Avram's Past / Intel

An Analysis of my leadership effectiveness from 1989

I have been cleaning up my home office and I am running into all sorts of interesting materials. One thing I found, I thought would be worth while sharing here. It is a Leadership Effectiveness Analysis that I took while at Intel in 1989. I had joined Intel in 1984 after the failure of Franklin Computer. My career at Intel was going ok but not great. I was made a group officer of the Corporate Strategic Staff (a collection of stuff that did not really fit in with the Intel organizational structure) under Les Vadasz. In 1988, I began the activity that ended up becoming Intel Capital (the most successful corporate venture group ever, I believe). At that time I was trying to do some Merger and Acquisition work, as well as some early stage investing.

I felt I was not being very effective at convincing senior management (mostly Andy Grove) to support my ideas. Interestingly, I had a good relationship with most of the Intel board but when it came to the Intel senior management, not so much. I felt that there was something wrong but could not really figure it out. I reached out to the HR department and asked them if they had any consultants that worked with the company that might be able to help me. They sent me to a psychologist that specialized in working with management. Unfortunately, I no longer remember his name. We determined that the major problem I had was that I was too enthusiastic about my proposals. That because Intel was so conservative and analytical, this enthusiasm was seen as a lack of objectivity. I eventually changed my approach to presenting proposals to appear to be more “on the one hand and on the other hand” – laying out the pros and cons. I would also make stuff up to support my position but in ways that made the data seem very objective. The result of that was my proposals were generally accepted. Most of this worked out so that eventually, my judgment was trusted and I could go back to being the enthusiastic presenter.

As part of my work with the corporate shrink, I did an analysis of my leadership effectiveness. Below you can read it. I only had a hard copy so I scanned it and did OCR which is why it does not look as professional as the real thing.

The analysis was done 27 years ago. I think it really nailed me for good and for bad. Reading through it again after all these years, and at the end of my professional life, helped me understand why I find it difficult to be an advisor or a board member. Frankly, I am not that collaborative which is what is required in such a role.

I look forward to comments – especially from those that worked with me or for me.


Here is the analysis


Research Group


Profile Interpretation :  Avram Miller, Intel , August, 1989

By Thomas M. Rand, Ph.D.



Your leadership practices profile approach problem solving from a particularly innovative and creative perspective. This indicates that you can be particularly receptive to endorsing approaches which are new, experimental, novel, and perhaps even risky. By contrast, the existing information suggests a hesitancy to endorse approaches which are conservative and those which blindly endorse the status quo.

Somewhat more broadly, your profile reflects an individual who has reasonably low motivations for safety, stability, or predictability. You are seen to be particularly motivated by opportunities to express yourself in a creative way, and consequently, you will relate well to environments which not only require innovative expression, but those which are ambiguous, dynamic, fast-moving, and varied.

This is seen to be the profile of an individual who is reasonably unstructured. In the same way that your motivations for predictability and stability are low, you are not likely to do well in environments which are highly structured. You tend to be a rather independent person who takes his own counsel rather fully and will want to go forward in a way where your own autonomy is preserved. You are not likely to do well in situations which serve to constrain your options or what you feel is the best way to attack a particular situation. In certain respects, your profile is rather entrepreneurial to the extent that you can be particularly independent in pursuing a course of action which is creative and risky without terribly strong concerns for your own affiliation with the group or team of which you are a member.

Consistent with the interpretation that you can take your own counsel fully and be self-directed, there is a related interpretation that you are quite prepared to sell and market your own ideas to those around you. You are seen to be particularly spontaneous and communicative in a sales and marketing way and may be a particularly strong spokesman for those approaches in which you strongly believe.

As you might infer from the above information, your profile reflects an individual who can react to rather immediate events and situations within his environment. Although you may possess certain strategic skills, the current information indicates that your behavioral predisposition is to react to immediate issues. Consequently, you may engage issues rather quickly and probably forcefully. You are seen to be an individual who gives quite some consideration to the overall impact he makes upon the organization, and in this regard, you may operate with a certain theatrical flair. You are not seen to be the shy and retiring type; rather, you may look for opportunities to promote yourself and your ideas in rather visible ways. Clearly, issues of recognition and visibility are strong motivators for you.

The existing information also indicates that you are rather highly identified with the management role. You may gain quite a degree of satisfaction from the whole notion of being in charge of things and being seen as a person with authority.

Your interpersonal style is rather dominant and controlling. In this regard, the current information suggests that your motivations for power and control run at an above average level. This contributes not only to a degree of interpersonal dominance, but it also contributes to the interpretation that you can put quite a degree of pressure on others to perform and to behave in certain ways. You can be oriented towards high standards and do not apologize for the need to put a certain degree of pressure upon others to be task oriented.

The above paragraph points out that you are more task and production oriented that people and relationship focused. You do not show strong motivations to support and nurture the behavior of others or to have a strong sense of belonging to the broader team or organization. Clearly, this is the profile of a self-directed individual who can go forward in a particularly independent way.

Certainly, therefore, you are seen to be one who will orient himself towards those objectives that are important to you. You are not nearly as given to cooperative and collegial dealings, and you probably will not accommodate or defer your position easily. The notion of having control and competing successfully is likely to take on a higher priority than acting in ways which would be described as cooperative or collegial. The current information suggests that you do not have a great deal of tolerance for consensual decision-making approaches which are bureaucratic and which slow down your own predisposition towards action. You are not seen to be a person who proactively seeks the attitudes and opinions of others in order to arrive at decisions characterized by consensus.

In the same way that you are not likely to be blindly cooperative or collegial with peers and subordinates within the organization, you are not likely to be dependent upon your authority system. You may, in fact, be one who questions authority and one who debates the overall validity of decisions coming down to you from above. Given the earlier interpretation that you can be rather rejecting of conservative and traditional orientations, it would not be surprising to find that you can operate with certain anti authoritarian predispositions.

Although the profile would suggest that you can be spontaneous and outgoing, it would be incorrect to conclude that you are naturally empathetic. You are likely to meet people quite easily and be seen as verbal and spontaneous, but not necessarily warm. The current evidence suggests, in fact, that there are reasonably low motivations on your part to nurture, reinforce, and support the activities of others.

Thomas M. Rand, Ph.D.



10 thoughts on “An Analysis of my leadership effectiveness from 1989

  1. Very good summary of a very successful individual. The first 2-3 paragraphs are great description of what some clear features of a true entrepreneur would be following. These characteristics are typical of leaders of startups 25-30 years ago and current founders driven by their objective “to make a difference ” in the market sectors they are passionate about.
    The additional summary is more medical and I would suggest is more clean clinical than what you deserve.
    Best regards


  2. A generally good report filled with pyscho-babble. From my perspective of knowing you since 1987, I think it misses the target about empathy. You can be passionate and demanding, but you wouldn’t have thousands of friends and admiring colleagues if this profile was entirely accurate.


  3. I loved reading this, Avram. It describes so much of the make-up of who you were and I see how much you have Groen. Thanks for sharing this!


  4. Having met you only once for a few days a decade ago I can’t speak to its accuracy. The impression you left with me was of someone who was a free thinker but also someone who took a real pleasure in ideas and your place in the world. There’s perhaps less ego in that than this analysis would suggest.


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