It snowed a whole lot here yesterday, which combined with this time of year and this article about the mortgage crisis in the New York Times put me in a reflective mood. Most interesting and telling - as recently as September 18 of this year, President Bush was unaware of the extent to which economic conditions had deteriorated, and had no idea how we got here!
Is this a freak occurrence or a pattern? Example situations (by no means comprehensive):
Is this how America works? Surely not!
Maybe this is what happens when organizations (or societies, or whole countries) rise too quickly, get too accustomed to the idea that failure doesn't really happen, that winning today is critical, and that at the end of the day, PR and a good perception machine is all you need to make your case before an increasingly naive and ignorant public that blindly grasps at every straw.
Erasmus was right - "In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king." We, it seems have forsaken wisdom for instant gratification, experience for expediency, and chosen misinformation over integrity.
If America is the Hare of the world, who is the Tortoise? That's a tough one. Why? "Hare-mentality" prevails across most of the larger, "successful" countries in the world. Most societies (Eastern and Western) are thus infected.
There are smaller (much smaller) countries out there that seem to have found their center, are able to consistently make good decisions, and have a more nurturing society that cares for its citizenry first, and doesn't seem bent on beating anyone, or imposing themselves on any other country. But then again, they're not actually in competition with the Hare are they?
These nations seem pretty centered on their place in the global economy, and aren't aspiring to unseat any other society or nation. They are very self-aware and self-critical when things don't go well; they recognize situations, accept blame and work together to resolve and move on. They compete for things and not against organizations or people.
Hmmm... is that the real lesson? If you deal with integrity, take accountability, and are transparent in your actions and their results, then sustained success is possible?
A thoughtful (if that's possible) reaction from the Hares of the world might be that deliberateness stifles creativity, quantum change, and significant outcomes. A fair point.
Is it possible to have the best of both worlds? Do we have any leaders that are that good?