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Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti

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Archive: Accomplishing Goals

Ready to rumble?

The "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" tradition may not be the most palatable, but it works...

By Juana Bordas | February 16, 2011; 02:44 PM ET | Comments (3)

Compromise is an ideal, not a reality

For the Republicans to compromise at this early stage of the game would be to make no real progress according to their own views of what needs to happen...

By Rice University Undergraduate Leaders | February 16, 2011; 02:30 PM ET | Comments (17)

This is not the time to compromise

There is no valid parallel between the outset of the Obama Administration in 2009 and the opening positions of the Republican House this year...

By Slade Gorton | February 15, 2011; 02:22 PM ET | Comments (7)

Servant leadership in politics

From a leadership perspective, there is little long-term benefit to be gained by hard-line politics, which in essence positions the leader to cling to...

By Alaina Love | February 15, 2011; 12:44 PM ET | Comments (3)

Prepare the caucus for letdown

Staking out a hard line at the beginning will either give the most conservative Republicans false hopes or box in the Republican House leaders when the time for compromise comes. Either is bad news...

By Marty Linsky | February 15, 2011; 12:41 PM ET | Comments (2)

In negotiation, don't give away too much

I don't think of it as "a hard line": I think of it as each side openly stating its desired outcome and then...

By Mickey Edwards | February 15, 2011; 12:37 PM ET | Comments (2)

Compromise: Strength, weakness or a way of the past?

Compromise often results in someone feeling as though they gave up too much or received too little. Leaders do not have the room for these results...

By Coro Fellows | February 15, 2011; 11:19 AM ET | Comments (1)

The difference between compromise and negotiation

Politicians might learn something from management and labor negotiators. While both sides may talk tough, seldom does rhetoric...

By John Baldoni | February 15, 2011; 09:46 AM ET | Comments (4)

Leadership: Part action, part perception

Although President Mubarak may still hold the 'formal' authority of his role, it's informal authority that is now at stake...

By Amy Fraher | February 1, 2011; 10:27 AM ET | Comments (2)

President Hu's challenge

The thawing of tensions between the U.S. and China isn't going to come overnight--and it wasn't going to be achieved this week alone...

By Robert Goodwin | January 21, 2011; 06:25 PM ET | Comments (3)

Mutual understanding

Now, with sudden prosperity, Chinese leaders fear fragmentation and a demanding peasant population that has been left behind. Chinese leaders believe their continued authority depends on...

By Michael Maccoby | January 19, 2011; 10:38 AM ET | Comments (5)

Following Chinese precedent

I am convinced that symbolic gestures of goodwill between leaders are the sociological WD-40 that greases the wheels for intense negotiations...

By D. Michael Lindsay | January 19, 2011; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (33)

Hu Jintao's classic dilemma

Challenges to his leadership come indirectly, creating situations that box him in without a direct confrontation, as in the military's test of a new weapon apparently without his prior knowledge. But two can play that game...

By Mickey Edwards | January 19, 2011; 10:25 AM ET | Comments (3)

Expanding the center of all nations

China's success will not be defined by sheer size alone or by military might. Rather, it will be characterized by the quality of the relationships China builds and...

By Alaina Love | January 18, 2011; 05:07 PM ET | Comments (4)

Looting intellectual property

Rather than protesting the value of their currency--which is, after all, a vital national interest--the United States each year should determine the value of stolen and extorted IP and...

By Slade Gorton | January 18, 2011; 10:24 AM ET | Comments (2)

China and the art of communication

Politicians, economists and the media in the United States have connected China's undervaluation of the yuan and its multi-billion dollar trade surplus with a lack of domestic American jobs...

By Coro Fellows | January 18, 2011; 03:35 AM ET | Comments (1)

What the US and China share

I would encourage President Hu Jintao to focus on the areas of mutual interest to the U.S. and China--and there are many. For example, an expanding U.S. economy is ultimately good for...

By Marshall Goldsmith | January 17, 2011; 11:12 PM ET | Comments (6)

Managing anger and fear

Somehow it's become accepted to publicly manifest one's anxiety, especially through anger. This is not to say that we won't face significant challenges in the years that lie ahead, but giving way to fear is the first self-indulgent step toward giving up...

By West Point Cadets | January 12, 2011; 06:43 PM ET | Comments (4)

What's your piece of the mess?

Hyperbolic politicians and the media and gun laws may or may not have contributed, Best as I can tell, we are already into heavy demonizing of "the other" in the aftermath of the tragedy...

By Marty Linsky | January 11, 2011; 07:29 PM ET | Comments (1)

Making the case for civility

The Tucson tragedy is at least a momentary reset in the super-heated discussion in Washington. The truth is that no one knows what the long-run impact is going to be, and everyone is scrambling to find the right note...

By Donald Kettl | January 11, 2011; 07:22 PM ET | Comments (3)

Our role in this tragedy

Our pattern seems to be a brief awakening during a crisis, at which time we are startled and sickened by the horror of what happened, but then we soon return to a semi-conscious state that serves to distance us from...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | January 11, 2011; 07:10 PM ET | Comments (3)

May this be a wake-up call

Leaders set a tone. When leaders in public life speak about their opponents in hateful, over-the-top vitriol, it makes people more fearful of those they disagree with and what they are doing to our country. When "lock and load" and "second amendment remedies" are part of the discourse, it sets a tone that...

By Paul Schmitz | January 11, 2011; 06:59 PM ET | Comments (9)

We need more Joseph Welch moments

Some of the louder voices in our society these days seem to believe that extremely bitter criticism of the government equates with the deepest patriotism. That's not necessarily the case...

By Yash Gupta | January 11, 2011; 11:47 AM ET | Comments (2)

It will take responsible leaders

Provocative radio and TV commentators won't disappear as long as they draw a large audience. But unless responsible leaders reject followers in their own parties who preach lessons of hate, unstable listeners will continue to believe that destructiveness...

By Michael Maccoby | January 11, 2011; 11:42 AM ET | Comments (1)

Sandbox rules for politicians

Thus far, this system of communication has worked on some level because we're tuning in; we're supporting networks, radio stations and publications that broadcast this rubbish; and on some level, the American public is buying in...

By Alaina Love | January 11, 2011; 10:47 AM ET | Comments (4)

It's hard to be hopeful

I am still waiting for a talk show host or politician of any political persuasion to say, "I think my rhetoric has been excessive and...

By Howard Gardner | January 11, 2011; 10:42 AM ET | Comments (3)

Respect the rights of those who serve us

Judged by what passes for political discourse--with partisans on both sides hurling invectives--it would be tempting to blame extreme partisanship for the tragedy. That would...

By John Baldoni | January 11, 2011; 10:22 AM ET | Comments (0)

Correcting the course

Now the elected officers are pursuing their respective visions, which in several cases result in attempts to reverse some decisions by previous leaders. That is the nature and the beauty of our constitutional system...

By Col. Charles D. Allen | January 5, 2011; 11:09 AM ET | Comments (12)

In the blame game, no one wins

Those who want to redo 2008 to 2010 will see the decisions that contributed to the fragility of the economy and that have locked the country into two intractable wars had their origins well before this time frame...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | January 5, 2011; 10:57 AM ET | Comments (3)

House Reps: Don't throw the baby out with the bath water....

A leader does not erase the past. A leader will build off the past to forward his or her agenda. Repealing President Obama's health-care bill will not magically bring back the health-care debate of 2008...

By Coro Fellows | January 4, 2011; 11:52 AM ET | Comments (10)

Prudent leadership is still MIA

At best we can look forward to another year of endless debate and limited progress. It's a bad case of déjà vu that doesn't seem to be getting better...

By Alaina Love | January 4, 2011; 11:44 AM ET | Comments (6)

Confronting our human fallacies

It often seems that, on an innate level, humans are ill equipped to organize effectively, whether it be in the private, public or not-for-profit sectors. Our technological capabilities to build and organize networks efficiently over the Internet have far outstripped our social capacities to...

By Sally Blount | January 4, 2011; 11:38 AM ET | Comments (1)

It all depends on your goal

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...

