Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Was Nixon nuts? Is that what it takes?

My brother-in-law bought me Greenspan's new book Age of Turbulence. It's a healthy read (500 pages and I'd guess around 150,000+ words) so I'm only a fifth of the way through it. Look for my formal review in a couple of weeks.

From what I can gather, Greenspan and President Nixon did not see eye-to-eye. He basically says that Nixon was nuts, though not in those exact words. He goes on to say, in passing, that just about anyone wanting to be President has to be nuts. Though he said Gerald Ford was about as normal of a person you could find.

This got me thinking; In any organization, I'm willing to bet there are a larger percentage of nuts in a leadership position than percentage of nuts in an individual contributor position. This is hardly quantifiable as it's hard to define what exactly a nut is, but think about it to yourself. You can typically pick out a person who is a bit off (i.e. nuts).

If you're nuts and are willing to accept assignments that the normal person would avoid or push back on, you're heading towards leadership. If you're nuts and willing to spend time away from your family so you can move up the ladder, you'll soon be promoted. And if you're willing to step all over people and sound smart (without being smart), you just might be the next CEO.

Of course leadership is filled with great people too. But there are some nut-bags out there in very important positions. Sounds like Nixon was one of them.

No comments: