Leading from Behind

28. July 2010

1:35 PM Wednesday May 5, 2010
by Linda Hill  

(Editor’s note: This post is part of a six-week blog series on how leadership might look in the future. The conversations generated by these posts will help shape the agenda of a symposium on the topic in June 2010, hosted by HBS’s Nitin Nohria, Rakesh Khurana, and Scott Snook.) 

For now and into coming decade or so, the most effective leaders will lead from behind, not from the front — a phrase I’ve borrowed from none other than Nelson Mandela. In his autobiography, Mandela equated a great leader with a shepherd: “He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.” Read the rest of this entry »

Pissing Match: Is the World Ready for the Waterless Urinal?

19. July 2010

Source: WIRED

It’s really a beautiful urinal, says James Krug, CEO of Falcon Waterfreee Technolies.

In a laboratory 10 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, a mechanical penis sputters to life. A technician starts a timer as a stream of water erupts from the apparatus’s brass tip, arcing into a urinal mounted exactly 12 inches away. James Krug smiles. His latest back-splatter experiment is under way. Read the rest of this entry »


Leadership: American vs Southwest

15. July 2010

Tom Peters gives a powerful example of what happens when you treat your employees like customers.

You can watch the video here. [Time: 2 minutes, 33 seconds]

[Or, get a PDF transcript of the video’s content: Leadership: American vs Southwest.]


Who Is the New CEO?

15. July 2010

Dienstag, 06. Juli 2010, 22:14:23 | Vineet Nayar

You can smell the fresh paint as companies the world over complete their post-recession overhauls. Few business organizations, functions, and processes have escaped this rethink, which is meant to fortify organizations before the next downturn comes.

At the risk of stirring a hornet’s nest, I’d like to ask one question: How many of us CEOs included, as part of the rethink, changes to the CEO’s role and responsibilities? Read the rest of this entry »


HCL: Extreme Management Makeover

15. July 2010

Need a Real Sponsor here

  • July 6, 2010, 7:19 PM ET, Gary Hamel’s Blog

How’d you like to put a question to one of the world’s most inspired management innovators—a CEO who’s challenged a host of management orthodoxies? At the end of this post, I’ll explain how you can do just that.

As regular readers of this blog will know, I believe that many of the tools and methods we use to manage people at work are ill-suited to the challenges of succeeding in today’s “creative economy.” All too often, legacy management practices reflexively perpetuate the past—by over-weighting the views of long-tenured executives, by valuing conformance more highly than creativity and by turning tired industry nostrums into sacred truths.

Fair enough, you might say. Everybody knows there are downsides to management-as-usual, but are they any alternatives? We can dream about organizations where employees eagerly challenge their superiors, where honesty trumps deference and where the pyramid has been turned upside down—but then again, we can also dream about world peace and cold fusion. That doesn’t mean they’re achievable.

This sort of skepticism is understandable. After all, the technology of management varies little from firm to firm. Given that, it is easy, and rational, to assume that the management status quo is also the status optimus—that while there may be other ways of planning, coordinating and controlling, there aren’t any better ways—at least not for organizations that must contend with demanding investors and customers.

Nevertheless, before surrendering to this premise, we should remind ourselves that dogma often masquerades as truth, and that we are often comforted by the deception. There are many who would prefer a lazy ramble along the gentle contours of the tried-and-true then a hard scramble up the rocky incline of the untested and unproven.

Vineet Nayar, however, is a scrambler, and since taking on the top job at HCL Technologies (HCLT) in 2005, he’s been working to foment a genuine revolution in its management practices. (A note: HCL Technologies is also a founding sponsor of the Management Exchange, a new initiative which I’m helping to lead.) Read the rest of this entry »