By Howard Gardner | January 4, 2011; 11:31 AM ET | Comments (1)

The death of old ways

Effective leaders of change focus on the future without describing the past as wrong. It is almost always unproductive to...

By Carol Kinsey Goman | January 4, 2011; 11:27 AM ET | Comments (2)

Making good on a promise

Republican candidates almost universally promised to repeal the Obama health-care bill during the course of last year's campaign, and that is a promise they must keep...

By Slade Gorton | January 4, 2011; 11:22 AM ET | Comments (19)

Solutions not sound bites

Governance is hard work. It involves putting the needs of others ahead of your own. For leaders, that often means turning down their own egos in an effort to work with other, even bigger, egos...

By John Baldoni | January 4, 2011; 11:13 AM ET | Comments (2)

The unsung heroes: Enterprising entrepreneurs

Despite struggling with a recession, a bank crisis, a real estate meltdown, a technology shift, uncertain policy outcomes in Washington and scant access to credit, entrepreneurs persevered in 2010, all the while creating...

By Amy M. Wilkinson | December 30, 2010; 06:35 PM ET | Comments (1)

The mobilizer: President Obama

I don't agree with all of President Obama's policy agenda, but it is hard to argue that he has been anything but successful in advancing the very types of policies he said he would...

By Ed O'Malley | December 29, 2010; 09:42 AM ET | Comments (1)

The coach: Mike Krzyzewski

In a year where upstarts like the Tea Party and Mark Zuckerberg are hailed and covered, I will take the leader with a career of excellence...

By Peter Hart | December 22, 2010; 05:45 PM ET | Comments (5)

The U.S. auto revivers: Alan Mulally and Ed Whitacre

The two of them deserve enormous credit for restoring America's automobile industry, just when it appeared that American-owned auto companies were a thing of the past. They are doing it "the old-fashioned way": not with short-term moves and...

By Bill George | December 22, 2010; 04:24 PM ET | Comments (7)

The man of all seasons: Sidney Harman

"If and when I die," he once said to me, during a tennis match years ago. I took that seriously. When the business world, in particular, is desperately looking for leaders with...

By Warren Bennis | December 22, 2010; 04:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

The overcomer: Barack Obama

My reason for choosing him as leader of the year is that he, more than anyone else, has guided, pushed and often persuaded skeptical and independent legislators to...

By Michael Maccoby | December 22, 2010; 04:02 PM ET | Comments (12)

The givers: Bill and Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett

The Giving Pledge is shaping social expectations around wealth and is suggesting an enlightened form of capitalism that redefines personal success...

By Angel Cabrera | December 22, 2010; 03:54 PM ET | Comments (10)

The issue confronter: Bill Clinton

I don't always agree with his politics or his approach, but I think he has shown a willingness to take on the tough...

By Robert Goodwin | December 22, 2010; 03:46 PM ET | Comments (0)

The higher educators: Steven Sample and John Sexton

Like government, universities are filled with employees that are often nearly impossible to fire; they are bastions of political correctness that make management more challenging than in the military or the...

By Paul R. Portney | December 22, 2010; 03:38 PM ET | Comments (0)

The debt tackler: David Cameron

More than any other world leader, he has not only acknowledged the tremendous challenge and necessity of dealing with a huge public debt but also has proposed specific...

By George Daly | December 22, 2010; 03:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

The helpful hands: You and your neighbor?

here were those who helped people trapped under rubble. There were those who helped organize others to find water, set up shelters and care for new orphans. There were...

By Deborah Ancona | December 22, 2010; 03:20 PM ET | Comments (1)

The legislator: Nancy Pelosi

Despite millions spent to scapegoat her in the last election and the Republican's obvious glee at knocking her out of the Speaker's throne, Pelosi is leaving this position with dignity. More importantly...

By Kathryn Kolbert | December 22, 2010; 10:24 AM ET | Comments (19)

The community rebuilders: Linetta Gilbert and Kelly Lucas

I have two nominees with whom I have had the privilege of working; both are professionals in the field of philanthropy. They are profiles in leadership and capture the vision, passion, courage, skill and tenacity needed to bring about real community change...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | December 22, 2010; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

For education reform, turning our attention to principals

Of all the factors common to successful schools, it is puzzling that so little weight is given to leadership. In the film Waiting for Superman, excellent teaching is rightly given credit as a major factor in student achievement, but there is no discussion of the exceptional principals leading the schools shown...

By Michael Maccoby | December 21, 2010; 04:39 PM ET | Comments (80)

Not a risk taker? Then chances are you're a woman

Girls learn about risk differently. Risky behavior, girls are told, is dangerous. For many young women, perfection is the more popular state for which to strive. Being simultaneously popular, a top student and pretty becomes a recipe for greatness. As you get older, this ideal morphs into Superwoman syndrome--the pressure to be that strange creature...

By Selena Rezvani | December 20, 2010; 06:21 PM ET | Comments (10)

The sacrificers: First responders, American troops and Bill Husfelt

It has become fashionable in some circles to deride a lack of leadership. But that is to overlook the service of all the men and women who put themselves in harm's way for the benefit of...

By John Baldoni | December 20, 2010; 04:17 PM ET | Comments (3)

The reformer: Adm. Mike Mullen

Testifying to Congress about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", the Admiral persuasively summed up the issue: "For me it comes down to integrity"...

By Amy Fraher | December 20, 2010; 04:13 PM ET | Comments (4)

The agenda setters: Tea Partiers

They represented the largest genuine mass movement in generations to enter the political arena with a clear goal...

By Slade Gorton | December 20, 2010; 04:05 PM ET | Comments (10)

The mitigators: David Cameron and Nick Clegg

Protesters might terrify formal-attired Camilla and Charles. But even that turned out fine. With budgets being slashed, there's no way to avoid such resistance--whether from students with scant tuition or from beneficiaries with lavish government handouts. But the harmony, decency and rationality of the Cameron-Clegg team...

By Ken Adelman | December 20, 2010; 04:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

The activist: Aung San Suu Kyi

Suu Kyi has spent 15 of the past 21 years under arrest for her support of democracy in Burma--and yet she has managed to serve as an inspiration for millions of...

By Susan Peters | December 20, 2010; 03:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

The education innovators: Michelle Rhee and Geoffrey Canada

Both of these leaders are tough, determined and committed to reversing the appalling decline in the academic performance of children educated in the United States...

By Alaina Love | December 20, 2010; 03:06 PM ET | Comments (6)

When what you do outweighs who you are

A cloud of allegations hovers over this year's Heisman recipient, and a shadow has been cast on his character and on the integrity of those who chose him. In his case, fact and fiction are somewhat muddled; but what is clear is...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | December 16, 2010; 09:26 AM ET | Comments (2)

Cam being Cam

Once in an interview in response to the question '"How do you manage all those newly rich, testosterone-rich, self-absorbed men on a professional football team?" Bill Parcells answered exactly the opposite...

By Marty Linsky | December 15, 2010; 01:47 PM ET | Comments (1)

Offer redemption, then show the door

Spending time with my five grand kids always reminds me that children are great mimics. Spending a few minutes with the daily newspaper reminds me that adults are too--and often with far less charming results...

By John R. Ryan | December 15, 2010; 01:39 PM ET | Comments (1)

Integrity is essential

Today, more than ever, leaders are expected to set the standard. To be role models and...

By Susan Peters | December 14, 2010; 05:32 PM ET | Comments (3)

Recruiting character and talent

When Joe Gibbs was building the Washington Redskins into Superbowl champions, his stated criteria for drafting players was...

By Michael Maccoby | December 14, 2010; 03:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

Strong character trumps perfection

As a veteran executive once told me, hire for character. Don't expect to develop something that is not there. If a person lacks a moral compass, don't think you...

By John Baldoni | December 13, 2010; 06:54 PM ET | Comments (0)

The road to ruin

Yes, Cam Newton is an incredible football player (I love watching him play), but we must care about the total person we hold up for emulation in our society. This is about repairing, not maintaining, the moral fiber of...

By Don Vandergriff | December 13, 2010; 03:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

Creating a Benedict Arnold

As with the Benedict Arnold example, star performers can move up the organization to positions of great responsibility, without a clear understanding of the value of ethical behavior and institutional rules and...

