The leader I have chosen to write my analysis papers is Hillary Rodham Clinton. She is a famous American politician from the Democratic National Party and a women rights activist with a law degree from Yale University. During her long political career, she served as secretary of state, senator from New York, first lady of the United States, and first lady of Arkansas (Clinton, 2018, About). In 2008, she first ran for the presidency but her failure to win most delegate votes lead her to concede her nomination. After losing to Mr. Barack Obama in the presidential election, she served as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 under him. Later, she ran for the presidency again in 2016 and became the first woman to earn a major political party’s nomination. After losing again, she founded an organization called Onward Together, that encourages people to organize, get involved, and run for office (Clinton, 2018, About, 19).
According to Mark Zuckerberg, “If you want to build something great, you should focus on what the change is that you want to make in the world.’ (Elkins,2016). One of the greatest traits of successful leaders is leading and managing change with least resistance from his/her followers. Failure to embark change will often result in the leader or organization become obsolete in the constantly changing modern world.
In this paper, I will first briefly discuss leading and managing change, problem management and decision making, consensus building, and negotiation, followed by an analysis on how Hillary Clinton has dealt with these types of situations in her public life. I will conclude this paper by summarizing how the traits of Hillary Clinton and knowledge gained from these units can be applied effectively in my current organization.
Leading and Managing Change
According to Henry Ford, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got” (Henry Ford, n.d.). This quote clearly explains the significance of change for a leader/organization to be effective. Change is not only necessary to keep up with the competition but also to innovate. Organizational change is defined as “an alteration in an organization’s alignment with its external environment” (Lussier & Achua, 2013).
The following are the recommended eight steps for implementing change successfully: establishing a sense of urgency, creating the guiding coalition, developing a vision and strategy, communicating the change, vision, empowering broad-based action, generating short-term wins, consolidating gains and producing more change and anchoring new approaches in the culture (Kotter, n.d.).
Hillary Clinton is a great strategist who helped her husband Bill Clinton on various issues, while she was the first lady. One great example of Hillary Clinton, demonstrating leadership in managing change is the way she handled the most recent health care bill (Obama Care) compared to the old health care bill which was originally introduced in 1993. To reform the national healthcare, President Bill Clinton established a task force with Hillary as in charge (Staff, V. 2015, April 11). Many people were not supportive of the decision to appoint Hillary who was not elected at that time. Sara Rosenbaum, a George Washington University professor, who helped in drafting the legislation for the bill said. “It was a terrible error to have the president doing what Congress was supposed to do. It was a misuse of the relationship between the legislative branch and the executive branch” (Staff, V. 2015, April 11). The failure of the bill to make into congress for voting undermined Hillary Clinton’s leadership abilities.
The latest health care bill which was passed by the Congress in March 2010 was very much improved compared to its predecessor. Geier, (pointed out the improvement in the latest bill and why it is successful. ‘In standing up for the principle of universality that is essential to social insurance, Sen. Clinton fought the good fight. If we are ever to have universal coverage, I expect that she will be vindicated on that score. (Geier, 2008). In my opinion, Hillary Clinton succeeded in her attempt to change the outdated health care plan by clearly articulating the reason for a change, staying true to her belief in spite of many difficulties, creating a clear path for success, and forming a guiding coalition of supporters and experts.
Problem Management and Decision Making
Problem management is the process which is responsible to manage the lifecycle of all problems (ITIL Foundation, n.d.). The objectives include identification of the root cause of the problem and determining an optimal solution to not only solve it but also prevent it from happening again. Depending on the severity of the problem this process may also include prioritization, categorization, and diagnosis.
All the successful leaders in the world are very good at managing problems and making correct decisions. ‘Decision-making skills are based on the ability to conceptualize situations and elect alternatives to solve problems and take advantage of opportunities’ (Lussier & Achua, 2013). The various types of decision-making models available are incremental, polis, garbage can, bargaining, participative and rational (Strategic Leadership Primer,2010).
As in the case of every great leader, all the decisions taken by Hillary Clinton are not ideal. Being married to one of the most charismatic presidents of the United States of America, she is faced with many challenges throughout her political journey. One great example of Hillary’s problem solving, and decision-making abilities can be understood by her way of handling the women’s conference organized by the United Nations in Beijing. In 1995 while she was the first lady, the white house advised her not to attend the world conference for women, fearing she would worsen the diplomatic relations which were already severed because of the Tiananmen massacre (Staff, V. 2015, April 11). However, Hillary Clinton who was determined to voice her opinion about the women’s rights gave her speech at the U.N meeting which turned out to be a great success. One famous line from her speech was ‘If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all'(Staff, V. 2015, April 11). Her decision to speak at the U.N turned out to be monumental for women not only in China but also all over the world.
