About Jeremy

Jeremy Solomons is the UK-born and USA-naturalized founder and president of Jeremy Solomons & Associates, which helps current and future leaders to connect and communicate effectively across all cultures – national, organizational, professional and individual.

No Coincidences, No Regrets

Global Leadership Lessons from an Unlikely Source

“Maybe this all happened for a reason?”

These are the words of my wise, reflective 16-year-old daughter, Emma, who has had two near brushes with death in the last month.

Firstly, she experienced violent road rage first hand when another driver got so angry at not being able to pass her that he tried to ram her car and barge her into oncoming traffic. A few weeks later there was a split second of inattention and she ended up plowing into the back of a long traffic line and totaling her shiny first car. 

Untitled1Fortunately, she walked away from both incidents shaken but unscathed.

The same was true for this blogger six weeks ago when he got sideswiped by another car and for my daughter’s best friend a few nights ago when she fell asleep at the wheel and burst through two fences, ending in a ditch and totaling her car. My car was damaged but fixable.

Someone somewhere was clearly watching over us or playing a cruel joke or – as my daughter concluded – just trying to give us a warning and teach us a lesson.

But what was the lesson and how does this relate to Global Leadership?

This whole topic of really listening, reflecting on and learning from life’s many lessons is particularly appropriate at the end of the calendar year, which the Germans call “between the years”.

And it is particularly appropriate for new and old global leaders, who are usually so busy throughout the year that this might be their only chance to slow down and take stock for a little while.

They could begin with such questions as:

  1. What was the highlight of the year just passed?
  2. What was the low point?
  3. What did I gain during the year?
  4. What did I lose?
  5. Who enriched my life the most and why?
  6. Who challenged or drained me the most and why?
  7. What do I hope to achieve in the coming year?
  8. Whom do I want to become?
  9. How will I know I am being successful?
  10. Who will keep me accountable and how?

And more specifically, a current or budding global leader might also ask:

  1. What does it mean, in a general sense, to be a truly global leader?
  2. What does it mean to me personally to be a truly global leader?
  3. What do I hope to achieve as a global leader?
  4. How will it enhance my career, my work, and my personal life?
  5. In what ways might it actually impinge on my career, my work, and my personal life?
  6. What natural strengths, learned talents, overarching passions, and core values do I already possess to be a global leader?
  7. What gaps do I have and what hot buttons and blind spots do I need to be aware of?
  8. How can I best overcome my shortcomings through meditation, stretch assignments, travel, studying, coaching, etc.?
  9. What else do I need to be successful on a global level?
  10. How will I and others hold myself accountable?

All of these questions can and do lead to some very valuable insights, ideas and plans but they will not matter much if they are not accompanied by a strong set of personal values and an unerring belief in the power of positive, sustainable change.

Which brings us back to my daughter, Emma and recent events.

It would have been very easy for her to shrug off the recent incidents and only focus on the future and how quickly she could get a replacement car.

It would also have been very easy to get stuck in the past, wallowing in victimhood and blaming others for what happened or what nearly happened.

It is much harder to remain in the present and try to understand what happened and why and then come away stronger and more grateful, realizing that there are no coincidences and no regrets in a life to be lived fully and reflectively.

It is much harder to remain in the present and try to understand what happened and why and then come away stronger and more grateful, realizing that there are no coincidences and no regrets in a life to be lived fully and reflectively.

Or in the words of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (a Swiss American Psychiatrist famous for her five stages of grief): “Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.”

How many adult leaders can do this? Whether they are faced with life-threatening adversity or not?

 

 

 

Passing the Baton

How leaders ensure continuity and seal their legacy

The most recent JSA blog ended by mentioning Nelson Mandela and his 27-year imprisonment, which helped him to prepare to be the leader of the new South Africa in 1994. What it did not mention was the incredible fact that after waiting so long, he served only one five-year term before making way for his deputy, Thabo Mbeki. 

Not only do great global leaders take responsibility and decisive action during their reigns of power but they also ensure that their good work will continue long after they are gone by carefully planning for their succession and grooming their successors. 

