Norman Augustine and
New York: Hyperion
Norman Augustine was CEO of Martin
Marietta, Chairman of Lockheed Martin Corporation and served on the Boards
of Procter & Gamble, Black & Decker, and Phillips Petroleum. Kenneth
Adelman is former ambassador to the U.N. and U.S. Arms Control Director.
These savvy and practical leaders use this small, clever book for a
discourse on the nature of leadership. The platform they use is that keen
observer of human natureWilliam Shakespeare.
The use of The Bard as a platform
is clever at two levels. Many of us know Shakespeares characters. But we
only know them in the context of our own vision. Looking at the same
characters through two different and highly perceptive sets of eyes is both
educational and entertaining. For example, Claudius is now perceived as an
outstanding role model for leadership during times of crisis rather than a
supreme villain who kills his brother. Shylock presents the example of
someone who lets emotion get in the way of solid business judgment and
There is a second level where the
selection of Shakespeare as a platform is both clever and useful.
Most modern books on management are
often simplistic in content and often do not deal with the complexities of
human nature. Shakespeares characters, by contrast, are complex,
contradictory, and fascinating. Yes, Claudius is the very model of a crisis
management leader. He is a very sympathetic, guilt-ridden figure. And he
also is a murderer. In the play Hamlet, the public is said to adore
the hero. Hamlet punishes the guilty at the end of the play. To get to this
point, however, he also kills the innocent. And he kills them without
remorse. How many leaders do you know where there is a chasm between public
image and private conduct?
The authors are not content to
focus on Shakespeare. At every turn, they show how their concepts are
illustrated by leaders of modern enterprises, large and small.
Ken Adelman now teaches Shakespeare
on management in Washington, D.C. I wish I could audit his course!
Laurence J. Stybel,Ed.D.