SDCE: With where we are as an economy, with the focus very much on the next quarter's results and with tenures in leadership positions being so short, does that create an institutional or structural barrier that militates against the ability to exercise the kind of bold leadership that you're talking about?
Tompkins: It certainly can if we don't do inspirational leadership. But what inspirational leadership should allow us to do is offload from the leader's shoulders the day-to-day [tasks] and give the inspirational leader time to focus on the strategic. Those are the core primaries, and if we're really focusing in on those core primary activities, we do have time to handle quarter-by-quarter goals as well as the next year or two years or five years out.
SDCE: Is there any one or two companies that you would say are the leaders — that "get it"?
Tompkins: General Electric. GE under Jack Welch, and now under Jeffrey Immelt, has really, really understood the reality that yesterday's success was yesterday, and what am I going to do to achieve the next level of success and how do I reinvent myself. They've done that better than anyone, and they very definitely practice inspirational leadership. That's what all the GE training and the GE University is about. They clearly focus on core, and, in fact, if it's not core, they get rid of it immediately. And they probably do a better job on resilience planning than anyone else out there. So yes, I would say GE.
More information about "Bold Leadership for Organizational Acceleration" is available at www.tompkinsinc.com/boldleadership/default.asp.