A recent example of this comes from the most popular sport in the world: football (or soccer as it is known in the USA).

Last month, Sir Alex Ferguson, who is one of most well known, successful and feared managers on the planet, suddenly announced his retirement as the coach of Manchester United, which is in turn one of the richest and most widely followed teams in the universe. It has no less than 14 different nations represented in its first team squad. (No hyperbole here, of course, although this blogger does need to confess that he has been a rabid fan of his home town club for most of his 54 years).

F-SAF-4

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Leaders Behaving Badly, Part 2

The second in a series of two blogs about why global leaders fall down and how they can stand up again

In a week where people around the world are decrying the behavior of Algerian terrorist leader Moktar Belmoktar, puzzling over the mea culpa of fallen cycling hero Lance Armstrong, celebrating the inauguration of Barack Obama’s second term as US president and praising Bulgarian politician Ahmed Dogan’s single-handed disarming of a point-blank assassin, it seems very timely to continue this examination of bad and good leadership and how it relates to failure, rehabilitation, renewed hope and different kinds of success.  

In the first blog of this two-part series, we explored what makes leaders at the pinnacle of their careers abuse their power and risk their reputation and why it seems that more and more of them are getting found out – http://jeremysolomons.com/samples/.

This second blog will delve into what tainted leaders can do to stand up again once they have fallen and more importantly, what current and future leaders can do to stay on the high road and avoid this kind of irresponsible behavior altogether.

Much has been written about the kind of qualities that leaders of the present and the future need to be effective in an increasingly globalized and cyber-connected world.

For every power hungry politician or cheating soccer player, fortunately there are many heart-warming stories of leaders just doing the right thing, such as Malawi President Joyce Banda’s untiring struggle for women’s rights or the unusual honesty of German soccer player Miroslav Klose, who was awarded a goal in a close game in Italy but then freely admitted that he had handled the ball on its way in. The referee duly disallowed the goal and shook his hand.

But what about new or experienced leaders who have allowed themselves to get caught behaving badly?

Public humiliation and shame can bring out the best and unfortunately the worst in a fallen leader.

The first step towards rehabilitation is usually full disclosure and a sincere apology in both public and private to all of those affected.

F-OPRAH-LANCE

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Leaders Behaving Badly

The first in a series of two blogs about why global leaders fall down and how they can stand up again

 

Barely a week goes by without news of some prominent leader somewhere in the world getting caught behaving badly and having to pay a hefty price for his – most sinners are male – transgression.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi

In the last month alone, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has gone from the hero of ceasefire negotiations between Hamas and Israel to the target of mass protests after an unprecedented power grab at home; the prestigious British Broadcasting Corporation fired its director general George Entwistle in the wake of a series of uncharacteristic reporting scandals; widely respected US Army general David Petraeus resigned after revelations of an extramarital affair; and even the world’s most popular sport has had to deal with the fallout from openly racist behavior of star players in England and brazen cheating by highly paid forwards throughout Europe.

In this first blog of a two-part series, we will explore what makes these leaders and others at the pinnacle of their careers abuse their power and risk their reputation and why it seems that more and more of them are getting found out.

The second blog will delve into what these and other tainted leaders can do to stand up again once they have fallen and more importantly,what current and future leaders can do to stay on the high road and avoid this kind of irresponsible behavior altogether. 

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The Third Narrative

A crucial leadership challenge after the US Presidential Election  

So far, there have been two main storylines emanating from US President Barack Obama’s surprisingly comfortable re-election on November 6.

The first is that President Obama won not so much because of his policies but because of organization and demographics, with his highly functioning “ground game” galvanizing a broad coalition of “diverse” Americans to come out to vote for their multicultural leader. 

The second is that the Republicans failed to recognize and embrace this social and demographic change and must now revamp their party’s focus and platform to be able to come back in from the electoral wilderness in two years time.

But there is a third narrative that has not been explored so much as yet and it relates to this blogger’s personal diversity journey.

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