Leadership Lesson: How does one get to be President of the United States?


I had the opportunity to work with a former White House Deputy Chief of Staff and his law firm partners helping the partnership resolve several crucial matters and strategically position the firm for future growth.  During one of our dinners together I asked, “What makes a successful politician?  How does one get to be President of the United States?”  We talked about intelligence, charisma, communication skills, visioning, the ability to build consensus, presence, influence skills, clarity of values, the ability to attract the right people, the ability to motivate… He told me that, while all of these traits play a role, the one defining trait is Persistence.

In a flash, many of the successful entrepreneurs, corporate, government and not-for-profit leaders I had worked with the past 20 years streamed in my mind – all so different in personalty, leadership styles, values and professional experience, but with one unifying thread running through all of their stories – They had all been through the fire.  They all had come through incredible challenges, sometimes devastating life or career events which forced them into deep questioning and tested their faith in themselves and their mission.  All had come to terms with their failures, learned from their experience (many shared these unsolicited during informal conversations) and renewed their deep dedication to a vision which guided their lives.  All were (are) persistent in the pursuit of their dream, changing tactics and strategies as needed, falling down, brushing themselves off, re-gaining their balance and staying energized from a deep desire to achieve something they knew in their heart was their path.

I wonder if reality is more alchemy than a plan, with such personal dedication to the vision one holds as the magic element in making the lives we most wish to live.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 at 4:23 pm and is filed under Leadership. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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