Blog

  • Mr Biden’s missed opportunities

    When I sat down to write the last post, it occurred to me that two of the primary themes of the new president’s early days in office align nicely with the type of speechmaking I have been prescribing for him. As usual, when I discuss anything related to politics, I like to state clearly that I am not an expert

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • Two personal stories that Joe Biden could tell

    As I wrote last time, Margaret Thatcher’s masterful political discourse provides a model for some of the ways President Biden might think about addressing his constituents. When Mrs Thatcher convinced her countrymen to rediscover some “forgotten” facets of their national character—initiative, self-reliance, collective responsibility and human decency—she pointed to those as fundamental values of the British middle class. She complemented

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • How President Biden might use the experience of Thatcher and De Gaulle

    Continuing on the theme of last time, I have often wondered if leaders today can still learn from the discourse of transformational public figures of earlier eras. This is not an easy question to answer. On the one hand, many have argued that the communication challenges for world leaders in 2021 are far more complex and thorny than in years past.

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • Can lessons from the past help Joe Biden today?

    The protagonists of our two previous posts, Charles De Gaulle and Margaret Thatcher, are illustrations of a point I like to make when I teach or speak about leadership: Particularly in times of crisis, a skillful leader often takes a narrative that has been dormant and brings it back into focus. As such, De Gaulle’s use of story and symbol was so

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • An impressive tale of transformation

    The previous post, about Charles de Gaulle’s use of narrative and historical symbol, led some readers to ask if I could cite other examples of individuals who influenced their worlds in a similar manner. Truth be told, I did spend hundreds of hours during my years of doctoral research looking for cases of heads of state who used personal stories

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • Using story and symbol to unify diverse groups

    It remains somewhat disheartening for me that President Biden appears not to be reading this blog. Worse yet is another possibility—that he is indeed reading what I write and simply choosing to ignore my advice. In all seriousness, though, I recall writing last time that the president would do well to avoid broad generalizations that risk alienating large portions of the electorate.

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling