Superior Leader – Warren Buffet

June 2, 2008 by Mobile Beat Staff Writer

Superior business leader and American investor Warren Buffett is often called “Oracle of Omaha” or the “Sage of Omaha” and philanthropist. (Wikipedia, 2007) Buffett is the CEO, and the biggest shareholder of the Berkshire Hathaway Company. Buffett’s has an estimated current net worth of approximately $52 billion in US funds. Forbes Magazine ranks Buffett the third richest person in the world in September 2007 behind Carlos Slim and Bill Gates.Warren Buffett is known for his economical and plain lifestyle. Buffett still lives in the same Omaha, Nebraska house that he purchased in 1958 for $31,500 with a current value of $700,000. In 1989, Buffett spent $9.7 million of the Berkshire’s funds on a corporate jet. He jokingly named it “The Indefensible” because of his past criticisms of such purchases by other CEOs. (Wikipedia, 2007)

Warren Buffett decided to make a commitment to give his fortune to charity back in June 2006. Buffett’s charity donation is approximately $30 billion, which is the largest donation in the history of the United States. The donation was enough to more than double the size of the foundation with 83% of it going to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Buffett believed that his family had enough money to get started in life so Buffett decided to give his fortune to charity. Buffett’s annual salary in 2006 was only $100,000. In 2007, Buffett was listed among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. (Wikipedia, 2007)

What makes Warren Buffett a good business leader? This is what everyone wants to know because Warren buffet is so successful. It all starts with leadership. Warren buffet is a true leader where his leadership makes a difference in the world. Leadership is very much related to change and Warren Buffett has the capabilities of leadership change to fit the changing world. Warren Buffett has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to map read in the irregular waters of change. Is Warren Buffett born a leader? The authors of this paper believe not. Experience and research has shown little evidence that an individual who comes to power is a “born leader.” Warren Buffett took the falls that any other leader has to take. Warren Buffett learned from his mistakes and turned his mistakes into a positive thing. Warren Buffett shares his leadership at all organizational levels and Buffett is empowered to share leadership responsibilities. In the world of business, many titles related to leadership roles are actively used in business and Warren Buffett wears those titles to make him effective in multiple leadership positions in business. Distinction between good leadership and good management is made often. Managers are made to be organizational, controllers and budgeters. Warren Buffett has leadership in all three departments and one must have these traits to be a good business leader.

Another important trait in Today’s business leadership is communication. Warren Buffet is a skilled communicator in all aspects of life. Communication is the real key of leadership. Skilled communicators have an appreciation for positioning in the business world. Warren Buffet is experienced at positioning himself at the right place at the right time. Warren Buffet has the understanding of the people he is trying to reach and what he can and cannot hear from the people. Knowledge of audiences’ needs and wants gives the orator the ability to listen. Warren Buffett is an excellent listener with the ability to convey his understanding.

When Warren Buffett talks, people listen. Warren Buffett can send a message through an open door and does not have to push the message through a wall.

Leadership is crucial to any successful business and good leadership is what Warren Buffett is all about. This is what makes Warren buffet a good business leader.

Mr. Warren Buffett’s investment strategies and course of leadership are shining examples of characteristics shared by cognitive theorists. Cognitive theory is an approach of explaining behavior through perception, anticipation, and thinking. Mr. Buffett’s continual approach of analyzing both possible investment choices, market trends, and the ability to place management resources of the right caliber in the right position has consistently brought this investor to the forefront amongst peers and the marketplace. At the core of every sound investor is a creative innovator.

Innovation demands creativity. Creativity in turn draws on our cognitive faculties, across the full amplitude from emotion to reason. In the number-heavy world of global investing, innovative thinking is critical. Innovative investors decipher future trends, spot likely winners by combining science (financials) with art (acuity and perception) and continuously mitigate risk. They assess user needs, product features, the proper deployment of money, professional organizational structures and risk management. (Kore Kalibre, 2006)

Mr. Buffett’s instinct and ability to interpret market trends is also held by tight reigns. Despite over 50 years of growth, Mr. Buffett always adheres to one of the most basic business principles: “…only compete where you have a competitive advantage. Warren Buffett refers to staying within your circle of competence. Social psychologists tell us, though, that we are prone to overconfidence when it comes to assessing our abilities…” (Arthridge, 2006) A man of Warren Buffett’s position and track record could easily be derailed to a sense of over confidence. The principle of only competing within your range of competitive advantage is a principle that can be applied to many other areas in life, and Mr. Buffett’s ability to work and live by this idea has allowed him to continue forward with minimal bruising.

