(Note from Randy Mayeux: At the February, 2019 First Friday Book Synopsis, Ed Savage was our guest presenter for the book Leadership: In Turbulent Times. Here is his guest blog post, with his lessons and takeaways. Thanks, Ed).
It was a perfect storm in terms of timing. The United States of America had just undergone its longest government shutdown in history. If that isn’t a turbulent time, not much else is. How do leaders handle turbulence?
Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book, Leadership: In Turbulent Times, is part history, part leadership, and lots of reflective learning. It seemed to go on forever when reading from a Kindle app, but it was worth every moment. It gave me a whole new view of our current “turbulent time”.
For you, some Lessons & Takeaways from the synopsis:
- We need to know/learn about the past, with analysis help from a deep thinker, to get the big picture (Randy Mayeux Synopsis of – Lessons from the 21stCentury)
- There is not one approach to leadership
- There is not one way to prepare for leadership
- That said, what did Kearns Goodwin find common in each leader?
- They were really smart and often underestimated
- Each had a driving ambition to serve
- Each had a major personal failure to overcome be it health or, losing a major election, or family tragedy; in other words a personal crisis from which to learn
- They went into a funk before emerging reenergized to success
- They disliked being number two
- They understood people
- They were story tellers
- They learned about organizations
- They were innovators
- Political leadership differs from business leadership – dealing with changing societal attitudes versus changing production lines
- Time brings differing perspectives & legacies
- Not all leaders succeed at all challenges
- History is your friend or liberal arts education still has a very important place in society today
Perhaps the best quote from Doris’ book is unrelated to any of her four subjects:
“It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed,” Abigail Adamswrote to her son John Quincy Adamsin the midst of the American Revolution, suggesting that “the habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues.”
Thank you Randy for letting me guest synopsize.
Ed Savage Ed.D.