Howard Schultz, Source: AP

“Crisis management is the new black!” A good friend recently shared that revelation with me via email. I had to laugh, not only because I enjoy a witty fashion metaphor, but because I’ve also enjoyed watching crisis management come of age in the public consciousness. Even in this era of distrust and information saturation, people are warming up to the power of the sincere apology – a step toward redemption requiring that dollop of humility my partner Fred Garcia writes about. More and more, people are welcoming the forward arc of emotionally-intelligent, collaborative leadership on a global scale. Absolutely fabulous, I say!

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The current run of presidential primaries, and the surprising (to some) results so far, has me thinking further ahead – not about the elections of ’08, but about the elections of say, 2024, when today’s college students will first become eligible to run for presidential office.

Specifically, how will the digital footprints left by today’s younger generation affect the leaders of all types – political, business, social – of tomorrow? How will elections and interviews for top jobs be different when everyone will have the opportunity to parse the candidate’s Facebook (or other) profiles and blog entries from their early years? Real life reputational effects of online behavior are absolutely already being felt, but the effects of the accumulation of years of online history have yet to be seen at the highest levels of leadership.

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