Success Secrets, Blackmoney, Jazz Management define diversity dividend
"I had never met a black corporate vice president before," recalls Templeton. He wrote Success Secrets to record the valuable wisdom of more than 20 business leaders who spoke during the meetings.
The Amsterdam News particularly complimented the book for its array of personal strategies for overcoming discrimination. "No one sugar coated the obstacles they were facing, but their acumen and determination was superior," Templeton says.
It began a quarter-century of research on how African-Americans succeed, findings Templeton is now using to design instructional television on the revolutionary network ReUNION: Education-Arts-Heritage.
He described the management style in a follow-up book Jazz Management: the Art of Planned Improvisation, noting that African-American executives succeed because of their cultural approach to problem solving and to innovation.
As one leader noted, "We always are thrust into the lost cause." African-American business leaders uniformly report that their first breakthroughs came in the midst of a dire organizational crisis. Their advice presaged the ascension of President Barack Obama in the throes of the worst economic conditions in 60 years. Like his business predecessors, Obama can now look back on the biggest gain in the stock market in any one Presidential term.
In Jazz Management, Templeton uses a jazz performance as an analogy for current business conditions. Although there is a set rhythm, the interplay of various performers creates a wide array of outcomes which can adjust to the environment in real time.
That ability to adjust and evaluate makes African-American business leaders valuable to corporations competing in diverse global markets. "Another jazz analogy is how the music has translated all around the world, often more popular overseas than here," said Templeton.
Jazz Management and Success Secrets are available at californiablackhistory.com
One reason Success Secrets is valuable is that many of the "overlooked overachievers" like John Moon, an early engineering vice president of Apple Computer who designed the disk drive for the Macintosh; or John Henry Thompson, designer of the Lingo programming language have been left out of the narrative of the evolution of technology. This contemporaneous account corrects that omission.
In 1995, he launched a business daily specifically geared to African-American business, blackmoney.com. The companion book Blackmoney: Advanced Strategies for Maximizing the $1 Trillion Blacks Receive Worldwide Yearly describes how those success lessons can be translated into personal careers and finance.
Beginning in 1998,Templeton began the first of annual exhibitions at The Tech Museum of Innovation highlighting black contributions in Silicon Valley. One target, now expressed through ReUNION, is the audience of African-American students.
In a research study to be presented at the American Educational Research Association in April, Templeton describes the positive effect of exposure to African-American science role models for student performance.