By Steve Forbes and John Prevas
Power, Ambition, Glory analyzes great leaders in history and links similarities with leaders of today. Great leaders such as Cyrus the Great, Alexander the Great, Hannibal of Carthage, Julius Caesar and Augustus bear a striking resemblance to characteristics that we see from current business leaders. The historical leader’s leadership style and results that followed give insight into effective management.
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great saw no boundaries for his conquest. While he commanded a powerful army, he used his intelligence to win wars. Rather than razing towns and enslaving the residents, Cyrus brought acceptance and integration for the local population and built city infrastructure. He was brought down by his delusion of invincibility. CEO of Cisco System, John Chambers, is much like Cyrus the Great when looking at his ability to integrate corporate cultures. Jack Welch also bears similarities in regards to allowing managerial freedom as long as they are producing.
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great showed immense leadership skills in his conquest of the ancient world. His success led him to believe he was as unstoppable as a god. His ego led to his downfall and his lack of placing a working infrastructure where he conquered cast the Greek society into chaos. Today, Jean-Marie Messier bears parallels to Alexander the Great due to his ego and his relentless taste for takeover and lack of instilling an infrastructure.
Hannibal of Carthage
Hannibal of Carthage was able to motivate and inspire his armies to accomplish feats that no one thought possible, including crossing the Alps in winter to surprise and attack Rome in their front yard. He led by example and created loyalty. Many men were loyal to him for years. Using his wit and knowledge of human psychology, he was able to win wars through his innovative strategies. His downfall came when his strategies were copied and used against him. Walt Disney has a similar ability to inspire, create innovation and loyalty amongst his employees. His leadership put Disney atop the animation world for many years.
Julius Caesar rose to lead the Romans because of his ambition, speaking ability, and political savvy. He used his political skills to form alliances and climb the ranks. It was the same ambition that caused his downfall. As dictator of Rome, he became to think of himself as their supreme ruler and a god, striking fear in all that opposed him. A number of his senators plotted and executed Caesar. In comparison, Sanford Weill took Citi to greatness through his ambition and acquisitions. He lost the confidence of his hand-picked board of directors when some of his acquisitions turned bad and he was forced to resign.
Augustus was a careful administrative leader who had the ability to provide focus and direction and instill confidence in the Roman people. He had similar political talents like his uncle, Julius Caesar, and used those to reach the highest position in Rome. This friendly and approachable leader was able to work with members of the Roman government and establish laws that created a strong infrastructure and maintained order and stability. Former GM CEO, Alfred Sloan, has a leadership style similar to Augustus. He went to great lengths to place the right people in leadership roles to establish a solid corporate infrastructure and make GM an automotive powerhouse for many years.
Power, Ambition, Glory is a lesson in leadership brought to life vividly through great leaders of our ancient past. The authors’ passion for history and leadership lessons that carry through time come together to form the solid foundation of business and history required to successfully write this book. Business people of all walks of life can benefit from the examples expressed in this quick-reading book. Author’s...