Cheryl offers: Tony Hayward, the current CEO of BP, has had a lot more media coverage than he likely ever anticipated when he took over as CEO three years ago. His comments have ranged from naïve to crass, possibly plainly offensive. It’s an interesting way to have millions of people get to know you as a leader, which is certainly the role he’s been given and must fulfill for BP at this time. So what kind of leader is he? Judging by some of his off the cuff comments, he’s not one focused on others very often. His comment, “No one wants this over more than me: I want my life back” doesn’t sound like a leader who is high in compassion for others. His more measured and likely media coached comments regarding the spill come across with far more compassionate and concern for the multiple ways damage has been done. My question is, which one is the real Tony? I’d vote for his off the cuff persona myself. How leaders respond to crises is a huge indicator of who they really are at their core. They respond from habit, default, and core values developed over a life time. To me, that’s how each of us creates our true self, with practice, focus and attention to developing ourselves over time. As Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner tell us in A Leader’s Legacy, “Adversity introduces you to yourself.” As the impact of the oil spill moves from weeks to months to years, Hayward builds his legacy each day. I wonder what Hayward is learning about himself and if he can leave a legacy worth admiration.
I am enjoying reading the new Guy Kawasaki book, Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition.
I read his blog regulary, and his earlier book (which I presented in 2005), The Art of the Start, is one of the few books that I periodically go back to to jump start a new project that I tackle. He is a practical, and valuable writer. But when you read him, put on your seat belt…
This new book is Kawasaki at his best. Hundreds of pages, fast and furioius, cajoling us to get to work and beat the competition. The pace is borderline frenetic, from the opening words: “Imagine the American Dream on steroids and Red Bull and you have some idea of what life is like in Silicon Valley. Sure, Frank Sinatra called New York “the city that never sleeps,” but that’s only because Frank never visited the Valley…”
In his book, he speaks to these business realities: the reality of starting, raising money, planning and executing, innovating, marketing, selling and evangelizing, communicating, beguiling (what a great word), competing, hiring and firing, working, and doing good. I’ve got a hunch that we will all learn much from this book.
If you are in the area, I hope you will join us for the Frist Friday Book Synospis in February. You will be glad you did.
(Karl Krayer will present the synopsis of A Leader’s Legacy by James Kouzes and Barry Posner, two fine repeat authors for our event also).