Volume 7, Issue 5
ã 2005 Hopkins and Company, LLC
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In matters of fashion and taste, we expect styles to come into favor and fall out regularly, but managers can become caught off guard when the leadership style that’s worked in the past begins to fail. The take-charge decisiveness that produced success yesterday can be perceived today as acting without appropriate input from others. Some managers pay attention to gradual changes in expectations and can make modest changes in style to respond to a new environment, provided those changes are genuine. The most effective executives know who they are, and won’t change what’s essential and defining as an individual. Personality style or type describes who we are, and each of us has healthy and unhealthy aspects of that same personality. What can be a positive trait for a close attention to detail often turns ugly when it becomes incessant perfectionism. One key to executive success involves capitalizing on the positive aspects of personality type, implementing those in a leadership style, and selecting colleagues who have complementary traits and skills. Lots of news stories in recent weeks have focused on the style of leaders, and how the right fit becomes critical. As you read and reflect on the stories in this issue, think about your personality and leadership style, and how well it fits your current role at work. Are you vulnerable to an emerging misfit to expectations? How have your strengths become obstacles to success in certain situations? Are you play-acting at work, or are you being yourself?
Fifteen new books are rated in this issue, beginning on page 5. One book is highly recommended with a four-star rating; ten books are recommended with three stars; and four are mildly recommended with two star ratings. Visit our 2005 bookshelf at http://www.hopkinsandcompany.com/2005books.html and see the rating table explained as well as explore links to all books we’re reading or considering this year. Twenty nine new books have been added to the “shelf of possibility,” which now has over 230 books in queue. If there’s something missing from the bookshelf that you think we should be considering, or if there’s a book lingering on the “shelf of possibility” that you think we should read and review, let us know at email@example.com.
nor Kiersey nor the Enneagram
have labeled one of the personality types “bully,” but we encounter that type
throughout our lives, from the schoolyard through the nursing home. As this
issue went to press, the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee had not voted on the nomination by President Bush of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations. During hearings in
April, concerns arose over
When the College of Cardinals selected seventy eight year old Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI, we were reminded of a comment by Mark Shields that in 1988, voters awarded G.H.W. Bush with what should have been Ronald Reagan’s third term. There seems to be an expectation of continuity in the transition from Pope John Paul II to Benedict XVI. In many ways, though, the two personalities couldn’t be more different. John Paul, the extroverted former actor, left administrative details to others while he pushed himself from place to place and person to person. Benedict, the introvert, has spent his life as a scholar and administrator, working behind the scenes, calling little attention to himself. At selection time, John Paul was in his fifties and athletic, while Benedict is beyond the usual ecclesial retirement age. The parallels with personality type and role transformation in business seems striking. HP changes from rockstar Carly Fiorina to low-key Mark Hurd. Disney moves from creative Michael Eisner to operating maven Bob Iger. The same role at different times of selection leads the selectors to choose one personality type yesterday and another type today, often in direct reaction to the impact of the former leader. For those executives who sit in a line of succession, there may be some advantages in having a personality type different from whoever’s in the seat above you.
Have you consciously taken into account the personality type best suited to a job that reports to you? When looking for a job for yourself, what steps do you take to consider whether your personality fits the desired role and the organization’s culture? Are certain personality types in and out of favor in your organization? How does your personality type and those of your direct reports fit into the preferred types for your organization and your roles?
Life for Morgan Stanley CEO Phil Purcell continues to be
interesting. Executive conflicts dating back to the 1997 Dean Witter Morgan
Stanley merger remain unresolved, and vocal outcries for Purcell’s ouster
have accelerated. Bethany McLean
and Andy Serwer
report in a comprehensive article in Fortune’s
May 2 issue (http://www.fortune.com/fortune/subs/article/0,15114,1050178,00.html)
on the corporate civil war. We noted the following: “One former Morgan
executive says he heard Purcell complain, ‘At Dean Witter, I tell people to
turn left, and they turn left. At Morgan Stanley, they look at me and ask
why.’ There is a broader cultural question too. Many of the Morgan Stanley
people are Ivy Leaguers, and Purcell is a Notre Dame grad from
Are there in-groups and out-groups in your organization? What’s the impact of that situation on performance? What steps do you take to address and resolve conflict? Do you expect people to turn left when you say so, or do you expect questions about why? Does your culture invite “why” questions, and when you get them, how do you respond?
Have you ever wondered why a peer can thoroughly enjoy a meeting at work that usually drives you nuts? Are you frustrated when someone who reports to you never seems to follow through on their commitments? Do you know the ways in which your personality type helps and hurts you in key relationships at work?
Here are selected updates on stories covered in prior issues of Executive Times:
you felt minor déjà vu on page 3, you may recall that in the April 2001
issue of Executive Times we
mentioned Phil Purcell as the winner in the Morgan Stanley Dean Witter merger
with the departure of John Mack,
longtime Morgan Stanley executive, and mentioned their personality
differences and some of the cultural issues at the firm. Who would have
thought those same concerns would still exist years later? So, what’s John
Mack up to these days? According to all the business press, he and former Home Depot executive Ken Langone
are exploring the purchase of the New
York Stock Exchange. As we went to press, that effort may be stalling,
according to The Wall Street Journal
When Alex Trotman
took charge of Ford Motor Company in
1993, the company was still reeling from a then-record loss of $2.3 billion
in 1991. In a competent and low-key manner, Trotman
began a program to reduce costs, calling little attention to himself, unlike
famous predecessors Henry Ford II
and Lee Iacocca. Born in
Latest Books Read and Reviewed:
(Note: readers of the web version of Executive Times can click on the book covers to order copies directly from amazon.com. When you order through these links, Hopkins & Company receives a small payment from amazon.com. Click on the title to read the review or visit our 2005 bookshelf at http://www.hopkinsandcompany.com/2005books.html).
2005 Hopkins and Company, LLC. Executive
Times is published monthly by Hopkins and Company, LLC at the
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