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | December 13, 2010; 03:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

Don't care about values? At least stop pretending

it all depends on how important a culture of integrity is. If it is essential (as it is for many top organizations), then you must reward, penalize, hire and fire to that value. But if you aren't going to do that, at least have the courtesy and honesty to delete that...

By Carol Kinsey Goman | December 13, 2010; 02:47 PM ET | Comments (3)

Losing sight of Lincoln: A mid-course resurrection to save Obama's presidency

Remember, back in 2008, when everyone compared Barack Obama to Abraham Lincoln? After he was elected president, Obama himself talked about what he was learning from the 16th president. Fast forward to today: no one is talking about those parallels. Only the most foolish among us would put Obama anywhere near the rarefied stratosphere reserved for our most revered leader.

By Nancy Koehn | December 8, 2010; 01:04 PM ET | Comments (19)

Betrayal is a potent weapon

The hardest part of all of this is that the people who supported Obama because he promised to fight for the little guy are feeling betrayed. And betrayal is a potent weapon in party politics that Republicans will cash in on...

By Kathryn Kolbert | December 8, 2010; 11:03 AM ET | Comments (5)

Obama's 'Sophie's choice'

The public should not accept such blatant manipulation or tolerate being held hostage by power plays and positional bargaining. This legislation is neither bipartisan nor optimum. Neither party achieved...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | December 8, 2010; 10:05 AM ET | Comments (2)

Playing from weakness

Obama's strength has been in the results he has won; his weakness has been in a failure to communicate his reasoning for accepting less than he has wanted...

By Michael Maccoby | December 7, 2010; 04:39 PM ET | Comments (4)

The tax cuts show progress

This is the essence of compromise, and gives us at least some hope of a constructive next year or so, perhaps even including...

By Slade Gorton | December 7, 2010; 11:56 AM ET | Comments (2)

Obama's authority is suffering

The president looks bad for making sacrifices and gestures, as with the federal wage freeze, and getting nothing in return from the Republicans. All he got was the back of their hand. Who knows. Maybe this will be the slap that...

By Yash Gupta | December 7, 2010; 10:13 AM ET | Comments (7)

Not the right deal to cut

While some compromise is necessary and should be encouraged, this "deal" does not seem reasonable from a fiscal responsibility and social equity perspective. It seems that President Obama is operating from a position of weakness and the Republicans from...

By David Walker | December 7, 2010; 10:08 AM ET | Comments (10)

Obama needs to take a stand

Obama looks like an individual without strong values for which he is willing to go to the mat--except for the value of mediation and compromise, which does not work when you occupy a role that requires decisions and the appearance of decisiveness...

By Howard Gardner | December 7, 2010; 10:02 AM ET | Comments (4)

On tax cuts, pragmatism vs. principle

The Democrats had an opportunity to tell a story about the tremendous pain that withholding the unemployment extensions could cause to millions, pain which the Republicans were willing to inflict it in order to preserve tax cuts for the wealthy. Yet the debate...

By Coro Fellows | December 7, 2010; 08:22 AM ET | Comments (14)

Compromise is king

Standing up for what you believe to be the right decision is the very definition of leadership. But standing tall for every idea you have is delusional...

By John Baldoni | December 6, 2010; 05:10 PM ET | Comments (2)

Grow up, Washington

We've become a nation of immediate gratification, which has contributed to the current economic debacle, coupled with leadership in Washington that refuses to make the very bold decisions that can right our economy again...

By Alaina Love | December 6, 2010; 04:30 PM ET | Comments (3)

Gridlock has its rewards

It's tragic what Obama has to endure from Republicans, or they from him, or all of us from all of them. So what's new? Our political system was designed thus...

By Ken Adelman | December 6, 2010; 04:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Another kick-the-can solution

If we ever plan to avoid excessive debt, either Republicans will have to demonstrate the courage to raise taxes or Democrats will have to demonstrate the courage to cut spending...

By Marshall Goldsmith | December 6, 2010; 03:04 PM ET | Comments (2)

Sacrifice a little now or a lot later

Both parties want to reward their wealthy contributors, who make up the "elite" and possess no real understanding of how successful nations sustain their greatness--which is by maintaining a meritocracy, where anyone with hard work and smarts can...

By Don Vandergriff | December 6, 2010; 02:59 PM ET | Comments (8)

Obama allowed himself to be politically boxed in

While the left railed against tax breaks for "billionaires," that is not what was on the table. In the end, the president had to compromise because he had staked out a position that was untenable, especially in a time that required providing families with...

By Mickey Edwards | December 6, 2010; 02:23 PM ET | Comments (8)

Progress deferred on equal pay for women

Progress created by the Ledbetter Act was hamstrung last month by the failed passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act. The National Organization for Women explains that the act would have deterred wage discrimination by diminishing workarounds in the law and by minimizing retaliation against workers who disclose their wages.

By Selena Rezvani | December 3, 2010; 03:38 PM ET | Comments (1)

Equal-opportunity pain delivery

We really do not want our politicians to exercise leadership. We want them to take care of us and deliver any pain that is necessary to someone else. That's why we have...

By Marty Linsky | December 1, 2010; 10:08 AM ET | Comments (3)

The federal budget as metaphor

Our values and beliefs are embedded in the numbers, and changing the balance sheet is about changing ourselves. Balancing the budget is not just a realistic reallocation of resources; it is a metaphor for our belief about the American character...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | December 1, 2010; 09:52 AM ET | Comments (0)

We need more government sacrifice

President Obama's move to freeze federal workers' pay and soon-to-be Speaker John Boehner's jettisoning of his private plane are wise moves, but they are mostly symbolic. Our leaders need to be willing to do more and cut our spending down to the point we are just about to hit bone...

By Robert Goodwin | December 1, 2010; 09:46 AM ET | Comments (6)

Looking for love from an unloving public

The only successful way to ensure that Congress will swallow the bitter pill is to have them authorize a neutral group to make the tough decisions and then make sure that Congress is prohibited from making changes to...

By Kathryn Kolbert | December 1, 2010; 09:42 AM ET | Comments (4)

Using the presidential bully pulpit

People on the Right see big government and taxes as the main threat to liberty and prosperity. On the Left, people view cutting the federal budget as a threat to the needy. It is unlikely that the president can persuade either extreme to share a common purpose. But...

By Michael Maccoby | November 30, 2010; 11:47 AM ET | Comments (0)

Slash and smile, with a stiff upper lip

No need to invent a slash-and-smile playbook. There's one already working--in Britain. David Cameron and Nick Clegg, UK prime minister and deputy, provide a shining model of economic and political leadership. In economics they're slashing everything, from momentous entitlements to emotional health centers...

By Ken Adelman | November 30, 2010; 11:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

The next Congress provides the best opportunity

The American people are conflicted between a horror of mounting debt and deficits and their desire not to have their own benefits slashed, so neither party can be successful alone...

By Slade Gorton | November 30, 2010; 11:34 AM ET | Comments (0)

Leading a moral imperative

Shared sacrifice reinforces the moral imperative of any leadership proposition. And we have a word for men and women who put themselves and their ideas forward for the good of the organization, even when it may mean they have to give up something. We call them leaders...

By John Baldoni | November 30, 2010; 11:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

Americans are starved for fiscal truth

We can do it in an intelligent and phased-in manner before a crisis is at our doorstep; or else it will have to be done in a sudden, dramatic and possibly draconian manner in the face of a crisis. The choice is ours...

By David Walker | November 30, 2010; 11:22 AM ET | Comments (0)

Obama needs to go to the mat

It is important to stress, to repeat, that in the latter years of the Clinton administration, there was actually a budget surplus. If we could have a surplus a decade ago, there is no reason in principle that we can't have one some years from now...

By Howard Gardner | November 30, 2010; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (2)

Upending conventional wisdom

It seems that at the root of the spending and tax problem is a deficiency in the behavior of the American public, deepened through citizens' misaligned expectations of their leaders...

