Character: In Leadership

Steady hand, pragmatic solutions, progress.

While youth can offer fresh perspectives and add vitality to an organization, it’s often experienced people who can drive real progress. They’ve been there and done that, so know the potholes to avoid and how to work through complexities. They have years and a wealth of knowledge and resources to call upon. They don’t waste time on things that don’t matter. For these reasons, they often are more pragmatic and can find solutions and common ground.

Take these government and business leaders who are more effective in their roles due to seniority or time in place:

  • Jerry Brown, Governor of California, is in his second stint in this role, decades apart. Now in his fourth term, he is the longest standing governor of the state, having steered the state through the financial crisis and continuing to provide steady leadership with such issues as climate change. Read more in Time >
  • Angela Merkel has been Chancellor of Germany since 2005 and was just re-elected for her fourth term. Some argue she’s the strongest leader in the EU today. For example, when Bill Gates was asked in a recent interview, “Which world leaders today make you optimistic?,” he had this to say about her impact on the global stage:

“There are some amazing leaders, like Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany. She got a lot of criticism for bringing in refugees. She’s been a great leader in terms of thinking about the world and having a good, calm view of things.”

  • Starbucks brought founder Howard Schultz back to help the company course correct after the financial crash and after the company had expanded too much and too quickly. Under his leadership and guidance, the company rebounded.

Therefore, don’t dismiss people with experience. While new perspectives are healthy, it can often be the experienced ones who can get the job done.

The Economy & Industry Forecast: Help me ensure consistency of leadership to make real, pragmatic progress.


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