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Archive: Politics

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Media Giants

The media today -- instant, decentralized, immense -- has more influence than the president and congressional leadership, making decisive policy increasingly difficult.

By Slade Gorton | September 2, 2009; 06:22 AM ET | Comments (3)

Repellent Politics

Many of the most passionate and entrepreneurial nonprofit leaders believe they can have a greater impact by building innovative, effective, and uncompromising solutions outside of government

By Paul Schmitz | September 2, 2009; 06:15 AM ET | Comments (12)

Transformational Women

Many of the new "giants" in our midst -- Hillary Clinton, Indra Nooyi, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson -- are women, operating effectively with their inclusive style of leadership.

By Beth A. Brooke | September 1, 2009; 11:49 AM ET | Comments (1)

Cynical, Angry, and Argumentative

Senator Kennedy showed that civility is possible even in our highly contentious era. We have to hope more politicians follow his example.

By Yash Gupta | September 1, 2009; 11:44 AM ET | Comments (1)

Power Outage

The diffusion and fragmentation of power, money, media and ideas in our current political culture turns the already-difficult process of producing great political leaders into a real long-shot.

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | September 1, 2009; 11:22 AM ET | Comments (4)

A New Generation

The post-Vietnam, post-Watergate era saw a shift in talent from traditional politics to other fields also dedicated to social change, especially to what has become known as "social entrepreneurship."

By Bill Shore | September 1, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (12)

Piles of Pygmies

Does the public really want giants? Or does it prefer mirrors?

By Mickey Edwards | August 31, 2009; 08:25 PM ET | Comments (2)

They Might Be Giants

I see an enormous wealth of potential giantness in the electoral pipeline.

By Marty Linsky | August 31, 2009; 03:56 PM ET | Comments (1)

Great In Retrospect

There have never been many "giants" in America's (or any country's) politics while they were alive.

By Marshall Goldsmith | August 31, 2009; 02:42 PM ET | Comments (0)

Giant in Training

There are now few if any giants in American politics, but I am not alone in believing Barack Obama has the potential for giant-dom.

By Howard Gardner | August 31, 2009; 12:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

Our Dysfunctional Democracy

Elective office has become an occupation rather a period of time for which leaders leave their normal careers to temporarily do public service.

By David Walker | August 31, 2009; 12:52 PM ET | Comments (1)

Define "Maverick"

Palin has demonstrated that a politician can be doggedly conservative, unabashedly sexual, and electable (at least in one state.) None of that says that she has the qualities necessary to run for the presidency or serve well if elected.

By Marty Linsky | July 15, 2009; 03:48 PM ET | Comments (0)

Palin's Land of Opportunity

While Palin's chances for a political future might be damaged, they aren't ruined.

By Yash Gupta | July 8, 2009; 04:57 PM ET | Comments (1)

Palin Represents Hope

She represents the possibility that you can make a difference even when you do not have the "right" pedigree.

By Deborah Ancona | July 8, 2009; 11:32 AM ET | Comments (11)

Palin Struggled Under Scrutiny

Palin's experience is similar to the pitcher who was elevated to the majors, but failed so miserably under the bright lights of the big city that even hometown fans lost confidence.

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | July 7, 2009; 11:19 PM ET | Comments (4)

The Reagan Strategy

Watch for Sarah Palin to go on the speaking circuit and possibly pursue a radio or television talk program of her own. She may be trying to employ the strategy that Ronald Reagan did before being elected as governor of California.

By David Walker | July 7, 2009; 01:53 PM ET | Comments (1)

Palin Will Prevail as a Leader

Palin brings vitality and passion to the anti-Obama political forces and serves as a committed spokeswoman, energetic fundraiser and ideal representative of the conservative social perspective.

By Elizabeth Sherman | July 7, 2009; 01:40 PM ET | Comments (6)

Real Leaders Don't Quit

Barring major health problems or family tragedies, elected leaders have a deep obligation to their constituents to fulfill the term of office for which they were elected.

By Bill George | July 7, 2009; 01:29 PM ET | Comments (0)

Palin Wins With Authenticity

No matter that she does not know the facts, no matter that she isn't qualified to govern -- she looks the part and she calls it as she sees it.

By Howard Gardner | July 7, 2009; 01:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

Palin Needs Substance

Sarah Palin doesn't have the intellect, experience or curiosity to be president of the U.S., let alone Governor of Alaska or her small hometown.

By Pablo Eisenberg | July 7, 2009; 01:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Anti-Leader's Leader

Palin's supporters don't trust leaders in general, and her farewell speech as governor implied that people should follow her because she doesn't want to be a leader. Believe it or not, that makes sense to her followers.

By Michael Maccoby | July 7, 2009; 01:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Palin Wouldn't Make it in Business

Maverick? Everyone in politics, it seems, marches to his or her own drummer at this point in our history.

By Alan M. Webber | July 7, 2009; 12:50 PM ET | Comments (1)

Run For Senate First

Sarah Palin most likely won't be a serious candidate for president, but she could be a candidate for the Senate--the one place from which she can be seriously considered for a presidential run two or three election cycles from now.

By Slade Gorton | July 7, 2009; 12:49 PM ET | Comments (0)

Not Her Best Moment

Sarah Palin's announcement, like much of her career, is a study in either fate, poor planning or impulsive exuberance and action.

By Andy Stern | July 7, 2009; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Long Distance Politician

Sarah Palin needs to create a second "base" somewhere in the lower 48. Her decision to step down from the governorship frees her to pursue this important effort.

By Richard Celeste | July 7, 2009; 12:20 PM ET | Comments (0)

A Rational Resignation

While Sarah Palin's resignation may not facilitate her election as President of the United States, it may well be a good move for her personally.

