Leadership Lesson: How to Turn a Liability into an Asset

Ken Adelman: It certainly is that it . . . two overall that we even talked about this morning as we did a session here for young scholars on this . . . that what comes out of Henry V is that Henry had this genius at leadership of firstly bringing the future into the present. He paints the picture of how he wants the world to work, or this situation to work, or this condition to work, or this relationship to work. He paints it out there, and then he works backwards to make it happen. So bring the future into the present is the first thing. And secondly, he has a genius approach of looking at what the assets of the French are – because he was in the ________ – and turning all their assets into liabilities. And taking his own liabilities where he’s weak, and turning them into assets. And that is something that businesses have now started to use. And it really comes out of Shakespeare in a genius way.

I’ll give you one simple example. The 3M Company had a very big project to have a new kind of glue. And the glue worked very poorly. It didn’t really stick. It kind of stuck, but it wasn’t a real good glue. And they turned that liability – because they’d spent millions of dollars on it – into a great asset, which was the Post-It Notes. And so . . . but lots of companies have done that in lots of places, and it’s worked very well.

Recorded on: 7/2/07


Just like great leaders in Shakespearean dramas are able to turn liabilities into assets, companies like 3M were able to transform a liability--glue that didn't stick so well--into an asset: Post-It Notes.

Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less

Water may be an inevitable result of the process that forms rocky planets

New research identifies an unexpected source for some of earth's water.

Surprising Science
  • A lot of Earth's water is asteroidal in origin, but some of it may come from dissolved solar nebula gas.
  • Our planet hides majority of its water inside: two oceans in the mantle and 4–5 in the core.
  • New reason to suspect that water is abundant throughout the universe.
Keep reading Show less