Yesterday, I came across a blog post from business blogger Ted Coine titled “Is It Too Late For Today’s CEOs?” It was an observation on the current state of today’s CEOs compared with those of the past century. The general theme of the post can be summed up as “20th Century CEOs and their tired philosophies are out and the 21st Century CEOs are gonna be better, stronger, faster” (kind of like “The Six Million Dollar Man“). A blog post based on ideology with the sole intention of getting an “Amen” from the social media “evangelists”, nothing more. But that’s how you get to be a “thought leader” these days, yes?
Turns out that the same Mr. Coine also happened to be the guest moderator of last night’s #LeadershipChat on twitter (which takes place Tuesday nights at 8pm ET). The chat, which focuses on leadership principles and best practices, is the brainchild of Lisa Petrilli and Steve Woodruff, two of the really, really, really good people on the social space. I hope they don’t hate me after this.
If you spend any amount of time on the chat, you’ll quickly realize that its common theme is usually something along the lines of how in a perfect world, today’s leaders and their teams would all be gathered around a giant bonfire, holding hands and singing Kumbaya while passing the social media bong pipe. Leaders are made of sugar and spice and everything nice on #Ledershipchat. Not usually my cup of tea but I guess it’s OK to dream about a kinder, gentler leader, right? Moreover, it offers a wonderful outlet for my pent up snark. But back to Mr. Coine…
The theme of this week’s chat was The Future of Leadership. And, again, it was the usual banter about how “21st-Century leaders understand power of enlightened self-interest” and how “in the new social world, employees follow their leaders because they want to” and the infamous “leaders think of their team first and themselves second” (it just ain’t #Leadershipchat until that one shows up). But as the chat was nearing the end, this brief exchange between Mr. Coine and myself took place:
Wow. Needless to say, I was rather surprised that Mr. Coine would really think that being ethical and putting people first had been egregiously omitted from the leadership practices of the past century. I mean, everybody’s entitled to their opinions, yes? But seriously, to throw such a huge blanket of indifference over all the leaders of the 20th century? But then I remembered that this was a chat on twitter. I mentally kicked myself for failing to realize that those types of statements are common in twitter chats. Silly me.
You see, most twitter chats are rife with fantastic ideology; how social media is gonna lead us, hand-in-hand to a better world. A world where our leaders listen more and talk less; a world where each and every member of the team really care about one another, a world where no team member is left behind (mission be damned!). A brave new world where the likes of Steve Jobs, former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, Walt Disney, Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, Bill Gates, former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca, Warren Buffet, George Merck, former Boeing president and Chairman William Allen, Richard Branson, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Walmart CEO Sam Walton, Henry Ford, Mahatma Gandhi, former Johnson & Johnson CEO James Burke, and the rest of the unethical leaders of the 20th century, would surely fail.
I’m sure that Ted Coine is a really nice guy. His profile pic emits warmth and friendliness, and he’s quite the handsome devil. But dear Mr. Coine, before you start calling out the leaders of the 20th century in favor of a generation of still unproven leaders, remember this: the great leaders are focused on results [duh?] and it will always be about results. And to think that the aforementioned leaders achieved theirs via surreptitious methods and/or by dumping on people is…well, pretty dang foolish. So why don’t you first wait and see what your 21st century leaders pull off before “dissing” a generation of leaders who have already built and rebuilt fortune 500 companies, fought for their country’s independence, and led 250,000 people on a march to Washington D.C.; all without the aid of facebook or twitter.
But then it wouldn’t be a twitter chat, would it? No, no it wouldn’t.
Dan, we’ve always valued your participation in LeadershipChat – precisely because you’re not a “kumbaya” kinda guy! I believe that, by and large, those things that have always been central to effective leadership remain central irrespective of centuries or technology – but there are interesting new leadership possibilities in a digitally networked world (see my own internal debate between Cynic and Idealist here: http://brandimpact.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/the-past-and-future-of-leadership/ ). For what it’s worth, I believe that effective leadership is primarily about: 1. Character; 2. The practice of sound principles; 3. Long-term strategic thinking; and 4) Results. And it always will be – irrespective of social media!
