The Power of Many By Meg Whitman

May 3, 2010

By Dr. Carolyn Anderson, MD

Meg Whitman

Meg Whitman: Photo by Max Morse

Meg Whitman was the CEO of eBay from 1998 to 2008, growing the company from a business with 30 employees to a business with 15,0000 employees and $8 billion in annual revenues during her tenure. She has an esteemed 30 year career in business and is one of the most respected and successful businesswomen in the world. She holds the distinction of being one of the first women to be a self-made billionaire.

She recently wrote a book called, The Power of Many: Values for Success in Business and in Life, I found this book interesting, uplifting and refreshing.

Power of Many book Meg Whitman discusses the challenge of balancing career and family life with humor and honesty. She also describes with candor the values such as integrity, authenticity and courage that drove her leadership and her strategic success. She begins the book with a simple yet unfortunately uncommon question “What is the right thing to do?” and from there she goes on to describe the 10 core values that could steer anyone to success in business and personal life.

Meg Whitman’s Top 10 Core Values:

1)      Trust that people are basically good
2)      Take Action
3)      Be Authentic
4)      Conserve resources
5)      Be Accountable
6)      Listen
7)      Focus
8)      Teamwork
9)      Courage
10)   Flexibility


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Trust That People Are Basically Good
Meg believes strongly in leading with old fashioned basic values.  And then by implementing the communication and networking powers of modern technology you can unleash the “Power on Many”. It was refreshing to see that she believed value focused management was a great way to lead, that people are basically good, to respect everyone as a unique individual, and to believe that everyone has something to contribute. Instead of seeing the digital age as isolating she feels technology properly managed can amplify humanity in extraordinary ways.

Take Action
The bias for action is a huge component of success. But it alone is not enough. It must be paired with the analytical skill of iteration (the process of developing by improving). This combination insures that you don’t wait until everything is perfect to take action. If you try to anticipate all the problems in advance the cost of delay will be too high.

Be Authentic
The topic of authenticity resonates throughout the book. Make sure that what you do in life aligns with who you are.

Conserve Resources
Conserving resources is crucial for business success. An efficient organization runs lean. Make sure you analyze the value of everything.

Be Accountable
Results do matter and you need to be accountable. Values although important are not enough for success. To be a success you must identify a goal with a measurable outcome and hit that goal, every day, every month, every year.

Listen
Listening is the most important communication skill. Everyone has something to contribute if you take the time to hear them. If you really listen the emotional components of any enterprise will resonate. You can more deeply connect with people’s hopes and dreams.

Focus
Focus your attention. Always realign your efforts with your core mission and strategy.

Teamwork
Teamwork is paramount. You can get people to do what you want not because you tell them to but rather because you listen and enlist them in your vision. Always validate what people in your team did first and then work with them to make it better.

Courage
Be brave. Most things worth doing are hard. You need to stretch goals but take the larger goals and break them down into smaller manageable goals.

Flexibility
Be flexible. You can’t predict every eventuality. You often must go with the flow and adapt to the changing landscape.


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Meg Whitman closes the book with a mention of her interest in politics and how all success in life demands constant reinvention. Read Meg’s book, The Power of Many, to learn more about how aligning with basic values such as trust, authenticity and courage can lead to great business and personal success.

About the Author: Carolyn Anderson Carolyn Anderson is the founder of Impowerage and an avid reader. She will be regularly reviewing the books she reads personally. Her favorite books are in the area of self-development and the psychology of success.

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