Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, is the first to admit that leading a company with brilliant peers—including cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, a host of PhDs in as highly educated a work force as you will find anywhere, along with a board of equally bright individuals—creates challenges that neither have intuitively obvious answers nor is the approach to leading equals part of standard leadership and management courses and texts. A whole new approach is needed.

One of the most challenging organizations to lead is one in which many people in the organization are nominally equal to the top leader. Leaders these days need to persuade all kinds of people up and down their organizations and lead them not by the iron fist in the iron glove or any ...

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