September 16, 2021

Why Are We Bad at Picking Good Leaders?

Jeannette Paladino of  Write, Speak, Sell sent me a great article on CNN Opinion which addresses a new book: Why Are We Bad at Picking Good Leaders? A Better Way to Evaluate Leadership Potential.

I cannot wait to download this book and go through it.  The CNN article really hits the nail on the head when they went ahead and answered the question:  Why are we so bad at picking good leaders?

CNN Opinion:

“The short answer is, we focus on all the wrong things, like a candidate’s charm, their stellar résumé or their academic credentials. None of this has any bearing on leadership potential. And despite claims to the contrary, even a candidate’s past results have little bearing on whether the promoted individual will succeed once promoted”. It is this realization that has resulted in many organisations adopting a more collaborative way of working. Large corporate entities are displacing traditional rigid hierarchies and implementing a shared office scenario where CEO’s can working alongside managers and those further down the pecking order. This transparency is leading to more succinct and effective communication strategy whist boosting morale and ownership.

The article and the book go on to talk about the true qualities of a great leader.  We have a huge political election coming up in November, and I encourage everyone to look beyond the charm, good looks and resume to look at the strength of the candidate’s character, their ability to truly lead during this most critical time for our economy and their willingness to stand strong in the face of adversity and make a tough call, even if it means becoming unpopular.  Running for the highest office of our country is not a beauty contest…it is a tough race to put a true leader in office who can pull Congress together and get everyone moving into new territory so that we can truly thrive again as a nation.

Thank you Jeannette for sending this article and the book to me.  Looks like I am going to love this book!


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Celebrating the Life of Steve Jobs and How He Changed Our World

Pick up the 5,000 leadership books from the past five years, and my hunch is that you may not hear in those books that Steve Jobs is considered one of the greatest leaders of our times.  People spoke often about his difficulties with people, his perfectionism and his distaste for the press.  He never finished college, had a few rocky patches in life, but that did not stop him from being one of the most celebrated geniuses of our times.

Now that Steve Jobs is no longer with us, something tells me that he will be in history books as the man who truly changed our world during the 20th and early 21st century.  While he may not have been the best people person, there are many different types of leaders, and hands down, Steve Jobs (in my opinion) is the greatest visionary leader of the past 50 years.  He did not just change the way we live and work in the United States but changed the lives of billions of people worldwide.  In my opinion, someone who changes the entire world during their lifetime is certainly someone who defines true leadership.

When it comes to leadership, being a true visionary is a gift…not many people really have it.  To get people to buy into a big, world changing vision is very tough, but not for Jobs.  After a series of ups and downs, 10 years ago, Jobs went on a quest to truly change the world when he unveiled the iPod to the world.  I remember seeing the tiny, simple, sleek, thin and sexy looking device and thought “It can hold over 10,000 songs?  That little thing…no way!  Can’t happen and wont.  And who in the world will buy it at that price?.”  Boy, was I wrong.  When I suddenly “got” that the new device could download 10,000 songs from iTunes and watched my kids going crazy downloading songs with white earbuds in their ears, I became a believer and a buyer.  I now own an iPod, iTouch, iPhone and an iPad.  I still work on a Windows computer, but I want an Apple computer…that will be the next computer I own.

To see the timeline of the innovative process of Steve Jobs, just flip through this slideshow on CNN.  Really amazing!

