Thinks 753

Hitendra Wadhwa: “I initially started to teach something at Columbia that I call personal leadership. The idea was that before you learn to inspire, influence, and change others and turn people around in moments of adversity, how about you learn to inspire and influence yourself? How about you turn your own life around in the face of adversity and change yourself? That was the main idea of the class. In my early conversations with students, most were saying the same thing: “Professor, I’m finding it so helpful that you are guiding me toward my core.” I went, “Wait a second, this is not your core—these are broad principles,” but as the class evolved, my research evolved, and my own personal journey evolved, I realized how right the students were. They say that one teaches to learn, and that’s what it’s certainly been like for me. What emerged is this idea that within each of us lies the very essence of our spirit—our inner core. That’s a space from where our highest potential arises. When we are at that place, we are beyond ego, attachments, and insecurities.”

Monica Guzman: “In the book, I talk about the difference between puzzles and mysteries. The author Ian Leslie, who wrote a book about curiosity gets into this. And, puzzles are problems that you solve. You already know the shape of the thing you’re making. You just have a couple of pieces you need to go find and then put in the right place, plug them in. But, mysteries, you don’t know the shape. Every piece you pick up changes the shape, draws up a bunch of new questions. You never really know where you’re going. And, that’s people. I think that in polarized times we treat each other like puzzles. We read a thought-piece that’s written really smartly and we think we now understand this whole group of people. We now have the shortcut for why they do what they do and we can judge them accordingly, and that’s going to be okay. But, people are mysteries, and there’s just so much we’re missing when we do this to each other–including a clear view of the world itself. I think that we are so divided, we’re blinded; and we’re not even seeing the world for what it is, but for the projections swirling in our heads.”

Lawrence Reed: “Imagine you’re at a cocktail party and in walks an obnoxious party crasher. He dominates the conversation and oozes disdain for differing viewpoints. Get out of line and he threatens to shut you both up and down. He tells each person what he should drink and takes away everything else. He bores the room with his arrogance. Everything he says is a mere pretense to knowledge that he neither knows nor cares to know. He denounces you for your ambitions and demands that you comply with his. He takes your stuff because you have more than he does, or just because he wants to. Decline his advances and he’ll call the cops on you. He’s a windbag with a baseball bat. Would you say that guy was anti-social? Of course, you would. He’s about as anti-social as it gets. For the same reasons, so is socialism.”

Economist: “Perhaps rich countries are destined for weak growth. Many have fast-ageing populations. Once labour markets are open to women, and university education democratised, an important source of growth is exhausted. Much low-hanging technological fruit, such as the flush toilet, cars and the internet, has been plucked. This growth problem is surmountable, however. Policymakers could make it easier to trade across borders, giving globalisation a boost. They could reform planning to make it possible to build, reducing outrageous housing costs. They could welcome migrants to replace retiring workers. All of these reforms would raise the growth rate. Unfortunately, economic growth has fallen out of fashion.”

Spencer Stuart: “The complexity and uncertainty CEOs face daily has significantly increased in the past two years amid the COVID pandemic, the war in Ukraine and, more recently, rising inflation, wild fluctuations in the stock market and the threat of an economic slowdown. Longer-term developments — including the changing expectations of stakeholders about the role of business in society and demographic trends and their impact on talent — also are at play. These specific challenges will eventually subside, and new and more difficult ones are no doubt on the horizon. As complexity continues to grow, CEOs must become even more nimble in managing three key leadership tensions — optimism versus realism, push versus pull, and fast versus slow — to fully leverage and engage their team, board, employees and important external stakeholders and deliver on mission-critical initiatives.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.

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