(HOW TO SPEAK BUSINESS THIS MONTH)
No More Heroes (or Victims)
The current obsession with the fall of the hero CEO is woefully one-sided, according to Roger Martin, management guru and dean of Toronto’s top-ranked Rotman School of Management. In his new book, The Responsibility Virus: How Control Freaks, Shrinking Violets and the Rest of Us Can Harness the Power of True Partnership (Basic Books), Martin introduces a framework for understanding where leadership breaks down. It starts with a virulent germ — fear of failure — that sets off an endless loop of what Martin calls “under-” and “over-responsibility.” The responsibility virus is a classic Goldilocks syndrome: The leader assumes too much responsibility for success, and his people assume too little. The challenge, of course, is to get it just right.
How to Speak IBM
Lou Gerstner is one leader whose accomplishments are not in question. In his nearly decade-long tenure as IBM’s chairman and CEO, he led a stunning turnaround of the company. And, apparently, he has had time to learn a new language. Here are some of the IBMisms featured in his leadership memoir, Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? Inside IBM’s Historic Turnaround (HarperBusiness).
Crisp Up, Tweak, and Swizzle: What you do to improve a PowerPoint presentation.
Boil the Ocean: To use all means necessary to make something happen.
Goat Roping: A meeting to get several people to agree to something that you are proposing.