Thursday, January 24, 2008


Some interesting writings generated by the Clinton/Obama experience debate that riff on the difference between managers and leaders. A commenter on the article linked above ("Katie") offered this very accurate juxtaposition of managers and leaders.

Manager vs. Leader:
A manager takes care of where you are; a leader takes you to a new place.
A manager deals with complexity; a leader deals with uncertainty.
A manager is concerned with finding the facts; a leader makes decisions.
A manager is concerned with doing things right; a leader is concerned with doing the right things. A manager’s critical concern is efficiency; a leader focuses on effectiveness.
A manager creates policies; a leader establishes principles.
A manager sees and hears what is going on; a leader hears when there is no sound and sees when there is no light.
A manager finds answers and solutions; a leader formulates the questions and identifies the problems.

Likewise, Nicholas Kristof in the NYT talks at length about the experience debate. Two points from his article stand-out:

1) generally, Presidents with loads of political experience tend to disappoint (think Nixon), while Presidents with little political experience tend to be great (think Teddy Roosevelt (2 and a half years combined experience as Governor and US VP) or Abraham Lincoln (1 term in the House of Representatives)).

2) there is tremendous irony that as Bill Clinton campaigned for President in '92 he made a point of highlighting his lack of experience in DC, in contrast to GHW Bush, saying '“The same old experience is not relevant.” He suggested that the most useful training comes not from hanging around the White House and Congress but rather from experience “rooted in the real lives of real people” so that “it will bring real results if we have the courage to change.”'

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With my new friends on the Great Wall of China

With my new friends on the Great Wall of China
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World sun clock

Uncommon Man's Creed

"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon -- if I can. I seek opportunity -- not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I wish to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole, I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence, nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master, nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud, and unafraid, to think and act for myself, to enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, "this I have done." All this is what it means to be an American." -- Anonymous