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Lessons from Discussion w/ Stanford President Hennessy

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As part of a group, I was invited to a lunch discussion with Stanford President John Hennessy earlier today.  He is on the boards of Google, Cisco, Atheros, and the Daniel Pearl Foundation; was the founder of MIPS; and just sat down with President Obama last week.

Key takeaways/viewpoints of his that I found interesting:

  • One thing that makes America great is that failure is not fatal.  However, it can also be its weakness, as that is fundamentally what caused the financial crisis.
  • Politics have moved away from the Jeffersonian ideal of it being a step away from your “normal”career.  It has become a full time career for people and that is troubling.
  • Authoritarian leadership doesn’t work in any great company.
  • One of the most important character traits of his that made him President was that he was always honest, but gentle, especially when delivering bad news.
  • Reputation is critical.  It is like a flame: easy to build up, but once extinguished, it is tough to light again.

Written by sheeltyle

February 23, 2011 at 11:23 pm

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