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Book Summary: Leadership


This is a classic book on leadership, filled with nuggets fro m none other than ‘America’s mayor. Here are my takeaways.


The morning meeting was an essential part of beginning the day for Giuliani. The habit of getting his homework done in the wee hours of the morning came from his mother. The morning meeting set the tone for the rest of the day. It always brought out issues to all his staff and kept everyone on the same page.


A leader through his actions conveys “I am not afraid and neither should you be.
Sweat the Small Stuff: When Rudy came into power, he was faced with the uphill challenge of reducing the crime in New York city. How could one bring down crime in a city with 2000 murders a year? When Rudy went after petty criminals he realized that most of them had a rap sheet for more serious offences.
He believed that any improvements made to the crime situation in New York must not simply be heard of but observed.

Preparation is another key to effective management: One of the reasons why Rudy was so effective in the aftermath of 911 is that he and his staff had conducted numerous fire drills of crisis situations.

Surround yourself with great people. Even Babe Ruth and Jordan depended on their teams. However, you cannot predict how the dynamics of a team will work out.

Keep self starters motivated by giving them challenges to grow.
Reflect and then decide: Decisions are the most important cornerstones of leadership. Work out not just what but when. Seek alternatives and be prepared to change your mind. The longer you wait, the more mature the decision will be.

Decisions are usually not choices between good and evil. They are multidimensional. They may involve less than perfect end results and should be based on long range goals and possibilities.

McCain is a good friend to Rudy. His travails in Hanoi shaped him to be a great senator and hero. Unfortunately he was impressed with Bush too.The key to his win against Gore, according to Rudy was his focus on Education.

In a Presidential campaign the key to success is to find a theme that appeals to people. The media often pushes pretence for substance and polish for smarts.

Decisions may be postponed but start your homework now, not before the deadline. The sex shops in NY were stealing from the economy of the city. Rudy and his team decided that instead of going after all of them, they would eliminate them near residential areas thereby boosting rent in such areas.

Under promise and Over deliver: A leader manages results AND expectations. Organizations often base their revenue predictions on best case scenarios that often prove wrong. Under promising enable surprises.
Managing Expectations: Some would like to announce a major undertaking before commencing it. Rudy believes that one must do some research and then fine tune the plan before undertaking such a venture. He does acknowledge that there is some risk in loosing the credit for the job in adopting his strategy.
"For every right there is an obligation, for every privilege, there is a duty" Rudy ensured that those who want welfare from the government is obligated to do something in return. His 'America Works' initiative came from this belief.

Don't make promises when you cannot deliver. Trying to appease others with false statements can have disastrous consequences.

Lead by Ideas. Show them how you view your universe. For any situation, it is imperative to look at it and deduce where you stand. Rudy suggests:
Develop strong Beliefs

When there is evidence contrary to your belief, changing your mind is a sign of intellectual honesty.

Stick to this opinion, even if it is unpopular. Despite having grown up with Democrat parents, Rudy became Republican when he realized he no longer agreed with liberal views.
The keys to a great speech are
Know the material, inside and out.

