Hank Paulson on Prayer

Henry_Paulson_official_Treasury_photo,_2006Former Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson wrote a spell binding memoir of his experience during the financial crisis of 2008.  Much of it deals with the day to day effort to prevent a complete financial system meltdown, but one passage in particular deals with the role of prayer.  After weeks of exhausting work and little sleep, there came a point where Paulson and his colleagues had done everything they could and still faced the possibility of catastrophe triggered by the impending failure of Lehman Brothers. And then, as told in the middle of a book about the financial system, Paulson telephones his wife and has this exchange:

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Max De Pree and the Art of Leadership

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.  The last is to say thank you.  In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor.  That sums up the progress of an artful leader.” (Max De Pree: Leadership Is an Art, Page 11)

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As many readers probably know, Max  De Pree is the author of several highly regarded leadership books including Leadership Jazz: The Essential Elements of a Great Leader and Leadership Is an Art, and was the Chairman of Herman Miller, Inc., during an especially creative period for the company.  He is also the inspiration and namesake for Fuller Theological Seminary’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, from which I retired as a member of the advisory board a few months ago.   I have recently been reflecting on De Pree’s  approach to leadership, and believe that there is much we can learn from him.

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Abraham Zaleznik, RIP

Zaleznik photoAbraham  Zaleznik was a professor of leadership at The Harvard Business School for 43 years and a certified psychoanalyst.  He was also the author of a very important, and famous, 1977 Harvard Business Review article: Managers and Leaders: Are They Different?  To understand the impact of his article,  one should remember that when written there was much less of an understanding that leadership is quite different from management; Zaleznik was on the leading edge of the wave. Zaleznik also had the ability to convey some of the psychological differences between leaders and managers and their formation and did so in a way that is still valuable.

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