Why Leaders Must Stand Their Ground

Do you stand firm in the changes you make?


Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, shares why leaders must stand their ground in order to implement change among those they lead.

He shares about when he first became mayor of New York City and worked to change the reputation of crime that existed in his community at the time. “I had to change the reality and make it clear that we were going to have a different set of rules,” explains Rudy.

Watch the interview between Rudy and Compton, California, mayor Aja Brown to hear how he changed the image of his community and the lessons leaders can learn from it.

Aja Brown: New York was known at one point as a very violent and unsafe city. So how did you deal with changing the image of your community?

Rudy: Well, first I had to change the reality and make it clear that we were going to have a different set of rules. Recent riots… when I came into office, we had had two major riots in the four years before I came in office. One at Crown Heights, one in Washington Heights, each one, four days. Part of the reason for that is part of the reason in Baltimore and part of the reason for the riot in Ferguson: because the police let the rioters vent for a period of time. They had what was called a venting period.

Governor Cuomo initiated a study of the Crown Heights riot and man who wrote it, Mr. Gentilly, I still remember it, wrote it. And he said the reason for that riot was the first day, they just let them loot all the stores. And I gave a speech when I became mayor immediately and I said we're going to have four years with no riots.

That doesn't mean no demonstrations. You can demonstrate all you want. You can demonstrate on the streets. You can't take the street. You can use the sidewalks. Streets are for cars, not for protesters. My ambulances have to get through the streets so I'm not going to have you stop somebody who has three minutes to get to the hospital and you stop them because you're holding a sign up. You can hold a sign on the sidewalk. But you can have the sidewalks. You can yell, you can scream, and you can call me Hitler if you want, which they did.

However, the first time you throw a rock, I arrest you. The first building you burn, I arrest you. The first car you scratch, I arrest you. You have a right to protest, you have no right to rampage, pillage, you don't have a right to commit a crime. And trust me, I have more police than you have.

Aja: I can imagine.

Rudy: And I used a little Clint Eastwood, who was famous then. I said, "Try me." They never did.

Rudy Giuliani

Rudolph W. Giuliani is the former Mayor of New York City. After joining the office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Giuliani rose quickly through the ranks, becoming the Chief of the Narcotics Unit ...

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