Friday, November 26, 2010

Premier Williams and His Legacy

Many people in Newfoundland and Labrador were stunned this week to discover that Premier Danny Williams is stepping out of politics effective December 3rd, in essence providing 8 days notice.

As he steps down, what is intriguing is the clamor around the legacy that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador claim the Premier is leaving.

The truth about analyzing someone’s legacy is that it can only be truly known in the future as people look back on the accomplishments of an individual. Today’s analysts have a bias one way or another and not all information needed to assess a legacy is available, therefore making it impossible to really know someone’s legacy when it is still being evaluated in the present.

The one unfortunate thing that Premier Williams has created is a vacuum in the leadership within his party.

One of a strong leader’s greatest responsibilities is to create the next generation of leaders; the next generation being smarter, more knowledgeable, more capable and able to take the current leader’s ideas further than the current leader ever envisioned.

Such leaders do not exist within the PC Party of Newfoundland and Labrador.  That’s not to say that they can’t be groomed but they are not there yet.

There has been much conjecture around whether Premier Williams’ ego would allow him to create the next generation of leaders who would be perceived as stronger leaders than he.  There have been suggestions that he felt that he didn’t have enough to work with within the party to create such leaders.

The reasons for the lack of groomed leaders to take over from the Premier are irrelevant.  The fact remains that the leadership void is there and the PC Party is saddled with a staggering load of outstanding work.

And with that load, Premier William’s legacy may be tainted as the governing party struggles to get on top of this workload.

If they fail and the government collapses then this will be Mr. Williams’ ultimate legacy as he never prepared them for continued success.

Premier Williams’ sudden departure is also intriguing, given that someone who works in a donut shop should probably give at least two weeks’ notice. 

When someone leaves as quickly from politics as he is, oftentimes there may be a scandal that is about to break or perhaps there is a serious illness not yet known to the public.

I hope for Premier Williams’ sake that neither of these are the case.  He recently had heart surgery and I hope there are no complications from this. 

If it turns out that he left politics suddenly to seize another opportunity for his own personal gain, then personal greed will have encouraged him to abandon his party and the people when they needed him most.

Only the historians of tomorrow will be able to accurately assess Premier Williams’ legacy and whether the things he has accomplished are of long-lasting, positive impact for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Until then, it’s not worth arguing over.  There is much that needs to be accomplished in the province.  Fighting over what someone has accomplished as he is leaving won’t get the current to-do list finished any faster.

The people of the great province of Newfoundland and Labrador must keep moving forward to create the positive future they are capable of creating and worthy of harvesting.

In service and servanthood,


Addendum: The story is that Premier Williams is leaving for private business interests.  To step aside from the role of Premier with only 8 days notice and to do so for personal gain is not the stuff that strong leaders are made of.  If a CEO guiding a Fortune 50 company did such a thing, we would be advocating a punishment of some type but in this case, the praise continues to pour in.  Such is the mystique of the unforgettable Premier Danny Williams.

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