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Expand Your Mind: All Role Models are Not Created Equal

Expand Your Mind: All Role Models are Not Created Equal

Post from: MAPpingCompanySuccess

People tend to take their role models whole; kind of an all or nothing approach, which isn’t a very smart approach. A few weeks ago I wrote that in some ways Steve Jobs isn’t the greatest role model. Take a look at some others better taken piecemeal or even not at all.

Graham B. Spanier did an amazing job growing Penn State into a powerhouse, but threw up defenses at the first hint of criticism. Says close-to-retiring anthropology professor E. Paul Durrenberger, “If you’re always focused on promoting the brand and there’s no scrutiny, that leads to covering up.”

On the surface Eric Lefkofsky, co-founder and chairman of Groupon, may look like a great role model, but due diligence is as important when assessing role models as investments.

Lefkofsky’s track record, reflecting failures and successes, bears certain hallmarks: rapid revenue growth accompanied by big losses, a penchant to sell stock early on, and lawsuits filed by investors, lenders or customers who feel they have been wronged. … Lefkofsky and his family have already cashed out $382 million from Groupon before the IPO filing.

Successful founders are considered excellent role models, but is there a down side when they stay?

Visionaries are fantastic, but their companies are often notoriously hard to run. Sometimes, these leaders cling to dated visions and stifle innovation. And sometimes, they simply won’t get out of the way. Promising executives with new ideas get fed up and leave.

Many entrepreneurs are known for the size of their egos and none more so than those from Russia, but not all of them buy a sports team, larger yacht or another home. Several years ago Vladimir Kekhman, who made millions in bananas and other fruit, left his company to focus on the local ballet company; he just pulled off another “first” by pirating two premier dancers from the Bolshoi.

And Mr. Kekhman, at age 43, recently gave up all of his day-to-day responsibilities as a major owner of Russia’s biggest fruit company to focus on the Mikhailovsky. “I have a new profession right now,” he said. “And this profession has brought a new life to me.”

Finally, good health role models lurking in a place you would never expect to find any—long-haul truckers.

“I’m being stupid if I don’t lose the weight,” she said, “because I’ll lose my job.” – Jill Garcia, 50, a driver from San Antonio

Flickr image credit: pedroelcarvalho

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