Servant Leadership wins over “Command and Control”, always. — Growing up in a military family headed by an officerand fighter pilot, I was subjected to “command and control” management, which depends on strict hierarchy, unquestioning obedience, and little room for thinking. Young and naïve, I had no idea that this style of “leadership” was a relic of the past fueled by insecure egos.
As part of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing David M. M. Taffet. Over the broad sweep of his career, David’s taken on countless roles: parallel entrepreneur, venture capitalist, investment banker, fund manager, turnaround specialist, Mr. Mom, mentor, and street photographer. Three descriptive words flows through them all: Intrepid. Immersed. Inspired. David’s career has spanned law, investment banking, private equity, not-for-profits, turnarounds, buy-outs, management, and startups, including his newest venture as Petal’s Chief Executive Officer. David has 30-plus years of experience building companies, leading successful teams, raising capital (almost half a billion dollars in total), and developing cross-sector partnerships for commercial and public gain.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
As John Lennon observes in “Beautiful Boy”: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
From the time I was four, I was going to be a civil rights lawyer. Everything I did was fueled by that dream. I interned for an Alabama-based civil rights lawyer in high school. I worked at the Southern Poverty Law Center in college. I graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law. I joined one of the top law firms in Philadelphia, and, at a very young age, co-represented John Doe, Esquire, whose plight was made famous in the move “Philadelphia” starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. I had realized my dream of…