Lee Iacocca’s Nine Cs- Prescriptions for Leaders

During the early part of my professional career in automotive industry, some names were synonyms of management guru. Lee Iacocca was one. His turnaround of Chrysler with a federal assistance that was the highest in history made him a pioneer. LEE IACOCCA, the former CEO of Chrysler became a legendary figure in his lifetime.

He has preferred nine points – not 10, as he was afraid that people would accuse him of trying to become Moses.

The 9Cs make a leader stand out from the crowd. This appeared in an article in Times of India.


Curiosity A leader has to show Curiosity. He has to listen to people outside the ‘Yes, sir’ crowd. He has to read voraciously. Thomas Jefferson once said,” Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate for a moment to prefer the latter.”

Creative A leader has to be Creative, go out on a limb, be willing to try something different. You know, think outside the box. Leadership is all about managing change – whether you’re leading a company or leading a country. Things change, and you get creative. You adapt.

Communicate A leader has to Communicate. Communication has to start with telling the truth, even when it may be painful.

Character A leader has to be a person of Character – knowing the difference between right and wrong and having the guts to do the right thing. Abraham Lincoln once said, ”If you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

Courage A leader must have Courage. Courage in the twenty-first century doesn’t mean posturing and bravado. Courage is a commitment to sit down at the negotiating table and talk. If you’re a politician, courage means taking a position even when you know it will cost you votes.

Conviction To be a leader you’ve got to have Conviction – a fire in your belly. You’ve got to have passion. You’ve got to really want to get something done.

Charisma A leader should have Charisma. Charisma is the quality that makes people want to follow you. It’s the ability to inspire. People follow a leader because they trust him.

Competent A leader has to be Competent. You’ve got to know what you’re doing. More importantly, you’ve got to surround yourself with people who know what they’re doing.

Common Sense You can’t be a leader if you don’t have Common Sense. I call this Charlie Beacham’s rule. When I was a young guy just starting out in the car business, one of my first jobs was as Ford’s zone manager in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. My boss was a guy named Charlie Beacham, who was the East Coast regional manager. Charlie used to tell me, ” Remember, Lee, the only thing you’ve got going for you as a human being is your ability to reason and your common sense. If you don’t know a dip of horseshit from a dip of vanilla ice cream, you’ll never make it.”

Is the advice not a good one providing the starting point for all young leaders?

Why do so many of our young MPs- lies dormant and the people who have chosen them hardly get any benefit? They are just waiting for someone to tell what is expected out of them?

Can some young managers/leaders share their experiences for the benefits of the readers at large?

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