Archives for the month of: December, 2013

As each year ends, my wife and I go through an exercise wherein we review our journals from the prior year, reflect on what we have, and in some cases have not, accomplished.

The end goal is to establish what our “top-ten highlight reel” might look like for the year gone by…we are typically amazed by all that has been achieved.

A post-exercise routine of comparing our respective “top-tens” is not only fun, but also provides a barometer for how well our values and beliefs are aligned, i.e. what’s truly important to each of us. It further reinforces the many blessings we have in our lives and the people and events that are shaping our destiny.

Further, this practice helps to create positive feelings and an inner-state that tends to energize a constructive planning effort for what we would like to realize during the upcoming year.

If nothing else, take time to reflect on your core values and guiding principles; and reignite your internal flame by establishing some meaningful, challenging and achievable goals to shoot for entering this new year.

New Year



Mark Twain stated that “the two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why.”

In discussing people’s “careers” with them, there is a consistent pattern of dissatisfaction with their work.  Whether it’s the “job” itself, the compensation, the boss, the lack of meaning, or whatever else, they are merely dragging themselves to a world they dislike for the sake of “collecting a paycheck.”

If you think in terms of committing  between twenty to forty years of your life “earning a living”, why not spend that time doing something you have a love or desire for???

There are countless stories about people who were fed up and took a chance to pursue their passions, chased that dream…and became very successful in the process.

Take a moment to reflect on your situation, and ask yourself if this is really what you want to do with your life?  Happiness is waiting out there…

career vs job

We learn and grow by doing, being and taking chances.  To sit idly on the sidelines without adventure is to squander the gift of existence.

In both life and leadership, we make decisions on a daily basis that impact our lives, as well as the lives of others.  We are hopeful that the knowledge we have gained in the past, coupled with using our best judgment today will yield an optimal result.

However, in reality, things don’t always play out the way we had hoped or planned!  It is from those experiences that we gain additional wisdom, and perhaps do better with the next decision-making opportunity.

Cherish the mistakes that you (and others) have made, seize those as learning moments, exercise forgiveness (to yourself and to others), and press forward to make a difference in this world…you are being judged!


Welch learning

I’ve been a part of several “learning” organizations that placed great emphasis on competitive analysis and awareness, in the interest of achieving performance improvement.

An executional challenge arises in that during the “press of business”, we tend to become overwhelmed by the daily reactionary activity screaming for our attention.  Before you know it, there goes another day, week or month and nothing much has changed in terms of how we operate.

This quote by Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, sums up one of the major differentiators between successful and “wanna-be” organizations, the ability to effectively transform what we have learned into meaningful action; and do it with adequate intensity to impact performance and results.

Knowledge is potential power” sums it up nicely!  If you are unable to apply what you’ve learned, nothing will change.

During an interview with Scott Pelley, former President Bill Clinton was reflecting on challenges during his time in office, and noted that his friend Nelson Mandela stayed by his side, always remaining supportive, and stating that “our morality does not allow us to desert our friends”.

As I reflect on my decades in business, I can recall numerous occasions where a superior, peer or subordinate has erred or fallen from grace. How quickly they are shunned, criticized, released or forgotten about…as if they had suddenly lost their worth and value, no longer an important and meaningful part of the world’s equation.

In the spirit of humanity, and love, so eloquently advocated by Mr. Mandela, let this serve as a reminder that everyone matters, regardless of events that have occurred.

It is not only a reflection of genuine leadership but also of personal respect that we strive to conduct ourselves in a manner that preserves the dignity of others, especially when they have fallen.

Another leadership and life lesson, to be the caring person the world needs you to be, courtesy of “Madiba”.

Mandela fall

Former President Bill Clinton served during Nelson Mandela’s rise to power in South Africa, and maintained a relationship and friendship with him that exceeded 20 years.

Clinton noted that Mandela taught him many lessons, including that “freedom was limited when other people are not also freed and empowered”.  This rule has an application in the business environment as well as society in general, as referenced in an earlier blog on empowerment, “95 % of the time, they’ll do right”.

All indications are that Mandela consistently led with a philosophy of love, caring and reinforcement!

What an improvement for all concerned if every leader was able to demonstrate similar  traits.

Clinton & Mandela

Given everything that I’ve read or heard about the man demonstrates that the World lost a truly great leader with the passing of Mr. Nelson Mandela.

Mr. Mandela displayed exceptional compassion in choosing love over hate and living a life of forgiveness. Upon his release from Robben Island prison following 18 years of isolation, his position was that if you hate or have anger, the only way to have freedom is to just let it go, demonstrating no ill-will towards those that put or held him there.

My experience reveals that it is rare to find leaders that genuinely care about mankind, as well as all those supposedly served…employees, customers, business partners, shareholders AND community.  Studying the way Mandela behaved provides teachings for those in any leadership capacity, as well as how to live life in general.

mandela quote