Leadership Lessons of William Henry Harrison

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Our nation’s Founding Fathers were well studied men. When called upon to forge a new nation, they looked upon the lessons of the Classical Age for their source. But it wasn’t merely a litany of Greek and Roman heroes they sought. They dug deeper. They wanted to learn not only what succeeded, but what failed. They learned this about great nations, great government, and great men. Greek literature teaches us that every heroic character contains both good traits and bad traits. We learn the good traits to know what to mimic. We learn the bad traits to know what to avoid. So it is with the leadership lessons we learn from our presidents. Not all those lessons teach us what to do. Some teach us what not to do.

William Henry Harrison was born on February 9, 1773 on his family’s plantation in Charles City County, Virginia. The ninth president of the United States, he was the last one born as a British subject (his father signed the Declaration of Independence), but the first one to have his picture taken while in office. He’s also the only president whose grandson would later become president (Benjamin Harrison served as the 23rd president from 1889 to 1893). He’s perhaps best known as the president who gave the longest inaugural address (taking almost 2 hours to read its 8,445 words) and served the shortest time in office (31 days). At 68 years of age, Harrison was the oldest president to be inaugurated until Ronald Reagan topped him by a year in 1980 (who was then surpassed by Donald Trump who was age 70 when he was sworn in).Continue Reading “Leadership Lessons of William Henry Harrison”

Consumer-Oriented Cars

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the November 15, 1990 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259The American automobile industry, and General Motors in particular, has failed to successfully incorporate consumer behavior into their American marketing efforts. Market share data clearly shows the industry’s poor performance. From 1978 to 1989, the market share of the Big Three (GM, Ford and Chrysler) has fallen from 82% to 67%. (“Detroit Under Siege,” The Economist, April 14, 1990). Furthermore, GM itself saw its market share drop from 46% in 1979 to 35% in 1989. (“Detroit’s Big Three,” The Economist, April 14, 1990). Only in light of overwhelmingly negative market share figures has GM finally begun to realign its organizational structure to address the critical consumer behavior issues.

GM’s Failure

We can see GM failed to recognize or successfully execute upon four basic assumptions of Continue Reading “Consumer-Oriented Cars”