Want to Be a Great Leader? Here's Why You Should Walk the Talk

After 25 years of teaching at Stanford Business School, I’ve had hundreds of leaders and entrepreneurs as class guests, some of them among the world’s most accomplished and well-known. Each has had strong, and often divergent, opinions about how best to lead and manage people. It turns out that there are almost as many opinions on leadership as there are leaders. 

Despite the many differences, the one trait these effective leaders have shared is inspiration through actions. They’ve executed their way to credibility. They’ve delivered on promises. They’ve built trust one event at a time, one challenge at a time, one initiative at a time. They all seem to realize that, over time, it’s about how they act (and react) that defines them. In moments of truth, their actions shine; they become the embodiment of a shared mission.

One leader I’ve come to know and admire is Adam Silver of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Silver is an exemplar of “walking the talk.” He’s soft-spoken, more lawyer than promoter, more thought-leader than media star. But he’s emerged as perhaps the most respected commissioner in all of professional sports, deftly handling controversies such as the fallout over former Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling’s racist remarks in 2014.

Perhaps more importantly, he has been intentional and measured about elevating and broadening the league’s image, making it about quality of play, fun, and inclusiveness. Silver has endeared himself to players and to fans alike by promoting the stars of the game over himself, and the game over its stars, and the community over the league. His brand has emerged less by talking than by doing.

We all know so-called leaders who are all about themselves, all about image, all about talk. Not only do they promote themselves, but some of the more vocal seem to alternate between scolding and preaching. More show pony than workhorse, they often develop impressive skills for finessing problems, delaying or deflecting. Indeed, some who have developed this flavor of leadership seem to have found their way to political leadership. 

This is a shame. Despite attracting the most “show ponies,” the political arena is precisely a place that could use “workhorse” leadership. Finding political solutions is hard work – often requiring more skills of leaders who have “run things” than the legislative skills of wordsmiths. Indeed, political leadership is challenging. It is easy to feel minimized or frustrated with the process. But, even more so than in the private sector, it is critical that leaders in the political arena embrace the core value that actions trump words.

One of my mentors, the legendary real estate developer Trammell Crow, used to say, “You can’t talk your way out of problems you behaved your way into.” Any nation, any business, any school or community will get further by behaving its way out of problems than it will by assigning blame in endless analysis. 

Determined and persistent leaders know that, in the end, their intentions won’t matter nearly as much as their results In the private sector, I’ve learned that the key to effective leadership is to develop clarity around objectives, budgets, time frames, and deliverables. The leaders who master all four metrics will lead winning teams and be known for their actions, by their results — and not by their words or best intentions.


EU leaders want proposals on taxing online giants early next year

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union leaders said on Thursday they looked forward to seeing proposals on taxing online giants by early 2018 but in a nod to concerns from countries like Ireland said EU efforts had to be in line with work under way at a global level.

European countries are split over whether online companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon should pay more tax, with smaller EU members such as Ireland and Luxembourg – which host many online businesses – worried that taxes would hurt their competitiveness without a global solution.

Countries like Italy and France on the other hand are frustrated by the low tax rates online giants pay by re-routing profits through low-rate countries and insist the EU should go it alone if the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which includes the United States and Japan, is unable to reach an agreement on a global solution.

Meeting for an EU summit, the leaders said in their conclusions that they looked forward to “appropriate (European) Commission proposals by early 2018.”

However they referred to the need to ensure a “global level-playing field in line with the work currently under way at the OECD”, a change from earlier draft summit conclusions which did not mention “global” or link the OECD work to EU efforts.

An EU diplomat said French President Emmanuel Macron – who has led the charge for more taxation of digital giants – was told to wait for OECD proposals in April 2018.

Last month the European Commission outlined three options for taxing internet companies: taxing the turnover rather than the profits of digital firms, putting a levy on online ads and imposing a withholding tax on payments to internet firms.

In the longer term the EU wants to change existing taxation rights to make sure digital firms with large operations but no physical presence in a given country pay taxes there instead of being allowed to re-route their profits to low-tax jurisdictions.

The EU wants member states to reach a compromise by December, will then base its proposals on what they agree to, and will also send those proposals to the OECD.

However, the EU faces the prospect of countries opposed to the measures blocking the move as states have a veto on tax matters.

The Commission has raised the possibility of stripping members of their veto rights on tax issues, a move Ireland has said it will resist.

Additional reporting by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Phil Berlowitz


Google doesn’t want you visiting The Pirate Bay right now

Try hitting up The Pirate Bay to look for torrents with Chrome or Firefox and you’ll most likely see a malware warning message. VentureBeat spotted the issue, which appears to affect only torrent search result pages – that means the entire domain hasn’t been blocked. It’s possible that the site is hosting an ad network that’s running malicious ads. I tried a few searches and noticed that the warning appeared only in certain instances on result pages. Still, that was enough to raise a flag with Google’s Safe Browsing service, which powers security features for both aforementioned browsers. If an…

This story continues at The Next Web

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