One of the most remarkable teaching moments in organizational behaviour is perhaps coming to a close. For years now Bernanke has been in the odd position of implicitly denouncing his life’s work.
Bernanke spent his academic years studying the great depression. His conclusion? That occasionally recessions are bizarre demand-side beasts that monetary policy can mitigate. There may well only be a few of these episodes in history: the depression, Japan in the 90s and… today.
It’s some kind of cosmic miracle that a man with his background is in charge of the fed. He’s the Chosen One, in the right place with the right skills at the right time. If only someone with his understanding were in charge of the fed in the 30s! Or running the BOJ!
Well maybe not. What we’ve seen instead is a man forced by organizational politics to abandon what he (probably) sees as the truth. Publicly Bernanke’s job is to be the voice of consensus, no matter what his private beliefs are. He has the odd distinction of being someone whose private beliefs are extremely well known. How… inconvenient.
Enter a mystery man:
Mr. Robinson, the managing partner of Vantage Leadership Consulting, a Chicago strategic talent-management firm, has been a frequent visitor to the Fed chairman’s office this summer.
Though Mr. Bernanke’s schedule is generally crammed full of gatherings with staff, other policy makers and prominent figures in academe and finance, the Fed chief met four times with Mr. Robinson between May 9 and July 20, according to Mr. Bernanke’s monthly calendars of appointments, obtained through public-records requests. He also met twice with the Fed chairman in 2011.
A 58-year-old licensed psychologist, Mr. Robinson specializes in helping companies foster leadership, both in working with firms to select leaders and through executive coaching, according to the Vantage website….
While his work varies with each organization, Mr. Robinson said three decades in the business have underscored a few basic principles.
“We spend a lot of time trying to help people understand organizations don’t function like individuals,” he said. Workplace politics and an employee’s reputation, for example, can play a part in company dynamics.
And Mr. Robinson emphasized the importance of getting the right people in charge.
“Leaders cast long shadows,” he said. “You cannot overestimate the impact of a leader.”
And perhaps such leadership has been taught?