Economist.com | Back to the Future
Ancient leaders of the past could keep renowned counsel close at hand. Aristotle was tutor to Alexander the Great; the leaders of Rome leaned heavily on Plutarch. Today, with corporate America reeling from a seemingly endless parade of shady dealings, a good philosopher is harder to find. All the same, some senior managers have chosen to rethink their business ethics by turning to proven sages.
Shakespeare's plays, especially the histories, have long served as a source: "Every leader to his charge," commands Henry IV, and would-be kingly executives take heart. Movers & Shakespeares, a Virginia-based executive training company headed by Ken and Carol Adelman, has used Shakespeare's plays as a training tool since 1998. "Leadership has to do with understanding people and what makes them tick," says Ms Adelman, "and no one has a keener understanding of this than Shakespeare." In workshops lasting from 90 minutes to several days, the Adelmans guide participants through an analysis of leadership using a mixture of film clips, interactive lectures and small discussion groups.