When A Leader Overreaches: JFK’s Pyrrhic Victory Over U.S. Steel
By Professor James Hoopes: When do you pick a fight—and how? These are uncomfortable questions, yet ones leaders often face in high-stakes situations with competitors and rivals. My research on the interplay between business and political leaders shows that there are rarely easy answers. For example, the well-known story of President Kennedy’s 1962 clash with US Steel is usually told in a way that favors the popular image of Kennedy as a skillful leader. However, as my discussion shows below, Kennedy picked a mistaken fight, then had to battle hard just to save face while accomplishing nothing substantial. Read more.