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Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti

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Archive: Government leadership

Leadership requires balance and fairness

Leadership, above all, depends on fairness and trust. Sacrifice, and doing the hardest jobs in our communities, is done willingly and well when...

By Marie Wilson | March 2, 2011; 05:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

You get what you pay for--even with state employees

Somehow we have come to believe that there is a trade-off between being fiscally sound and paying people well. But that trade-off is mostly a myth...

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | March 2, 2011; 10:15 AM ET | Comments (10)

Governor Walker's tightrope walk

This question presents a false dichotomy: restoring the state's fiscal health and the longer-term challenge of leading a governmental enterprise are not opposing forces that need to be balanced, but instead complementary goals that...

By Coro Fellows | March 1, 2011; 03:40 PM ET | Comments (20)

Different versions of truth

Neither side is able to explore any other options at this point because they have made their current positions sacrosanct. The overarching issue of achieving fiscal health has been lost in the hard-line rhetoric...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | March 1, 2011; 03:38 PM ET | Comments (6)

Managing with unions

Where unions exist in business and government, leaders should be working together to make their organizations more...

By Michael Maccoby | March 1, 2011; 01:57 PM ET | Comments (1)

Painting yourself into a corner

Even if Walker wins, he won't get any extra budget savings, and he's surely going to make it harder to...

By Donald Kettl | March 1, 2011; 08:51 AM ET | Comments (5)

Wisconsin has two fiscal problems

Should he lose--should voters in Wisconsin decide that his policies with regard to public employee unions are too harsh--it will likely be a long time before they will be tried again...

By George Daly | March 1, 2011; 08:46 AM ET | Comments (5)

Don't sabotage your own strategy

If you are going to use a "burning platform" as an impetus for change, then it does not make sense to extinguish the fire before you get what you want...

By John Baldoni | February 28, 2011; 06:39 PM ET | Comments (5)

Walker must win hands down

Nothing Governor Walker can do will cause rank and file union members to implement his taxpayer-oriented policies...

By Slade Gorton | February 28, 2011; 06:34 PM ET | Comments (18)

Unions, the government's low-hanging fruit

It is in management's nature to seek fiscal cuts. It's up to the rest of us, union and non-union members alike, to resist these types of radical changes to our ways of work...

By Amy Fraher | February 28, 2011; 05:21 PM ET | Comments (10)

Gov. Walker is overreaching on some solutions

Irrespective of whether these benefits are bargained or not, there needs to be more transparency regarding the design of these government plans as compared to major employers in the private sector...

By David Walker | February 28, 2011; 05:09 PM ET | Comments (11)

Second chances are sometimes possible

Any government head who allows the national situation to deteriorate to the point of street protests isn't worthy of the title "leader"...

By Yash Gupta | February 22, 2011; 10:22 AM ET | Comments (7)

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)

The danger of political showmanship

The kind of positional bargaining so prevalent in Congress right now doesn't generate more options...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | February 16, 2011; 02:22 PM ET | Comments (3)

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)

Adrian Fenty to advise Rosetta Stone: Good news for education innovation?

A month after Adrian Fenty's last day in office, language-learning company Rosetta Stone announced that the former D.C. mayor would join their Arlington, Va., -based organization as an outsider adviser.

By Lillian Cunningham | February 3, 2011; 02:13 PM ET | Comments (27)

A new narrative for Egypt

President Mubarak is a symbol of Egypt's old, repressive government--one that the people want to do away with entirely. His narrative of autocratic and unquestioned rule has been found wanting by the people and...

By Rice University Undergraduate Leaders | February 2, 2011; 04:33 PM ET | Comments (4)

A national symbol of oppression

In pursuit of security and stability in the Middle East, the U.S. has traditionally turned a blind eye to autocratic rule as long as it did not...

By Robert Goodwin | February 2, 2011; 03:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

It's impossible to change direction without support

We're operating in a complex, uncertain environment, and effective leadership today requires embracing change, not resisting it...