The decision-making process of Hillary Clinton can be associated with the Polis model (Deborah Stone). The Polis model assumes inconsistencies in life where the political community is able to deal with less than comprehensive and reliable information. Decisions are made, and solutions formed with inducements, rules, rights, and powers as the driving forces (Strategic Leadership Primer,2010). Her duties as a secretary of state under President Obama requires shifting and redefining goals as the political situation dictates. Her decision to support Iraq war can be associated with Polis model which preaches making the preferred alternative appear to be the only feasible one. Even though she admitted later that her decision was wrong, it was the best decision based on the information she had (Staff, V. 2015, April 11).
Consensus Building and Negotiation
Negotiation is a process in which two or more parties are in conflict and attempt to come to an agreement (Lussier & Achua, 2013). The negotiation process includes the following stages: preparation, discussion, goal clarification, negotiate towards a win for all parties, agreement and finally implementation of a course of action (Lussier & Achua, 2013). Negotiation is the art of understanding each other’s interests and agreeing on something which is a win-win for all parties.
Hillary Clinton is one of the greatest negotiators in American politics. Her negotiation skills are at display during her work as a secretary of state where she negotiated with diplomatic officials of many countries on a variety of issues ranging from human rights, women rights, terrorism, and world peace. Hillary Clinton’s ability to negotiate is on display when she successfully negotiated with China, Russia, and the European Union to impose sanctions on Iran which in turn resulted in control of Iran’s aggression (Ralph, Wilson, Pesek, Alberta, & Shepard, 2015). Harry Reid, a senate democratic leader once said, ‘Nearly every foreign policy victory of President Obama’s second term has Secretary Clinton’s fingerprints on it’, which shows her ability to negotiate with other countries on foreign policy related issues (Ralph, Wilson, Pesek, Alberta, & Shepard, 2015). During her term as secretary of state, she restored the credibility of U.S.A especially after a string of foreign policies failures by the previous Bush administration (Ralph, Wilson, Pesek, Alberta, & Shepard, 2015).
After studying the units related to leading and managing change, problem management and decision making, and consensus building and negotiation and studying the traits of my leader Hillary Clinton, I have learned the importance of decision making in solving problems, the effectiveness of negotiation in resolving conflict, and recommended steps for implementing change effectively.
Being a structural engineer, I work with various teams involving architects, contractors, and mechanical electrical, and other engineers. I can use the various conflict resolution techniques learned in this course to negotiate with my project teams. In our field, it is very essential to have a good relationship as there is a very good chance we will be working together in the near future. In my current company, the technology used by our draft men is outdated and our company is reluctant to change, fearing loss of production due to training. I can apply the course knowledge to convince them to upgrade in the most effective manner. Finally, I can use the knowledge gained by studying my leader Hillary Clinton’s life and her actions when faced with a problem, to carefully analyze a situation, understand the consequences, make a right decision and avoid committing expensive mistakes in my professional life.
- 8 STEPS TO ACCELERATE CHANGE [Dr. Kotter]. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.kotterinc.com/8-steps-process-for-leading-change/
- A quote by Henry Ford. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/904186-if-you-always-do-what-you-ve-always-done-you-ll-always
- Clinton, H. (2018). www.hillaryclinton.com. Retrieved October 14, 2018, from https://www.hillaryclinton.com/about
- FElkins, K. (2016, September 02). Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg says the most successful entrepreneurs share 3 traits. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/02/facebook-mark-Zuckerberg-successful-entrepreneurs-share-3-traits.html
- Geier, K.A. (2008). Seven Ways Hillary Clinton Changed Our Politics. (06/2008). Retrieved from http://prospect.org/article/seven-ways-hillary-clinton-changed-our-politics
- Gerras, S. J. (2010). Strategic leadership primer. Carlisle Barracks, PA: Dept. of Command, Leadership, and Management, U.S. Army War College.
- Hillary Clinton. (2018, July 09). Retrieved from https://www.biography.com/people/hillary-clinton-9251306
- Lussier, R. N., & Achua, C. F. (2013). Effective leadership. Mason, OH: South-Western.
- Problem Management. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.greycampus.com/opencampus/itil-foundation/problem-management
- Ralph, E. F., Wilson, R., Pesek, W., Alberta, T., & Shepard, S. (2015, September 17). What Is Hillary’s Greatest Accomplishment? Retrieved from https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/09/carly-fiorina-debate-hillary-clintons-greatest-accomplishment-213157
- Staff, V. (2015, April 11). The 11 moments that define Hillary Clinton. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/2015/4/11/8383593/hillary-clinton-2016-campaign