Hiring people is funny. It’s one of the most important things managers do, but we have no idea how or why to do it right. Electing a politician is nothing but a hiring process, alas, we do it in public and we almost always do it wrong!
Like John, I also read Jack’s piece, and was struck by the “rear view mirror” analysis (using a few notable facts and then piecing together a theory) that is used by most pundits.
The problems? First, the analysis seemed awfully superficial. Too many voters appear to pick a candidate by “who they like” rather than based on what they’ll do. This felt a lot like that. I mean, does it make any sense at all that 20% of a state’s voters would change their mind about a candidate in just one day–because he yelled at a rally? That’s a hell of a job interview.
Second, where’s the regression analysis? Where’s the evidence that leaders who fit Jack’s convenient definition actually do a good job in politics? Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Winston Churchhill, Margaret Thatcher, Harry Truman and Martin Luther King show up on just about everyone’s list of great leaders, but it’s awfully hard to imagine what simple (and useful) indicators they have in common.
I’m not one to talk, of course, because I make superficial statements like Jack’s all the time. In my case, I do them to help people have the guts to do hard things. Not sure what Jack’s goal was.