Post-bin Laden speculation proves everybody has opinions on importance of executive communication

Now that Osama bin Laden is dead, what does it mean for Al Qaeda?

Rather than hear the speculation of Chuck Todd and Wolf Blitzer, I’d like to talk to the long-ago speechwriters at Chrysler Corp. about life after Lee Iaccoca, the executive communication pros at Southwest Airlines about Herb Kelleher, and the corporate communications chief at General Electric about Jack Welch.

No moral comparison, of course; but certainly strategic and tactical problems in common:

• How do you ensure an iconic leader’s influence remains even after he or she departs?

• How do you allow other charismatic leaders to emerge, and integrate their ideas and styles with those of the departed leader? (For the only replacement for an effective leader is another effective leader.)

At one level, it seems absurd to be considering these subjects on Al Qaeda’s behalf. On the other hand, I think we all believe that to a great extent, Al Qaeda’s future potency depends on its ability to solve these age-old, problems, essentially executive communication by nature.

Does it not?

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