Every Sunday, The New York Times business section runs a piece called “Corner Office,” interviewing a CEO, generally of small- and medium-sized companies. The CEOs are often surprisingly frank and open, making the column enjoyable reading for anyone with an interest in leadership or management.
A recent interview was with Dawn Lepore, CEO of Drugstore.com, also a director of eBay and The New York Times. CEOs play many roles, just two of which are mentor and boss. Unless a meaningful effort is made at clarity, it can be confusing to subordinates which hat a CEO is wearing.
Ms. Lepore touched on this communication challenge: “We have a little joke where I’ll tell people, a light bulb or a gun. A light bulb means this is just an idea I had, so think about it, see if you think it’s a good one. Either follow up or don’t, but it’s just an idea. A gun is, I want you to do this. People don’t always know if you mean something as just as an idea, or you want them to go do it.”
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” — George Bernard Shaw
“Communication works for those who work at it.” — John Powell
“The quality of our lives equals the quality of our communication, both with others and with ourselves.” — Tony Robbins