I didn’t want to add another Ted Kennedy tribute to the world today, but Dan Levine (schoolmarketer in twitter) tipped me off to Ted Kennedy, Low Potential Leader by Sarah Green on a Harvard Business School blog; and I couldn’t resist passing it on. Especially this last paragraph:
So for me, today, Ted Kennedy’s life is a reminder that much can be achieved by late bloomers; that you don’t have to have your career all figured out by the time you’re 25, 35, or even 45. It’s a reminder to look beyond your little cadre of overachieving stars for the person who doesn’t have it all together. Don’t count him or her out. There’s always time.
Here’s more from that post, good background. I shouldn’t have needed reminding, because I’m old enough to have lived through all this, but still …
He’d taken six years to graduate from college (getting banished for two after he tried to cheat on a test) and been strongly discouraged by his family to run for the Senate in 1962. They didn’t think their black sheep could win. In 1969, he left a party with Mary Jo Kopechne and drove into a lake, an accident that resulted in her death. In 1979 while running for the Presidential nomination, he couldn’t answer a softball question about why he wanted to be president. He didn’t even make it out of the primaries. His youth — and I use that term elastically — was marred by drinking and womanizing. In 1981 he and his first wife announced their divorce.
And yet, ultimately, Edward M. Kennedy did become a leader. As a strategist and negotiator, he was the Senate’s “happy warrior.” In a body notorious for gridlock, he got things done. As a mentor, he was generous with his time and influence; and the more generous he was, the more that influence grew. Historians will argue about whether he was one of the most powerful senators of all time — or the most powerful senator of all time.
(Image by marysuephotoeth via Flickr)
In my point of view, there is a leader in each of us, just waiting for the proper time to emerge. In Edward Kennedy’s case, it just arrived a little bit too late — but mind you, he showed the United States that he had the capability to become a leader, too.
Applied in a marketing sense, no matter how slow business may be, no matter how tough it is to keep your company running, always remember that there will come a time when you can sit down, have a drink and say “I can’t believe I was able to do this.”
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