By Coro Fellows | November 30, 2010; 10:33 AM ET | Comments (4)

A flawed process

It doesn't matter if you have served in the military, are young or old, are a former law enforcement officer, or have a top-level security clearance. When standing in the security line, everyone is treated the same--like a potential terrorist--and that, inherently, is the problem...

By Robert Goodwin | November 24, 2010; 01:50 PM ET | Comments (7)

Understanding resistance

New TSA procedures have violated what travelers have previously agreed to, and resistance is neither surprising or unmanageable. People will continue to resist change until they fully understand the need for the change and how their...

By West Point Cadets | November 24, 2010; 01:38 PM ET | Comments (4)

Adding insult to injury

This might be the right time for the TSA to pause and regroup to develop a better implementation plan for improved security considering the passenger travel experience, and despite the cost already invested. It's appropriate to admit that they haven't quite gotten this right...

By Alaina Love | November 24, 2010; 12:59 PM ET | Comments (3)

Security isn't just a technical problem

The TSA put forth what was presumably the technically best set of procedures, one that would reduce the likelihood of a terrorist getting on an airplane to close to zero. That's their job. But in the broader picture, TSA's strategy, whatever it is, will not work unless...

By Marty Linsky | November 23, 2010; 09:18 AM ET | Comments (4)

TSA's right and responsibility

I went through security at the Kansas City airport the first day of the new policy and thought I might get a marriage proposal from the fellow from TSA who administered my search. Had I known that a change had been made, his examination would have been less alarming...

By Paul R. Portney | November 23, 2010; 07:38 AM ET | Comments (14)

Give us liberty (and, while you're at it, save us from death)!

the TSA should launch a public education campaign. Such an effort should be devoid of slick propaganda and clever slogans. Rather, I want statistics as well as evidence of nuanced thinking on the part of the decision-makers.

By Coro Fellows | November 23, 2010; 02:13 AM ET | Comments (10)

TSA's tone-deaf strategy

TSA and Homeland Security appear tone-deaf and unwilling to consider the logical next steps (proctological exam anyone?) of a security strategy that focuses on everyone and on intervention at the last possible moment...

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | November 22, 2010; 08:05 PM ET | Comments (3)

Four ways to evaluate such a big decision

There is one area in which leaders cannot reverse: integrity. You can change policy, but you cannot compromise principle. As straightforward as this seems, all too often we have seen...

By John Baldoni | November 22, 2010; 07:47 PM ET | Comments (3)

Close encounters of the unpleasant kind

TSA is in a tough spot. Every encounter with the screening process is destined to be unpleasant: inconvenient waits, intrusions into personal privacy, the risks of rude workers--all the fun of dealing with the IRS, with the awful specter of September 11 in the background as the inescapable reason for the encounter to begin with...

By Donald Kettl | November 22, 2010; 07:25 PM ET | Comments (3)

TSA--and politicians--need to make more unpopular decisions

It is the responsibility of the TSA to protect us, period. TSA leaders must be prepared to make unpopular decisions regarding our safety. Our sensitivities and complaints matter, but in this case leadership means doing something unpopular to keep us safe and fulfilling the responsibilities associated with TSA's mission...

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | November 22, 2010; 07:15 PM ET | Comments (10)

Let's end terrorism hysteria

Airport security should have been handled by contractors. If they did something really stupid--like groin-groping--they could be fired. Government folks can't. Plus, then government would be a step removed from glaring stupidity...

By Ken Adelman | November 22, 2010; 03:40 PM ET | Comments (11)

Not the time to backtrack

It is an appropriate decision that should not be reversed by outcries from the public. The agency should exercise courage in maintaining its important decision...

By Pablo Eisenberg | November 22, 2010; 03:36 PM ET | Comments (2)

A problem of political correctness

The mistake is not so much in the technology, which is seemingly effective, as it is in the rigid political correctness that all travelers be treated as equally threatening...

By Slade Gorton | November 22, 2010; 02:14 PM ET | Comments (2)

Avoid backlash in the first place

Remember, no one likes change done to them; while most people willingly support change that they are involved in creating...

By Carol Kinsey Goman | November 22, 2010; 02:10 PM ET | Comments (2)

Get the messaging right

Placing the current, less-than-optional measures within a larger, rational context is the best way for leaders to proceed--whether they head airport security or the US government...

By Howard Gardner | November 22, 2010; 01:57 PM ET | Comments (1)

Worse than mere hubris

If one merely thinks a proposal is "a good idea" and could be helpful, it is not leadership but hubris to try to impose it against the public will. In the private sector, that bar of "necessity" is very unlikely ever to be reached...

By Mickey Edwards | November 22, 2010; 11:33 AM ET | Comments (5)

'Rapid' turnarounds can be years in the making

The fundamentals of our economy and the talent of our people are strong, but it is our debt and entitlement programs that stall our recovery and long-term profitability as a nation. As with GM, rapid turnaround can come, but it will take hard choices and the courage to reset programs like social security and Medicare...

By Robert Goodwin | November 19, 2010; 02:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

When culture eats strategy

There's a tendency in struggling organizations to focus on fixing systems and processes, as if structural repairs are all that stands between current problems and success. Certainly, GM did plenty of tinkering over the years, but it wasn't enough. That's because often it's the organizational culture--the day-to-day behaviors and beliefs and attitudes of employees at all levels--that needs changing...

By John R. Ryan | November 17, 2010; 02:35 PM ET | Comments (1)

How to save a company from demise

If culture is, as Terry Deal states, "the way we do things around here;" then corporate leadership must question the underlying assumptions that drive the behaviors of those within the company. Many assumptions are unconscious and have a dramatic effect on operations; surfacing them is critical to a company's ability to change. An integrated approach to leadership means...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | November 17, 2010; 10:55 AM ET | Comments (1)

The danger of complacency

In the army, leadership is continuously cycled. Lieutenants tend to only be a platoon leader for 15 months and then become an executive officer or take another staff position. Captains command companies for no longer than 24 months. Further, any military family can relate to the saying, "Home is where the Army sends you." This consistent leadership change keeps unit atmosphere continuously fresh, preventing complacency issues like GM had...

By West Point Cadets | November 16, 2010; 10:31 AM ET | Comments (3)

Combat insularity, confront reality

Failure to confront reality doomed General Motors, as it has many other companies. When you are really big, you tend to lose the hunger for excellence that many smaller companies have. In its early days, General Motors was a formidable competitor. It understood its customers and...

By John Baldoni | November 16, 2010; 10:18 AM ET | Comments (1)

Prior success is a powerful narcotic

Sometimes it takes a clear threat to organizational survival to prompt a new way of doing business that is responsive to changes outside of the company. As we have seen with General Motors before the bankruptcy, sometimes even that is not enough...

By George Reed | November 16, 2010; 10:02 AM ET | Comments (1)

The 'mechanics' of leadership

Remember when Rick Wagoner flew by private jet to DC to ask for a bailout? GM's executives ignored the seemingly obvious cost-cutting measure of reducing executive pay--something Toyota enacted without government instruction. A sense of "just" compensation--legitimate or not--prevents both union leaders and executives from making the obvious decision to cut costs...

By Coro Fellows | November 16, 2010; 12:34 AM ET | Comments (1)

Laud the White House, not Woodward Ave

A mess as big as GM's could not have been fixed this quickly without the U.S bankruptcy code that allowed GM to wipe out its debt and the millions of dollars infused into the restructured company by the Obama Administration. This took guts and calm at a time when there was no good economic news and vigorous political opposition...

By Kathryn Kolbert | November 15, 2010; 01:18 PM ET | Comments (5)

Why Pelosi didn't fail

Women and men need to see an example of a woman politician who has had to face a loss but refuses to back down. Too often, women leaders become discouraged after an initial loss, or are encouraged by others to step down following a failure. What would happen if instead of backing down, we came back with even more fire in our...

By Marie Wilson | November 10, 2010; 01:48 PM ET | Comments (7)

Things fall apart

How can Congress make the best use of the next two years? To answer that question it is important to note that the interests of the Democratic Party should not supersede the interests of our nation. Rather, our next minority leader must further bipartisan decision-making. As such, there is no need to look at whether Speaker Pelosi is the best person for the...

