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Paul R. Portney
Dean/Scholar

Paul R. Portney

Paul R. Portney is Dean of the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, where he also holds the Halle Chair in Leadership.

First, investors look at the purse

Q: Facebook's young founder Mark Zuckerberg avoids press interviews, offers inscrutable answers at public forums and jealously guards his privacy--so much so that he is now the subject of an unflattering movie. Does Zuckerberg have to develop a better "outside game" to be an effective leader of his fast-growing company?

It would be nice if the leaders of every corporation, large or small, could be described as Engaging, Believable, Inclusive, Transparent, Decent and Articulate. But that's not what the acronym "EBITDA" stands for. Rather it means "earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization," a rough measure of a company's operating cash flow.

Facebook would no doubt be in even better shape than already appears to be the case if Mark Zuckerberg were as avuncular as Warren Buffett, as smooth as Jamie Dimon or as open as Norman Augustine, to pick but three respected business leaders. But as long as the company has spokespersons like Sheryl Sandberg who communicate well with the outside world, and as long as its net income continues to grow, that's not at all necessary. As former Motown recording group, The Contours, once sang, "First I[nvestors] Look at the Purse."

By Paul R. Portney

 |  October 4, 2010; 10:51 PM ET
Category:  CEOs , Leadership development Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: He'll figure it out | Next: Leadership brand is more than a buzz word

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