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If you think you can tell which leaders did the best job with coronavirus, you are not trained to compare things rationally. I’ll give you a few reasons why, but there are dozens...
Trump used the “excuse” of the coronavirus to claw back manufacturing from China. Not every leader would have made that play. How many lives does an improved economy save in the long term? No one knows.
And how many decisions did Trump make that DISAGREED with the experts? I’m not aware of any.
Did Trump’s “messaging” on coronavirus kill anyone? I doubt it, but it isn’t something you can measure.
Did Trump’s pushing to reopen the economy get the risk-management balance right? We won’t ever know. But if all you do is count COVID-19 deaths, you only have half the story. Strong economies keep people alive too.
Was our preparation insufficient? Probably. Did it matter? Probably not much. We weren’t going to test our way out of this like some island nation.
Critics will tell me all the things Trump did wrong that are simply obvious to any observer. That isn’t a thing unless you can measure the impact. And we can’t. All we know is that leaders did different things and got different outcomes. We don’t know why.
Would the leaders of New Zealand or South Korea be as successful managing the crisis in the United States as they have been at home? We don’t know. But good luck to any leader trying to manage 50 American governors.
The point is that we will never know which leaders were skillful and which ones were lucky. The corporate world is mostly like this, and the smart CEOs take credit for good luck and blame the last CEO for bad luck.
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