By Coro Fellows | November 9, 2010; 04:10 PM ET | Comments (3)

'A wish for leaders'

There are some key questions that should be considered by both, even though Senator Reid has retained his formal position and Speaker Pelosi's fate is now dependent on the votes of her peers. In the final analysis, both will have to be authorized by those they want to influence. Can they present and represent their positions...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | November 9, 2010; 02:49 PM ET | Comments (0)

Acceptable vs unacceptable failures

If your personal values are aligned with those of your organization, you will know how much and what type of failure is too much. If you hold true to your values and have the courage to accept responsibility for your actions, you'll know when you need to step aside. At the end of the day, we must act...

By West Point Cadets | November 9, 2010; 02:41 PM ET | Comments (1)

How Pelosi is like KU's Coach Gill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faces a situation many authority figures face when they are linked to poor results. But Pelosi can take heart, she has a kindred spirit here in the Heartland. University of Kansas head football coach, Turner Gill, isn't a politician, but his job is political. As does Pelosi, Gill makes his living in a full-contact activity. Each also faces a growing chorus of detractors wanting...

By Ed O'Malley | November 9, 2010; 07:53 AM ET | Comments (1)

Good leaders never give up? Nonsense

Forget the myth nurtured on the football field that leaders never give up. Nonsense. True leaders are smart enough to know when to stop bashing their heads against opposition stronger than themselves. Even smarter ones, and may I add more courageous ones, know that the bravest thing to do is to give up...

By John Baldoni | November 8, 2010; 06:02 PM ET | Comments (0)

Democrats should stick with Pelosi and Reid

Both Obama and Pelosi have been effective leaders for the Democrat constituency. Neither has connected with the Republican constituency. Would other Democrats do better? Should Pelosi be replaced by a Democrat considered more centrist? The danger is that this would alienate...

By Michael Maccoby | November 8, 2010; 05:51 PM ET | Comments (10)

Some force-fed humility

Congresswoman Pelosi has lost credibility by insisting on remaining the head of the Democratic caucus in the wake of the recent elections. By 'fighting' to stay in the limelight, she leaves the impression that her agenda is more about her than about the things she claims to believe in. A more credible and humble approach would be...

By Bob Schoultz | November 8, 2010; 05:39 PM ET | Comments (7)

On being a 'net negative'

Pelosi has become an anchor around the neck of the once hopeful Democratic Party, and the election should have been signal enough for her to move on. Any attempt on her part to linger, to continue to represent Democratic ideals and intentions, will further set the party back. She's had her opportunity, it's time for new blood...

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | November 8, 2010; 05:30 PM ET | Comments (4)

Hope: Version 2.0?

Question: Like U.S. presidents, military and non-profit leaders often face the equivalent of "midterm elections" in which they and their strategies are subject to an initial market test or performance evaluation. What's the first thing President Obama, or any leader,...

By Coro Fellows | November 3, 2010; 02:26 PM ET | Comments (3)

How to take feedback

It has been said that success has many fathers but failure is an orphan. A benefit of living in a democratic society is that the people have a voice. Whether or not this week's public feedback changes the makeup of our elected leadership, every leader should first take an honest look at their future plans and at the successes or failures of past performance. Behind every contentious issue is an opportunity to do...

By West Point Cadets | November 3, 2010; 01:51 PM ET | Comments (1)

Start with "what" and "why"

When plans and strategies appear to falter, the simplest questions are often the ones that are the most overlooked. "What were we trying to accomplish and why?" At the strategic level, these answers should be tied to our professed national values and the protection our U.S. security interests. The result should be a clear statement of purpose and the development of well-defined...

By Col. Charles D. Allen | November 3, 2010; 01:40 PM ET | Comments (1)

The people have spoken--listen and speak back

I thought it was telling that President Obama went on Jon Stewart's show last week and complained that the public wasn't aware of everything his administration has accomplished. Who exactly is to blame for that? The president and his team, who have let their opponents define them. He's a master orator, but he needs to do a better job of communicating empathy and understanding where the problems of Main Street Americans are...

By Yash Gupta | November 2, 2010; 11:08 AM ET | Comments (11)

Every day is election day

It's hard--probably impossible--to get everyone behind you, and good leaders will always get feedback from their teams that is surprising, even disappointing. But good leaders headed to greatness are those who brush off the dust, check their egos, listen...

By Susan Peters | November 2, 2010; 11:04 AM ET | Comments (2)

Work with those that would see you fail

We should not accept the appearance rather than the reality of cooperation; nor can we tolerate the unconditional resistance to change seen these past two years. In the long term those who are all about power not purpose, about self-interest not the common good, about control not compassion will be exposed as non-leaders...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | November 2, 2010; 10:53 AM ET | Comments (5)

Obama needs to embrace his critics

One of Obama's biggest mistakes in his first two years has been disdaining his critics, beginning with his demeaning reference at that San Francisco fundraiser during his own campaign and culminating in...

By Marty Linsky | November 2, 2010; 10:47 AM ET | Comments (5)

Appraise the past to build the future

There is no better avenue for swift strengthening of one's leadership than to uncompromisingly review the immediate past. If President Obama and his team can dissect what went well and what did not in the first two years, their leadership of the second two will be far better for...

By Michael Useem | November 1, 2010; 06:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Take a deep breath

What that means for a leader is that setbacks, even those personally directed at your leadership, are not about you as a person; they are about you as a leader. You must consider such feedback or setback as a challenge. What you do after being tested is the measure of your...

By John Baldoni | November 1, 2010; 05:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

First, focus on jobs

Unfortunately, the midterm elections contain no good news for President Obama and the Democratic party. The mantra that Bill Clinton never forgot--"It's the economy, stupid"--must become President Obama's mantra as well. The disastrous losses in this midterm vote gives the White House a perfect opportunity to refocus on...

By Kathryn Kolbert | November 1, 2010; 04:19 PM ET | Comments (7)

Obama's gift of opportunity

Rather than respond defensively to unambiguously negative feedback, the first thing any organizational leader should do is to thank his evaluators for the opportunity to tackle the areas of deficiency and make things right before problems escalate to irreparable levels. Whether considering President Obama or...

By Amy Fraher | November 1, 2010; 03:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

Five ways to serve the people

Take responsibility: if your key stakeholders believe that you have made a mistake, you have made a mistake (either in strategy, communication or style). Avoid 'blaming' your stakeholders...

By Marshall Goldsmith | November 1, 2010; 03:18 PM ET | Comments (2)

It's not what he says, it's whether he means it

President Obama will say, as all presidents have under similar circumstances, that he congratulates the winners, has heard the message sent by the voters and looks forward to working with the new Congress for the good of the American people. He will then visit countries where he is more popular...

By Slade Gorton | November 1, 2010; 03:14 PM ET | Comments (1)

James Madison was right

Scrape away the personal attacks, lies and distortions, and we are faced with different interests, passions and theories about what is best for America. Madison was hopeful that an enlightened electorate (and this only included white males with property) would select leaders "whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and...

By Michael Maccoby | October 27, 2010; 01:04 PM ET | Comments (3)

Painting states into colors

The current political campaign language is deeply divisive. Painting states into colors denies our diversity and reinforces the delusion of independence. It rewards insularity and social callousness, i.e., "if I have adequate health care and you don't it's not my problem"; "if my children can get the best education and yours can't, that's too bad"...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | October 26, 2010; 12:17 PM ET | Comments (5)

Disappoint your own people at a rate they can absorb

Elections themselves are the antithesis of leadership. They are as pure a form of authority seeking and pandering as exists in a democratic society. Public yearning for leadership in the run-up to elections is inappropriate and naive. We have designed it that way, creating a system that keeps aspiring office-holders as close to voters as possible. But shame on the successful politician who does not exercise leadership in the months right after the...

By Marty Linsky | October 26, 2010; 10:03 AM ET | Comments (0)

Defusing our fiscal time bomb

It will be interesting to see whether President Obama and the new Congressional leadership can pivot after the elections in a manner that will allow some progress in defusing our fiscal time bomb. It clearly is in our nation's interest for them to do so, and hopefully they...

