What Mikhail #Gorbachev Taught Me About #Leadership



In the mid-2000s I had the opportunity to see Mikhail Gorbachev speak in person at an industry conference… yes, that Mikhail Gorbachev, last leader of the Soviet Union:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Gorbachev  It was an interesting and enlightening speech on various topics of those times.  However, he made a very potent and timeless point on leadership.

Gorbachev and Leadership

Mikhail Gorbachev giving a speech during his time as leader of the Soviet Union.

Sheets of Paper

Very simply, he asked the audience (in Russian, as he does not speak English) to take some of the paper that had been distributed ahead of time and write down questions for him.  His assistants would get them to him and he would answer some of the questions during his speech as time allowed.  This he did to great affect.  He was succinct, to the point and opinionated, which was exactly what I expected him to be.  Obviously, he could not answer all of the questions as there were about five hundred attendees and he noted that as he ended his speech.

Listening and Leadership

He then made a statement that caught my attention.  He boasted (I cannot think of a better word for his tone) that he most likely knew more about what the people, he emphasized, were worried about.  He said he did so, because he asked for questions from the audience in all of his speeches around the world and he read every single one.  He always answered some during the speech, but afterwards he would go through all of the papers, look for themes, understand what people were wondering about, what concerns they had and what they wanted him to talk about.  So, he said, more so than most of the leaders in the world, he knew what people were thinking about because he listened.  He felt that was a great benefit to him and he wished that more leaders in the world would do just that: take a little extra time to listen.

#Starbucks #Google Wifi is Amazing!


Ok, I have a confession to make here, I totally missed this news from last summer (July 2013): http://www.cnet.com/news/at-starbucks-at-t-is-out-and-google-is-in-for-wi-fi/

Perhaps the reason is that at time, I was at a Fortune 500 and had a cubicle to go to every day.  Now, however, I have the distinct advantage of being able to work remotely.. so, I try out different locations.  Yes, I have an office and an office at home, but enjoy trying out different places to work.  I have shied away from many Starbucks locations as they have proven to be busy and loud.  Sometimes that’s good.. sometimes not.

So a new Starbucks had popped up on one my routes to go from the office to pick up my kids from school (another huge advantage of my current work environment) and with some extra time before the school day ended, I stopped in.

This location sports the new Google WiFi.  Wow.  I could tell the bandwidth difference immediately.  Fast.  Really fast.  I decided to run my favorite free online bandwidth tester at www.speedtest.net.  The results were:

Ping: 171ms
Download: 24.68Mbps
Upload: 7.42Mbps

So… I may end up hanging out at Starbucks to work a little more frequently in the future.  Nice work Starbucks…