The subject of leadership is arguably among the most covered and analyzed topics of our day. But I’ve found that much of what we read, and the prescriptions given for great leadership, often leave out mention of the single most important ingredient to great leadership—and that is how leaders actually live their lives. This includes how they communicate and relate to others, how they demonstrate their values, and the ways in which they articulate and pursue their ultimate mission and vision of how they wish to be of service to others.
To learn more about true leadership in action (not just what we’re taught in books), I caught up this month with Frances Hesselbein for her unique perspective and insights, honed over many years of groundbreaking and celebrated impact. Our interview focuses on what great leadership is and also, what it is not.
One of the most highly respected experts in the field of contemporary leadership development, Frances Hesselbein is the Chairman of The Frances Hesselbein Leadership Forum at the University of Pittsburgh and the co-Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning quarterly journal, Leader to Leader. President Clinton awarded Hesselbein our country’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for her leadership as CEO of Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. from 1976–1990, as well as her service as “a pioneer for women, volunteerism, diversity and opportunity.” In 2022 she was awarded The President’s Volunteer Service Award.
The Frances Hesselbein Leadership Forum reflects the vision of a university-based center for teaching, applied research, and public service where leaders and aspiring leaders from around the world can gather to advance the art and science of leadership and put these principles to practice in public service. The Forum provides leadership development opportunities for graduate students at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, hosts a public lecture series, and publishes the award-winning journal Leader to Leader.
Hesselbein shares below her special take on leadership, mission, values and success:
Kathy Caprino:Frances, so much has been written and taught about leadership over the years, and your many books and interviews have shared your leadership insights and experiences. I’d love to know—what is your ultimate definition of great leadership, in a nutshell?
Frances Hesselbein: I have been inspired by great leaders like Abraham Lincoln and great management thinkers, such as Peter Drucker and many others. However, when I first started as the CEO of the Girl Scouts USA in 1976, I realized I could not move forward with only quoting these great leaders. I had to define leadership for myself.
Our personal definition of leadership drives what we do and why we do it. This definition is found within us. For me, “leadership is a matter of how to be, not how to do.” A great leader does not preach about their values; they live them. In the end, it is the quality and character of a leader that determines their performance and results. It is all about ethics, collaboration and transformation. Great leaders are consistent with their actions and values. We don’t voice a wonderful sentiment and then behave in an opposite way. That’s when morale, motivation and productivity go down in an organization, company or movement. A great leader is the living embodiment of their values.
Caprino: What are the 3 most important teachings we can give emerging leaders that they aren’t receiving today, that would help them make a greater positive impact?
Hesselbein: Emerging leaders should listen, have courage, and practice horizontal leadership.
Listen: In addition to listening to others, I suggest to all emerging leaders to listen carefully to the voice within themselves. It tells them where they should be going and what they should be doing. When we try to push that voice down, we waste time and effort not doing what we were called to do: lead.
Courage: We have the courage to always place the mission first, to be demographics driven and to be values based. We don’t cut corners and do just two out of the three. The mission is our reason for being. Therefore, we don’t take a project if it doesn’t further the mission no matter how nice it is. We say “thank you” and keep moving. It takes a certain courage to close one door because it doesn’t support the mission and trust that another door will open.
Horizontal leadership: It is not one leader, but many leaders contributing to the mission and values of their organization. Leaders give other people the opportunities to learn, grow and lead and are exemplary in their leadership. Horizontal leadership is more than banning the hierarchal structure. It is about leading beyond the walls and leading together to address critical needs and issues in the community.
It is also important for emerging leaders to keep in mind what “making a greater positive impact” means. The outcome we should be striving for is changing lives. Changing lives is our bottom line, not squeezing nickels. Changing lives motivates and energizes our institutions, as we are ultimately striving for “significance, not success,” as Peter Drucker would say.
Caprino: What is the worst mistake that you’re seeing leaders make and why do they make it?
Hesselbein: The worst mistake I see leaders make is abandoning the mission. Some leaders find themselves taking on projects or clients that are not aligned with the mission because of the money that is attached to it. You must always stay true to the mission. The mission is your reason for being.
Caprino: You’ve won over 25 illustrious awards including several Presidential and Lifetime achievement awards, published over 35 books, and done so much to contribute to our world of work, and have a truly unique birdseye view of leading with impact. I’m interested to know what situations or events in your early childhood and life do you think contributed most to your leadership strength and capabilities, and your confidence to lead?
