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Learning from The Greatest Business Leaders of the Twentieth Century

by Dr. John Hogan,
November 22, 2010

Learn all you can from the mistakes of others.  You won't have time to make them all yourself.”  Alfred Sheinwold

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to attend a GET MOTIVATED program held in our city.   The organization, celebrating their 25th anniversary, featured a number of well-known people, including Zig Ziglar, Steve Forbes, Laura Bush, Kurt Warner and others.
The stated goal of these programs is to provide ideas and perhaps some inspiration for attendees to increase their productivity, their income and their overall levels of satisfaction.
While I enjoyed a number of the messages, one that particularly influenced me was the one by former New York Mayor, Rudy Giuliani.  His talk was not what he felt were his accomplishments in life, but what he felt he had learned.  He did not talk about his potential political plans or projections on upcoming elections, but instead shared a number of things he felt were essential to effective leadership.
  1. Read more, so that one can learn about things new to you.
  2. Listen more, rather than talk. The results can be amazing.
  3. Debate when necessary – it is important to be challenged and for you to be able to defend your strategy and approaches to problems.
  4. Write more, so your communication skills continue to evolve.
  5. Finally, he shared what was the mantra and strategy for IBM for many years – to THINK.  Do not accept the status quo if it can be improved, but learning about the status quo means assessing it and thinking about options. 
Several weeks ago, I included in one of my columns in this publication a short book review of Holiday Inns’ founder Kemmons Wilson.   I received some positive feedback from a number of readers who appreciated my comments on HALF LUCK, HALF BRAINS and for including Wilson’s 20 Tips for Success.
Blending the reader feedback with my recollection of Giuliani’s comments created the focus of this short article.  I personally do read a great deal and wanted to share with readers an easy to follow theme with a book with a title that is right on the money.

In Their Time: The Greatest Business Leaders of the Twentieth Century
By Anthony J. Mayo, Nitin Nohria

I expected that a book on business leadership published by the Harvard Business School would be solid reading and I was anticipating the traditional 10 Best with honorable mentions. I was very pleased to find MUCH more - 10 chapters reflecting the 10 decades with excellent insights to the world at large and how people thought at the time and looking ahead. 

This book describes 100 people in many different roles, industries and with varying perspectives.  I have found that there is always so much more to reflect on and this book provides some excellent ideas that can be considered and modeled.  While most of the people and ideas are not directly in hospitality, they are mostly about meeting needs and satisfying people, which is the foundation of delivering hospitality well
As always, comments are appreciated and welcome.  Reader feedback is important to every columnist and publication. If I receive more positive comments on this type of message, I will include some in my columns and blog.

Keys to Success 
Hospitality Tip of the Week:

Hotel Common Sense Philosophy #10
“Study other winners, but not just those in your field.”
Dr. John Hogan CHE CHA CMHS  
Part of the Fifteen Timeless Philosophies in Hospitality
A 2011 Keynote Address and Workshop
Feel free to share an idea for a column at [email protected]  anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is Co-Founder of a consortium ( of successful corporate and academic mentors delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing the hospitality industry. is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas that are designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.   Special introductory pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.  If readers would like to contribute to the site, please submit your material for consideration to [email protected].  We are interested in expanding our global networks and resources as we support our membership.

Dr. John Hogan, CHA MHS CHE
[email protected]

Also See: Five Considerations in Hiring a Hospitality Consultant; Understanding the Qualifications for Effective Hospitality Consultants / Dr. John Hogan / November 2010

5 Reasons Using A Qualified Consultant Could Make a Huge Difference in Your Hospitality Business / Dr John Hogan / October 2010

Half Luck and Half Brains - Kemmons Wilson's 20 Steps for Success / Dr John Hogan / October 2010

Ten Quotes Addressing the Topic of SERVICE / Dr John Hogan / October 2010

Hospitality Conversations - Understanding the Developing Perspectives in Quality Assurance (Part 2 of 2) / Dr John Hogan / October 2010

Hospitality Conversations – Understanding the Developing Perspectives in Quality Assurance Part 1 of 2 / Dr John Hogan

Hospitality Conversations: Examining the Learning Options Available in the Hospitality Field / Dr John Hogan / July 2010


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