Rudy Giuliani offers techies leadership advice

ORLANDO – He’s not going to make any decisions regarding politics for two more years. He’s running a crisis management and security consultancy. He’s even writing a book.

Earlier this week, former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani told attendees here at software company Computer Associates International Inc.’s user conference, CA World 2002, that he is keeping his time filled.

The fireside chat with CA chairman Charles Wang and preceding keynote by Giuliani were the biggest hit of the conference. Giuliani touched on the events of Sept. 11 and how they have changed the world. He spoke about growing up a Yankees fan in Brooklyn, N.Y. and about overcoming adversity.

Giuliani also spoke of the marks of a good leader, giving his five principles of leadership.

“Number one: a leader has to have a philosophy, maybe not so formal – but a set of beliefs. You have to be able to set a direction.”

He added that his role model in this was former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who Giuliani said always knew what he wanted to do and what direction he was going. “It may have varied here and there, but you always knew how to follow him,” Giuliani said.

The second principle, he said, was to have courage. “Courage is the management of fear, not the absence of fear.”

He spoke of one firefighter, who was returning from the doctor’s office on Sept. 11, after being told his injury had not healed enough to go back to work yet. Upon hearing what had happened, this firefighter, according to Giuliani, went to a nearby fire department and took someone’s suit. He went to the World Trade Center site later lost his life. However, he had left a note asking the person whose suit he stole to tell his mom, dad and sister that he loved them. He had never left a note before.

“I know he was afraid, but he was managing his fear,” the former mayor said.

Giuliani said the third principle for leadership was to be prepared. “A good leader is not a spontaneous person necessarily. They understand what is going on and try to learn as much as they can about what they are doing,” he said.

“I now believe relentless preparation is vital for any crisis in life.”

Number four is teamwork. Giuliani said people have to know that they cannot do it all on their own. “We need the help and the expertise of others. You have to know your strengths and your weaknesses,” he said.

He said when he was mayor he had to look to others to teach him about debt reduction, to give him the expertise he lacked.

“Number five is communication,” he said. “People will take a politician, a CEO and give them courses on how to speak and fix their hair. But communication is really about talking to people.”

He said that if someone knows how to lead and knows what they are talking about, then they will be able to lead effectively. “Or you will have to manipulate. And if you have to do that, then they will figure it out.” He offered a quiz people could do if they want to know what the leadership in their organization is like.

“Do people go to the leader for information that is important for running the business, winning the game? Or do they go to the leader because they have to? If it’s the second one, then there is something off. If it’s the first one then the leader is doing (the five principles).”