So then why do we always get the “new” and “old” leadership discussions? Do we not realize the innovations of the past century? The many Fortune 500 companies that were birthed? The revolutionary changes brought forth? Let’s talk about the 21st century leaders when they’ve actually done something that rivals the leaders of the past, yes?
Thanks for the comment – glad I’m not on your naughty list 🙂
Dan, I could never hate you! I think you raise some excellent points and am proud that Steve and I created a space where smart people like you and Ted can fruitfully disagree and challenge each other. My hope is that in the process we all get smarter and gain new insights and perspectives. At the same time, I think a bit of idealism is healthy if we want to aspire, as individuals, to leave the world a better place through our leadership actions. As long as our idealism is balanced and grounded by the realities we currently face (such as the critical importance of results), I think we’re on the right path.
Thank you for continuously inspiring me to think differently, and for being part of our Community!
Idealism certainly runs rampant on #Leadershipchat, yes? It just troubles me that some people think that the social media era (still in its infancy) has suddenly revolutionized leadership to the point that the past generation’s leaders and their innovations (not to mention accomplishments) are now irrelevant. Rubbish.
See you next week 🙂
You will likely find this shocking, but I actually agree with a lot of what you say here.
The biggest problem with talking about leadership in the online space is that it becomes paramount that you walk your talk. Otherwise you look really really silly. Now in the case of Lisa, Ted, and Steve, there are no worries, and whilst I disagreed with Ted’s general jist last night, I know him, in fact, to be a wonderful human being and tons smarter than I am.
However, I have also witnessed a lot of people who say “the right stuff” in chats like #leadershipchat or #leadfromwithin but clearly are only saying it to get retweeted, and that makes the whole lot look a lot worse. This is the same reason why I wrote a post recently about how the era of fluff in social media has to end. Saying that you should risk everything to try new stuff isn’t really good advice. It might get you some Heck yeahs! but it is dangerous and not appropriate for these times.
People need to talk as they act and act as they talk online just as they do in real life. It’s a bummer, but true.
Whether people actually walk the talk doesn’t really concern me. I get that there are people stuck in a cubicle, way down on the totem pole of their company, who have a jerk-off boss blowing smoke up their ass every day and a twitter chat gives them the opportunity to imagine a perfect world for an hour. That’s cool.
What really bothers me are the absurd statements made on the present state of leadership in this new social media world that have zero foundation in fact. Moreover, they really believe that the principles their beloved 21st century leaders now possess weren’t in play in the previous generation.
I think it’s time to read some books or watch the History Channel…
Always nice to see you here 🙂
I think it’s far too easy to make sweeping generalizations online (see what I did there? lol).
First, you can pick and choose your audience and engage with those who agree with you. This allows “thought leaders” to refine the messages that get the most positive reaction into a snapshot that can often lack nuance. On a side note, some cultivate defenders that make it almost impossible to challenge their ideas in any kind of meaningful way.
Second, it’s challenging – at times almost impossible – to fit complex thoughts into 140 characters or less. And let’s be honest, even if you send several tweets in a row to explain further, it can be difficult to track. On Facebook an audience needs to hit the dreaded “more” button to read longer comments. And even when folks take the time to present well-reasoned thoughts, if they can’t do so succinctly and articulately, they lose their audience again. So brevity and simplicity are rewarded, even if they aren’t the most accurate reflection of actual beliefs.
And third, it’s easy to dismiss or ignore people who challenge you, especially in a time-sensitive online chat. It’s also easy to assume you know the “right” answer and to toss it out there because, as the expert, it’s not acceptable to change your mind mid-stream. It’s difficult, it makes you look like less of an expert (at least that’s what popular opinion would have you believe). I think the smartest people are the ones who can objectively consider another’s reasoned perspective and, when needed, alter their own.
