What makes a great business leader?

Question: What makes a great business leader?

 

Andrew Ross Sorkin: Right. You know, when you think about great business leaders, there's sort of an inherent question about how we're defining a great business leader and what that really means, because there are sort of two types, right. There is often the founder or at least the visionary, someone who is sort of a pied piper, Steve Jobs, where people really follow him wherever he goes. And then there are people who are great managers of other people. That doesn’t mean that they're visionaries. I'm not sure you would say that Jeff Immelt for example of General Electric is a great visionary.

He didn’t create GE and he might have a vision for where GE should go. But nobody would tell you that he is a Steve Jobs of the conglomerate world. But he is arguably a great manager of people in that he is able to inspire people and to figure out where all the chess pieces should go. And that's a great skill and that makes Jeff Immelt a business leader. But on the other hand, it also makes Steve Jobs a business leader.

And I'm not sure that Steve Jobs necessarily is a great people person. I'm not sure that he sits around and figures out how to inspire everybody around him per se, even though he clearly has a great following. But he's a great product guy and so you sort of have to divide the question. There are people who are these visionaries and great product people. And then there are great managers that sort of oftentimes, are partners by the way, of these great visionaries, because every great visionary often needs a partner. So I don't know what, anyway-

 

Question: Who are the great business leaders of today?

 

Andrew Ross Sorkin: I'll probably get in trouble for giving you this answer, given that he wants to kill the New York Times or at least that's what he says he wants to do, which is Rupert Murdock. Rupert Murdock over time is proving himself to be a great business leader and probably more important a great business visionary in that he has been able to see around corners and see businesses that didn’t exist before. The idea that Fox was not a television network when I was a child and is now you know, everywhere and is not just a channel but a news channel and a business channel. And now he owns the Journal and has film products and satellite businesses around the world. You know, I think it's hard to say he's not one of them.

 

Recorded on: June 3, 2008

 

Managing and inspiring people, says Sorkin.

Related Articles

How does alcohol affect your brain?

Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.

(Photo by Angie Garrett/Wikimedia Commons)
Mind & Brain
  • Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
  • Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
  • Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists sequence the genome of this threatened species

If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.

Surprising Science
  • A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
  • It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
  • Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.

If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.

Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.

elephant by Guillaume le Clerc

Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons

13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.

It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.

But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.

John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."

What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.

Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.

Why cauliflower is perfect for the keto diet

The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.

Purple cauliflower. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
  • The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
  • The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
  • It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
Keep reading Show less