By Susan Peters | February 2, 2011; 03:18 PM ET | Comments (1)

Authority does not equal leadership

Ultimately, the authority to lead comes from those who choose to follow. When there is a loss of trust...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | February 1, 2011; 03:25 PM ET | Comments (6)

It's not smart to act as though you're indispensable

The longstanding culture can't be altered overnight, even if many new faces are added. The same old boss will be running the show...

By Yash Gupta | February 1, 2011; 02:11 PM ET | Comments (1)

The future for Egypt could look grim

The danger for Egypt, the Middle East and U.S. interests is that the explosive demand for human rights will result in a religious dictatorship even more repressive than...

By Michael Maccoby | February 1, 2011; 02:06 PM ET | Comments (3)

What Mubarak ignored at his peril

It's hard to see how the case of Egypt, where a giant, explosive divide exists between the wealthy elite and the newly energized masses, will...

By John R. Ryan | February 1, 2011; 10:46 AM ET | Comments (3)

Four obstacles for Mubarak

If there is a system where people have been repressed, unemployment is high and emotions have been smoldering, then the pressure builds; and when the cork is pulled out, it is very hard to put it back in...

By Deborah Ancona | February 1, 2011; 10:39 AM ET | Comments (1)

Mubarak's chance for better legacy

As Einstein said, "No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it," and such is the case with Mubarak...

By Alaina Love | February 1, 2011; 10:32 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)

Egypt needs a new leader

No way can a leader lousy for 30 years become someone poised for greatness in the future...

By Ken Adelman | February 1, 2011; 10:21 AM ET | Comments (4)

Strong leaders know when it's time to change

If a leader is the problem, he must step aside. This is hard for an autocrat to do because his view of self is linked to the destiny of...

By John Baldoni | February 1, 2011; 10:12 AM ET | Comments (9)

Power to the people

Perhaps Kanye West can claim to be the voice of this generation. It seems the often-maligned rapper was peering into the future when he wrote, in his most recent album, that "no one man should have all that power"--a mantra taken up, at least in spirit, by the millions of Egyptians protesting...

By Coro Fellows | February 1, 2011; 07:46 AM ET | Comments (3)

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)

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)

This is about guns, not rhetoric

Anyone who thinks that "vitriolic political rhetoric" is what killed and wounded the people in Arizona is in desperate need of a crash course in ballistics. It wasn't words; it was a Glock...

By Alan M. Webber | January 11, 2011; 11:35 AM ET | Comments (6)

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)

The dramatic decline in civility

The time has come for all elected officials and candidates for public office to pledge to refrain from personal attacks and gross distortions of facts for partisan political...

By David Walker | January 11, 2011; 10:14 AM ET | Comments (0)

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)

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 reputation riskers: Dick Durbin and Tom Coburn

To me, leadership is an activity, not a person. It is something some people do some of the time; not something some people are or become. No one exercises leadership 24/7...

By Marty Linsky | December 20, 2010; 02:56 PM ET | Comments (2)

The protectors: Salvatore Giunta and George W. Bush

The reasons both men held the national spotlight could not have been more different, but the two figures are inextricably linked...

By Col. Charles D. Allen | December 20, 2010; 02:45 PM ET | Comments (5)

The visionary: Ron Paul

Congressman Paul is a man of character. He does not retreat from his opinion in the face of hostile opposition and corporate-controlled media...

By Don Vandergriff | December 20, 2010; 02:33 PM ET | Comments (53)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Know when to let your members off the hook

She has become the issue, rather than keeping front and center the issues she says she cares about--such as restoring the Democratic majority and keeping the White House in 2012. Her seeking re-election to the post is another example of her putting herself above her party and, once again, doing what no legislative party leader should ever do: forcing her members to make a bad vote that is likely to haunt them two years from now. It is as if she has learned nothing at all from...

