February 13, 2013
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SmartBrief on Leadership

Leading Edge
Leadership is about bringing dreams together
Good leadership is about hiring the right people, then mentoring them "in a way that marries their accomplishing their dreams with our company accomplishing its dreams," says Lawrence F. Flick IV, chairman and CEO of Prudential Fox & Roach and The Trident Group. To accomplish that, leaders must learn to "connect the dots and create a vision," Flick says. PassionOnPurposeBlog.com (2/11)
Why too much of a good thing is bad for leadership
Even positive traits such as confidence can become problematic if they become excessive, writes Samuel Bacharach, director of Cornell University's Institute of Workplace Studies. "[W]hen a leader has an excess of confidence, it generally means he or she also has a surfeit of ego," he writes. Similarly, a determined leader may run into trouble if he or she refuses to make adjustments. Inc. online (free registration) (2/11)
Strategic Management
The inside story of Rio Tinto's $38.1 billion mistake
Rio Tinto's $38.1 billion acquisition of aluminum giant Alcan in 2007 was one of the "worst decisions ever," says former Alcan CEO Dick Evans, who helped orchestrate the deal. Rio paid a 65% premium to acquire Alcan, basing its calculations on peak aluminum prices, only to see the aluminum market collapse amid Chinese overproduction and global economic turmoil. The Wall Street Journal (2/12)
Vision is no substitute for strategy
Too many executives think that having a clear vision or clear goals is the same as having a clear strategy, writes Ken Favaro. That's like a baseball player knowing that he wants to hit a home run but having no idea how to go about doing so, Favaro argues, quoting former IBM CEO Lou Gerstner. Strategy+Business online (free registration) (2/11)
Innovation and Creativity
The poetry of plagiarism
Students who take Kenneth Goldsmith's creative writing class are in for a shock: They're told not to write anything themselves, but instead to steal and plagiarize other people's words. That helps focus their attention on the choices they're making about their models and inspirations, and shows the value of curation as a spur to creativity, Goldsmith explains. "The new creativity is pointing, not making," he argues. The Awl (2/6), FastCoDesign (2/11)
The Global Perspective
Can India keep up with the rest of the BRICs?
India has only a 50-50 chance of achieving sustainable economic growth, argues Morgan Stanley emerging-markets equity chief Ruchir Sharma. "Failure to sustain growth has been the general rule, and that rule is likely to reassert itself in the coming decade," he argues. CNNMoney/Fortune/Term Sheet blog (2/12)
Engage. Innovate. Discuss.
Too old for an MBA, but not too old to learn
Senior executives can often benefit from going back to school, says Kriss Craig, programs and marketing director at Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Education. Graduate executive programs let leaders hone their skills and create a "personal road map" for improving their organization and personal leadership, Craig explains. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Leadership (2/12)
Daily Diversion
"Dr. Death" plans his own plastination
German doctor Gunther von Hagens developed a technique for preserving human corpses with plastic and turned it into a worldwide business staging grisly shows in which flayed bodies were arranged in lifelike poses. Now he's suffering from Parkinson's and pondering his own demise -- and wondering how his own plastinated body should be displayed. Wired.com (2/12)
Who's Hiring?
Position TitleCompany NameLocation
Regional Human Resources Manager Total Wine & More Potomac , MD
Vice President of MarketingSleep ExpertsCarrollton, TX
Chief Financial OfficerChampion RecruitingBoston, MA
Chief Operating OfficerHometown HealthReno, NV
Click here to view more job listings.
Editor's Note
Your SmartBrief has a new look
Noticed a change? SmartBrief on Leadership has the same valuable content but with a reworked design to make reading and sharing stories easier, especially on mobile devices. Have feedback on the change? Send it our way!
The very traits that make a strong leader, if taken to their extreme, can set a leader up for failure."
-- Samuel Bacharach, professor of labor management at Cornell University, writing at Inc.com's Pragmatic Leadership blog
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