“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge…” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
NOTE: In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., on the anniversary of his birthday, I wanted to use his quotes to set up this leadership message. The equal rights movement lead by Dr. King will forever shape the world. But his teachings and the wisdom he shared through them are just as impactful.
Several of you have asked about the status and progress of my father’s recovery, so I thought I would provide an update while offering the lessons I have gained through this progress. For reference sake, my father was involved in an accident in October of 2013 – one in which the prognosis was grim. He suffered a cranial hemorrhage, the type that requires surgeon’s to remove part of your skull to relieve the pressure. This type of injury is similar to a massive stroke in that your brain sits in a pool of blood for a period of time before the pressure can be relieved. It can literally drown parts of the brain.
The result of the accident and the cranial hemorrhage left him initially paralyzed on the left side of his body. That was the reality we faced once he came out of his coma. Frankly, just the fact that he survived the ordeal was enough for us. Paralysis or not, I still had my father and I was beyond grateful.
But this isn’t a message about accepting a new reality. It’s a message about strength. About courage. About commitment. And about recognizing the new reality, but the determination to change it. Continue reading
“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.” – Norman Schwarzkopf
Last night I found myself in front of the TV watching NFL football games I cared nothing about, when one of my friends sent me a text and suggested I watch the movie “We Were Soldiers” (it was airing on TNT). I’d seen the movie before, but since my Texans had already lost their game and my Saints had pulled out a win in theirs, I figured it was worth watching again. I’m glad I did.
“We Were Soldiers” is a 2002 film that dramatizes the Battle of Ia Drang on November 14, 1965 (during the Vietnam War). In this battle, 400 American soldiers were dropped in to a battlefield to secure a position, only to find out the location was the base camp for a veteran North Vietnamese Army division of more than 4,000 men. After several days of fierce battle, the US soldiers had defeated an enemy ten times their size – but at a significant loss. A hollow victory for sure, but one which reflects the nature of that horrible conflict. Continue reading
“Like so many other aspects of life, teamwork comes down to mastering a set of behaviors that are at once theoretically uncomplicated, but extremely difficult to put in practice.” – Patrick Lencioni
“Success comes only for those groups that overcome the all-too-human behavioral tendencies that corrupt teams and breed dysfunctional politics within them.” – Patrick Lencioni
Our company recently developed a new leadership program – the Diversity Leadership Advantage Program (DLAP). The program was designed to help us further invest in the development of our top leaders, but with a focus on encouraging diversity both in terms of participants and their perception on how to become a more effective leader. Continue reading
“It was on Omaha Beach that the battle turned, and with it, history.”
“I was able to go there and vicariously contemplate what I doubt I would have had the courage to do — cross that beach under fire, and then return to the attack at the sea wall. I marvel at the men who did.”
“It is one thing to ask for sacrifice with an end in sight. But how much can you ask from your people when all there is for them is war and death, and there is no end?”
“It was not the generals and staff members who turned the tide on Omaha. It was captains and sergeants who made the difference.”
[above quotes are excerpts from George Friedman’s article, “Thoughts on Omaha Beach”. Full article is included following my message below] Continue reading
“The will is the soul of the work.” – Old German Proverb
My schedule this past week had me at the Contingent Workforce Strategies (CWS) conference in Berlin, Germany. The event was a tremendous success, and the interest in MSP and RPO is growing rapidly across Europe. Some of you know how passionate I am about the workforce solutions industry, so It is uplifting to see new customers embracing its value proposition. I am leaving Germany energized and excited the emerging contingent workforce management market developing in Europe.
You have no doubt noticed several of my leadership messages feature observations made during my travels. To be fair, I travel far too much (I am working to find a better balance). But I must admit that one of the benefits of my job is the opportunity to experience different cultures. I am one of those people who embraces those experiences. When I travel, I try to view life through their eyes. See things from their perspective. And find the lessons and the wisdom in their ways. Continue reading
“Only true champions come out and show their worth after defeat – and I expect us to do that” – Alex Ferguson, long-time Manager for the Manchester United football club
My travels have me in London today, which gave me the inspiration for this week’s quote and leadership message. After a weekend of watching soccer matches (or football as the rest of the world calls it), I think it is fitting to feature one of the most successful managers in soccer – Alex Ferguson – for my weekly leadership message. Tonight Alex Ferguson will lead his Manchester United team on the field for a game against Aston Villa, and a win will clench their 20th Premiere League championship.
First, a little about Manchester United (or “Man-U” as they are referred to here). As soccer goes, Man-U is probably one of the most storied franchises in the world. Founded in 1878, the club/team has more titles/championships than any other soccer franchise in the UK, including a record 19 league titles, 11 FA Cups, four league cups, and a dozen other titles including FIFA and UEFA World Cup championships. They are one of the wealthiest and widely supported soccer clubs in the world, recently valued at over $3 billion ($1.2 billion higher than the next most valuable sports team). Continue reading
“You spend a lot of time thinking about what to do when the time comes. I kept asking up above what was working. You needed a hole, you needed people to help you out.”
[Danica Patrick – comments from her Daytona 500 post race interview when asked about her strategy on the last lap]
Unless you haven’t picked up a paper or watched the TV this last week, you no doubt heard the headlines about this year’s Daytona 500. It was the first time in history that a female driver won the pole position for any NASCAR race. But this wasn’t just any NASCAR race – it was the Daytona 500, their most coveted event. Because of this, the hype for this year’s race was bigger than any other in history. Continue reading
Well, it’s finally over. The 2012 Olympics in London finished last night, with one of the most memorable closing ceremonies I’ve ever seen. As I sat and watched that ceremony, I couldn’t help but be struck by the power and beauty of the Olympic games. For one small moment in time a collection of athletes from around the world come together to represent the best in what their country has to offer. They do it for the pride. The pride that comes in working hard to achieve something. The pride that comes in succeeding where others can’t. And the pride that comes from overcoming obstacles, setbacks, and hardships to accomplish something great.
If you were like me, you spent several nights these past few weeks watching the games. It didn’t matter that the airing was time delayed, that the events had already been decided. It was just as dramatic to watch as if it was live. I found myself watching late into the night – Swimming, Gymnastics, Volleyball, Rowing, Diving – none of these sports I have ever participated in, but all of them captivating my attention. Continue reading