Friday, January 27, 2017

Keep HOPE Alive!

In reality, I’m a pretty simple guy who likes to keep things as uncomplicated as possible. Life is convoluted enough without adding layers of minutia to confuse issues past resolution.  I suppose I owe this way of thinking to my freshman algebra teacher who pounded into our heads to look at problems and then break them down to their simplest forms…”just keep breaking them down and the solutions become clearer,” he’d say daily.

I must admit, this past national election, and the controversies which continue to swirl about, catapulted me to do some soul-searching on what people REALLY look for in a leader.  I began to question the mountains of research, books, and articles I’ve read over the years as some of the most basic of “Great Leadership Characteristics” were void of any campaign rhetoric or behavior that I witnessed.  What was it that people were so desperately seeking that they could overlook fundamental values of great leaders across party lines? Where was the honesty, the transparency? Being grounded, empathetic, and ethical didn’t seem to carry the weight so many have led us to believe are important in our leaders.

As I was contemplating this phenomenon this morning, Mr. Luckahuist’s voice rang in my head, “break down the problem to its simplest form…” and indeed, the answer to my question became clearer.  The power of HOPE seemed to overshadow all other characteristics as the leaders spun their vision of the future under their leadership.

Hope… a chance to acquire something which is wanted or needed…As you look at your organization, what is it YOU hope to accomplish?  What HOPE do you offer to your followers to propel them into action? HOPE IS POWERFUL and in his 1988 National Convention Speech, Jesse Jackson’s rally to “keep hope alive” resonates even louder today…

Be good to yourself…


Friday, January 20, 2017

Rough Seas Ahead?

Have you ever been on a boat where the waters are rough, tossing your vessel from side to side, or front to back, making you sick in the process? It’s not an enjoyable experience by any stretch of the imagination. I found myself in this very predicament not that long ago when a friend reminded me that the best remedy was to focus on the horizon…look past the immediate turbulence and focus on where it is your are headed.

As I changed my center of attention past the raging seas, I became calmer and settled in for the remainder of the voyage. As I was doing so, I couldn’t help but to see the similarities in hitting “rough waters” while making difficult decisions and changes. Rarely do things go as smoothly as we hope, but if our vision is focused, our end goal honorable, we can weather any storm along the way as we move forward to calmer seas…

Be good to yourself…

Friday, January 13, 2017

I Am NOT Throwing Away My Shot!

A few weeks ago my wife and I had the good fortune of seeing Chicago’s production of the hit musical, Hamilton.  The show lived up to every bit of the hype that surrounds the production. The music, the fast paced, energetic libretto filled the theater whisking us back to a historical time in the familiar world of politics.  

I couldn’t help but to notice striking similarities with the politics of today and the leadership our founding father’s exhibited nearly 250 years ago.  Certainly times have changed, but determination, communication, shared vision and values, mixed in with persuasion, and simply being in the right place at the right time serve leaders past, present and future.

Of particular interest to me was how leaders were made, skills honed and mentors needed as the emerging leaders forged ahead in uncharted waters learning along the way.

In Hamilton’s “words”…

I am not throwing away my shot!
I am not throwing away my shot!
Hey yo, I’m just like my country
I’m young, scrappy and hungry
And I’m not throwing away my shot!
I’m ‘a get a scholarship to King’s College
I prob’ly shouldn’t brag, but dag, I amaze and astonish
The problem is I got a lot of brains but no polish
I gotta holler just to be heard
With every word, I drop knowledge!
I’m a diamond in the rough, a shiny piece of coal
Tryin’ to reach my goal.

As leaders it is our duty to perpetuate our profession and mentor those who are destined to take our place…to give them “their shot” and in return, our legacy lives through them…

Be good to yourself…

Friday, January 6, 2017

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! 2017…time to reflect and consider your leadership and what might need a bit of a tweak. Below are a few suggestions to consider while you create your own list of “New Year Resolutions.”

1.     Take the monkey off your back and come to grips that you do NOT have all the answers. Embrace the notion of life-long learning…as when we stop learning we begin to die.
2.     Respond rather than react. Keep your emotions in check. Get all the facts, remembering that a response CAN be delayed. Reactions can cause more harm and more time spent on any given situation.
3.     Take risks, but take CALCULATED risks.
4.     Remember that talking and doing are two different things. Talking never accomplishes any task…only DOING!
5.     Focus your efforts on finding solutions…not blame.
6.     Be cautious not to believe your own good PR.  There’s a difference between confidence and arrogance; the former helps build trust while the latter destroys it.
7.     If you fail to plan; you plan to fail. Be strategic.
8.     Hire the best. Do not “settle” or hire beneath you.
9.     Take time to CELEBRATE…imagine going to a football game without anyone celebrating…sometimes even the smallest accomplishment…
10.  Do to yourself, what you’d do unto others…in other words…be good to yourself…

Peace and all good things in the year ahead…