Top-down leadership has had better-known practitioners, but perhaps none as prolific as one José Maria Velasco. Certainly none articulated the top-down principle as graphically – perfectly, really – as Señor Velasco. “Give me a balcony and I will become president,” said the man who was elected president of Ecuador five times between 1934 and 1972. (The Economist, April 15, 2006). Nor was Señor Velasco the type to retire “to the farm” after a loss. Four times he was overthrown by the army, and each time he returned to rally the people and run, successfully, for the presidency.
For a business leader, there is no second – or third or fourth – chance, at least with the same organization. A leader today must get it right the first time, an awesome challenge considering that the issues he or she must master range from managing complexity to executing the strategy, to dealing with stakeholders from employees to activists, and hardly least, to competing in a global environment that is forever in flux.
The articles on Leadership in this edition of IBJ have been written to help leaders manage some of the most difficult issues of the day. We hope that you derive value from reading these and the other articles in this edition of Ivey Business Journal.