Lessons from Discussion w/ Stanford President Hennessy
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.