Wednesday, April 24, 2013

LEADERSHIP CHALLENGES IN 2013 AROUND THE WORLD: General Anthony Zinni lecture.

Challenges of leadership:
General Anthony Zinni lecturing on board cruise liner, Crystal Serenity.



Anthony Charles Zinni (born September 17, 1943) is a retired four-star General in the United States Marine Corps and a former Commander in Chief of United States Central Command (CENTCOM). In 2002, he was selected to be a special envoy for the United States to Israel and the Palestinian Authority. (Wikipedia)

General Zinni lectured aboard the cruise liner Crystal Serenity in March 2013 while we were cruising along the coast of Brazil and up the Amazon River to Manaus and back to the Atlantic, on to French Guyana’s Devil’s Island (of Dreyfus fame), the Caribbean island of Barbados, finishing in Miami, USA. During the over 3 week’s cruise there were plenty of lazy days at sea when the many celebrity lecturers on board kept us busy and interested. Zinni’s lectures were particularly well attended and I took notes on the topics which were of particular interest to me, namely on the ME (see my other blog. “Tempting topical topics”, and on leadership, as per below.

General Zinni:

The necessary 3 Cs for a leader are: COMPETENCE, CONFIDENCE, CONDUCT.

But who are those being led today? They are a different group of people nowadays.

Firstly they are more diverse. They are openly divided  according to gender, race, culture and they need to understand and be understood.

Secondly, they are vertically diverse, i.e. generational changes. Once they were the “silent generation” before the ‘baby boomers”. Today’s generations are shaped by different world events. Today they are shaped by social media, high-tech and IT.i.e.they are not silent anymore!

Thirdly, their motivations are different. Once upon a time, financial security and monetary rewards were most important and sought in employment. These days the young want recognition more than the money! They are risk takers, unlike their parents before them.

SUCCESSFUL LEADERS have to understand how to lead a much more diverse organization. They need to know whom they lead and have sufficient self-awareness to see if they live up to others’ expectations. One also needs to define one’s own leadership philosophy and then see if one lives up to it as well. They need to have their own sense of ethics and morality and live by that code, whether it be religious, cultural or just common sense and fairness. To be a good leader one must have these qualities as a foundation for successful leadership.

Successful leaders today also need to be creative thinkers; they have to be strategists and think outside the box; they need to be systems-oriented to see where everything fits in, by breaking it down into its parts first; they need to be futurologists as well. Mark of a successful leader everywhere is not to be left behind with his/her organization.

Leaders have to be the face of the organization in good times and at times of crises. Must front up and be trained to accept changes, good and bad.

Successful organizations today are not hierarchical: they must be able to accept advice from the bottom up, as well as from top down. They must be able to constantly investigate strengths and weaknesses. The staff demand constant mentoring and counselling, not just to be ordered around. Feedback must be demanded and accepted graciously by the leadership.

Top leadership traits are: 1: Strategic thinking and vision for the future. 2: Operational effectiveness, i.e. day-to-day efficiency. 3: Efficiency in management. 4. Need a certain ‘charisma’,- i.e. pleasant demeanour in order for others to want to follow.    

In business, competition is tough. Globalization makes competition tougher than ever before.Must think globally even if acting locally. Must think quickly, adapt faster to tehnological changes, must be team leaders.    


In my opinion, leadership in the voluntary sector is slightly different, though not that much. While in a business, money-making and profits have to be at the top of the agenda of its management team, the NGOs (non-government organization) have the same imperative but without the same drive. They want to be "do-gooders", not business-people. But how can one provide services without funds? If they are funded by  government bodies, they must be accountable for those funds.

Hence the voluntary leaders must be as competent as any business leader.

Their traits however must be in this order: 1. charismatic and of 'stature'. 2. They must surround themselves with like-minded experts in the various areas of management. 3. Need to have all the leadership traits as those of any business leader, in order to be respected and to be 'allowed' to supervise the management team.4. The 'buck' stops with the leader and they must be able to accept it!

Large NGOs need to be able to compete with other NGOs,-in order to be recognised as useful, to attract members, funds, etc. just like any business or corporation. Therefore the leadership load is as demanding as that for which others get paid. Doing it all for nothing more than recognition as a reward,- and sometimes that is not given through jealousy, or perceived incompetence,- takes a lot of motivation on the part of the leaders!

POLITICAL LEADERSHIP is another ball-game altogether! These leaders need all the above traits, but combined with a great deal of self-control and 'thick-skins' to survive the personal competitiveness, criticisms from the media, media scrutiny of personal lives, all of which combined make up what it means to be involved in politics.

Zinni has refused many offers to enter politics!



They're standing on the corner and they can't speak English.

I can't even talk the way these people talk:

Why you ain't,
Where you is,
What he drive,
Where he stay,
Where he work,
Who you be...

And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk.

And then I heard the father talk.

Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth.

In fact you will never get any kind of job making a decent living.

People marched and were hit in the face with rocks to get an Education, and now we've got these knuckleheads walking around.

The lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal.

These people are not parenting. They are buying things for kids.

$500 sneakers for what?

And they won't spend $200 for Hooked on Phonics.

I am talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit.

Where were you when he was 2?

Where were you when he was 12?

Where were you when he was 18 and how come you didn't know that he had a pistol?

And where is the father? Or who is his father?

People putting their clothes on backward:
Isn't that a sign of something gone wrong?

People with their hats on backward, pants down around the crack, isn't that a sign of something?

Isn't it a sign of something when she has her dress all the way up and got all type of needles [piercing] going through her body?

What part of Africa did this come from??

We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans; they don't know a thing about Africa .......

I say this all of the time. It would be like white people saying they are European-American. That is totally stupid.

I was born here, and so were my parents and grand parents and, very likely my great grandparents. I don't have any connection to Africa, no more than white Americans have to Germany , Scotland , England , Ireland , or the Netherlands . The same applies to 99 percent of all the black Americans as regards to Africa ... So stop, already! ! !

With names like Shaniqua, Taliqua and Mohammed and all of that crap ..........And all of them are in jail.

Brown or black versus the Board of Education is no longer the white person's problem.

We have got to take the neighborhood back.

People used to be ashamed. Today a woman has eight children with eight different 'husbands' -- or men or whatever you call them now.

We have millionaire football players who cannot read.

We have million-dollar basketball players who can't write two paragraphs. We, as black folks have to do a better job.

Someone working at Wal-Mart with seven kids, you are hurting us.

We have to start holding each other to a higher standard..

We cannot blame the white people any longer.'
Dr.. William Henry 'Bill' Cosby, Jr., Ed..D.

... It's all about behaviour of not only the young!

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