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- Abc News
As he took over the presidency, in 1933, unemployment started to fall and GDP began to rise;
the latter rose by 9.5% a year in his first term of office.
Although there was plenty of doubt about the route that Roosevelt took, there was no question about his desired destination,
whether ending the Depression or winning the second world war.
He communicated his message clearly and often—a lesson to modern bosses, even if they prefer Twitter to fireside chats on the wireless.
That made him popular enough with voters to remain at the helm for 12 years,
until his death in 1945—twice as long as shareholders in America tolerate a typical chief executive today,
and three times as long as they do in Britain. Although he was flexible on economic policy,
he was unimpressed by ideologies such as fascism and communism, and remained true to the core principles of the American enterprise.
Many executives would do well to emulate Roosevelt's confidence in his own judgment and his ability to convey it
(it helped that this confidence seldom proved unjustified).
Like Roosevelt, Churchill was supremely confident.
His political career contained numerous mistakes and many episodes of poor judgment,
not least when it came to his attitude towards citizens of British colonies.
He would not have lasted long as a modern chief executive, given his bad temper, excessive drinking and eccentric working hours.
He was never short of ideas but his subordinates learned to ignore most of them.
Like Steve Jobs, a similarly mercurial figure, the first part of his career ended in failure.
But as with Apple's founder, Churchill's other qualities won out.
His strategic insight was unrivalled, whether recognizing that Hitler was a threat to the world in the 1930s
or refusing a peace deal with Germany in the dark days of 1940.
He was canny in using his charm to get aid from Roosevelt before America entered the war—
and flexible when he accepted an alliance with Stalin's Russia, despite his lifelong anti-communism.
His bulldog attitude and powerful speeches inspired after a succession of mediocre leaders.
Clear strategic goals, flexibility in tactics and an ability to inspire others.
Those are three qualities that any executive or entrepreneur might usefully acquire. Bosses should read more history books.