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January 25, 2009

Leadership principles – quotes of Jack Welch

Jack Welch was the Chairman and CEO of General Electric, who has contributed to GE's outstanding 20 year record. Here are some quotes of Welch about some fundamental leadership principles from his book "Jack: Straight From The Gut".

  1. There is only one way - the straight way. It sets the tone of the organisation.
  2. Be open to the best of what everyone, everywhere, has to offer; transfer learning across your organisation.
  3. Get the right people in the right jobs - it is more important than developing a strategy.
  4. An informal atmosphere is a competitive advantage.
  5. Make sure everybody counts and everybody knows they count.
  6. Legitimate self-confidence is a winner - the true test of self-confidence is the courage to be open.
  7. Business has to be fun - celebrations energise and organisation.
  8. Never underestimate the other guy.
  9. Understand where real value is added and put your best people there.
  10. Know when to meddle and when to let go - this is pure instinct.

January 19, 2009

The Dark Knight and Leadership

A film called The Dark Knight has been so famous and popular recently. It beat previous record holder Spiderman 3 and also broke some of other box office records. It garnered several nominations and won as the best film of 2008. I didn't finish watching this film, because I needed to do other things. Personally, the film doesn't really interest me. I much more prefer to see Disney cartoon! Hehe!

The Batman fights against local crime with the help of L. James Gordon and new Distric Attorney. The Batman is a big hero of Gotham City. Sometimes, a leader can be characterized as a hero. This kind of leader is requested, especially when organizations are in trouble, to save the organization from its present predicament. The leader needs to generate a high level of commitment with his or her followers and express his or her vision which will satisfy the needs of followers. The vision of the future probably is the most important thing when the organization is in such situation. The leader needs to communicate with followers of the vision and motivate them to achieve it. I remember at the beginning of LE module, I asked Paul about the difference between leadership and management. Paul gave an answer of someone has said: a manager is doing things right, a leader is doing right things. It is truly essential for leaders to establish a right direction for followers.

In the film, the Joker told Batman, "To them, you're like a freak like me. They just need you right now. But as soon as they don't, they'll cast you out like a leper." I am not going to argue much about what the Joker said. They had different visions or objectives. The Batman is trying to eliminate the crimes, he is focusing on the needs of citizens, but the Joker is only focusing on himself. That's one of the reasons that why the Joker would say those words. However, his words reminder us that it is important for a leader to response to a changing environment. The change is a constant in the world, and its pace is increasing. Response to changes is a key part of leadership. Moreover, leading and encouraging changes are also important for leaders taking their role.

For the WaveRiders, a heroic leader is probably required to make it a successful company once again.

January 13, 2009

From OPP to LE – about decisiveness

Finished OPP PMA, now turn to LE PMA.

When I started to read LE PMA, one thing came to my mind was a point that I read from OPP material. When Jeffrey R. Immelt, the chairman and CEO of General Electric after Jack Welch, was asked about what red for him was, where he thought he could use the most work, he answered: "decisiveness". Yes, indeed. Decisiveness is so important for a leader. Immelt said, "at my level in the company, it's clearly the thing that moves the needle the most. One of the things I've learned by experience is that you can run a productivity company and not have to give a lot of straight yes or no answers. You can make your base costs by cutting everybody by 10%, and you can do OK for a long time that way. But you can't drive a growth company by cutting everybody by 10% or by adding 10%. You have to make higher level moves, and that takes clear decision making."

Decisions a leader made can influence a company and direct it's future. Leaders are expected to make right and quick decisions. But it is sometimes so difficult to make an approprite decision or choice as the things may be very complicated, have important risks or consequences, and the world is increasingly changing. Moreover, when you made a decision, it means you accepted responsibility. Good research and excellent knowledge tempered by experience can help to make successful decisions. Other factors like strong initiative, good judgment, flexible attitude and openmindedness can all help a leader to be decisive.

Decisiveness is important for a leader, so for everyone of us. I heard that (I'm not too sure) everybody approximately makes 6000 decisions everyday. We are all making decisions. Even when you decide not decide, you have made a decision! If there's a decision need to be made, don't let it lie there, just make it!

Now I decide to close this entry. Good night! ^_^

December 04, 2008

Mother Teresa and Leadership

When people say "leadership", he/she will usually think about the direct leaders in the areas like business, politics etc.. At the beginning of L&E model I was reminded that leadership was much more than that. There are lots of indirect leaders as well, such as super movie stars who influence many people in the world. Mother Teresa was the one that suggested by Kang when we were discussing the leaders for seminar topics. Personally, I admire her very much. Her compassion for the poor and her devotion to the cause has also inspired so many people in the world.

The definitions of the leadership are many as Bass (1981) said "there are almost as many different definitions of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept". From 20 definitions from literature which were given by Paul, our team (Team 1) found that 16 definitions are talking about "art or process of influencing", which accounts for the highest rate, and 12 definitions include "achievement of purpose or goals". For Mother Teresa, she has certainly influenced lots of people, and she has also got a clear goal which is her mission for her whole life - to serve and to do God's will.

There are two styles of leadership according to Bass and Avolio (1993). I guess that there are also as many styles as there are persons who have attempted to classify the concept. For example, I found that Goleman (2002) introduces six leadership styles in his book Primal Leadership. According to Bass and Avolio, there are transformational and transactional leadership. Transformational leadership is based on the relationship between leader and their followers developed from the exchange of some reward. The transactional leadership is concerned with engaging the hearts and minds of others. It requires trust, concern and facilitation rather than direct control. The skills required are concerned with establishing a long term vision, empowering people to control themselves, coaching, and developing others and challenging the culture to change. Clearly, Mother Teresa's leadership style is transactional.

Mother Teresa was awarded the Noble Peace Prize in 1979. She started to suffer from heart problems when she was 80 years old, and died in 1997 when she was 87. Once she said, "My doctors are always telling me that I must not travel so much, that I must slow down, but I have all eternity to rest and there is so much still to do. Life is not worth living unless it is lived for others." Was that not the greatest leader for living for others?

Here are some quotes of Mother Teresa to share with you:

Give the world the best you have,
And it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you have anyway.

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends
And some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building,
Someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Be good anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It is never between you and them anyway.

Mother Teresa

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