Hell hath no fury like talent spurned
In 1683, a young man, by the name of Eugene, approached the King of France, aman thought to be his Father, to request a commission to become a soldier. TheSun King, fearful of anyone with half a claim to the throne, and believing thatEugene was too ugly to be a great military leader, refused
Eugene wasunproven while Louis was undefeated on land for two decades, with half amillion men in his army. Did Eugene loss really matter?
Eugene's ambition, from the perspective of the monarch, was unimportant, but asa direct result of Louis making it impossible for Eugene to make his name fightingfor the French. He was forced to fight in the service of strangers and became awilling combatant against his former king. In short, Eugene wanted to provehimself by defeating the man who had rejected him and his talent. It was a costlymistake. Eugene's military brilliance played a vital role in defeating the French inBavaria and Belgium, disasters that limited the European expansion of the Frenchempire.Ironically, Louis had become successful precisely because he was prepared topromote people based on their talent rather than on their bloodline. In the firsttwenty years of his reign, he had empowered talented people to reorganise hiskingdom, encourage culture and reform the army. It was only when his fear andarrogance over-rode his judgment that his gift for nurturing talent was neutralised- something that anyone that wishes to lead or is responsible for advisingleadership should remember.Usually these lessons are only learned after the damage has been done, but thereis no reason that you cannot prove to be an exception.Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle and on a good day the world’s 4th richestman, developed similar blind spots to the needs of ambitious talent. Afterworking closely with Tom Siebel for six years he rejected his lieutenant's ideas forsoftware to help sales and service teams. As Fast Company put it:"There's something poetic about a rivalry between two people who were onceteacher and student. Siebel's eight-year-old company is now the clear leader in its