I’m not saying that Mr. Coine did any of these, necessarily – I wasn’t online, nor did I go back to review the transcript. Your post just made me consider everything that can stand in the way of real online conversation. Thanks, Dan!
All terrific points. It’s easy to take tweets out of context AND it’s also easy to get caught up in the social media “fervor” of a twitter chat with everybody screaming out “Hallelujah! Praise be to social media!” AND it’s sometimes tough for an opposing opinion to make it through all the noise.
I think that’s what happens in these usually one-sided twitter chats. I do think, if you’re gonna consider yourself an “expert” you should use caution with your answers and, at the very least, have some facts to back up your points.
Nice to see you here, Punk 🙂
Well Dan – I must say I’m proud that you have finally summarized your feelings. I’m honestly a bit surprised at how toned down this was.
Here are 3 of my tweets from the chat last night that I think are poignant…
CEO’s also must challenge the status quo. Not occasionally, but always. If they do not, who will? #Change is inevitable. #Leadershipchat
IDEAL #CEO -> Balance the Vision/Values of the organization with the need for Short Term #Success 2 fund the future. #Leadershipchat
and perhaps most importantly
Critical Point -> Kind words and Pixie Dust does not supersede results nor does it create them. #Leadership #Leadershipchat
I too love the chat, the people in it, but become frustrated when practical thoughts become overshadowed by unproven or perhaps unrealistic ideology.
As a CEO I deal with a board of directors, with short term expectations, and the responsibility of painting the future.
It is great to have vision, but short term often trumps long term and that is one of the delicate balances for a leader.
Anyhow…nice post, thanks for putting it out there.
What do you think, I’m a psychotic raving lunatic? 😉
You and I have spoken about this sort of thing in the past. I think I was pushed over my limit last night and like Chuck D of Public Enemy said: “When I get mad, I put it down on a pad. Give ya something that ya never had.”
PS – I’m glad you were able to identify the poignancy of you own tweets 😛
What can I say – those tweets were awesome.
In serious, I have lost the will to participate in most chats. I ask for examples, application, and success stories and I get Pollyanna, Unicorns, and Quips.
Thanks…but no thanks…
I didn’t partake in the #chat of which you’ve written but it sounds like a familiar pattern which I’ve seen in other chats. Between the “soundbite effect” and the huge size of some chats, I really don’t think they serve much purpose beyond a mutual reinforcement/group hug experience. I blame it mostly on the 140 character limit (see other people’s comments) as well as the “need to be heard, need to be RTed” impulse.
To me, #chats aren’t very effective unless they lead to change and that’s too hard to express or organize in 140 character blurts. I think a study group or (shudder) mastermind group would be much more effective, especially if there was space and time for extended dialog and sharing.
When you think about it, a #chat is pretty much the same thing as your average networking event, without the human contact. Substitute a large volume of Tweets for the actual volume of a busy crowd talking and it’s pretty much the same thing.
I’m not going to delve into the specifics of the #chat that you’re discussing here, you and the commentators have covered that. But it’s probably better to have outlets like these than not have them, especially if they spark some kind of useful follow up. Cheers.
Terrific observation. Twitter chats seem to serve more as escapism from the daily struggles of life than a forum for initiating real change. And then you get the people that are desperate for a RT and will throw any sort of gibberish out there and keep their fingers crossed.
I think private groups like one in particular that you & I are familiar with are the most effective methods of not only networking online but generating action.
Thanks for your comment…
Yes, I think escapism (or perhaps a support group) is a fair way to look at some of the #chats. It’s a public service, so people can do what they want with Twitter within the context of the EULA and/or generally accepted norms.
I’ve done my fair share of trying to put stuff out there for a RT in many different ways and I certainly understand the urge to do it within a #chat. It helps to put some thought into what you want RTed.
Private groups aren’t all the same. I’ve seen a number of them which are support groups, some which are kvetching stations and I’ve seen others which have taken names and kicked ass.
