A report in yesterday's New York Times about John Kerry's decision-making style includes this observation about Kerry's inability to take a position and stick to it: "Some aides and close associates say Mr. Kerry's fluidity is the mark of an intellectual who grasps the subtleties of issues, inhabits their nuances and revels in the deliberative process."
I worked for a CEO who might have been described in just the same way: He, like Kerry, fancied himself an intellectual and sought every nuance of every issue before making a decision -- which he would then almost invariably regret if not reverse. He, like Kerry, mistook his "style" for nuance and intellectual rigor, when it merely betrayed his self-doubt and lack of consistent principles.
My former CEO ran a think tank and was very well compensated for all of his intellectual pains. Kerry would do the country a great favor if he would retire to a similar sinecure.