On Tuesday, Georgetown professor Sam Potolicchio delivered a lecture in the Lohrfink Auditorium entitled “How to Become President of the United States.” I walked into the lecture two minutes late to find 40 ambitious peers drooling over a very young professor as he played a YouTube video about a gorilla that interrupts a few kids playing basketball. To say the least, I was somewhat confused and extremely skeptical.
However, as the lecture progressed, Potolicchio won me over with his humor and eloquence. Within 20 minutes, I was just as fascinated with the professor’s insights as anyone else in the room. I still haven’t decided if he was the most brilliant person I have ever met, or if he is just the most persuasive speaker that I have ever heard. Either way, his proposed steps toward leadership not only impressed me, but they were also eerily similar to the rules I learned in kindergarten. Just take a look for yourself:
How to become the President through Play-Doh etiquette, as told by Potolicchio
1. If you want to have friends in kindergarten, you have to learn to share the Play-Doh, which is hard because Play-Doh is awesome.
2. However, if you want to be one of the cool kids in kindergarten, you have to share with a lot of people, and some of those people might be pretty different from you.
3. According to Potolicchio, if you want to ascend to a leadership position, you need to offer help to those around you in order to build a network of followers.
4. Furthermore, you need to surround yourself with a wide variety of people, not only to create a diverse group of followers, but also to learn from them.
5. Surrounding yourself with people who think differently than you allows you to garner a more complete understanding of the world around you. They may show you a new way to mold your Play-Doh or they may show you that you can eat it.
6. Then, a few years down the road, you become the president of the United States because of your Play-Doh power.
The Bottom Line:
Those of us who really thrived in kindergarten know that sharing doesn’t have to be a sacrifice; some games are more fun with more people. Why play Legos by yourself when you can have a Lego war with 30 people? In that vein of thought, Potolicchio argues that being a effective leader means involving more people in the leadership process in an effort to build a stronger network. A company with an effective CEO who involves the other executives and employees in the decision making process is more stable than a similar company with a power-hungry, isolated CEO. Ultimately, you have to find creative ways to maximize involvement if you want to succeed in a leadership position.
So go ahead, share your Play-Doh! If you’re normal, you’ll make some friends and help them achieve great things. If you’re some type of evil, maniacal Play-Doh-hungry tyrant, then you’ll acquire a patchwork of followers who think that you like them. The bottom line is that Potolicchio was a mesmerizing speaker, and I really want to play with Play-Doh.
For more information on professor Potolicchio, check out The Hoya or visit his School of Continuing Studies Faculty Bio Page. Or just watch his TEDxAUBG talk below, given at the American University in Bulgaria:
Photos: warwickeconomicssummit.com, rockland.lohudblogs.com, wikipedia.org