Saturday, November 10, 2007

5 Books on Leadership

BUSH-ISMS: President George Herbert Walker Bush, in his own words
Compiled by the editors of The New Republic
(Workman Publishing, 1992)

THE NATURE OF LEADERSHIP: Reptiles, mammals, and the challenge of becoming a great leader
By B. Joseph White with Yaron Prymes
(Amacom, 2007)

Harvard Business Review on THE TESTS OF A LEADER
Harvard Business School Press, 2007)

LEAD LIKE JESUS: Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time
By Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges
(W Publishing Group, 2005)

NANOCOSM: Nanotechnology and the big changes coming from the inconceivably small.
By William Illsey Atkinson
(Amacom, 2005)

Here are some quotes from former President Bush and you will know from whom the current President Bush got his communication flair.

“We’re enjoying sluggish times, and not enjoying them very much.”

“Thank you all very much. And let me just say this, on a personal basis. I’ve screwed up a couple of times here and I’m very grateful for your assistance in straightening it out. God, I’d hate to have had some of those answers stand.” (8/8/90)

“I think that in politics there are certain moral values. I’m one who—we believe strong in separation of church and state, but when you get into some questions, there are some moral overtones. Murder, that kind of thing, and I feel a little, I will say, uncomfortable with the elevation of the religion thing.” (Bush explains his position on church-state issues this way, “We don’t believe in denominationally moving in.” 9/16/84)

“I saw a story yesterday that I went a little ballistic—which is only part true—semi-ballistic.” (12/16/88)

“I’m for Mr. Reagan—blindly.” (11/1/84)

“I know what I’ve told you I’m going to say, I’m going to say. And what else I say, well, I’ll take some time to figure that out—figure that out.” (at a joint press conference with Uruguay President Louis Alberto Lacalde, on the message he was planning to deliver to Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz. Later, asked if there were room for a face-saving measure, Bush was adamant: “I don’t care about face! He doesn’t need any face!” 12/4/90)

“Fluency in English is something that I’m often not accused of.” (at a White House dinner. Despite his lack of fluency, however, the president insists on controlling the content of his speeches. “inarticulate as though I may be.” 6/6/89)

“You cannot be president of the United States if you don’t have faith. Remember Lincoln, going to his knees in times of trial and the Civil War and all that stuff. You can’t be. And we are blessed. So don’t feel sorry for—don’t cry for me, Argentina.” (1/15/92)

“The democrats want to ram it down my ear in a political victory.” (10/31/91)

”It has been said by some cynic, maybe it was a former president, ‘If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.’ We took them literally—that advice—as you know. But I didn’t need that, because I have Barbara Bush.” (3/30/89)

“All I was doing was appealing for an endorsement, not suggesting that you endorse it.” (2/3/92)

“I was shot down, and I was floating around in a little yellow raft, setting a record for paddling. I though of my family, my mom and dad, and the strength I got from them. I thought of my faith, the separation of church and state.” (12/5/87)

Hahahahahahahahaha Who says that Americans, and their Yale alumnus President, speak good English?

When I met Bob Pike and his lovely wife in Taipei, Taiwan, last September, he was all praises for their new leadership program Lead Like Jesus with Ken Blanchard. And as he promised, he sent me a copy of the book.

Author Blanchard writes:
The term leader is mentioned only six times in the King James Version of the Bible, while the term servant is mentioned more than nine hundred times. That fact highlights the third distinction between a self-serving leader and a servant leader: who leads and who follows? Self-serving leaders think they should lead and others should follow. Servant leaders, on the other hand, seek to respect the wishes of those who have entrusted them with a season of influence and responsibility.

Throughout His life and leadership, Jesus affirmed that God is not looking for leaders but for servants who will let Him be the Leader and who will focus first on the Kingdom of God. When God came to Abraham, God had the plan and Abraham was instructed to carry it out according to God’s promise. When God came to Mary, she surrendered to God’s will and undertook the role of servant leader with her infant son. When God came to Paul, God had a plan that this passionate man spent the rest of his life fulfilling through his leadership and witness to the Gentiles. When God was the leader and these faithful people were the servants, His plan was effectively accomplished.

On the other hand, whenever we become the leader and try to make God the servant, things don’t work out. Why? Because our EGO gets in the way, and we Edge God Out! If you want your life to be significant, then you have to recognize that it’s all about God, not about you. As the old Yiddish saying goes, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

We are negotiating to bring the duo of Pike and Blanchard here to do their Lead Like Jesus Program. Abangan!

The executive summary of the article “What to Ask the Person in the Mirror” of this HBR book on leadership reads:

Every leader gets off track from time to time. But as leaders rise through the ranks, they have fewer and fewer opportunities for honest and direct feedback. Their bosses are no longer monitoring their actions, and by the time management missteps have a negative impact on business results, it’s usually too late to make course corrections that will set things right. Therefore, it is wise to go through a self-assessment, to periodically step back from the bustle of running a business and ask some key questions of yourself.

Author Robert S. Kaplan, who during his 22-year career at Goldman Sachs chaired the firm’s senior leadership training efforts and co-chaired its partnership committee, identifies seven areas for self-reflection: vision and priorities, managing time, feedback, succession planning, evaluation and alignment, leading under pressure, and staying true to yourself. The author sets out a series of questions in each of the areas, illustrating the impact of self-assessment through vivid accounts of real executives.

Although the questions sound simple, people are often shocked—even horrified—by their own answers. Executives are aware that they should be focusing on their most important priorities, for instance, but without stepping back to reflect, few actually know where they are allocating their time. Kaplan advocates writing down what you do every working hour for a week and checking how well your actions match up with your intentions. As for feedback, managers should ask themselves whether they’re getting truthful evaluations from their subordinates (in all likelihood, they aren’t). It takes time and discipline to persuade your employees to tell you about your failings.

This HBR collection has other instructional articles like Becoming the Boss, Courage as a Skill, The CEO’s Second Act, Moments of Truth: Global Executives Talk about the Challenges that Shaped Them as Leaders, How Leaders Create and Use Networks, When a New Manager Takes Charges and Leading Change. Go get a copy.

Nanotechnology has always intrigued and amazed me no end. Rick Smally write in his Foreword:

Real nanotechnology isn’t about physical immortality, or killer nanobots, or waking up dear dead Auntie Flo from her long nap in the freezer. Real nanotechnology is more amazing than any pipe dream. It is closing in on structural materials stronger than anything we’ve know; on computers the size of molecules; on complete diagnostic laboratories smaller than your thumbnail; on ways to painlessly cook cancer cells to death; on buildings that stay up despite storms, earthquakes and attacks. Set pulp fiction aside. The genuine nanocosm has sci-fi beat six ways to Sunday.

Author Atkinson writes:

Nanoscience has recently made such staggering gains that it is undeniably on the bring of a true nanotechnology. We have now mapped enough of the nanocosm to let us make educated guesses about the type of world it will soon support. These estimates range from the merely surprising to the wig-flipping outrageous. Some very big changes in business and leisure are about to come to us by way of the very small.

The world is shrinking and lots of things are becoming portable and affordable—thanks to nanotechnology. Remember those monstrous computers that required whole buildings to house them and two-ton battery pack for cell phones of years ago? Now, computers and cell phones are getting smaller and smaller and smaller—thanks to nanotech. Tomorrow, we might not even need to carry them, we could implant them somewhere in our body. Think of a camera implanted at the tip of your index finger—now you can take pictures of anything, anywhere. Scary, but exciting!

What are the implications of nanotechnology for future leaders? Smaller leaders? Hahahahahahahaha

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