In fact, the concept of making something bad a little better rather than seeking one heroic solution seems to define the essence of The Athena Doctrine and is indeed demonstrative of a less arrogant and elite-centric leadership model than the usual. It also provides an interesting counterpart to the “shock doctrine” described by Naomi Klein in her book of the same name, which details how the chaos that follows financial and economic disasters can be exploited by those seeking to impose control on struggling communities via clean-slate solutions. Gerzema and D’Antonio offer examples that are admittedly scattershot, but in doing so, they may provide us with a viable and valuable approach to creating change.
- Sally Helgesen is a contributing editor of strategy+business. She is an author, speaker, and leadership development consultant, whose most recent book is The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work (with Julie Johnson; Berrett-Koehler, 2010).