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Steve Jobs and the “holy wars”

John's reflections, Leadership in the news Leave a comment

When I read a recent headline in the Financial Times that proclaimed “Steve Jobs promised a ‘holy war’ on Google” it made good sense to me. In fact, part of Steve Jobs’ leadership success over the years stemmed from his remarkable ability to construct and tell a certain type of narrative, one that goes even beyond a story of meaning and purpose for his company. Part of his storytelling genius was the way he always seemed able to define a quest for his troops, a struggle that pitted Apple as the underdog against the most powerful forces in the computer industry. As we have discussed here on past entries, stories of deep purpose are among the strongest of … Continue reading

Leadership moments in the events of everyday life

authenticity, leadership, Leadership in the news, Leadership training, Storytelling Leave a comment

In my teaching and coaching for the past two decades, I have often emphasized the concept that leadership begins with a willingness to stand for what one believes. And, leadership is not only about the “big” moments we study in history classes and in business schools. In fact, we all have opportunities to take a stand about the things that matter to us in the course of everyday events. Leadership begins with self-knowledge. Effective leaders influence their worlds by being in close touch with their most important values and convictions. What is important enough to me that I will be willing to speak out for what I believe? Each of … Continue reading

Stories make us FEEL: an example…

John's reflections, Storytelling, Storytelling and marketing Leave a comment

Often a group that tells an authentic story that resonates with the people will win the day over opponents who want to persuade us with logic and reason. I would like to share with you the example of an organization called “charity: water”. The group’s purpose is noble, clear and straightforward: As their mission statement declares, “charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations.” Though their cause and their approach were laudable from the outset, they were not immediately successful at convincing individuals to contribute. To understand one of the reasons why, I would propose watching and comparing two videos.  First … Continue reading

The power of narrative in politics, as seen in the Swiss referendum

John's reflections, Leadership in the news, Storytelling Leave a comment

In the previous entry, we looked at the recent referendum in Switzerland, where the people voted to require the government to negotiate quotas on immigration with the European Union.  The results of this February 9 election were completely unexpected for many people here, Swiss and foreigners alike. Everyone with whom I spoke in the run-up to the vote said that there was virtually “no chance” the measure would pass. My friends and colleagues reasoned that there were simply too many powerful business and political interests that favored integration with the EU, as opposed to a policy of isolationism.  On the other hand, I was one of the few people in my surroundings … Continue reading

The recent Swiss immigration referendum as a study in storytelling

authenticity, leadership Leave a comment

Though discussion of political issues has often left me cold and bored in recent times, I watched the latest debate about immigration in Switzerland with considerable interest. As a foreigner and property owner living in this country, it is a matter that could potentially have a direct impact on me and some of the people close to me. Beyond my personal situation, though, I found this incident to be a fascinating case study in storytelling. As I often tell my audiences, I am somewhat dismayed by the uses of storytelling I see in modern politics. Far too often, the narratives crafted by candidates and public officials, aided by their consultants … Continue reading

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