Tuesday, 11 May 2010


I was reading Tom Peters the other day. Tom, the management guru and author, wrote a book called “Thriving on Chaos” in 1989. He thinks chaos is good. Most people think it’s pretty punishing.

In 1989 we thought the world was pretty hairy with events like these:

The fall of the Berlin Wall.

The Exxon Valdez oil disaster in Alaska.

The student protest on Tiananmen Square, Beijing with up to 7000 killed.

Earthquakes in America and Australia.

Pan Am filing for chapter 11.

The Soviet Union withdrawing from Afghanistan after 10 years of fighting.

Yet compared to what the world has seen since 2007 these were extremely nasty storms not the destructive hurricanes we’ve been recently experienced.

The uncertainty of recent times is epic. We have twice looked over the brink of global economic meltdown.

And this one is really nasty. Euro Flu is worse than Banker Flu.  And, as I write this, we have no one in charge in the UK.

So whoever is PM later this week pay heed to these two lessons from America.
One, what Reagan said on becoming President, inheriting an economic mess and being given a briefing on it.
“They gave it me. I read it. I don’t like it. You aren’t going to like it either.”

And, two, John Gardner a US Government official (sounds like a good one) at the end of the 1990s:

“The first task of a leader is to keep hope alive.”

Lessons: speak English, tell it how it is and tell us how we are going to get out of it.

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