Presidential Timber and Obama's First 100 Days

by Larry Chiang on December 12, 2009

Larry Chiang studies leadership. Recently, Harvard Business School featured him in an article controversially titled, What They Don’t Teach You At Stanford Business School“. If you liked “9 VCs You Don’t Want to Meet”, “The State of College Credit Card Marketing” and A Dozen B-School Students You Don’t Wanna Meet“, you’ll love this post: “Presidential Timber”.


By Larry Chiang

Stanford, California — April 16 —¬† We are coming up on Obama’s 100th day.

You are around the corner from your marquee MBA. You’re now in amongst the tall trees when it comes to existing executives who have graduated before you. With everyone reaching for the top office, how do you measure?

Presidential Timber refers to the intangible qualities of being a company’s top-officer. I attempt to add tactile, measurable and replicable ingredients to building your personal grade of presidential timber.

They Don’t Walk, They Glide.

Andrew Carnegie identifies presidential timber as fast paced walkers in “How To Win Friends and Influence People”, but me and my fashion model mentor have observed the “presidential glide”. Its three layers: (a) each step nearly levitates, (b) stylishly glowie and (c) comfortable in their skin.

Presidential Timber Attracts Alphas.

Presidential timber is drawn to current alpha leaders like magnets to other magnets. The lure of mentorship couples with how presidential timber is ready to be molded.

Presidential timber also attracts “junior alphas” that show signs of talent. These emerging alphas get mentored. In short, presidential timber is surrounded by junior and senior alphas.

Brass Balls to Go Against a Wrong.

The rank and file will scoff from afar or at best submit anonymous letters. Presidential timber has the backbone to put a name to their opinion. Often there’s an aura of truth or cause (or consumer advocacy truth) to rally around that is taken as a personal mission. Presidential Timber never snarks or trolls anonymously on Internet.

They Light Up a Room.

JFK was observed to light up a room when he entered. Room illumination is observed but its never dissected.

Lighting up a room is about embracing the attention of the moment, adding value and then bouncing it back to the room. The energy of the room is expanded when it is entered by a force of nature known as the president.

Presidential Timber Single-Tasks.

Timber listens with their entire being and does not multitask you.

Self Deprecational Humor Included.

People are more comfortable and put at-ease with some self deprecating humor. Obama has an arsenal of funny stuff that disarms.

Public Speeches.

Presidential timber grows well during hardship. Even during non-difficult times, a speech may have errant courses or wayward audience members. But how you handle silences, lost trains of thought or jokes that bomb magnify and expose your strength of character.

The stronger the wind, the stronger the presidential timber.

Character Compass.

People that read people well can better predict behavior and guess who to befriend. Presidential timber grows stronger by character compassing future teammates.

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Larry’s book releases 09-09-09

This post was cranked out in about an hour so email me if you see a spelling or grammatical error(s)… larry@larrychiang com

Larry Chiang is the founder of “Deep Underground Credit Knowledge 9″: Duck9. He is trying to get mentored by Tyrese Gibson in how to be a celebrity.

He has a book coming out called, “What They Don’t Teach You at Business School“. For fun,¬†Larry reads, models and plays basketball. Text or call him during office hours 11:11am or 11:11pm PST +/-11 minutes at 650-283-8008.

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