Leadership as Stewardship: Oh Captain, My Captain . . .

ship in storm

In 2009, at the height of the banking crisis, I wrote an article about the role of leadership as both the cause and the solution.  With today’s focus on regulation as a solution to curbing the excesses in banking, I think my thoughts are worth a rethink.  Here’s a quote that started me thinking in this direction:

“On the sea there is a tradition that with responsibility goes authority and accountability. Men will not long trust leaders who feel themselves beyond accountability for what they do. And when men lose confidence and trust in those who lead, order disintegrates into chaos and purposeful ships into uncontrollable derelicts”     – Wall Street Journal – Editorial 14 May 1952

The article, titled: “Oh Captain, My Captain!  Why are you abandoning ship?” can be accessed easily through the following link: “Oh Captain, My Captain…”

I would enjoy your comments, and as always, please feel free to pass it along to others.

Tight Lines . . .

John R Childress


About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at john@johnrchildress.com or john.childress@theprincipiagroup.com
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2 Responses to Leadership as Stewardship: Oh Captain, My Captain . . .

  1. Raunak says:

    John, do you think CEOs, that have risen through the ranks of the organization that they now lead, will exhibit the kind of leadership that is expected of a Captain?
    I think it is better to groom an employee who has served the organization for several years into a CEO. I would expect such a person to place the interests of the company and its employees ahead of his. Most organizations look for leaders outside and I think this maybe contributing to lack of true leadership that plagues most companies.


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