According to Richard Olivier, knowing who you are is key to being a great leader.
And even though "who he is" genetically the son of the late actor/director Sir Laurence Olivier may flow through his blood, it's just as likely that Olivier's own hard work in the theater industry has gotten him to the innovative role he holds today.
A top theater director for more than a decade, the 46-year-old Londoner also serves as a master of mythodrama for Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London, where he trains individuals to be better leaders through insight from Shakespeare's works.
It may seem odd, looking to a 16th-century playwright for advice on how to run a tech or manufacturing company. But, as Olivier says, Shakespeare wrote about the executives of the time, the kings and queens, and, perhaps more importantly, used them to provide insight into human nature.
Take the dreaded issue of conflict. A person in charge must be able to manage conflict. In Henry V, Olivier says, there are numerous people who disagree with the king from the beginning. Henry must listen to many points of view, and discriminate among them in order to decide on the people he's going to engage with and the ones he's not.
"Some people treat all critics as traitors," Olivier says. Leaders can't do that. As Henry does, leaders must ignore a natural instinct of fight or flight, and instead find ways to bring critics on board.
In many ways, this gets back to that self-awareness piece.
"You have to be aware of what's getting you out of bed in the morning and why," he says. "If you don't know who you are and what motivates you ... you're likely to make bad decisions that don't actually help you or anyone else."
Richard Olivier: Inspirational Leadership: Lessons from Shakespeares Henry V
Colorado Colleges Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.
Monday, Sept. 22, 7 p.m.
Free; for more information, call 389-6607.