A New Vision of Leadership

Last Updated Jul 23, 2008 2:18 PM EDT

In a move that's either completely self-aggrandizing or wildly enthusiastic, Tom Peters gives two thumbs up all by himself to Leadership the Hard Way, by Dov Frohman. Leadership the Hard Way Either way, it's obvious from his post, Believe It or Not: An Original Take on Leadership that he likes the book, which he calls "truly original" and says "every idea in the book performed that most valuable of services: challenged my long-held and thence hard-and-fast views."

Frohman started Intel Israel, and Peters credits him with being the force behind Israel's potent high-tech sector.

Most of the post looks at two assertions that astonish Peters:

"the leader-manager must free up no less than 50% of his-her time from routine tasks," and Frohman's depiction of what he calls "the discipline of daydreaming."

Both come from a chapter called the Soft Skills of Hard Leadership. Frohman seems to like paradoxes -- the book's subtitle is "Why Leadership Can't Be Taught -- And How You Can Learn It Anyway."

For those who'd like to see a bit of that hard leadership in action, a different chapter, Leadership under Fire, is online. It focuses on Frohman's decision not to close down Intel Israel during the First Gulf War, despite the Israeli Civil Defense authority's command that all non-essential businesses shut down. Frohman makes the hard call to keep the fab up and running anyway, and talks about how he came to that decision and got management and employee cooperation. His mantra of "Scud business as usual" seems almost humorous, which at the time was probably helpful.

Anyone else read the book and have an opinion?
  • Michael Fitzgerald

    Michael Fitzgerald writes about innovation and other big ideas in business for publications like the New York Times, The Economist, Fast Company, Inc. and CIO. He’s worked as a writer or editor at Red Herring, ZDNet, TechTV and Computerworld, and has received numerous awards as a writer and editor. Most recently, his piece on the hacker collective the l0pht won the 2008 award for best trade piece from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. He was also a 2007 Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellow in Science and Religion.