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Archive: Pop culture

Leaving the world of standard operating procedures

In a complex system, everything has side effects. History teaches us that centralized planning and control can't be made to work...

By Don Vandergriff | February 10, 2011; 09:54 AM ET | Comments (1)

Using social media to enhance authenticity and collaboration

Effective, sustainable leadership has always come down to a few key skills, with authenticity and collaboration high on the list. The Internet age doesn't change what those skills are, but it gives us great incentive to...

By John R. Ryan | February 9, 2011; 10:22 AM ET | Comments (4)

Emerging collective leadership

This movement and its principal aim to remove Egypt's President Mubarak from office serves as a paradigm for a new sort of grassroots movement...

By Rice University Undergraduate Leaders | February 9, 2011; 10:16 AM ET | Comments (13)

Technology's opportunity for leaders

Leaders that embrace new tools and ways of communicating can connect with, and listen to, those they lead like never before...

By Susan Peters | February 9, 2011; 10:14 AM ET | Comments (0)

Technology is a tool

Civil unrest and episodic protests in Egypt existed before last week...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | February 8, 2011; 03:06 PM ET | Comments (2)

Speaking the digital vernacular

While the "Internet Age" has brought convenience, the same issues of governance and ethics will remain unanswered until we begin thinking outside the 140-character box...

By Coro Fellows | February 8, 2011; 11:07 AM ET | Comments (8)

Fear and the Internet

Yes, its "democratic" form is a great boon to leaders of revolt, who can avoid the dead hand of state-controlled press and TV. But leaders of repression, beyond "finger-in-the-dyke" censorship, are likely to develop the black arts of Internet propaganda and disinformation...

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | February 8, 2011; 10:20 AM ET | Comments (8)

The blessing and curse of social media

The bad news is that online social media can be used equally effectively to manipulate masses of people and cause huge problems...

By Marshall Goldsmith | February 8, 2011; 10:15 AM ET | Comments (2)

Making social media stick

The challenge of these new forms of leadership becomes translating socially contagious, short-term zeal into a long-term commitment toward...

By Sally Blount | February 8, 2011; 10:11 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Internet has turned leadership upside down

Gladwell cited Mao's famous quip that power grows out of the barrel of a gun. But rioters in Tunisia and Egypt are prevailing without shooting a single bullet. In the 21st century, power will spring from...

By Angel Cabrera | February 7, 2011; 04:01 PM ET | Comments (6)

Leading while everyone's watching

Leadership never was, nor never will be, for the faint of heart. Today good leaders also need a strong stomach to cope with what they cannot control, as they seek to do what is right in a world where...

By John Baldoni | February 7, 2011; 03:48 PM ET | Comments (1)

The pros and cons of moving rapidly

Modern technology--fast-moving events and widespread reporting--create a perception that one must jump in quickly, but a wise leader will resist that temptation and...

By Mickey Edwards | February 7, 2011; 03:42 PM ET | Comments (3)

Face time still matters

As trendy (and accurate) as it is to focus on the power of social media in this digital age, when it comes to leadership, face-to-face is still the most preferred, productive and powerful...

By Carol Kinsey Goman | February 7, 2011; 03:36 PM ET | Comments (1)

The meaning of an asterisk

Add Cam Newton's reception of the Heisman Trophy to the long list of examples of athletic "excellence" coming before sports "integrity." Many names come to mind, but the quintessential example...

By Coro Fellows | December 13, 2010; 11:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

What politicians can learn from actors

Getting the job required the ability to make a positive first impression, to be friendly and likeable when dealing with casting directors, directors and producers, and to be a "quick study"--memorizing almost instantly. Doing the job required real acting abilities--getting into the heart of the character and making the performance...

By Carol Kinsey Goman | October 25, 2010; 12:42 PM ET | Comments (1)

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; 02:22 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; 02:11 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; 05:33 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; 09:55 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; 09:46 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; 09:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

Debunking the 24/7 workday

So many of us define our self-worth by how hard we work, we have trouble disentangling our egos and even asking if there might be a better way. When we've pushed ourselves to be good students, get good jobs and deliver results, it's hard to hear that our more-more-more approach may not be the right one. For many, being asked to examine how we work feels like being asked to be mediocre.

By Sharon Meers | September 10, 2010; 09:28 AM ET | Comments (6)

Hollywood's female 'outlier'

Films and females have gone together since the beginning of the movie business. It's just that even now Hollywood wants women in front of the camera rather than behind it.

By Barbara Kellerman | March 4, 2010; 02:45 PM ET | Comments (11)

Would YOU be an 'Undercover Boss?'

Only a few leaders are bold enough to work incognito as line workers in their own companies -- and have the American public watch the results. Here are lessons from one CEO brave enough to take the plunge.

By Carol Kinsey Goman | February 1, 2010; 06:29 AM ET | Comments (1)

Corporate Villians?

Why is it that the only corporate leadership we ever see portrayed in movies is malignant? Must Jimmy Stewart's George Bailey be the only upstanding and likeable businessman to grace the silver screen?

