What impact does your work have in the world?
Daniel Quinn Mills is the Albert J. Weatherhead, Jr. Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus. His tenure at Harvard lasted from 1976 to 2007. He consults with major corporations and governments and lectures about management, leadership, strategy, economics and geopolitics. He is an expert on the differences between Asian and Western leadership styles. An American, Mills is also a member of the Innovation Council of Malaysia, a ministry level council chaired by the Prime Minister.
Mills has been interested in early stage businesses and as a director and investor has helped develop several firms. He has been a director of a publicly listed company, chairing its audit committee for several years. A thought leader, Mills has written books on leadership, geo-politics, investments, capital markets, business strategy, network organizations, demographics, marketing, empowerment, and union relations. His most recent book is Master of Illusions: Presidential Leadership, Strategic Independence and America’s Public Culture, published in 2007 by Cambridge University Press. The book explores America’s role in the world in the aftermath of the second Iraqi War.
Widely and often quoted as well as seen in the national media, Mills has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, and been quoted in articles in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and Business Week. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources.
Question: What impact does your work have in the world?
D. Quinn Mills: The impact of my work has been on the way other people think and do things primarily, in a whole group of areas in which we made significant progress and how organizations are structured and managed, in how we think about strategy, in the whole notion of clear thinking, which I think Americans do not do very well. They are constantly confusing what they are talking about. I think I have had a significant impact with a large number of people who had significant impacts in sales in that area that regard; it is how other people think and do their own businesses and professional lives.
Question: What is your proudest achievement?
D. Quinn Mills: Well, as you know I have done several things. I was extremely proud of the way we maintained the stability of the American economy during the Vietnam War. At one point, I was in charge of about 25% of the American economy. It was the capital goods sector. And one always has to do that in a fairly large war, because you have to ration, and there just are not resources to put to everything. In that aspect of it, with a staff of 24 people, for about a period of three years, I set every wage and price in the capital goods industries in United States, and we got through the war without any significant economic problems, and I was extremely proud of that. I’ve always thought that what a president ought to say, if our presidents ever care about how the federal government is actually managed to people that they put in charge of agencies is “do the thing and do it efficiently.” The fewer people you put on the payroll, the better we all are off. Instead, as in this Homeland Security thing that we are doing now, we just piling people up, because it is another form of patronage and it is grotesquely inefficient and so I was very proud of that and wish that example had been paid more attention to.
Recorded on: 9/27/07
Mills talks about guiding the American economy through the Vietnam War.
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