How to handle boards of directors and
board meetings is a challenge many CEO’s
face and one that Alex has helped many leaders
navigate. Alex helps CEO’s deal with sensitive
issues at board meetings, keeping competing
interests in perspective, and aligning boards
with company missions. This photo recently
appeared in a feature article on managing and
rebuilding boards for the national magazine
Chronicle of Philanthropy. .more
Motivating and communicating can make or break the organization...more
$300M in early-stage venture funding means a lot of traction...more
The Only Thing You have to Sell is Yourself...more
Time is the most precious asset you own...more
Dear Clients and Colleagues,
WHO CARES ABOUT HENRY'S SPEECH?
What difference does it make to you if The New York Times' front-page carries a
story about a recent speech made by the head honcho of investment bank Goldman
Sachs? According to The Times, "Mr. Goldman" Henry Paulson criticizes the hands
that feed him-corporate executives and board members. "Seldom does such a
powerful Wall Street executive take on corporate America so directly," the paper
Consider what a roller coaster the last twelve months have been. Up's and
down's, hair-raising economic twists and turns, learning to live with fears
brought on by unprecedented daily threats to our lives. It's been a wild ride!
Normal is redefined as crazy, unexpected and unpredictable.
To address whether Mr. Paulson's words are personally relevant, you bet! They
emphasize how serious the lack of trust in business leadership is. It is a
malaise hammering our economy. What has surfaced in recent months impacts you,
me and everyone we know. It also is an opportunity to reflect, assess and make
MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL
We all like to think a leader is somehow "better" than the average, more capable
and qualified. While it's true that many are, a great many more people have
credentials than ever become leaders. Becoming a leader isn't just about
credentials. Leaders surface under a complex set of circumstances. At the
highest levels, leaders represent a personification of mass consciousness of the
group that has selected the leader. It's almost as if a leader is a valve for
all the hopes, frustrations, dreams, angers and fears, all the good and bad
characteristics, of humanity. On the positive side of government, think
Churchill. On the negative, think Hitler. On the positive side of business,
think Herb Kelleher at Southwest Airlines. On the negative, well, the papers are
full of examples.
Leadership is central to the success of any society, civilization or business.
When leadership is wise and principal based, when leadership powers are
balanced, more often than not, outcomes are positive. When leadership is naïve
and ego-based, when powers are unbalanced, outcomes are frightening. You and I
can do a better job of picking our leaders in all aspects of life, even in
business. We can do a better job of picking those we choose to follow. First, we
must better define good leadership.
And that starts with you and me. Yes, us. Here's the challenge: For our leaders
to be wiser, stronger, more principled, each of us individually must raise the
bar on our actions, thoughts, words and deeds. We have to be more conscious of
the world around us. We have to be more ethical and compassionate. We have to
show more common decency. We have to be more aware. It is about principles; and
it is most definitely about continuous, non-stop education and self-evaluation.
Here is my declaration: It is extremely difficult to recognize in others what we
do not, at least in small measure, ourselves posses.
SMALL STEPS, BIG PAYOFF
Realistically, what can one person, do about leadership in business?
Start by asking yourself the following questions and pay attention to your
answers. What are you reading every day and is that reading balanced in
information and perspective? Who are you listening to regularly and is value
created with every word or is the message one of blame and attacking others?
Most importantly, where do you invest your precious resources of Time, Money and
Love? The answers will give you insight into your own values. If you like what
you see, great. Otherwise, explore new sources of information and influence.
Finally, besides self-awareness, be on the alert for companies where leaders
advocate any one of the following three traps, all of which lead to trouble.
- Leadership based on fear and greed.
(There's a big difference between fear and alertness.)
- Leadership based on arrogance and invincibility.
(There's a big difference between arrogance and confidence.)
- Leadership based on exclusion and snobbery.
(There's a big difference between exclusion and the quest for excellence.)
Of course, there are more, but these seem particularly apropos for the current
problems. For our economy to improve, we as a group of people have to be crystal
clear about the kind of corporate governance we want and that means each of us
must embrace leadership with a profound depth of understanding, an understanding
that starts within.
Have a great summer.
Oh, I almost forgot: A new book titled No Longer Moot and written by my advisory
board member Dr. Gary Cadenhead of The University of Texas at Austin's business
school, has just been released. It chronicles the evolution of The University's
internationally renowned business plan competition. Far from an academic
exercise, these competitions launch significant new technologies and companies.
It's a great read for anyone interested in entrepreneurship. As some of you are
aware, I have been coaching the UT teams for 10 years now and teach there as
well as at TCU. By the way, once again this year, the UT team, a company called
Private Concepts, won the entire competition, competing against Universities the
Now, have a truly great summer!
Alex B. Ramsey
President, LodeStar Universal
PS. If you or anyone you know is facing challenges in Leadership, Sales,
Marketing, Executive Presentations, Financial Road Shows, or Customer Service,
please consider learning how LodeStar Universal can be of value to you. Call
today at 214.696.3510 to find out more about our consulting, seminars and
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