Five Leaders Done In by Their Own Troops

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In Steven Snyder's latest book, he explores how leadership is a very challenging role that has no easy answers and a myriad of complexities and frustrations -- enough to test the most seasoned and hardy souls.

As a more entertaining but relevant look at the challenge of leadership, we compiled this list of five great military leaders who were killed by their own troops (the ultimate leadership challenge, we think, is to survive your own employees):

1. Captain Yevgeny Golikov
On June 13, 1905, the crew of the Russian cruiser Potemkin mutinied as a result of the poor quality of meat served on the ship. The Captain, whom many felt did not take the crew's demands seriously and treated them poorly, was seized by the mutineers and thrown overboard.

2. Nadir Shah
As the emperor of all lands occupied by the Persians in the early 18th century, Shah had defeated the Indians, Afghans, Mongols and even the Turks. However, he was known to be despotic and cruel and when his own military bodyguard murdered him in 1747, there was widespread approval of his fate.

3. Captain Pedro de Urzua
In 1559, Pedro de Urzua led an expedition of Spanish soldiers to the Amazon basin in search of the mythical golden city of El Dorado. After two years of searching, they were unable to discover any sign of the city and his men mutinied and killed him under the leadership of Lope de Aguirre.

4. Colonel John Finnis
On May 10, 1857, John Finnis, at that time commander of the 11th Native Regiment of the British Indian Army in Meerut, India, was informed that his troops were occupying the main parade ground. Finnis mounted his horse, went to the parade ground, and delivered a harsh lecture to his troops about their supposed insubordination and insulted them. The Indian soldiers responded by shooting and killing him, thereby triggering the Sepoy Mutiny.

5. Captain Lashkevich
In Petrograd (now St. Petersburg) on March 12, 1917, Captain Lashkevich commanded his soldiers of the Volynsky Regiment to fire on street demonstrators. His troops refused, and when he pressed them further, they shot and killed him instead. This marked a critical point in the Russian Revolution because the Volynsky Regiment then became the first Russian military unit to turn against the state and join the revolutionary forces.

Moral of these stories: leadership can be deadly.


Five Complementary Forms of Currency That Work

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In Bernard Lietaer and Jacqui Dunne's book Rethinking Money, the authors reveal both the devastation caused by our current monetary systems and ways new currencies are being designed to repair that damage.

Here are just five examples of complementary or cooperative currencies that have made a difference in the world:

1. Blaengawr, South Wales. The small rural village of  Blaengawr, South Waleswhich previously suffered from high unemployment and a bleak future, totally transformed itself within the space of ten years. Following the closure of its coal mining pits in the mid-1980’s, decay and blight set in, as there was no formal employment to replace that of the mines. On the Welsh index of material deprivation, the former mining village was 128th on the scale of 1,800 communities with one being the worst in the country. Today following the introduction of a local currency and timebanking, the rural community stands in 735th place climbing more than 600 places over that period of time.

2. Various locations throughout Japan. The fureaikippu system in Japan provides elderly or handicapped people with any services not covered by the official national healthcare program. Its units are accounted for in hours of service. In what amounts to a healthcare time-savings account, caregivers who provide for the elderly in the fureai kippu system accumulate credits and may draw on these in a variety of ways. They may use this currency themselves if they are ill, or they may elect to electronically transfer part or all of their fureai kippu credits to parents or relatives who require care and may live in another part of the country. Currently there are an estimated 387 fureai kippu systems now operational throughout the country.

3. Switzerland. The WIR banking system and currency in Switzerland has been in operation for over 70 years and is responsible, by in large, for the country’s legendary economic stability. The WIR currency  -- a type of barter-currency -- circulates among businesses in parallel with the national currency. Participants can borrow secure lines of credit from the cooperative in WIR currency at low interest rates ranging from one to one and a half percent. All such loans need to be backed by inventory or other assets. 

4. Rabot, Belgium. Rabot is an immigrant district in Ghent, the fourth largest city in Belgium, and is the poorest community in the entire region. Many inhabitants wanted to have access to a few square yards of land for growing vegetables and flowers. The city-owned land in the neighborhood included a site where an old factory had been demolished. This land was divided up into plots measuring four square meters each, and  became available to rent on an annual basis at the cost of 150 Torekes, a newly introduced local cooperative currency. This currency can be earned by performing tasks from a long list of urban agricultural improvements and beautification activities. 

5. Your wallet. The most recognized example of a complementary currency is frequent flyer miles. These so-called loyalty currencies are the largest cooperative currency system in existence today. Since American Airlines introduced the first of these programs more than 30 years ago as a marketing promotion, there are currently some 92 airlines issuing miles.  Increasingly, frequent flyer miles are redeemable for a variety of services besides airline tickets, such as long distance and mobile phone calls, hotels, cruises and catalog merchandise.  They have developed into corporate scripa private currency issued, in this case, by airlines. In fact, about 54 percent of miles are not earned from flying. Instead, credit cards that offer bonus miles with purchases have become the most popular way to earn frequent flyer credits.