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Archive: October 17, 2010 - October 23, 2010

Intuition without integrity

At the center of his life is a deep, dark secret that, if made public, could destroy his life and career. That is a huge burden to carry. Secrets are never good for leaders, and he's got a big skeleton in a small closet. His secret carries three problems...

By Paul Schmitz | October 21, 2010; 2:22 PM ET | Comments (1)

Good business vs good television

The seeds of 21st-century leadership are evident in much of good popular culture-as are the signs of the times that we abandoned long ago, usually for the better. Today's forward-thinking leaders are connected...

By Susan Peters | October 20, 2010; 10:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

What does it say about today's culture that we've idolized Don Draper?

Although Draper's inappropriate drinking, disregard for employees and sexually harassing behavior toward women would definitely get him fired in today's organizations, it is his unreflective steamroller approach to getting what he wants at any cost that would prove lethal to the organization as a whole. So why, if he is so ill suited for today's organizations, do we still find him so fascinating?

By Amy Fraher | October 19, 2010; 2:11 PM ET | Comments (10)

Sexism in Mad Men--what has (and hasn't) changed

As much as I love watching Mad Men, it is difficult and painful to see the ways in which women and men dealt with each other and with power. It's painful because this behavior is not as far back in our past as we would like to think. Our daughters continually get the messages that power still comes through powerful men. And unfortunately being pretty is still a quality that can get you on the ladder-though it still won't...

By Marie Wilson | October 19, 2010; 11:44 AM ET | Comments (3)

Respect, not fear, rules the roost

People will perform the bare minimum and possess no drive for excellence under a leader they fear without respect. This ultimately limits the organization's potential, as subordinates are more concerned with avoiding punishment. I'd say Don Draper's effectiveness lies within his loyalty to...

By West Point Cadets | October 19, 2010; 11:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

360 degrees of Don Draper

Don Draper's Machiavellian leadership style can certainly claim many successes in the show. His consistently brutal criticism motivated Draper's subordinates on various occasions to work late nights in order to seek his approval. His unbiased appreciation for quality work provided Peggy the opportunity to leave her secretary's desk and earn a position as a copywriter. However, Draper's emotional detachment and unapologetic attitude also produced some costs in his professional...

By Coro Fellows | October 18, 2010; 5:33 PM ET | Comments (9)

In both drama and leadership, character is action

Don is a flawed character, rich in dramatic power but ultimately a leader with serious deficiencies. Ask yourself this: is Don someone you would want to count on in a crisis? A likely answer would be no. His interest in self-preservation would outweigh...

By John Baldoni | October 18, 2010; 11:40 AM ET | Comments (1)

The 'Mad Women' are the show's exemplars

Don Draper is a mess. His agency is a mess. His personal life and values are a mess, and his sense of leadership has all the sensitivity and steadiness of an active volcano. His special quality of creativity may be enough to land business and help sell products, but it is hardly the glue that makes this a strongly...

By Peter Hart | October 18, 2010; 11:34 AM ET | Comments (2)

What Don Draper gets wrong

Don Draper has a few things right: it is actually a huge weakness when leaders focus, either consciously or unconsciously, on being liked. It is impossible to please everyone, and sometimes difficult decisions need to be made that will hurt individuals in service of the greater...

By Doug Guthrie | October 18, 2010; 9:55 AM ET | Comments (1)

Draper's search for identity

All of the tensions that have made a shambles of his personal life, and the lives of so many people around him, have made him an award-winning idea guy. Without Don's fierce and brutal search for identity, there would be no Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and the Time-Life Building would be looking for a new tenant on its...

By Donald Kettl | October 18, 2010; 9:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Is Don Draper a leader? Maybe. A good leader? No.

Draper seems to have an astounding ability to ignore the consequences of his behavior. A lack of moral imagination and stunted sense of right and wrong seems to insulate him from the implications of his actions. He knowingly advertises for harmful products, lives a life built upon a foundation of deceit, and...

By George Reed | October 18, 2010; 9:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

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