Are we entering the age of the deposed super leaders?

November 20, 2022

Some years ago, business cases were largely examples of near super-human business giants, the inheritors of the great man theory of history. And of course it was mainly the great man, the builders of industrial empires. The great entrepreneurs who magicked wealth from growth, and growth from risk and daring.

But now, the stories are more often cautionary tales. The gods have feet of clay. The emperor has no clothes.

The Masters of the Universe, was a title of a typical book in the 1960s about great business leaders. When I checked with more recent titles, I discovered Masters of the Universe refers now to a computer game of fantasy figures. Although, perhaps that’s not so different from those earlier aspirational books.

I see a shift around the time of the last economic depression, in late naughties. The hero-executives were being brought low. We learned about the Enron case. The major banking crashes that wrecked Iceland’s economy (the country not the supermarket, which had struggled earlier).

In the U.K. the high rolling financiers toppled like ninepins. Fred Goodwin of Royal Bank of Scotland was hauled before a Government committee to accept blame for excessive style and actions. 

Hollywood followed up with graphic, and not totally fanciful accounts of the Wall Street carnivores, a modern kind of Greek tragedy. 

Flash Forward

In time, the world’s financial system recovered from the recession. 

Flash forward to the present day. A book arrives for review. It’s called Pulling the Plug. It relates ‘thespectacular collapse of General Electric’. Once upon a time, GE Made stuff America wanted: fridges, televisions, light bulbs, then wind turbines and submarine detection systems.

Its credit rating was on a par with government bonds for its $600bn assets.

The company began with the efforts of Thomas Edison, whose achievements remain unsullied, for his business acumen as much as his most famous invention the Edison light bulb, ushering in an industrial revolution, and the age of electric power. 

Enter Jack Welch

The next significant change in GE was a shift from making stuff to financing the purchase of stuff. The shift was driven by Jack Welch, an engineer by training, but who succeeded by political and financial skills.

Success involved a shift followed with from a manufacturing basis to one relying on financial arrangements. The buy now pay later schemes created a finance powerhouse.  Welch became hailed as a super-leader, a process not unassisted by his own image-building skills. 

In his glory days he revelled in the tough approach which earned him the soubriquet Neutron Jack, the explosive power which killed off people leaving buildings intact. The style included his beliefs in the benefits of firing the 10% lowest-performing staff each year, to encourage the others. 

He left with a multi-million payoff, and a reputation of a super manager, hailed by Fortune magazine as the manager of the century. 

Later, the consequences of his action were seen as a short-term efforts to maximise shareholder value. His financialization approach collapsed as the 2008 slump took hold. 

The meltdown with Immelt

His successor Jeff Immelt was unable to pull off a rescue, and the company fell into the clutches of an asset management investor still chasing shareholder value. Its future is unclear.

Business Giants of 2022

Our new generation of business giants has not been doing too well. Let’s take some recent examples:

Elizabeth Holmes jailed for a rather old possible fraud in modern guise. Her company created a business with a non-existent medical diagnostic process. Discovery of its status, turned the presumed unicorn (rare beast in the commercial jungle) into a Dodo.

Stock in Meta, the future vision of the creator of Facebook, Mark Zukerberg is  dropping like a stone. 

Then there is the cryptocurrency implosion. In a single week, another billionaire, Sam Bankman-Friend sees his financial empire and his reputation shattered.

And how about the eccentricities exhibited by Elon Musk, currently engaged in the latest bizarre news story over whether Trump should be allowed to join Musk’s new plaything Twitter.

Blame the financial crisis?

It is no coincidence that stories of rock and roll leaders and their companies crashing and burning, are more frequent during financial crises. Some might think the business titans might have contributed to the crisis…

The wisdom of hindsight suggests that the stock market stars turn out to be have rocketed up based on risky gambles which make them vulnerable in difficult times.

From heroes to zeroes?

Im not suggesting our business leaders are mostly inadequates hanging on the celebrity status. But what is surely the case is that hero-worship is for fantasy heroes. And sometimes fantasies are exposed for being just that.

Advertisement

Gavin Williamson’s resignation teaches us what happens in teams from hell

November 9, 2022

Tuesday 8 November. Another Westminster politician resigns in disgrace. Gavin Williamson had a controversial political career after working for a doubling-glazing business. That would have given plenty of ammunition for political opponents. He might have risen above the taunts of being a double-glazing salesman. But he didn’t. Maybe it also shaped his career. He became an enforcer of party discipline, appointed by Theresa May, one of the hard bunch know as the whips. The archaic language may have come from the days that Parliament  was familiar with sport of fox hunting, with members of the servant-classes whipping the dogs into action. 

