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Power Sheet: What the Russian Olympic Team, GOP Have in Common

August 5, 2016, 3:08 PM UTC

Editor-at-Large Jennifer Reingold (@jennrein) is filling in for Geoff Colvin this week.

On this, the first day of the 2016 Rio Olympics, it’s worth talking a little bit about teamwork. Normally, as a recent piece in the Harvard Business by HBS professor Gautam Mukunda (h/t to @cliftonleaf for the suggestion) makes clear, teams (really, any organization) tend to share the same values and beliefs. Having both a common goal and an agreed-upon way of getting there is what makes the “teamwork” part happen. But what happens if your team’s beliefs and your values don’t align? Which do you follow?

There are two relevant case studies that come to mind: First, as Mukunda analyzes brilliantly, the Republican Party. Some Republicans have chosen their values over their team, refusing to endorse Donald Trump because they don’t think he represents the things that are the essence, to them, of being a Republican (Mitt Romney and the Bush family fall into this camp). Others, such as Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, have criticized Trump for statements that they don’t agree with (particularly those relating to race), but continue to endorse him, demonstrating, in Mukunda’s words, that while they believe in inclusivity, it is not one of their fundamental values: “Because values are what you do when the choice is hard,” he writes.

Another example is the Russian Olympic team, now much diminished after many of the athletes were banned for doping. In Russia, like other countries, there is a fundamental belief in athletic superiority as a proxy for national superiority. It is clear that there was intense pressure to do whatever it took to win for the home nation—even if that meant abandoning one’s core values of fair play. The choice is an ugly one, filled with personal danger as well.

But there were leaders on that team—most notably, in my view, Yuliya Stepanova, who blew the whistle, but then was not allowed to compete because she had admitted to previous doping. She chose values over beliefs—and still has lost her livelihood. She is, however, a leader. As Mukunda writes: “Leaders aren’t judged just by the everyday choices they make. They’re measured most importantly by what they do when every option seems like a bad one.”

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What We're Reading Today

Rio Olympics set to begin
Tonight, the opening ceremony for the Olympics will run, on a tape delay for U.S. viewers. Certain ongoing stories will come to a head as the Games get underway, including the participation of Russian Olympians as 271 athletes will compete despite the finding of state-sponsored doping (118 athletes were banned), as well as the health and safety concerns due to the water in Rio. For today's event, it's still anyone's guess who will light the torch, starting the games, but it's believed to be soccer star Pele, although health and sponsorship concerns could interfere with his selection.  Guardian

Business groups sue the IRS...
...over new inversion rules which the organizations say was designed to stop a merger between Ian Read's Pfizer and Brent Saunders's Allergan. The Chamber of Commerce and the Texas Association of Business say the IRS gerrymandered "regulation to support rejection of the Pfizer inversion." The companies are directly or indirectly members of both organizations. Pfizer was set to merge with Ireland based Allergan - which inverted from the U.S. - when the IRS passed inversion rules that would prevent Pfizer from gaining the tax benefits from the merger.  Fortune

Viacom's profits crash 27%  
The third quarter results provide the clearest indication of just how much the battle between the Redstone family and CEO Philippe Dauman has hurt Viacom. Sumner Redstone has tried to oust Dauman, but the CEO is fighting the decision in court saying it's Redstone's daughter Shari actually pulling the strings. Through National Amusements - the business the Redstones use to control Viacom - a statement was released, saying the results prove the need for change.  Los Angeles Times

U.S. not planning to extradite the imam...
...who Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed for leading a coup against the government last month. Fethullah Gulen lives in exile in Pennsylvania and has denied involvement; Turkish officials have had discussions with U.S. authorities about extraditing him in order to face punishment. Public indictments of Gulen by Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim only hurt the efforts, according to U.S. authorities. WSJ

Building a Better Leader

Startups losing their valuations
The law firm Cooley said 21% of its companies going through a funding round this quarter saw valuations fall; it's the highest mark in five years. Quartz

In order to establish your own personal brand...
...reach out to trusted co-workers and ask them why they like working with you, then hone in on what's most important. Fortune

Walmart rolls out new scheduling system
It's an attempt by Doug McMillon's company to give more control over scheduling to employees, who have complained about unpredictable hours. Some employees will have fixed schedules for up to six months. WSJ

Strong Statements

Apple to pay hackers to find bugs
Long a lonely holdout in the practice of paying hackers to report system vulnerabilities, Tim Cook's Apple has reversed that decision in a big way. It will now start paying hackers up to $200,000 for finding bugs or vulnerabilities in Apple software that could be used by nefarious organizations or individuals to hack users. CNET

Southwest CEO to pilots: I'm not going anywhere
Earlier this week, Southwest Airlines Pilots Association sent out a release that called for the resignation of Southwest CEO Gary Kelly and COO Mike Van de Ven. The pilots have accused Kelly of sacrificing investments into the company's people and infrastructure to ensure short-term returns. Kelly called the tactic "part of a labor negotiations playbook," and added that he nor Van de Ven would step down. Fortune

Facebook further tackles clickbait
Mark Zuckerberg
's company will change its algorithm to further push down clickbait articles. Stories with headlines that start with "You'll Never Believe" or another common trope to get one to click will be punished in the News Feed settings by a new virtual editor. Companies, will have to adjust to the new rules, further highlighting Facebook's prominence in media rooms. CNBC

Fortune Reads and Videos

Amazon shows off its 'Prime Air'
But it's not the drone fleet everyone has been waiting for. Instead, it's 40 cargo planes that Amazon will lease to ensure delivery times. Fortune

U.S. Internet speeds jumped 40% in the past year
Comcast XFINITY service edges the competition in terms of fastest download speeds at 126 Mbps, followed by Cox and Spectrum. Fortune

Chinese investor buys English Premier team
Guochuan Lai, head of the Chinese investment group Yunyi Guokai (Shanghai) Sports, will buy West Bromwich Albion Football Club, following what is becoming a trend in soccer. Fortune

Tesla expects to open first San Francisco store
The huge space, 65,000 square feet, will open its doors next week. Fortune

Happy Birthday

Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, turns 49 today CrunchBase
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval turns 53.  Biography
The founder of Uber, Travis Kalanick celebrates his 40th birthday on Saturday CNBC
Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, turns 50 on Sunday Biography

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Produced by Ryan Derousseau