A CEO’s epitaph

There is no prouder boast, but also no better prescription, for executive leadership than the words Andrew Carnegie, the father of the U.S. steel industry, chose for his own tombstone: “Here lies a man who knew how to bring into his service men better than he was himself.”

Amen.

This epitaph captures succinctly so much of leadership: the ability to articulate a vision and convince others of the importance of that mission; the self awareness of knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses; the desire to be the dumbest guy in the room; and the capacity to build and maintain those relationships during a life’s work.

Carnegie’s noble idea of leadership is one that every manager, founder and VC can aspire to. But it all starts with humility.

NB: first paragraph paraphrased from the Effective Executive

09 January 2013

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