I’m in just a few private groups and I really enjoy them. Just lucky, I guess…
Dan, I think a lot of what has caught you up with my ideas on leadership has to do with the terms I chose to describe them. I’ll go into more detail in my next post, but let me clarify a couple of points:
* As far as I can trace, the term Enlightened Self-Interest was coined by economist and self-described “moral philosopher” Adam Smith prior to publishing “The Wealth of Nations” in 1776. (I’m actually a big fan of history.)
* I use the term 20th-Century Leadership to refer to the dominant organizational structure still extant in most organizations, the pyramid, with power derived from position and concentrated at the top. Not all leaders in the 20th Century fit this category. I consider Richard Branson a 21st-Century leader. Bill Gore founded Gore Associates in the 1950s. I admire Jack Welch – though a command-and-control 20th Century style leader, he is a superb leader. In fact, I quote him twice in my first book, and I treasure the card he hand-wrote when I sent him his copy. You have a picture of Martin Luther King in your post. He was no 20th Century Leader by my definition (…and he certainly did not lead a company!), but he lived and died in that century.
* I use the term 21st Century Leadership to define styles like Gore’s, Branson’s, HCL’s Vineet Nayar’s, and Semco’s Ricardo Semler’s. All of them established themselves in the past century – but in the 20th Century, they were outliers, oddballs who business leaders often studied but rarely emulated.
* A central premise of my upcoming book, “Catalyst,” is that Social Media will prod more leaders to adopt the decentralized styles of these outliers – not to be nice, but merely to keep up. Social Media is a lubricant, an enabler. It is not the point of… well, of anything, in of itself. It merely helps us do what we have long wanted to, much better than we could previously.
The burden of proof is mine, not yours, Dan. Thank you for making my arguments more incisive.
But that’s exactly the thing: the terms people use to describe things. Especially on social media. I’ve had this discussion with many bloggers who throw terms out there that (A) have no basis in fact and (B) are so heavily entrenched in ideology that their interpretations become easily misunderstood.
I blame a lot of this on bloggers who feel they have to blog every day (I’m not sure if you do or don’t) and they don’t give a lot of thought to the content – their focus is on getting to the “publish” button because they know their “audience” is just gonna give them the “great post” comment anyway (but that’s a blog post for another day).
As for MLK, if we’re talking “leadership”, we gotta cover all the bases, yes? As for what makes a 20th or 21st century leader, my guess is the new leaders will have the social space to aid them – whether that proves to be a boon or a benefit remains to be seen.
What I will say is that me throwing out several dozen (hundred) great leaders of the past or you coming back with your neo-leaders doesn’t change the fact that there will be great leaders and there will be crappy leaders in every generation. In many cases the old style will still be effective and in other cases not.
There is no “better” because the decades-old concepts many new-age social media marketing experts frown upon launched some of the biggest companies in the world. Moreover, your idea of a “decentralized” style may ultimately prove to be only effective in a mere handful of situations.
I do agree unreservedly with you that the burden of proof is 100% yours because I already have the historical data (the facts, if you will) to back up my case. Fortunately for you, I’ll probably be long gone from this world by the time you’re ready to present your case 🙂
Appreciate your comment. You’re a good sport…
Dan I really like your thinking here. It is a subject I have been considering a lot too and you may have inspired a blog post. It seems like we banter about these idealized words and characterizations because they are fun to say or they ignite a conversation but they are really out of step with reality. Excellent post.
PS I hate twitter chats. Maybe I’m the only one.
Well, if you end up writing a book about it, I got dibs on the foreword 🙂
Thank you, sir. Nice to see you here…
Dan – LOL, my God you’re bombastic! But that’s just fine. One of my wife’s nicknames for me is “Bombastic Man.” I’ve mellowed just a bit with age, but I still end up stepping on someone’s toes every time I give a talk, so… I’m not exactly serene yet. Some day, perhaps.
Anyway, you’re helping me refine not only my thoughts, but how I present them. Have you read Gary Hamel’s “The Future of Management?” Uninspiring title (no one likes reading about management, myself included), but it’s inspirational. I’m building on his work, not inventing from whole cloth.
