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Yash Gupta
Business School Dean

Yash Gupta

Yash Gupta is Professor and Dean of The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

Archive: Yash Gupta

Second chances are sometimes possible

Any government head who allows the national situation to deteriorate to the point of street protests isn't worthy of the title "leader"...

By Yash Gupta | February 22, 2011; 10:22 AM ET | Comments (7)

It's not smart to act as though you're indispensable

The longstanding culture can't be altered overnight, even if many new faces are added. The same old boss will be running the show...

By Yash Gupta | February 1, 2011; 02:11 PM ET | Comments (1)

We need more Joseph Welch moments

Some of the louder voices in our society these days seem to believe that extremely bitter criticism of the government equates with the deepest patriotism. That's not necessarily the case...

By Yash Gupta | January 11, 2011; 11:47 AM ET | Comments (2)

Obama's authority is suffering

The president looks bad for making sacrifices and gestures, as with the federal wage freeze, and getting nothing in return from the Republicans. All he got was the back of their hand. Who knows. Maybe this will be the slap that...

By Yash Gupta | December 7, 2010; 10:13 AM ET | Comments (7)

Too big to U-turn

A company is asking for trouble when it becomes so big, when its profits are so great, that it believes it can do no wrong. GM's woes are the woes of a company that stopped scanning the landscape to see how the industry could be changing, a company that stuck to the same old formula for success and neglected true innovation, a company that forgot that what worked yesterday won't necessarily work today...

By Yash Gupta | November 15, 2010; 03:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

Dems need new blood

If the Democrats' congressional leadership is unchanged after the party has taken such a hit, it might well create the additional problem of discouraging frank and open conversation about the necessary changes that the Democrats must consider. They just can't stick to the same old recipe...

By Yash Gupta | November 9, 2010; 02:58 PM ET | Comments (3)

The people have spoken--listen and speak back

I thought it was telling that President Obama went on Jon Stewart's show last week and complained that the public wasn't aware of everything his administration has accomplished. Who exactly is to blame for that? The president and his team, who have let their opponents define them. He's a master orator, but he needs to do a better job of communicating empathy and understanding where the problems of Main Street Americans are...

By Yash Gupta | November 2, 2010; 11:08 AM ET | Comments (11)

Christie is taking a short-sighted approach

Governor Christie may deserve credit for addressing New Jersey's budget problems, and he may be scoring points in certain quarters with his various cuts. However, he appears to be taking a short-sighted approach that could cause his state harm in the long run. Consider the impact on education, for example. For the leader of a state, providing a first-rate public education is virtually a moral obligation, and I can't help but...

By Yash Gupta | October 12, 2010; 04:24 PM ET | Comments (5)

Respect your advisers

President Obama has the difficult task of serving as a commander-in-chief without a military background, while working with career military people. He's not the first president in this position, of course. It just means he has to be extremely well prepared on military matters. He doesn't need to know nitty-gritty details...

By Yash Gupta | September 28, 2010; 02:26 PM ET | Comments (2)

The Tea Party reveals our leadership vacuum

The Tea Party can be viewed as a manifestation of the current anxiety and uncertainty. This sort of thing can be expected when unemployment is at nearly 10 percent, not counting

By Yash Gupta | September 21, 2010; 10:05 AM ET | Comments (2)

Obama and Fenty guilty of poor communication

Leaders are the ones who create consensus. That might sound like a contradictory phrase, but it's true; people will follow leaders who clearly explain the reasons why their proposals and programs address the public's needs and desires.

By Yash Gupta | September 14, 2010; 12:01 PM ET | Comments (6)

Becoming a leader your team is proud of

If you're a top leader, you need to understand that your words and your behavior set the tone, the culture, and the values within your organization. If you seem distant and detached, the organization will take on...

By Yash Gupta | August 31, 2010; 01:47 PM ET | Comments (0)

Defending the diversity we cherish

President Obama did the right thing in his initial comments by providing a broad overview of the issue. He essentially said: This is America, where we respect the rights of individuals, we honor the freedom to worship and the freedom to express one's views, and we revel in the diversity that has made ours a society envied the world over. The president was being fairly clear as to where he stood on the matter of the Cordoba House community center.

By Yash Gupta | August 24, 2010; 10:08 AM ET | Comments (8)

Congressmen and women need rest too

We could show these officials our appreciation by letting them enjoy their six-week holiday before they get back to the serious work at hand. Insisting they stay tied to their desks like Bob Cratchit on Christmas Eve wouldn't do them or us any good.

