Years ago as a young buck, I sat on the university commons grass and pondered WTF it was all about. I made an immediate decision that I no longer cared what others thought of me. My mind would only be focused on things that were important to me. Secondly, I questioned the strict educational requirements for a degree and determined that I would focus on learning only from the very best professors on campus, and let the degree qualification chips fall where they may.
I had the great good fortune to know Professor John Sperling, Cambridge don, when I was an undergraduate student at San Jose State University. At that time, our campus was awash in great thinkers: visiting scholars Buckminster Fuller, Alan Watts, and a host of other eminent faculty. I knew Sperling as a friend and mentor, and worked closely with John and my friends with the SJSU student government: Dick Miner, Peter Ellis and others, some of whom went on to work with Sperling at the Institute of Professional Development and later at the University of Phoenix. My fondest recollection of John was as the catalyst for our symbolic burial of an ugly yellow Ford Maverick on the first Earth Day. John challenged us to define ourselves by what we would do to mark that day. It has become one of the defining events of the first Earth Day. But I also view John as the precursor of the current MOOC’s movement. John shook up the academic world with his revolutionary ideas about education. John created immense controversy but he also spawned significant change.
Some people seem to be having a problem with Nick Hanauer. He seems to have pissed off a lot of people, but at the same time, he seems to be talking sense and to have achieved significant traction. This often seems to happen in times of turmoil and change. A multi-millionaire in his own right, but also someone with a profound liberal arts and humanities grounding, Mr. Hanauer has called “foul,” with the behavior of the 1%. I am personally fascinated with people like this, because I sense that Hanauer is somewhat like me. I worked with Ivy League MBA’s at Intel who said to me that they wished that they had my humanities education, while I told them that I wished I had their management education. I now teach management in a prestigious university and can comment intelligently.
I personally have seen in my past career, and personally experienced how simple humility is a key characteristic of leadership. This may seem counter-intuitive but it is not. People are drawn to the charisma of a leader who is also simply humble, and who appreciates the values of those he or she leads. A leader like that can get subordinates to follow them anywhere. I think there may even be an inverse relationship in human behavior between hubris, and leadership success. By that I mean that the more arrogant and overbearing a person, the more insecure he may actually be, and therefore less successful in the subjective art of leadership.
In a bizarre sequence of events this week, I have yet again witnessed someone literally self-destruct as a leader due to their failure to exhibit simple humility and to be aware of other stakeholders, whose support or not, could make or break the leader.. Successful leadership is a fragile thing, a subjective human experience. I have written about this phenomenon previously on this blog.
This weekend, the media and blogosphere have been ignited with reaction to the open letter to the Wall Street Journal by venture capitalist Tom Perkins, founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and the blowback from Atlantic Magazine writer Jordan Weissmann. The overwhelming reaction has been disbelief and outrage at Perkins comments. I am so angry and sad to see this article and interview of legendary Silicon Valley venture capitalist, Tom Perkins. It is further evidence to my earlier post on the “Silicon Valley Jerk Conundrum.”
Ironically, if Perkins had kept his thoughts to himself and his mouth shut, he could have avoided what is now a firestorm likely to engulf him and insure further scrutiny of income inequality.
We are all now hearing and reading about Edward Snowden, who is now at the center of a global political firestorm, caused by Snowden’s decision to reveal the NSA’s PRISM surveillance program, and its increasing encroachment of personal privacy. Snowden’s revelations have now also entangled the UK’s GCHQ, the secret intelligence gathering arm of MI6 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire which has also been sharing similar snooping with the NSA. A former U.S. National Security Administration contractor, Snowden was actually employed by Booz Allen Hamilton, a global management consultancy firm. Snowden’s situation should give us all pause to consider the Brave New World we have entered with zettabytes (1 Million Terabytes) of Big Data, and the uses of it.
PBS Frontline’s January 22nd broadcast will expose “The Untouchables,” the blatant criminal frauds perpetrated against us and the […]