I chose the terms 20th- versus 21st-Century in part to shake my readers by the shoulders, to force them to realize that the way they used to do things won’t work going forward. But as I read your reaction, and the baggage these terms bring with them in your mind, it makes me think other readers may get caught up in the same semantic trap and miss what I’m trying to say.
In one of my posts, I exhorted leaders to give a promotion to the obstreperous staffer they wanted to fire, the staffer who points out why their baby is ugly. I have to take my own advice if I want to be credible going forward. So once again: Thank You.
Do you have a suggestion for terms I can use instead of dividing leadership styles by century? I’d love the help.
Last note: my book will likely come out later in 2012 or early 2013, chock-full of examples of modern leaders, whatever I end up calling them. I trust you’ll still be with us then?
Ted, there you go again with the generalizations: “the way they used to do things”. What things are these exactly? (now you see why I get all riled up about this kind of stuff?).
The only things that don’t work are the things that aren’t producing any results. It isn’t just “the old ways” (many of which are still in practice today and still effective).
Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” which was written in 1936(!) is still the only real book you need to read to succeed socially and/or in business (including online!). If you really study the successful leaders of the past century, they applied innovative strategies to “their” particular situations. Strategies that may have doomed another company.
There were different leadership styles then and there will always be different leadership styles. So let’s stop the generalizations (the “old ways”) because there is no “old” in leadership (going back to our founding fathers), there’s only “ineffective”. Capiche?
PS – Yeah, I should be around in 2013 as long as the world doesn’t end in 2012 (which I’m betting it will) or my wife doesn’t kill me for spending too much time replying to comments on blog posts she wishes I didn’t spend time writing in the first place 🙂
Ted one issue I have is if you write a book like you state you have coming out, then you are shutting out other forms of management structure. I mean look at the success (kills me here) China is having. They mock us now. We won’t know how things pan out in 100 years hindsight. But an issue I have with many Social Media Champions is the push of Social Media as this unfailing good thing. I ask so many times I want to see an example of Social Media powering a major company’s results and I get empty echos. I know only one success which was the Ford Fiesta Movement (sold $330mil worth of cars). And that barely was needle moving when you have $100b in revenue.
So if I ask you for solutions will you only push Social Media? Mashable does this. They are fanboys who write PR pieces without critical thought or objectivity. Most of the Social Media Thought Leaders do the same. Do you think Jeffery Immelt will ever say ‘Social is the future of GE’? I don’t see that ever happening. If he does I am shorting the stock with all I have.
I am not saying what you are writing or your viewpoint won’t actually come to reality and have success in some businesses. And I do feel Social should be utilized as a tool where it fits. Just like Lean Manufacturing and ISO9000 Quality systems should be. But it isn’t an engine. It is a tool.
Lately, I’ve steered away from chats and I think you hit on the reasons why. But I’m curious Dan; did you reach out to Ted after the chat (has he read this)? You’re right, he is a nice guy and he welcomes opposing viewpoints, I’ve experienced it firsthand.
I do love how you say what so many of want to…but don’t. Cheers!
I write when the fire’s in me, that’s all. Ted’s a good sport, he can take it 🙂
Scratch that!! I see his reply 🙂
I’ve only run a chat three or four times. It never occurred to me that we could hold them outside of reality.
And if you particpate via your phone or laptop you can really be outside as well 😉
You are right about Twitter chats. You see some of us have had to walk the leadership talk. We have suffered, watched communities, friends and relatives die and there dreams destroyed all helped and assisted by the very same people who profess to be selfless leaders.
Fact SM is full of BS. people talk a lot of nonsense in Twitter chats. And on twitter in general. While all the time really doing it out of self interest. Nothing wrong with making a living but do they seriously think that people are stupid.
Social Media is a new tool. Human beings have not all of sudden become enlightened, sacred or focused on humanity at the exclusion of their own interests. Ego drives a lot of the interaction. There are clearly people who are not exclusively self interested and over time their true motivation reveals their character values and objectives.
