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Serve to Be Great: Leadership Lessons from a Prison, a Monastery, and a Boardroom by Matt Tenney

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Chapter 11Becoming the Ultimate Leader

There was once an emperor who wanted to become the ultimate leader. He thought that if he only knew the answers to three questions, he might become the greatest leader in history. The three questions were:

  1. What is the best time to do each thing?
  2. Who are the most important people to work with?
  3. What is the most important thing to do at all times?

The emperor issued a decree throughout the kingdom announcing that whoever could answer the questions would receive a great reward. Many who read the decree made their way to the palace immediately, with many different answers.

In reply to the first question, one person advised that the emperor make up a thorough time schedule, consecrating every hour, day, month, and year for certain tasks, and then follow that schedule to the letter. Only then could he hope to do every task at the right time.

Another person replied that it was impossible to plan in advance and that the emperor should put all vain amusements aside and remain attentive to all important tasks in order to know what to do at what time.

Someone else insisted that the emperor could never hope to have all the foresight and competence necessary to decide when to do each and every task by himself. This person said that what he really needed was to set up a council of wise men and then act according to their advice.

Someone else said that certain matters required an immediate decision and could not wait for consultation, but if he wanted ...

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