Thursday, August 13, 2009


Leadership is hard to describe. You can feel it when you are in its presence. When you put yourself on the line without that feeling, the initial void only expands to engulf one's own being in the end. The minions are starting to experience a gap of their own now.

A true leader would be out on the front line in these trying times. Visible. Taking the hard questions in town hall meetings. Hanging tough with the troops. Fire in the belly. Take no prisoners. We're going to make this happen, people! LET'S GO!!

Instead we watch for smoke signal emails in a dark room.

But its hard when you don't have a workable plan, when the engineering is suspect, and when the house of cards is tumbling down all around. Even the Italian Waiter has been seen out interviewing. Truly, the end of days.

"If the outcome is that the Constellation plan as we have formulated it these last four years remains largely intact, we will have benefited from pressing ahead," read the hastily crafted email from the Viceroy to the troops.

"If." That word says it all. Great title for a Bread song. Not so good for soldiers in battle. Leaders do not carry "if" in their vocabulary.

"Keep moving forward" was the sign-off from the darkened room in which direction could not truly be discerned.

We would, if we could only find the door.


Anonymous said...


Can you clarify what you mean when you say: "Even the Italian Waiter has been seen out interviewing"?

Does that mean he is interviewing for new people below him who have managed to get out of the dying program, or does that mean he has been trying to get a different job himself?

Anonymous said...

That's a dumb question. Everyone here in Huntsville knows he's looking for a job. Since Dennis Smith as Center Director was his only hope of staying in the Agency, he knows his days are numbered. Maybe he should try the Philadelphia Eagles?

Anonymous said...

Au contraire, Leaders *do* carry "if" in their vocabulary...

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

–Rudyard Kipling