The language persisted, as well as a love of fox hunting, in the Tory party. Gavin was ideal material selected from the servile but ambitious lower classes.

As a whip, he brought enthusiasm to his work, and a style suggested he followed Machiavelli’s advice on the advantages of a leader in becoming hated. His props for the job are illustrated in a photograph of a darkly-brooding Williamson, with a whip on display more suited for human punishment than field sports. 

Missing from the image was another part of his brand, a pet tarantula which he kept on his desk. Better, but no subtler than a loaded revolver. Among the accusations arising now, there are documented and undocumented ones of bullying. 

It is easy to assume that with such a start, he had not acquired many close political friends as he elbowed his way into a political career. He was appointed defence secretary by Theresa May but removed for leaking  sensitive information, a charge he denied.

Boris Johnson appointed him education secretary, in a period of chaos over examination grading during the COVID pandemic. During the period he told a newspaper he had held a meeting with Marcus Rashford, when the Govt was resisting the footballer’s campaign to extend free meals. He had in fact been talking to another black footballer.He returns to the back bench obscurity but is granted an honour, a knighthood, unkindly assumed to be in return for dark secrets obtained earlier.He returned to Govt with Rishi Sunak as new PM only two weeks ago. His new post had vaguely defined responsibilities as a ‘minister without portfolio’ . I read this as a euphemism for a kind of repeat of his old whip role, maybe without the tarantula.Current revelations include televised accounts and press reports including threats to a colleague  ‘to slit your throat’. 

His resignation is to ‘devote time to dealing with the various allegations’ brought against him.

These are the fact of the case, m’lud. 

I’d like to widen the story by looking at what organisation group theory tells us about the case, and what the case tells us about organisational theory.

In a recent post and podcasts, I have mentioned teams from hell, as a rarely mentioned aspects of theories of team processes. This case has some highly specific aspects. Gavin Williamson worked as a member of the top government team, the so-called Cabinet. So generalisations to simpler project teams or sports teams have to be treated with caution. 

Hovever, at a molecular level, psychologists have found a large number of personal factors which  are the atoms of a person’s behaviour. These can be assembled into a few more general molecules of behaviour. These have produced a wide range of commercial products assisting in the identification of human behaviours, and how different types might work well or not so well in teams.

Millions of people are assessed in work in thousands of different ways of varying levels of validation. Even more than in science, we are a distance from a unified theory and philosophers seem to be accepting that such a theory does not exist,However, back to pragmatics. As the Williamson case emerged, I was already thinking about the likelihood that Rishi Sunak had acquired a team from hell. 

New thoughts


New thoughts emerge. Work on teams has tended to focus mainly on the positive. The components are suggested ‘in search of excellence’ as one best-seller put it. Now, suppose there is a team role considered valuable to a leader and I’m inclined to call in a Gavin. The Gavin role goes back to agricultural drovers, and further. They were the whipper-ins. I was told they were used to retain order at schools. Now I picture the Galley slaves feeling the whip. 

The Gavin has to be chosen with care. To recycle a saying I am fond of, we get the leaders we deserve. But maybe leaders get the Gavins they deserve

More constructively, there may be some useful research into Gavins, and how to deal with them, to the benefit off others with whom they work.


Elon Musk’s scheme for Twitter hits the ground limping

November 2, 2022

Elon Musk continues his chaotic takeover of Twitter. He has finally clinched the on-off deal for Twitter with a deal quoted as an over-priced $44 billion. He is now proposing an extension of the site’s blue tick badge scheme for $8 a month. Millions of users are threatening to quit.

His actions  over the last few months have been that of an enormously wealthy vaccinating adolescent. At times he reflected market opinion that his object of desire was too expensive, and arguably mutton dressed up to look like lamb. 

Anyway the deal was eventually done. Mr Musk tweeted his delight, describing himself as the chief twit. His sense of humour is rarely far from the surface when he is appearing in public.

But it became clear he has grand plans for his new plaything, but no clear idea how to put them into practice. The plan is appropriately grandiose. Something about enhancing humankind by liberating voices in the global town square. His immediate actions were to fire the top team at Twitter, bring in his own firefighters, and start a discussion on Twitter on how to achieve results. First he has to make it pay.

