That is among the lessons Stanford Graduate Business School tenured professor, Deborah Gruenfeld, teaches the next generation of leaders. Recently she received a million-dollar advance for a book focused on power.
However, this approach on how to treat other human beings could be being re-thought. Instead of being perceived as brilliantly piggybacking on Machiavelli, it could be positioned and packaged as crass.
Currently, Gruenfeld is part of the three-way scandal at the school. So juicy is it that glam Vanity Fair dishes the dirt in the December 2015 issue (article not yet online.)
It's about a love affair between the former dean, who was her boss, and herself. At the time she was still married. She still is married.
A lawsuit has been fled by her estranged husband, a former faculty member at the school, contending that relationship precipitated his being terminated. He also claims discrimination because he is an African-American.
The school is countersuing him for allegedly hacking into the lovers' emails and texts. Many of the provocative tidbits have come to the public through those electronic communications. Who doesn't want a ticket to this circus?
So, already a dean has stepped down. The plaintiff is being countersued.
But what about the fall-out on Gruenfeld? Out there is the accusation that she might have fudged some data in her dissertation. When it was published, it catapulted her to fame. Also, is a cloud hanging over her approach to gaining, holding on to, and growing power?
Post-Paris massacre perhaps there has been a tipping point on the reverence for raw power. The terrorists sure did have power. Yeah, the power to slaughter joyful human beings.
Hillary Clinton Inc. has power. But the organization keeps making itself a joke through emails. The latest screw-up has been her aide, Huma Abedin, sharing with colleagues via email that Hillary is "often confused."
Tabloids have power. With a cover story they can deep-six a flawed human being. So? Does a civilization really value that.
As the crisis at Stanford deepens, it will be fascinating to follow how thought leaders might be rebranding power.