Alibaba’s Jack Ma, China’s second-richest man, visits Obama at the White House
When it comes to solving really hard problems, Ma has a famous quote that I love: “Today is hard. Tomorrow will be worse. But the day after that will be beautiful. Most of your talent won’t make it past tomorrow.” But as a leader, you must inspire people through those hardest times: To stick with it, to move through it, and to see past it so they can make it to the day where things are beautiful. That’s when you’re really innovating. You have get your team there.
I’m a dropout of Harvard Business School, but I took a very helpful leadership class while I was there that really stuck with me. We discussed looking at problems from every angle, and looking at the person inside the puzzle. See their picture, their concern, their point of view, and understand that people feel passionately the way they do. Your job is to see the 360º and come up with the answers.
On the flip side, you have to balance this by pushing people to their boundaries. How do you get there, if most people don’t make it past Jack Ma’s tomorrow? You ache to get talent to do things they’ve never done before. And that’s hard.
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