Leadership Kudos for the week go to Ford CEO Alan Mulally. Joining deeply-troubled Ford in 2006, Mulally has pulled off the greatest corporate transformation in recent decades — and in the process restored faith in the American automobile industry and the U.S.’s ability to compete globally in heavy manufacturing. An exceptionally humble leader, Mulally’s authentic, high-performance style has brought humanity and discipline back to Ford. The proof is in Ford’s results: in the most recent quarter Ford sales were up 18 percent, profits up 22 percent, and its share of the U.S. market gained the #1 spot.
Leadership Gaffe for the week goes to IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, arrested for sexually assaulting a chamber maid in New York. A momentary lapse? Unlikely. Strauss-Kahn has a long history of extra-marital relations. The larger question is why he was trusted with such an important international post. Leaders need to set a higher standard, not seek the lowest common denominator.
Leadership Kudos for this week go to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his work in creating a more peaceful, compassionate world. He was in Minneapolis last weekend, where we are pleased to have the second largest Tibetan community outside India. Our family had the privilege of being with him at a series of events. He recently turned over the political leadership of the Tibetan people to a democratically-elected leader so he can concentrate his full energies on working toward peace and compassion. His messages focused on secular ethics, not Buddhism, to unite people around finding inner peace through mindfulness and compassion. He is, no doubt, one of the world’s great spiritual leaders.
Leadership Kudos go to Pres Obama for the daring raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. This was courage at its finest, as the President waited patiently for just the right time, gathering a great deal of intelligence information in advance, and electing to keep the raid secret from the Pakistani ISI and military. Then he took the riskier option of sending in the Navy Seals instead of drones.
This event has temporarily reunited the nation and silenced Obama critics who say he is risk-averse and indecision. He followed the news with great communication of what happened. Now he should seize the opportunity to reunite the nation around rebuilding America’s position in the world through investing in the economy through the private sector.
Leadership Gaffe belongs to CUNY trustee Jeff Wiesenfeld, who rallied CUNY trustees to block Tony Kushner’s honorary degree because Kushner, who is Jewish, was critical of Israel. Kushner’s “Angels in America” was a breakthrough play about AIDS in America; he just opened “IHO,” his latest play, which was created at Minnesota’s Guthrie Theater, to rave reviews.
Since the news broke, not one NYC institution or person has supported that decision. Meanwhile, five other CUNY honorary degree recipients have told the university that they want to return their degrees, in solidarity with Kushner. Wisely, the CUNY trustees decided to rescind their decision. They appear to have convinced Kushner to accept the honorary degree after all. For his inappropriate attack on the nation’s leading playwright, Wiesenfeld should resign.