Tuesday, October 21, 2008

W's next home?

Last night Charlie Rose did one of those double-dipping things where he hosts a seminar someplace, tapes it, and uses it as a program. This one was held at Harvard Business School, where they conferred this year's Alumni Achievement Awards on five business luminaries, and had Charlie host a discussion on leadership. It may have been edited, but there was very little talk about leadership on what we saw. Instead, Charlie wanted to get these folks' views on the current economic situation.

A couple of gripes: first, is it necessary for Charlie to work something from Tom Friedman into every single business discussion he has? Once again, he told the panel that "some people" (Friedman) believe that we should give a green card to every foreigner who graduates from an American college. The panel, mercifully, didn't pick up on this with any vigor.

Second, does Jeff Immelt, head of GE, bring anything to the table? Of the five, his comments were the least incisive - it was like a fifth grader at a table of smart collegians. Perhaps his skills don't translate to that forum (and one might question his inclusion given the recent results out of GE) but, other than a few platitudes about the global marketplace, he didn't give us a lot.

But the most interesting thing to me was a statement from Anand Mahindra, an executive at Mahindra & Mahindra, the large Indian conglomerate. I'm not sure what the question was that generated his comment, but he said that many Indians were uncertain as to who they liked in our presidential election; Barack Obama was intriguing, but John McCain was perceived as a third term of Bush, and Indians had no problems with Bush, that they thought he was just fine.

The reasons Mahindra cited were offshoring, outsourcing, and the big nuclear deal the U.S. approved this month. He could also have mentioned that the U.S. took the burden for a war that has ensured the continuation of a major source of oil (and the removal of a dictator), and that we are bearing much of the cost of propping up global businesses in the current crisis.

It's an odd thing when an American president is perceived more fondly in another nation than in his own, as his policies have benefited that country more than the one whose constitution he swore to "preserve, protect and defend." I really don't see how the judgment of history (at least, U.S. history) will ever be kind to a president who has done so much to tarnish the American ideal, and has, managed to promote the interests of other countries and its people more than his own.


Anonymous said...

Spreading the wealth on a global scale - W. is ahead of his time.

TheStrategist said...

The strange thing about Rose's panel on LEADERSHIP was they never really discussed leadership. They discussed the obvious and focused on current events. It is clear that the panel were selected because of their resumes but I am not sure they exhibit the variety of leaders required to be successful. It is critical that the leader be right for the situation and strategy...there is no "one leader for all times".

Bill Rothschild of RISKTAKER, CARETAKER, SURGEON UNDERTAKER- the four faces of strategic leadership and THE SECRET TO GE's SUCCESS, both books clearly illustrate that leaders are not all the same and must fit the strategy and situation. Visit his site and blogs found on: www.strategyleader.com


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