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Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner is the Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero.

It all depends on your goal

Question: In taking control of the House this week, Republicans have committed themselves to investigating and repealing all of the major initiatives taken by the Democratic president and Congress over the past two years. How much should the new leaders of any organization focus on undoing the past as opposed to charting a more affirmative course for the future?

Key to the answer is the goal of the designated leaders. If your goal is simply to win the next election, then you'll do anything that makes the opposition look bad. If your goal is to help move the organization--or the country--in a new and positive direction, then you need to have a positive platform, a strategy for achieving it, and a willingness to make some compromises and to alter course as necessary.

From their published comments, many Republican leaders seem focused principally on winning the 2012 presidential and congressional elections. At first I expect them to follow the oppositional course. But as the date of those elections approaches, they need to have some positive programs--particularly since President Obama can veto bills to which he objects. In 1948, Harry Truman surprisingly won the election by campaigning against "that do-nothing 80th Congress."

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By Howard Gardner

 |  January 4, 2011; 11:31 AM ET
Category:  Accomplishing Goals , Congressional leadership , Political leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: The death of old ways | Next: Confronting our human fallacies


Please report offensive comments below.

The Republicans have no one in their party smart enough to create an initative . They just tear down other peoples initatives. Oh wait, Michael ( Bulboushead ) Steele or John ( Haveanotherdrink ) Boehner could create an initative: HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa!

Posted by: bigmac1810 | January 8, 2011 11:14 AM
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