Category Archives: Leadership in the news

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How to find your passion

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

This week, a friend sent me an article about why “follow your passion” is bad advice. The article cites the book So Good They Can’t Ignore You, whose author, Cal Newport, makes the case that the “follow passion” cliché is flawed. He explains that innate passion is rare and has little to do with why most people end up loving their work, or not. In addition, he says, following one’s passion can lead to anxiety and chronic job hopping.  Newport contends that preexisting passion is not only exceedingly rare, it also should not matter. According to the author, one should work on mastering skills of one’s current job, rather than trying to find … Continue reading

Steve Jobs was truly about connecting things

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

The past two posts, and perhaps the next few, take their inspiration from the (relatively) new movie “Jobs”, which I managed to see on one of my long airplane journeys. I say “inspiration” because this film made me curious again about some of its characters and stories; that curiosity led me to re-read Isaacson’s fascinating biography, and to do a bit of research on the Internet. It turns out that some of the people portrayed on the screen, the ones whose interviews I was able to find on YouTube, are not in complete agreement with Hollywood’s somewhat fictionalized version of the events, but that is not the issue I wish … Continue reading

Steve Jobs and the “holy wars”

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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

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