No Experience Necessary

Churchill On Leadership

Anyone who knows even a little world history knows of Winston Churchill. The acclaimed prime minister of England during World War II, Churchill seemed to epitomize the very essence of strong leadership. Can the traits that so effectively transformed the political arena play out in a business setting, though? Author Steven F. Hayward answers in the affirmative in Churchill on Leadership: Executive Success in the Face of Adversity (Forum, $20 cloth).

"Paradoxically, it is precisely because a politician lacks the clear bottom-line standard of profit that public office requires superior leadership skills," Hayward maintains. "While the business executive can look to the bottom line as to a North Star, the political executive confronts a Milky Way of competing and shifting priorities, requiring a full measure of judgment, vision and persuasive skills."

So yes, perhaps Churchill can contribute to your arsenal of entrepreneurial knowledge. By way of example, consider the legendary statesman's dual ability to take great risks and recover from failures. "Churchill himself once quipped that `success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm,' a worthy credo for an entrepreneur," Hayward writes. Churchill also boasted decisiveness, self-discipline and attention to detail. Need it be said that these qualities, too, are to an entrepreneur's advantage?

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This article was originally published in the September 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: No Experience Necessary.

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