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Don’t Take the Wrong Paths to Power | LinkedIn

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I'm thinking about points 4 and 5:

4) Seeking power isn’t bad — ruthlessness is. The ruthless pursuit of power violates a core principle of ethics: Kant’s Categorical Imperative. As Kant put it, "Act only on that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law." In other words, don’t do it yourself if you don’t want everyone else to follow your example. A benighted self-interest is toxic; an enlightened one is empowering.

5) You can’t get rid of every scorpion, but you can avoid them. It’s one thing to teach young leaders that power-mad scorpions exist in the business world (they do) but it’s another to teach them to become scorpions. It is good to know how to deal with them, but even better to steer clear of dangerous situations, and leave those who would sting you to deal with their own kind.

Altruistic groups beat selfisg groups:

Evolutionary biologists have a thought experiment for the relative power of selfishness versus generosity: two groups are placed on separate islands with no way to communicate. On one island, it’s everyone for himself. On the other, everyone works together to achieve broader goals. Wait a few hundred years, and you’ll find two very different societies – one in a state of constant, near-psychopathic conflict, the other successful and harmonious. As the biologists concluded, “Selfishness beats altruism within groups. Altruistic groups beat selfish groups. Everything else is commentary.”

"Success doesn’t come from stepping on toes and hustling behind backs, but from stepping up, and having peoples’ backs."

~ Chairman of JetBlue

Another world-class thumping of an observational theorist (Stanford Business Professor, Jeffrey Pfeffer) by an alumnus practitioner (Joel Peterson, Chairman, JetBlue Airways, Stanford Business School) in the precise topic area the theorist writes a book about.  

Even though Jeffrey the theorist can also be credited as being world-class good at what he does--being a corner man to young students, teaching classes and writing books--it's not a good idea to piss off those grizzled veterans in the ring, as Joel's LinkedIn post in a one-two-three-lights-out flurry of ripostes proves.

It's an amusing stereotype of contempt that continually emerges between observer theorists and what they say people are doing, or should do better, in a field or profession and what veteran people doing well in the trenches are actually doing.  

The most likely reasons I can surmise as to why the disconnect between explicit theory and tacit practice persists, from my own practitioner's bench, are:

1. Great practitioners in their prime are just too busy doing the things they can do well and simply don't have the time to write a book about it; and/or

2. Great practitioners don't always know exactly how they're great and/or it's hard for them to verbally communicate what they know in their bones out of context to a generic audience--teaching is its own practitioner art and skill.

Any and all theorists are welcome to chime in and offer rebuttal here...

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