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Why leaders should encourage out-of-the-box thinking

When searching for a new position, an important element of your value proposition is your ability to solve problems by exercising initiative and creativity and by breaking paradigms—the accepted ways of doing things. Include in your resume how you broke paradigms in previous positions to solve problems. Ensure that this is a focal point during your personal interview. It will differentiate you from others applying for the position.

Photo credit: Ildo Frazao

Focus on what is mission critical to your business

The success of all organizations depends on how well their mission critical imperatives are executed. In Boeing’s case, their mission critical imperative is to build safe aircraft. Boeing’s mission statement needs to be “we build our aircraft as if our children and grandchildren will be flying on them.” As a board member, ensure you provide oversight on what is mission critical. Your company’s reputation depends on it.

The gap between employers and Gen Z workers is a problem—and an opportunity

My advice to Gen Zers: Differentiate yourself from your peers to compete for that next promotion by meeting/exceeding expectations and have a sense of ownership for what you are responsible for. Demonstrate your value proposition. Exercise initiative and creativity. Undertake assignments that push you outside your comfort zone. Challenge paradigms, which are established ways of doing things. Be an influencer. This is how you grow professionally.

Why toxic leaders should never be tolerated

Individuals who are toxic are not trusted by their peers or direct reports. The actions of everyone they work with have a defensive component, which hinders any group from becoming a high-performance team. Toxic people don’t realize that they are damaging their personal integrity and reputation, important traits which determine whether people want to work alongside them. Never tolerate a toxic leader. They cause great harm to your organization. Part company with them.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.