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Professor Sue Cox talks about Google's Sergey Brin and Larry Page

LUMS Dean, Professor Sue Cox

17 December 2013

LUMS Dean Professor Sue Cox is quoted in the publication ’50 Best Business Leaders’, talking about the leadership style of Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

She says, "The drive for Larry Page is for commercially-technological advances. But unlike notable leaders in his field (such as Steve Jobs) his leadership is not outwardly charismatic, described as reserved, driven by technical innovations and often criticised for limited attention to communicating to external stakeholders."

Professor Cox adds, "The scale and often daring of the innovations at Google reflect Larry Page's perspective. While many organisations seek incremental product improvements Larry Page urges employees to look for ten-fold product improvements - called 'moon shots'. But let's not mistake urges for top down instructions. The leadership style appears something that many HR experts and commentators on leadership have been encouraging – notions of distributed leadership and organisational learning. Google's constant search for innovation in no small way reflects the history and expectations of its co-founders. The focus is on employing exceptional talent and allowing such talent to pursue technological ambitions – these 'moon shots'."

She then goes on to discuss the working climate at Google and the freedom of employees to pursue their own ideas. "In essence, Page seeks out the best young creative engineers, retains through both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards, encourages freedom to dare to pursue his 'moon shots'. There is clarity of focus to lead an organisation of distributed innovative leaders. After many debates and disappointments in search of the learning organisation and the manifestation of distributed leadership, Page's approach to leading is worthy of considerable attention. Perhaps distributed leadership depends on the presence of quiet but determined leadership that shoots for the moon through the collective efforts."