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The Wisdom of CEOs – Five Essential Leadership Qualities 精选

已有 7541 次阅读 2011-4-19 03:12 |系统分类:海外观察|关键词:office style

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The Sunday NY Times (4/17/2011) has a lead article in her business section with the above title (NYT interviewed over 100 CEOs of major corporations. The five qualities described below are the unanimous opinion of all of the CEOs.). While I have no experience as nor do I aspire to be the president of  a major business or institution, let me interpret these qualities from my own experience as an average reasonably  successful academic for young scholars aspiring to be the same.

Passionate Curiosity

This above is in my opinion the most important quality. My wife jokingly have said that the epitaph on tombstone should be “he wants to know” since she sometimes gets frustrated by my incessant questioning of the “why” and “how” of everything. Even though at this stage in my life there are no financial or career incentive of any kind to learn or discover new knowledge, I still go to the numerous seminars and lectures which are abundant in the Cambridge/MIT/Harvard environ just out of curiosity and general interest. Just last week I spend three of the five weekdays attending a computer science symposium and a privacy/security conference. These subjects are outside of my main professional interest and expertise. True, I may not do anything with what I learned nor will probably remember most of them several months later. But just because I now have the time in retirement, I find participating in them enjoyable and stimulating. Without this curiosity, one cannot be a successful scholar in my opinion.

Simplicity in thought

I have repeatedly said that all worthwhile ideas and discovery are simple once they are thoroughly understood.  One must strive to explain things at the simplest level possible but not to the point of being simplistic.My favorite urging to students is " you should be able to explain anything to anybody in any amount of time at the level appropriate for the reader".  All my examination questions are open book and involve no complex calculations or derivation of complicated formula. One does not need advanced mathematics to be conceptually rigorous. Trying to simplify ideas deepens one’s own understanding of them. Without simplification and unification, the accumulation of human knowledge through the centuries will soon become an impossible burden

Team Spirit

 Although some scientific endeavors are truly a solitary undertaking. But no man is an island. Modern research often is a team project. On a human level, one must learn to work with your research students and postdoctoral fellows. Furthermore, in being generous with credit sharing and not undeservedly taking credit from others’ work makes life much more relaxed and avoids conflicts and embarrassments later.

Confidence in oneself.

 Different people learn to have confidence in their own decisions at different stages in their lives. Even though sometimes this may be misplaced confidence, without this one cannot persist in an endeavor. In the early days of my research in the idea of “perturbation analysis”, I was subject to all kinds of criticism and attack (http://bbs.sciencenet.cn/home.php?mod=space&uid=1565&do=blog&id=29014&page=2) , yet I and other believers persisted and finally won acknowledgement. There are many well known examples of scientific discovery that share the same experience

Fearlessness

 This is another aspect of the” confidence” quality mentioned above. I interpret this as not afraid to try out new ideas and new fields of knowledge. While it is very comfortable to work within a well established framework, the payoff is much greater in a new topic. Being there first, you get to pick the low hanging fruits easily while the late comer must exert much more effort to get the same on the higher branches (http://blog.sciencenet.cn/home.php?mod=space&uid=1565&do=blog&id=2224) .

The NYT article concludes with the good news that all five qualities above are not genetic or inborn and can be learned through discipline and diligence.



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