Monthly Archives: March 2012

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Leading by autobiography is not only for the famous

John's reflections, leadership, Leadership in the news, Leading by autobiography Leave a comment

In the previous post, I cited examples of well-known world and business leaders who teach and inspire others with their personal stories of identity.  But, as I often tell my students and clients, leading by autobiography is something we can all learn to do. Not only do the Barak Obamas, the Warren Buffetts and the Margaret Thatchers learn and use the lessons of their past, lesser-known people who influence their worlds do it as well. Recently, I read an interview with Susan Credle, the chief creative officer at Leo Burnett USA, in the February 27 issue of the International Herald Tribune. At one point, the interviewer asked Credle to recall … Continue reading

Turning life’s lessons into inspirational stories of identity

John's reflections, Leading by autobiography 2 Comments

Last time, I wrote that effective leaders learn to process their experience and to use their life lessons to teach and inspire others. The finest leaders reflect continuously on their life experience, refining and updating their points of view as they acquire new knowledge and experience. In 1997, professor Noel Tichy of the University of Michigan wrote The Leadership Engine, a remarkable book that had a significant influence on my thinking about how leaders lead. Tichy writes that leaders develop a “teachable point of view”, based on their life experience and their fundamental values, beliefs, and views about how the world operates. He goes on to say that the leader’s … Continue reading

Learning to process our life experience

John's reflections, leadership Leave a comment

When I go on my speaking tours several times each year, one of the most popular talks I do is about the common “myths and realities” of leadership.  By “myth”, in this context, I mean something that much of society persists in believing when it is actually not true. One of the most prevalent of these myths is the belief that leaders have something special in their past that somehow sets them apart from the rest of us. It may be the unusual circumstances of their upbringing, a remarkable encounter or rite of passage in adolescence, or some great test at an early stage of their professional lives. We have … Continue reading

Reflecting on leadership and management

John's reflections, leadership 1 Comment

It is often interesting to return to classic business concepts, to reflect and to gain some new perspective on them.  Yesterday, I was reading Julian Birkinshaw’s book Reinventing Management, and it got me thinking again about the distinction we often make between leadership and management. Birkinshaw is a Professor of strategic and international management at the London Business School, where he studies the strategy and management of large corporations. In this 2010 book, he turns his attention to the “neglected” concept of management. One thing that surprised me was the author’s statement, in the introduction, that there are not many books written these days on the subject of management. According … Continue reading

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