Warren Bennis is the perfect example of what you would call a business guru. He is distinguished professor of business administration and founding chairman of the Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business. He has advised four U.S. presidents and more than 150 CEOs and is author or coauthor of more than 20 books on leadership, change, and management. Rather impressive indeed!
I am currently reading the book of essays he co-authored with Gretchen M. Spreitzer and Thomas G. Cummings entitled "The Future of Leadership". Chapter One, "The Future Has No Shelf Life", authored by Bennis himself, should be on the required reading list of any manager. This is a piece in which Bennis asks simple but powerful questions that concern us all. Witness his remarks:
"Somehow I believe that the search for balance, though deeply felt and not to be dismissed, is chimerical. We just don't do one thing at a time anymore. We multitask in the car, with a latte, with a phone, a fax machine...and we floss."
Worse, now we blog too...
What about this?:
"How do we keep our eyes and ears open to nascent and potential disruptive inflection points? How much does sheer luck play a part or are executives just not up to the warp speed nature of change and if so, why? Or wjy is it that we're witnessing this tsunami of senior executive churning?"
Working 24/7, like a dog, will inevitably lead you to the litmus question: After all, is this all there is?
This question is indeed the one that you should pay attention to, especially if you intend to buy some Google shares when its much talked about IPO will be up and running
Here is what Bennis says about the effects its planned IPO may have on Google: "The IPO will no doubt roil Google's culture. If, as predicted, the IPO makes millionaires of 10 percent of the staff, then many will probably quit their jobs. Collegiality will be harder to sustain in a company in which some are millionaires and many more are not. As to the competitive threat that Google faces from Microsoft and Yahoo!, everything I know about Great Groups tells me that taking on some Goliath-like competitor will only energize Google's engineers.
What may be more threatening than competition to Google's long-term prospects is the relatively short half-life of Great Groups. For the most part, these intense collaborations last only as long as the project. Even obsessed geniuses burn out. Once the bomb is built, or the PC is invented, the members of the group suddenly realize that they have been working 20-hour days for a long time, and they can't remember the last time they petted the dog or ate a meal with their children. Suddenly, work that seemed like play isn't fun anymore."
In any case, if you still have a few hours to spare, do not hesitate invest them in Bennis's wisdom!