Roger Porter Photo

Roger Porter

Appointment
IBM Professor of Business and Government
Office Address
79 John F. Kennedy St. Belfer Bldg 411
617-496-4036
Porter, Roger B. "The Long View of Leaders." BYU Magazine, Fall 2012.

Abstract

The book of Proverbs contains a short, powerful, and oft-repeated thought: “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18). Great leaders have a vision that guides their decisions. Let me explain by distinguishing two possible approaches to leadership. The first approach focuses on solving problems. The problem-solving leader identifies the most important problems at any given time. He or she seeks to understand them and to address them. As leaders discover, there is no shortage of problems that need to be solved. As soon as one is addressed, another requires our attention. Problem-solving leaders often develop great skill in diagnosing a problem, identifying a viable range of options for addressing it, and choosing from among those options the path that is likely to have the best ratio of advantages to disadvantages. At its essence, this problem-solving approach is reactive. It seeks to respond quickly and effectively to the circumstances at the time.