“Leadership is not magnetic personality; that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not ‘making friends and influencing people’, that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” – Peter F. Drucker
As a fresh graduate entering the business world, I was immediately fascinated by the concept of leadership. An ambitious young man, I wanted to be successful. I wanted to be the best I could be. It wasn’t that I wanted to be “the boss”, but I had this unquenched desire to lead. And so throughout my career I’ve taken note of different leadership styles and approaches in the hope I could develop one of my own, stealing “with pride” the best from others. Continue reading
“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think” – Albert Einstein
“No great improvements in the lot of mankind are possible until a great change takes place in the fundamental constitution of their modes of thought.” – John Stuart Mil
As I write this week’s leadership message, I sit 30,000 feet above the ground on a flight to Washington D.C. I’ve been invited to participate in a series of workshops tomorrow with The Hope Street Group, an initiative chaired by the U.S. Department of Education that strives to bring together the right institutions towards the common goal of developing tools and solutions at the complex intersection of workforce supply and demand. In other words, The Hope Street Group wants to develop a better way for our country to both understand the specific skills needs of our employers while bridging the gap for the development of the proper skills of potential job candidates in our communities. Continue reading
“There is no greatness without a passion to be great, whether it’s the aspiration of an athlete or an artist, a scientist, a parent, or a businessperson.” – Tony Robbins
“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” – Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch
“One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested.” – E. M. Forster
“As far as customers are concerned you are the company. This is not a burden, but the core of your job. You hold in your hands the power to keep customers coming back, perhaps even to make or break the company.” – Unknown
I write this week’s leadership message as I sit in a sidewalk café in Paris people watching and passing the time with my family. A once-in-a-lifetime vacation, I was able to bring my wife, daughter, and father- and mother-in-law with me on a tour through Europe. First Spain – to visit the home of my wife’s ancestors. Then Rome – to honor their Catholic upbringing and welcome in the new Pope. And finally Paris – a chance to see the city of love. One of the most beautiful cities in the world. And since my in-laws speak fluent French (at least the “Cajun” kind), this was an opportunity for them to ‘speak the local language’ in a foreign country. For them, this is a trip they would never have imagined taking. But thanks to my frequent flier miles and a bit of saving, my wife and I were able to treat them to this ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ trip. 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
“Your strength will not come from your place on some org chart, but from building trust and earning respect.” – Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook
“I’m an employee of Costco that just HAPPENS to oversee the wine category” – Annette Alvarez-Peters
I would guess that many of you have heard of or are members of Costco. My wife and I are members of Costco, and I would venture to say that we spend more money at Costco than at any other single retailer we frequent. We purchase everything from electronics and appliances, to groceries and other staples, to clothing, and even some large purchases like furniture. For those of you who are members, you’ll smile fondly when I describe the experience of wandering through a Costco, nibbling on their samples, and seeing what new products they have to offer this week. But my favorite thing to buy at Costco is wine…they have a fairly good selection of wine at some of the best prices I’ve ever seen. And I do so love my wine! Continue reading
“Thanks Dad. The party was cool.” – Amanda Wright
(OK, maybe she didn’t actually say this, but I’m sure she thought it) 😉
This past weekend was my daughter’s 13th birthday party. She and four of her best friends celebrated their ‘coming of age’ with a huge birthday bash for 100 of their closest friends. Forget the traditional parties where you have 8 to 10 of your closest friends over for cake and a magic show with Bozo the Clown. This is something entirely different.
So, as the trend goes (at least in the area of Houston we live in), throughout their 7th grade school year the girls and guys pack up in groups of 3-5 and host ‘13th Birthday’ parties for almost their entire grade level. The parents hire a DJ, rent out the local community or recreation center, and decorate like there’s no tomorrow. All for three hours of 13-year-old ‘partying’. 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
“I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.” [Zig Zigler]
I often stress the importance of work/life balance to my fellow team mates. So for this leadership thought posting, I thought I would feature that concept. And, given that we are deep in the middle of the summer holiday season and now in the middle of a holiday week (July 4th) whose Wednesday calendar placement seems to have given many of us the opportunity for a very long weekend break, this quote is perfect. And of all of the quotes I’ve seen about work/life balance, this one seems to put it all in the right perspective.
I’ve often used my leadership thought posting to impart some wisdom around how to be a better leader in all aspects of life. Clearly many of my past entries have focused around the importance of leadership in managing your teams, in working with your teammates, and in servicing your clients. Make no mistake, it is important for you to build a company of leaders that are known for the quality of their work and the character of their team.
But it is also important to seek a balance in the order of things. Much like the Tao religion/philosophy that seeks harmony with the yin and yang in all things, we aren’t going to be productive or effective in work if we aren’t at harmony with the other aspects of our life. Our health. Our family. Our friends. Our interests. These are all important as well.
OK, maybe that’s getting a little too deep for this week’s message, but you get the picture.