Friday, August 07, 2009

Leadership Summit #9 Interview with Tony Blair

Leadership Summit #9 Interview with Tony Blair

Note: I'm posting live from the leadership Summit ( satellite location in Ocean Grove NJ ( which was chartered 140 years ago by the state of NJ "for the perpetual worship of Jesus Christ."I'm also tweeting live: you can follow (even if you don't have a twitter account) at: To see all the posts on the Leadership Summit, use this link:

First, some notes:
Jack Welch (he was CEO of GE) has agreed to come next year!

Interview with Tony Blair:
  • Even though it was against the majority, he did what he thought was right
  • Conventional wisdom is sometimes the easiest thing to do and sometimes you need to fight it for the right reasons
  • One of the toughest things about leadership is that sometimes positions you take are not popular. You need to take the position inside yourself first.
  • It's not to say that you shouldn't be flexible, but you need "it" in your core - you must believe it's right. You must come to the view and then face the fact that it may be uncomfortable for others. You can't hold back. you must stick with it.
  • My duty was to do what was right
  • You must stand by your decision and if necessary fall by it
  • He needed to be prepared to walk away, it matters to me, but it doesn't matter more than doing the right thing. Don't compromise what is right

How did you know when to listen to criticism and when to let it go?

  • You need to listen to criticism and take it into account
  • If facts change, you can change your mind

How does a leader handle doubt? It might be seen as indecisiveness.

  • Doubt is an expression that you don't have a core belief in your decision. So, you need to think it through, don't make a quick decision
  • But, there comes a point at which you take responsibility and you strike out and go with the decision
  • It was never easy, there was always that worry, doubt, and consideration of the criticism
  • But, in the end, you need to make the decisions. Someone needs to decide
  • If you would have told me that I'd need to make decisions in 4 military confrontations, I wouldn't have believed it

What role is faith in your life

  • People ask what role religion is in your political life
  • I find it odd, because if you are religious, it effects all you do
  • But, it doesn't mean you make decisions in a religious way
  • Faith is a potent force in the world for bad and good
  • The single most important thing is that faith performs a progressive role in this era
  • People should keep their own faith, not become one melting pot, but we can work together

With years of failed attempts to sustain peace in Northern Ireland, you were able to work on this. You've been asked to go to middle east. What would you wife say would make you a great negotiator

  • I would be criticized by both sides that I was making concesions
  • We needed to find common ground. there is no way to do it without compromises
  • Great believer in tactics vs strategy
  • Strategy comes from your goals and convictions
  • To get there, you need lots of tactical compromises

Crisis Management. After being granted the olympic games, there was the terror attack. What must a leader do in a crisis?

  • Were we going to react by pointing a finger, or looking at our unity?
  • Single most important thing was to make a statement "we are coming together as a country"
  • We won't allow these people to devide us
  • Get the fact, make the managerial decision, speak to the emotions of the country (do we as leaders speak to the emotions of our team?)

How do you deal with pain and disappointment

  • By counting my blessings
  • I'd be complaining and she'd say "What are you complaining about? It's a priveledge to do this job!"
  • I get up and feel blessed to do the job
  • There is pain and dissapointment, but every so often do a check on yourself and see what you've been able to do

Speak into the eyes of church leaders

  • Leadership is a blessing, it's a gift you've been given to help others
  • It's difficult, challenging, it's worth doing, it's your duty
  • No matter what type of leader you are, whatever it is, in that position, without a leader, things don't get done. The joy of getting things done, it's a blessing and a gift from God.

My take-away from this session:

  • Count my blessings as a leader (as a Program Manager/PMP, as leader of, as a father, as a person) that I'm able to get things done as the leader.
  • Define my core beliefs
  • Work to make a positive difference

live blogging continues...

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