Power Sheet: Does Donald Really Want to Be President? He Won’t Say
It’s one of those moments when we’re overwhelmed by major news events with significant leadership angles: how a wide range of leaders are responding to the sniper attacks in Dallas and the video-recorded police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana; the continuing fallout from FBI director James Comey’s decision not to recommend prosecution of Hillary Clinton; and the narrowing of the field for Britain’s next prime minister to two, Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom. They’re all important – and all getting saturation coverage in the media.
So today let’s look instead at instructive events that get crowded out of our attention at times like these:
–Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock, died on Monday at 87, and his book looks remarkably prescient 46 years later. In 1970 he foresaw personal computers, the Internet, telecommuting, and much more that we take for granted but that seemed like airy fantasy at the time. New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo recently re-read Toffler’s bestseller and was inspired to explain “Why We Need to Pick Up Alvin Toffler’s Torch.” His point: Toffler’s specialty, futurism, has fallen out of favor, and it needs to be revived as a serious, vitally important profession.
I can’t resist mentioning that Toffler was at one time a Fortune editor and columnist.
–Donald Trump’s deep game fascinates the political class. The question that won’t go away: Is he serious? More precisely, does he actually want to be president, and will he actually stay in the race through the election, and, if he wins, would he actually serve? Speculation has persisted among politicos for months that the answer to one or more of those questions is no. The latest theory springs from his refusal, in a recent interview, to deny that if elected, he might decline to serve. Probably nonsense, of course, except that with Trump, we’ve learned never to rule out anything.
–Stanley Gault, former CEO of Rubbermaid and Goodyear, died last week at 90, and anyone who admires leadership should know about him. After he lost the race to be CEO of General Electric in 1980 – Jack Welch won – he returned to his tiny home town of Wooster, Ohio, and took the helm of Rubbermaid, which his father co-founded in 1920. He quadrupled sales and turned this virtually invisible company into a paragon of strong management and performance. Incredibly, it was even No. 1 on Fortune’s list of Most Admired Companies in 1994 and 1995. He retired, then became chief of another Ohio company, Goodyear, which was in desperate trouble, and turned it around.
After failing to become GE’s chief, he could have faded away and been remembered as the guy who lost. Instead he did just the opposite.
-A now-former hedge fund manager gave a textbook demonstration of how not to behave as a leader. Moore Capital fired Brett Barna after he threw a party in the Hamptons last Sunday, announcing that “Mr. Barna’s personal judgment was inconsistent with the firm’s values.” The details are too extensive to relate here, but a flavor of what went on can be gathered from the owner of the $20-million house he rented for the blowout, who is preparing to sue Barna for trashing it, and who told the New York Post, “Brett was last seen on Sunday chugging Champagne with two midgets.”
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