The truly great leaders mentioned in this post are the examples. This is the foundation of 21st Century leadership. The problem is that not enough leaders follow this example. They play lip service to the ideal. They don’t walk the talk and they are not prepared to suffer the pain that comes with standing up to work at removing the injustice and inequality that is a feature of 21st century business.
Personally I am not feeding any more of SM bullshit. I am done with it. So to see you calling time on some off the nonsense talk is refreshing. We have touched gloves a few times. I know its your family, background and environment that has built the strength you exhibit. The Bronx, Harlem or Peckham, Brixton or Moss Side, the world is a ghetto it either turns you into hater or human being of calibre.
Choices define leaders. Real Leaders show up with honesty, integrity, values. character, heart and soul They always have and they always will.
Respect Award Winning Film Maker 🙂
Some strong words from you, my friend. SM isn’t full of bullshit, people are full of bullshit. The friggin’ world is full of bullshit. That’s what makes those special peeps in your life such a pleasure. The wife, the best friend, the dog.
If social media has done anything, it’s made most people even more stupid because they’re not able to see through the shit that’s being shoveled at them from people who don’t know what the heck they’re talking about.
But don’t worry, the world’s gonna end in 2012 anyway 🙂
And for clarity I love #Leadfromwithin I love #leadershipchat despite the fluff and clear bullshit that often appears. And I always bring my heart and soul wherever I go. I don’t give a shit about what people think. I do my thing. I will meet my maker in peace and I will live my life on point. I have learned the hard lessons and I never paid one cent for the character I have except in blood. You can’t fake who you are and you can’t fake Leadership.
This piece is a bit flawed.
— First, it appears to conflate ALL leadership with business leadership.
— Second, it also uses a rather broad brush when it comes to acknowledged leaders, ignoring their very human failings while pointing only to their highly-vaunted, well-publicized leadership attributes. MLK Jr. and Jack Welch were both unfaithful in their marriages, and Steve Jobs could be a real asshole to employees, as just two examples. Let’s look at the specific attributes that made them recognized leaders, not paint them as incorruptible saints of leadership.
— Third, business leadership models cited are also questionable, as a couple examples prove:
Bill Gates — under whose direction Microsoft acted unethically through the oligopolistic power it wielded, squelching innovation in the software and hardware industries.
Jack Welch — who used national media outlet NBC over publicly-owned airwaves to promote GE’s interests, and under whose direction GE did less-than-happy financing of short-term obligations with long-term debt to manipulate quarterly results (not to mention his known predilection for cutting workforce right and left).
If business leadership is narrowly defined as leading for specific quarterly financial results, certainly Gates and Welch exemplify the term. But if business leadership means ethical results, well, these two examples are off the mark by a long chalk.
A key (if unwritten) take-away from the post and the leadership chat: the definition and expectations of leadership, and more specifically business leadership, are long overdue for a culture-wide dialog. This dialog shouldn’t happen among business people alone, but it must extend to business schools in this country if we are going to salvage this global economy and create a sustainable economy going forward.
I say this as a year 2000 business school grad. My first Business 101 class curriculum literally taught us that corporations exist to make a profit. PERIOD. Not to save the world, not to make nice, just make a profit — and this curriculum, this attitude had already been taught for decades by the time I started biz school.
You can imagine my surprise when several years later in my Business Ethics class — taught by a seasoned attorney using a textbook published in the UK — taught me that “ethical business decisions are those made to preserve long-term shareholder value, using reasonable decency, with distributive justice.” I’ll put good money down that the overwhelming majority of biz school students in this country did not learn this, or did not see the immediate conflict between the first lesson of Business 101 and Business Ethics.
Which brings us to Ted Coine’s indirect statement that companies have not been making money AND doing so ethically, including putting people first. He’s absolutely right. Shareholders — overwhelmingly the corporate class of this country — have come to demand profit, in the form of quarter-after-quarter increases in earnings, settling not for flat/stable earnings, and certainly not for “long-term shareholder value.”
No, short-term value can be created by cutting costs, including fungibles–and if you were in my biz school Human Resource class, you know fungibles means human beings. In other words, cut them to make margins improve, decrease the surplus population on the production line, or whatever Scrooge-like/Jack Welch-ish biz-speak you want to use here.
What business school hasn’t discussed is the failure of its own products. It has not done a postmortem on the business leaders it’s produced, who are in turn directly responsible for gross failures wreaking economic and human havoc on a global scale today.
Who sold those fraudulent subprime mortgages? Who authorized the promotion of those products? Who created derivatives based on those fraudulent mortgages? Who authorized and applauded the innovative financial instruments that eventually caused Bear Stearns and Lehmann Brothers to crash, setting in motion a liquidity crisis in September 2008? Which business leaders encouraged the current electronic mortgage documentation system which in turn allowed so many fraudulent foreclosures? Which business leaders bought politicians off with campaign donations through corporate PACs to prevent investigation of the systemic problem, implementation of effective regulation, or prosecution of frauds, while demanding bailouts?
These questions about business leadership failures pertain to just one industry, the financial industry. Although the repercussions may not be as far-reaching in other industries, similar failures of business leadership exist outside the financial sector.
The list of business leadership failures goes on and on, with no business leaders held responsible, no criticism of the over-arching business leadership model truly welcomed. Business leadership failures will continue until we have deep, systemic change. It’s time to take off the blinders, put on our big people panties and own up to the fact that business leadership as it exists leaves a lot of room for discussion and improvement.
Now if only this comment could be tweeted cogently in 140 characters…
(Oh, and I’m going to let it pass that the post’s author could only name one female leader…maybe our discussions about business leadership should also tackle diversity.)
I’m not sure whether I agree or disagree with the majority of your comment. I’ll start with the “human failings”, I actually agree with that. It ain’t always about ethics or treating people fairly, or holding people’s hands – it’s about results. It’s a sobering reality but we reward producers. Nobody cares how ethical you are if you’re generating positive results (and let he who hath not sinned cast the first stone, yes?). And guess what, if you were a large shareholder in a corporation, you’d want results too. Nuff said on that.
As far as who or what’s to blame for the current economic crisis, this ain’t our country’s first recession nor will it be our last. You can generalize all you want about what you consider business leadership failures. Ultimately, we buy most of our products from Fortune 500 companies that many of these these imperfect leaders either founded or managed at one point.
And as far as “deep systematic change”, I’ll leave that for bloggers like Ted Coine to write about because it will ultimately be based on speculation and ideology. Sure, there’s room for discussion and improvement but let’s not dismiss a whole generation of leaders for failing to live up to our personal ethics.
I’ll also give you the sole female leader, my bad on that one.
Thank you for a terrific comment.
You say “it’s about results.” Ask Bernie Madoff about results-based business; ask his former clients as well. If we all of us were to agree that leadership should only be recognized based on results, we might as well go and start digging our personal and family bunkers now, because we’d have agreed that anything goes including criminal behavior.
I didn’t generalize about the blame for the economic crisis. I’m very specific. I can get even more specific about key causes necessary — like the passage of Gramm-Bliley-Leach Act in 1999, the termination of protective regulations established after the bank failures of the Great Depression and the Lincoln Savings and Loan debacle. A general lack of integrity on the part of both leaders of financial industry firms and members of Congress, driven and sanctioned by the corruptive influence of shareholder greed, underpinned all of this. We weren’t satisfied with 3-5% a year in yield; we shareholders demanded double-digit returns and turned our heads the other way when corners were cut to get these results.
I don’t think that Coine tossed out an entire generation of leaders; I don’t believe I did, either. I can’t speak for Coine, but if he was implying within the limitations of a 140-character medium that business and its leaders could have done better with regards to ethics, I concur wholeheartedly. We won’t do better until we have this dialog about the changes needed and the process to realize them across every medium, including digital social media.
