Leading Comments

Russ Volckmann


Each issue includes a summary of a publication related to leadership.

Bronwyn Fryer, “Leading Through Rough Times: An Interview with Novell’s Eric Schmidt,” Harvard Business Review, May 2001.

Novell is like many other high tech companies who have been experiencing the roller coaster ride of business in this new millennium. In this interview Eric Schmidt talks about refocusing the company, keeping key talent and how he dealt with the culture of fear that he found at Novell.

Changing a culture takes more than power. It is an ongoing process that must be persistently pursued. His approach was to be present, to go deep within the organization and create opportunities for people with ideas to open up. He set up ways that innovative ideas could be championed and supported outside the formal hierarchy.

“You have to give people freedom to pursue their passions. That’s the only way to keep them focused and inspired and to ensure you’ll have a flow of new products to regain, retain, or grow ground in the market.”

Culture is embedded in the organization’s systems. One is the reward system. This must be aligned with key objectives of the business. Another is to assure that the communications systems are getting the message to all employees about what the key business objectives are.

CEOs, particularly of high visibility companies are under a media microscope and are often the subject of negative media stories related to the performance of their business. “Real leadership involves taking the heat and staying focused on the way to achieve the desired outcomes.”

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Thanks for taking the time to consider this e-publication in a world of data overload. For leaders, collaborators, consultants, academics and coaches alike; I welcome you to some ideas and a dialogue that may benefit us all. I hope you will contact me soon with your idea, reference or article. Suggestions on improvement are welcome.
Russ Volckmann, PhD, Coaching Leaders in Business and Life
Tel: 831.333-9200, FAX: 831.656-0110
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