Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
Peter Drucker (1909 - 2005)
I went to the “Un-college”. At least that was our joke at the time. It was a play on words from the popular 7-Up commercial. 7-Up, the Un-cola was an alternative to Coke and Pepsi. And the US Naval Academy was an alternative to a real college, it was the Un-college. So, despite my pursuit of a business career, I never studied finance, marketing or industrial engineering. In fact, I never even studied management.
At the Un-college, we studied Leadership. I don’t mean by observation or inference; we took college courses on the topic. That formative era in my life has provided me with a perspective I often find lacking in our institutions, in our sense of civic duty and, indeed, our approach to solving the multitude of strategic challenges we face today.
If I sound a bit pious or arrogant, I am sorry. But, the anger felt by Main Street for Wall Street, by Republicans for Democrats (and vice versa) or by labor for management has resulted from a lack of leadership in our institutions. At the core of this anger is the faith the citizenry placed in our so-called leaders.
Throughout our history, the little guy has always known that rich guys make the rules. American institutions have always attracted people and capital because the rules made it possible for everyone to have success and for many to become rich guys. How long can this continue? Will global investors continue to have faith in US investments in the face of a rising debt burden and a lack of transparency? Will America continue to thrive when its high tech manufacturers can’t find enough workers with the math skills to operate complicated machinery? Will we continue to lead the world in innovation while our grad schools are populated largely by foreign nationals?
Millions of Americans, who have done the right things, have been wronged. People who have worked hard and trusted government and their corporate bosses have been betrayed. Their jobs have been shipped overseas, our schools are deteriorating and our financial underpinnings have been undermined.
Last week was my inaugural of this blog, “Who Will Lead?” My mission is to look at the issues of the day, the contradictions and hypocrisy and ask that question – who will lead?
I hope to keep you entertained and perhaps to enjoin you in a dialog. I would also like to expand the audience. So, if you find something interesting or provocative, please click the button to “Follow” this discussion and tell your friends.
And, as you follow current events, ask yourself that question:
“Who Will Lead?”