Jay Desai

The role of the CEO or founder means wearing many hats, and it may be hard for the mentor hat to be one of them — especially if you’re hiring people more senior or experienced than you. If you try, it will be inauthentic. A CEO can be many things to their manager to be supportive, and mentor may not be one of them. It’s hard … [ Read more ]

The Leadership Maker Movement

Rarely a day goes by without news about the maker movement — the DIY culture of hackers and traditional crafters that, with advances in 3D printing, is producing a dizzying range of items. An analogous revolution is also underway in how we adapt organizations for the fast-changing contexts in which they must operate. I call it the leadership maker movement.

After observing companies and speaking with … [ Read more ]

How Do You Measure Leadership?

This essay describes a way to measure leadership that I hope will be helpful to those who seek to improve as leaders. It is based on observations I made when working closely with four leaders that I consider extraordinary: Ed Catmull (Pixar’s founder), Steve Jobs (Pixar’s CEO), John Lasseter (Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer), and Bob Iger (Disney’s CEO).

Otto Scharmer

One of the main problems of leadership, particularly in the United States, is that it’s seen as an attribute of individuals. It should be seen as the capacity of a system to sense and actualize emerging future possibilities.

Marshall Goldsmith

The best leaders focus on making a positive difference and selling their ideas to decision makers, not on proving how smart or how right they are.

Master the Art of Influence — Persuasion as a Skill and Habit

As a long-time product leader for Chrome at Google, Tyler Odean found himself using persuasion as a tool to herd massive organizations — engineers, designers and executives — toward product decisions and developments. He realized how powerful it was to be able to rally people to his and others’ points of view. Today, he regularly speaks on the topic and applies it in his role … [ Read more ]

Sally Helgesen

This rising quantity of quantification has surely improved our understanding of what superior leaders can achieve, and has given organizations valuable information to use when hiring and developing talent. But has it improved the quality of leadership in the real world? High turnover rates and a paucity of effective leaders suggest either that there’s no correlation between studying leadership and leading or that the scientific … [ Read more ]

Ed Catmull

One of the things about failure is that it’s asymmetrical with respect to time. When you look back and see failure, you say, ‘It made me what I am!’ But looking forward, you think, ‘I don’t know what is going to happen and I don’t want to fail.’ The difficulty is that when you’re running an experiment, it’s forward looking. We have to try extra … [ Read more ]

Jim Collins

If your company cannot be great without you, it is not yet a great company. It is merely a group of people who happen to have a leader. The test as to whether it’s a great company is it doesn’t need you.

Jim Collins

In business, people confuse leadership and power all the time. If you have a lot of power, it can look like you’re leading, but actually you’re just using power. Strip away all your power and would people still do what needs to be done? Then you know you’re leading. That’s really what leading is about.

James McGregor Burns

Leadership only exists if people follow when they would have the freedom to not follow.

Dwight Eisenhower

Leadership is the art of getting people to want to do what must be done.

Jim Collins

When we were studying in Built to Last, we were looking at companies that were visionary through generations, which meant sometimes you had to discount the role of any individual leader. You couldn’t say that Walt Disney was Disney because Walt Disney’s walking around anymore. There’s something about the company. And I still believe that. I still believe that even if you go back to … [ Read more ]

8 Principles of Great Leadership

As a founder, learning how to launch your startup is incredibly important. But as your project grows, you will have more and more people following your lead. Many founders are inexperienced at the art of leadership and lack the management principles necessary to build an enduring company. History ー even the history of Silicon Valley ー furnishes many illustrations of skillful leadership and of principles … [ Read more ]

Adam Bryant

I believe it’s time to give the narrative about whether men and women lead differently a rest. Yes, we need to keep talking and writing about why there are so few women in the top ranks. But this trope about different styles of leadership among men and women seems past its expiration date.

And while we’re at it, could everyone agree to drop the predictable questions … [ Read more ]

Adam Bryant

Leaders need humility to know what they don’t know, but have the confidence to make a decision amid the ambiguity. A bit of chaos can help foster creativity and innovation, but too much can feel like anarchy. You need to be empathetic and care about people, but also be willing to let them go if they’re dragging down the team. You have to create a … [ Read more ]

What’s Missing in Leadership Development?

We asked executives to tell us about the circumstances in which their leadership-development programs were effective and when they were not. We found that much needs to happen for leadership development to work at scale, and there is no “silver bullet” that will singlehandedly make the difference between success and failure. That said, statistically speaking, four sets of interventions appear to matter most: contextualizing the … [ Read more ]

Eric J. McNulty

Principles, unlike rules, give people something unshakable to hold onto yet also the freedom to take independent decisions and actions to move toward a shared objective. Principles are directional, whereas rules are directive.