By Marshall Goldsmith | July 7, 2009; 11:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Palin's Constituency is Real

But she'll never win without more discipline, and all her antics will be for naught.

By Paul Schmitz | July 7, 2009; 11:54 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Next Pundit

After the excitement of running for vice president, the trauma of ethics investigations, the attacks on her family, and the difficulties of running a state in hard times, being a governor just isn't fun anymore.

By Joanne B. Ciulla | July 7, 2009; 11:38 AM ET | Comments (2)

Leadership Style Matters

Knowing when to buckle down and accomplish tasks--and when to weather political storms--is critical. A good leader will change her leadership style to match her situation.

By Rick Rochelle | July 7, 2009; 10:49 AM ET | Comments (1)

Clean Our Own House

We suspect candidates might have ethical shortcomings, but we vote for them anyway with a wink and a nod, believing that just goes with the territory.

By John R. Ryan | December 16, 2008; 09:07 PM ET | Comments (4)

Our Better Angels

When things go wrong a leader's responsibilities go far beyond the day's press conference, and Obama has taught us something about public service through this scandal.

By Ed Ruggero | December 16, 2008; 08:59 PM ET | Comments (0)

Preempt Wrongdoing

Leaders cannot afford to wait until malfeasance or illegality washes up at their front door. They must set a tone of ethics and transparency in their organizations.

By Gen. Monty Meigs (Ret.) | December 16, 2008; 08:47 PM ET | Comments (1)

Special Investigator Needed

The President-elect needs to make sure he is not seen as sitting on the sidelines. Meeting with congressional leaders to identify a special investigator might be the right step.

By Bob Schoultz | December 16, 2008; 08:41 PM ET | Comments (0)

Disclosure -- Or Legal Advice

If you have nothing to hide, disclose everything right away. If you do, find a good lawyer.

By Slade Gorton | December 16, 2008; 08:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

Move On

Obama has repudiated him. Now he should move on to more pressing problems.

By Frances Hesselbein | December 16, 2008; 08:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

Democrats Need to Police Themselves

President-elect Obama's ethics policies and campaign promises for government reform are a great start, but the Congress and the Democratic Party have to step up to the plate, too.

By Paul Schmitz | December 15, 2008; 02:35 PM ET | Comments (1)

Try the Warren Buffett Way

Even a hint of an ethical lapse can destroy a reputation of integrity. When scandal hit Salomon Brothers in 1991, Warren Buffett set a gold standard for restoring a culture of integrity.

By Michael Useem | December 15, 2008; 02:26 PM ET | Comments (1)

It's All About Character

Tell the truth and tell it fast.

By Norm R. Augustine | December 15, 2008; 02:24 PM ET | Comments (1)

Don't Apologize -- Be Human

Full cooperation is certainly a necessary part of the response, but I think the situation also provides an opportunity for Obama to help his constituents begin to understand and appreciate his fallibility.

By Roger Martin | December 15, 2008; 02:07 PM ET | Comments (9)

Commit Acts of Candor

There is only one way to deal with allegations or illegal behavior and that is total transparency.

By Warren Bennis | December 15, 2008; 01:55 PM ET | Comments (1)

Insist on His Resignation

Obama should stay at arm's length from Blagojevich and continue to insist the governor resign or be impeached.

By Bill George | December 15, 2008; 01:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

Push Ethics to the Forefront

Ethics is a daily proposition and not just a backstop to employ when things go wrong. Obama should establish that his administration has no room for self-serving public servants like Blagojevich.

By Barry Posner | December 15, 2008; 01:38 PM ET | Comments (1)

Send a Clear Message

Here's a chance to show us "change" applies to the way politics is conducted.

By Jim Kouzes | December 15, 2008; 01:17 PM ET | Comments (0)

Turn It Into an Opportunity

Incidents of misconduct threaten public confidence, but they are also an opportunity to reinforce important principles and demonstrate character.

By George Reed | December 15, 2008; 01:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Be the Leader We Need

Rather than defensively answer questions, Obama should tell us he recognizes the governor's behavior is a symptom of the failure of leadership in this country.

By Michael Maccoby | December 15, 2008; 01:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Be Thorough

The pressures for an immediate media strategy are enormous for President-elect Obama, but accuracy in fact-finding is far more important than speed.

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | December 15, 2008; 11:47 AM ET | Comments (0)

Machiavelli's Advice

If Obama must choose between being feared and being loved, in this case he should choose to be feared.

By Barbara Kellerman | December 15, 2008; 10:45 AM ET | Comments (0)

Fight Other Battles

Obama should focus on the issues that are going to make the biggest difference to the the country, and this is not one of those issues.

By Marshall Goldsmith | December 15, 2008; 10:34 AM ET | Comments (1)

Play It Cool

Because he hasn't been implicated, Obama should maintain his distance from the governor's problem.

By Abraham Zaleznik | December 15, 2008; 10:25 AM ET | Comments (2)

Not His Problem

Obama should not make this his problem -- he has enough already, thanks.

By Ken Adelman | December 15, 2008; 10:22 AM ET | Comments (1)

Exam Time for Obama

How Barack Obama handles this potential political crisis could be as important as how he handled the dicey situations with Rev. Wright or Bill Ayres.

By Howard Gardner | December 15, 2008; 10:14 AM ET | Comments (2)

Keep the Pressure on Blagojevich

When scandal hits, leaders should address the issue quickly and forthrightly.

By David Walker | December 15, 2008; 10:09 AM ET | Comments (0)

Full and Prompt Disclosure

Presidents have learned through bitter experiences that the public will forgive them for making mistakes, but won't forgive them for lying about those mistakes.

By Kurt Schmoke | December 15, 2008; 10:04 AM ET | Comments (2)

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