Organize your ideas

Throw the material away and simply talk. It will be from the heart. A leader is only as good as his word.
Be Your Own Man: Sometimes the effectiveness of a DA is how unpopular one is. A politician is elected based on his character and his judgement. He must remember this and stand for what he believes in. As a young man, Rudy was a Yankees fan even though he lived Dodgers territory.
Do not expect others to do work you would not do yourself. Never overwork yourself to the point of ineffectiveness. Take time off as necessary.
"If you can do what you expect others to do, as well as the best of them, your ability to lead is enhanced tremendously."
One leadership lesson Giuliani learned from being a DA is that like a good football coach, he had to match the right person with the right task.
Base your decisions of the allegiances most important to you. Your principles may differ from the official party line in Politics. Choose the one that will help you sleep better at night.
Make decisions based on your convictions but make sure you have the shoulders to bear their consequences
Loyalty: Giuliani mentions several anecdotes in talking about loyalty. If a member of his staff is under attack, a leader must first defend the victim. However, he warns that one must avoid going to bat for one's own when the person is actually at fault.The distinction between the two, he cautions, is not always clear.
"Weddings discretionary, Funerals mandatory". The latter shows that the leader is around when she is needed most. Be there for the hard times. Rudy memorialized all those who died,especially those who tried saving lives in the aftermath of 911.
Stand Up to Bullies: One who is unruffled under pressure is capable of helping others in a crisis. Rudy's Father was a boxer. As in boxing, if a person is calm even when being clobbered, he can seek opportunities to strike back. Rudy's distaste of bullies manifested itself when he brought down Mafia bosses as DA, denied parking to UN diplomats in unauthorized areas and refused to union leaders who tried making unreasonable demands.
Study and Learn Independently: Develop your expertise. It is fun, your duty and most of all, it eliminates the biases that the opinions of others may bring to your judgement. Rudy was taught the pleasure of learning early by his mother, a school teacher. He did his own study of books to learn golf after a few setbacks in the game from his first few attempts. Later on his study of the disease was most effective in his fight against Cancer. During the aftermath of 911 Rudy carved out time to seek and study how to gain inspiration. His readings on Churchill in particular helped him bring optimism to those troubling times.He believes that this practice helps differentiate the real from the make-believe.
Organize around a purpose: Rudy encouraged his staff to go above and beyond the call of duty. Some members of his staff had no single portfolio. With his staff, 'Its not my job.' is never the right answer. Any organization can grow in ways that do not make sense. A leader must be aware of such mismatches, says Giuliani. Do not loose sight of the larger objective. There is a link between structure and action.
'The organizational chart is more than a map. It is a living tool that a leader uses to work send a message about the organization and for himself to stay on course.'
Bribe only those who stay bribed. Though a leader must strive to work with those he trusts, there are times when he has to work with people he is unsure about or dislike. Deal with those who are true to their word.
If this is not possible, lock up every detail in the clearest detail, all written and ensure that there are witnesses. Keep the deal to the minimum to get the deal done. That way you collect your end of the bargain right at the beginning.
Reagan did this with the USSR. He wanted inspection mechanisms 'with teeth'. If you don't trust someone, ask 'Can the person deliver?' If they won't, you're wasting your time.
There are those that do not share the same values we do. However, we can negotiate with them. The key to negotiating with those who are not true to their word is to have them deliver before we do.
The Recovery
On Sept 12th, Rudy held a meeting. He decided on some actions to be done immediately and some in abeyance. He tried to analyse other potential targets from new attacks. He ensured that provisions were made for the injured.
On Thursday the 13th Rudy ordered a prayer service. Then he reached out to the families of the victims.Rowe ordered more office equipment to ensure timely messages were sent.
Giuliani ensured that family health centres had adequate resources, particularly for treatment of mental health.He met with the Red Cross. Accenture and Cisco were there to provide IT support.
Rudy held a press conference seeking more corporate help. Dell, Worldcom, AOL and Home Depot pitched in. McDonalds stayed open round the clock to support the rescue crew. The fire and police departments, badly affected by the event continued to pitch in.
The health dept. pitched in too. Their job became harder with Anthrax arriving a month later. The economic development dept. had to persuade business to stay in the city. The trade waste organization had to ensure that the mob did not get in on the removal of debris on the towers. The employment department held job fairs with victims of 911 getting priorities.
That night Giuliani had chest pains and hoped that he was not having a heart attack. He took a walk and confirmed that his prayers were answered. He was ready to make strong decisions.
President Bush visited the following day, despite warning from his advisors that it was too dangerous to visit New York early. Giuliani ensured that the President had adequate security. Giuliani was grateful for Bush's support. He asked that if Bin Laden was caught, that he, Giuliani would be his executioner.
In 3 days his government had replaced a command center(from 7 World Trade Center) and in 4, created a family center. On 14th, Giuliani held a memorial service. This would be followed by his first real meal since the crisis.
Giuliani was next meeting with doctors to talk about the potential for Biological and Chemical warfare and how to take contingency measures for such an attack. Giuliani realized that there was such a dangerous possibility. He knew that it was his job to stay calm.
One of his staff wondered if he should promote people to the positions held by those who were lost. Giuliani and he proceeded with the promotions as they realized that they had no other options.Giuliani and Governor Pataki put aside their differences and forged a strong alliance.
As Rudy watched the world series later in Arizona, planning to participate in the New York marathon the following day, he received word of an anthrax attack.
On Oct 11 a memorial was held for the victims of 911. The prince of Saudi Arabia paid ground zero a visit and presented a check of 10 million to Rudy. Rudy, smelled a rat and soon realized that latter had given a press release that the atrocities were justified. After consulting with his staff, Rudy decided to reject the check.
At St. Paul, where Washington had visited after being the first President, Giuliani announced his resignation as mayor.
" Part of leadership is harnessing your goals." Stay calm, but retain your humanity. His anger for the events of 911 are thus justified, says Rudy.

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