David Brooks, on why CEOs need O.R.

In today’s New York Times David Brooks wrote an op-ed on the characteristics of good CEOs (“In Praise of Dullness”).

“The traits that correlated most powerfully with success were attention to detail, persistence, efficiency, analytic thoroughness and the ability to work long hours. … What mattered was emotional stability and, most of all, conscientiousness — which means being dependable, making plans and following through on them. …  The second thing the market seems to want from leaders is a relentless and somewhat mind-numbing commitment to incremental efficiency gains.”

I would have preferred it if Brooks had not use words like “dull” and “mind-numbing”.  But I appreciate his implicit support of Operations Research.   Perhaps our field should adopt a new slogan:   “We are Operations Researchers.  We have a relentless commitment to incremental efficiency gains.”

The phrase “and somewhat mind-numbing” is optional.


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3 Responses to “David Brooks, on why CEOs need O.R.”

  1. Larry (IEOR Tools) Says:

    Hi. My name is Larry. I am a relentlessly dull individual that works long hours to achieve painful precision. I am emotionally stable but I will present mind-numbing, uncanny, incremental results. I may be boring but I am organized and thorough.

    …yeah. sounds great. I’ll put it on my next business card and use it in my next interview.

  2. Jim Orlin Says:

    Larry, I sense by your sarcasm that you probably do not want to be a CEO. I don’t want to be one either.

  3. Bernoulli-Blogger Says:

    >somewhat mind-numbing commitment
    Sure it’s mind-numbing…to a short attention span journalist.

    >> commitment to incremental efficiency gains.
    Before the economy tanked, this is the kind of leadership that allowed Toyota to overtake GM in world wide sales. I want this kind of leadership. I find it exciting when the execs are making decisions based on serious analysis and not my some self-serving gut feeling.

    But hey, that’s me. I guess I take life too mind-numbingly serious.

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