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Great Teams Have a Real or Invented Enemy

The art of war teaches us not to rely on the likelihood of the enemy's not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.

SUN TZU, Chinese Military General

Andy Grove always looks for the enemy.

Grove, an immigrant from Hungary, was one of the first employees of Intel, and he rose to become its top executive. He is credited with stewarding Intel to become one of the most successful high-tech companies in the world. Time Magazine named Grove its “Man of the Year” for 1997. In 2006, Grove gave $26 million to his alma mater, City College of New York.

Grove authored a business book titled Only the Paranoid Survive. Grove has written, “I believe that the prime responsibility of a manager is to guard constantly against other people's attacks and to inculcate this guardian attitude in the people under his or her management.”

I agree totally with Andy Grove. When I speak to groups, when I coach teamwork, I strongly emphasize the importance of having enemies—real or invented—and being on guard against their destructive potential. If you don't see an enemy out there, then you are in trouble.

I speak to financial planners and advisors from many different companies. I like to challenge them—put them on guard. As a guy in his early 50s, with a family, and someone who works hard and is fortunate to make a good living, I am a prime business ...

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