RALPHAs promised here’s more from the Harvard business school’s class of 1963, here is a special edition from Ralph Linsalata


Ralph T.Linsalata

On leadership

Outstanding leaders:

  • Recognize opportunities and see trends before everyone else
  • Develop people at all levels
  • Clearly and passionately communicate the company’s vision, goals, and core values
  • Live those core values every day and in everything they do
  • Continue to learn from and listen to others without regard for their level in the company
  • Accept the responsibility for all decisions — not just the successful ones
  • Maintain a positive can-do attitude, no matter how difficult the circumstances, but are honest in describing the situation
  • Focus on the priorities and do not get distracted by self-indulgences and needless low-priority items
  • Make all the people in the company feel that their roles are important to its success and that you appreciate their efforts

On Business :

It is easier to make the correct decision when you have extra cash. If your company is short of cash, it is easy to make the wrong decision, although sometimes cash shortage is a fact of the job.

A strong team around you is critical. Loyalty of your direct reports is important, especially if you have earned it.

Never use the pronoun “I” except when taking responsibility for a problem or mistake. When success occurs, it should always be “we” or “they.”

Communication with all employees is critical. Strategies must be explained repeatedly — as many as 20 times — before most people really understand them.

The right culture is also critical. It takes a long time and an exceptional amount of effort to change a bad culture. Most companies fail because they do not have the right culture.

All competitive advantages last for a very short time. You have to be paranoid to stay as the leader of a successful company.

Great companies invest in their people. They encourage people to achieve the seemingly impossible, knowing they are allowed to fail so long as they make intelligent decisions and do not put the company at significant risk without the consent of their management.

On Marriage and family

  • Tell your spouse and children that you love them every day, no matter how you feel.
  • Do not bring your problems home with you.
  • Realize the joy that comes from helping your spouse and children excel in their fields of interest and enjoy themselves.
  • Develop within your family a sense of obligation to help others.
  • Spending quality time with your family — not just time — is critical.
  • Choose a spouse who will understand and support you, and one for whom you will do the same. Life is much better if you can help each other grow and expand your knowledge, experiences, friends, and capabilities.

On career :

  • Find an industry that gets you excited and a company that places excellence and integrity at the top of their list of core values.
  • Identify the areas in which you can truly excel. What you do well is not work — no matter how hard it is and how many hours are required.
  • Learn everything you can about your company, its industry, and your job. Understand both the details and the big picture.
  • Always be willing to help others, because many will later help you.
  • Befriend and work with the best people, because they will make you better.

Life’s Lessons :

Put your family first and, when things go wrong at work, put the problems aside and enjoy time with your loved ones. Family vacations are the best times you will ever have.

If you find an industry and position that you like and are good at, stay in it until you have achieved significant success, even if it means you have to join a less-than-first-tier firm.

You will have the most enjoyment working with people who are smart, of high integrity, and committed to achieving something substantial.

Never stop learning, and be willing to take a risk in your career.

Success is highly dependent on many variables — not just you. Do not fool yourself that you can do anything and turn around any product, project, or company without the right people and resources.

Constant and honest introspection and visualization of what you want for your future are important.

Almost everyone has good intentions and excellence within them, if they’re put in the right position and given the opportunity to learn and develop.

On Happiness and success :

Happiness and success are defined by the importance of:

  • Your family
  • A few true friends
  • Being one of the best in your field
  • Enjoying what you are doing and feeling a purpose beyond having a job
  • Focusing on your objectives and priorities
  • Giving back to others not as fortunate as you
  • Never forgetting who helped you get to where you are

On Wealth :

In our society, it is difficult to not consider wealth as a yardstick of success. However, never consider wealth as your number one-measure of success. Achieving outstanding knowledge and performance should be your primary goal. If you achieve this, the wealth will come either financially or through respect and recognition by others.

Turning Points :

What did I learn from the turning points in my life? Look for great colleagues, role models, and teachers. Be certain to understand the opportunities relative to the risks, and how the risks can be avoided. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses, and act accordingly. Play to your strengths while you work, but work on your weaknesses.


About Ralph T. Linsalata

Dr. Ralph T. Linsalata, PhD, is a Founding Partner of Media Advisory Partners, LLC. Dr. Linsalata was the Senior Vice President of Corporate Planning & Development at Novell Inc. He joined Cambridge Technology Partners Massachusetts Inc. in December 1999 as its Executive Vice President, NEWCO Investments. Dr. Linsalata served as Chief Executive Officer of Lexidata Corporation, Silc Technologies, and Envoy Systems Corporation. He served as Executive Vice President of Cambridge Technology Capital and Cambridge Technology Capital Fund II. He served as Senior Vice President of Venture Investments at Novell Cambridge Technology Partners and Novell Technology Capital Fund I, L.P. He was a General Partner of Lightspeed Venture Partners and Investment Banker of Laird Technologies, Inc. He served as Chief Executive Officer of GestureTek, Inc. He also served as a Chief Financial Officer of Applicon Incorporated, and sales and finance positions with IBM. Previously, Dr. Linsalata served as a Senior Vice President of Hill Holiday Advertising, Inc. holding positions as a Strategic Consultant and Managing Director of that company’s interactive group since March 1997. From 1994 to 1997, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Weston Corporate Development, Inc. Dr. Linsalata served as the Managing Director of Hill, Holliday Interactive Group, building web sites for clients moving to the “New Economy“. He served as Senior Vice President of Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Inc. Initially at Hill, Holliday, he helped build the Strategic Consulting Group, which was involved in the development of brand building and brand management strategies. Dr. Linsalata has extensive experience in venture capital and private investments as well as senior executive experience in venture capital-backed technology companies. His prior experience includes roles as General Partner of Weiss, Peck and Greer Venture Partners, L.P.; Vice President of General Electric’s venture capital subsidiary; investment banker with Laird, Inc. Dr. Linsalata serves as Director of Telogis, Inc. and Redleaf Group, Inc. He served as a Director of Amperion, Inc. He holds a B.S.E.E. from Case Institute of Technology, an M.B.A. from Harvard University, and did post-graduate work towards a Ph.D. at New York University


Sources : http://www.bloomberg.com

: hbs1963.com


Have a blessed day,

Cynthia Mwangi


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