Blog

  • The making of Nelson Mandela as an outstanding communicator and teacher

    In my experience as a student and teacher of leadership, I have found Nelson Mandela to be a rare phenomenon—a former head of state who seems to enjoy nearly unanimous approval and admiration throughout the world. Moreover, historians and political pundits often cite him as one of the most effective statesmen in modern times. As such, when I began my tenure as

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • Nelson Mandela, world-class teacher

    On June 12 of this year, I happened to see CNN’s Fareed Zakaria interview David Gergen, a professor of public service at the Harvard Kennedy School. Gergen has the rare distinction of having served as a White House adviser to four different presidents, both Republicans and Democrats. In that capacity, he was a close confidant to individuals with widely divergent styles

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • How Mandela’s personal commitment to the Springboks showed the way toward a united nation

    In the previous post, we noted that there is certainly more to tell about Nelson Mandela’s efforts to preserve the Springboks as South Africa’s rugby mascot. For example, one compelling aspect of the story is the president’s personal commitment to promoting the sport as a unifying force, and his surprising success as a spokesperson for defending an animal that once stood for divisiveness. A

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • How Mandela used rugby as a unifying force

    As we referenced in the previous post, Nelson Mandela’s term as chief executive of South Africa began with a political crisis concerning the future of the national rugby side. Specifically, the president’s desire to preserve the Springbok as the team’s mascot faced violent opposition from the National Sports Council. Though most members of the Council were in fact loyal adherents of Mandela’s

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • A great leader writes a new story

    At the close of the previous post, we noted that Nelson Mandela had more than mere blind faith in South African Rugby. He had a plan. In the president’s mind, the upcoming 1995 World Cup provided his new government a unique opportunity to unite the nation’s whites and blacks. He reasoned that the Springboks—for decades a source of divisiveness between the races—could

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • The Symbolic Power of Sports

    When Nelson Mandela won the presidential election of 1994, he took over a sharply divided country, one that was just beginning to emerge from decades of apartheid rule and white domination. Feeling strong and vindictive, an overwhelming majority of black South Africans saw a great opportunity to change the course of their nation. Indeed, most members of the president’s own

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling