Photo credit: JAKUB JIRSAK

My last column: 3 pieces of advice to achieve personal success

This is my 515th and last column for the Philadelphia Business Journal. This week is my 10th anniversary of writing columns on leadership for PBJ. Remember these three pieces of advice to help you achieve success: Take advantage of opportunities that come your way and create your own opportunities. Get out of your comfort zone. “Where does the power come from to see the race to its end? From within.”


Embrace these fundamental principles of effective leadership

Be a leader that people want to follow. Meet your commitments. Lead in a way that makes everyone on your team feel like they matter. Exhibit the right tone at the top and nurture the right organizational culture. Inspire your people to be the best versions of themselves. Don’t tolerate a tyrant—part company with them. Lead like you would like to be led. Treat people like you would like to be treated. Practice the human side of leadership.

Warren Buffett on the importance of ethics and integrity

The most admired leaders are those who have a personal reputation for acting ethically and with integrity, and establishing a culture in which their employees do the same. The organizations with these types of leaders are the ones people want to work for and that flourish over the long term. Quoting Waren Buffett when he was chairman of Salomon Brothers: “Lose money for the firm, and I will be understanding. Lose a shred of reputation for the firm, and I will be ruthless.”

Boeing board needs to do a better job with its oversight responsibility

The Boeing board needs to ensure whistleblowers are protected and that those who threaten whistleblowers are fired. The company needs to significantly tighten up not only its safety processes and procedures, but also its execution. Boeing needs a mission statement that will resonate with employees and make them personally invested in aircraft safety, be easy to remember and clearly focus everyone’s efforts. The new suggested mission statement: “We build our aircraft as if our kids and grandkids were going to be flying on them.”

Elon Musk’s rash decision-making and leadership style could adversely impact Tesla’s future success

Why do people want to work for Elon Musk? He is a visionary, and people buy into his visions for his companies. However, his rash decision-making and leadership style and his sudden or unpredictable changes of mood and mind could undermine the future success of his companies. People want to work for a company led by a CEO that is consistent and readable and treats its employees as empowered valued assets.

Department of Education failed to treat student tuition aid notifications as mission critical

This year, the annual process of informing college-bound students of their federal tuition aid package has been a fiasco due to numerous issues with the redesigned Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form launched by the U.S. Department of Education. If a system is mission critical to the success of an enterprise, run the old system in parallel with the new system until it’s debugged, before ceasing operation of the old system. Not doing so is irresponsible and has far reaching adverse consequences.

Too many ‘chiefs’ strip accountability from people who actually run the business

The use of the chief officer title continues to proliferate to now include chief cloud officer, chief AI officer, chief DEI officer, chief sustainability officer, chief impact officer, chief listening officer and chief knowledge officer. Bestow a chief officer title only when the position is mission critical to the success of the company. The chief officer position, however, must never dilute the accountability of executive line or staff management.

Don’t let your company’s bureaucracy stand in the way of success

A frequent complaint of business unit managers is that staff department bureaucracy impedes their ability to get things done due to unnecessary policies and procedures that take time and discretion away from running their business. Policies and procedures that are not related to legal/compliance requirements or good management practices can get out of hand. They strip the business unit managers’ ability to effectively run their businesses. These policies need to be periodically reviewed and sunsetted if they serve no useful purpose.

How should university presidents respond to campus protests?

American Jewish students do not impact Israeli policies, so why are they being harassed, threatened and intimidated on many campuses across the U.S.? The reason is antisemitism. Students who are not protesting also have rights. They have the right not to have their ability to attend class disrupted by protestors who have taken over campus buildings. So, How should university presidents respond to campus protests?