In this time of bombastic, hubris-filled leadership, I was impressed by a powerful demonstration of personal values as a foundation for an important leadership moment last week on the floor of the U.S. Senate. At the end of the impeachment trial, Senator Mitt Romney, (Rep. Utah) spoke powerfully in the senate chamber about his personal vote and how his personal convictions lead him to that decision. Please note that I have never voted for Senator Romney, and historically felt that I was on the “other side” of the political landscape from his views. With that said, I found his words and actions extremely poignant, courageous and inspiring to me as a U.S. citizen and as a business leader. The following are few excerpts from his comments that really hit home to me personally:
There are a number of points here that I want to highlight, again as a citizen and as a leader:
> Take the assignment seriously: Sen. Romney realized the assignment to be “Senator-Juror” was “enormously consequential” and he didn’t shrink form the task! He knew the stakes were immense and with that foreknowledge he proceeded with the work with clarity and rigour.
> We must stay true to our own beliefs: when he commented that by taking a simple partisan approach to the final vote would “expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience,” he eloquently challenged all of us to a moment of self reflection and critique. Too often the “popular” idea, or the “expedient approach” rules the day, rather than us as leaders staying true to what we BELIEVE and KNOW is right! In business as in politics, too often the drive to short term profitability or the need to satisfy influential investors at the next board meeting eclipse the path that is know to be right in the long term.
> Don’t let the consequences sway you from doing what is right: Today with a week of outburst/threats/angry tweets and aggressive retaliation, Sen. Romney seems understated when he said that he knew that he would “strenuous disapproval” from those from his party and his state, and that he would hear “abuse” form the President and his supporters. He knew the path was going to be ugly, and yet he stayed true to his beliefs and convictions…. a powerful role model!
> Keep your legacy in mind: He knew his vote wasn’t going to be the deciding vote in the process, and yet he kept his vision on the long-term perspective… his legacy. he is confident that when he will “tell my children and their children that I did my duty,” he wasn’t focused on the headlines of this week or next, but on the long view of legacy and family.
I deeply believe that powerful leaders are ones whose actions and words are highly aligned , and individuals who consider their impact on business or in politics with a long term/ legacy oriented world view. I for one an deeply appreciative of Sen. Romney’s courage and his words/actions related to the impeachment process. As a leader or a wonderful company, I am using this moment to refresh myself on the long view, keeping my “legacy viewpoint” in clear sight and will come back to Senator Romney’s speech often for inspiration in the days ahead … I hope that you do the same!