I had a call recently from a close friend of mine, employed as a CEO in a company owned by various shareholders, and who was complaining about being undermined by all and sundry in the company.

It was also around the same time that I found out that actress Meryl Streep had won the Golden Globe award for best actress in her portrayal as Margaret Thatcher in the film called ‘The Iron Lady’.

I was actually surprised about the film winning any award.

This was because there were much criticism about the film’s focus on her character as a person …. as opposed to the substance of her leadership.

The fact that Meryl Streep won the award vindicates the makers of the film in concentrating on Thatcher’s character …….. as it was precisely that character which led to her downfall in 1990.

And it was then that I decided to relate to my friend the background of the Thatcher story and how he could learn from her experience.

Possibly many in corporate Malaysia could learn from Thatcher’s experience bearing in mind the tumultuous experience expected in the latter part of 2012.

I related to my friend a British television documentary that focused on events leading to Mrs Thatcher’s downfall in 1990, where it was said that in her removal (as Prime Minister), “she discovered to her cost that  a British Prime Minister cannot govern without the consented support of colleagues and that her downfall was the inevitable result of her tragic sense of self sufficiency.”

This ‘self sufficiency’ emanated from the power that she obtained on being elected as leader of the Conservative Party in 1975. Many have had the experience of getting such power ….. but only those who have been intoxicated with such power that they will never willingly abandon it.

It is therefore crucial that ‘reality checks’ be carried out regularly and the need to obtain a wider group of advisers …… as a form of check and balance amongst the various interested groups of people.

Many have learnt, to their own detriment, that they get to hear what they want to hear ….. instead of what is actually happening on the ground!

And just like Mrs Thatcher, most will realise, albeit too late, that it was, as said by the woman herself, “TREACHERY WITH A SMILING FACE”  that brought them down …… committed by the very people she trusted.

I also recall reading about one of Joan of Arc’s famous quote …..”I FEAR NOTHING BUT TREACHERY.”

The bottom line?

As the words ‘bottom line’ suggest, one has to know the real score prevailing …… a score that is fluid and constantly changing.

I hope my friend ….. and others ……. will be better prepared for the challenges ahead!

Watch this short report about Mrs Thatcher’s political assassination:-


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