Wow, What A Week!

Wow, I am so glad it is the weekend. Time to catch my breath. What a week! Our political leaders finally hammered out an agreement concerning the debt ceiling. The stock market went crazy moving down moving up. The Dow collapsed by almost 513 points, but corporate earnings still remain strong, and job growth was reported yesterday as improving. However, the week ended with another chaotic event, the United States lost its triple-A credit rating. This means that any money the US borrows will come at a higher price, which will be passed on to us.

This is a classic example of poor management. The plan was non-existent, decision-making was weak, players were organized in silos not talking to one another, and very little understanding of the control mechanisms required to move forward. The one thing that keeps popping into my mind is what now? Where will we go, now that we have a AA+ credit rating? Did you realize that the United States is not even in the top ten of least risky countries from a financial perspective?

Now that we have fallen from the top, where do we go now? It all depends on our leaders, the people we have elected. The events that have just occurred could be called a crucible. In their excellent book “Geeks and Geezers: How Era, Values, and Defining Moments Shape Leaders,” Warren Bennis and Robert Thomas describe how the greatest leaders in previous generations, emerged from severe testing to become successful leaders. Many examples are given, such as John McCain and other POW’s at Hanoi Hilton, to illustrate the importance of rising above events to find a way.

Bennis and Thomas draw a conclusion that I think needs to be reiterated to our current crop of leaders. After the authors had reviewed many examples of leaders emerging victorious from a crucible, they discovered an important commonality. “. . . in every case, the experience was a test and a decision point, where existing values were examined and strengthened or replaced, where alternative identities were considered and sometimes chosen, where judgement and other abilities were honed. Every crucible is an incubator for new insights, ideas, and conceptions of one’s self.”

Hopefully our leaders emerge from this incubator with new ideas that will keep America strong. If they continue down the road of self-interest, taking care of themselves rather than portraying servant leadership, then we truly are on the path to ruin.

I have come to a conclusion that we are at a crossroads. I hope we have some leaders that will take us to a higher level through the narrow gate, than down the wide path to destruction.

And that is my thought for the day!

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