By Marty Linsky | November 11, 2010; 05:26 PM ET | Comments (4)

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)

Pelosi deserves plaudits

I resist the temptation to jump on the Megabus that is driving the trash talk against Nancy Pelosi. The campaign of vilification orchestrated by Republicans with millions of dollars in often anonymous campaign funds was masterful, but Dems should not be swayed by their opponents' propaganda. Pelosi...

By Kathryn Kolbert | November 10, 2010; 01:43 PM ET | Comments (5)

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)

Dems need new blood

If the Democrats' congressional leadership is unchanged after the party has taken such a hit, it might well create the additional problem of discouraging frank and open conversation about the necessary changes that the Democrats must consider. They just can't stick to the same old recipe...

By Yash Gupta | November 9, 2010; 02:58 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)

It's a problem of peer judgment

From an "electoral" perspective, Pelosi's performance could, of course, hardly have been worse: Democrats suffered a historic loss of more than 60 seats and Pelosi herself became the poster child for alleged Democratic "wrong track" ideas. But from a "legislative" perspective, Pelosi's performance was also historic in...

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | November 9, 2010; 02:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

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)

There is no dilemma

Thoughtful leaders should and do resign after losses far more modest than Nancy Pelosi's of last week. But Republicans, of course, are delighted at her candidacy, delighted at the prospect of her symbolizing Congressional Democrats for two more years. And House Democrats are in disarray, most of them privately wanting to see her back but afraid to say. At least for the moment...

By Slade Gorton | November 8, 2010; 05:56 PM ET | Comments (1)

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)

'How sweet it is to wear the crown'

We Republicans are delighted that the Democratic faces in Congress remain those of Pelosi and Reid. Their decisions to remain leaders is bad news for Democrats. Yet it's surprisingly unsurprising. Even great historic leaders like Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, Maggie Thatcher, and many others simply hung on too long. Why do they, even after achieving great feats? Shakespeare puts the reason simply: "How sweet it is to wear the crown"...

By Ken Adelman | November 8, 2010; 05:44 PM ET | Comments (2)

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)

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)

Obama's three first steps

More important than speed is thoughtfulness. President Obama should take time to study the results of the election, plus any associated polling and background interviews and information. Thereafter he should do three things...

By Howard Gardner | November 1, 2010; 03:09 PM ET | Comments (1)

Acknowledge the reality

I once asked an executive team what they were going to do with the devastating results of an employee survey. The managers' first reaction was, "Well, we certainly can't post those!" To which, I replied, "Why not?...

By Carol Kinsey Goman | November 1, 2010; 02:33 PM ET | Comments (2)

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)

Four questions to ask of Republicans

Regardless of party, campaigning and governing are and will always be different. As Mario Cuomo famously said when he was running for the Democrat nominee for president, "Campaigning is poetry. Governing is prose." In next week's election, the contrast between campaigning and governing will be more pronounced than...

By Warren Bennis | October 26, 2010; 09:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

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)

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)

Leading a divided public

I cannot imagine a leadership appeal that would unite the country. The differences are too deeply rooted in different values and economic interests. If the economy improves and many more Americans find jobs, the public may again...

By Michael Maccoby | October 12, 2010; 11:42 AM ET | Comments (2)

Govern like you don't care about a second term

Chris Christie's rising popularity points to a lesson all politicians would do well to remember: many Americans feel it's been too long since they've seen politicians who aren't afraid to say what they think and act on it, even if it means risking their political future. Right now Christie is...

By John R. Ryan | October 12, 2010; 10:54 AM ET | Comments (2)

No time for twiddling thumbs

President Obama is now experiencing the backlash against Exaggerated Expectations. And Christie and Cameron need to do a lot more work--and have a lot more luck--before their temporary surge in popularity becomes...

By Howard Gardner | October 12, 2010; 10:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

People can handle the truth

People can handle the truth and the biggest deficit we have is a leadership deficit. The federal government as well as many state and local governments have grown too big, promised too much, and become more disconnected with...

By David Walker | October 12, 2010; 09:57 AM ET | Comments (1)

Against big government? It's no surprise he's popular

While these may be 'traditionally' unpopular moves, they are clearly not unpopular in New Jersey (at least for now). Many Americans believe that their government is unnecessarily wasting taxpayer dollars. The average government employee is now making more than their counterpart in the...

