Friday, October 17, 2014


     Inward-bound courses would do wonders for "thought leadership."  There are good reasons why the business world is so preoccupied by that notion of the moment:  the only way to prevent your product from being commoditised or your markets from being disrupted is to think further ahead than your competitors.  But companies that often pose as thought leaders are often "thought laggards": risk analysts who recycle yesterday's newspapers, and management consultants who champion yesterday's successes just as they are about to go out of business.
     The only way to become a real thought leader is to ignore all the noise and listen to a few great thinkers.  You will learn more about leadership from reading Thucydide's hymn to Pericles than you will from a thousand leadership experts.  You will learn far more about doing business in China from reading Confucius than by listening to "culture consultants."  Peter Drucker remained top dog among management gurus for 50 years not because he attends more conferences but because he marinated his mind in great books:  for example, he wrote about business alliances with reference to marriage alliances in Jane Austen.

-Schumpeter, as excerpted from this The Economist essay

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