Category Archives: Leadership in the news

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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

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

Can boredom really stimulate creativity?

John's reflections, Leadership in the news, Leading by autobiography, Storytelling, Storytelling and marketing Leave a comment

  As I wrote briefly last week, I was fascinated by a concept I discovered recently in an in-flight magazine: that boredom and creativity may be connected. In fact, I had long considered boredom to be quite a sorry state, the sign of a lazy mind, and a condition to be avoided.   With my new perspective—that boredom may be a indeed have a positive effect by stimulating our thinking—I did a few searches for quotes and thoughts on the subject. And, it turns out that boredom has long been an under-appreciated emotional state, one that gets almost universal bad press, not only today but also through the ages. For … Continue reading

Reflecting on boredom

authenticity, leadership, Leadership in the news, Leading by autobiography, Storytelling Leave a comment

A funny thing happened to me this week on a flight from Detroit to Amsterdam. We were all set to go, the cabin door had been closed, all electronic devices were turned off for takeoff, and then the captain announced a “small technical delay” of 15-20 minutes. Perhaps because of considerable prior experience with such events, I tend to get a bit concerned that one delay might lead to another, and that each one will take a bit more time than anticipated.    In this particular case, our 30 minute wait for the technical repair engendered the need to de-ice the aircraft a second time. We waited for the de-icing … Continue reading

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