In a Harvard Business School course called, “All Roads Lead to Rome,” HBS Professor Frances Frei and Harvard history and classics professor Emma Dench, have surfaced a wide array of insights into the age-old issue of leadership, according to the HBS website Working Knowledge.
For example, in a section of the course called, “Not Forever,” the class reads Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s chapter in her book Lean In about her husband, Dave Goldberg, then his obituary and Sheryl’s reflections on his unexpected death.
“That comes close to Marcus Aurelius thinking about his own mortality in Meditations; Augustine’s account of his mother’s death in Confessions; an extract from the historian Polybius’s writings on witnessing a friend weep over Carthage, the enemy city he has just destroyed; and a reading from Plutarch on how his fellow Greeks should deal with not being an imperial superpower anymore,” says Dench.
If you know something is not forever, what would you do differently?
A lot of things, it turns out, and not all of the analogies are as poignant as the death of a loved one.
Our customers love us. But that’s not going to last forever. So what’s the next thing we’re going to do? The obvious answer: “Cherish our time and relationships, be proactive versus reactive; those are the lessons we learn from the classics,” says Dench.
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Statue | Marcus Aurelius