Lessons for leaders in the week ahead:
|Produced by Ryan Derousseau|
-The Republican and Democratic primaries in Wisconsin tomorrow will highlight one of the most important abilities for any leader: adaptability. As of two weeks ago, neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton was supposed to be facing much trouble in Wisconsin, but polling released over the weekend suggests that both may be threatened. To what extent will either alter the strategies that have made them the frontrunners?
This is a classic problem for successful individuals and organizations, most of which find it impossibly difficult to give up what has worked for them in the past. So far, both candidates are barely tweaking past behavior. Trump is talking a bit more about women in an attempt to increase his minuscule support among them; Clinton is spending more time in Wisconsin than she had planned to, as Bernie Sanders’s poll numbers get dangerously close to hers. But neither is turning the steering wheel very far, and maybe neither will have to.
But if Trump loses tomorrow, his “inevitability” will look much less inevitable. If Clinton loses, it would be her seventh defeat in the past eight contests; even if she wins by only a small margin, she looks decidedly weaker. Then we’ll see who has the courage to accept the new reality, internalize it, and change course significantly.
-I admit that I’ve been rather desperately seeking a leadership angle in the Masters Tournament, which I continue to believe is the greatest reality show on TV and which begins Thursday. Medal-play golf is arguably the world’s most individual sport. Where’s the leadership? For the Masters, the answer is obvious: It’s the leadership of Augusta National Golf Club. This organization has created a kind of magic. The Masters is the sport’s most famous and most watched tournament because it’s the one that the world’s best golfers most want to win…which is why it’s the most famous and most watched, etc.
The explanation is brilliant leadership from day one in 1934, starting with founder Bobby Jones and, for 42 years, chairman Clifford Roberts. Billy Payne, chairman for the past decade, has maintained the standard. The story is too multi-faceted to tell here, but even if you’re not a golf fan, you may want to take a look at the TV coverage this weekend and marvel at this extraordinarily well managed institution.
-All good leaders want to get better, and anyone who wants to get better at anything should read a new book, published this week, called Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool. Ericsson, a professor at Florida State University, is the world’s preeminent authority on expert performance, and while many authors (including yours truly) have written about his work, this is his first book for a general audience; Pool is a science journalist who collaborated with him.
Rest assured that the book is not mere theory. Ericsson’s research focuses on the real world, and he explains in detail, with examples, how all of us can apply the principles of great performance in our work or in any other part of our lives. His uplifting message—and this is research, not up-with-people fluff—is that “people in every area of human endeavor are constantly finding ways to get better, to raise the bar on what was thought to be possible, and there is no sign that this will stop. The horizons of human potential are expanding with each new generation.”
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What We're Reading Today
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Internal Trump campaign memo signals frustration
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Building a Better Leader
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