Getting to Yes, And

Joel Peterson: Entrepreneurial Leadership


Joel Peterson

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Chairman of JetBlue Airways and legendary leader Joel Peterson talks to Kelly about what it takes to lead through crisis and calm.

It’s an interesting time to be reading a leadership book - especially when we have such a dichotomy between effective leadership and non-effective leadership during this pandemic.

“Yeah. There's no point in trying to assess blame. I think a lot of times what people try to do is assess blame. Their first response to a problem is to figure out who made it happen. And I find that completely unproductive. The best thing is how do we resolve it? How do we get around it? How do we fix the damage and how do we move forward? Later on, you can worry about blame.”

You talk in the book about the importance of establishing trust as a leader which is really hard in this day and age.

“Well, the polemics in our political system are such that people’s instinct is not to trust, to be wary, to be cautious. I teach this generation that's coming up now who lived through the financial crisis and they've learned to be wary. They've learned not to trust institutions. And of course, our political leaders tell us not to trust whatever the other side of the issue is. And it's quite toxic.”

I like how you talk about negotiations in the book and the idea that you should all be looking for each other’s yes.

“I always think of negotiations as a conversation and I think if you're solving for fair, if you and I are trying to get to some good end and we're solving for fair, I'll listen to what it is you want and I'll try to price things in a way that they're attractive to you. I'll try to get what I want and we're solving for fair and we regard it as something that is mutually agreeable. It's not episodic. I'm going to see you again. I'm going to meet you again or I'll meet your kids or your friends or your neighbors. And I want to have pleasant conversations. So I carefully choose with whom I'm going to negotiate. It shouldn't be this highly stressful, antagonistic set of discussion of trade-offs.”

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