I watch "The Fog of War - Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2004)" during the week end. It's not only an interesting reflection on the past 50 years (2 WW, cuban crisis, vietnam war) but also a great source of insight on leadership. In a unexpected way, it was also a nice complement of the two Jim Stockdale book (Thoughts of a philosophical fighter pilot and A Vietnam experience) which i felt compled to read after finishing Collins "Good to Great".
- Collins take on leadership could be describe as
"get the right people on the bus, and they will figure out how and where to drive the bus"
- Stockdale's principles can be describe as as
1 - You are your bother keeper (the key to survival, self respect and happiness lies in submerging your individual instingts for self preservation in the greater common denominator of uniersal solidarity)
2 - Life is not fair
3 - Duty comes before defiance
4 - Compulsion and free will can coexist
5 - Every man can be more than he is.
6 - Freedom and absolute equality are a trade-off
7- People do ont like to be programmed
8- Living in harmonious and heaps is contrary to man's nature (life only makes sense when an element of freedom is included in the mix)
9- The self-discipline of stoicism has everyday applications.
10- Moral responsibility cannot be escaped
From this, Stockdales concludes that great leaders are :
A- Moralist who exhort men to be good abd thinker who elucidate what is good. This requires a clear idea of right and wrong and the integrity to stand behind your assessment of the situation.
B- Teacher able to give those around him a sense of perspective and to set the moral, social, and motivational climate among his followers.
C- Steward able to know character and heart to boots others and show them the way.
D- Philosopher able to understand and explain the lack of moral economy in this universe.
As an VC, investing in people driven tech businesses, and stuggling to identify and support technology leaders, those perspectives are very usefull, and will feed in all my discussions with CEOs and CxOs inside the various projects we are working on.