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When Not To Stick To The Script

Forbes (New York, NY) , November 2, 2007


You all know the character. He was rich, powerful, handsome and commanded the respect of even the most shrewd businessmen in the world. But that's no way to run a business in reality, at least not completely, says leading Hollywood producer and chief executive of Mandalay Entertainment, Peter Guber.

Guber, 65, known for producing such silver-screen classics as Rain Man (1988) and Batman (1989), has a theory on leadership that doesn't just pertain to the movie business, but it undoubtedly stems from his love of a great script.

Guber said effective leadership must involve storytelling. That's not to say that Merrill Lynch's former chief, Stanley O'Neal, would've still had a job and not put the company in such distress had he told an anecdote to employees from time to time. It means that, in many respects, the operation should function like a movie that resonates with peoples' hearts and minds. It involves conflict, drama, action, uncertainty and risk.

"Like all good stories, if they're risk averse, they won't succeed," Guber said. "So you have to build risk into the story. It's drama. The drama of the company, the drama of the product and the drama of the people is what makes the story compelling and exciting."

Subjects Covered: business

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