Living into Leadership: A Journey in Ethics

Article excerpt

RECOMMENDED READING Living Into Leadership: A Journey in Ethics By Bowen H. "Buzz" McCoy, CRE (2007, Stanford University Press, 232 pages)

"Who are you and what do you want?"

Who hasn't sought the answer to that profound question? Real estate icon Buzz McCoy, tapping into his deep well of knowledge, teachings, writings and life experiences, lays out a valuable roadmap to seek the answer to this age-old question in his book, Living Into Leadership - A Journey in Ethics.

Living Into Leadership is not Buzz's autobiography. It is a series of stories that chronicles Buzz's guided life experiences grounded in friendship, family, religion and love - all in the pursuit of happiness and a life worth living. He taps into his vast experiences from the beginning of his distinguished career to his shift toward giving back to the world through his teachings and writings.

Living Into Leadership provides a snapshot of a man who has the tremendous amount of courage required to be honest with himself and with those around him, and explores how this honesty has paid handsomely by always allowing him to be true to himself and to build lifelong relationships with colleagues in business settings, spiritual places and intriguing physical settings.

One such snapshot has Buzz describing his first investment banking interview at Morgan Stanley. At the interviewer's request, Buzz explained his family background, and the interviewer responded with dead silence. Buzz, in turn, bluntly suggested that if the interviewer didn't have any more questions, the two should adjourn to the lounge and observe John Glenn on the initial manned space flight. Buzz was not being glib. He was simply providing a glimpse of an element to his personality that served him well during an extremely successful 27-year career at Morgan Stanley.

Living Into Leadership reveals the profound impact Buzz has already made on the business world. However, the greatest legacy of the book may very well rest in the lessons of leadership and ethics that he imparts to generations yet to come.

One can almost hear Buzz challenging each reader, in a Socratic manner, to determine his or her own legacy by making critical responses to the many opportunities life presents. To achieve quality of life,McCoy encourages his readers to conduct candid self-examination and to be willing to make hard decisions. And make no mistake about it.McCoy stresses that there are tough decisions in life, such as those described in The Parable of the Sadhu, a renowned case study that Buzz wrote to chronicle an ethical dilemma he and others faced while traversing an 18,000 foot Himalayan peak. The Parable explores the group's willingness to help a fellow man and the realization that such a decision is not as clear as it might appear.

Unlike typical professional training material on subjects such as financial and accounting issues, management challenges or administrative processes, Living Into Leadership focuses on the pursuit of happiness and the search for meaning without compromising the deepest of personal values.

With his wonderful teaching approach, Buzz challenges his reader to live a deliberate life. He talks of developing business relationships that go beyond the office and that connect at a human level. He shows his readers how to strip away the facades that are built over a lifetime to protect the inner shell and to develop personal moments with colleagues to create some of the most meaningful and humbling moments of life. The book reveals the close relationships and learning experiences Buzz has shared with business icons such as Trammel Crow. The lesson from Crow, as told through the prism of Buzz, is not a lesson about real estate investing but a lesson of love. Love, as stated by Crow, is the most important quality that a business leader needs to possess.

As a man who has enjoyed enormous success, Buzz also uses Living Into Leadership to illustrate how the most glamorous business moments can be potentially overshadowed by the unpredictable and unglamorous, such as Buzz, in a hut in the Himalaya Mountains, drinking home-made beer and eating popcorn with a family that spans three generations and recognizing at that moment that there was no other place he would want to be. …