Posted by: David Stewart | April 26, 2011

John Hancock: the Donald of his day

What are the qualities you look for in a leader? We all get the chance to lead or to follow. Doesn’t matter if this is in work, family, social networks or other organizations. Sometimes the best leaders are truly awful managers or executives. And sometimes the best leaders come from the most unusual walks of life.

When I was in Boston last week, I was enmeshed in the New England branch of American history. Something I hadn’t seen so strongly since I was in school.

  • Yankees as a group are renowned for their technological innovation, hard work and progressive politics. (As well as their tasty seafood). They are not known for their friendliness or gentility.
  • The people I encountered in Boston went out of their way to be accommodating, friendly and helpful. Most were rabid sports fans – and they have a town where professional and amateur sports are plentiful and excellent.
  • The reputation for economic strength seems to be more in New York, political strength to Washington and high tech to California.

Back in the late 1700s, John Hancock was the leading citizen of Boston. And some might say, of the country.

  • Before his political career, Hancock was one of the wealthiest men in the country. Being a wealthy executive doesn’t prevent you from being a political leader, I suppose.
  • Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence with an immense signature. Reminded me of a lot of "Trump" things like "Trump Tower" in New York City with a big gold "T" in front.
  • Hancock held the highest office of his nation, President of the Continental Congress. He also served as Governor of Massachusetts.
  • And today the highest landmark in Boston is the John Hancock Tower.

But John Hancock never had his own reality show.

That really big signature has me wondering.

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