A view to the Americas from Lombard Street
A view to what's been going on in the last two weeks in the Americas
The Americas without Chavez
Nicolas Maduro, the self-elected President of Venezuela will be running for re-election on April 14th, facing opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.
The Maduro campaign is basically being run on the back of Chavez; but will Venezuelans be convinced that Chavez speaks through the conduit of Maduro? Will Maduro have sufficient time to cash-in on the political capital that Chavez left?
It is indeed good news that Venezuela remained calm and stable upon the announcement of Chavez’s death. It would be for the best that things remain calm until the April 14th elections. But most important of all is that Venezuelans go out and exercise their right to vote and any decision is respected by Maduro and those currently in power.
The historical decision of the Catholic Church to appoint for the first time a non-European as its leader is definitely a sign of the times. The church needs to get closer to those regions where it remains stronger, and Latin America is the most obvious of the Church’s important strongholds.
The decision has certainly brought happiness to Latin Americans and in particular to Argentineans. It is the first time also that a Jesuit has been appointed as leader of the Catholic Church.
John Baldoni, in a recent Forbes article, praised the fact that a Jesuit was appointed due to their skills in management and leadership. He referred to the following four attributes of Jesuit leadership that Chris Lowney, a Jesuit-turned-investment banker, describes in his book Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450 Company that Changed the World:
Self-awareness. A leader must know his capabilities. That means he also knows his limitations. A leader steeped in self-knowledge surrounds himself with people who complement his abilities and compensates for his strengths.
Ingenuity. Good leaders are curious; they also look beyond the ordinary to see what is possible, rather than what is impossible. They like challenges and embrace them.
Love. Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi, himself Jesuit educated, used to opine about how his players needed to love one another. What he meant by that was you have to care about others. When you do, you want to do your best for them… as well as yourself.
Heroism. Think big. Make things happen. Great leaders are driven by a higher purpose. In the case of Jesuits, it is service to God as well as to man. But, as I was taught, you can only appreciate God if you work for and with men. That is, you need to make things happen. Jesuits are entrepreneurial; they refuse to accept the first no and instead strive to make a positive difference.
I certainly hope Pope Francis and all leaders in Latin America stick and apply those practices, whether they are Jesuits or not. I am sure they will give fantastic results.
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