Leadership lessons learned from James T. Kirk

March 12, 2012 by MassDevice

Dr. John Halamka

Recently, Alex Knapp wrote a brilliant article entitled "Five Leadership Lessons From James T. Kirk" in Forbes.  For those of us who have watched every episode and can recite every line of dialog from memory, these 5 lessons are a great distillation of the series.

On April 29, I'm speaking at the American College of Physician Executives about Leading Innovation.   These same 5 points are a great framework for that event.

1. Never Stop Learning

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30 years ago I befriended one of the great thinkers from the vacuum tube era.  I showed him the miracle of a modern integrated circuit - one of his most complex tube designs fit into a dime sized chip.   He told me that he was not interested because he could not comprehend the silicon-based technology.

As I've told my staff, if I ever become an impediment to innovation because I'm stuck in a technology era of the past, it's time for me to move on.

2. Have Advisors With Different Worldviews

I try very hard not be dogmatic.   I use open source and proprietary software.  I use Macs and Windows devices.   I run Java and .NET applications.    Surrounding yourself with with smart people (smarter than yourself), who may have contrary opinions, improves your own decision making .   I've always felt that "B" leaders surround themselves with "C" employees who simply reinforce status quo leadership thinking.   "A" leaders surround themselves with "A" employees who constantly challenge the status quo.

3. Be Part Of The Away Team