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Lee Iacocca, Bill Richardson, and Our National Primary

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I agree with all the harsh criticisms of the Bush administration offered up by Lee Iacocca in his latest book, Where Have All the Leaders Gone?, but I found his "nine C's of leadership" to be, particularly interesting as a useful template for conducting due diligence. I tested Mr. Iacocca's formula by scoring each candidate on a scale from one to five in the categories listed below.

I was surprised with my results. Out of a possible 50 points, Bill Richardson scored 40, 10 points ahead of his closest opponent. I have always thought of the governor as well-qualified but was pretty amazed to see him out pace the others in such a way. I would be interested in seeing how you score this. I found it helpful even after working in the business for many years and I hope that you will as well.

1) Curiosity

Listen to people outside the "Yes, Sir" crowd. Read voraciously.

2) Creative

Go out on a limb. Leadership is all about managing change.

3) Communicate

A simple one. You should be talking to everybody, even your enemies.

4) Character

Having the guts to do the right thing. If you don't make it on character, the rest won't amount to much.

5) Courage

Courage in the 21st century doesn't mean posturing and bravado. Courage is a commitment to sit down at the negotiation table and talk.

6) Conviction

Fire in your belly. You've got to really want to get something done.

7) Charisma

The ability to inspire. People follow a leader because they trust him/her.

8) Competent

Surround yourself with people who know what they are doing. Be a problem solver.

9) Common Sense

Your ability to reason.


The biggest C is "crisis." Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It's easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory or send someone else's kids off to war when you have never seen a battlefield yourself.

Let's face it, retail politics in presidential campaigns are coming to an end; we are trending at a rapid pace towards a national primary. In this environment, without public campaign financing, voters are going to be forced to make their decisions without the normal sort of vetting and courtship period that our current process provides. This also probably means no more dark horses and the mad dash for cash will be taken to yet another level. In this new process a simple test for voters to conduct due diligence must be developed and implemented or we will be electing cycle after cycle the candidate that provides the cutest sound bites and raises the most money.