By David Walker | October 26, 2010; 09:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

Smart leaders compromise

It is so disheartening to see compromise being dragged through the mud of what purports to be political discourse. Politicians desperate for cash and voters roundly criticize compromise as somehow being a tool of deceit and an indication of lack of spine. When in reality, compromise is not only a sign of intelligence; it is a sign of...

By John Baldoni | October 26, 2010; 09:53 AM ET | Comments (2)

On compromise and campaign finance

The concept of compromise as a desirable end-result neglects the notion that differences are often acceptable and, indeed, desirable--it should not necessarily be the goal of government to bring all people together. This seems to be particularly true around hot-button social issues, when a politician's "values" are being tested, and compromising to build consensus might compromise...

By Coro Fellows | October 26, 2010; 08:41 AM ET | Comments (13)

Dramatic changes are possible

President Obama campaigned on the promise to be a post-partisan president and governed from the beginning as a hard partisan, so dramatic changes are certainly possible. After November, Republicans will be far stronger than they are now, but they clearly will not be...

By Slade Gorton | October 25, 2010; 04:53 PM ET | Comments (2)

What politicians can learn from actors

Getting the job required the ability to make a positive first impression, to be friendly and likeable when dealing with casting directors, directors and producers, and to be a "quick study"--memorizing almost instantly. Doing the job required real acting abilities--getting into the heart of the character and making the performance...

By Carol Kinsey Goman | October 25, 2010; 12:42 PM ET | Comments (1)

Good business vs good television

The seeds of 21st-century leadership are evident in much of good popular culture-as are the signs of the times that we abandoned long ago, usually for the better. Today's forward-thinking leaders are connected...

By Susan Peters | October 20, 2010; 10:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

Respect, not fear, rules the roost

People will perform the bare minimum and possess no drive for excellence under a leader they fear without respect. This ultimately limits the organization's potential, as subordinates are more concerned with avoiding punishment. I'd say Don Draper's effectiveness lies within his loyalty to...

By West Point Cadets | October 19, 2010; 11:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

Short-term vs long-term success

Gov. Christie's blunt style is a relief to voters who crave certainty. Indeed he has become the consummate outsider since so many of his fellow politicians faced with difficult choices tend to obfuscate their positions or refuse to take firm stands. In the long term, Christie's haste and certainty may come to haunt...

By Kathryn Kolbert | October 15, 2010; 02:13 PM ET | Comments (1)

Buck political pragmatism

While some controversial decisions may alienate certain special interests, the "silent majority" is becoming increasingly appreciative of leaders that are willing to stick their necks out for what they believe to be the correct course of action. And most Americans who have seen their pay, benefits and savings erode are frustrated with the lack of belt-tightening in governmental salaries, benefits...

By Robert Goodwin | October 14, 2010; 11:52 AM ET | Comments (2)

Four lessons from Christie

In observing Governor Christie, we can learn how being direct and even aggressive has an appropriate place and time in the repertoire of a leader. In anxious and uncertain times, those most affected often perceive a leader's desire for collaboration as a weakness; a more authoritarian style is palatable, even preferred, by those wanting security. In these times of severe economic...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | October 13, 2010; 11:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

Christie is taking a short-sighted approach

Governor Christie may deserve credit for addressing New Jersey's budget problems, and he may be scoring points in certain quarters with his various cuts. However, he appears to be taking a short-sighted approach that could cause his state harm in the long run. Consider the impact on education, for example. For the leader of a state, providing a first-rate public education is virtually a moral obligation, and I can't help but...

By Yash Gupta | October 12, 2010; 04:24 PM ET | Comments (5)

What can we learn from Christie?

Many Democrats, including myself, have been lulled into a begrudging respect for Christie. As much as we'd like to see new multi-billion dollar tunnels and drastic raises in education expenditures, we realize that we're no longer living in the era of the blank check, and no one can get furious...

By Coro Fellows | October 12, 2010; 01:43 PM ET | Comments (10)

Go against the grain

As much as we admire leaders for exerting leadership against the odds, there are times when a leader who goes against the grain is doomed to failure. We see this happening often with CEOs. They are so eager to put their stamp on the organization (which is good) that they do not give the organization time to digest new directives (which is not good). So here are...

By John Baldoni | October 12, 2010; 09:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

Zuckerberg's expensive lesson

Who wants to take on such an undertaking when there are not enough hours in the day to manage a company, build a market and deliver on the organization's promise to customers, employees and shareholders? (One can almost hear executives of different stripes and spots asking themselves this under their breath.) But this is not the relevant question. The key question is: which leader can afford not to develop a good outside game? And at this moment in history, the answer is...

By Nancy Koehn | October 6, 2010; 02:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

Zuckerberg rightly focuses on his 'inside game'

The very purpose of Facebook is to keep people informed about each other, not about Mark Zuckerberg, and he seems to be leading the organization effectively. His focus is on his "inside game" of continually making Facebook better every day, which he seems to be doing quite well. Perhaps the best "outside game" is a good "inside game".

By West Point Cadets | October 5, 2010; 11:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Time to repair a tarnished image

In the past, Zuckerberg's relationships with his colleagues proved fragile. He lost a number of people who helped build the company. His challenge is to retain and enlarge a talented team, develop his business, and beat the competition. That will require him to clarify his philosophy of leadership and convince his people that he can be trusted to practice it.

By Michael Maccoby | October 5, 2010; 10:23 AM ET | Comments (1)

Leadership brand is more than a buzz word

A leader's brand radiates throughout the organization but it also carries to the outside. When the CEO is respected, it casts a halo of excellence around the organization. The prime example of this is Steve Jobs at Apple; his vision is Apple's mission. Similarly...

By John Baldoni | October 4, 2010; 10:55 PM ET | Comments (0)

It's refreshing that Zuckerberg focuses on 'inside game'

It is true that the CEO represents the corporate brand, so attention must be paid to appearances and image as the "marketer in chief." But this must be balanced with "inside game," working diligently for shareholders and stakeholders to whom...

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | October 4, 2010; 01:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

Fearful leaders

I suspect the meetings that President Obama has with his advisers engender passion and debate between and among all present over high-stakes decisions. In these kinds of settings leaders far too frequently march down one of two paths: they shut out their advisers or they cater to...

By Martin Davidson | September 29, 2010; 02:53 PM ET | Comments (0)

Deciding in a state of ignorance

Seasoned decision-makers value experts' views---but view experts skeptically. They learn to cross-examine them with ferocity. They learn to create "Red" teams and "Blue" teams. The Red Team is charged with providing the affirmative account of...

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | September 29, 2010; 12:44 PM ET | Comments (0)

Getting team buy-in

Leaders who are looking for more creativity need to put their people in different surroundings and reframe the questions in ways that probe the underlying philosophy and criteria for an effective solution first, rather than specifics. Devising your own solution might work if you are president of the United States, but...

By Kathryn Kolbert | September 29, 2010; 12:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

When the going gets tough, the tough get...

In the case of strategic advice to a president, his senior military advisers must give him their best advice as they see it, no matter how painful. When faced with a desire to define an end state--and it is not clear that was the entire question at issue with the president in regard to Afghanistan--his military advisers...

By Gen. Monty Meigs (Ret.) | September 28, 2010; 03:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

The right way to engage military leaders

The fact that a debate on the strategic direction occurred, allowing for conflicting and dissenting points of view within the Bush administration, is characteristic of healthy civil-military relations. Senior military officers--the theater and operational commanders as well as the Joint Chiefs of Staff--were engaged in discourse...

By Col. Charles D. Allen | September 28, 2010; 03:19 PM ET | Comments (1)

Respect your advisers

President Obama has the difficult task of serving as a commander-in-chief without a military background, while working with career military people. He's not the first president in this position, of course. It just means he has to be extremely well prepared on military matters. He doesn't need to know nitty-gritty details...