Hesselbein: We all have a defining moment in our lives that helped us know what is important to us. My moment happened when I was just 8 years old. I remember I would coax my grandmother to let me play with two beautiful old Chinese vases that would sit above her pipe organ keyboard in her home, and she always said no.
Finally, on one Saturday visit, feeling very assertive, I stamped my foot at my grandmother and demanded that I be allowed to play with the vases. Instead of scolding me, my grandmother led me over to a small love seat facing the pipe organ, put her arms around me, and told me this story.
“Long ago, in this little town was a Chinese laundry man, who lived alone in his small laundry. Each week he picked up your grandfather’s shirts and brought them back in a few days, washed, starched, ironed perfectly. Mr. Yee wore traditional Chinese dress, a long tunic, a cap with his hair in a queue. When your mother was eight years old, some days she and her little sisters would come home from school crying that the bad boys were chasing Mr. Yee and calling him bad names.
The boys would tease him, calling him, ‘Chinkey, Chinkey Chinaman,’ and other unkind names, and they would try to pull his queue. One day, there was a knock on the kitchen door. When I opened it, there stood Mr. Yee, with a large package in his arms. I said, ‘Oh, Mr. Yee, please come in. Won’t you sit down?’ but Mr. Yee just stood there and handed me the package, saying, “This is for you.”
I opened the package, and in it were two beautiful old Chinese vases. I said, ‘Mr. Yee—these are too valuable. I couldn’t accept them.’ He said, ‘I want you to have them.’ I asked why. He told me, ‘Mrs. Wicks, I have been in this town for ten years and you are the only one who ever called me Mr. Yee. And now I am going back home. They won’t let me bring my wife and children here and I miss them too much, so I am going back to China. The vases are all I brought with me. I want you to have them.’ There were tears in his eyes as he said good-bye.”
In my grandmother’s arms, I cried my heart out for poor Mr. Yee. That was long ago—the defining moment when I learned respect for all people, the defining moment that would stay with me, would shape my life with passion for diversity, for inclusion.
The person who had the greatest impact upon my life, my career, and my work was my grandmother. People always expect me to talk about John W. Gardner, Peter Drucker, or Warren Bennis—all the great thought leaders who have been part of my journey. Yet from my ﬁrst consciousness of relations with other people, my grandmother has been my leadership model. She listened very carefully.
With us grandchildren at just six or seven years old, she looked into our eyes and she listened to us as though it was the most important thing she could be doing at that moment, and she never cut us off. She listened to us with total concentration and warm response and we learned to listen because we wanted to be like Mama Wicks. That kind of sensitivity and appreciation of others was a very important lesson, learned very early.
I suggest parents listen and give their children the attention they need to develop confidence. In that way, a child learns early on that what they have to say matters.
Caprino: What leaders have you seen or work with recently whom you feel truly embody ideal leadership behavior/values/principles, based on your experience?
Hesselbein: I’ve had the opportunity to work with many great leaders during my career, but recently, I’ve been most inspired by the young people I meet and work with. I continue to serve as Chairman of the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Forum, in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at my beloved University of Pittsburgh. The Forum is training the next generation of servant leaders, which is so important for ensuring our bright future.
I am also inspired by the young leaders we publish in Leader to Leader, for which I have served as Editor-in-Chief for over 25 years and which is now published by the Forum. Leaders like LaShyra “Lash” Nolen, the first Black woman elected student council president at Harvard Medical School. Lash wrote about her leadership journey in our 100th issue, which began when she was just 10 years old and is grounded in a commitment to equity, community, and social justice.
As a young woman, she has already made a profound difference in the lives of her peers and her patients, and her work demonstrates that leaders can effect change at every level. I am so inspired by her leadership.
Caprino: Frances, do you have any last words for emerging female leaders who continue to face gender bias and discrimination in their workplaces and work cultures, but will not be deterred from their ultimate leadership visions?
Hesselbein: As leaders who are women, we begin by acknowledging that we bring a special dimension to the work of our organization. Our contribution to furthering the mission is enhanced by our gender—any effective leader brings her life experience and point of view to bear.
Diversity of gender, race, culture, and background in our leadership teams strengthens and enriches our organizations. But that is not the reason we, as leaders who are women, do what we do. The mission that defines why we do what we do has no gender.
Women have something to contribute beyond gender. I never thought of myself as the woman in all my board positions (though indeed I was); rather, I knew I brought a special perspective to the deliberations and the decisions in addition to my knowledge and expertise.
Adjusting Your Creative Output With Dylan Sesco
Some people manifest their dreams, but very seldom does it pan out the way they wanted or imagined.
