What If a Renegade Leader Ran the Country?

Leaders today face unprecedented challenges. Economic downturns, change in workforce demands, an ever increasing competitive market combined with the need to do more with less makes for trying times for the best of leaders. Those leaders that stand out, take a stand, and make a difference are what I define as renegade leaders.

A renegade leader is a leader who drives results, instills trust in their organizations, allows innovative thinking and creates a bond with their people through credibility, as well as vulnerability. The attributes of a renegade leader are spelled out in the word itself. They are leaders who are Responsive, resilient and willing to take responsibility. They are Energized and passionate about their business or the organization they work for and holding a high bar for themselves, accepting No excuses. Failing forward is preferred instead of falling short. You won’t find these leaders at the end of conference room tables. They are Engaged with their people, understand the needs of their customers, and influence the direction of their industry. Growth and Achievement oriented, they are quick Decision Makers even when the decision is hard to make. Most importantly, their influence expands beyond that of their four walls. They are Externally focused, they care about the success of their people as individuals, that of their community, their industry, and the world in which we live. They are a rare breed.

In the United States, lack of accountability is a virus in most organizations; employee loyalty is low and employee engagement has a rating of less than 29% in most organizations at an estimated cost of over 240 billion dollars a year. Current studies indicate a growing need for an evolved style of leadership, one that meets the top employee engagement drivers and builds success through collaboration versus command and control. The Towers Perrin Global Workforce Study indicates when employee engagement rises, performance increases by 30% or more, the high cost of turnover is reduced as 87% of employees remain loyal to their employer, 68 % focus on and reduce costs, and 72% of employees work harder to produce customer service excellence.

What would happen if a renegade leader led the country and achieved those results in government? Knowing that a full blooded renegade leader is as elusive as the hundred and fifteen pound weight number I see on my scale periodically, I could only image what might happen.

As a transplanted New Yorker, I understand that here in New Hampshire people take their right to vote as seriously as their live free or die mantra. A registered republican who last voted democrat, I was curious to see where republican candidate Governor Mitt Romney rated on the renegade meter.
Here is what I learned; at least what I was told.

As Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney entered into an organization in chaos, the budget was in deficit and the 85% majority democratic House and Senate were not so pleased with their newly elected republican official. Instead of shying away, Romney stepped into responsibility, he evaluated the data to illuminate their current position and created a vision of what was possible. He energetically took on the climb with surefootedness. Obstacles were not going to stop him. He refused to accept the budget as status quo, and instead, he looked for ways to solve the deficit, reducing taxes over 19 times and creating solutions to long term cost problems. He was successful.

Looking at his casual presence on stage, he appeared to be engaged and comfortable with the goals of the nation, the business owners in the room, and knowledgeable about the concerns affecting various industries. His campaign had a clear message, three simple objectives instead of tons of glossy marketing words used to secure a vote. Obviously achievement oriented, he worked his way up the ranks and focused on growth no matter what position he held. The impact he outlined would touch all individuals and put decision making back into the hands of the individual. He admitted he didn’t work alone; he prefers collaboration. As Governor, he sat down with those who had differing opinions, holding regular meetings, both on his campus and that of the democrats to understand each other’s perspectives, and to agree upon the decision making criteria. He claims not to have all the answers, but expressed a perseverance to find them. He shared his heart and his commitment to do his best.

As I watched, I checked the boxes on the renegade assessment and discovered he has a winning score. Now review the other candidates. It just might be possible to have a renegade leader in the white house.