Monday, October 15, 2012

The Nature of Politics

This weekend I took time to watch the 1st State of the Union address that Reagan made to the joint session of Congress in February of 1981. An amazing step back into time... for me, I likely followed much of that speech as an 7 year old, as something happening in the background in my parent's lives. I was very aware of Reagan... his presidency was timed to my awakening to political life. And I have always held him in the highest regard, still do.

Watching this speech now helps demonstrate the complexity of leadership, especially political leadership. You have to pander to the base a bit. You have to dodge specifics a bit. And then you get to wrap it all up in grand political thought. That grandness of thought arrives, in this speech, in the last 5-7 minutes, and oh, is it worth it.
"The taxing power of the government must be used to provide revenue for legitimate government purposes. It must not be used to regulate the economy or bring about social change."
The grandness of speech is so necessary. I'm seeing it in the conversations the CEO of my current company is having with us now, as we transit a period of serious change in the organization. How to execute against that is the hard part, and is where we all become so human. We fail some, we succeed some. People will chose to see portions of both, and decide that we are a liar or a savior... so as to position themselves for social acceptance or to promote the next political victory.

So how does one go about executing the change? That is the question I'm studying now.



Friday, October 12, 2012

Benghazi Question...

If the embassy was asking for more security... if the ambassador himself was asking for more security... it's reasonable to assume he knew there was a threat. In any normal situation, common sense would convince this man to be anywhere but Benghazi on 9/11. Here's the question: What did Amb. Chris Stevens know that made him put his life and the life of other embassy staff at risk? Why was he in Benghazi on 9/11? What was so important that he would risk his life? I don't think it could possibly be as simple as an assignment. There is something else going on...

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The Power of Clear Perspective

When society hunts down the perpetrator of a string of crimes involving the intentional death of numerous innocent citizens... we refer to those people as serial killers. Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, etc. When crimes of the same vicious nature occur urban neighborhoods populated predominantly by citizens lacking economic resources... we call the perpetrator a gang lord or a gang-banger or some other title of relative honor. What would change in how we pursue these criminals, in the nature of our effort, in the awareness of and participation by the community, and the ultimate success of those efforts, if we could take a clear-headed view of these killers and called them what they were? A gang leader, and a gang-banger... they are both psychopaths and serial killers. Same holds for a mafia type, despite the glamorization of such personalities in programming on HBO (Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire).