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GRE Issue 8: Those In Power Should Step Down After Five Years - With A Free Essay Review



Claim: In any field—business, politics, education, government—those in power should step down after five years. Reason: The surest path to success for any enterprise is revitalization through new leadership. Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim and the reason on which that claim is based.

The statement claims that in any field, ranging from business to government, those in power should step down after five years since the surest path to success for any enterprise is revitalization through new leadership. Certainly, I fully agree that the surest path to success for any enterprise is revitalization. When any enterprise stagnates and cannot reach another higher level of achievement, it is always because there is nothing done to revitalize the still or downhill situations.

Although revitalization can lead enterprise to achieve success, we cannot arbitrarily allege that the surest path to success is revitalization through new leadership. Under different situations, the means of revitalization are likely to be distinctive. In some cases, due to the lack of advanced equipment and experienced staff in some corporations, a new and famous leader taking the place of the old one can hardly make the corporations better. To revive corporations, sometimes, the replacement of equipment as well as experienced staff will make the companies work more effectively and efficiently than just changing a leader. Thus, whether the best way of revitalization is to bring new leadership or not depends on certain circumstances. If the incumbent leader is not insightful and makes several serious mistakes in decisions, turning the enterprise from promising to bad, maybe revitalization through replacement of the current leader is a best choice.

However, even though we accept the reason that the surest path to success for any enterprise is revitalization through leadership, we cannot thus claim that in any fields, those in power should step down after five years.

Throughout history, some leaders ought to step down after even one year, while other prestigious and prescient leaders held their positions until they are very old or even died. Steve Jobs is an excellent of this point. Because of his unique insightfulness and management skills, after releasing the products including IPad and IPhone, Apple Company thrived from near bankruptcy, becoming the greatest company in the world. Instead of letting Steve Jobs step down from his position as CEO after five years, many people even hoped that he could continue to run his company for a long time, leading Apple Company to reach unprecedented attainments. Another instance is about Franklin Roosevelt who was president for 12 years under special circumstances of Great Depression and World War Two. With his proper policies, people in America defeated the Nazi and overcame the recession.

Thus, both words “any field” and “five years” are too absolute with respect to alteration of leader. In this case, the better way to handle change of leader may vary according to the performance of incumbent leaders. If the leaders at present are eminent and canny, able to make enterprise proceed to success, they can stay even after five years. If the leaders are poor at tackling complications the enterprise encounters, rendering enterprise steadily worse, they should be replaced earlier than five years. Or if the leaders’ performances are mediocre, maybe they should step down after five years and let others try to do better.

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ESSAY REVIEW

Following your restatement of the prompt, which is unnecessary (but it's only one sentence, so it hardly matters), you explain why you agree that "the surest path to success for any enterprise is revitalization," but your explanation only applies to enterprises that are "stagnating." The reason offered for the proposition in the prompt might lead one to imagine that someone making such a proposition assumed that stagnation is inevitable, but there is no reason for you to make the same assumption (or if you do have a reason for thinking stagnation is inevitable, you ought to reveal it.).

In the rest of the essay, you offer two reasonable arguments here to explain the extent to which you agree with the proposition. You argue that there are possibly different ways of revitalizing an enterprise, so it's not always necessary to change leaders, and you argue that some leaders should stay in power longer than five years, and some for less time than that. The general form of your argument, then, is that there can be no universal rule to cover all cases, and it would be a good idea to make the general form of your argument explicit when you can. You support your first argument with the claim that certain enterprises can be revitalized by changing equipment or hiring experienced staff. That seems reasonable. You support the second argument by offering two examples of leaders who remained in power much longer than five years and oversaw successful enterprises. Those examples also seem reasonable.

So I think your argument is okay, and the only question you need to ask is how can you make the argument better, where "better" usually means even more complex or more nuanced? The proposal is that leaders should step down after five years, so you need to ask why that might be a good idea in general and whether there are situations where implementing the rule would be a bad idea.

Your answer to the first question is a bit vague. You need to specify why having the same person or persons in power might lead to stagnation (e.g., leaders might get tired or less enthusiastic over time; their powers of motivation might dissipate through familiarity with their style of leadership; new leaders may feel they have much to prove and so may work harder; sometimes, people just run out of ideas; it may be that the longer someone is in power, the greater the risk of complacency or even of corruption; and so on).

You are on the verge of answering the second question with your two examples (Steve Jobs and President Roosevelt) but you don't actually explain why it was a good idea for such guys not to step down (which is different from citing historical facts in order to prove that, in those specific cases, not stepping down led to positive outcomes). There are several possible reasons why it might not be a good idea for a leader to step down: great leaders are rare, and if you have one, it is better to keep them than to replace them for the sake of novelty in leadership; changing leaders introduces greater uncertainty about the future of operations, and is therefore a risk; leaders who stay in positions of power have important experience that new leaders may not have; over time, those in power may acquire relationships with others (customers or service providers, for example) that help in the smooth operation of an enterprise.

As you can see, it's fairly easy to come up with a slew of arguments once you ask the right questions, and there are probably many other arguments that could be advanced both for and against the proposition. Your task in writing an essay like this is not to identify all possible arguments, but you do need to ask the right questions.

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: hahaxiao66
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