By Yash Gupta | August 16, 2010; 03:36 PM ET | Comments (3)

HP needs a leader who is a role model

Leadership is about being a role model for the entire organization; it's about leading your people with character, compassion, competence, and constancy of purpose. On this score, Hurd has come up empty, even if the abuse was only "modest."

By Yash Gupta | August 9, 2010; 05:05 PM ET | Comments (2)

Do the right thing even if it hurts

The president could have said, "Look, folks, this is the consequence of the dangerous way we quench our thirst for energy. This has to change, and we need to start changing now." Political success is often a matter of timing, and here the president blew a chance to create significant progress on a major issue.

By Yash Gupta | August 3, 2010; 10:32 AM ET | Comments (2)

The 'focused factory'

As Wickham Skinner wrote back in 1974, organizations should focus on a specific task and not allow themselves to become distracted by an array of goals and missions that could conflict with one another.

By Yash Gupta | July 19, 2010; 04:06 PM ET | Comments (1)

Dissension in the ranks

The President as a leader needs to let his team know he will not tolerate selfish behavior that distracts from the important work at hand.

By Yash Gupta | June 24, 2010; 10:51 AM ET | Comments (0)

Cutting to the bone doesn't help

It's the true leaders who can make a recalcitrant public understand that the short-term plan isn't always in the nation's best interests.

By Yash Gupta | June 22, 2010; 12:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

The least-valuable-player award

A president must demonstrate that he appreciates people's problems and predicaments, that he is, in fact, one of us.

By Yash Gupta | June 15, 2010; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Seed planters not bean counters

The wise entrepreneurs know when to exit.

By Yash Gupta | June 8, 2010; 12:10 PM ET | Comments (4)

Cutting wisely

By cutting equally across the board, you might be trimming some fat, but you're also likely harming programs that are doing well and are deserving of more support, not less.

By Yash Gupta | May 25, 2010; 12:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

The test of a meritocracy

Our university system should be a point of pride for us. The American system works because we believe in merit.

By Yash Gupta | May 18, 2010; 10:26 AM ET | Comments (1)

Caring for society

A justice has to care about the law, but I think a justice also must care about society. Ms. Kagan's background in academia speaks to this requirement.

By Yash Gupta | May 11, 2010; 02:34 PM ET | Comments (0)

Time for a real energy policy

I realize that a tax increase would be unacceptable to many people, but serious thought must be given to an enhanced tax on gasoline.

By Yash Gupta | May 4, 2010; 10:39 AM ET | Comments (4)

Shortsighted leadership

I don't see Gov. Jan Brewer's action as a matter of boldness. It's simply a wrong action.

By Yash Gupta | April 30, 2010; 11:14 AM ET | Comments (67)

Rising to the occasion

Leadership is as much about symbolism as about anything else. By taking part in these test flights, the CEOs of British Airways and KLM are letting passengers know that they are confident that air travel is safe again.

By Yash Gupta | April 20, 2010; 10:43 AM ET | Comments (1)

The duty of leaders

This level of ignorance is, in itself, a high-risk problem, making it that much tougher - and that much more urgent - for our leaders to guide the way toward a threat-free future.

By Yash Gupta | April 13, 2010; 12:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

A matter of trust

"That's something the best leaders do - show humility and appreciation for the fact that success is a collaborative thing."

By Yash Gupta | April 6, 2010; 03:27 PM ET | Comments (0)

Myopic move from the 'party of no'

The Social Security, Civil Rights, and Medicare acts were all strenuously opposed and lambasted as catastrophes in the making. Fortunately, fearful opposition didn't stop their passage.

By Yash Gupta | March 23, 2010; 10:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

The price of missed opportunity

Health-care has been an unnecessarily difficult struggle, providing fodder for Obama's opponents as the midterm elections draw nearer.

By Yash Gupta | March 18, 2010; 02:44 PM ET | Comments (2)

Right to reprimand

The message should be that we will always stand by our allies, but we will let them know when their behavior falls short of what we expect.

By Yash Gupta | March 16, 2010; 11:57 AM ET | Comments (25)

Socially conscious movies

Like a good leader, a good movie is always educating.

