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Susan Peters

Susan Peters

Susan Peters is the vice president of executive development and the chief learning officer at GE.

It's impossible to change direction without support

Question: Egypt's unfolding political crisis raises a broader question: Can an entrenched, powerful leader, one who has resisted change, successfully lead a country or an organization in a different direction if circumstances suddenly demand it? Or is it necessary to bring in new leadership?

It's incredibly difficult to regain trust once it's been lost and impossible to change direction without support. We're operating in a complex, uncertain environment, and effective leadership today requires embracing change, not resisting it; and welcoming opposing ideas, not ignoring them. Leaders need to inspire people and connect them to a higher purpose. Once they've lost that ability, once the organization has given up, only new leadership can rebuild trust and drive change.

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By Susan Peters

 |  February 2, 2011; 3:18 PM ET
Category:  Crisis leadership , Government leadership , Making mistakes , Managing Crises , Presidential leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Authority does not equal leadership | Next: A national symbol of oppression


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In the case of President Mubarak, it is not necessarily that he has been unable to inspire people or connect them to a higher purpose, but rather that he has overstayed his welcome. Mubarak did not rule with an iron fist, but he did not provide the guidance that the people were expecting. He has been offered a long enough period of time to do this, but now that he has been unable, it was inevitable that he was going to end up in the position that he is. It is true that people are looking to be inspired, but also that there is positive progress, which has not been to the extent that it should have been for the amount of time that he's been offered.

Posted by: hkaitchura | February 4, 2011 3:23 PM
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