Many people will tell you that Steve Jobs was not the tech guy (although I do take some argument with that statement…you don’t run one of the largest technology based businesses in the world without a great deal of tech knowledge), but instead, he was the man who could see where we are all going in our hyper-connected world and knew how to bring the greatest minds together to get his futuristic ideas to work.  He knew the home computer could do more, look and feel a lot more cool and could make life simpler for everyone and people can spend time even playing games on their computers, if you’re one of those people you can even use sites like to improve in games as csgo faster.  He was a music lover and knew that people would love to be able to pull out a tiny device and scroll to their favorite song out of a list of 10,000 and that those songs could then be streamed into your home stereo system.  He knew that the iPhone would not just dial numbers…that it would serve as a mini computer that could be a GPS system, could turn on your lights while you were away from home, could be a barcode scanner, would eventually be able to scan credit cards and could help you find the pet of your dreams.  And, once the public fell in love with the iPhone, he knew people would want something like the iPhone in a bigger form…in the form of a tablet.  The interesting thing is this:  Steve Jobs had a way of knowing what we wanted before we knew we wanted it, and once  we had our iBooks, iPods, iPhones and iPads, we then wanted the newer version, more apps to be more efficient in life and would probably not be able live without them.  And of course, as a result of Steve Jobs’ innovative spirit, his competitors around the world tried to come up with their own ideas (which were actually copycat versions of what Jobs had already built)  to compete with the genius.  While a few of his competitors have come close, they really have not yet quite hit the mark, and Jobs was always 2 steps ahead of the rest of the world of technology.

I know the world is grieving today, but I want to encourage you all to also celebrate his life and legacy to the world.  Steve Job said it all best in his commencement speech to Stanford in 2011:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life,” Jobs said that day.

“No one wants to die,” he added. ”Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share. ”

“Your time is limited,” Jobs added. ”So don’t waste it living someone else’s life. … Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.

As we grieve today, let’s all celebrate the life and legacy of Steve Jobs…and look at his words closely…Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.

Watch the video tribute to Steve Jobs on Gizmodo

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Self Directed Leadership Defines a New Era for Egypt and the World

Today, Jeannette Paladino wrote a great blog post about the protests in Cairo and the new era of that is community driven…not lead by a dictator directing the lives of others (more about this subject below).  Over the last six days, the anti-Mubarak protesters (those men and women who want to see drastic change in the Egyptian government)  have reportedly been peaceful and cooperative.

But today, the scene took a turn for the worse as pro Mubarak groups prepared to “take over the crowd” by storming into Cairo on the backs of horses and camels.  Bearing sticks and knives, the pro government group looked a bit archaic.  They  resorted to not only beating the protesters but attacking Americans like news CNN anchors Anderson Cooper and Hala Goroni.  Apparently Cooper was struck in the head at least ten times and after being confronted, pushed and hit, Goroni was escorted to safety by a protester.

As Jeannette mentioned, the use of social media and a new thought pattern about community leadership have come together to send us a huge message in our world…our next generation of thinkers and leaders want freedom and a voice.  They know how to drive change by taking a stand (the early group of protesters were primarily men under the age of 30) and by using technology to pull together large crowds of people to drive their cause.  They are sick and tired of being told what to do by government and leaders that are driven by archaic leadership styles.   The fact that pro government groups charged into Cairo on the backs of camels and horses tells me that the current leadership in Egypt is operating with old thinking, and yes…it is time for change, and that change is going to get worse before things get better.  Change hurts, and the majority of changes do often come with a bit of pain and sorrow.  Just ask anyone who was involved in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s.

In May of 2008, by Byron Reeves, Thomas W. Malone, and Tony O’Driscoll wrote a compelling article in Harvard Business ReviewLeadership’s Online Labs.   In the article, the authors speak of a future type of leadership…a form of leadership they predict will be more of the norm based on their observations and research obtained by watching members of Generation Y (born 1977-1997) play online games like Eve Online, EverQuest, and World of Warcraft.  In their studies, the authors predicted a type of leadership that would be similar to watching young men and women play games  in a three-dimensional virtual world, using the best headset from this sades sa 902 7.1 review…one in which thousands of players collaborate with and compete against one another.  With this new type of leadership, the authors also observed an interesting repeating pattern…there was no one leader in these virtual worlds…the groups were self-directed and would evolve even when a player was away from the game or taking a break for several days.

The organized protesters in Cairo are looking a great deal like the type of leadership described in this article.  So, it is no surprise that Egypt is in turmoil and that many of the groups gathering have no true leader…Gen Y does not follow the leader…they follow groups, especially those which are creating change .  What is disturbing is that this “peaceful protest” has now turned into violence.

I encourage you to continue to watch as this process unfolds to see how Generation Y is going to respond.  And, expect to see a change in the way our world leads as a bi-product of this truly historical event.

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