By Yash Gupta | March 9, 2010; 10:53 AM ET | Comments (0)

Who's running the show?

Take JFK in the Cuban Missile Crisis as a model: He met often with his advisers but left no doubt he was making the decisions.

By Yash Gupta | March 5, 2010; 12:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

Quit in public

The president would do well to say, "Look, I smoke now and then, but I know it's unhealthy, and I'm working hard to quit."

By Yash Gupta | March 2, 2010; 10:56 AM ET | Comments (0)

Out of step for Canada

The goal of dominating the Olympics doesn't match the usual style of our neighbors to the north.

By Yash Gupta | February 25, 2010; 03:47 PM ET | Comments (21)

Patriotic imperative

Creating consensus is one of the main roles of a leader, and centrist citizens care more about substance than slogans.

By Yash Gupta | February 23, 2010; 11:29 AM ET | Comments (2)

The darkness in our spirits

The key element of any good leader is a passion for putting the needs and concerns of other people before their own.

By Yash Gupta | February 19, 2010; 10:43 AM ET | Comments (0)

Leadership, not lawyer-ship

Eric Holder should have considered the political issue from the beginning.

By Yash Gupta | February 16, 2010; 10:11 AM ET | Comments (3)

Something-for-nothing culture

Americans have a proud history of sacrifice in times of hardship. I believe we can do it again if President Obama can inspire us to do so.

By Yash Gupta | February 2, 2010; 02:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Right brain, left brain

If you're aiming for the level of success Apple has enjoyed, you need the kind of synergy its leaders have created between the creative and business sides of the company.

By Yash Gupta | January 29, 2010; 01:32 PM ET | Comments (1)

'Jobs, jobs and more jobs'

President Obama has to get back to what he did so well on the campaign trail: demonstrating in plain language that he understands people's difficulties.

By Yash Gupta | January 26, 2010; 03:35 PM ET | Comments (1)

A poor communicator

Until he does a better job of communicating his message, Obama is going to have difficulty influencing the right people in Washington.

By Yash Gupta | January 20, 2010; 10:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

Our true face

Our country shows its true face whenever we respond - anywhere, anytime, and with overflowing generosity - to catastrophic events like the earthquake in Haiti.

By Yash Gupta | January 16, 2010; 05:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Theater we can't afford

We need to work together instead of adding to an already-contentious atmosphere by turning Harry Reid's unfortunate choice of words into political theater.

By Yash Gupta | January 12, 2010; 11:43 AM ET | Comments (4)

Don't forget hope

People need to feel that the corner will be turned and that conditions won't always be so difficult.

By Yash Gupta | January 5, 2010; 09:06 AM ET | Comments (0)

A bad year for leadership

Fear-mongering Republicans, a president who fires a CEO, and greedy bonus-seeking executives -- Let's hope we'll see better leadership in 2010.

By Yash Gupta | December 16, 2009; 11:53 AM ET | Comments (1)

'Be like Tiger?'

For the "CEO of golf" or any other leader who is famous and highly regarded, transparency is crucial. He has to say everything that needs saying, and it must be in public, not on a Web site.

By Yash Gupta | December 8, 2009; 02:49 PM ET | Comments (26)

Karzai's feet to the fire

The U.S. has had a bad habit of betting on the wrong horse, whether in the Philippines or Panama or Iran. Even Saddam Hussein was once our friend.

By Yash Gupta | December 7, 2009; 02:14 PM ET | Comments (0)

Sealing grand alliances

A White House state dinner conveys enormous symbolism and skilled presidents like FDR have used them to seal important alliances.

By Yash Gupta | November 24, 2009; 11:26 AM ET | Comments (5)

Dividends of giving

Stock price mostly indicates past performance; it might not indicate where a company is going. Philanthropy, on the other hand, is very much about the future.

By Yash Gupta | November 17, 2009; 10:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

A poor salesman

President Obama has not taken a strong leadership role on health care; he didn't use his bully pulpit to spell out clearly why the nation needs this reform.

By Yash Gupta | November 11, 2009; 11:06 AM ET | Comments (49)

Pundits and politicians

We know that the Wall Street barons and the polarizing politicians and the shouting cable pundits do not represent the best of this nation.

By Yash Gupta | November 3, 2009; 10:12 AM ET | Comments (1)

Bad call

Having been stripped of some of authority as head coach, Jim Zorn will lose the ability to inspire success -- a quality the Redskins sorely need this season.

