10 thoughts on “How Will They Lead?

  1. How Will They Lead? A Job Interview for the Presidential Candidates

    By Ken Blanchard and Pat Zigarmi
    September 11, 2008 San Diego Union-Tribune

    As the countdown toward the November 3rd election date nears, and the country is faced with the choice between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama as our next President of the United States, we wonder how prepared we all are to make that choice. We know where they stand on Iraq, healthcare, income tax, and other key issues, but do we know them as people – their character, their values, their decision making style, their attitude and competency in developing a high performing team, their listening and consensus building skills? In other words, what kind of leader will they be?

    We need a true job interview for the most important leadership role in our country… Read full article by Ken Blanchard and Pat Zigarmi at http://www.kenblanchard.com/news/View.asp?id=1271

  2. Hi Ken,


    ‘As I Thinketh In My Heart, So Am I’.

    Thanks to the marvels of technoscience and the generosity of US democracy I, like many millions of viewers worldwide, observed some of the McCain/Obama live televised debate recently. Obama, who seems to be the ticket, made big on righting US foreign policy. Kudos to him. From this remote vantage point, righting US foreign policy will be the singlemost productive action in leading the US to be truly great again, and perhaps even ‘united’, within and without. However, in the middle of his encouraging discussion on righting foreign policy, Mr Obama described the US as “the best country in the world”. Whoops. The metaphors were mixed. In that moment he was politically addressing internal US constituents, whilst presenting live across the world on the purported topic of foreign policy. Posturing as being ‘the best’ presents the truism that comparision is the root of all disillusionment, and in the final analysis throughout human history the genesis of all unfriendly fire. Ouch. How different it would be if the world could witness from US leadership the use of alternative inclusive, engaging expressions such as ‘potentially among the great countries in the world’ etc.

    How will they lead? Hmm, hopefully with congruety in their messages, for the sake of integrity, credibility and trust, so poetically summed up in the ancient saying – ‘As I Thinketh In My Heart, So Am I’.

    Good luck,
    Malcolm Sutherland, New Zealand.

  3. Celebrity Politics? Or Ability to Lead?

    Ever since Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton declared themselves contenders for the White House, the nation has been grappling with identity politics, sometimes unconsciously. A black man or a woman? Politely and self-consciously, people have discussed whether race or gender will play a significant part in how the American people will choose. While Obama enjoyed the initial media limelight, McCain was cast as another Bush, another Republican white male with the same policy outlook. That, too, was identity politics. Then as the conventions approached, Obama strategically remade his identity with the foreign policy credentials of a Joe Biden. His selection of Biden as a running mate said to the world, if you don’t think I have enough experience, Joe Biden does. Interesting how Obama rounded out his identity with a “good old boy” of his own. Then, identity politics morphed into celebrity politics and it’s been distracting since then.

    Obama created a buzz everywhere he went. Not since Kennedy has a single politician achieved this kind of celebrity status. McCainGirl t-shirts did not compete with the now infamous ObamaGirl shirts. McCain was painfully aware that he could not compete with Obama’s grass-roots celebrity

    Enter Sarah Palin. The moose-hunting, NRA-member, hockey mom with lipstick. Her face sports the smile of Miss Congeniality, and her timing and delivery has been compared to Tina Fey. And like them both, her lines are practiced, well-rehearsed and “on-message.” Sarah Palin is identity politics, manufactured.
    The Republican messaging machine has been artful in turning Sarah Palin into the latest media darling, just as the Democratic machine has done with Barack Obama. Grabbing public attention turns out to be the main competitive weapon in this election to date. Leveraging personality over experience or leadership seems to be the magic formula of celebrity politics.
    But is all of this attention helping us discern what’s real, and what’s important in this election? Is the personality being projected in the media enough to tell us how they will lead in office? Or, is the kind of celebrity politics we are seeing on television and the Internet merely creating a veneer of a candidate that will attract a target demographic? In fact, this presidential election seems to be setting new precedents for the power of marketing, sometimes false advertising, and sometimes outright dishonesty.

    So, how do we cut through all this propaganda to get to know the things that will really matter about how we should choose the best team for the most critical leadership role in our country, perhaps in the world? In the end, we are not choosing a symbol of gender, or race, or heroism, or whatever card-carrying affiliations someone has. We must choose based on what we really know about the person’s leadership: Who is he or she really? How does he or she make decisions? Who will be at the table? And what will they act on? Once in office, how will he or she lead? How do we get at the truth of the human being below the hype?

    We need to conduct in-depth interviews with the candidates on the topic of leadership: how will they engage and inspire others, listen, persevere, and respond to the unexpected and the urgent? How will they treat allies and adversaries? Voters deserve a better understanding that an in-depth interview would afford to fully understand who the candidates really are as leaders.

  4. It’s unfortunate that our process of electing the President (and any other elected official) has evolved into an exercise in marketing a brand image. Yes, leaders have a “brand” that identifies their approach to leadership and that brand needs to be cultivated and communicated to the voting public. The downside is that it often leaves us unsatisfied with the simpleton brand slogans that dumb down the true substance of the men behind the brands.

    One of the fundamental truths of leadership training is that the best predictor of future performance is past performance. In a sense, this is the most indepth “interview” that we can have with candidates at the Presidential level. We see from their track record how they build teams, engage and inspire others, how they treat adversaries and allies, and how they make decisions. It is very easy to get caught up in the hype and emotionalism of an inspirational person and neglect to consider whether they have a track record of substance behind their rhetoric. In choosing a leader, whether for your team, business, state, or country, you need to consider past performance in order to have any estimate of future performance. That may be the only “interview” you have or need.

