I had lunch with my friend and fellow blogger Dr. Von in unlovely Schaumburg yesterday and between bites and social chatter, Von did his level best to enlighten me about the finer aspects of network theory and the discovery of the operation of power law across different fields. Another topic we touched on was the ideas of the educational and cognitive theorist Howard Gardner.

According to Von, who has posted on Gardner’s latest book, Gardner posits ” Six Constants of Leadership“:

1. An Identifiable Story or Message

2. Consideration of the Audience

3. The Development of an Institutional or Organizational Foundation

4. The Embodiment of the Story by the Leader

5. The Interplay betwen Direct and Indirect Leadership

6. The Issue of Expertise

Dr.Von has an analysis an explanation for each of these “constants” so I am not going to reinvent the wheel but I was struck at how well Gardner’s argument fits in with my call for building ” state resilience” and John Boyd’s constructive concept of having a” Theme for Vitality and Growth”. If you look at ideas in history that enjoyed explosive growth – Christianity, Islam, Nationalism, Communism, Fascism, Democracy – you see time and again leaders who embody ( or appear to) the the revolutionay qualities they preach and by this synchronicity between message and action, shift cultural paradigms ad spark revolutions.

Moral conflict can change scenarios – not merely battle within them.

4 comments on this post.
  1. Larry Dunbar:

    So you are saying Dr. Von is real and not your alter-ego.

  2. vonny:

    Just a clarification: ‘Leading Minds’ is not Gardner’s latest, but from 1995 I believe. I just discovered it recently.

  3. mark:

    Lol – no,no,no – Von is too smart and far too nice to be me

  4. Dan tdaxp:

    Tangentially related, Slashdot linked to an article on Steve Jobs and the leadership power of a good presentation