By Yash Gupta | September 28, 2010; 02:26 PM ET | Comments (2)

The president as decider

This president is very logical, thoughtful and deliberative in the way he makes decisions; he doesn't appear to be impulsive or easily swayed by poll numbers grading his likability or direction. There seems to be healthy ability to obtain counsel from smart people who don't always see things the same way and who aren't afraid...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | September 28, 2010; 02:18 PM ET | Comments (1)

Going down in flames? Do it this way

In these make-or-break situations, my advice to leaders is: "Go with your gut." Going down in flames is always painful. But it's neigh on unbearable when you fail following someone else's advice about...

By Paul R. Portney | September 28, 2010; 10:29 AM ET | Comments (2)

Experts and advisers and leaders, oh my

A generation who judges its importance by numbers of blog followers and Facebook friends is bereft of leadership that dares to be unpopular. However, the "unpopular" role is one that leaders often have to play. If expert advice conflicts with what leadership senses is the best...

By Coro Fellows | September 28, 2010; 09:51 AM ET | Comments (3)

Leaders use advisers, not the other way around

President Obama's efforts to impose his views on the conduct of the war in Afghanistan bring to mind the example of an earlier president, Abraham Lincoln. During the first three years of the Civil War, Lincoln was served by military leaders who were either less than competent or...

By John Baldoni | September 28, 2010; 09:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Tea Party lacking "post-heroic leadership"

leadership, on leadership, tea party, tea party leadership, Christine o donnell, sarah palin, tea party leaders, who is the leader of the tea party, distributed leadership, tea party, wikipedia...

By Marie Wilson | September 22, 2010; 04:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

The pros and cons of decentralized leadership

Decentralized leadership approaches work well when an organization needs innovation and creative solutions from knowledgeable people who are familiar with the environment and know their role within the organization. The less hierarchical culture allows a free flow of ideas, yet people's experience and professionalism keep chaos from swamping the task.

By Amy Fraher | September 22, 2010; 12:36 PM ET | Comments (1)

Tea Party a call for leadership, not the result of it

This is a group devoid of strong leadership, rather than an example of distributed leadership. Many of the individuals who satellite around this movement are eagerly providing evening news sound bites that are focused on playing to the anxieties and fears resulting from an economy in turmoil, without any realistic platform for improving the lives of Americans.

By Alaina Love | September 22, 2010; 12:29 PM ET | Comments (1)

Voters don't know or care about the 'traditional process'

Currently most voters are unhappy with their lot and with the direction of the country. Accordingly, anyone in office, irrespective of what office or what they've done in office, will be on the defensive. Rest assured, no matter what they had done or not done, Fenty and Obama would be on easy street if unemployment were at 4%.

By Howard Gardner | September 15, 2010; 10:32 AM ET | Comments (0)

Obama and Fenty guilty of poor communication

Leaders are the ones who create consensus. That might sound like a contradictory phrase, but it's true; people will follow leaders who clearly explain the reasons why their proposals and programs address the public's needs and desires.

By Yash Gupta | September 14, 2010; 12:01 PM ET | Comments (6)

Debunking the 24/7 workday

So many of us define our self-worth by how hard we work, we have trouble disentangling our egos and even asking if there might be a better way. When we've pushed ourselves to be good students, get good jobs and deliver results, it's hard to hear that our more-more-more approach may not be the right one. For many, being asked to examine how we work feels like being asked to be mediocre.

By Sharon Meers | September 10, 2010; 09:28 AM ET | Comments (6)

Newmark defending dangerous precedent

Free expression and a free market are values that strengthen a prosperous and democratic society. But appealing to values of free expression and a free market can also justify amoral or immoral actions. That is why there are laws and regulations that limit freedom when its expression damages people or limits the freedom of others. To proclaim unbridled freedom as a principle...

By Michael Maccoby | September 8, 2010; 11:55 AM ET | Comments (0)

Managing the tension between intent and impact

Leadership is not value neutral; some values serve a positive social purpose and some do not. The espoused reason for the existence of Craigslist was at risk of being overshadowed by those who values are the commercialization of sexual expression. A leader would ask himself whether...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | September 8, 2010; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

Leadership is more than maximizing profits

The First Amendment allows Craigslist to post what it will, but it doesn't make it socially responsible. Nor does it justify whining about criticism that asks for that responsibility. Leadership calls for far more than simply maximizing profit...

By Slade Gorton | September 7, 2010; 04:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

Finding the lesser of two evils

Leadership is the ability to navigate the poles of the liberty-equity spectrum and draw the best solution for the context - and further, to inspire and influence others to achieve the desired end state. With regard to the United States, the framers created broad limitations steeped in a liberal tradition, but...

By West Point Cadets | September 7, 2010; 03:55 PM ET | Comments (1)

Tactical flexibility, Reagan-style

Ronald Reagan set the leadership model here - no, not on "prostitution and casual sex," but on remaining firm on strategic goals yet loose on interim measures. Reagan's strategic goals were clear and remarkably consistent. His final address as president in January 1989 featured...

By Ken Adelman | September 7, 2010; 01:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

Direct managers are still key to productivity

The first question any leader should ask is "what am I trying to get done?" Generally with regard to human capital, there are three basic objectives: recruiting terrific people to the organization, getting the highest contribution out of the people I have, and engaging and retaining the high performers.

By Tom Monahan | September 1, 2010; 02:27 PM ET | Comments (1)

Don't underestimate the employee-supervisor bond

No one would question the importance of top management. But a recent study of the financial industry, undertaken by Harvard undergraduate Evelyn Chow, underscores the important role played by immediate supervisors...

By Howard Gardner | September 1, 2010; 01:32 PM ET | Comments (1)

Becoming a leader your team is proud of

If you're a top leader, you need to understand that your words and your behavior set the tone, the culture, and the values within your organization. If you seem distant and detached, the organization will take on...

By Yash Gupta | August 31, 2010; 01:47 PM ET | Comments (0)

Middle managers just as critical as senior leaders

This year's Best Places to Work in federal government survey finds that top leadership has a stronger impact on worker satisfaction than immediate supervisors. At the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), however, various research projects over the years confirm that immediate supervisors also have a major influence on employee satisfaction and engagement...

By John R. Ryan | August 31, 2010; 10:59 AM ET | Comments (1)

Understanding the stakeholders

The key lesson for both public and private leaders is the significance of an in-depth understanding of their clogged cartography of stakeholders. For federal leaders especially, the media have to be among the top 5% of stakeholder salience. Why? Because their employees...

By Warren Bennis | August 31, 2010; 10:16 AM ET | Comments (0)

Provide a narrative for your organization

A primary job of leaders in these organizations is to provide a sense of purpose, a narrative for what that organization stands for and how it contributes to making the world a better place. Their job is to...

By Sally Blount | August 31, 2010; 08:47 AM ET | Comments (2)

Leaders engage top to bottom

Managers at every level are often asked to do more and more with shrinking resources and escalating time frames. And it is for precisely those reasons that leaders at the top need to leverage the talents and skills of their people to allow them to think and do more to help the organization achieve its mission.

By John Baldoni | August 31, 2010; 08:39 AM ET | Comments (2)

Connecting everyone to the mission

The two key elements of all leadership are simply: 1) to connect everyone to the mission, and 2) to each other. Other aspects of leadership may be critical, but not as indispensable as these two. Connecting everyone to the mission takes identifying that mission. Only top leaders can do that. Only they can set the whole organization's direction, and give it meaning.

By Ken Adelman | August 31, 2010; 08:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

Warren Bennis: Still surprising at 85

It is not an accident that Warren was chosen to lead other soldiers in battle when he was barely 20 years of age;that Warren's dissertation and first papers were widely acclaimed; that he was offered tenure at MIT at a tender age; and that he has an unequaled set of friends and admirers.

By Howard Gardner | August 11, 2010; 10:03 AM ET | Comments (0)

Steinbrenner: Getting the best at any cost

The Yankees had a man at the helm who would stop at nothing and spare no expense to put the best team possible on the field. In so doing, he demonstrated to leaders everywhere that passion is every bit as important as wisdom.

By Robert Goodwin | July 16, 2010; 01:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

The dangers of 'my way or the highway' leadership

Steinbrenner has engaged in plenty of the behaviors that have tanked the careers of other leaders, most recently General Stanley McChrystal. What made him a successful leader of a storied sports franchise was his ability to win, and a very tolerant Major League Baseball Commissioner.