We need to pay the bills somehow

He tweeted ‘we need to pay the bills somehow’ partly to clean up the site from an unknown number of bots and false accounts. This started a Twitter debate in which his original idea of $20 a head payment was eventually fixed at $8. Millions of users currently using the site for free were outraged. As you would expect, and no doubt Elon Musk expected. Undeterred he brought the debate to close.

“Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit. Power to the people! Blue for $8/month,”

[That’s how this bad boy does business, folks

His initial target is expanding the current blue-tick badge scheme. At present, it protects public authorities as as Govt Departments from fake sites. It also caters for celebrity tweeters from politics, show biz, and the arts.Improvements to the scheme had already begun under Twitter’s earlier owners.

Doubts are being raised

Doubts are being raised beyond those of ‘furious peasants’ like myself who currently pay nothing. An examination by Verified Handles, a site dedicated to facts and carefully examined opinion, states:

Even to non-verified users this is a significant change from any verification schemes in the past. I’m familiar with smaller sites that use paid verification as a means to support development of the site. Twitter will need to change its revenue model as advertisers leave the platform. Musk has publicly stated he wants recurring paid customers to make up half of the company’s revenue.

Following an already turbulent few days, the platform will be taking a big risk that undeniably will cause impersonation, untrust and financial fraud on a scale never seen, followed by untrust and financial fraud before if the planned change goes ahead. This will cause more disruption than the 2020 account hijack, where 130 verified accounts were hacked and use to promote a bitcoin scam.

https://news.verifiedhandles.com/Elon-Musk-Buying-Checkmark.html

I am reminded of the nominated new word of the year for 2022 Permacrisis. A period of sustained turbulence and crisis.


Garry Kasparov on the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev

August 31, 2022

Mikhail Gorbachev who died August 30, 2022 presided over the break up of the Soviet Union, with the subsequent  monumental political changes in Europe over the last thirty years. As such, his life deserves the attention it is receiving.

His obituaries at the west are glowing, a reformer who brought freedom to a continent. 

Boris Johnson, in one of his briefer and more thoughtful comments, noted that Gorbachev changed the world for the better and  paid the price in his own career.

In Russia, many still see him as an instigator of changes that have reduced Soviet power, and indirectly led to the thinking that resulted in today’s conflict in Ukraine 

One of his best-informed critics is Garry Kasparov, one of Russia’s most famous emigrés, advisor to American presidents, and ranked among the greatest chess players of all time. Kasparov has emerged as an influential critic of the political path followed by his country of birth,

His immediate reaction to Gorbachev’s life is to tweet a passage from his book, Winter is Coming, adding that he will comment soon, but the cited paragraph still sums up his thoughts, namely that Gorbachev was obliged to embark on perestroika (restructuring of reform) as a last gasp to save the USSR and socialism. Gorbachev became an accidental hero in the West for failing.

Reflections on creativity and leadership

Creativity is sometimes described as an interaction between the person, the product, process and environmental conditions.

Leadership, an equally complex topic is also better when an assessment accepts the interactions between the person, the products (achievements, good and bad), the process (political reform or peristroika, and the context, broadly the Cold War conditions of the time),

The circumstances leading to the rise of Gorbachev saw before him the rise of tyrannical leaders preserving near absolute powers, and subsequently to the emergence of Vladimir Putin. In my writings about leaders we deserve, I argue that leadership as a process is always shaped by prevailing circumstances.

Western style democracies can hardly claim a more successful process producing effective leaders. Donald Trump and Boris Johnson are recent examples, demonstrating the malign outcomes of the leaders we vote into office.


Leaders We Deserve is changing its role

August 5, 2022

After fifteen years and over a million contacts (‘hits’) Leaders We Deserve remains an important way for me to share my ideas about leadership and creativity. Increasingly I have seen the benefits of rousing myself from my blogging slumbers to ask the painful question whether it needs some kind of updating.

WordPress has changed. That’s for sure, and I am currently learning how to drive the new supercharged model, demonstrating all the signs of a driver who should still be displaying L-plates

Pause, to see if I remember how to produce the moves leading into a side-road where I parked my pictures.

My new driving certificate

Eureka!

I reverse out of the lay-by into the main text highway with little unintended consequences. I Concentrate on the road ahead. Where am I going? Is this a test-drive with no other purpose of learning about the controls?

No, I was telling you about how Leaders We Deserve now has company among my various modes of travel along the electronic highways and byways.

For example, there is the recently born infant Everyday Creativity, with its weekly newsletter you are already receiving as followers of LWD.

Then there is the new (to me) podcast TudoRama, a must-listen for the rapidly growing audience (current word) whose members listen to the messages, heirs to receivers of radio broadcasts.

As an interim measure you should be receiving the newsletter regularly as a follower of LWD.

Longer term the various vehicles will rumble into action, with posts on creative leadership still to be found through the efforts of this old warhorse Leaders We Deserve, and posts on Everyday Creativity as the infant learns to walk before it can run.

As for TudoRama, who knows? Except I am sure it will build up a network interacting with its poddlers, long after prescriptive text insists I change what I’ve written to toddlers.


Leaders we deserve: Choosing a new prime minister

July 12, 2022

Leaders we deserve examine the process and the leaders involved in the election in July 2022 of a replacement for Boris Johnson as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland

We begin with the build up to the election process, at the start of the Jubilee celebrations in early June

Wednesday 1 June 2022
What will the new month bring? A week of royal celebrations. A month in which a new Prime Minister is appointed?

Thursday 2 June
As expected. Near black-out of non-jubilee news

Friday 3 June
PM and Carrie booed by royalist crowd outside the memorial service. Commentators see this as dangerous to Boris Johnson, already weakened by the long-running ‘Partygate’ allegations.

Saturday 4 June
Repeated items of joyful Jubilee celebrations reduce news of the ‘Boos for Boris’ story

Sunday 5 June
The royal celebrations have transported the country to a land beyond time. It will soon be time to re-enter the 21st century.

Monday 6 June
Boris Johnson’s fate is presumed to be settled. The news swamps all other headlines.

Tuesday 7 June
Those headlines continue.

Sunday 12 June
More troubles for Govt plans and actions. Rail strikes, leaked reaction to healthy food study, refugee resettlement plans. Major financial backer claims Govt struggling with a Johnson ‘cult’.
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/jun/12/tory-donors-and-polarised-party-losing-faith-in-johnson-cult?

Tuesday 14 June
The first refugee flight to Ruanda has now become a focus for protests. The rejected food recommendations also retain potency. And the Titanic iceberg of cost of living and political realities get closer and closer.

Wednesday 15 June
The first flight to Ruanda postponed after interventions in the high court which succeeded but then halted by the international Court of Human Rights which stayed the Govt’s hand.

Thursday 16 June
A flurry of political stories. Mostly minor in isolation, but collectively damaging. Lord Geidt, PM’s ethics advisor resigns after being placed in an untenable position by the PM. Financial outlook worsens. The rail strike looms.

Friday 17 June
Boris Johnson pays an unprompted visit to Ukraine. Some criticism that it is largely self-promotional. A group of red-wall MPs were expecting him to attend a levelling-up event.

Monday 20 June
PM has minor operation, leaving Dominic Raab in charge of the Govt response to the start of the rail strike.

Tuesday 21 June
First day of the rail strike. Strange day for Govt to announce the removal of salary cap for top earners.

Wednesday 22 June
News headlines shared between rail strike and inflation figures.
Trump investigation has testimonies of Trump’s direct and sustained efforts to overturn the Presidential election result with ‘the big lie’ .
Major earthquake in Afghanistan scarcely reaches the news headlines.

Thursday 23 June
Happy Brexit day. For some. Sixth anniversary of the fateful vote.
The by-elections in Wakefield and Tiverton are expected to bring poor results for the Govt.

Friday 24 June
Dreadful losses to labour and the Liberal Democrats. Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden resigns, says ‘somebody must take responsibility’.

Saturday 25 June
The PM speaking to the BBC says he humbly accepts his share of the Govt’s difficulties. But the quote catching attention is that people shouldn’t expect a change in his personality.

Tuesday 28 June
Metropolitan police placed under special measures order by police watchdog. The Met currently leaderless after the forced resignation of Commissioner Cressida Dick. No mention of its investigation into Partygate.
Dame Deborah James, cancer campaigner, dies.

Friday 1 July

Hong Kong anniversary. Boris Johnson gives China a piece of his mind. Says he doesn’t use it any more.
Conservative MP Chris Pincher resigns from his Govt role after a sleazy night-club scene, and is quickly suspended from the party.

Saturday 2 July
National news headlines anticipate a wave of strike actions to add to the Govt’s problems. Its ‘don’t mention COVID’ policy is also being weakened by news of a 30% increase in cases in a week.

Monday 4 July
Headlines reports on growing dissatisfaction with Boris Johnson’s conduct, and on his falling poll ratings.

