Lessons for the New CEO From 5 Great Leaders of History
A leader needs to adapt to the situation. Study your environment and your competition to make the best of every opportunity.
Sun Tzu, counseled that a martial leader should observe the terrain to take advantage of its natural layout and stay alert for startled birds or beasts that might indicate an ambush. He also advised becoming a student of one's enemies, to know their signs of fatigue or desperation.
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A leader's vision may or may not be that different from the next person's; what can set them apart is the vigour with which they pursue that strategy.
Zhou Enlai served as premier of the People's Republic of China and throughout his life relentlessly pursued his moderate and pragmatic agenda while attempting to mitigate the worst effects of Mao's policies.
Leaders need to have a relatable and understandable long-term view of where an organization is headed.
When faced with the issue of slavery before the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln’s vision was that the United States should be “a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. "
Changing the mood of an organization can be enough to stave off collapse and foster progress.
Nelson Mandela changed the mood of a divided South Africa coming out of the brink of civil war and facing a future with a high likelihood of inter-racial conflict. Once elected, he ran the new multiracial government with a light but decisive touch and set the tone – relaxed, inclusive, cheerful – that would create a new mood in the country.
Throughout history, some individuals got to play bigger roles than others. Among them, Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us that the success of a cause depends directly on the involvement of the people who joined it.
According to the main character's behaviour, one should used other means of negotiation besides persuasion, which is, undoubtedly, of high importance. For instance, why not try using the very language of the counterparts, if possible. It can lead to unexpectedly good results.
Buddha's belief that anybody can changed is a powerful tool in the hands of good coaches. Having trust in people's ability to change can prove to be way more effective than believing that they can't.
Often leaders have chosen to stay on when they should have bowed out. Without intending to, they often undo much of their own work and cause problems for their successors.
An increasingly frail Winston Churchill should not have tried to be prime minister again in 1951. His government drifted, while his chosen successor Anthony Eden grew increasingly embittered.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey, accounted for his limitations by issuing an order to ignore instructions he gave in the evenings – when he liked to carouse with his friends. But history has far more examples of leaders whose convictions of infallibility grow in proportion to their power, eventually leading to the failure of their plans.
A job can subtly warp your judgement so that you only see things from one perspective.
Think of Richard Nixon trying to use the institutions of the American government to shut down the Watergate scandal. Or the unexpectedly long American war in Vietnam.