By Lisa Larson | July 16, 2010; 10:48 AM ET | Comments (0)

Turning obsession into championships

The problem with conventional wisdom is that it is conventional. Despite his harshness and lack of subtlety, Steinbrenner possessed one of the key attributes of successful people, he was absolutely obsessed with his business, working 24/7 to make the Yankees a winner and expecting everyone else to do the same.

By Kathryn Kolbert | July 16, 2010; 10:37 AM ET | Comments (0)

'Be prepared to give everything'

"You will exceed your highest goals if you love your work and your field. Figure out what your special traits are and what it is that you enjoy, and be prepared to give everything."

By Selena Rezvani | July 9, 2010; 11:53 AM ET | Comments (0)

Unpleasant Necessity

I have always disliked presiding at meeting, but a leader must attend frequent meetings and be a fine listener in order to be successful.

By Slade Gorton | October 16, 2009; 12:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Generous Listener

The person I most value in a meetings is the generous listener, the person who identifies when the people are talking past each other and corrects the situation by asking a powerful question.

By Gail S. Williams | October 8, 2009; 04:28 PM ET | Comments (1)

'Let's Meet as Little as We Can!'

As the world's greatest business consultant, Shakespeare got it about right: "Let's meet as little as we can!"

By Ken Adelman | October 8, 2009; 06:14 AM ET | Comments (10)

The Joy of Meetings

When you are really passionate about what you do, you have to work hard to sort out the wheat from the chaff when it comes to meetings.

By Marie Wilson | October 7, 2009; 06:03 AM ET | Comments (12)

No Telepresence Substitute

No matter how electronically well connected an organization is, nor how good "telepresence" technology becomes, there will always be a need for leaders to meet with their organizations in person.

By Paul R. Portney | October 7, 2009; 05:32 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Bad Rap

I know of leaders who rely too heavily on e-mail and phone calls, and they do so at the risk of becoming aloof and disconnected from their employees.

By Yash Gupta | October 6, 2009; 03:32 PM ET | Comments (2)

The $2,000 Meeting

It's eye-opening if 10 people meet for two hours with an average bill rate of $100 per hour. At the end of the meeting the question should be asked, "Was that meeting worth $2,000?

By Robert Goodwin | October 6, 2009; 03:17 PM ET | Comments (4)

The Golden Rule of Meetings

I've seen too many corporate leaders sacrifice their own strategic vision - and ultimately, their own performance - because they've let themselves become hostage to Conference Room B.

By Daisy Wademan Dowling | October 6, 2009; 03:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

In Praise of Meetings

Bad decisions -- from Vietnam to the subprime mess -- resulted, in important part, from not having the right viewpoints about "reality" represented forcefully in front of leaders by contending teams.

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | October 6, 2009; 02:39 PM ET | Comments (1)

A Self-Inflicted Wound

Poorly run meetings sap energy and destroy efficiency. No leader deserving of the title should let that happen to his or her team.

By Ed Ruggero | October 6, 2009; 02:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

Asking the Right Questions

As Peter Drucker once said, "Effective executives... start by finding where their time actually goes."

By Barry Salzberg | October 6, 2009; 10:10 AM ET | Comments (1)

Pivotal for Success?

Before I personally agree to attend any meeting, I run it through my template of five questions.

By Warren Bennis | October 6, 2009; 06:52 AM ET | Comments (0)

Meet Standing Up

Hold routine meetings standing up. This makes clear that the meeting is meant to be short and perfunctory, and there is a pressure to avoid long discussions or pontification.

By Bob Schoultz | October 6, 2009; 06:47 AM ET | Comments (4)

Pocketing the Blackberry

If a meeting is merited, it should demand the complete attention of all present.

By Howard Gardner | October 6, 2009; 06:44 AM ET | Comments (3)

Meeting Survival Guide

Don't be ashamed of multitasking and other advice for surviving meeting overload.

By Raju Narisetti | October 6, 2009; 06:40 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Serendipity of Showing Up

You cannot lead people without interacting with them. Whether you call that interaction "a meeting" is irrelevant. What should not be irrelevant is the substance.

By Prudence Bushnell | October 6, 2009; 06:36 AM ET | Comments (1)

Acting the Part

Like great Broadway actors, great leaders stay in role. This discipline is not part of being a phony, it is part of being a professional.

By Marshall Goldsmith | October 6, 2009; 06:25 AM ET | Comments (1)

Endless Cylce of Activity

Leaders who fail to make a "meeting plan" can find themselves trapped in an endless cycle of activity without much movement towards long-term organizational goals.

By Andy Stern | October 6, 2009; 06:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

Stick With Pragmatism

As the political stakes intensify President Obama needs to stick with pragmatic, compromise-friendly approach, not retreat from it.

By Bill Shore | July 31, 2009; 09:55 AM ET | Comments (1)

Back to the Campaign Trail

To both pass hallmark legislation, and educate our citizenry, I recommend the president launches full-blown national campaign focused on the mandate and benefits of health care reforming and downplaying attacks on the opposition.

By Gail S. Williams | July 30, 2009; 09:52 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Message Is Missing

This president, with his enormous rhetorical gifts, has not found his voice on this central issue. It is that lack of message and lack of voice that has prevented him from marshaling his supporters and carrying the day.

By Alan M. Webber | July 29, 2009; 04:13 PM ET | Comments (157)

The Bill Is Not the Goal

Passing a bill is only a step. Substantive health reform is the goal.

By Robert Goodwin | July 29, 2009; 04:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Obsessive Communication

Just as FDR spent more than a year winning bipartisan support for his Social Security Act, so Obama must keep communicating the importance of his health care plan.

By Warren Bennis | July 29, 2009; 10:25 AM ET | Comments (2)

Counter Crass Partisans

The president needs to aggressively counter the self-serving arguments of crass partisans and special interests, working actively with those in Congress, including fiscal conservatives, who are willing to roll up their sleeves to produce a meaningful plan.

By Patricia McGinnis | July 28, 2009; 12:27 PM ET | Comments (0)

Explain the Economics

Obama has allowed his opponents to frame the debate with stories about long waits for care and terms such as "socialized medicine." To gain the upper hand, the president must spell out a positive, big-picture vision that shows how reform would benefit society as a whole.

By Yash Gupta | July 28, 2009; 10:51 AM ET | Comments (2)

A New Harry and Louise

The White House's approach is missing those compelling stories that will help people understand, believe and remember the message: that reform is about helping the un- and under-insured.

By Ed Ruggero | July 28, 2009; 10:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Set Smaller Goals

Obama should consider that he might be wrong in pushing a major initiative. During a recession a more modest set of goals may be more appropriate,

By Slade Gorton | July 28, 2009; 10:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

Take Cue from Clinics

There are health care centers in America that truly are the best in the world in terms of both quality and cost--Obama should examine how they work when trying to develop a fair, efficient health care system.

By Michael Maccoby | July 28, 2009; 10:34 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Wrong Pace

If Obama moves too fast on an issue like health care, constituencies will feel railroaded and dig in their heels. If he moves too slowly, he will miss an opportunity to transform the nation on a very important issue.

By Barry Salzberg | July 28, 2009; 10:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

We Need More Details

Obama needs to "recalibrate" his message to explain in detail the shared sacrifice needed to achieve the benefits he outlines for health care reform.

By Kurt Schmoke | July 28, 2009; 09:51 AM ET | Comments (1)

One Step at a Time

President Obama needs to pull back and refocus health care reform on the fundamental issue of rising health care costs, instead of forcing costly and unwieldy health care reform through the Congress.

By Bill George | July 27, 2009; 12:43 PM ET | Comments (0)

Some Don't Want Reform

It will soon be time for the president to acknowledge that despite heroic efforts by Senator Baucus in the Senate, and others in the House, that most Republicans' and some Democrats do not want real reform.

By Andy Stern | July 27, 2009; 12:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

Losing Control of the Debate

By ceding the terms of the discussion to the opponents, the Obama administration risks losing not only this battle, but a broader war about what criteria the U.S. should employ in making decisions about human well-being.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | July 27, 2009; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (19)

 
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