The Lead: Naipaul, China’s Online Lending Crisis, Man Steals Plane

The Lead, AchieveForum’s weekly brief of leadership news and insights, provides quick clarity into relevant headlines and straight-forward analysis for applying effective leadership tools and techniques.

Nobel Prize-Winning Author Dies at 85

Surrounded by loved ones at 85 years old, V.S. Naipaul died in his London home. Naipaul was born in Trinidad, and as the author of the novels A Bend in the River and A House for Mr. Biswas, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001. Author Paul Theroux said “he will go down as one of the greatest writers of our time. He also never wrote falsely. He was a scourge of anyone who used a cliché or an un-thought out sentence. He was very scrupulous about his writing, very severe, too.”

Our View: Writing lends itself well to preserving your memory, but you don’t need to be an author to leave a lasting legacy. Leaders can develop a legacy-driven mindset by characterizing their career over the last ten years and asking themselves “what is the story I would tell others about my legacy?” Then they should ask themselves if the same narrative would hold true if others told the story? Based on the answers to these questions, leaders should plan for the next ten years and make the appropriate changes so that the narratives align. Further Reading

China’s Online Lending Crisis

Looking for more lucrative returns than those of conventional banks, many mom-and-pop investors in China turned to online peer-to-peer lending platforms. Though the Chinese government originally encouraged the growth of the sector, it is now trying to repair the misrepresentation and criminality that ensued. Tighter regulations are being imposed and many peer-to-peer lending sites are shutting down.

Our View: How well business leaders adhere to their industry’s regulations creates ripples of influence throughout their organization, industry, and even back to the regulations themselves. The function of an effective regulatory system in growing the economy has interested researchers and practitioners greatly in recent years. Research studies suggest a strong causal link between regulatory quality and economic performance, so business leaders should be active participants in bettering the regulations that affect them. Further Reading

Man Steals and Crashes Plane

An airport ground worker named Richard Russell stole a commuter plane from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and died crashing it on the small, sparsely populated Ketron Island. Military jets trailed the stolen plane while it was in the air, and a further investigation is underway that includes examining Russell’s blog and social media posts.

Our View: While prevention is always preferable, investigating catastrophes after they occur is critical to understand what went wrong and how to stop it from happening again. Remember that avoiding taking ownership for mistakes is a terrible way to lead. Leaders must speak the hard truths about what went wrong even when it is uncomfortable to do so. It may seem counterintuitive to reward people for bringing up bad news, but positive culture shifts happen when leaders reward those who voice the problems they see. Further Reading

Recent Business Tax Cut

The recent business tax cut will be falling short of the promised 6 to 7 percent bump up in wages and reach only a 1.5% increase in individual wages in the short-term. Over the course of a few years, it’s predicted that these tax cuts will have a greater positive effect on wages.

Our View: One mark of a great leader is their knack for managing short-terms wins with a long-term vision. These leaders must have a strong foundational understanding of their ideal plan, be able to take definitive action, and perhaps most importantly, be able to communicate the timeline of their plan to inspire followership. Find ways to make incremental changes that keep your team motivated and working towards your collective long-term goals. Further Reading

China and U.S. on Higher Tariffs

China is debating a U.S. tariff hike on solar panels. A formal complaint was filed with the World Trade Organization (WTO) that the 30 percent tariffs announced in January improperly help U.S. producers in violation of WTO rules.

Our View: Finding common ground that spans nations is challenging. Barriers to achieving win-win outcomes abound and span everything from language and geographical barriers to cultural and political barriers. In order to be a truly global leader, you need to understand the factors that shape international interactions in your business and examine the cross-country differences and their effects. Further Reading

Related AchieveForum Resources: Financial Services