It's a few minutes before my two day "Leadership" class is to begin. I am sitting in the cafeteria here in Haifa drinking bad coffee. Some have asked me "why another leadership class?". Besides the fact that this company seems to love training and especially the compulsory training of managers, I think these classes are worthwhile. Firstly, and most importantly, it gives us an opportunity to meet others with similar roles in this huge company. These personal connections are what really matter. We once, in the old GraphTech days, tried to do some deals using "intermediates" (I think they were more like arms traders, you know they type, selling obsolete tanks to both sides). They wanted us to leave the room when it came to negotiating prices with the customer. "Horses are sold by four eyes" was their saying (sounds infinitely better in Hebrew). No matter how big the company or how important your role, it seems it's the personal connections that gets the job done.
So that's one reason. The other is that even though I don't believe you can really teach leadership, you can help channel it in the right direction. I have always been fascinated by how huge enterprises figure out how to get everyone on the same page. It seems one way is to keep reinforcing the direction and values at every level. This is done through mandatory courses taken by all and constantly reminding employees where we are headed and what is important through channeled communication. Getting the "leadership" plugged in just helps.
Anyway, it's a beautiful spring day and the view of the dark blue Mediterranean is calming. The drive here was peaceful listening to Christopher Hitchen's collection of essays "Arguably". Excellent stuff.
St George's Park fountain
12 hours ago