This month we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, the iconic civil rights leader who facilitated one of the greatest social transformations this country has ever seen. Like the entrepreneurs who capture our attention in the publications referenced below, Dr. King’s mission began with a dream.
So for all of you big dreamers and big doers, here’s our list of top leadership and culture content to keep you inspired as we move into February and beyond:
By Dave Kerpen
Dr. King’s name is almost synonymous with the term ‘inspiring leader’. His speeches and actions continue to guide today’s entrepreneurs to become more persuasive and courageous leaders, both personally and professionally. Instead of being powerful and aggressive, be passionate and supportive to encourage investors, customers, and employees to embrace your vision. Dr. King was courageous in the face of unfathomable adversity and united others around core values like freedom and equality. His message continues to inspire us and thousands of the world’s leaders.
Ask most companies “What business are you really in?” and the answer is shocking. It isn’t even to sell a particular product or service, much less to serve any customers. No, it’s to maximize shareholder value. General Electric’s Jack Welch famously called that the “dumbest idea in the world”. A much better idea is to make your business human again by understanding what consumers want, treating employees like innovators, and discovering your motivating purpose.
Meghan is not a fan of New Year’s resolutions – save one: change the corporate culture to one where employees are engaged, productive, and happy. Conventional tools like office get-togethers, free food and T-shirts are ineffective. Instead, rebuild your culture by taking actions that impact every employee emotionally. Leaders must actively engage their teams, make themselves available, and provide genuine personal recognition. And break free of the broken, and often toxic, employee review by implementing new technologies and systems that positively impact your culture.
By Ben Horowitz
Ben frequently gets asked why small companies are more adept at innovating than larger ones. The problem is consensus, one pessimistic show-off is enough to kill the idea. This leads to a ‘can’t-do culture’. Truly innovative ideas often look like bad ideas when they first surface — the telephone, the internet, and even the computer were all initially ridiculed. Having a ‘can-do culture’ means having the courage to try something that others may not understand but may eventually change the world.
Business schools and CEOs are now promoting endogenous resourcing, a fancy way of saying unlocking employee’s hidden strengths. For Cascade Engineering this meant creating a culture that was more accepting and welcoming. They hired welfare recipients and ex-felons, a decision that was not only good for the world but good for business too. As a result, Cascade saw a lift in employee retention and satisfaction. Finally, Will recommends cultivating a democratic culture where everyone has a voice and everyone is equal.
How do you inspire leadership in others? Leave us a comment below!
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