Tomorrow I have to make a short presentation on as my assignment for the Leadership course. Here is what it’ll be:
I read this story when I was eleven or twelve. I have tried to live its essence ever since.
Once, Akio Morita, founder of Sony and ‘serial disrupter’ had a roaring argument with his chairman, who was also a great opera singer. Their differences went to such an extent that the chairman said, “Mr Morita, it seems we cannot agree at all. I should resign.”
Morita’s reply represents the essence of leadership to me. “Mr Chairman,” he said, “That we disagree is why neither of us should resign. Had we agreed, the company would be paying one salary too many. One of us should then leave.”
An egomaniac can take decisions; a strong man can make others follow; a cold-blooded bean counter with a little bit of luck can please the stock market.
But it takes a true leader to create the culture where team members disagree without disrespect, defer without resentment, cooperate without agreement, and dissect without blaming.
A true leader makes friends unafraid to fight, because regardless of who loses, the team wins. And perhaps nothing spurs creativity – the fusing of two existing ideas to crate a new one – as the clash of ideas.
If we live in the Knowledge Age, then creativity is the key. The team who’ll win now is the team that’s the most creative, that is, the team of fighting friends.
(The details may be slightly wrong; I haven’t reread the piece in two and a half decades. Also, I have never led, nor will I. I have, however, always argued.)