By Marshall Goldsmith | October 11, 2010; 01:47 PM ET | Comments (7)

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)

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)

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)

When not to listen to experts

A leader's assumptions and incentives may be different from those of experts. In the case of Obama and the generals, the president--not the generals--is accountable to the American people. It is his responsibility to define and defend...

By Michael Maccoby | September 28, 2010; 09:22 AM ET | Comments (1)

This isn't "delegatable"

Get the opinions of the best advisers you can find in each of the affected areas and use them to consider the trade offs between, say, political and military effects. Ultimately, only the leader--in this case the president--can integrate this information and make...

By George Daly | September 27, 2010; 04:36 PM ET | Comments (0)

When political realities trump good advice

The president should always have the courage to overrule his advisers when he believes them wrong; Lincoln is the great example. In this case, however, the president overruled his generals not because he disagreed with their military advice but because of political reality...

By Slade Gorton | September 27, 2010; 03:07 PM ET | Comments (0)

Put yourself in another's spit-shined shoes

A key to effective leadership is for the leader to be able to put himself in the shoes of each of his lieutenants, and for the lieutenants, in turn, to be able to put themselves in the shoes of the leader. If senior military officers were unable to understand what President Obama was requesting...

By Howard Gardner | September 27, 2010; 02:57 PM ET | Comments (1)

Don't just defer to experts

It is the job of the "leader" to accumulate as many inputs as possible, decide how much weight to give to each view, consider what data points or perspectives are missing, and then come to a decision based on his or her own evaluation of the viable options to be considered. To simply defer to experts is to abdicate...

By Mickey Edwards | September 27, 2010; 02:47 PM ET | Comments (1)

Tea party: The new grassroots template

When an organization cedes a measure of control to those it seeks to enlist as supporters, it does more than merely make them feel as if they are a part of something larger than themselves; it instills within them a measure of personal responsibility for protecting and growing the organization. Simply put, the ownership stake that each and every member of the Tea Party movement holds is what drives the levels of activism we've seen to date.

By Robert Goodwin | September 24, 2010; 04:49 PM ET | Comments (3)

The wrong return to our roots

As E.B White put it years ago in a New Yorker essay, "There is a bright future for complexity, what with one thing always leading to another." Let's hope the Tea Party and, more importantly, both of our dominant political parties speak out with clear-eyed optimism for the common good--a common good that rests on the solid grounds of democracy; that rests on a government that would not, should not, be a distributive leadership" (whatever that is); and that rests on a nation with the resources and brains and resilience to solve complex problems that demand equitable, respectful solutions and results.

By Warren Bennis | September 22, 2010; 01:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

Nice engine, but does the steering wheel work?

Contrary to popular belief the Tea Party, like most successful distributed-leadership efforts, is enabled by strong executive leaders. While not formal leaders, people like Sarah Palin...

By Deborah Ancona | September 21, 2010; 05:02 PM ET | Comments (1)

The power of shared principles

Most Americans, including me, relate favorably to the Tea Party's ideas of limited government, individual liberty and personal responsibility. However, if the Tea Party fails to develop...

By David Walker | September 21, 2010; 02:31 PM ET | Comments (1)

Decentralized leadership can break things, but it can't build them

Real leadership has many parts: framing the message, developing a coherent strategy, setting clear and achievable goals. Too informal or too decentralized a structure...

By Mickey Edwards | September 21, 2010; 02:21 PM ET | Comments (1)

Of hope and havoc

Leadership, whether distributive or not, must be guided by a compass inscribed with the basic moral code of "first, do no harm." The real issues and concerns of movements are delegitimized when the values...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | September 21, 2010; 11:09 AM ET | Comments (2)

Tea Party: Informal leadership can only get you so far

I'm doubtful that, absent more conventional leadership, the Tea Party will be able to be constructive--as well as destructive. If it manages to achieve legislative or executive results...

