#033: Interview with David Lassman

Learning to Lead Episode #33: David Lassman



David Lassman is a Distinguished Service Professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College of Public Policy and Management where he teaches courses in Organizational Behavior and Strategy.  He also teaches ‘Organizational Culture’ and ‘Leading Change’ in various executive education programs at Heinz College and at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business.

Prior to joining the Carnegie Mellon faculty full time this past summer, David spent over 25 years in private industry, leading teams in operations and engineering.

Connect with David:


  • Tell us about yourself
  • Walk us through your leadership journey.
  • What are the characteristics of a leader?
  • You went to Princeton and Harvard…what were the biggest lessons you learned there?
  • Do you think our current education system does a good job of preparing leaders for the workplace?
  • Name one or two people who have had a significant impact on your life and why?
  • What do you do to continue to grow and develop as a leader?
  • What books would you recommend to young leaders?
  • How do you structure your days so your as productive as possible?
  • What qualities do you look for in young leaders?
  • What can young leaders do to set themselves apart in their organization?
  • Where do you see young leaders missing it?
  • If you could give young leaders any advice, what would it be?
  • What do you want to be remembered for?

Some Key Takeaways:

  • You learn leadership by watching people, making mistakes, and having mentors.
  • Without mentors you will make painful mistakes!
  • Great leaders are great listeners, question askers, they don’t tell people what to do, give credit and take blame, they are not arrogant, have healthy egos, they care about people, they are good coaches.
  • Journal
  • Much of life is happenstance
  • You are not defined by failure, but you will be defined by your recoveries
  • Do what you love and work really hard
  • Money is not a true measure of success
  • Don’t plan your life too much, stuff happens!
  • Don’t do what you think you should do or think other people think you should do, do what you love!

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