For much of the past quarter century, I enjoyed the extraordinary privilege of leading a large organization through a time of major change with the world's greatest leadership expert at my side—advising me, questioning me, encouraging me, and challenging me.
The friendship between Warren and me began and blossomed in Los Angeles. But Warren in some sense had always been a creature of Cambridge, Massachusetts—one who felt invigorated when breathing in its rarefied intellectual air. He relished the academic pageantry and power of that educational mecca.
Yet his curiosity would draw him to places far different from Cambridge—spiritually, geographically, or both. The rust, frost, and rugged self-reliance of Buffalo would lure him, then would Cincinnati's peculiar blend of communal spirit and proud independence. There, he began to live out his leadership theories in cauldron-like conditions and make the essential refinements to those theories that would make him unique in our time.
Warren was finally lured to Los Angeles and his academic home for his final 35 years of life, the University of Southern California. Both the city and the school were still fresh faced and a bit brash when he arrived, disinclined to bow to older traditions and enthusiastic about inventing their own new ones. Both the city and the university were stubbornly reluctant to leave the trailblazing to others.
When USC's ninth president, James Zumberge, announced his impending retirement in 1989, its board ...