By Howard Gardner | September 21, 2010; 10:31 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Tea Party reveals our leadership vacuum

The Tea Party can be viewed as a manifestation of the current anxiety and uncertainty. This sort of thing can be expected when unemployment is at nearly 10 percent, not counting

By Yash Gupta | September 21, 2010; 10:05 AM ET | Comments (2)

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's challenge

Perhaps a reassuring father figure like FDR or Ronald Reagan could persuade Americans that they have nothing to fear but fear itself, that our best days are ahead of us. But Obama is not a father figure...

By Michael Maccoby | September 14, 2010; 05:06 PM ET | Comments (1)

The power of compromise

As an ardent liberal democrat, I never thought I'd be pushing for the election of moderate republicans and democrats, but in fact that is what we need: people who...

By Kathryn Kolbert | September 14, 2010; 10:04 AM ET | Comments (0)

Good policy makes good politics

A losing incumbent may be able to console himself over having lost if all along the way he championed what he was convinced was the right course, but can hardly do so if he loses even after compromising his principles. It now appears that an abnormally large number of incumbents...

By Slade Gorton | September 14, 2010; 09:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

Balancing process and progress

When fostering change from within an organization, one must be careful to maintain pressure without provoking an allergic response from those...

By George Reed | September 14, 2010; 09:21 AM ET | Comments (0)

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)

Stick to your principles Craig!

Like Craig Newmark, I am a vigorous advocate of the First Amendment and an open internet. Government should not prohibit nor interfere in the content of Craigslist's ads. Where there is concrete evidence of criminal activity or obscenity, the government can request that particular ads be taken down. Craigslist can then make decisions on a case by case basis. But pressure from the government for removal of all ads...

By Kathryn Kolbert | September 8, 2010; 11:09 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)

Top leaders must 'cultivate a unity of purpose'

The findings of the 2010 Best Places to Work survey are quite encouraging. They demonstrate that workers are, in fact, eager to support the top leaders in their organizations if given sufficient reason to do so. What that means from a management standpoint is that...

By Robert Goodwin | September 3, 2010; 10:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

Time is now for imam to speak on mosque

The motivation for leaders to speak varies. It might be a matter of conscience, the heat of political pressure, affiliation and loyalty to a group, an opportunity to influence, a chance to exploit the situation for personal gain, or just flagrant egotism. We have observed behavioral manifestations of all of these in the past year. The controversy over the Islamic Cultural Center and Mosque ...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | August 24, 2010; 02:54 PM ET | Comments (14)

Gettysburg lessons reverberate in a modern world

To paraphrase, "a day on the Gettysburg battlefield beats any day in the seminar room." Of course for our U.S. Army War College trip, the seminar room was the battlefield. Over the years, I have been privileged to observe several student groups of senior military officers vicariously experience the great national contest of wills that was our American Civil War. It is advantageous for our students that contest came to be realized in central Pennsylvania.

By Col. Charles D. Allen | August 24, 2010; 10:42 AM ET | Comments (14)

Obama's new airline law: Safety loopholes

The appointment of committees and task forces filled with many of the same industry insiders who overlooked these problems in the first place, combined with vague wording and compliance deadlines three years into the future means change in commercial aviation will come slowly, if at all.

By Amy Fraher | August 10, 2010; 09:37 AM ET | Comments (5)

Even without legislation, Obama is leading on energy

Given fierce opposition, Obama's success in leading Congress to pass historic legislation in healthcare and financial regulation contradicts the rap that he has failed as a leader. And lets give him credit for wielding DOD, DOE and EPA to lay the foundations of a cleaner, more secure and sustainable energy future for this country.

By Michael Maccoby | August 5, 2010; 11:29 AM ET | Comments (4)

Time for old-fashioned horse trading on carbon

Maybe we should wait until the mid-term elections are over and the political stakes a bit lower, then get members of both parties off together away from the glare of the television lights. Let them do some old fashioned horse trading, or energy negotiating, with a commitment to move forward.

