Don’t Be A Hero

I really appreciate all the comments I get on this blog. I read them all, and they are often worth your time reading as well.

However some of them are worth putting up as an entire post. Thanks to teqjack for pointing me to a post on the website of ‘World’s most popular blogging anesthesiologist’
that had this Financial Times article by John Kay that I quote from:

The hero is the person who tackles a problem, rather than the person whose actions prevent the problem arising. The statesmen we need are those who avert wars and prevent depressions, but such individuals gain little credit. These wars and depressions might have been dam’ bad. We don’t know; we dodged clear of them.

The paradox is illustrated by Jim Collins in Good to Great : more successful leaders attracted fewer column inches. Al Dunlap of Scott Paper declared his admiration for Rambo: “Here’s a guy who has zero chance of success and always wins.” But Mr Dunlap’s company was acquired by Kimberly-Clark, whose chief executive for 20 years, Darwin Smith, avoided the storm by taking the company out of the competitive coated paper businesses and into high-value-added consumer products.

Mr Dunlap was a celebrity but Mr Smith is little known. We prefer to read about Lee Iacocca and Lou Gerstner, who held the helm in the storm, or Jack Welch, who managed the ship through turbulence largely of his own creation.

How much are you the creator of your own problems too?

Do you define your success in terms of solving problems, or avoiding them in the first place?

Check out the whole FT article here:

-Dr Martin Russell

2 thoughts on “Don’t Be A Hero”

  1. Phew! For a second there, I almost thought you were going to be talking about me. But as far as my favorite blogging topic is concerned, I am convinced that the real heroes are the recipients of mental illness who do battle with it everyday. Their smallest gains are often unrecognized and unapplauded.

  2. The best leaders are always the one’s who have quiet offices, little turmoil and enjoy consistent success. Heroes are needed when everything has gone pear shaped because of a lack of good leadership.

    Usually those who look in on these people say that ‘There was no leadership there – it would have happened that way anyway.’ But I firmly disagree. It was their quietly, competent leadership that avoided the messes – the wars and the depressions.

    That’s why these people are not recognized though, they never get into the tight situations in the first place. There’s nothing to measure them against. There’s no storm to battle no wrong to right.

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