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Tackling problems

Interim managers solve problems when it matters most.

Criticizing is easy. Having the courage to shape things and lead change is an achievement. If you don’t even try, you’ve already lost.

Sometimes it’s exciting to take a look at historical personalities in order to gain inspiration for the present.

Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt (1858-1919) served as the 26th President of the United States (1901-1909). In 1906 he became the first American to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

He is assessed by historians as a modern and progressive US president. Because of his domestic policy, Roosevelt is often viewed as the first progressive US president, which later included Woodrow Wilson (New Freedom), Franklin D. Roosevelt (New Deal) and Lyndon B. Johnson (Great Society). His portrait can be found on Mount Rushmore next to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.

On April 23, 1910, he gave a famous speech at the Sorbonne University in Paris, often referred to as “The Man in the Arena” speech. A charismatic hymn to people who want to make things happen. Here is an excerpt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,

  • whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly;
  • who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
  • but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;
  • who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
  • and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Thoughts that fit well in turbulent times.

What do you think? Isn’t it a shame to waste time complaining?


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The full speech can be found on The American Presidency Project website. Address at the Sorbonne in Paris, France: “Citizenship in a Republic”, April 23, 1910

President Theodore Roosevelt