For students of power and leadership, the week ahead looks unusually eventful:
-The first presidential debate Monday night is the week’s main event, with pundits and TV boffins predicting an audience as large as 100 million – in the realm of Super Bowls and Academy Awards broadcasts. My take: A high point for debate viewership will be a low point for leadership. Most of those millions won’t be watching to learn where Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton stand on the Middle East, entitlement reform, or tax and fiscal policy. They’ll be watching for reality TV moments – zingers, flubs, outbursts. That is, entertainment. It’s not the right basis on which to choose the world’s most powerful leader, and the imperative of pleasing that huge reality TV audience incentivizes the candidates in all the wrong ways.
-Musk on Mars. Elon Musk will describe his plan for colonizing Mars – the ultimate mission of his company SpaceX – at a conference in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Tuesday. I can understand the case for exploring Mars. But colonizing it? Sounds crazy to me. Musk is a compelling visionary, however, and if he can inspire more people to rally to his cause, we should all study how he does it.
-Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf testifies again on Thursday, this time before the House Financial Services Committee. Many of us have been shocked not just by the fake-accounts scandal but also by Stumpf’s inept performance before the Senate Banking Committee last week. He has shown himself to be highly skilled in public over the years, but then it’s easier when times are good, as they mostly have been during Stumpf’s reign. For a particularly insightful analysis of where he went wrong last week, and of exactly how J.P. Morgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon and General Motors’ Mary Barra handled similar tests far better, see this commentary by Yale’s Jeffrey Sonnenfeld.
-Golf’s Ryder Cup begins on Friday, and even if you care nothing for golf, this unusual event can be instructive for leaders. Golf is one of the most individual sports, but once every two years, for just three days, it becomes a team sport pitting America’s best golfers against Europe’s best. The team captains – Davis Love III for the U.S., Darren Clarke for Europe – must each build collaboration and encouragement among 12 guys who spend 103 weeks out of 104 trying to beat one another. Can the leader really accomplish much in those circumstances? Well, some mystery factor is producing strange results. Virtually every time, including this time, golf experts agree that the U.S. has the better golfers. Yet the U.S. has lost eight of the past ten tournaments. If leadership isn’t the difference, then what is?
-The U.S. government will shut down on Saturday unless Congress agrees to keep it going. Will leaders of both parties come together for the good of the country and agree on an orderly, well considered, drama-free plan for funding the government over the next fiscal year? Or will we colonize Mars first?
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What We’re Reading Today
Salesforce weighs bidding for Twitter
Marc Benioff‘s company is in early discussions about buying Jack Dorsey‘s social media business, which could help Benioff meet his aggressive growth goals. But he’d be competing in a new industry against the likes of Mark Zuckerberg‘s Facebook. WSJ
Over 75% of British CEOs are considering leaving…
…because of the Brexit vote. The KPMG survey queried heads of businesses between $130 million and $1.3 billion in sales. Though 69% of them say they’re optimistic about Britain’s growth over the next three years, over three-quarters are considering moving operations or headquarters. They say they’d need certainty on trade deals in order to stay. Prime Minister Theresa May says she’ll formally begin the EU exit process early next year. Reuters
Takata sale could extend into next year
Potential bidders for Shigehisa Takada‘s company want to drag out the process in order to force the company into bankruptcy, wiping out much of its debt. Creditors, including Takahiro Hachigo‘s Honda Motors, would fight that strategy. Fortune
Building a Better Leader
To defuse an office conflict…
…don’t take things personally, and manage your emotions in order to remain calm. A cooling off period may help, but don’t ignore the conflict; the underlying concerns and feelings won’t change. Fast Company
Blue Apron CEO Matt Salzberg’s advice to his 20-year-old self…
…would be that there are many paths to success. You don’t have to pick a certain job or industry just because all your peers are doing so. Fortune
To position yourself as more strategic…
…support your proposals with numbers, and know what others have tried to sell in the past. That tells senior leaders you’re advancing a new, better idea. Medium
Hyundai workers strike
The South Korean automaker’s labor negotiations failed over disagreements on wage increases, leading to 50,000 workers to walk off the job. It’s the first strike Mong Koo Chung‘s company has faced in 12 years. Labor leaders say partial strikes will continue for the rest of the week. Yahoo
Apple’s light lobbying in the EU
As Tim Cook‘s company battles paying $14.5 billion that EU regulators say it owes in back taxes, it may suffer from having spent less than €900,000 on lobbying Europe. By contrast, Larry Page‘s Alphabet spent €4.25 million and employs ten people. Apple employs only five on a part-time basis. WSJ
UN backlash against Syrian response
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the Syrian response to rebels in the city of Aleppo has created a new level of “barbarity,” while the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, said Russia’s support of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and his actions was “barbarism.” Russian leaders blame U.S. support of Syrian rebels for atrocities in the civil war. CNN
Up or Out
Federica Marchionni has stepped down as Lands’ End CEO. Joseph Boitano and James Gooch have been named co-interim CEOs until a replacement is found. Bloomberg
Fortune Reads and Videos
For tonight’s presidential debate…
…the candidates have prepared differently. Hillary Clinton has solicited advice from top authorities to ensure she understands policy issues, while Donald Trump has sought one-liners from advisers. Fortune
South Africa to Elon Musk: Help out your home
Government officials have urged Tesla to set up manufacturing facilities in the country. Fortune
Marc Andreessen joins other high-profile names…
…in ceasing to tweet. Andreeson said over the weekend “Taking a Twitter break!” then deleted his past tweets. Fortune
With the passing of Arnold Palmer…
…here’s the story of how the lemonade-and-iced-tea drink became synonymous with the golfer. Fortune
Quote of the Day
“We were, I think, 19 different nationalities, speaking 20 different languages…We were like the U.N. of game development… but we all shared this one love. We shared this love for football.” — Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson discusses how Fifa video games have became one of the best selling brands within the company’s portfolio. Fortune