HOW CAN ONE STRIVE TO BE A LEADER?
Martin Van Buren usually receives short shrift from most historians and indeed Americans for his alleged failed Presidency. However, his life and Presidency do present several concrete leadership lessons. In this episode, we explore the interesting life of the first American born President of the US, Martin Van Buren the Little Magician. While Van Buren is never found on any top lists of US Presidents. However most of the men who have acceded to the high office got their because they had some leadership skills. The skill demonstrated by Van Buren still resonate for today’s business leaders.
Count Dracula is one of the four classic Universal Pictures movie monsters from the 1930s; including the Wolfman, the Mummy and Frankenstein’s Monster. What sets him apart from these other three? In particular what is the Dracula brand? Is it fanged teeth and a black cape? Is it the signature Bela Lugosi voice? Is it a bat? In this episode, Richard Lummis and I explore branding for business leaders and discuss the lessons a 21st century business leader can learn from a 1930s movie character.
Today I want to focus on the decision-making process that General Dwight Eisenhower used around the one factor he could not control around the D-Day invasion – the weather.
In early June, 1944, some 156,000 allied troops, were marshalled on the southern coast of England, poised to invade. When bad weather hit the channel on June 4, Eisenhower wrestled with the idea of postponing Operation Overlord. Weather conditions were predicted to worsen over the next two weeks and he had thousands of personnel and thousands of tons of supplies that were in his words, hanging on the end of a limb. After a promising but cautious report from his meteorologist.” After a few minutes of reflection, Eisenhower told his staff, “I am quite positive that the order must be given.” June 6, 1944 became forever known as D-Day.
Yet it was Eisenhower’s lengthy decision making process which allowed him to synthesize the facts and move to a correct decision quickly and decisively. Eisenhower himself has been quoted as saying “Make big decisions in the calm”. In a recent book by Raymond M. Kethledge and Michael S. Erwin, entitled Lead Yourself First, they call this process “analytical clarity”. It is this process which I believe can be useful for any or business leader faced with a decision which allows “the breaking down of complexity to a single point of clarity.” It requires a business leader to “identify as clearly and precisely as he can, the goal he seeks to achieve or problem he seeks to solve.” This type of process is particularly well suited to today’s information overload business world where there may literally be thousands of inputs and data points.