Great CEOs Are Born, Not Made

My capstone course in college was all about Leadership. Specifically, we spent the semester dissecting, discussing and debating what leadership is, what makes a great leader and finally submitting a thesis on whether or not people are born with leadership qualities or they can be learned. Much like when I started learning, thinking and applying word of mouth marketing techniques to my clients in the early 2000’s, I didn’t have the research at the time but knew I was onto something. Something in my gut told me that I was right about it. It’s taken well over a decade since that college course but the Harvard Business Review concurs with my perspective. Ironically the post is based on Bob Lutz’s new book where he says that the suits, e.g. MBAs, and not product guys, are what ruined their business (GM was a client at a previous firm).

It is the HBR’s belief, much like mine in college, that great leaders are born with the executive talent and strategic judgment. The analogy I used in my argument was that it took a talented individual making the right decisions in the right position at the right time in order to be a successful leader. Think about Joe Montana for a minute and his career. Started off with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (sorry Rae) in a dreadful situation before finally landing in San Francisco where he engineered the greatest comeback in the history of the Superbowl at Superbowl XXIII. Had he stayed in Tampa he would have never been considered the great leader he eventually became.

via Lori Laurent Smith

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