Challenge or Change – What makes leaders?

Let’s think about great leaders in business and politics in the US. Our two greatest leaders were Lincoln and FDR. Lincoln led us through challenging times, but his means to govern and organization of the federal government was a huge change from those before him. FDR led us through the challenge of the Great Depression and WW2. But government and the world was hugely different as a result of his tenure in Office (and thanks to Truman for completing it).

Other political leaders included all those crazy radical forefathers who had the audacity in 1776 to think that average people could actually govern themselves. We have no conception to day what a crazy idea that was in the 18th century as we take it for granted today. Teddy Roosevelt changed how we viewed open space. But mostly is change that people wrought that made them leaders.

In business, Ford changed how car were made in an effort to sell more at lower costs. Edison changed the world with the light bulb. Los Angeles would not exist if William Mulholland had not conceived of bringing water and power across the mountains. So is it change or challenge that creates leaders? Or both? Or something else?


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