Tuesday 5 July
A mass shooting in a Chicago suburb at an Independence Day parade.
The Govt forced into further denials in the ‘what Boris Johnson knew about Chris Pincher’ story

Wednesday 6 July
News headlines are summed up as Johnson on the brink.
Remarkable day of political action. No of Govt resignations since yesterday clocked up 42. PM rejected pleas from cabinet colleagues to resign.

Thursday 7 July
Headlines: even more unanimous that the PM is clinging to power. But these were similar during much of June.
12.30pm. Facing multiple resignations Boris Johnson speaks behind the lectern announcing his resignation as leader of the Conservative party. It later emerges his speech agreed by a deputation was unilaterally altered in his actual speech.

The story so far

In the space of a week, Boris Johnson has lost his most difficult battle, which was of retaining the support of his cabinet ministers and the wider group of MPs in Parliament. He makes a grudging admission he has resigned as party leader, clinging to the role of Prime Minister in a temporary or acting Capacity. The action now swings to the process of evicting him, and bringing in his successor.

Leaders we deserve will be covering the leadership election. Audio versions of the proceedings can be found on the regular podcasts from TudoRama.

https://www.buzzsprout.com/1945222


On identifying sporting talent: The Calthorpe Hypothesis

September 1, 2017

img_08241

In my new book, Seconds Out, I describe a fictional idea known as The Calthorpe Hypothesis. It indicates how sporting talent might be identified, and how it transfers from one sport to another. As sometimes happens, fiction can become a reality.

Seconds Out is a thriller with the usual ingredients of a super villain with a plan to dominate the world, a valient team intent on stopping him, few ghostly interventions, and a protagonist facing academic ruin if his research turns out badly. For the last point only, I was able to draw on personal experiences.

The Calthorpe Hypothesis

In the book, the research is based on The Calthorpe Hypothesis, a concept I invented as supporting a theory which might turn out to be completely wrong.

As the story developed, I became intrigued by the possibility that the fictional hypothesis could actually have more credibility in the real world than I originally intended it to have.

Chess Boxing

Sometimes an idea buzzes around in irritating fashion, giving you no peace of mind. It often helps to share your thoughts with someone else.

Chess boxing” I said to Susan one evening, as we were setting out to review progress on construction of the East Cheadle bypass relief road being conducted outside our front door.

“Sorry” she said “I thought you said Chess boxing. That sounds weird.”

“I did say Chess boxing. It’s a new sport. You have boxers who fight and then sit down to play a game of chess. It is the perfect contest requiring brain, brawn, courage and cunning.

“I suppose the chess players put gloves on after a game for fighting, and the boxers take their gloves off to move the chess pieces.”

“Whatever,” I said. “Anyway, it’s going to become big. And it is exactly where we should be looking to recruit much-needed new members for our Chess Club.

I am pinning my hopes on chess boxing as way of restoring my fading academic reputation, but I decide not to mention that to Susan for the moment.

As the story develops, I learn more about the Calthorpe Hypothesis in a conference on sporting excellence

I return to my room to dig more deeply into the implications of the Calthorpe hypothesis. With references from Greg’s paper, I quickly find what I am looking for. Professor Calthorpe is no longer with us. He was based in a department of sports science in Australia’s remote Northern Territories. His largely ignored work suggests it is possible to identify characteristics that suggest which sports are particularly complementary. He collected evidence from a range of Olympic sports such as weightlifting, swimming, gymnastics, and hurdling.

I can hardly sleep as I see the unnoticed implications of Calthorpe’s insights and consider how they will increase my academic survival prospects.

My first success came in the identification of Tim, a promising chess player who according to my ideas, could become successful at both chess and boxing. Tim agrees to become involved:

“I’ll think on it,” he said. “I’m coming over to East Cheadle soon. Got to go now. Lift’s waiting for me out there. I’ll let you know.”

Even if he can only play the last games of the season it might make all the difference. But a half-promise is not enough. My search for players must go on.

He leaves before I have time to learn his name. But before he leaves he says his meeting is to contact an agent for when he turns professional. That sounds even more promising.

A scan of the results board tells me I have been in contact with a Tim Bolton, whose grade makes him eligible to play as our new secret weapon.

The story continues with many a twist, and a final encounter with the evil Lyman Groat. After 60,000 words, I had become convinced that the Calthorpe Hypothesis is not an entirely crazy idea.

