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Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.)
Scholar/Administrator

Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.)

Todd Henshaw is currently the director of executive leadership programs at Wharton. Previously, he directed the leadership program at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

It's refreshing that Zuckerberg focuses on 'inside game'

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?

This is an interesting question, especially given that we've just
experienced a period when many CEOs were derided for focusing almost
exclusively on "outside game." We've had our fill of narcissistic,
selfish "celebrity CEOS" who depart with bags full of cash when the
going gets tough.

It is true that the CEO represents the corporate brand, so attention
must be paid to appearances and image as the "marketer in chief." But
this must be balanced with "inside game," working diligently for
shareholders and stakeholders to whom CEOs are accountable, and truly
understanding and leading the business.

I find it refreshing to see a corporate leader in the news who remains
focused on "inside game" rather than getting caught up in their own
celebrity. Yes, Zuckerberg needs polish; but we shouldn't confuse
this with the celebrity-seeking behavior that is the antithesis of
leadership. There is middle ground here...CEOs need to represent the
brand, but don't need to swim in publicity to serve this purpose. In
fact, this can be a powerful distraction from critical responsibilities.

The question should also cause us to ask why we would ever want
CEOs to have celebrity status? How many CEOs have we placed on the
pedestal, only to see them come crashing down as publicly as they had
risen?

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.)

 |  October 4, 2010; 1:35 PM ET
Category:  Accomplishing Goals , CEOs , Corporate leadership , Leadership personalities Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Afraid of average | Next: Zuckerberg doesn't live his own company's story

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