By Yash Gupta | October 27, 2009; 11:50 AM ET | Comments (11)

Made in the U.S.A.

Capt. Sullenberger didn't just elevate the public's opinion of the airline industry; he also restored pride in the skill of American workers.

By Yash Gupta | October 20, 2009; 11:04 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Confluence of Traits

If you were giving out a prize for leadership, the likely recipient would be someone who possesses not just one outstanding quality but a confluence of strong traits.

By Yash Gupta | October 12, 2009; 09:53 PM ET | Comments (0)

A Bad Rap

I know of leaders who rely too heavily on e-mail and phone calls, and they do so at the risk of becoming aloof and disconnected from their employees.

By Yash Gupta | October 6, 2009; 03:32 PM ET | Comments (2)

The Hollow Language of Sanctions

We've had sanctions against the Castro regime for 50 years, and Castro remains in power, in part because the U.S. is alone in imposing sanctions.

By Yash Gupta | September 30, 2009; 09:49 AM ET | Comments (4)

Society Before Shareprice

Wall Street has a lesson to learn from its neglect of the big picture. Now it's up to the government to ensure that there is transparency on Wall Street.

By Yash Gupta | September 16, 2009; 06:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

Nation First

The president will suffer a hit over this episode, but the greater concern is that the national agenda is sidetracked

By Yash Gupta | September 9, 2009; 04:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

Cynical, Angry, and Argumentative

Senator Kennedy showed that civility is possible even in our highly contentious era. We have to hope more politicians follow his example.

By Yash Gupta | September 1, 2009; 11:44 AM ET | Comments (1)

An Example Sorely Lacking

Kennedy's ability, even his willingness, to collaborate with members of the opposing party set an example that is sorely lacking in Washington today.

By Yash Gupta | August 28, 2009; 11:41 AM ET | Comments (1)

Time for Plain Talk

We can't have a repeat of the mistakes made in Vietnam and Iraq, when our leaders were unable or unwilling to fully explain why we got in and how we would get out.

By Yash Gupta | August 25, 2009; 11:06 AM ET | Comments (0)

Wistful for W.'s Resolve

Whether or not you liked George W. Bush, you have to concede that he often showed resolve. You don't see a lot of resolve in President Obama when he speaks about policies.

By Yash Gupta | August 18, 2009; 01:05 PM ET | Comments (53)

Effectiveness, Not Exhaustion

Leaders need to free themselves periodically from work and associated stresses, and no one is too important to take a vacation.

By Yash Gupta | August 11, 2009; 12:31 PM ET | Comments (2)

Opportunity Still Ahead

President Obama has set the stage. We must determine that we will no longer accept that only 10 percent of African American and Hispanic students who enter 9th grade graduate from college and the many other racial disparities in our society today.

By Yash Gupta | August 4, 2009; 11:37 AM ET | Comments (0)

Explain the Economics

Obama has allowed his opponents to frame the debate with stories about long waits for care and terms such as "socialized medicine." To gain the upper hand, the president must spell out a positive, big-picture vision that shows how reform would benefit society as a whole.

By Yash Gupta | July 28, 2009; 10:51 AM ET | Comments (2)

Money from Taxpayers' Pockets

The response of these companies' leaders has to begin with transparency. They should promptly volunteer information about how they're making their profits and how they plan to use them.

By Yash Gupta | July 20, 2009; 02:28 PM ET | Comments (1)

Be Our Moral Compass

The president must take this opportunity to assure the people that nobody is above the law in this country - no individual, no agency, no one.

By Yash Gupta | July 14, 2009; 07:21 AM ET | Comments (12)

Palin's Land of Opportunity

While Palin's chances for a political future might be damaged, they aren't ruined.

By Yash Gupta | July 8, 2009; 04:57 PM ET | Comments (1)

Forgiveness Is Beside the Point

Forgiveness is beside the point here. Once a leader has done something to shatter the trust of the people he leads, he can't get it back.

By Yash Gupta | June 30, 2009; 11:22 AM ET | Comments (9)

Jobs Acted Properly

In the case of Steve Jobs and his medical problems, greater transparency could have had an extremely negative impact. Why make a somber medical announcement and risk upsetting the apple cart?

By Yash Gupta | June 23, 2009; 01:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Spirituality of Team Work

Jackson has always been committed to the idea that people who work together can accomplish much more than individuals seeking their own personal glory, something he may have learned from his parents, who were pastors.

