Meg Whitman was the CEO of eBay from 1998 to 2008, growing the company into an unparalleled engine of global e-commerce. Her thirty-year career includes helping many companies, including Stride Rite, Bain & Company, Procter & Gamble, Disney, and Hasbro. In 2009, she announced her candidacy for governor of California. She lives in Atherton, California.
As head of eBay, Meg Whitman's success earned her a reputation as is one of the most legendary CEO's of our time. In her new book, The Power of Many: Values for Success in Business and in Life, Whitman lays out the leadership philosophy that helped her and her team turn a tiny start-up into a revolutionary economic engine that earns tens of billions of dollars in transactions for not only the company, but for millions of people around the world.
By managing eBay with old-fashioned, common-sense values, Whitman unleashed a remarkable twenty-first century phenomenon that she calls "the Power of Many." According to Whitman, a Power of Many company takes advantage of the networking powers of modern technology to do things that would otherwise be impossible. The goal is to use technology to save costs and improve efficiencies, and to engage the energy, ideas, and goodness of people. It demands a style of leadership that emphasizes communication and openness, and, when difficult decisions loom, it demands that we consider the question: What is the right thing to do?
Whitman shows us that values like trust, courage, and validation are essential tools for success that go hand in hand with traditional business practices -- like holding oneself accountable or growing a company efficiently.
With a candor rare among CEOs of her stature, she reveals the decision-making behind many of the company's most strategic moves, and how her wide-ranging career at places like Bain, Disney, Hasbro, and FTD informed her choices. Whitman offers unexpected and intriguing insights involving situations where mistakes were made and where the course was not at all clear.
Ira A. Jackson is the Henry Y. Hwang Dean of the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University, where he is also a professor of management.
Margaret Whitman was President and Chief Executive Officer of eBay from March 1998 to March 2008. She is a Republican candidate for Governor of California in the November 2010 election.
Harvard Business Review named Whitman the 8th best performing CEO of the past decade and The Financial Times named her one of the 50 faces that shaped the decade.
I think solid business principles of focus, accountability for results, analysis of costs/benefits, rewards for success, negative consequences for failure and return on investment, albeit in another form than profits, would go a long way to reform California politics.
The Public Employee Unions are destroying this state. Whenever I see a political ad with a fireman or policeman advocating for some new tax, or bond issue or other government expenditure, I know right away to vote "no." The legislature in this state is dysfunctional, corrupt and full of unprincipled, short sighted and quite frankly, ignorant people. For example, we all know that Califoria is broke and its future is grim unless a change of direction occurs. So what does Leno, a member of the legislature in San Francisco suggest? California's own single payer health care! These people are brain dead!
The initiatiuve process must be reigned in. This direct democracy puts the state's revenues up for auction. For example, the voters, knowing that we are broke, vote for light rail, or stem cell research or silly "climate change" bills, to be paid for with borrowed money by other people in the future. In the business I am in, I watch small Mom and Pop stores take months, even years to open to meet the regulations and to pay the fees. This is insane.
The Public Employee Unions and the members of the state legislators see government as a source of jobs and cronyism. The 3000 Governor appointed people and the specific 395 heads of commissions should be eliminated. It has been pointed out over and over that these commissions provide no value to the citizens and the heads make 6 figure salaries and large operating budgets to meet once or twice a year, and they churn out more and more regulations that make life in California suck.
I like Mrs. Whitman. She is very bright, optimistic and realistic. I think the Democrat controlled legislature and the public employee unions will never allow the changes she wants and that the state needs. If past behavior is any indication of future outcomes, the California citizens are stupid enough to vote for Jerry Brown. Obama seems determined to make all of the United States follow California's lead into the abyss.
What we could use is more liberty.
Great, more populist jibber-jabber. Ooh, we have a loooong constitution! We passed 900 bills last year! Government bad! Vote for meeeee!
How did that constitution get so long? Could it be due to California's voters and our insane ballot initiative process? And how many of those 900 bills were procedural? It's that 2/3 majority legislature vote that prevents passage of anything meaningful, Meg, not a lack of focus.
"As I have travelled this state, 80% of people can get rallied around jobs and spending and education. We may have a disagreement about how to do that..."
Yeah, see, the devil, it's in those details.
Hey, CEO Governor! I'm gonna run the government like a business! Maybe the metaphor doesn't really work because the government isn't structured anything remotely like a business , but it sounds good, doesn't it? Man, remember when Bush was hailed as the first "CEO President"? Those were the days.
Forget this populist crap. I might have voted for Campbell, but he's too smart to run for Governor. Dammit, Tom.