Captain Crozier comes up on deck to find his ship under attack by celestial ghosts. Above him - above Terror - shimmering folds of light lunge but then quickly withdraw like the colourful arms of aggressive but ultimately uncertain spectres. Ectoplasmic skeletal fingers extend toward the ship, open, prepare to grasp, and pull back. - From The Terror by Dan Simmons
There were no stars that night on the bush airstrip, nor any moon; just the West African darkness wrapping round the scattered groups like warm, wet velvet. The cloud cover was lying hardly off the tops of the iroko trees and the waiting men prayed it would stay a while longer to shield them from the bombers. - From The Dogs of War by Frederick Forsyth
It is easy to conclude that Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle would not have attained the highest position in their respective nations had there not been a crisis. [I believe that Churchill's second prime ministership should not count because by then he was a former prime minister and a national hero.] Are there any circumstances in which such types of leaders can attain the top job without a crisis or a perceived crisis? I believe that people do not opt for the unusual or eccentric leader unless there is a compelling reason to do so. When the waters are calm, they will choose a B or even a C leader over an A+ one because (1) they don't know the person is an A+ leader and (2) the B or C types seem to be safer choices. The extraordinary leader may perceive that the waters are not truly calm, but until others agree with that assessment, their chances of attaining the top spot are small.
[Photo by Wil Stewart at Unsplash] I can tell you what took place at the meeting immediately after the meeting but if you want to know what the meeting revealed then I may need a few hours to sort that out.
There is a great post at Live & Learn. It has been years since I read one of Roth's novels but that is pure neglect on my part. I always enjoyed his work and can remember certain scenes to this day. Note to self: Read at least one Philip Roth novel this year.
Fortune magazine: Geoff Colvin explores "What the Hell Happened at GE?" An excerpt: “Jeff just didn’t listen to his subordinates,” says a former finance executive. “Pushback went away under Jeff,” says a former staff member. “When the top guy is the smartest guy in the world, you’ve got a real problem.”
A police captain once told me about a frequent personnel issue he encountered with new lieutenants. He said that in the days when the department had an old-line police chief who felt unencumbered by pesky employment laws or HR nerds, if an officer got on the chief's bad side, the chief might say something along the lines of "Don't even think about buying any sunglasses. You're not going to be seeing daylight for the next five years." The implication, of course, was that the officer would be assigned to night-shift as a punishment. The captain said, "When the officers who grew up under that environment got promoted, they thought they would have similar power. I have to explain to them that we don't do that anymore." It may help if all of us search for our own out-dated expectations.
[Photo by Josh Calabrease at Unsplash] Some environments are so chaotic that the best you can do is to move in a direction that is generally desirable. You need to do so with speed and flexibility. You lack the time to look for precedents. It is unlikely that any exist. And the solution that worked yesterday may not work today. Recognize that and things begin to make sense.
It captures thoughts, reminds us of chores, lists times of meetings, and serves as a simple bookmark. When all of its many uses are considered, it is a gigantic bargain. Even buying them brings pleasure.