Morning Advantage: Leaders Need Hugs Too

Some top execs may take home eight-figure salaries these days, but I wouldn’t wish their jobs on anyone. Just take a look at these excerpts from interviews with global leaders at McKinsey Quarterly — they read like transcripts from a therapy session.

The greatest leadership challenge, they say, has been dealing with the rise in external crises — the collapse of Lehman Brothers, earthquakes, floods. Next on the list has been working with foreign governments and learning to negotiate new cultures. The upheaval, the uncertainty: yes, we’ve heard it all before. Even so, it’s a must-read because the interviewees lend a lot of emotion to the talk of growth and globalization. We may not be witnessing “the greatest revolution since Genesis,” as Israeli president Shimon Peres argues, but some of the pain points these leaders note are definitely new to the 21st century. Except loneliness — that’s as old as Solomon.

CAN YOU HEAR ME, MAJOR TOM?

What Makes Jeff Bezos Tick? (Wall Street Journal)

Just like uber-entrepreneurs Howard Hughes and Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos has a bunch of crazy pet projects — a cell-phone airbag, a rocket, and a 200-foot tall clock that he hopes will tick for ten millennia. Bezos has even hired a team to search the ocean for the five engines of the Apollo 11 spacecraft, which he plans on returning to NASA. So why is Bezos spending so much of his own cash on the excavation? Simple: “NASA is one of the few institutions I know that can inspire five-year-olds. It sure inspired me and, with this endeavor, maybe we can inspire a few more youths to invent and explore."

GOOD WORK

Poland Spring’s More Green Than You Think (Slate)

“We used to be the antidote to obesity in America, and then one morning I woke up with a black hat on my head because our product comes in a bottle.” That's Kim Jeffery, the CEO of Nestlé Waters North America, the maker of Poland Spring water, on the (sudden) pressure to be greener. Although there was no way to eliminate the use of bottles, his company has reduced their weight by 40 percent; as a result, they’ve reduced their carbon footprint. The change, of course, was driven by the pressure to increase shareholder value — profit came first, the environment second. But even though Jeffery is more of a profit seeker than a green hero, he still deserves a high-five. Two birds. One stone. It isn't easy.

BONUS BITS:

Big Changes

Prospective MBAs May Face Tougher Applications (US News)
The Imprecise World of Accounting (CFO)
Sartre on the Imagination (Brain Pickings)


This entry was posted in Leadership. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.