Charisma, Schmarisma: Real Leaders are Zealots

 

Jim’s book, GOOD TO GREAT: Why Some Companies Make the Leap ... And Others Don’t, attained long-running positions on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Business Week best seller lists, has sold 3 million hardcover copies since publication and has been translated into 35 languages, including such languages as Latvian, Mongolian and Vietnamese.

His most recent book, HOW THE MIGHTY FALL: And Why Some Companies Never Give In, was published on May 19, 2009.

Jim began his research and teaching career on the faculty at Stanford Graduate School of Business. In 1995, he founded a management laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, where he now conducts research and teaches executives from the corporate and social sectors.

Jim has served as a teacher to senior executives and CEOs at over a hundred corporations. He has also worked with social sector organizations, such as: Johns Hopkins Medical School, the Girl Scouts of the USA, the Leadership Network of Churches, the American Association of K-12 School Superintendents, and the United States Marine Corps. In 2005 he published a monograph: Good to Great and the Social Sectors.

In addition, Jim is an avid rock climber and has made one-day ascents of the North Face of Half Dome and the Nose route on the South Face of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. He continues to climb at the 5.13 grade.

  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Jim Collins:  One thing that we have to be very clear on is that leadership is not personality.  Some leaders do have charisma, but a lot of the very best leaders that we studied in the course of history have what I might call a charisma bypass, and they are not people who would jump across a table at you.  Some of them can be almost strange in their behavior; some of them can be magnetic in their behavior; some of them can be harsh and abrasive in their behaviors.  

And when you look at all that you say, well, wait a minute, leadership is not personality.  And, in fact, if you’re highly charismatic, that’s not necessarily a positive because the critical thing we found about how people engage with a leader is not about this external stuff.  That’s really pretty irrelevant.  It has to do with an answer to a simple question: why are you in it?  Are you fundamentally doing something that’s about you?  Or are you trying to build something great to accomplish something great, to build great products; or whether it be to build a great company, or to change a bunch of kids’ lives in a school, or to accomplish a mission in Afghanistan?  

I mean, if it’s fundamentally about you as a leader, why should anybody give themselves over to what you’re trying to do?  But if it’s fundamentally that you’re channeling your ego into a cause or a company or a set of work or something that you’re trying to accomplish that is not about you, that’s when people sign up.

Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd


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