Power Plays: Shakespeare's Lessons in Leadership and Management

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Simon & Schuster, 2000 - Business & Economics - 316 pages
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What can Shakespeare teach us about effective leadership? Everything, according to John Whitney, former president of Pathmark Supermarkets and now a leading professor at Columbia Business School, and Tina Packer, founder, president, and artistic director of the critically acclaimed theater group Shakespeare & Company. Whether we are dealing with an indecisive Hamlet or a corporate Lear, this innovative approach to management helps us tap the timeless wisdom and profitable genius of the Bard. The issues fueling the intricate plots of Shakespeare's 400-year-old plays are the same common yet complex issues that business leaders contend with today. And, as Whitney and Packer so convincingly demonstrate, no one but the Bard himself can penetrate the secrets of leadership with such piercing brilliance. Let him instruct you on the issues that managers face every day: POWER: Who wants it, who has it, who lost it? Richard II's fall from power can enlighten us, as can Jamie Dimon, who lost out at Citigroup, or Gary Wendt,who was asked to resign as CEO of GE Capital. COMMUNICATION: Shakespeare wrote, "All the world's a stage," and no writer has a deeper grasp of the power of performance. Leadership is theater. Learn how to feel comfortable in the leadership role and communicate effectively. TRUST: Every leader needs to know whom to trust, why, and how to earn trust. Draw on the experiences of King Lear and Othello, as well as John Sculley when he lost at Apple Computer. DECISION: Understand what causes one to falter or "freeze up" when making crucial decisions. Hamlet illustrates the do's and don'ts of decision making. ACTION: Decision without action is useless. See why Henry IV and Jack Welch from GE were effectiveand why Richard II, Henry VI, and Robert Allen from AT&T were not when it came down to putting ideas into action. HIERARCHY: When a leader enters or takes over an existing group, this inherently invites conflict. Explore Henry IV and see the parallels that can be drawn for every leader, manager, or follower who is promoted or transferred or has changed companies. Know where the pitfalls lie in these situations and learn how to avoid them. WOMEN IN MANAGEMENT: A look at Rosalind's success in As You Like It and Desdemona's failure in Othello will help you to understand what women uniquely offer and what it takes for women to succeed in business. John Whitney and Tina Packer do not simply compare Shakespeare's plays with management techniques, but rather draw on their own wealth of business experience to show us how these essential Shakespearean lessons can be applied to modern-day challenges. Power Plays infuses the world of business with new life -- and plenty of drama.

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Contents

Prologue
11
Power Is a Freighted Idea
23
Uneasy Lies the Head That Wears a Crown
55
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

John O. Whitney, the director of the W. Edwards Deming Center for Quality Management and a professor at Columbia Business School, has served as CEO, COO, and director of several publicly held companies, large and small, and has distinguished himself in both management and academia as an expert on corporate transformations and turnarounds. Before joining Columbia Business School, he was on the faculty of the Harvard Business School. He was named by Business Week's "Guide to the Best Business Schools" as Columbia Business School's most outstanding professor, and was singled out by Business Week as one of the ten most sought-after professors in executive education. In addition to his course on Shakespeare and Leadership at Columbia, he uses Shakespeare as a leadership model in his popular executive seminars. Whitney has been a regular on CNNfn and CNN and is interviewed frequently on CNBC and other news networks. He lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

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