Thoughts on Effective Leadership From “Professor X”

Organizations can win with modest talent, but talent--even extraordinary talent--cannot excel without a winning organization.

fascinated by the likes of Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry, Bill Parcells, Bill Walsh, Bill Belichick, Tony Dungy, etc.—people who know how to build winning organizations of winning people.

I see everything in these terms. Anyone who knows me knows that I love superhero comic books. My favorites are the ones about teams of superheroes working together (Justice League, Avengers, X-Men, Blood Syndicate, etc.), not individual heroes like Superman or Spiderman. In fact, it dawned on me the other day that leading the staff of Black Enterprise magazine (an honor I enjoyed for 13 years) was like leading The Avengers: a team of polished, experienced, exceptionally talented professionals operating as part of a long-established and esteemed tradition of excellence. My new team at BlackEnterprise.com is more like the X-Men: a group of gifted individualists of prodigious potential who are often in conflict with one another, and must be taught how to use their abilities productively and operate as a team. My challenge is to help them see past their differences by getting them focused on a common ideal and vision. (I’ve already identified, in my mind, a Wolverine, a Jean Grey, and a Rogue on my team.) I’ve taken to thinking of Derek Dingle, who succeeded me as editor-in-chief of our magazine in July of 2008, as Captain America, and seeing myself as Professor X.

The point of all this is: I passionately believe that organizations can win without exceptional talent, but talent—even extraordinary talent—cannot win outside of a winning organization. It’s my job to build that organization, to take that talented group of individuals and create and maintain a winning—and yes, heroic—team, one that will consistently do special, amazing, important things. Black Enterprise—the very definition of a winning organization—has always afforded me the opportunity to do this over my two-decades-plus tenure at the company. And that’s exactly what I love.

Alfred Edmond Jr. is the editor-in-chief of BlackEnterprise.com

Pages: 1 2

  • Alfred,

    Another dear friend of mine calls what you described above “the umpf factor”.

    You’ve made a great point…taking time to develop organizational culture is vital for business. While some businesses focus solely on product development and branding, you’ve developed a way to intimately understand your talent pool- solidifying your business ethos in the process.

    Great to hear!!


    Coretta Jackson, MBA
    PhD Student, Organization and Management- Management Education



  • Alfred,

    This was an excellent post. I agree with the earlier comment by Coretta, but I will also add that the reason the information you shared is so vital is because it goes to the heart of how business will be conducted in the future.

    Learning how to leverage what talents and resources you have with the talents and resources of otheres is the how business models of the future will survive.

    The old rugged individualism that has allowed some business to survive and thrive is no longer effective. All one has to do is look at how the old business models that do not focus on piecing together comlimentary talents to build whole organization are failing.

    Once again great post. Something every entrepreneur should take note of.

    Bro. Bedford

  • The basketball metaphor really brought home your point. I have picked teams that could and did win. That has also been the case in other settings.

    Globalization, powered by the Internet, has created a new platform in which cyber teams/networks have a significant influence on offline behavior and activities.

  • Hi nice post, i have come across your site once before when searching for something so i was just wondering something. I love your theme, would it happen to be a free one i can download, or is it a custom one you had made? In a few weeks i will be launching my own site, i’m not great with designs but i really like the style of your site so it would be cool if i could find (or pay for) something with a similar look. 🙂 Thanks!

  • Sonja Brown

    Hi George. Send an e-mail to Alfred at edmonda@blackenterprise.com.