Valuable Insights for Today's Leaders

At Boeing, safety must be a mission critical imperative!

Boeing mechanics improperly reinstalled the door plug that blew off an Alaska Airline’s 737 Max 9 aircraft on Jan 5. Paraphrasing Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun’s Jan 10 remarks to his employees: “We build our aircraft as if our kids and grandkids were going to be flying on them.” This is the mindset every Boeing and contractor employee should have. This should be Boeing’s mission statement and is an important element of Calhoun’s tone at the top.

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Elon Musk wants 25% ownership of Tesla. Will the board grant it?

It is not often that a CEO with the power of Musk emerges on the scene. CEOs with that power are a double-edged sword with the success of the company dependent on them. This is normal for an early-stage company. However, for a company with a valuation of nearly $700 billion, it’s dangerous when the CEO can dictate his compensation package and threaten to hurt the company and its stockholders if he doesn’t get what he wants.

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Biden needs to demonstrate proactive leadership on migrant crisis

A recent CBS poll found that 75% of Americans view the migrant situation at our southern border a crisis or very serious. Of those polled, 68% disapprove of the way Biden is managing the U.S.-Mexico border issue. Congressional Republicans didn’t score much better, with 63% disapproval. Biden needs to lead proactively on this issue and take control of the narrative.

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The next president of Harvard will need to navigate a torturous DEI road

The board of Harvard will be searching for a new president who will need to navigate a difficult torturous DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) road. The most important traits the Harvard board should be looking for in a new president are superb leadership skills, emotional intelligence, and a deep understanding of the polarization that DEI as defined by Harvard is causing. The reputation of Harvard depends on it.

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Follow these fundamental principles of effective leadership

We should all be guided by what I identify as “fundamental principles” of effective leadership. Unfortunately, many leaders in business, nonprofits and politics miss the mark. They are not effective leaders. To guide the next generation of leaders, these fundamental principles need to be taught to all undergraduate students, regardless of their major. Many of them will assume leadership positions during their careers. This is what they need to know.

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Can Claudine Gay survive as president of Harvard?

Author’s note: Shortly after my article on Claudine Gay was published, she resigned the presidency of Harvard.

University leaders need to earn the trust and confidence of not only those on campus, but also the wider community. They also need to hold themselves accountable to the same standards they hold others. Due to her plagiarism and the culture she is nurturing at Harvard, Gay is failing her leadership responsibilities. If she survives, she will be a significantly damaged leader.

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How to engender trust with your colleagues

The best talent will want to work for companies where there is a high level of trust with the senior leadership and among fellow employees. This is the type of company at which we all want to work. Whether you are the CEO, a mid-level manager or an individual contributor with no direct reports, trust needs to be earned. So, how do you earn the trust of others?

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When to centralize or decentralize staff support resources

In complex organizations with multiple lines of business, when should a staff service be centralized at corporate and when should it report into a business? If that service is mission critical to the success of the business unit by being part of that unit, that service should report directly into the business unit. Otherwise, the service should be centralized.

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Why doesn’t Greyhound give their Philly passengers a great customer experience?

Intercity bus passengers deserve a great customer experience. This is not what they are getting in Philadelphia from Greyhound after the company abandoned their bus terminal and moved to curbside pickup and drop off of passengers. Greyhound claims they follow industry standards. When industry standards are inadequate, leading companies go beyond those standards to differentiate themselves from their competition. Why doesn’t Greyhound?

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Walter Isaacson on what drives Elon Musk and how he leads

Every leader has their own leadership style. As a leader, Musk is an outlier, a disruptor, out to accomplish what he believes is possible. Musk is an engineer, so his hard technical skills and way of thinking fit well with Tesla, SpaceX and Boring. However, at X (formerly Twitter), technical skills are not the driver for success. People skills and emotional intelligence are, which is not his strong area.

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What you need to know to become a corporate director

Be sure to perform due diligence on any board you are thinking about joining. Understand the boardroom culture. Do some directors have an agenda that might steer decisions in a direction against the best interests of the company? Do directors have sufficient experience to ensure good governance? Is the CEO open and transparent with the board on issues impacting the company? Are the directors people you would enjoy working with?

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