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Ken Adelman
Political advisor

Ken Adelman

A Reagan-era Ambassador and Arms Control Director, Ken Adelman is co-founder and vice-president of Movers and Shakespeares, which offers executive training and leadership development.

'A hot temper leaps o'er a cold decree'

That passion trumps rules.

Consultants as well as professors of leadership present excellent rules of leadership. Though they haven't changed much since Shakespeare's time, they still work well for most wannabe leaders.

Yet, as the unstoppable Portia says in The Merchant of Venice, "The brain may devise laws for the blood" - as do all Power Point presenters of leadership development -- "but a hot temper leaps o'er a cold decree."

George Steinbrenner had a passion to win. His "hot temper" leapt over any "cold degree" of leadership do's and don'ts. So unstoppable was his passion that it overwhelmed the management confusion in the Yankee organization created by his frequent top-level changes and untactful communications.

That passion led him to throw money galore to get what he wanted, the pennant and World Series year after year, decade after decade. Again, just like Portia (though not on the baseball part). When told it may take the exorbitant sum of 3,000 ducats to save Antonio, her betrothed's best friend, Portia doesn't bat even one of her glamorous eyelids. Instead -- like Steinbrenner did when he spotted raw baseball talent he wanted for himself - Portia exclaims, "What! No more? Pay six thousand. Or double six thousand. And then treble that!"

By chance, or good luck, someone can now see this display of raw determination in Central Park's staging of The Merchant of Venice -- featuring Lily Rabe as Portia and Al Pacino as Shylock -- mere miles from the Stadium where Steinbrenner's beloved Yankees won year after year, under his passionate leadership.

By Ken Adelman

 |  July 15, 2010; 2:25 PM ET
Category:  Sports Leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Deep pockets to fire as he pleased | Next: Flaws of an undisciplined leader

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