Leadership

Your CEO Style: Are You Ringo or Keith Moon?

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I just finished reading a New York Times column by David Brooks where he discusses which traits and abilities are most important for a successful CEO. He cites a number of surveys and studies, and they all (at least the ones he cites) seem to generally agree on what it really takes to make it as the head honcho. Somewhat counterintuitively, the best CEOs (that is, the CEOs of the best performing companies) don’t tend ...

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5 Bits of Business Wisdom from Mom

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Happy Mothers Day! The Beatles wrote a song called Your Mother Should Know (it’s on the Magical Mystery Tour album), so I thought it would be appropriate on this day to talk about five things that mothers do know that business leaders should know as well—but sometimes don’t. Because, after all, mother knows best!

  1. Look both ways before you cross the street. Don’t rush recklessly into the “traffic” of your business: decisions, new ventures, partnerships, etc. Make sure you know what ...
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The Magic of Lifelong Learning

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When is the last time you learned something new? And I’m talking about real, purposeful learning (as in, say, learning Italian) as opposed to mundane, everyday learning (as in, “Really? Cousin Mary’s having a baby? How wonderful!”) I’m talking about the kind of learning that takes a conscientious effort, and that really works the old brain muscle. If you’re like many people, your answer probably begins with some variation of, “Well, let’s see. I left college in….”

And that’s not good ...

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The Most Important Skill for the Future

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I saw a billboard the other day that said something to the effect of: “The top 15 careers of 2025 don’t even exist today.” Whether those numbers are accurate or not, they’re almost certainly in the ballpark. The point is, we can’t predict with any certainty what the challenges and opportunities will be even a few years down the pike. After all, in the 60s nobody was predicting anything remotely like the computer industry or the Internet, not to mention ...

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The Dangers of Business Bowling

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My mother was raised on a plantation in Haiti. Interesting upbringing, to be sure, and there are many stories—some involving voodoo. This isn’t one of them. This is a story about bowling. (You: “Why, Bill, if you have freakin’ voodoo stories, would you choose to tell one about bowling?” Me: “Because this one has a point…and besides, the voodoo stories are too weird.”) So here, as a lesson for business leaders, is the story of my mother’s bowling catastrophe.

It was ...

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Keeping Your Eye On The Ball

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I attended a benefit concert last night—An Evening with the Music of John Lennon—featuring a pantheon of rock musicians from bands such as the Cars, Yes, Queen, Alice Cooper, Foo Fighters, the Commodores, and others. One of the driving forces behind this concert was my friend Alan White, the drummer for Yes who also played drums with John Lennon and George Harrison (he’s the guy who plays drums on Lennon’s song Imagine). Thanks to Alan, I had the opportunity to ...

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3 More Beatles Songs Every Leader Should Know

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A few weeks ago I wrote an article called 3 Beatles Songs Every Leader Should Know. My premise was that in the Beatles’ 200+ oeuvre, there are a number of songs that, by their title alone, could give a successful business leader plenty of food for thought. Today we’re going to look at three more:

Tomorrow Never Knows (from the Revolver album, 1966): We can study trends, we can examine the prognostications of futurists, we can even read tea ...

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A True Leader Shares the Credit

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I once worked for a boss who delighted in taking the credit for the work his team did. I’m guessing you’ve worked for somebody like this too—there are a lot of them around. And there are some perfectly understandable reasons why a boss would want to take all the credit. They may want to:

  • impress their own boss;
  • impress a co-worker;
  • impress the cute new sales intern.

Understandable reasons, yes; effective leadership, no.

“Leaders” like this would be well-advised to remember what Harry S Truman ...

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3 Beatles Songs Every Leader Should Know

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The Beatles recorded over 200 original songs during their career as a band. While virtually all of them are great songs (yes, I’m biased), there are a few whose titles alone could serve as a “mini-MBA” for business leaders. Today we’re going to look at three of them:

The Word (from the Rubber Soul album, 1965): For the Beatles, the word was “love.” Not a bad word to be associated with. But what’s your word (or combination of two ...

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Stop Listening to the Smart People

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There’s no shortage of smart people telling you and me how to run our businesses. There’s no shortage of smart people telling us how to run our finances. There’s no shortage of smart people telling us how to run our lives. All we have to do is turn on the TV, turn on the radio, or start a conversation at the local bar. Smart people with ideas will fall out of the woodwork. So here’s my advice to you:

Stop listening ...

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