Leaders We Deserve will shortly reach its one thousandth leadership post. We review highlights since the blog started in 2006
Within the next week, Leaders We Deserve will publish its one thousandth post. In celebration we will be looking back and perhaps looking a little ahead at the leadership issues of our age.
In 2006, as we started publishing, the Iraq war had ended, and Saddam Hussein was executed. Later, leaders Tony Blair in the UK and George Bush in the USA, were to be embroiled in controversies on the information that informed the decision to attack Iraq, particularly the Weapons of Mass Destruction that were never found there. At that time, there was a sense that political change was achievable by regime change, and the removal of a dictator. [Later, LWD reviewed Tony Blair’s biography]
Belief in aggressive regime change as a strategy continued into the period of the Arab Spring of 2012, although with increasingly evidence to the contrary. The sequence of revolutions and dashed hopes seemed to me to demonstrate the difficulties in the concept of a tipping point. The recent counter-revolutionary crises in The Middle East are the latest illustrations of how the evidence of history warns us against the complete acceptance of simple models of change.
The financial crisis
Economically, the financial crisis of 2008-9 was the dominant feature of the period. The world is still struggling today with the impact of the credit crunch, and the dilemmas of a system globally in which banks are said to be too big to fail, and their leaders who were found in hindsight too often wanting in judgement and ethics. [See Lehman Bros and the Limits of Leadership]
Some of the leaders were humiliated and stripped from office. There are increasingly calls for more criminal charges to be brought about. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the concept of a leader’s moral compass has attracted attention.
The most charismatic leader?
The most visited post in LWD has been the one examining the nature of Che Guevara’s leadership style. If popularity among subscribers is the criterion, the iconic poster-boy of a former revolutionary era could be nominated the most charismatic leader to be written about in the thousand posts.
Another in the top ten of all posts for visits was an account of the situation in Zimbabwe, and the increasingly dubious methods deployed by Robert Mugabe to retain power. [There are no winners in Zimbabwe] Mugabe has retained power through several elections since. Subsequent posts have been less frequented.
LWD concentrated on two sports, football and tennis, with less frequent forays into cycling, American Football and Rugby union. If you count chess as a sport, there were also quite a few attempts to present chess as a means of understanding strategic leadership.
Apple, Steve Jobs and Foxconn
Steve Jobs founder of Apple died leaving a hugely successful global company. A biography released shortly after his death gave a richer picture of the design genius as a difficult person to work for. The succession challenge was made more difficult by supply chain crises. A post written in 2012 documenting problems at its major supplier Foxconn, was another which continues to attract substantial numbers of visits to LWD.
Teaching from LWD cases
LWD posts have become increasingly used as teaching aids on executive programme.
The Apple Foxconn case is a recent successful one. [Apple’s new leader faces ethical dilemmas at Foxconn ] Others widely used around the world include Peace One Day: The Adidas Puma Story , and Emirates Airline: the Secret Story of a Successful Company .
There have been many contributors to the 1000 blogs as well as over a thousand subscribers, and supportive colleagues. I am grateful to you all, you know who you are. I will risk errors and omissions acknowledging you in a future post
To be continued [including those acknowledgements]