In the investment world, the name Warren Buffett is synonymous with genius. Not only has he been the most successful investor of the 20th century, perhaps more importantly today, he has become the quintessential exemplar of what it means to be an honorable CEO. His record at the helm of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc speaks for itself; but only when you examine his leadership style and approach, do you understand why private equity entrepreneur, William Thorndike refers to him as an Iconoclast. In his extraordinary book – The Outsiders – Thorndike profiles eight, once in a lifetime CEOs who’ve done it their way. ‘This group of happily married, middle-aged men (and one woman) led seemingly unexciting, balanced, quietly philanthropic lives, yet in their business lives, they were neither conventional or complacent. They were positive deviants and they were deeply iconoclastic’.
This select group shared a set of principles that guided their actions and toping that list is the understanding that capital allocation is a CEO’s most important job. As Mr Buffett often says – ‘You are neither right nor wrong because the crowd disagrees with you. You are right because your data and reasoning are right’. If you aspire for greatness, here’s what you can learn from The Outsiders….