loren Eric Swanson: Giuliani's Six Principles of Leadership

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Giuliani's Six Principles of Leadership

This morning I got a note from a very good friend of mine--Geoff Gorsuch who is with the Navigators in Singapore. Geoff and I were campus directors of Navigators and Crusade respectively in the 70's after which he and Diane worked in France for 13 years. He is the author of a best selling book on men's ministry called Brothers and is well-versed in a number of subjects, including leadership. He was just in Hong Kong where he spoke on Giuliani's leadership principles.

Giuliani's Six Principles of Leadership

In his eight years as Mayor, Rudy Giuliani revitalized New York City by focusing on public safety and economic growth. After the devastatingterrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he was heralded internationally for his leadership skills. Giuliani, now the chairman and CEO of the consulting firm Giuliani Partners, captured his approach in his No. 1 best-seller Leadership. Speaking lastmonth at CCL's Friends of the Center Leadership Conference, he explored six principles of leadership that are critically important for success:

Develop strong beliefs: Leaders must define their core beliefs and stick to them in order to achieve long-term goals and visions. Leaders who focus more on popularity than principle risk becoming mired in day-to-day challenges while losing sight of the larger picture, Giuliani said. He citedRonald Reagan and Martin Luther King, Jr. as two individuals who exemplified this principle. Reagan entered politics with two big ideas: that Communism was evil and needed to be confronted rather than appeased, and that American government was too large and discouraged individual initiative. He developed those ideas at a time when others didn't agree. But Reagan stuck with his beliefs and ultimately created major change, particularly by hastening the collapse of the Soviet Union, Giuliani said. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed that nonviolent protest would advance civil rights in the United States. He cultivated this philosophy through study and prayer, prompting tremendous social change as a result.

Be an optimist: "When you can visualize success, it helps you figure out the steps to get there," Giuliani said. Optimism can be "a magnet that motivates people to follow." Reagan and King, for example, both faced stark realities--the Soviet empire and the lack of equality for African Americans--and envisioned a brighter future. Winston Churchill did exactly the samething in rallying his country against Hitler during the Battle of Britain. Thinking of Churchill's perseverance during World War II "helped me getthrough Sept. 11th," Giuliani said.

Have courage: A lot of people assume that they are not courageousbecause they feel fear. But "to be courageous you must have fear," Giulianisaid. "Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the management of fear."Fear, he believes, can be a strong motivating factor. "We should be afraid ofanother terrorist attack," he said, "but we should use that energy positivelyand courageously" to work on prevention and preparation.

Relentless preparation: Leaders must make an enduring commitment toanticipating obstacles and opportunities and readying for them. New YorkCity, he said, had never prepared for precisely what happened on Sept. 11th--two jetliners crashing into and bringing down the World Trade Center's twintowers. But the city had prepared for airplane crashes, high-rise fires, building collapses and other disasters. When the September 11 attacks happened, all the pieces were in place to assemble a response. "Something unanticipated will always happen, but if you've prepared for everything else, you will know how to respond to the unexpected," he said.

Teamwork: Individual leaders, no matter how outstanding, can become isolated, Giuliani said. It's important, therefore, to work closely with atrusted team. "Focus on your weaknesses and how to balance these with the strengths of the other people around you," he said. When Giuliani became mayor of New York, the city was struggling with two major problems -- crime and a weak economy. As a former U.S. attorney, Giuliani knew how to tackle the crime problem. He also knew he needed lots of help to correct the economy, and he quickly sought it out by hiring the best people he could find.

Communication: When the right ideas and the right team are in place,it's critical for leaders to communicate their plans and goals. President Reagan excelled at this step, becoming known as "The Great Communicator." According to Giuliani, "Being a leader has a lot to do with being a teacherand a motivator. ...You have to get your own ideas out of your mind and heart and into the minds and hearts of other people."

Rudy Giuliani is chairman and CEO of Giuliani Partners, a management consulting company he founded in 2002. He is author of Leadership, whichdraws on his experiences as a corporate lawyer, U.S. attorney and mayor. He was named Consultant of the Year by Consulting magazine in 2002.


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