You can learn a great deal about leaders when you see how they react to challenges they did not choose – the challenge chose them. A few weeks ago, I attended a large, five district Rotary Club conference at the Mt. Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, NH. While there were several good programs, I was especially moved by a keynote speaker, Travis Roy, who I’m proud to say our Portsmouth Club sponsored. Roy was a very talented, highly recruited hockey player from Maine, who, just 11 seconds into his first game at Boston University, broke his neck after a clean [...]
Photo by Toa Heftiba Yesterday in Church our Pastor gave a children’s message focused on gratitude. After asking the children what they were grateful for, she passed around a clipboard asking each of us to share something we were grateful for. I wrote down “meaningful work”, which I am grateful for every day. Since yesterday as I thought about all the stress in the world these days, I have reminded myself how really grateful I am for good laughs – something we have always had around our family’s Thanksgiving table over the decades. So this week I thought [...]
I worry sometimes what would happen if one of our world leaders, one without critical thinking skills, ordered the use of an atomic weapon. Hopefully, someone would step in and stop it. If you want to feel encouraged (or really scared) here are two stories about two Russians who saved America. Vasili Arkhipov. In October 1962 at the peak of the Cuban Missile Crisis Arkhipov was on a Russian submarine B-59 with nuclear torpedoes ready to launch. He was one of three superior officers on that submarine. On October 27th their submarine was submerged near Cuba when the U.S aircraft [...]
Even some of Tom Brady's biggest critics are in awe of his performance in Sunday’s Super Bowl. Like most of us, they admire two things: His ability to execute at the highest level and stay calm and focused at the end of the game; and to do all this when he is 39 years old. Brady is a great example of a credible leader and I could write pages on why I think this is true, but I will spare you – you saw that yourself. We also know that he keeps himself in incredible physical condition, working-out often longer [...]
I think it is interesting that we now like to “label” the generations. And, while it does make for some interesting conversations and some fun, I do not think it really does anything to help build healthy work cultures. The only label that does is “mutual respect.” At the end of this article I will share an interesting story about “respect” between the late John Glenn and baseball great, Ted Williams. In two weeks on Wednesday, January 18th from 9-10 AM I will be leading a free Spectrum Webinar called Four Generations in the Workplace – How Could Communication Be [...]
If you have been a faithful reader, you may remember a few years ago when I first wrote about how important credibility is to leadership. Given the upcoming election and the two candidates, I thought it might be helpful to review the four qualities of leaders who have credibility. This summer I finished reading the book George Washington, A Life by Ron Chernow, which is a very compelling book on arguably our most accomplished president. When we read about George Washington it is easy to see why he was one of the most admired leaders in history – he had [...]
I can see it in his eyes. I can hear it in her voice. I know when a business or non-profit team loses money it can be very stressful for the people responsible. And when these losses occur for several months in a row, senior leaders need to not only study why the losses are occurring, but also watch for what I call loss fatigue – that state of weariness within a responsible manager created by ever-increasing doubts. If you have seen It’s a Wonderful Life you know George Bailey had serious doubts about his ability to run a profitable [...]
Low expectations are all around us and successful leaders know it. They also know it is their job to raise expectations and help people achieve more in their lives. Last week I listened to a powerful podcast on This American Life about Daniel Kish, a visually-impaired man known as Batman, who is changing the world of expectations for blind people. Daniel, who uses echolocation or clicks to find his way around, was not held back by his mother when he lost his eyes to cancer at 18 months old. She did not put limits on her expectations and, as a [...]
While we all know Robin Willias was a comic genius and that he has wrestled with depression and substance abuse, we are also learning this week about how he personally reached out and inspired thousands of people with small acts of comic kindness.
Harry Truman was one of the few presidents who did his homework, had the courage to make tough decisions without worrying about getting re-elected, and always did what he thought was right.