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Inside View: A Leader's Observations on Leadership by Walter F. Ulmer Jr.

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THE NEED TO BUILD, AS WELL AS OPERATE, ORGANIZATIONS

One of the few real differences between Japanese and American executives is the immediacy with which the latter demand measurable results. Americans are indeed guilty of focusing on the short term. And there may be more to it than Wall Street’s appetite for quarterly returns. The drive and impatience of the typical American executive may be as much a reflection of inadequate concepts of leadership theory as of any inherent personality traits.

I think we have a significant flaw in much of the recent literature and training on leadership. That flaw is the failure to distinguish between two fundamental dimensions of organizational leadership: “operating” and “building.” In the former, the leader ...

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