Rudy Giuliani: Leaders Share Strong Convictions and Optimism

ON THE ATLANTIC OCEAN ABOARD THE NORWEGIAN DAWN — Rudolph Giuliani, former mayor of New York, offered seven lessons of leadership in his keynote address this week at Richmond Events’ Marketing and eMarketing Forums 2006 aboard the Norwegian.

The first and most important lesson of leadership is the importance of having convictions, said the man also known as America’s Mayor for the way he responded to the 9/11 attacks in New York.

“If you want to be a leader, you have to have know that you want to achieve,” Mr. Giuliani said. “You have to have goals, you have to have a vision, to see where you ant to grow.”

For example, in business “you have to know how you want to grow by what percentage, [or] how you want to diversify,” he said. “Before you can even start to lead, you have to know where you ant to take an organization.”

The second lesson of leadership is being an optimist.

“If you want to be a leader, you’ve got to be an optimist,” Mr. Giuliani said.

“If you want to be effective, you have to think of problems as challenges to solve, no matter how bad the problem is.”

In general, being an optimist, even as a person, “is also a lot more fun,” he pointed out.

The third lesson of leadership is having courage in the face of business risks.

The fourth lesson is planning and being prepared. Planning is important even if you are faced with an unexpected disaster, like 9/11 in New York, because you can come back and take parts of a flexible plan and relate them to the disaster.

“I am a very, very big believer in relentless preparation,” Mr. Giuliani said. “You figure out the worst things that can happen to your organization, prepare for them and if you do, you will be able to prepare for things you haven’t even anticipated. That’s the way you have to deal with terrorism now.”

The fifth lesson leadership is teamwork.

“To be a good leader, you have to understand the value of teamwork,” the politician said. “Putting a team together is all about balance. You want a balance of strengths and weaknesses.”

Finally, the last two lessons involve being a good communicator and “really caring about people,” Mr. Giuliani said. “You have to really be there for people when things go wrong.”

Mr. Giuliani said that being on the Norwegian Dawn, which was docked Sunday May 7 night at Pier 90 in Manhattan, brought back memories because it was the location of a command center after 9/11.

“This was where we spent many long days -18-, 19-hour days – after the attacks,” said Mr. Giuliani, who authored the best selling “Leadership” in 2002.

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