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  • 04.08.08

The Leading Edge – Help Wanted: President, USA

Help Wanted: American President Qualifications: Must be playing with a full deck With the media’s teeth firmly embedded in the necks of the three Presidential candidates, it’s become increasing unclear what we can truly believe or not believe about them. But one thing is clear. The ambivalence that voters feel toward Obama, Clinton and McCain tells us more about ourselves than about them.

Help Wanted: American President
Qualifications: Must be playing with a full deck

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With
the media’s teeth firmly embedded in the necks of the three
Presidential candidates, it’s become increasing unclear what we can
truly believe or not believe about them. But one thing is clear. The
ambivalence that voters feel toward Obama, Clinton and McCain tells us
more about ourselves than about them.

The reason for that
ambivalence is that there is something that each possesses that appeals
to us, but there are other qualities about each of them that cause us
to pause and be wary.

In order to relax our guards, sign on the
dotted line, and put our faith in a Presidential candidate, he or she
will need to engender in us: Trust, Confidence and Respect.

So
here’s the rub. Obama has inspired (unless the new spate of allegations
ruins it) trust and respect, but not confidence (given his lack of
experience); McCain has also inspired trust and respect, but not
confidence (given his lack of broad based experience and, sorry to
admit the obvious, his age); Clinton has instilled confidence (due to
her and Bill’s combined experience, but sorry Hillary, you ain’t very
inspiring), but not trust or respect.

Until a candidate
spontaneously evokes all of these three qualities, he or she will
continue to trigger dissonance in us. Dissonance occurs when what we
see or hear doesn’t match what we feel, a.k.a. What are you going to do
for me?/What are you going to do to me?

These elements are equally important in a CEO, especially of a public company, where all eyes are upon them.

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If a CEO doesn’t instill all of these, how can they do so?

I
developed the PEP CEO Challenge to solve such a dilemma. But it is not
for the “faint of heart” or a CEO who in the words of Jack Nicholson,
from “A Few Good Men,” “Can’t handle the truth.”

To use it as a
CEO, ask your people, directors, stockholders, customers/clients,
vendors to anonymously rate how much Passion, Enthusiasm and Pride they
feel about your services, products, company and YOU on a scale of 1 to
10. Then ask them to suggest what you and your company need to do to
increase their rating if it is anything less than 10-10-10.

(c) 2008 Mark Goulston

About the author

Mark Goulston, M.D. is the Co-Fonder of Heartfelt Leadership a global community whose Mission of Daring to Care it dedicated to identifying, celebrating, developing and supporting heartfelt leaders who are as committed to making a difference as they are to making a profit.

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