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At the time of writing, 115 cardinals are locked in the Sistine Chapel as they try to decide which of their number should take up the challenge of leading the Catholic Church. It is a contest which seems to have gripped commentators across the world, almost regardless of their religious leanings. Facing the “winner” is the task of leading the Catholic Church away from the scandals of recent times and towards a new vision. This time around commentators are split on whether the new Pope should be more skilled as an administrator or a pastor.
Even putting recent events aside, the task faced by the new Pope is in many ways harder than that faced by leaders of multi-national corporations. We have previously written about the challenges faced by those who work across cultures and countries but at least if those differences are understood it is generally possible to “tweak” the product so that it meets the requirements of each consumer group. The Pope doesn’t have that luxury as he is faced with universally inspiring people across the world with the Catholic message.
In business terms, he will need to swiftly develop a strong vision, engage the hearts and minds of church workers and lay-people alike and take steps to move the culture back to one of strength. All this whilst managing relationships with the world outside the Church including other faiths. Who will the cardinals choose? By the time you read this they will probably have chosen. We wait to see.