>Inspiring Your Authentic Week

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Inspiring Your Authentic Week


Lessons from Roman History

Posted: 14 Jun 2010 12:24 AM PDT

I was in Rome last week working with a wonderful leadership team from Microsoft. Part of the brief was to use Rome and Roman history in the learning for the session.

There is an overwhelming wealth of stories from Roman history that could have been relevant, but the one that felt most significant was the story of two buildings.

The Domus Aurea is now almost completely invisible, as it has been for nearly 2 millennia. Only 40 years after it’s construction it had been completely obliterated. It’s marble, gold and jeweled ornamentation stripped. It’s elegant state rooms buried and built over. It’s enormous artificial lake filled in and replaced by the Flavian Amphitheater (better known as The Colosseum).

The Pantheon on the other hand has stood for over 2000 years, it was rebuilt twice after fires in the first 150 years of it’s life, but is one of the most complete buildings from the Roman period anywhere.

Both buildings were ambitious. The Domus Aurea was described as "ruinously prodigal" by Suetonius, built on a vast scale it filled the valley between three of Rome’s seven hills. The Pantheon’s concrete dome is still the largest unreinforced concrete dome ever built.

Why has one building lasted 2000 years and the other barely 40?

The Domus Aurea was built for the glory of a single person, the emperor Nero. It’s entrance was marked by a colossal 35 meter high bronze statue of Nero (which, after it was moved and altered to represent the God Sol gave it’s name to the Colosseum), the name of the house reflected the lavish use of gold decorating the facade.

Nero only had four years to enjoy his folly, construction began after the fire in 64AD destroyed the previous mansions on the site. Nero committed suicide in 68AD after the Senate declared him a public enemy.

The Pantheon on the other hand was built to the glory of all of the gods of Rome, as the name suggests. The building you see today was completed under the Emperor Hadrian, but still bares the inscription to it’s originator Marcus Agrippa.

The lesson is that any human endeavor founded on ego and self glorification is highly unlikely to be sustained by others – why would they?

On the other hand an enterprise build to serve with humility is likely to be supported and sustained.

We can see this pattern repeated again and again at all scales, from individual to imperial. It seems to be a very hard lesson for us to learn.

The team I work with at Microsoft are firm believers in this philosophy and work hard for the greater good, you can see a video of their leader, Paul Norris describing the work that we have done together over four years here.

If you would like to ensure the lasting success of your organisation, give me a call.

Are you ready to train the next generation of leaders?

If you would like to find out more about authentic leadership please visit the dedicated Authentic Leadership microsite and lets have a chat.

If you would are interested in helping to solve these kinds of challenge, you might like to join Authenticis as a consultant. Lets have a chat about that. The next round of training starts in mid June.

You can subscribe for free at www.neilcrofts.com

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With love

nx

Neil Crofts
Neil Crofts
authentic business

+34 646391384
neil@neilcrofts.com
www.neilcrofts.com
Skype – neilcrofts

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About Neil Crofts

Writer, coach and consultant on authentic business and authentic leadership. Neil has inspired and motivated hundreds organisations and thousands of individuals to their highest potential. Neil has written three published books and numerous e-books. Neil is a coach, facilitator and consultant helping people and businesses find their authentic purpose and use it to inspire and motivate them to be everything that they can be. Neil has raced cars, been self-employed, run a company and sold it, been employed by large companies, experienced growth and contraction at the heart of the dotcom boom, tried changing companies from the inside and from the outside as European Head of Strategy at internet consultancy/rock band Razorfish. Neil has been independent for over 10 years and delivered his Authentic Leadership message to a diverse range of business audiences including people at BP, Shell, Microsoft, Kraft Foods, MSN, Jamie Oliver, South Gloucestershire Council, National Blood Transfusion Service, KaosPilots Business School, Fashion company By Malene Birger, German technology company Eleven.
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