When the president needs sage adviceThe chairman of a large corporation always put on a stern face and yelled at everybody so that his staff was often intimidated. Staff meetings were stiff and rigid. Most held their tongue in the presence of the chairman.
“Sir, if you could just smile, the atmosphere would be much more cheerful . . .” the staff wanted to say, but they were afraid of the nasty reply they were sure to get. Who would dare hang a bell on the cat? One day a member of the staff suggested consulting an advertising company about the issue.
It came up with a solution, after some consulting, and submitted a report to the chairman, saying, “Your warm and cheerful leadership could enhance the employees’ working spirit, thus achieving higher business efficiency and elevating the company’s business ranking.”
The next day, the chairman began to change his expression. He smiled and laughed, often asking his secretaries whether he looked pleasant. This is how the chairman came to be the cheerful person he is today. In truth, the company’s sales were said to have increased and its business ranking rose.
President Roh Moo-hyun has pained the people with his words from the day he took office four years ago and the situation now is no different from then. The people prefer not to listen to him anymore, but the president refuses to take heed. He seems to have pledged to go his own way whatever others might say. The president is in a much more serious situation, but as in the case of the chairman mentioned above, a consultant is needed in the last year of his term. Who will do the consulting and the persuading? It will be tricky, even for the prime minister and the president’s closest friends.
There’s only one solution. Respected historians or philosophers can move the president’s heart. In the old days, the president used to ask scholars in history or philosophy for advice on the leadership and management of the country.
If the president is on the wrong track, they might be the only ones with the wisdom to control his words and actions. Whoever truly advises the president today should suggest that he hear from the insight of the veterans.
Kim Soo-in, head of media department of KPR
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