By Paul R. Portney | February 25, 2009; 10:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

Reader Poll: What Is the Best Leadership Movie?

It's your turn: Choose from among our nominations to vote for the best leadership movie.

By Andrea Useem | February 19, 2009; 12:35 PM ET | Comments (5)

Surprising Student Votes

Undergraduates in Warren Bennis's USC class on leadership cast their votes for best leadership films: "Soul Food," "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," and "Harry Potter."

By Warren Bennis | February 18, 2009; 11:22 AM ET | Comments (3)

Quick Votes

Panelists offer their nominations, including "Ike," "Erin Brockovich" and "Billy Budd."

By Ben Bradlee and Steve Pearlstein | February 18, 2009; 10:50 AM ET | Comments (1)

"Slumdog" Street Lessons

"Slumdog" is the story of a true survivor who draws on his experiences and lessons learned from the streets to overcome obstacles and rescue the love of his life.

By Alan M. Webber | February 18, 2009; 10:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

"Miracle" and Others

"Miracle," "Remember the Titans," "Twelve O'Clock High" and "Citizen Kane" are four brilliant films that each show a different type of leadership.

By Michael Maccoby | February 18, 2009; 10:21 AM ET | Comments (0)

Wilberforce's "Amazing Grace"

Little seen but well reviewed,"Amazing Grace" is a superb movie on a lifetime of leadership with massive results -- the ending of the slave trade.

By Bob Buford | February 17, 2009; 02:43 PM ET | Comments (0)

Shawshank's Leader

In Andy Dufresne of "Shawshank Redemption," we find a man who could have chosen to spend his life as an angry prisoner, yet actively decided to shape his surroundings rather than being shaped by them.

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | February 17, 2009; 02:36 PM ET | Comments (0)

Leadership the "Pulp Fiction" Way

Harvey Keitel's role in "Pulp Fiction," when he tells John Travolta and Samuel Jackson how to dispose of a body, is a model for leadership under pressure.

By Seth Goldman | February 17, 2009; 02:25 PM ET | Comments (1)

The Many Faces of "Gandhi"

Richard Attenborough's 1982 film "Gandhi" shows there is no one single characteristic of leadership. Rather, a great leader is made from a confluence of great traits.

By Yash Gupta | February 17, 2009; 02:17 PM ET | Comments (1)

The Ingredients of "Milk"

Sean Penn's character, Harvey Milk, had all the necessary ingredients of remarkable leadership: He was a terrific recruiter who sensed that the people he was fighting for needed, most of all, respect.

By Warren Bennis | February 17, 2009; 01:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Inspiration of "Gandhi"

The film reminds us that leadership is not reserved for only a few generals, senators, prime ministers, presidents, or CEOs. Leadership can also emerge from someone who is, as Gandhi himself put it, "the change you want to see in the world."

By Jim Kouzes | February 17, 2009; 12:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

Soldiers of "Glory"

The movie, about the first all-black unit in the Civil War, shows us a group of soldiers who join a dangerous enterprise for many reasons but stay together for each other and in service of a greater good.

By Col. Charles D. Allen | February 17, 2009; 11:57 AM ET | Comments (0)

"We Happy Few"

Henry V's memorable St. Crispin's Day speech, which came to life through actor Kenneth Branagh, offers us lessons for facing today's economic crisis.

By Ken Adelman | February 17, 2009; 11:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

"Master and Commander" Lessons

I agree with Gen. Walt Ulmer that we can learn everything we need to know about small-unit leadership from Patrick O'Brien's novels, represented on-screen by "Master and Commander."

By George Reed | February 17, 2009; 11:39 AM ET | Comments (3)

Juror Number Eight

Do you need to change the minds of the people around you? Even President Obama might learn something from watching "Twelve Angry Men."

By Howard Gardner | February 17, 2009; 11:31 AM ET | Comments (0)

"Twelve Angry Men"

"Juror Eight" took heat from his peers, ignored personal attacks and held steady under enormous criticism, all in the service of mobilizing people in the service of something he believed deeply.

By Marty Linsky | February 17, 2009; 11:04 AM ET | Comments (0)

"Henry V"

Henry V showed us how kings lead -- they are "The Deciders" -- but modern democratic leaders face many more constraints.

By Mickey Edwards | February 17, 2009; 10:33 AM ET | Comments (1)

Maturing with "12 O'Clock High"

As a junior officer, I couldn't relate to Gregory Peck's portrayal of General Frank Savage. When I became a leader myself, I learned from his struggle to balance his own needs as a person with his responsibilities as a leader.

By Bob Schoultz | February 17, 2009; 10:27 AM ET | Comments (0)

In Debt to "I.O.U.S.A"

The movie demonstrates that the biggest deficit the United States has is a leadership one.

By David Walker | February 17, 2009; 10:19 AM ET | Comments (0)

Losing the Way on "The River Kwai"

Sir Alec Guinness' character in the movie shows how leaders can become so obsessed with reaching their goal that they can lose their humanity along the way.

By Marshall Goldsmith | February 17, 2009; 10:07 AM ET | Comments (1)

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