Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Charismatic Leaders

On the late John Z. Delorean, inventor of the Pontiac GTO and Firebird as well as the DeLorean sports car:

 John DeLorean never cared to fit the mold of a typical Detroit auto executive.  He was a young, free-spirited maverick that revolutionized the auto industry as the major force behind America’s first muscle car– the Pontiac GTO.  He was thought of as a hippie by his older peers for his longish, shaggy hair, and rebellious attitude.  But what they didn’t understand was that DeLorean had his finger on the pulse of youth and trend in a way that no one else did.  He had an uncanny ability to tap into the music, events and attitudes of the time and mine it for nuggets that translated to top-line success.  As the young DeLorean’s star rose, he supposedly walked away from his $650,000 salary at GM and decided to go it on his own.  

Nerves of Stainless Steel/auto maverick John DeLorean. (2009 May 29). The Selvedge Yard.   Retreived from: http://theselvedgeyard.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/nerves-of-stainless-steel-auto-maverick-john-delorean/

On the late Steve Jobs of Apple:
One thing he wasn't, though, was perfect. Indeed there were things Jobs did while at Apple that were deeply disturbing. Rude, dismissive, hostile, spiteful: Apple employees—the ones not bound by confidentiality agreements—have had a different story to tell over the years about Jobs and the bullying, manipulation and fear that followed him around Apple. Jobs contributed to global problems, too. Apple's success has been built literally on the backs of Chinese workers, many of them children and all of them enduring long shifts and the specter of brutal penalties for mistakes. And, for all his talk of enabling individual expression, Jobs imposed paranoid rules that centralized control of who could say what on his devices and in his company.

Tate, B. (2011 Oct. 7). What Everyone Is Too Polite to Say About Steve Jobs. Gawker. Retrieved from: http://gawker.com/5847344

On basketball great Michael Jordan:

Call it ruthless, but this type of narrow-focused mindset is what leads to championships. To MJ, the process of attacking and outmatching the game’s other great players was as important as the resulting hardware on his finger. Forming alliances and creating epic rosters were out of the question. Michael explains, “If I’m trying to get to the top, if Patrick Ewing is in the way, we’re best of friends, [but] he’s still going to be the second place finisher.”

Staph, J. (2010 Nov. 1). Michael Jordan: The Mind and Muscle of a Champion. Stack. Retrieved from: http://magazine.stack.com/TheIssue/Article/7845/Michael_Jordan_The_Mind_and_Muscle_of_a_Champion.aspx

On scientist Craig Venter, one of the first to sequence the human genome:
Steve Jones, professor of genetics at University College London, said "It's very easy to mock Venter.  When he first appeared, people just kind of sneered at him. But they stopped sneering when they saw his brilliance in realizing that the genome was not a problem of chemistry but a problem of computer power. I don't think anybody can deny that that was a monumental achievement and he has been doing fantastically interesting things subsequently with marine life. Having said that, though, the man is clearly a bit of a prick and one with a serial addiction to publicity."

Adams, T. (2012 May 22). Craig Venter: The dazzling showman of science. The Guardian/The Observers. Retrieved from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2010/may/23/observer-profile-craig-venter

On the late daredevil Evel Knievel:

In addition to making an indelible impact on a generation of kids, Knievel also made an impact on popular culture. His stunts broke television viewership records as often as he broke bones. He inspired songs, merchandise and imitators and he even helped introduce motorcycles to mainstream American audiences.

But while Knievel is well-known for his stunts and fame, his life had darker patches as well. Years of abuse took their toll on Knievel's body, and his personal life seemed to endure almost as many crashes as he did. When it comes down to it, Evel Knievel was as much a daredevil in his personal life as he was in his professional one.

Deaton, J.P. (n.d). How Evel Knievel Worked. How Stuff Works. Retrieved from:  http://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-racing/motorsports/evel-knievel.htm

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