“University administrations officers looked not for the most exceptional candidates, but for the most extroverted. Harvard’s provost declared that Harvard should reject the sensitive type and the intellectually over-stimulated in favor of the healthy extrovert kind.
What corporations’ recruiters like is a pretty gregarious, active type. (…) We see little use for the brilliant introvert. (…) The essence of the Harvard Business School (HBS) education is that leaders have to act confidently and make decisions in the face of incomplete information. (…) If you speak firmly on the basis of bad information, you can lead your people into desaster. But if you exude uncertainty, morale suffers, funders won’t invest and your organization can collapse. (…) The CEO has to act anyway”.
“In China there was more emphasis on listening, on asking questions, on putting others’ needs first. In the United States conversation is about how effective you are at turning your experiences into stories, even with inconsequential information. (…) Verbal fluency and sociability are considered the two most important predictors of success, according to a Stanford Business School study. (…)
A General Electric manager once told me that ‘people here don’t even want to meet with you if you don’t have a PowerPoint and a pitch for them. (…) You can’t sit down in someone’s office and tell them what you think. You have to make a presentation, with pros and cons’. (…) The director of human resources at a major media company [likewise] told me ‘you have to be outgoing, fun, … to work here’. (…)
Asians start to fall behind because they don’t have quiet the right cultural style. (…) Their quite styles prevent them from advancing locally. The American companies think they can’t handle business because of presentation. In business you have to put a lot of nonsense together and present it. (…)
When you look at big companies, almost none of the top executives are Asians. They hire someone who doesn’t know anything about business, but maybe he can make a good presentation. People from European origin who speak without thinking”.
“Aggressive power beats you up; soft power wins you over. (…) Clients whose strength lay in ideas and heart manage to rally people to heir cause through conviction rather than dynamism. (…)
In the long run, if the idea is good, people shift. If the cause is just and you put heart into it, it’s almost a universal law: you will attract people who want to share your cause. Soft power is quite persistence. The people I’m thinking of are very persistent in their day- to-day person-person interactions. Eventually they build up a team. (…)
Asian concepts of soft power: leadership ‘by water rather than by fire‘. (…) The power of their caring. Their communication skills are sufficient to convey their message, but their real strenght comes from sustance”.
[Quotes from the book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking", by Susan Cain, 2012]
What kind of power you trust more? ‘Point’ or soft? These data may shed some light on the question:
. Year 1928, 17% graduates of Harvard Business School went to work on Wall Street.
. Year 1929, NY stock market crash and advent of The Great Depression in the US.
. Year 1941, 1.3% graduates of HBS went to work on Wall Street.
. Year 2008, 29% graduates of HBS went to work on Wall Street.
. Year 2008, Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and advent of the global financial crisis.