Dylan Sesco wanted to work on music. It started with wanting to lipsync Snoop Dogg for a school talent show, then writing his own lyrics in 6th grade.
“Oh it was bad. Really bad.”
Eventually with the accessibility of computers and programs, Dylan started making his own hip-hop beats. No longer did you need 10,000 dollars worth of studio equipment, you just needed a simple laptop. After that, a camera to start making music videos.
That led to working on projects with friends, which led to a crew of artists, which led to forming his own small label called Vertlife Entertainment with friend and fellow artist Flax.
Dylan Sesco was driven by production and crafting a brand, but still had the itch to make his own music as well. Jumping from executive producing to video production to rapper in the same session, he created an eclectic style of hip-hop based music with a stable of talent including Seaz, Ave, ItsRucka, Epacenter, Neto V and more.
You may not know those names. Infact, you probably don’t. The label didn’t amount to much.
“It still hurts sometimes. We never made it big, but I cherish those times and the art we created.”
After struggling for years, Dylan Sesco would be in his rented studio alone until the sun came up working on music that mostly never saw the light of day. He released multiple solo projects featuring all his friends, hoping it would motivate them to work as hard as he was.
It just didn’t happen. Everyone had their own lives, and this was viewed as a hobby. But not to Dylan Sesco.
The frustration led to a creative pivot. Dylan was already well versed in video production. He was the in-house video producer as well as head of the label, producer and rapper. From various music video freelance work to small documentary work, this was another passion that he had almost ignored.
In 2016, he went all in and started a new Youtube channel: The Somethin’ Or Other Tour.
Dylan Sesco (and his brother Cole) started exploring history, going to football games, and visiting pop-up museums.
“I just wanted to do something positive and motivate people to see the world. We lost a lot of peers to violence, drugs and prison. I wanted people that otherwise wouldn’t get a chance to discover the cool things the world has to offer.”
The idea that started as a hip-hop travel show has blossomed into a small time show with big time aspirations. An adventure, travel, experience show that touches on any topic you can think of.
Dylan says it has been the most rewarding creative outlet of his life. He thought his dream was music, but letting go of the stubbornness let him find his true passion. Things don’t always go as planned.
The Somethin’ Or Other Tour, or SOOT.tv, has been featured on the nightly news, ESPN, and even in a french high school textbook.
The viewership is not huge, it’s not a famous channel, but the content has depth that has touched people.
“I get so many kind words. Teachers that show my videos to their kids, people that haven’t been able to travel themselves, things like that. It feels good to be able to provide something, as little as it may be.”
“Letting go of my other dream was difficult, but necessary. It worked out. I am so much happier now.”
Let this be a lesson that sometimes our dreams aren’t set in stone, and there may be a separate, or adjacent goal that will fulfill you just the same, or even more.
You can learn more about Dylan Sesco and The Somethin’ Or Other Tour on Youtube at http://soot.tv.
Epic Copycat: MEMS Company Found Guilty of Infringement amidst Global Conference
The much-admired International Workshop on Acoustic Wave Devices for Future Communication recently took place after the pandemic. Needless to say, it went successfully and attracted many acclaimed industry experts and academic professionals. ‘Awareness about IP protection’ was one of the hot topics that were discussed at the conference.
However, things took an interesting turn when an announcement of a product originated from EPIC MEMES came under debate.
The proven copycat, EPIC MEMS, announced its self-reliance in research and development after the conference concluded. The company president proclaimed that the company has successfully developed the ‘FBAR technology.’ However, he forgot to mention the original developer Broadcom Inc., from whom they’d stolen the technology.
Dr. Rich Ruby, director of technology (FBAR & orthogonal markets) at Broadcom, made the case for his company. He shed light on how his company has acquired and developed the technology and presented solid evidence of the FBAR infringement.“I wish that I or Broadcom employees had thought of substituting Sc for Al atoms in the unit cell (and patented it),” explained Dr. Ruby. He then described how the process of patents works in the industry. “You get protection from others simply copying (or stealing) your IP and avoiding any innovation or research cost,” he clarified his stance.
Dr. Rich Ruby is a renowned name in the industry and has won several accolades for his contributions. He is well-known for his participation in the packaging of FBAR filters and duplexers as well as his development efforts for acoustic properties and manufacturability. He rose to fame in 2001–2003 when he universalized the first FBAR duplexers HPMD7901 and the 7904 back in 2001–2003.
For his work on FBAR technology, he has received the CB Sawyer Award, the Bill Hewlett Award, and the Barney Oliver Prize. He’s also the recipient of the IAP Prize for “Industrial Applications of Physics.” Over the years, he has given numerous invited papers and has registered around 80 patents.
