A few lead­er­ship talk­ing points from 2019, so far

Houston Chronicle - - TEXAS INC - AL LEWIS, BUSI­NESS ED­I­TOR

I some­times imag­ine my present self can talk to my past self.

I re­cently told my past self that in 2019 ev­ery­one will have a walka­round tele­phone like they do on Star Trek — and ev­ery phone will have a cam­era.

What’s the cam­era for? Good ques­tion, I replied to my past self. It’s for tak­ing pic­tures of your pri­vates.

My past self, from about 1976 or so, was in­cred­u­lous.

No re­ally, I in­sisted to my past self. It’s a thing. All kinds of peo­ple do this in the 21st cen­tury: celebri­ties, con­gress­men, cap­tains of in­dus­try.

In fact, there was this one Con­gress­man named Weiner and he lost his seat af­ter tak­ing such a pic­ture. Oh, and if you don’t be­lieve that, there’s this guy run­ning the Na­tional En­quirer these days named Pecker. Yep, David Pecker, and he got a hold of a com­pro­mis­ing photo, and then tried to ex­tort the CEO to whom it be­longed.

No, re­ally. It hap­pened just last week. The CEO was a guy named Jeff Be­zos who owns a com­pany called Ama­zon.com, which can de­liver any­thing to your doorstep with a few clicks of your Star Trek, walka­round tele­phone. Yep.

He is con­sid­ered one of the smartest busi­ness­men in the world, and cer­tainly one of the rich­est — and yet he was dumb enough to take one of these pic­tures, too, be­cause, I guess, it’s 2019.

So then what’d he do?

In­stead of a cow­ardly ca­pit­u­la­tion to al­leged ex­tor­tion threats, Be­zos ex­posed them. A head­line in the

New York Post de­clared: “Be­zos Ex­poses Pecker.”

No, re­ally. I’m not cre­ative enough to make this up. This is re­ally hap­pen­ing in 2019. And it looks like Be­zos did the right thing since he also owns the Wash­ing­ton Post and cham­pi­ons jour­nal­is­tic prin­ci­ples such as telling the truth even if it hurts badly.

There is a lot of other in­trigue here, too, in­clud­ing the Saudis and Pres­i­dent Trump. Yes, I tell my past self, in 2019 Don­ald Trump is our pres­i­dent. And for all his al­leged fol­lies, at least there are no pic­tures …

Texas Inc. is all about ideas and ad­vice for busi­ness lead­ers, so here’s a few lead­er­ship lessons from this lat­est cor­po­rate spec­ta­cle.

1. Don’t take com­pro­mis­ing pic­tures of your­self. This should be ob­vi­ous, but ap­par­ently it isn’t.

2. Al­ways re­mem­ber that your pri­vate be­hav­ior can re­flect on your lead­er­ship. With mod­ern com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy, it may all get out.

3. If you do get caught with your pants down, get in front of the con­tro­versy by break­ing the news your­self. Hey, at least Be­zos got this part right.

“Be­zos Ex­poses Pecker.” — A head­line in the New York Post last week.

/ As­so­ci­ated Press

The Jan. 28 edi­tion of the Na­tional En­quirer fea­tured a story about Ama­zon founder and CEO Jeff Be­zos' di­vorce. Be­zos claims Amer­i­can Me­dia Inc. threat­ened to pub­lish in­ti­mate pho­tos of him.

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