Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Cursory lessons for leaders from Katrina

The American governments's initial flippancy in responding to the Katrina catastrophy and consequent suffering of the victims have been elicited heavy criticism in the past two weeks. Like any good pragmatist, i'll skip right to the lessons this experience offers to budding leaders. The analysis isn't exhaustive; y'all will have to pay a subscription fee for that.

If as a leader you intend on neglecting your some of your people during a tragedy, make sure of the complicity of the unaffected. Failing that, impose a media black out.

In the event that you don't implement step one, weep not, all is not lost. If your people are so unpatriotic as to criticize your inaction, and you find yourself beleagured, don't panic.

cue music Coldplay's "Don't Panic"

Simply prepare to do battle. The strategy is easy as pie.
First,go to the affected are for a first hand look at the devastation. Arrange favourable photo opps, which cast you as a compassionate conservative. Review resulting photos, select most favourable, and distribute widely - Now there's something to counter negative publicity. Remember no publicity is bad publicity as long as it's well managed. This step is unlikely to yield dividends after one try, there repeat as many times as necessary: if the positive spin fails, then the public just might shut up just to escape the overkill.

Clear your schedule for a week - or longer as becomes circumstances - and announce the cancellation of a few high profile meetings. Remember, publicize, publicize, and publicize. It's imperative that people percieve how you are bending over backwards, cancelling meetings with VIPs, to cater to them. This way you become the good guy, and they, if they continue to criticize you, will seem like ingrates.

No recovery plan is complicate without a scape goat, so be sure to fire some one high profile but dispensible in the greater scheme of things.
But most important of all is an obligatory statement of the obvious. It's not for me to pronounce a one fits all statement: circumstances do, afterall vary. I have however found that one can't go wrong with an admission of responsibility.


At September 16, 2005 5:55 AM , Blogger Marit Cooper said...

I think you just about summed it up there Jinan. After all, getting to the top is easy, it's staying there that is the real game. Years ago I heard on the radio that someone had written a thesis that "proved" that all those who seek and achieve positions of high power (ie presidents, high ranking politicians etc) are in fact pathologically insane. Proof being that no one healthy would give up so much in order to gain so little.Pity I can't remember the guys name, never heard anything about him after that...

At September 19, 2005 12:15 PM , Blogger jinan said...

Marit, i beg to differ: Power is a weapon that can be used to better people's lives. Just think how great it'd be to have the power to ensure that no child ever went hungry, that people could earn a decent living by working hard..


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