Jeff Scott's Reviews > Leadership

Leadership by Rudolph W. Giuliani
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Apr 02, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, management

Leadership Guliani

Know the basics of how stuff works, just don't get mired in the details:

Knowing the small details of a large system leaves a leader open to charges of micromanaging. But understanding how something works is not only a leader's responsibility; it also makes him or her better able to let people do their jobs. If they don't have to explain the basics of what they need and why they need it every time they request more funds or different resources, then they are freer to pursue strategies beyond simply spending what they're given.
P. 46


Early decisive victories over things you can clearly control.

Whenever I start a small endeavor, I looked to have a clear, decisive victory as early as I could. It needn't have been a large initiative, and, in fact, was usually better if the problem was small enough so that it was easily understood and yielded an unambiguous solution.
P.40


Never assume, always prepare

As my own career progressed, I realized that preparation--thus eliminating the need to make assumptions--was the single most important key to success. Leaders may possess brilliance, extraordinary vision, fate, even luck. Those help; but no one, no matter how gifted, can perform without careful preparation, thoughtful experiment, and determined follow-through. P. 52

Clear accountability, easily understood and traceable.


All enterprises benefit from increased accountability. Naturally, there are difficulties in the way agencies achieve it. A corporation might not want to share its internal performance numbers widely, lest people who leave that information to a competing firm. In corporate America, at the core of many recent high profile Business collapses was a failure of accountability throughout top management. There will be endless debate over the specifics of "what went wrong" at these companies. What they share in common, however, is a refusal at the top to accept resonsibility for mistakes. "I don't understand this or that accounting procedure" is not a valid excuse--it's the duty of a leader to understand. If a chief executive cannot understand his own enterprise, he must become better informed, or consider the very real possibility that the accounting technique really is too complicated and ought to be replaced by one that's more transparent. P.91


Fact based decision making is critical, but don't be a robot


Important, complicated decisions require both statistical analysis and intuition. Statistics can provide the necessary data, but unless you apply your own intuition, gathered from your own experience, you a just a computer spitting out formulas. P. 154

You are the executive, execute!

...the leader should go ahead and lead--not in an arrogant way, and not without abundant input from others. But the fact is, a leader who fails to act until every group is heard from, every concern addressed, every lawsuit resolvedis a leader who's abdicating his responsibility. P.164

Don't tolerate people who are just there to create selfish disruptions. If it is for the good of the whole, great, if not root it out.

However, there is a line between spirited discourse and hijacking an open meeting for selfish purposes.We had some contentious meetings, with yelling and screaming and demonstrating. One time, a group handcuffed themselves to chairs, and had to be removed. So from the beginning I established a rule: you can ask any question you want. I will let you complete your question. I will not interrupt you, no matter how angry and upset I get. In exchange, you have to listen to my answer respectfully, without interrupting. And if don't, you are first warned, then thrown out, because I won't let you disrupt the other 400 people there. P.246


Don't leave it up to the experts

Any good leader must develop a substantive base. No matter how talented your advisors and deputies, you have to attack challenges with as much a your own knowledge as possible. That does not mean a mayor must know more about disease than his health commissioner or more about the intricacies of municipal finance than his budget director. The head of a restaurant company might not be a master chef, and plenty of airline executives are not qualified pilots, let alone mechanics or baggage handlers. But a leader should have independently acquired understanding of the areas he oversees. Anybody who's going to take on a large organization must put time aside for deep study. P.290

Don't let emotions carry the day, but don't be afraid to show your feelings.

From my early childhood days, I had trained myself to control my emotions when others became emotional. My father had always told me to remain calm in a crisis. As others around me got excited, he said, staying deliberately calm would help me figure out the right answers. When a crisis occurred, it was my job to lead people t rough it. That certainly didn't mean I didn't have feelings. Of course I did. And it didn't mean I couldn't show what I was feeling. Of course I could.Leaders are human, and it actually helps the people you lead to realize that. P. 361
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