Sermon Illustrations

Knowing Oneself is Important for Leadership

Mort Meyerson became the CEO of Perot Systems, a computer services company. Within six months, he realized that compared to other companies he had known as CEO, everything was different at this one. It wasn’t just the technology, market, and customers, but also the people and worked at the company and the reasons that they worked there.

In a revealing and introspective article he wrote, “Everything I thought I knew about leadership was wrong. My first job as a leader was to create a new understanding of myself.”

Meyerson went through a time of “intense self-examination,” wrestling with leadership style that he had always been recognized and prided himself as being more than adequate. In his former company, he pushed people hard. Eighty-hour work weeks were expected and the norm. On an especially crucial project, a snowstorm hit but every member of the team made it in except for one: Max Hopper. Meyerson called him up, bawled him out and he left at the first opportunity designing elsewhere the SABRE computerized reservation system that revolutionized the airline industry.

Meyerson reflected on how he had failed to see things from other people’s perspectives. In his reflections, he saw how he too quickly made harsh judgments. He realized that what he had always counted as strengths were really weaknesses.

From a sermon by Mark Eberly, Know Thyself, 10/26/2009

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