On December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor was bombed, leading then President Roosevelt to declare it to be “a day which shall live in infamy.” December 7 is a previous generation’s 9-11. In a train-wreck of a year, it seems worthwhile to note this, and to reflect on how the sometimes-traumatic events that shape us and our futures eventually fade into the past.
As leaders, we need to be cognizant of history, especially as it impacts our organizations. All organizations are influenced by external forces, but organizations also have their own internal histories, as do all of the people working within the organization.
Strategic leaders are well served by becoming historians. Here are some questions that might be worth being able to answer:
Past events, especially traumatic ones, have long lives. If you are relatively new to your organization, is it especially important that you learn about some of those previous events and that you look for the evidence of their continued impact.
You may not be the crazy leader who fired five popular colleagues for voicing opposition to a big change project, but that event may influence how people view your next big idea. And rightly so.
Do good and be well,