In early October, 2011, Herman Cain went from an also-ran in the U.S. Republican primary lineup to a front-runner. This was largely a result of one tactic—clear, bold leadership. The former head of Godfather’s Pizza’s bold flat tax proposal of 9% income tax, 9% sales tax, and 9% corporate tax appeals to voters for two reasons—it seems fair and is very simple. Communicating the proposal is a no-brainer.
Clear, simple communications are an invaluable tool as a leader. I remember well when the U.S. air traffic controllers went on strike on August 3, 1981. Initially I wondered what the issues were for the controllers to take such a drastic measure, and wondered if they had legitimate grievances. My sympathetic leanings were quickly reversed when President Ronald Reagan announced on TV that all striking controllers would be dismissed unless they return to work within 48 hours. He framed a complex issue in very simple terms: should public service employees who sign an agreement that they will not strike be allowed to go on strike? Hard to argue with that.
• Take a firm, bold stand when necessary
• Frame issues simply and clearly for easy communication
Keywords: leadership, communication