The Fish Rots from the Head

If you want to understand the reason an organization is failing, look at who is running it. We don’t have to look much further than across the business world or government to see this. Yes, geopolitical trends, new competitors, changing consumer behavior, systemic breakdowns all affect these organizations. But what is most important is how the organization reacts to these challenges. The tone and reaction of the organization to the crisis is set by the leadership.

Here is a most recent and still ongoing example.

In 2019, there was a list of countries most prepared for an epidemic, ranked by the United Nations.

Number 1: United States of America

Number 2: United Kingdom


As I write this at the end of 2020, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The USA and UK have been unmitigated disaster zones with their hospitals full and the sickness/ death rate at some of the highest levels in the world. Add to this the lockdowns and the consequent economic declines. The universal factor here is the incompetent, buffoonish leadership at the top of these countries. Or some could argue, the complete absence of leadership. Period.

What we have learned from this? It does not matter if you have copious resources. Whether it’s money, the intelligence and education level of your people, the possession of advanced technology. The catalyst to mobilize all of these resources is leadership. It took a global pandemic to surface how this leadership was lacking in so many organizations across the world. It also showed us how valuable true leadership really is as was shown in places as wide ranging like Taiwan, Vietnam, New Zealand & Australia.

As we have gotten past the shock & awaken to this truth before us, we will see many people rise up to the many challenges being surfaced. These challenges range from ones related to the pandemic, and the numerous large economic, societal or climate/ environmental ones as well. That makes me hopeful for our future.

2020 was a brutal year. Most of us would agree it really sucked. But the year is almost over and we can start to put it behind us. Let’s just make sure we remember all the lessons we learned this year and move confidently into 2021!

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Ever curious: Tsundoku, Reader, Aspiring Shokunin, World traveller, Investor & Tech/Media exec interested in almost everything!