  5. with out saying my choices and please forgive my many typos. ive corrected many more!
    ive watched the propaganda and the depth of it scares me. the kgb might be jealous.
    i see people who don’t understand mixing up socialism (liberal) and communism (conservative ) and therefore making more wrong assumptions down their line of reasoning.

    ive read most of the issues pages on both candidates sites watched the attack ads and sound bites and done the factcheck.org
    being a homless disabled vet who is not an addict my choice is clear digg veterans for america , iava otheres..
    as it stnd even now my only option is maybe worse than the street being incarcerated in a program for 90 days of religious indoctrination escorts even for md visits. like i’m a criminal in need of soul saving and on federal land. i would not be allowed to follow my church’s practice and beliefs
    i see the m iddle class disappearing as well as the road to it.
    and more of the religious extremist views being foist upon all of us as the only choice. as civil privacy and human rights are eroded all our choices disappear.
    i want a governentment that regulated utilites and big industry and environamrnt and the survival needs . not leaving money to compound greed and absolute power while govt is concentrating on my private life.
    i think gays should have civil unions nad churches can decide if they want to marry them or not they can then have family values and get away from the bars and that forever single lifestyle of instablity and share med insurance and they’ll also pay more taxes.

    i see in this as diect insult to the freedom of religion usa calims to hold dear. this and many other things one religious view being foist on many other religions. i see rewards for greed and misdeed wrapped in a false cover of righteousness ( for a biblical explaination read little used Jude, read ignored Amos 5)

    it all gets forced upon us who have no voice who need help i turned down the shower that requires avery early hour of prayer an then only 6 will be chosen this reward for an obedience is not ” christian giving” or the kind of “conditioning” im willing to allow .

    i dont want this powe play to infest its way up the chain for the future of all the country

    i lke the america that was fueled by capitalsm and made humane with socialism sprikled in.
    sure somegot abused but it was the fault of the bad programs as aell as the unable and unwilling.
    i am listed as miost severe in state voc reahb and cant get there not for alck of trying but every system failing. to wnat to or be able to handle specail needs with skill.
    i akways wated to contribute to make it better instead of living as just not dead yet. but once i became so disbled ihad to rely on teh brioken syrem i just fell farther and farther lost more nad more nad was harmed more and more
    that not supposed to happen to good persons with bad disablity (not criminal) in America.

    just with the fact so many are playing race and religion as thier #1 choices about state it shows our country is not minding even the foundations the constitution.

    we need to let all be free in their beliefs that also hold with in the law of the constitution; also not the other way around.

    i fear for a country that seems to be goign backward and who could make choices based on skin color and ” falsely perceived” religion not based on intellect and abilitiy ;on religious ferver and not religious freedom.
    i think affirmative action is neccessary and also that has been horribly misused and misapplied.

    i know Obama/Biden will be better for the poor and middle class. They beleive we can and will change.

    i know McCain/.Palin believe a country’s strength comes through the monied power brokers and a predestined fate that cannot change.

    you see what i hope and believe for show us ,what do you?

  6. Choosing the next president isn’t about popularity, good looks, or smooth talking. No, its about past performance as we have learned the best predictor of future performace is past performance, and one candidate has limited background, while the other one has years. One candidate has a family history of serving America the other one associates himself with people with questionable backgrounds. Ask your self, you were hiring either one, what would you look for? Or would you be so overly impressed that you wouldn’t need a background inquiry? Who would you want making decisions for yur company tomorrow? One has proven he can work with the other party, the other one hasn’t. It may seem I’m leaning towards one over the other, not ture. I haven’t made my mind up yet, but the more I look and the more I ask myself who I would hire to run my businesses it sure wouldn’t be someone who never managed anything. Be thruthful and not political…past performance is the best predictor of future performance.

  7. When we enter the voting booth it will come down to one thing…who do we trust the most. Everything else is a distraction and irrelevant. Always has been, always will be.

  8. While the entire presidential campaign, so far, has been purely marketing and popularity it really doesn’t matter which of the two candidates win the election if something isn’t done in Congress. Neither one will have any more success making effective change or implementing change until Congress changes. We have men and women that make being elected to the U.S. Congress a career and they are the people that play party politics. They are so bitter and childish because their state didn’t get a pet project that they can’t see straight, in many cases. If you want to see some real change why not set term limits on Congress and force some of the old codgers to get real jobs in the real world. Get some fresh blood in there. I know we have the right and ability to elect new Senators and Representatives but it is very difficult in many cases to get the funding to mount an effective campaign against the incumbents.

    As many here have stated it is a matter of leadership, who has the experience and proven track record and how is the Johnny come lately?

  9. Heuristic observations from here in Australia would lead anyone to believe that the US elections are a competing carnival! There is just too much of it! Who’s the joker?

    To be able to ignomiously sweet talk is not the same as being able to lead during what will be very trying times for the USA and the world in general. Always having the right thing to say, is not the same as doing the right thing for the USA, and indeed the rest of the world in extrapolation. Winston Churchill who was a great leader by any definition once said; ‘it is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what is required’.

    I believe that the good people of the US are a little shell shocked and looking at things out of perspective. Whilst I do add that both candidates are potentially good leaders; only one will be a great leader, and that of course is Mr McCain and Mrs Palin. When the times are tough as they will be, Mr McCain will govern with intellect, wisdom and unselfish intelligence.

    Mr McCain is the man for the job… and a hard job it will be… all that I can do is proffer strength in parayer, as he will need all the help that he can get. I wish them both well.

  10. I have been following the US Presedential elections for 2 reasons:
    1. I enjoy the democracy demonstrated and dream of the same 2 party system for our country.
    2. Whomever you choose to be President is highly important to our Country because how he runs the United States and it’s foreign policies will directly effect us here in Malaysia.
    So please, please choose wisely America!
    God bless you America, the land of the free and brave!

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