A Leader's Perspective

Leadership Tom Watson Jr. was, by all accounts, a visionary leader.

As President of IBM from 1952 to 1971, he was instrumental in the information revolution and the development of the modern computer. He also served as the president of the Boy Scouts of America and as the US Ambassador to the Soviet Union. He was an avid pilot and sailor as well.

His remarkable vision, however, extended beyond the spheres of business, politics, and adventure. He also had vision when it came to people:

As the story goes, A young executive was once summoned to Watson’s office after making multiple poor decisions that had cost IBM millions of dollars. As he entered Watson’s office, the young executive said, “I suppose after that set of mistakes you will want to fire me.”

“Not at all,” Watson replied, “we have just spent a couple of million dollars educating you!”

We often hear of great leaders who look into a situation, an industry, or a market and see something that no one else sees—then forge a way to bring it about. Exceptional leaders apply that vision to their people as well, peering into them, seeing what’s possible, and finding a way to realize it.

How have you been affected by a leader?

3 thoughts on “A Leader's Perspective”

  1. Great point Geoffrey! Leaders need to use their vision to peer deep into their people. To understand their values, their strengths, and their weaknesses and to help them get closer to achieving their purpose in life.

    Interestingly, what visionary leaders may truly excel at is knowledge (vision) of self. That ultimately is what helps them connect with others and to see the world a little more clearly than most.

  2. I couldn’t agree more, Danilo. You’ve got to get to know yourself before you can start to trust yourself—which is a natural prerequisite for others trusting you.

    Of course at some point you’ve got to get over yourself too! Ultimately, I think it’s the leaders who escape their preoccupation with themselves that can see the world most clearly.

    Thanks for sharing!

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