Thursday, February 17, 2005

Howard Hughes and his "Eccentric Leadership"

::: to all our loyal bloggers --> SPOILER ALERT :::


::: thinking :::

Eccentric Leadership.

I hereby coin the turn of phrase (full well knowing I may already have been beaten to the punch).

I'll also make the rather bold eccentric move of my own and attempt a stab at a definition for this here bad boy:

Eccentric leadership is key leadership delivered through the repeated practice of wildly unconservative feats of bravado, grandiosity, and brilliance.

Not so hard, eh?


Howard Hughes -- billionaire Texan, unrepetant bonvivant, swashbuckling airman, and hardcore industrialist -- was one such eccentric dude.

For me, The Aviator was the third of the five Oscar-contending "best films," as I contine my personal quest to view all five in advance this year's installment of the Academy Awards.

L.I. bloggers all know of the Count's penchant for things Marty Scorsese. So it didn't take much cajoling to overcome my instinctual vomitorious reaction to Leonardo DiCaprio's method acting to get me to clamp down and watch this epic.


As if tattooing his movie with the essential reason for Hughes eccentricity, Scorsese opens up The Aviator with a proverbial "Momma's-the reason-I'm-like-this" theme.

We the $9.95 Canadian movie-paying public are instantly transported into the pained inner-world of the filthy rich and famous. In living (Techni)color, viewers gain a rapid grasp of what makes the legendary Hughes tick: money and, er, germs.

That's right, germs.

Without germs, Hughes can't lead. Without germs, g'head and remove "eccentric" from Hughes' eccentric leadership. Germs fuel his combustible creativity.


We here at Leadership Issues have dealt with various components of leadership since our inception.

Boldness is one of its hallmarks.
Risk-seeking another.

Hughes was all that, and so much more.

The world doesn't like Hughes just because he's utterly emblematic of success. The kind of success we Westerners aspire to. A paragon of wealth and the jewel of the capitalist system he is, to be clear. Though that's not the main reason why we revere him so.

We revere because he did it (Frankie would be proud) "his way." When it came to airplanes, Hughes knew few equals (surely did he give Juan Trippe at Pan Am more than a fair share of sleepless nights.) In the midst of an anxiety attack, the mere mention of sky life, joystick firmly in hand, the other resting on the throttle, would resurrect Hughes, Jesus-like, from a spiralling darkness into tizzies of near-apostolic vision.

Perhaps on a somberer note, our liking Hughes delves deeper into our Collective Unconscious. Our Western psyche dares not trifle with the idiosyncracies of any man, provided he crosses his corporate t's, dots his stock-trading i's, and neglects not to bilk for handsome profit.

A person earns the right to call himself successful if he does all of the above. We instantly dig him. Call him one of our own, even. Bend over backwards, we do. Forwards, sideways. Trip over ourselves in kneeling at his font of wealth.

I suppose it's why we accept Hughes' obessions.

Eccentric leadership, anyone?

-- Groovy


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