An astute observation by Victor Davis Hansen, supported by an excellent quote from J. S. Mill:
Western societies have often proved reluctant to use force to prevent greater future violence. “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things,” observed the British philosopher John Stuart Mill. “The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.” [Read more here.]
Leading men and women is interesting and challenging and I can’t wait to tell you about my experience. First let me get to some ground rules. I am a Christians and all the leadership roles I have been in or religious in character. Second while some things are generally true about men and women the […]
This is a true story, from the height of the Cold War, about the failure of a system within a critical system and the very human responses to a truth-teller. Why tell the tale now? Because a friend’s work situation, in a major corporation, recalled the memory. So, take this tale as a parable for all times, and consider how the players in context, the conflict, and the conclusion relate to your work, your community, or state and national policy areas.
Dr. T.P. Hall was a part time teacher in my Executive MBA program. Retired from the Georgia State School of Business, T.P. (as he asked us to call him) was every inch the seasoned old man who clearly loved to share his accumulated wisdom. One afternoon, he abandoned his Power Point presentation and spoke to us directly.More
In his 2006 book The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary, Joseph A. Michelli outlines how Starbucks takes a service (preparing coffee) and turns into an experience, a transformation that has not been without struggles and has proven difficult to maintain over time.
In the book, Michelli outlines the hierarchy of sales, showing that the highest margins are from those sales based on experience, using coffee as an example:More
In his 2015 article “Obsolete Annual Reviews: Gallup’s Advice,” Jim Harter at Gallup published what should have been headline breaking news. Based on the Gallup studies of the American workplace, only 50 percent of American workers strongly agreed they know what is expected at work. This figure has not changed significantly in the 2016 and 2017 reviews.
How on Earth can leaders expect their employees to execute their visions if half of their workforces are not sure of what is expected of them?More
Two bits of leadership advice learned in the school of hard knocks: “Be a heat shield, not a heat conductor, for your people,” and “if you aren’t tooting your own horn, some else will use it for a siphon.” (Heard from an Iron Major.)
Leaders must act as heat shields from outside friction and flames. Those who just pass criticism and complaints along, or amplify them, are no good to anyone. Heat conductor leaders are worse than redundant to their superiors, not taking the heat as a signal to plan and direct a course correction. Such leaders may be seen as puppets, and possibly cowards, by their own people. In any healthy organization, peers see the heat conductor failing to absorb the heat that comes everyone’s way occasionally. So, be a heat shield, not a heat conductor, for your people.More
For years we have heard that we must have data to make decisions. We are told, “You get what you measure”. The amount of data being collected today is greater than ever. Leaders and managers have all the data they could ever need to run their teams, departments, and organizations. And yet, we do not see a great transformation in management. What is going on?
Data says nothing. Mere facts are as mute as stones. Just as the geologist must pick up and examine those stones he finds; data must be reviewed, studied, and processed into information. Information is processed data that has meaning and is presented in a context. The number of clients seen in January was down, that is what the data shows. What it means, however, takes context, and more than the numbers spit out by the computer. It could mean staff were not as productive as needed, maybe the flu swept through the office, maybe the weather decreased client turn out. In short, only looking at the staff productivity, and taking nothing else into account, does not provide enough information to make decisions.More
On Tuesday, January 23, there was a shooting at Marshall County High School in Benton, KY. Two students were killed (with 19 injured) by a fellow student. Less than one month later, a shooter killed 17 students (15+ injured) at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
I live in Nashville and watched the Kentucky shooting play out on the national news (though much more on local news, obviously) and I did the same on the day of the Florida shooting. It’s been startlingly obvious that the national media reaction and public frenzy has been decidedly different from the Kentucky shooting and I’ve been wondering why for the last few days.More
This week marks Banter’s 300th episode. To commemorate this milestone, AEI President Arthur Brooks joined the show to discuss everything from AEI’s human dignity project and the future of free enterprise to the need for aspirational leadership in the face of a government shutdown. Arthur also updated us on some exciting upcoming AEI projects and […]
On this AEI Events Podcast, Martha’s Table President and CEO Patty Stonesifer provided insights from her career in the private sector, in the philanthropy space, and as the head of a nonprofit organization. In a conversation with AEI’s Toby Stock, Ms. Stonesifer discussed her years at Microsoft when the organization was a small but growing […]
I’m finding it hard to put into words how sad, shocked and angry I feel about what happened over the weekend in the small, rural town of Sutherland Springs, Texas, where twenty-six people were murdered and 20 injured, sitting in church, in yet another mass shooting. When I pulled up the news to find out […]
In this AEI Events Podcast, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) joins AEI’s Thomas Donnelly for a discussion of the ongoing military readiness crisis and what Congress can do to begin addressing it. The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Readiness, Rep. Wilson describes how the series of cuts to the national defense budget […]
In my latest op-ed for the local fishwrap, I tell the tale of an old German general with the mouthful of a name Kurt Gebhard Adolf Philipp Freiherr von Hammerstein-Equord. Between the world wars, he was tasked with restructuring the military, at least until he tried to kill Hitler, which got him into a spot of bother. But how he decided whom to promote and whom to fire fascinates me from a business perspective.
He divided the entire officer corps into four quadrants, which I illustrated in the chart to the right:More
I was driving home and flipping through the radio last week and I heard some guys talking about how the Democrats are struggling to find new “leadership” after Hillary’s loss. My mind began to wander as I thought about what they really meant. I realized they weren’t talking about leadership, they were talking about likability! […]
A big topic of conversation in the Beltway and beyond is the new Republican leadership elections scheduled for next week. While most are asking who will replace Boehner’s team, the more important question is what will they do differently?
There’s a great opportunity for new GOP leadership to differentiate themselves, which will start the process of taking advantage of their majorities in both houses. It’s past time for Republicans to move legislation that Democrats can’t duck and that will advance our strategic interests and policy goals, and it’s what Americans want to see Republicans do.More
It’s often said that Australia needs to become a republic because of our lagging reputation in Asia. Many believe, for example, that our institutional attachment to the British Monarchy puzzles the masses and implies an old-world attachment that tugs on our standing in the region.
Much less discussed, however, is how silly we must look changing leaders as often as our dirty clothes. Until recently, the turbulence of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years was behind us. We weren’t suffering from closed-door union deals and the disruptive leadership of the Australian Labor Party. Abbott had stopped illegal boat arrivals to Australia, was fiercely paying down Rudd’s debt, ending silly government programs, and restoring a relative lack of prestige to the executive arm of government.More
Over the past few weeks and months, Obama has been winning. His administration has proved unstoppable on just about every item on its agenda, from environmental and energy regulation to illegal immigration to gay marriage to Obamacare. Indeed, the president recently acknowledged this obliquely, saying that gun control “has been the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied.” It’s difficult to find any other area where conservatives have held back the progressive tide. The next president will be hard-pressed to contain the damage to our economy, our international interests, and our liberty.
Two competing narratives dominate the 2016 GOP nomination contest. The first stresses competence and experience. Obama, this narrative goes, came to office as a community organizer with no real-world experience and little political experience. He surrounded himself with ignorant young hacks, and has stumbled from one mistake to another. Thus we need to nominate an experienced administrator with a proven record as an executive: no more first-term senators.More