“Or, I could be the better person…” – My daughter, Amanda Wright
These were the seven words my daughter said to me, words that immediately stopped the conversation and left all of the adults in the car in a shameful silence – literally!!! Not a single one of us had a good response to these prophetic words.
My daughter’s comments came following advice we parents had given her about ‘getting even’ and ‘setting things straight’. You see, my daughter had been the victim of hurtful behavior from one of her friends. The type of behavior and comments you know aren’t true. Meant only to make someone else look better or to manipulate the situation. It was the behavior that so often occurs with teenagers.
As parents, it’s easy to get caught up in the motion of a situation like this. Your first reaction is to come to the side of your child – to defend them – to set things straight. “Do the same thing to her,” we suggested. “Let her know how it feels.”
“Or, I could be the better person…”, she replied.
If only we had the wisdom of a child. The perspective they can bring to such a situation. The ability to put aside our feelings and draw upon the principles and values we were taught at such a young age. I marvel at the clarity in which they can often bring to such events. Continue reading
“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
“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” – Chinese Proverb
“The man who moved a mountain was the one who began carrying away small stones.” – Chinese Proverb
It’s that time of the year again, the time in which managers sit down with their team members and provide feedback on their respective performance over the prior year. And while these reviews should merely be a confirmation of performance feedback that management provides throughout the year, they are an opportunity for a deeper discussion on the impact of that performance and the trajectory it foretells for us as individual contributors.
Understanding one’s performance in the recent past is always helpful. But what I’ve found to be more important in these reviews are the discussions around professional development – the opportunity it provides for each individual to establish a formal development plan and improve their performance as a member of the team while positioning them for future growth as an individual. 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
“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.” – Anonymous
“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” – Anne Lamott
Today’s message is one of courage and perspective. It is a message that will both tug at your heart yet inspire you. It’s a message of perspective, and how things can change in an instant. It’s a message that no amount of planning can prepare you for what life might throw your way. But it is also a message to recognize the strength we all have inside us – if we only knew how to tap in to it. Continue reading
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton
I recently had the privilege to speak to a group of young African American boys about leadership and what it takes to be successful. This particular program (put together and hosted by our own Rick Rodgers) was designed to help these young boys develop the skills necessary to become tomorrow’s leaders. It included a number of presentations with respected business leaders in the community (CEOs, CFOs, etc), as well as a group project to develop a business plan for a potential endeavor. In short, it was a multi-day course that will no doubt enrich the lives of these young boys. 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
“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.