Play safe to get to the top
17 September 2014
September 15 2014 marked the sixth anniversary of Lehmann Brothers filing for bankruptcy, providing the spark many people believe led to the recent financial crisis.
Interestingly, the man behind Lehman Brothers rise and fall, Dick Fuld, encompasses character traits many would look to as a huge positive: a combination of an engaging character and strong business acumen.
After all, just ask most people who they would name as exemplary business leaders and the likes of Richard Branson, Jack Welch and Steve Jobs will appear in many lists.
They certainly appear to be a good template of the perfect business leader. As did Fuld in his early days at Lehman Brothers though. The ‘Gorilla of Wall Street’ helped bring the firm from almost nothing in 1994 to one of Wall Street’s big players by 2007.
While Fuld’s strong character helped Lehman Brothers, it also brought the firm to its knees argues Doctor Christian Stadler of Warwick Business School, and in this article he questions the use of a strong character as the ideal quality of a business leader.
In new research Dr Stadler has gone into exhaustive detail, looking at 100-year-old established European corporations, and suggests playing it safe and using “intelligent conservatism” is a far better leadership quality to embrace.