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Post-Berlin Wall executive leadership.

The victory of free enterprise over repressive economics provides the next generation with a monumental opportunity.

I have been spending a great deal of time during the last year focusing on our schools. I've talked a lot about what's wrong with our public school system and ways I believe we can fix it. I've talked about why I believe quality education is the concrete support on which any successful society stands.

Recent events in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union have re-emphasized for me the need for our next generation to be prepared to lead a "brave new world."

All my life, America either has been at war or facing a menacing threat that has required us to be ready for global nuclear war at any moment. Those of us who have been part of 40 years of both actual warfare and Cold War hope the collapse of the Berlin Wall marks two resounding victories for our generation -- the triumph of capitalism over communism and the victory of democracy and individual freedom over repression and totalitarian rule.

I truly believe our next generation could be the First American one to apply its total energies and resources on building a better society, rather than fighting wars or defending itself in a fragile peace.

The victory of free enterprise over repressive economics during my generation will provide the next generation with a monumental opportunity -- the opportunity to go beyond making the world safe for democracy to making it just for everyone.

Good history students, young and old, will recall that three of the strongest democracies in the world today developed from our defeated enemies with the help of our post-World War II leaders. Those countries are Germany, Japan, and Italy. I suspect the allies' compassionate treatment of their defeated enemies through the Marshall Plan and the enlightened occupation of Japan and Europe may have been one of the world's finest accomplishments.

If we truly have seen an end to the Cold War, our young people will have the opportunity to achieve a similar place in his history through the compassionate rebuilding of our ideological enemies. But that will take leadership. Leadership of a special kind -- leadership with a vision and a plan.

I believe there are six traits fundamental to a good leader, all of which should be imparted in our schools today: * A powerful and proper vision; * A workable plan; * The ability to set goals; * Tenacity and perseverance; * The power to mold cooperative teams; and * Strong values and ethics.

These qualities are fundamental whether building a better world, a better school, a better business, or a better home.

Vision is at the top of the list, because a leader must have a long-term strategic outlook. He or she must look beyond the everyday morass of problems, frustrations, and conflict to create a vision of what might be possible.

We must teach our young people that a true leader's vision must seek the best future for all involved -- not just one person, one family, one neighborhood, or one nation.

Plan of action

But a vision is not enough. A vision is only a dream until someone transforms it into a plan of action. So to me, the next element of leadership is planning. As teachers and parents know, it's not enough to have a vision of college. Students must have a first-rate high school record, have completed the comprehensive applications, interviewed, and selected the school that fits.

The third ability I would suggest students must develop to become leaders of the next generation is the ability to set goals and standards. Setting high standards forces us to work hard and stretch our capabilities to their highest potential. The time to set a new goal is every tine we have a vision as to how we can make changes for the better.

But to truly forge change requires perseverance. Our young people must understand that you can be the best leader in the world with a clear vision of what should be, with superior goals and an ideal plan, but without perseverance you won't get past the first problem, much less the first crisis.

Big goals get accomplished in little ways when the best and brightest effort is put into each day. When I was growing up, basketball star Bob Cousey often was accused by sportswriters of making up for lack of talent with hustle. Cousey's reply was, "Hustle is talent."

Teamwork is critical

Building teamwork requires some of a leader's strongest efforts. Teamwork is critical because very little progress is made in ones and twos. In my experience, great progress always requires great teamwork -- you must be willing to work with others and to support them in meeting their goals.

Quality team-leading implies an ethical vision and strict adherence to ethical values every step of the way. It is not enough to be powerful -- you have to be right. It's not enough to reach personal goals with high-blown titles and widespread prestige. Leaders must be dedicated to doing the right things, for the right reasons, in the right ways, on behalf of everyone in society.

These fundamentals are not new ideals but maxims that bear repeating every day in our classrooms and through example in the way we live our lives.

Our children must be ready to shoulder the mantle of peace, for Providence may indeed have smiled on their generation. They may be given the first opportunity to work harder and spend more resources on how we will educate, feed, clothe, and house our neighbors, are opposed to attacking them or keeping them from attack. They must prepare for the first real chance to reach an age of enlightened peace. That is their responsibility.

It is my generation's responsibility to see that our young people are taught the leadership traits they will need to embrace this historic challenge.

Hugh L. McColl Jr. is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of NCNB Corp. and its principal subsidiaries. Under his leadership, NCNB Corp. has become one of the 10 largest financial institutions in the United States and, with banks in seven Southern states, it has one of the largest branch networks.
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Title Annotation:Chairman's Agenda: Acquiring in Eastern Europe; meditation on the post cold war world and executive training
Author:McColl, Hugh L.
Publication:Directors & Boards
Date:Jan 1, 1991
Words:1030
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