By Yash Gupta | June 15, 2009; 02:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

Built on Experience

Background, beliefs, and aspirations help form the character of a leader. By sharing personal history, leaders such as President Obama and Judge Sotomayor reveal their humanity.

By Yash Gupta | June 9, 2009; 06:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

Avoiding the Technical

The government should express its broad desires to see new models that are more fuel-efficient, more environmentally friendly and more in line with the kind of vehicle that fits our future.

By Yash Gupta | June 2, 2009; 10:50 AM ET | Comments (0)

Changing Times, Changing Leaders

Board members must always bear in mind why they hired a particular CEO. If the objectives have changed, if the reasons for hiring the CEO no longer apply, then it's probably time for a new chief executive.

By Yash Gupta | May 26, 2009; 04:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

Legal Leadership

The best jurists are able to consider different points of view as opposed to working from an agenda.

By Yash Gupta | May 19, 2009; 10:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

Attacks, Not Advice

To criticize your successor in public is to deny him the opportunity to do his job as he sees fit. It also comes across as sour grapes.

By Yash Gupta | May 12, 2009; 10:25 AM ET | Comments (13)

Heavy-Handed Management

You simply can't beat up on people in contract negotiations and then expect them to feel good about working for you after the dust has settled.

By Yash Gupta | May 6, 2009; 10:26 AM ET | Comments (0)

Test of Leadership

Communicating during a potential pandemic is the ultimate exercise in crisis management and a great test of leadership. A leader has to strike the perfect balance in tone - cautious but not alarmist.

By Yash Gupta | April 28, 2009; 09:26 AM ET | Comments (0)

Last in Line for Reward

Personal sacrifice is the currency of leadership, as George Washington, Lincoln, Gandhi, King -- and now Capt. Phillips -- have shown us. Who doesn't get that message? CEOs who took bonuses while their employees suffered.

By Yash Gupta | April 14, 2009; 09:32 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Power of Goodwill

Our security, economy, and influence in the world depend on good relations with allies. This is Obama's chance to re-establish the notion that the U.S. president is still the leader of the free world.

By Yash Gupta | April 6, 2009; 02:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

Why was Wagoner Fired?

The president has yet to articulate how things are going to be better with Rick Wagoner out and a new executive in.

By Yash Gupta | March 30, 2009; 05:54 PM ET | Comments (12)

Cool the Anger, Negotiate with Congress

Leaders often must be educators, and President Obama needs to educate the public. Better decisions are made when they aren't based on the kind of overheated emotion we're seeing.

By Yash Gupta | March 23, 2009; 10:45 AM ET | Comments (1)

Pay Cuts: More Than Just a Gesture

A pay cut has the symbolic value of showing that a leader cares about the hardships of those hurting from the economic recession.

By Yash Gupta | March 16, 2009; 10:18 AM ET | Comments (0)

More Holistic Thinking?

It's not unreasonable to make the case that women managers might have handled the Wall Street meltdown in a different, more effective way, but the focus should be on having the best minds, and that means women AND men.

By Yash Gupta | March 9, 2009; 12:04 PM ET | Comments (1)

Man on the Moon

Just as JFK could convince a janitor to work toward putting a man on the moon, so Obama must define health care reform as an important challenge.

By Yash Gupta | March 2, 2009; 04:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

An Urgent Goal

When the stakes are high -- as during the Civil War, today's recession or the situation in Israel and Palestine -- the need to unite far outweighs the need for any person to put forth his or her individual policy.

By Yash Gupta | February 23, 2009; 10:08 AM ET | Comments (0)

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 Danger in Layoffs

The desperation to reduce payroll can replace rational thinking, but arbitrary layoffs can mean losing good workers who are essential to the survival of the company.

By Yash Gupta | February 10, 2009; 10:29 AM ET | Comments (1)

Something For Nothing

Any rational person can see that these bonuses for senior managers have nothing to do with either rewarding stellar performance or trying to avoid the loss of exceptional talent.

By Yash Gupta | February 3, 2009; 02:57 PM ET | Comments (1)

Defining Life Experiences

Don't be fooled by a person's short resume: He or she still might have made many career and life choices that show commitment, understanding and a capacity to learn, grow and lead.

By Yash Gupta | January 26, 2009; 02:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

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