By establishing the previous examples, the authors can reinforce the principles of cognitive theory in that Mr. Buffett behavior patterns are clearly dictated by thought processes, which include interpretation, analysis, and foresight. “As experiences and events gain meaning and value, the process becomes increasingly top down as the mind in (a) attempt at an orderly process influences perception though beliefs, goals and external process” (Gardener, 2007)

Warren Buffett’s is a self empowered leader, because he is loyal, sets goals, plans a strategy for achievement, and stays committed until he accomplishes his purpose. Up to date, he is the greatest stockbroker of all-time. He is a very conservative investor that prefers to invest in companies that sell name brand products that he uses. For example, Coca-Cola, Gillette Razors, See’s Candy, Gulfstream Jet, and GEICO are the major companies he invested in. In the nineties his assets quadrupled in less than five years. He is a smart investor that usually does not take big investment risks. For example, he will not invest in internet stock, because the return is unpredictable. He likes to invest in companies that he is sure will be successful 20 years later. He buys the company with the intentions of keeping it forever. Usually, the management team of each company is the same staff that sold it Warren Buffett from the beginning. He stays loyal to his partners, and the team workstheir best to keep him happy.

After Warren Buffett’s wife died, he decided to donate 85% of his money to charity. However, “he wants his money to be used the same year he donates it”.(Harris, 2006) The requirement will accelerate the process to help the world. According to Fortune magazine, five-sixths of his money will go to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This foundation which focus on finding cures for diseases that are common in poor nations. The rest of the money will be split among four other charities, that are each run by his three children and one that is in his late wife’s name.

Warren Buffett is not a huge spender. In fact, he still lives in the same house he bought 40 years ago. Warren “told ABC News “Nightline” that being born into wealth did not entitle his children”(Harris, 2006). In addition, he told Fortune magazine that, “A very rich person would leave his kids enough to do anything, but not enough to do nothing.”(Harris, 2006) In other words, he wants his children to work earn their money and value hard work and smart choices.

In the year 2006, Warren’s first annual donation to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was $1.5 billion and the rest was divided among the four charities. He was the first person to make a donation better than Bill Gates, the richest man in the world. It seems as if Bill Gates and Warren Buffett set a good example and lead others to be more generous, because now the Barron Hilton has committed to donating half of his fortune to charity also. Barron Hilton is the founder of the Hilton Hotels and is worth $2.3 billion. Hopefully, a trend started among the fortunate to give to the less fortunate.

The personality of Warren Buffett ties to the Social Cognitive Level, because he tries to understand and make sense of other people. He observes the differences in social knowledge when dealing with people. Social cognition refers to making sense of ourselves, others, and how the information is used. In the sixties and seventies Albert Bandura and Walter Mischel were psychologists, studying personality development. They found that social learning and cognitive principles improve ones abilities to self-regulate and to follow goals. Warren investment choices were successful, because he conditioned his the way he processed information, choices, and expectations.

References – DO Not Strip References!

Gardener, J. (2007). Cognitive Behavior Theory. Retrieved December 26, 2007, from http://www.cognitivebehavior.com/theory/index.html

Harris, D. (2006, June 26,). Warren Buffett’s Unprecedented Generosity. Retrieved December 31, 2007, from http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=2118501

Kore Kalibre (2006, March-April 2006). Warren Buffett’s Innovation: Staying away from Rapid Product Innovation. Retrieved December 26, 2007, from http://www.korekalibre.com/index.php?option=com_magazine&task=show_magazine_article&magazine_id=26

Legg Mason Value Trust (2006, October 26). Legg Mason Value Trust (LMVTX) Letter to Shareholders. Retrieved December 26, 2007, from http://markets.kiplinger.com/kiplinger?GUID=323448&Page=MediaViewer&Ticker=LMVTX

Wikipedia (2007, December 25). Warren Buffett. Retrieved December 18, 2007, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Buffett

About The Author

Michael J. Spindler – http://www.localmusichits.com – A Musicians Community for Fans and the Bands to promote hits in local music on a national stage.

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Mobile Beat Staff Writer (228 Posts)

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