By Deborah Ancona | August 4, 2010; 07:38 AM ET | Comments (15)

Climate change legislation paralysis

A total lack of responsibility and courage have led our politicians into a state of paralysis.

By Pablo Eisenberg | August 3, 2010; 05:50 PM ET | Comments (4)

Stuck with carbon lock-in

The best thing political leaders can do is to facilitate the emergence of such movement through education and awareness campaigns and by trying to be more precise about the tangible costs of not doing anything.

By Angel Cabrera | August 3, 2010; 05:45 PM ET | Comments (2)

Do the right thing even if it hurts

The president could have said, "Look, folks, this is the consequence of the dangerous way we quench our thirst for energy. This has to change, and we need to start changing now." Political success is often a matter of timing, and here the president blew a chance to create significant progress on a major issue.

By Yash Gupta | August 3, 2010; 10:32 AM ET | Comments (2)

Size is no excuse

Blaming size is a cop out! GE, Google, and FedEx have all thrived with growth. The key is for each element of a large organization to know its common purpose.

By Warren Bennis | July 22, 2010; 12:28 PM ET | Comments (2)

Time to lead by teambuilding

A leader that takes on complex challenges inherent to large organizations needs to transition from being an individual leader with comprehensive knowledge and mastery to one who develops a strong team of individuals to whom significant responsibility and accountability are vested.

By John H. Cochran, MD | July 21, 2010; 10:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

Three strikes against the intel community

It is difficult to get people who don't know of each other nor trust the process to work together, especially if there are some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies in about 10,000 different locations across the United States.

By Kathryn Kolbert | July 21, 2010; 10:51 AM ET | Comments (1)

The difference between a secret and a mystery

No, it's not primarily the size of the sprawling intelligence network that makes it flawed, though that's surely a problem; anything that big can't work all that well.

By Ken Adelman | July 20, 2010; 02:30 PM ET | Comments (2)

No such thing as 'too big to manage'

With 'big' comes 'challenging', but definitely not 'impossible'.

By Marshall Goldsmith | July 20, 2010; 11:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

Find the right leaders for the job

Organizations that may be considered "Too big to lead" require leaders who are big enough to lead with others. Such organizations need leaders who are temperamentally suited to handle complexity and, more importantly, who can develop teams of capable individuals to pull and push constituents towards their vision.

By Col. Charles D. Allen | July 20, 2010; 11:31 AM ET | Comments (8)

Where big doesn't have to mean bad

The financial institutions and the auto companies may be akin to our intelligence community, where an inability to anticipate change and poor execution brought them low.

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | July 20, 2010; 10:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

Intel community in search of a purpose

In the private sector, a natural limit to production is determined by customer demand. But there is no natural limit to the amount of intelligence that can be analyzed and put into reports.

By Michael Maccoby | July 20, 2010; 05:47 AM ET | Comments (0)

A bitter lesson we haven't learned

The attacks on the United States through our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and later via a naval destroyer, the U.S.S. Cole, did not register strongly enough on Planet Washington to provoke the interagency review we needed.

By Prudence Bushnell | July 19, 2010; 04:34 PM ET | Comments (4)

Is there a common cause?

While size does add complexity, it is not the sole culprit. A more serious concern is a failure to commit to common cause.

By John Baldoni | July 19, 2010; 04:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

The 'focused factory'

As Wickham Skinner wrote back in 1974, organizations should focus on a specific task and not allow themselves to become distracted by an array of goals and missions that could conflict with one another.

By Yash Gupta | July 19, 2010; 04:06 PM ET | Comments (1)

Not what the 9/11 Commission recommended

The problem is not size, but clear lines of authority, which are spectacularly missing in the intelligence community.

By Slade Gorton | July 19, 2010; 01:48 PM ET | Comments (3)

Beat it down to size

In building an organization, sometimes an axe is important a tool as glue.

By Mickey Edwards | July 19, 2010; 12:14 PM ET | Comments (2)

 
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