Thursday, April 16, 2009

CAW, Obama, and the teachings of a humble N Ont. Chief

I read two stories in the Globe and Mail that reminded me of a couple of lessons or observations told me by an Ojibway Chief from a small community in Northern Ontario. The stories in question covered the CAW hard line position in the Fiat and Chrysler negotiations and Obama's "tempered optimism" on the economy.

The Chief told me that anybody can take a group of people who are poor, who have limited access to ready solutions, and rile them to protest and anger but it takes a true leader to take that same group of people and rile them to change their own situation for the better. He also said in a time of crisis you need to be on the floor with the people every day and sometimes two or three times a day even if to tell them that nothing has changed.

I am not a strong supporter of today's unions (although my blogging partner may feel differently). It is my belief they have lost their focus and purpose... their reason for being. In the Fiat/Chrysler story I see an example of a leader who must take the cheaper short cuts and rile his constituents to anger in defence of his position rather than lead them towards a solution. Obama has been in the news and in the face of his constituents every single day - he encourages, tells his people they will have to go through tough times but they will make it because they are strong and resilient...He has asked his country to change their behavior to better their place......

I wonder though if it is because how why union leaders are elected? To defend of fight for more not to necessarily lead through tough economic times or economic downturns? I really don't know maybe this is the time to realize not all warriors make good leaders all the time? Anyway, I think it is interesting to observe the teaching I received on such a grand stage.


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