Alas, Poor Stakeholder

Laurence’s son Richard Olivier translates Shakespeare for the boardroom

As You Like It

“The famous monologue, ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players,’ takes us through the seven stages of a man’s life. We ask people to run through the seven stages of their careers, then focus on the next role that’s waiting for them.”

Henry V

“On the eve of battle, Henry V gives a speech in his tent to his men, asking them to conquer France. He calls them ‘we happy few, we band of brothers.’ Executives should think about how they can inspire loyalty in their own employees.”

The Tempest

“Prospero puts on a play within a play to celebrate the new relationships born out of their situation on the island. In a company, symbolic gestures can help — for example, an internal awards ceremony.”

Macbeth

“There’s one problem in Macbeth: He can never get enough power. Wise leaders need to have a sense of how ethical their ambitions are — not everyone should have a multimillion bonus. Don’t be Enron, the business equivalent of Macbeth.”

Julius Caesar

“After Caesar’s assassination, Marc Antony’s ‘Friends, Romans, countrymen’ speech connects with people’s hearts. If you can’t express yourself in an emotionally intelligent way, you may not make the sale, close the deal, or win the election.”

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