A failure to learn from
Q: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack acted too quickly in removing Shirley Sherrod from her USDA job. How can today's leaders assess when to move quickly and when to hang back?
When I served as chief of staff at HUD, there were many times when we felt tremendous pressure to make fast decisions to demonstrate our decisiveness in the face of a serious problem. And we were reminded repeatedly of that basic leadership axiom - you'll often have to make decisions with less-than-complete information.
But in this instance, the team at USDA acted far too quickly and did not appear to ask even the most basic questions: What else did Sherrod say in the rest of the speech, and did it fundamentally alter the core point of the short video excerpt? Moreover, their first step - putting her on administrative leave - gave them more than enough time to dig more fully into the details and sort out an appropriate response. Sadly, this time, they fired before they aimed - a hard leadership lesson to learn, but a necessary one.
Posted by: GHDEL | July 25, 2010 11:52 PM
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