E219: Dr. Warren Bennis on This Week in Startups





about this episode

Click here to stream the audio version of Part I of this episode.
Click here to stream the video version of Part I of this episode.

Click here to stream the audio version of Part II of this episode.
Click here to stream the video version of Part II of this episode. 

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TWiST was thrilled to welcome the man who literally wrote the book on leadership, Dr. Warren Bennis. In a wide-ranging interview spanning from Warren’s days in the service to his current work as an author, Jason and Warren had a candid discussion on what makes a leader great–and what happens when great leaders fail.

This episode is split into two parts. Part I is the video above. Part II can be found here.

Part I
0:00-1:15 Welcome to the program. Today we have the legendary leader Dr. Warren Bennis with us.
1:15-2:30 Dr. Bennis has been writing about leadership for longer than some of our other guests have been alive.
2:30-3:00 You are a serial author, yes?
3:00-5:00 Warren: My favorite author on leadership is William Shakespeare.
5:45-11:30 Thank you to SurveyMonkey for sponsoring the show. Everyone remember to thank them @SurveyMonkey.
11:30-12:15 Does a leader have to have had multiple previous successes for people to consider them a leader?
12:15-14:00 Warren leads an exercise in leadership role play: Jason’s a young entrepreneur with an MBA and Warren is interviewing him.
15:45-18:30 Is leadership something that can be taught?
18:30-19:30 “The key is finding meaning and purpose to matter what your role or job.”
19:30-20:45 “Entrepreneurs are the authors of their own lives.”
20:45-22:15 “Leadership means you don’t get to say ‘I don’t feel like it.'”
22:15-22:45 How does a leader push forward when they don’t things will necessarily end so well?
22:45-24:45 “The first task of a leader is to define reality.”
24:45-26:15 Some people say to be an entrepreneur you have to be delusional, to a certain extent. Is that true?
26:15-29:45 “I’d rather think of it as bold and risk-prone as opposed to delusional.”
29:45-32:45 Let’s talk about flaws in leadership. Do you have to be a jerk to be successful?
32:45-34:30 How do you get five great leaders to become a great team? Are leaders generally not good followers?
34:30-35:30 “The qualities that made you a good follower are what will enable you to become a good leader.”
35:30-39:00 Warren discusses Bob Townsend and his work as a writer and leader at Avis.
39:00-40:15 Warren discusses the characteristics that have helped him in his career, the chief of which he believes is his capacity of engage others.
40:15-42:00 We’ve seen a tremendous lack of leadership in this country. Why do you think this is?
42:00-44:00 Warren explains why his pick for leader of the year for 2011 was Angela Merkel.
44:00-45:45 Discussion of Obama’s failures as a leader (“no sounds bites”) and the lessons to take from that.

Part II
0:00-9:00 What was the most memorable experience you had as a solider? (Warren recounts when he became a platoon leader in the war and how he established himself as someone who stood with his men.)
9:00-12:15 Thank you to MailChimp for sponsoring the show. Everyone remember to thank them @MailChimp.
12:15-13:45 Did you regret your position when you realized the risk you were taking?
13:45-14:45 Warren: Is that your job, Jason, to make people interesting?
14:45-17:45 Warren discusses examples of leaders who mastered the art of listening (Ghandi and Falstaff).
17:45-20:15 The lesson of Larry Summers, the youngest tenured professor at Harvard, who was a failure as president of the university.
20:15-21:15 Warren relates a conversation he once had with Howard Schultz who said that his goal was to have 2000 Starbucks locations by the year 2000.
21:15-24:15 Do the leaders you’ve met have a certain paranoia about being blindsided by competition?
24:15-28:00 What do people need to remember if they want to be a great leader? (Hint: you have to want it very, very much.)
28:00-29:00 Is it worth all the personal sacrifice to become a leader?
29:00-30:00 “Never appoint someone who to a position of power who can’t live without it.”–George Schultz
30:00-31:00 Warren’s parting thought: The painter Goya has a work that depicts an old man forging ahead with the caption, “I am still learning.”
31:00-31:30 Dr. Bennis, thank you so much for joining us today. We’ll see you all next time.

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1 Comment

  • “Will they come if you call them,” I don’t know why I’ve been thinking about this phrase so much, but it’s really inspiring. Anyone can call to their troops, but will they come if you call them.

    Very slow, but great interview!

    Chief Editor of CoolDudeStuff

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