Bookstores overflow with ‘how to be a leader’ tomes, often with conflicting advice.

Never a month passes when the likes of Harvard Business Review or Fortune magazine doesn’t opine on the best ways to manage a merger or what to do during the first 90 days as an executive.

And then the consultancies go forward to conquer … (how could we forget?).

Yet there’s one recently published, probably overlooked modest collection of memos, penned by one of the original Mad Men, that we heartily promote browsing.  And remembering.

It’s Keith Reinhard’s Any Wednesday, one pagers written almost weekly to his colleagues at DDB Worldwide (now part of Omnicom Group) for some 23 years, covering not just advertising topics, but also musings around careers, communications, and the truth. 

Like this:  “Our management priorities should be … people, product, profit … in that order.”

Or acquiring new skills:  “… because the marketplace of the future will be one where advertising alone is not the answer to every client’s problem.”

And delivered with humor:  “The greatest human drive is not food, water or shelter.  It’s the obsession to edit another person’s copy.”

It’s not often (okay, almost never) that we recommend a read.  But it’s one that will net you a true ROI, in Reinhard’s words:  Relevance.  Originality.  And Impact.


Was Brian Williams’ demotion the death knell for anchorpeople?

Or does it symbolize (as we believe) how thin the claims of credibility and authenticity can be?

Think with us here.  Ever since Walter Cronkite earned the CBS anchorman sobriquet in the early 1950s, we used to regard our news readers as serious professionals, men (for the most part) who earned their authenticity in the trenches, reporting first-hand on serious and important stories.  That opinion continued to be fostered by the late Peter Jennings and the Huntley-Brinkley duet.  Fairly recently, though, the perception of anchor-folks waffled between entertainment and news; the buzz, in short, became more critical than the news.  And credibility zeroed out. 

In a sense, that TV contract of confidence between viewers and news readers is somewhat akin to the unspoken bond between employees and their corporate leaders.  Parallels abound:  Breaking news is a hard-won prize by skilled reporters.  Delivering information about workplace and corporate changes must also be a task assumed by the C-suite, provided straightforwardly yet with a sense of humane-ness.  Another:  We highly respect sector expertise, say, the political know-how of a David Todd or the late Tim Russert.  The same holds true for business chieftains who are not afraid to tell us the truth accurately, seriously, and relay what it means to us.

We could go on (and just might, later).  In your opinion, dear reader, which CEOs are today’s ‘most trusted (wo)men in America” – and why?