Monday, October 9, 2006

Mavericks, MBA and leadership

As an ebusiness MBA student, one of the course was "understanding the digital enterprise". An interesting topic that was raised is "what makes a good business leader"? One could think most answers would tend toward studying and applying the best business practices learned in management schools. However, what came out of this group discussion is very close to what Taylor and LaBarre explain in their new book "Mavericks at work". Guy Kawasaki posted an interview with the authors on his blog. Also, Taylor and LaBarre submitted a very nice manifesto on ChangeThis; a must read.

"Why the most original minds in business win?" Here's some interesting quotes from the manifesto:
  1. Being different makes all the difference: "Winning companies don't just sell competitive products. They stand for important ideas, ideas that shape the future of their industry, ideas that reshape the sense of what'’s possible among customers, employees and investors."
  2. Sharing your values beats selling value. "When just about everything keeps getting cheaper and better, offering customers something that's a little cheaper and better today won'’t win them over because something else is bound to be cheaper and better tomorrow." This point and the one above reminds me of Thomas Malone in "The Future of Work", when he says "Making choices that are wise, not just economically efficient, means making choices that are consistent with our deepest values."
  3. Nobody is as smart as everybody. Behind every maverick company is a set of distinctive and disruptive ideas... the new world of innovation is built on the principle that "“nobody is as smart as everybody."”
  4. The people are the company. Simply put "they are the building blocks of long-term prosperity."
In 20 years of career, I worked for numerous companies, small and big, some were acquired, some failed, some had good while others... had far less interesting managers. I haven't read "Mavericks at work" yet, but I'm sure I will be able to relate to some great people I have worked with. You know, those who have that kind of charisma, those who can rally people around them and motivate a team with a great vision. Those, when asked about the secret of their success, who will instantly answer "it's a team work". Keeping that in mind, and trying to apply those principles, I hope, helps me being a better employee and a better person.