It’s essential, in fact, that we do have this continued dialog in this digital space, even as limited as Twitter is. That’s where our future resides and is already conducting business of its own.
I’ll point to my teen who will graduate this year, whose class uses Facebook to conduct all student council dialog outside of actual physical meetings. They’ve used texting and tweeting to deliberate changes to their council’s constitution, the evidence to be argued to remove council members, in addition to their normal council business. They need to see adults talking about and dealing effectively with failed leadership in these same spaces, not sticking their heads in the sand.
It ain’t a perfect system but it has produced some amazing products and technology over the past century. And it’s always about results. Madoff’s strategy resulted in him going to jail. Results can also be poor.
But leave the “people panties” in the drawer and chill…the world’s gonna end in 2012 anyway…
[…] Twitter Chats, Leadership, and Fantastic Ideologies: A Rant – One of the most repulsive things in the social space is people who think their shit don’t stink and those who think they are better than anyone because of their ideology. While rants are not usually my thing, this one from Dan Perez is spot on and worth a read and is a great reality check. […]
Wow, haven’t seen this many heavy-duty comments AND hitters in a while. Goes to show you that being hard-hitting and “in your face” still works. Where is Jerry Springer when you need him?
I do see some “kool-aid” of thought at many chats. My favorite tweets whenever peeps are talking about blogging is “Content is King.” And then, of course, I really “LOVE” the over-use of the word engagement. As far as I’m concerned, let’s stick with rings when we think of “engagement.”
On this one, I will take a pass as I don’t have strong feelings. I still love Tweet Chats for the great people I’ve “met” and that is why I began my own – #DadChat – which only superficially touched on controversy – and had our BIGGEST night – when we talked religion. How ironic.
Chats are definitely good for connecting with like-minded people. Unfortunately, you sometimes gotta wade through some muddy waters before you find a few 😉
This was really well written Dan. Businesses exist to make money. Corporations have killed people for money (think Tobacco) or run them into death (think building of railroads). It is always results. And while many B-School case studies and Biz Trade Pub case studies often correlate happy employees, ethics, community involvement etc with being usually best in class or close, most businesses aren’t usually run this way. Our country is built on money and greed.
And for anyone to think this century will be any different is crazy. And to think Social Media will change this is crazy.
Hey pass me that bong pipe please.
And I agree with the Twitter chats. I used to participate in the #CustServ one Tuesdays at 9pm. Lots of people care about it. But too few businesses champion it.
It ain’t a perfect world, is it? These same evil companies, however, have produced some of the most innovative products of the past century, not to mention provided several million people with jobs so they can provide for their families and chase after the “American Dream”.
Money, power, & greed, the foundations of this country’s success and reason for our current downward spiral. Maybe we should all take a hit from the bong, yes?
More than several million people with jobs. And many of those jobs pretty good paying. Doesn’t mean there isn’t a pay issue today though with inequality starting to approach 3rd world levels.
There is an interesting stat that the top 20% of jobs average over $60k a pay. The bottom 80% less than $30k. Which to me says if the leaders are greedy and want to sustain success of their businesses the bottom 80% have to be paid more or else no one can buy consumer goods. It was easy when that 80% had plenty of credit. Now they don’t. So if the leaders and 1% are smart they will rectify this because that is the only way they can stay on top.
I have been thinking even working at Walmart or McDonalds should enable a person to rent a room in a decent neighborhood. That isn’t possible today.
I do love your use of the word “duh!” Very well written and extremely brilliant post! You’re so smart. Duh! The world is not perfect, never has been, and won’t be. Without strife, there would be no progress (I got that from Bill Clinton when he was on The View last week.)
[…] Twitter Chats, Leadership, and Fantastic Ideologies […]
[…] value/intent. Nice try, no cigar. Our old friend Dan Perez , is first to call BS. I recall his post berating #leadershipchat. It made me smile and flinch at the same time. Dan has that possibility and could be listening in […]
[…] isn’t the first time I’ve written about #Leadershipchat but this time I simply want to express my prevailing views […]