Dr. Ruby was an Agilent Fellow in 2002 and later took over the directorial role at Broadcom. He expounded how the copycat, EPIC MEMES stole the FBAR technology developed by American Semiconductor manufacturing company Broadcom and did the copyright infringement.
According to Dr. Rich Ruby, “Broadcom FBAR IP was stolen around 2008/9. This stolen IP now has found its way into many Handset manufacturers, and we are aware of this.” To support his claim, he exhibited a photo example of the copycat FBAR 41 filter and said, “[It] looks almost identical to our product and uses many of the inventions we developed and patented.”
The photo proved to industry experts that Broadcom has developed the technology. The comparison made by DR. Ruby clearly indicated that the copycat company, EPIC MEMES has infringed the FBAR technology. From the cap-opened EPIC MEMS EP7041 filter chip, anyone can conclude that EPIC MEMES is using the technology from Broadcom.
Multiple research labs have unveiled this IP infringement with solid evidence after the conference. Dr. Ruby cautioned that brands who are using filter chips with infringed IPs may have to face the consequences. According to him, their reputation will be stained and the consequences may lead to market withdrawals. Brands may have to withdraw devices like pad computers and smartphones from markets which have infringed Broadcom patent chips.
The notion of a lawsuit against such companies is an interesting development. It has been observed that Samsung has obtained the problematic filter chips and they’ve been delivered to the market.
But the most surprising thing is perhaps the announcement made by the copycat EPIC MEMES. In response to Dr. Ruby’s panel, the company has rejected the claim. The Epic MEMES statement “we took (the) initiative designed and developed the technology” appears to be carefree and unworried. It is as if the copycat is challenging, “catch me if you can.”
Disclaimer: Contents and opinions in this article are not Founder Courier’s. We only provide a voice to sources in our community.
What is Positive Psychology?
For clinical psychologists, education and training have been centered on treating mental disorders to help people achieve symptom relief and return to “normal functioning. This is valuable and necessary work. It starts to feel overly focused on negative aspects of a client’s life. Would it be great to flourish rather than feel normal? What’s normal anyway?
A new field, referred to as positive psychology, was developed in response to the need for a broader focus. So, what is it exactly?
Positive psychology is a subfield of psychology that studies and promotes the positive aspects of human life, such as the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive. More specifically, it focuses on what makes life meaningful and worth living, particularly on topics like happiness, well-being, life satisfaction, gratitude, optimism, character strengths, flourishing, and human potential.
The field of positive psychology was founded in 1998 by American psychologist Martin Seligman (now known as the “father of positive psychology”) during his term as president of the American Psychological Association. At the time, Seligman was frustrated with psychology’s primary emphasis on understanding and treating the negative aspects of the human experience, such as mental illness, suffering, dysfunctional behavior, trauma, and pain. For this reason, he decided to make positive psychology the theme of his presidential term.
Other psychologists have emerged as leaders of the movement with their unique contributions, including Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Christopher Peterson, and Barbara Fredrickson. From these co-initiators, we now have compelling research on concepts such as flow, character strengths, the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions, and many more. We are thrilled to be able to share them with you so that you can thrive, too.
Advantages of Positive Psychology
Many studies encourage the workings of psychology. These include but aren’t restricted to:
- The ability of a cheerful disposition to cultivate the expertise of a happier mood. This isn’t only to say that putting on a happy face will lead to feelings of enjoyment. Instead, they will start to exploit a deeper relationship together.
- Easy and tiny actions can have the most significant effect on mood. By way of instance, if somebody generates a custom of keeping track of all the things they’re thankful for, they can subsequently experience more minutes of happiness and pleasure since they’re “priming” their heads to be receptive to these encounters.
- We’re resilient. Positive psychology contributes to the story as individuals are invited to concentrate on their strengths. Limited time is spent ruminating on our shortcomings or failures. By coming to us in this manner, we realize that we’re far more powerful than we give our credit for. This self-love creates a cycle of positive thinking in which people become better equipped to deal with compassion, kindness, and understanding.
Positive psychology is popular and attempts to bring out the best within a person or group. For example, someone could pursue an extraordinary life, participate in life, have a purposeful life, or attain life using positive psychology. Positive psychology impacts supporting mental illness, being joyful, attracting well-being, and decreasing anxiety, depression, and anxiety during positive ideas. Positive psychology is the study of this “great Life”, or even the positive facets of the human experience which make life worth living. As an artwork, it targets both individual and social well-being.
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