Good morning! I am excited to share an excerpt from my soon to be published e-book: “Resilience; How Culture Impacted the Rebirth of Ford Motor Company”.

“All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.”John Kenneth Galbraith


Hmmm…but what if the “major anxiety” exists within the leader as well? Is this then an advantage…that the leader can relate? If a leader can not relate to the anxiety, do they have enough empathy to care…enough knowledge of the “stuff” to deal with it appropriately?

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
Henry David Thoreau

The “mass” would presumably include most of us…and most of those who work with us. What is this quiet desperation? A search for meaning amidst the boredom and routine of life? A search for connection amidst a sea of broken relationships? A sense of peace amidst the materialism that promises to satisfy, yet leaves us hungry? Or is it deeper still…possibly going to the root of the human condition? Am I enough?

What would our “worlds” be like if we had safety in environment…so much so that we could name the major anxiety that plagues us?

For this to happen, it seems that leadership will be required. Someone must step up and wade in, modelling vulnerability and strength of character…to unselfishly stand for the success of others…giving them the gift of “going second” with transparency, working toward harmony…unity within diversity…inclusion…connectedness…

As I have worked with a number of organizations over the past 30 years of career, I notice a recurring theme. I had inevitably arrived at a place where I no longer knew who to trust.

Conflicts arise and people dig in…and ultimately the leader is tasked with returning the organization to equilibrium. These are the days when it is lonely at the top. Who do you trust? Who is telling the truth? Often it is simply that people see their “truth” but are not able to see the “truth ” that others hold at the same time. In addition to not “seeing”…we also have an amazing propensity to not “assume” the best of others.

This is where “promise” becomes foundational. It is the reason to believe of expect anything. It is about the realization of individual potential value, as well as accountability. It is the brilliance of Ford Motor Company’s “Expected Behaviors”.