Chess Boxing

Chess Boxing is alive and well, and I am grateful to guidance I received when writing Seconds Out from the London Chess Boxing organisation.

Why not capitalize on the idea?

Putting on my Business School hat, I am now developing a research proposal around the hypothesis, and submitting it to various sporting bodies in the real world, seeking sponsorship in identifying their next top athletes from other sports.

I may still do so, but I have given too much of the game away already. Readers of Seconds Out, or even subscribers to this blog post, may beat me to it. If you do so, please buy copies of the book for all your family and friends.

You can learn more about The Calthorpe Hypothesis from clicking this link to the book

 


Tennis Matters: I didn’t see the match-fixing

January 27, 2016

Tennis Matters Blue

Tennis is the latest sport to find itself embroiled in a corruption scandal.  It is not the problem that many observers expected
Leaders We Deserve was and still remains a blog about leadership and its implications in business.  Sport remains a useful way of ‘back engineering’ into business leadership.
In recent months sport has provided a wealth of examples of issues of global institutions failing in the most basic tenets of social corporate responsibility.  LWD subscribers will be able to track back to the most recent in athletics and football.
So now for tennis.  Over the last few weeks a story has developed in a rather predictable way.  First, a suggestion that a few low ranked players were involved in match fixing.
All credit to the BBC who can still produce world class reporting from time to time.
Silence from tennis authorities. The story builds
World number one Novak Djokovic speaks out suggesting it is a minor problem, although he was approached to fix a match early in his career.  First time I was awoken from my slumbers.  Novak was reported as dismissing the claims as sheer speculation.  oh, no  Novak.  Better to have stayed shtum.
More reports that the problem is widespread.
I start preparing this post.
Then an announcement that an official enquiry is to take place.
Tennis Matters
I recently self-published Tennis Matters, a little book of personal anecdotes. One seeded participant at the on-going Australian Open was given a copy to read.  It includes updates of several LWD posts.  I was advised by a legal friend to be careful of one of the posts which suggested there might be a drug problem in tennis.  So I listened to him, but there is still a hint of my concerns in Tennis Matters.
What I didn’t see coming 
What I didn’t see coming was a different sort of scandal.  Over the years there have been curious collapses from winning positions. Players have been fined for not trying.  Perhaps I didn’t want to see any suspicions.  I was more interested in the tensions that impair ‘thinking clearly under pressure’
This story has legs
You can find my slightly redacted comments about drugs in tennis in Tennis Matters.  Until I put out a revised version, this post will have to do.  I have a feeling the story deserves the customary not quite final words … Watch out for updates.
To be continued

The Commons vote on Syria: All human life was there and also a few political dilemmas

December 4, 2015

thatchertankOn December 2nd 2015, the elective representatives of the people of Great Britain and Northern Ireland debated for over ten hours and voted on the motion for overt military action in Syria.

The debate captured the whole range of human reactions from the authentic to the sycophantic, from the informed to the inflamed, from the arrogant to the resentful, from the committed to the confused.

Read the rest of this entry »


Steve Cram: “We appoint the leaders we deserve”

November 12, 2015

Steve CramNearly ten years ago, the first Leaders We Deserve post was published. Steve Cram suggests its relevance to the current problems of international sporting institutions

Hours after the monumental Press Conference and publication of WADA’s report [9 October 2015] Steve Cram gave his views on the crisis in sports management globally. He was asked why the whole situation had been allowed to go on unchecked. He replied that he was over fifty years old and had been living with drug doping since he was a young (and world-beating) athlete. We are all involved, he added. Media, athletes, administrators … we appointed them, we get the leaders we deserve.

Steve Cram gave a video interview [10 October 2015] in which he elaborated on his earlier remarks:

Cram says “we are all to blame” for allowing people “not up to scratch” to get into powerful positions in world sport, but believes that IAAF president Lord Coe is the man to enact change within athletics.

For those interested, the ABOUT box on our home page traces the conversations with subscribers since the blog started in 2016 and introduces its basic ideas:

The concept behind the Blog’s title is that leadership can be treated as a social concept. We create our leaders, and to some degree build them up and destroy them. In that sense, we are responsible for the influence that leaders exercise over the rest of us. If we understand more about this, we may better understand and mediate the behaviour of leaders (In very early discussion thread, someone rightly pointed out the importance of clarifying ‘who are the ‘we’ in all this).

My previous studies had been mainly of business leaders, but I could see how there could be some similarities, and some differences, in the leadership stories in other fields, such as politics, military and sporting endeavours.