This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

From Inside or Outside, Change Needs Seasoned Leadership

Then there is Hillary Clinton whose leadership experience was as a partner in a small Arkansas law firm. Many voters and media members considered her qualified because her husband had been a president. How many corporate boards consider that a valid qualification when hiring a CEO?

Or, what about appointing college professors to lead federal departments with thousands of employees? Can a smart person with no leadership experience at all succeed as a large scale organization leader? Is the smartest person in the room typically the best leader? It seems that the American public grossly underestimates the skills required to lead.

Among all leadership skills, the most difficult may be change leadership. Change leadership requires: 1.) an inspiring vision jointly created and deeply embraced by key constituencies, 2.) an ability to find and build upon points of agreement, and 3.) extraordinary person-to-person influence skills. Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both scored well against these criteria.

In the 1980's, it seemed that interparty tensions could not be worse. Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill squared off daily. They spent many hours together rolling up their sleeves to resolve difficult issues. Despite intense philosophical differences, the two managed to produce many important legislative achievements.

Although Reagan is often portrayed as a simple actor, he was very experienced in large-scale organization leadership. He learned how to lead a large organization and how to negotiate through difficult issues during his seven years as president of the Screen Actors Guild. And, of course, his next role was an eight-year stint as Governor of California.

Bill Clinton was also a successful change leader in an era of intense partisan politics. Clinton learned to run large organizations during his 12 years as governor of Arkansas. Yet, in his first term, President Clinton struggled to deliver results. His failures led to a Republican Senate and House takeover -- the first time in 40 years the Republicans controlled both congressional chambers.

But, like Tiger Woods rebuilding his swing, President Clinton's experience enabled him to change his style during his second term. He worked one-on-one with Newt Gingrich to build on common points of agreement and, like Reagan, used his personal charm. The result was big legislative achievements -- like welfare reform -- that Democrats and Republicans both still claim as party victories. That's a true win-win. In the end, Clinton concluded his tenure with the highest ratings of any modern-day president.

Is it really impossible to change Washington from the inside, or is today's dysfunction a direct result of inexperienced leadership? Whether you are choosing a governor, a president or a PTA leader, look for a record of sustained leadership achievements. No achievements? No vote.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Hall is managing director of Human Capital Systems (www.humancapitalsystems.com), a firm that designs systems for improving workforce performance. He is also an instructor in Duke Corporate Education's teaching network and author of The New Human Capital Strategy. Hall was formerly a senior vice president at ABN AMRO Bank in Amsterdam and IBM Asia-Pacific's executive in charge of executive leadership and organization effectiveness. During his tenure, IBM was twice ranked No. 1 in the world in Hewitt/Chief Executive magazine's "Top Company for Leaders." Hall completed his Ph.D in industrial-organizational psychology at Tulane University, with a dissertation on people management practices of Japanese corporations.
2 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
AAPL $121.30 0.00%
FB $94.01 0.00%
GOOG $625.61 0.00%
TSLA $266.15 0.00%
YHOO $36.67 0.00%

Markets

Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,689.86 -56.12 -0.32%
S&P 500 2,103.84 -4.79 -0.23%
NASDAQ 5,128.2810 -0.5040 -0.01%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs