Wednesday, June 16, 2010

BURN: Leadership Is Not Rocket Science

President Obama has been roundly criticized..rightfully...for his failuresssss of leadership.  But it's easy to criticize, and not so easy to produce.  Recognizing that, leadership…especially from someone who respects the law…would look something like this;

Day nine (charitably): MEMO: President Obama to all cabinet members--
I want a report from each cabinet head on my desk tomorrow evening, detailing the current legal mandates YOUR department has for dealing with an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  I also want a report on all technology anywhere in the world for dealing with an uncontrolled release of oil into the sea, and what needs to be done to make it available here.

Day ten (charitably) at the next cabinet meeting: Obama to his cabinet heads--
To the extent that your reports reflect crossed lines of authority and responsibility for effective response in the Gulf, I am going to name one agency to be in charge of this problem.  I will expect all other departments and agencies to facilitate the work of that one agency.  You will report to me explicit actions each of you will take.  I want to make certain that both the states and private interests who can help with this are NOT impeded by red tape.  If there are permits required, issue them unless you have a well-founded concern that you think you can balance against the potential damage this oil could do if we allow it to reach our coastal areas.  You will answer to me, and to the American people, if you stand in the way of anyone with a viable solution.

Day twelve (charitably):  Pres. Obama, press opportunity, Gulf Coast--
Gov. Jindal and the other Gulf Coast governors are here today to show the people of this region and the United States that we are united in our response to the threat that oil may soon reach our southern shores.  I have ordered the Jones Act to be suspended during this crisis, and eagerly welcome the offer of other nations…nations who have faced this same sort of threat…to provide the technologies they have successfully deployed in the past.  I have directed all agencies of the Federal government to actively assist the state governments in their efforts to defend their people, businesses, waters, land and resources against the threat a tide of oil might pose.

Day thirteen: Recorded video message to Americans, Pres. Obama--
All of us are pulling for the dedicated people out on the Gulf Of Mexico, working literally around the clock to control the wild well.  Our priority is to support their work in stopping or stemming the flow of oil.  This is not the time for recriminations; the time will come to thoroughly examine the causes of this tragic accident, to learn what we can, and to do all humanly possible to assure it is not repeated.  But now, today, we want every person’s skill, talent, and thoughts focused solely on one object; contain the well, contain the oil, and protect our waters and our coast-lines.

It would look something like that…leadership.  It ain't rocket science.


  1. In Grad School, we had the honor of a special guest lecture by Fred Smith, the founder of FedEx. Poor guy's dad died when he was very young and was raised by his mother and grandmother. Hmmm, sounds like our Dear (not-so-good) Leader? The difference? Instead of floating around in a pot and cocaine induced stupor for four years - Fred enlisted in the Marines and became a platoon leader in Nam, then forward flight officer. He was honorably discharged in 1969 with the rank of Captain, having received the Silver Star, Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. The rest is, of course history. He formed and led a small business and developed it into a worldwide fortune 500 corporation.

    Smith's topic for the lecture was "Recognizing and Developing Leaders". My favorite note/quote:

    Student: How can you identify a leader?
    Fred: Look and see if abybody's following him."

    Leadership is part gift, part character and part hard work, experience and guts. Barry would be a fine trial attorney or any number of things. A leader he is not.

  2. Excellent, Swede. Thanks for that anecdote.

    I've often noticed that people sometimes have tremendous leadership qualities that nobody...sometimes least of all themselves...recognize until some catalyst brings those traits out. I had not seen an example of the inverse, but we may be seeing one now. God help us...