“Zero Visibility Possible” – Road sign in New Mexico
Have you ever seen this road sign, or one like it? It’s a road sign from a state highway in New Mexico, one of several that alert drivers in that state to the dangers that occur when a severe dust storm occurs. Scary when you think about it – driving conditions so poor that there is literally zero visibility.
This is a driver’s worst nightmare – and gives cause to the term ‘driving blind’. No idea what lies ahead, and perhaps even more fear of what may come up from behind. Just the thought sends goose bumps up my back.
For grins, I ‘Googled’ what to do when driving in a dust storm. As you would guess, advice all points to one logical approach: pull over, stop the car, and wait it out. The storm will eventually pass. Or at least you hope so, right?
“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
“We’ve all been there: We know we must talk to a colleague, our boss or even a friend about something we know will be at least uncomfortable and at worst explosive. So we repeatedly mull it over until we can no longer put it off, and then finally stumble through a confrontation when we could have had a conversation.” – Douglas Stone
Have you ever a situation where the action of one of your team members has a negative impact on the rest of the team? You know the kind of situation I’m referring to – when one of your team members isn’t carrying their weight. Or fails to follow through on their commitments. Or whose behavior is offensive, disrespectful, or simply counter-productive. 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
“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
“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.” – Henry Ford
“You learn as much from those who have failed as from those who have succeeded.” – Michael Johnson
“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
In several of my past messages, I’ve spoken of the importance of failure as a part of the growing experience of leadership. And I truly believe it is important. I also believe it is important to have a culture that supports its team members when failure occurs. To be clear, I am not advocating failure for the sake of failure, nor do I think you should be comfortable with failure as an option. The message has been more around the importance of learning lessons from that failure. 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