Great thinkers who are also great leaders

The title of Robert Kelley’s piece in the New York Times was “Not Leadership Material? the_thinker1Good! The World Needs Followers.” I had to read it.

Kelley makes some excellent points about high school students feeling compelled to demonstrate that they are great leaders or risk not being accepted to their college of choice. He argues that great thinkers who are not leaders are being screened out of colleges that should embrace them. With a shortage of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians extant and projected to grow for the foreseeable future, it strikes me that we should take Kelley’s point of view seriously.

But, there was something else that occurred to me while reading the article: it’s not a Continue reading “Great thinkers who are also great leaders”

4 things you must do in your new leadership role

New-managerI remember sitting in the company cafeteria out in Denver, commiserating with a colleague. Our view of the Rocky Mountains was fabulous. Our view of our corporate careers… not so much!

Distributed computer networks enabled big companies to get reports on how operations were performing. Senior management reasoned they no longer needed middle managers to evaluate and provide status reports. The big box model was in! General management skills and leadership were no longer Continue reading “4 things you must do in your new leadership role”

F-Bombs over Charlotte     

“I can’t believe you’re changing planes in Charlotte.”fullsizeoutput_e1a

That was the last thing my wife said to me as I packed my car to head for the airport. She had spent a very frustrating evening in said airport while the rest of the family celebrated our son’s graduation from college. But that was 20 years ago.

As it turns out, some things don’t change.

A mid-afternoon hailstorm had closed Charlotte’s airport for two hours. So, my 10 p.m. flight to Fort Lauderdale was delayed two hours – just like everyone else’s. My fellow passengers and I settled in for an uncomfortable wait, trusting that the chaos would dissolve into some semblance of order.

If only…

We sat glumly as the posted departure time deteriorated from 12:10 a.m. to 12:20 a.m. to 12:45 a.m. to 1:15 a.m. and so on. If you’ve been through this (and who hasn’t?), you know what’s most frustrating is that the airline staff rarely tells you what’s going on.

Around 1 a.m., an overhead announcement let us know that a limited supply of cots was Continue reading “F-Bombs over Charlotte     “

How companies can become good neighbors

communitarian-society-7-638I long for the days when executives said their people were their most important assets and really meant it. When I worked for a global corporation in the 1970’s, I was somehow convinced that was so.

By the late 1980’s, I felt a tremor beneath my feet. Shifts in technology, international trade relationships and the U.S. tax code changed the game. Automation meant companies could produce more with fewer people. Continue reading “How companies can become good neighbors”

It’s time for cities to lead from the bottom up

Adapted from my op-ed in the Rochester Business Journal dated February 3, 2017

I once asked the rhetorical question “Can the Nation’s Mayors Save the Federal Government from Itself?” The federal government was not designed to function well, I postulated. It was designed so that power would not be concentrated in one person whose dictatorial whims might lead the nation astray.

The change in our national political environment is driving new thinking at state capitols and in our cities. I recently heard Los Angeles Mayor Gil Garcetti refer to the constitutional right of states and cities to exercise the power not granted to the federal government. He was talking about the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution:

Continue reading “It’s time for cities to lead from the bottom up”

Who can you trust? (Or, is it whom?)

shutterstock_250176199Last week, my friend Jack Altschuler asked me to weigh in on an interesting topic. As an entrepreneur, Jack attended a class on the Theory of Constraints (TOC). He learned the lessons well, applying the theory to his own business with great results. He now asks how TOC applies to our nation and what I think are the “undesirable effects of what is going on right now – what needs fixing.” I should mention that Jack, now retired from his business, writes a political blog expressing some far-left ideas about our national politics. Recognizing that my politics are “somewhat to the right” of him, he seeks to broaden his perspective.

Continue reading “Who can you trust? (Or, is it whom?)”

When to disagree with the boss

career-management-disagreeing-boss

If your boss is a narcissistic tyrant, read no further. Go directly to Monster.com and find a new job. Do not pass Go; do not collect $200.

The rest of you should read on.

Businesses that are well conceived develop and can articulate their mission and strategies. In my experience, missions rarely Continue reading “When to disagree with the boss”