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Fallen Leaders

April 10, 2013

This week much has been written examining the strengths and weaknesses of Margaret Thatcher’s leadership.  Prior to the announcement of her death, another group of once great leaders was being described as reckless.

Margaret Thatcher, 1925 - 2013.

One of those was the chairman of HBOS Lord Stevenson.  In the months prior to the banking crisis, when he was held in high regard, he gave a lecture on the subject of leadership to invited members of his business school’s alumni.  The audience, many of whom led large organisations themselves, heard how he’d risen from starting his own small business to holding one of the top jobs in the UK.

His message that evening was that successful leadership is principally about two things: having vision and being decisive.  In an age where leadership has become a science these two simple principles make good sense and there’s no doubt they brought him success.  As with Baroness Thatcher, the question historians ask now is, “was the vision the right one?”.

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