“Be a Smart Leader — or Wise” – Roger Lehman, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise, INSEAD

Self-awareness is part of Kaipa’s overall strategy, where leaders find a “North Star”. “Smart leaders make New Year resolutions and set quarterly milestones, charting progress against ambitious plans and goals. Wise leaders, however, take a different approach: they root themselves in a noble purpose, align it with a compelling vision, and then take action — not just for that year, but for the rest of their lives. That noble purpose becomes a North Star, giving direction when the path ahead is hazy.”

Kaipa believes that the answer to “What makes a leader wise?” would have been clearer had pancreatic cancer not taken Steve Jobs at the age of 56. “There are dimensions of wisdom that Steve Jobs began to show, and maybe, if he had lived longer, if his biography were to come out when he was still alive, I would assume that the self-awareness would move him more and more into wise leadership.”

Roger Lehman is Affiliate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise at INSEAD. He directs the Executive Master in Consulting and Coaching for Change programme, part of INSEAD’s Executive Education portfolio.


Pamela’s Response:

Self awareness in how we lead is something we can work on every moment. As leaders, we have to take into account both the objective and subjective.

Some of the most important results we’ll ever attain in life, such as helping others, cannot be fully measured. In the realm of philanthropy, how can we measure how much that $2.10 breakfast allowed a child to focus, be successful in school, create better relationships in life?

Whether it is business, philanthropy or our personal lives, we can set goals. And we can also make sure we are attuned to the higher reason we are here, our purpose. It drives us at a much higher level than simply an organization’s demands. If we delve into this vision for our lives, it will positively affect every area of our life. And it’s something we have to relate to in every moment and experience to make it real in our day-to-day lives. That’s a challenge any leader – and we are all leaders – can start right now.


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