality is that people cannot stay grounded by themselves. Leaders depend on people closest to them to stay centered. They should seek out people who influence them in profound ways and stay connected to them. Often their spouse or partner knows them best. They aren't impressed by titles, prestige, or wealth accumulation; instead, they worry that these outward symbols may be causing the loss of authenticity.

Spouses and partners can't carry this entire burden though. We need mentors to advise us when facing difficult decisions. Reliable mentors are entirely honest and straight with us, defining reality and developing action plans.

In addition, intimate support groups like the True North Groups, with whom people can share their life experiences, hopes, fears, and challenges, are invaluable. Members of our True North Group aren't impressed by external success, but care enough about us as human beings and as leaders to confront us when we aren't being honest with ourselves.

As Senator Ensign told his fellow senators in a farewell speech in May, "When one takes a position of leadership, there is a very real danger of getting caught up in the hype surrounding that status … Surround yourselves with people who will be honest with you about how you really are and what you are becoming, and then make them promise to not hold back… from telling you the truth."

Monday, July 4, 2011

Brief Protective Gear List for street demos

by LA Activist Doc Thursday, Mar. 20, 2003 at 9:23 AM
This list of gear describes the tools which can help protect you and enable you to make your voice heard in the coming days. The list describes some basic tools which will protect you against tear gas/pepper spray, as well as a bit of first aid gear.
I. Basic Gear For Street Demos:

(choices arranged in order of increasing cost)

(1) Eye protection:

Shatterproof eye protection is very useful in case of "less than lethal" weapons used for crowd control (plastic bullets, tear gas [aka 'CS' or 'CN'] canisters, pepper spray [aka 'OC'] "paintballs", etc.)

Possibilities include:

shop "goggles" - plastic shatterproof material - sold at any hardware stores. If you tape up the air holes, gives some protection against tear gas/pepper spray.

shatterproof swim goggles - sold at swim stores.

shatterproof face shield - sold at most hardware stores - is suspended off head band over front of face. Good protection (with a broadbrimmed hat) against pepper spray squirted into crowds. If you combine with goggles/simple respirator, good against tear gas [note - check to see that respirator/goggles fit under face shield]

shatterproof glasses (sold at gun shops, etc) -

full face respirator with shatterproof shield - gives good protetion against tear gas/pepper spray - sold at some big hardware/industrial supply houses [call first]

military surplus gas mask - best are full face transparent shields with detahable (replaceable) filters. Second best have partial transparent shields over upper face. Least good have two separate transpartent areas over each eye.
AVOID Israeli masks (from Gulf War I), old WW II/Korean/Vietnam masks - they didn't work in Seattle or any of the later protests.
AVOID any masks with glass lenses. AVOID any masks unless you know face shield/eye shields are shatterproof.

(2) Breathing protection -

NOTE: Tear "gas" is actually a petrochemical based solid which has to be heated to become a gas. If the heated molecules pass through water (especially water acidified with lemon juice or - less good - vinegar) some of the molecules will become trapped in the you can't breathe them.

Tear "gas" molecules also revert to their solid state when they cool off. When tear gas (CS or CN) molecules encounter a solid surface (like the ventilation ducts of an office building, your skin, your eyes, the lining of your nose/mouth, the inside of a sturdy 5 gal plastic bucket) the gas molecules cool off and become solid.

If they cool off on your body, you hurt - the wetter the part of your body, the more you hurt! If they cool off somewhere off your body, then they wont cause you pain (unless you handle the object they cooled off upon).

So, breathing protection involves trapping the tear gas:

Possibilities include:

bandanas with water - only work for a few minutes. Hard to seal to nose mouth.

bandanas with lemon juice (or vinegar) - last for more minutes. Still hard to seal to nose/mouth. Vinegar really stinks and can cause skin irritation - lemon juice is better! You can fold up a lot of moistened bandanas and keep in Ziploc bags - this worked well in other big demos.

"respirator" from paint/hardware stores - covers nose/mouth - has replaceable filters (screw on/off). Very effective - make sure you get filters for "organic chemicals" or "methylene choride". Usual cost - about $20 to $30.

military surplus full face (or nose/mouth) gas mask - see info above. Only gas masks with replaceable (screw on/off) filters are likely to work. The old fashioned masks with long tubes leading to a separate filter apparatus are nearly useless. Usual cost: $40 - 100.

full face respirators with shatterproof face shields and replaceable filter(s). Excellent protection. Usual cost: > $100

(3) Skin protection:

NOTE: Pepper spray ("OC") is usually delivered as a liquid (sometimes fired into crowds as "paintballs") - it may be squirted from small, hand held canisters, backpak size canisters, or water cannon. Pepper spray causes an immediate burning sensation.

Tear "gas" ( "CS" or "CN") is a solid which must be heated to become a "gas". When tear "gas" settles on you, it causes a chemical reaction which produces pain. The wetter the place the tear "gas" lands, the greater the chemical reaction and - therefore - the greater the pain. For most people, tear "gas" will produce the greatest discomfort in eyes/nose/mouth.

The primary goal in skin protection is to keep pepper spray off your skin.....

Bringing an extra set of basic clothing (including socks!) wrapped securely inside a heavyweight plastic trash bag will make your day much better if you have been sprayed or gassed......

Protective possibilities include:

(a) face:

- broad brimmed hat. Helps shield pepper spray from above. (Pepper spray on the ears hurts!) Useless for "straight-on" spray.

- bandana. Very limited

- "face shield" (see above). Together with hat, gives good protection

- full face respirator/gas mask . Together with hat, gives best protection.

(b) feet:

- closed toe footwear is much better than sandals/open toed footwear.

(c body/arms/legs:

- Heavy duty 40 gal plastic trashbags with torn out holes for head/neck

- loose fitting, long sleeved lightweight (in LA) windbreakers/ rain jackets/ "warm-up" pants made of waterproof material. These will "shed" pepper spray for a while (if they get soaked, they will then act like a big wick on your skin - if this happens, dump them)

- loose fitting, long sleeved lightweight (in LA) windbreakers/ rain jackets/ "warm-up" pants made of cotton (or other absorbent fabric).

- lightweight "jumpsuits" made of synthetic fabric. Very DEVO....

II. Basic First Aid Gear.

Please take any prescription/non-prescription meds you take (especially inhalers!) on a regular or as needed basis. Take in original, lablelled containers from pharmacy. If you are worried about losinng the meds, store the bulk of the pills (safely) at home in marked containers (out of reach of children/pets/roomates) and take a few days worth to demo with you.......

A. Spray bottle (new!) with hand squeeze action - from 1 pt to 1 qt is best. Fill with 1/2 liquid maalox and 1/2 water. Use for pepper spray in eyes. (If you don't have spray bottle, plastic "bottled" water with "sports top" is better than nothing).

B. Water in plastic "bottles" with "sports top" - figure at least 4 to 6 pints per person per day - more if you have to wash eyes/skin from chemical weapons.

C. 4x4 (nonsterile) pads or clean squares of torn fabric for soaking up pepper spray. DO NOT wipe pepper spray so it spreads over a larger area - you'll just increase the size of the chemical burn!
Mineral Oil/Rubbing Alcohol (both - in separate original containers!) - ONLY if you know how to use them for pepper spray on skin. If you don't know how to use them, please don't experiment on self/others - it will make the pain worse.....

D. Band-AIds, moleskin (synthetic!) are always good - as are any other basic supplies you know how to use....