Whom would you follow?
Amid the staggering volume of analysis of 200 minutes of debating among 17 assorted Republicans yesterday, it helps to keep a few fundamentals in mind. One, these candidates are competing for the biggest leadership job in the world. Two, a leader is, at its most basic level, someone who has followers. So who among those 17 seemed most like someone you’d follow?
I won’t keep you in suspense about my call: By the followership test, the winners were John Kasich and Jeb Bush.
Why not the others? Among those in the prime time debate, Donald Trump stayed with the trademark bombastic blowhard braggadocio that has served him well over the past 40 years, and the crowd loved it, even when they were booing him. It’s good TV. But you wouldn’t follow him because you’d have no idea where you were going. Rand Paul was hot-headed, and in any case I don’t think he expects to be the nominee; his mission for now is getting libertarianism into the mainstream. Chris Christie was doing well until he got into a skirmish with Paul, and that troubling nastiness took over; suddenly he seemed petty.
Marco Rubio is getting there, but he actually merits the cliché about a deer caught in the headlights; give him another eight years. Ben Carson emphasized his strong personal attributes but still wasn’t ready to talk policy, and you don’t want to follow someone on faith that he’ll figure it out eventually. Mike Huckabee was impressively polished but played so heavily to Iowa’s evangelical caucus-goers that he seemed uninterested in a broader followership. Scott Walker and Ted Cruz did okay but came across as flat, just faces in the crowd.
Kasich and Bush weren’t perfect onstage. Bush seemed strangely nervous at first, not something you want in a leader. But they both found their footing and came across as judicious leaders who had thought through their policy positions and could articulate them in a broadly appealing way. As governors, they’ve both made hard decisions in executive positions. And though neither will likely mention this in the campaign, both have worked in business: Bush in banking, real estate, health care, and other ventures; Kasich on Wall Street (at Lehman Brothers when it was doing well). Some of us actually consider that a plus.
The election is a long way off, and much will change. Through it all, we can keep ourselves grounded by asking: Would I want to follow that person?
What We’re Reading Today
At the GOP primary debate…
Donald Trump stood out as combative and opinionated. No surprises there. Some, like Marco Rubio, performed well, while others, like Chris Christie, struggled. The candidates said plenty that would affect business. But the real winners were those who made the case for more donation dollars, and they weren’t named Jeb Bush or Trump. NYT
New letter between Steve Jobs and ex-girlfriend found
In the note, Jobs‘ ex asked him for $25 million for herself and $5 million for their daughter. It’s a glimpse into the less often discussed, darker side of Jobs, as he built an empire and revolutionized personal electronics. Fortune
If you’ve ever thought about letting the inmates run the asylum
Here’s a cautionary tale from Conde Nast’s experience running Reddit. A laissez faire attitude led to a number of executive changes, including most recently Ellen Pao, and now it seems like the site is out of Conde’s control. Bloomberg
McDonald’s cuts back on executives
With stagnant sales as it struggles to adjust to new consumer tastes, McDonald’s laid off 135 executives at headquarters and 90 employees overseas. Reuters
Senator Chuck Schumer will oppose the Iran deal
As the leading Jewish voice in Congress and a prominent Democrat, it’s a big blow to President Barack Obama’s hopes of securing a deal. NYT
Wal-Mart connects its suppliers with U.S. manufacturers
With a new website, Wal-Mart suppliers can now find parts that are manufactured by U.S. based companies. It’s an effort to bolster Wal-Mart’s “Made In the USA” promise to buy $250 billion of products that support American jobs. WSJ
The U.S. created 215,000 jobs in July
While the unemployment level remains at 5.3%. The numbers were basically in line with expectations, but Americans are not feeling much better about the economy. Fortune
Two Become One
IBM will buy Merge Healthcare for $1 billion
It’s a continuation of IBM’s healthcare ambitions. Reuters
Blackstone joins forces with Hellman Friedman
Anthem’s merger with Cigna has its critics
U.S. hospitals have urged the Department of Justice to probe the combination of the No. 1and No. 5 largest health insurers. In July, Anthem agreed to buy Cigna for $47 billion. Reuters
Building a Better Leader
A cautionary tale of succession
The Lotte Group, which is led by a South Korean family and owns several retail chains, as well as Krispy Creme donuts and TGI Fridays, is in the middle of an old-fashioned power struggle, involving its 92-year old founder Shin Kyuk-ho and his two sons, Dong-joo and Dong-bin. It’s a made-for-TV warning over succession planning. WSJ
Most small businesses are unprepared for chip-and-pin credit cards
Visa and Mastercard have called for all merchants to begin accepting the chip cards by October, but less than half of small businesses surveyed by Wells Fargo have done so. Consumerist
If you want to build a culture of ‘we’
Then you can’t be afraid of making mistakes. “It’s not only admirable, it’s a necessity.” Fortune
A look at a pasta sauce company to discover…
Why wages and productivity have struggled to grow. Despite the difficulty in finding qualified candidates, Chelten House Products doesn’t see the need to increase the salaries it offers to applicants. Reuters
Up or Out
TrueCar founder and CEO Scott Painter has decided to step down at the end of the year, as the used car repository fights off lawsuits against dealers. MarketWatch
The Huffington Post has named Jared Grusd, a former executive at AOL and Spotify, CEO. He takes over for Jimmy Maymann, who will run all of AOL’s consumer brands. WSJ
Ever wonder how much Apple pays to keep Tim Cook safe?
Well, it isn’t peanuts, but it pales in comparison to the security budgets of Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison or Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Fortune
Carly Fiorina won the early GOP debate
At least, if we’re going off of Google searches. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO may have found some fans, or at least gained some name recognition. Fortune
What to do with a narcissistic, devious coworker
There are no easy fixes, but not all hope is lost. Fortune
The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, turns 49. Biography
Robert Mueller, who served as the sixth director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, taking over the agency a week before the September 11, 2001 attacks, turns 71 today. Biography
|Produced by Ryan Derousseau|