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Gustin Partners | April 24, 2014 |

Leadership - Revised

By Carl Gustin

GP Senior Advisor - Energy Services Group

Part of leadership is the ability to self-assess and the humility necessary to achieve goals by changing behavior. Highly successful people do experience failure. Those who learn from it are most likely to achieve success again, often at even higher levels of performance. In the last few days I've read and heard two examples worth noting.

In last week's Boston Globe, Boston developer Don Chiofaro says  “My whole training in life is looking at game films.... You look at what you did and see what worked, and what didn’t work. Obviously I would have different plays.” Chiofaro has changed. He still wants to develop his Harbor Garage project, but his approach today is very different than it was a few years ago when the BRA blocked him. It remains to see what the outcome will be but Don Chiofaro has a vision and he seems to be getting support. He watched yesterday's "game films" and it's a whole new game today.

Another example is GOP Gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker. In a spring Commonwealth Magazine article, Paul McMorrow wrote that "People close to Baker say his demeanor and comfort with retail politics aren’t the only improvements from four years ago. His political instincts are sharper now, they say. He’s running a more disciplined, more focused campaign than he did against Patrick. He’s shrinking the field of play, taking divisive issues from gay rights and abortion to guns and the environment off the table. He plans to take the fight to his opponents on a few issues: education, the economy, and leadership."

I saw and heard Charlie Baker the other day and he was clear that self-assessment is important to him. He watched the films, like Chiofaro, only they were debate and speech videos. He demonstrated humility. He talked about the criticism of his earlier campaign and the need to change, to show more of himself, of who he really is and to speak to much larger audience, not as a CEO in a meeting but as a political candidate with a terrific resume that makes him a highly qualified, and very serious contender.

Self-assessment and humility are marks of good leadership. It's not always easy for strong leaders to acknowledge the need for change -- or in some cases to let their real personalities show through. But reflection leading to recognition and acknowledgment that one could have done better is an important step toward future success. It's worth keeping an eye on Charlie Baker and Don Chiofaro.


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