The Right Thing

When it comes to leadership, I’ve tended to go along with Max De Pree’s definition, paraphrased here. A leader’s first job is to provide vision and strategy; his next is to say thank you. In between those two a leader is a servant and a debtor. So yes, I guess you could say I believe in soft-hands leadership.

From an enterprise perspective, I’ve always felt that true leadership is about Doing The Right Thing, and that the role of control functions is to make sure that Things Are Done The Right Way. Choosing the Right Thing is therefore of fundamental importance, and is often to do with principles and values rather than metrics and measurements. When you start thinking about being 57% right, that’s when you land up in Another Fine Mess.

Which is one of the reasons I was so glad to see this yesterday:

At that point it didn’t look like India had enough runs on the board, and Dhoni was the last recognised batsman. And the captain. Victory was not assured, and he could have stayed on. But he Does The Right Thing. He walks.

And talking about doing the right thing, I was glad to see that the ICC reversed its decision and awarded England the “Darrell Hair” match, as was the case originally. There were no grounds to call it a draw; worse, it was a very dangerous precedent to set. So I am glad to see that the original decision has been reinstated.

Why did it take this long? How come it happened at all? Or, as friend and erstwhile colleague Dom Sayers suggested, is this the last step in the rehabilitation of Hair? And the answer to all those questions is “I don’t know”.

What I do know is this. Doing the right thing is important. And doing the right thing is a key facet of leadership. So well done Dhoni.

4 thoughts on “The Right Thing”

  1. I’ve said almost the exact same things on leadership too; but as you imply, even paraphrased, it’s good to see others saying those same values. So I really like your definition of leadership in your first paragraph.

    A short link to demonstrate, if allowed

    And it’s also good to see others demonstrating those same values, so I clearly share your views on cricket too :)

  2. IPL starts tomorrow. Setanta Sports.

    But they are no longer in Kolkata, they have just sacked Ganguly as captain, are the Kolkata Knight Riders still our “home team”?

  3. While I have a number of issues with Warren Bennis’ perspectives on ‘Management’ vis-a-vis ‘Leadership’, I do like his phrase ‘Leaders do the right things, Managers do things right.’ It leads me to my own mantra which is ‘Do the right things right.’

Let me know what you think