Miscellaneous

Leadership Thought #424 – The Example of George Washington

Today is George Washington’s birthday. There are very few people (and an even a smaller number of Americans) where you can honestly say that their birth ended up changing the course of human history. Not only did he lead the upstart Continental Army to victory against of the most powerful military power in the world at that time, he also walked away from supreme power when he refused to become king of the newly formed United States of America, and voluntarily gave up his position as our first President. I think sometimes we forget how unusual, risky, and selfless these two actions were at the time. You can seriously argue that if George Washington had not existed, the U.S. experiment with democracy would have never had a chance of taking flight and much of modern history could have turned out differently.

Leadership Thought #348 – Do You Know What Truly Makes You Happy?

There are quite a few people out there who claim to know what will make us happy. I am always a bit suspect of accepting general answers to mostly subjective questions. One person’s happiness can be another person’s obligation or chore. My contention is that most people don’t spend enough time truly trying to get in touch with themselves as individuals and what honestly makes them happy. In fact, we often feel a bit sheepish or odd when we don’t follow a conventional formula for happiness. There is this overriding sense that it is better to fit in than be different – which is nonsense and direct pathway to personal malaise and/or unhappiness.

Remembering 9-11

As I sit here writing with the names of the dead lost on September 11 being read in the background on TV it’s easy to get very emotional. It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since this terrible tragedy. You can still hear the pain in the voices of the family members as they take turns reading from the list. It must have been very hard coping with their grief all these years. I only hope they are able to find peace at some point.

Leadership Thought #403 – What Makes A Great President

In less than two months we will have a presidential election here in the United States. Billions of dollars have been spent trying to influence voters to lean one way or another. Interestingly enough a majority of people will simply vote their party line and put very little effort into understanding the position of the other candidate or their leadership abilities. As a result, a comparatively small number of swing voters in an equally small number of states will end up deterring the final outcome. As someone who certainly has a strong sense of party loyalty but has crossed party lines on many occasions this has always frustrated me. No one party has the market cornered on good ideas or is the sole wellspring of capable leaders – the history of our nation has proven this.

I have spent considerable time studying leadership and observing leaders. I also enjoy reading about the presidency and the 43 occupants of the oval office. In my humble opinion, the most successful presidents have exhibited the following traits:

The Courage Of Our Founding Fathers

As we get set to celebrate another Independence Day here in the United States, we should rightfully pay tribute the obvious courage that had to be exhibited by our Founding Fathers 236 years ago. Many of these men had much to lose and only marginal personal benefits to gain by signing the Declaration of Independence. They were already part of the established social and economic order and for the most part were beneficiaries of the existing system. In fact, although we often hear about the select few who rose to historical prominence, most of the others suffered great personal hardship as a result of their decision.

Memorial Day – What It Truly Means

As you raise your glass this weekend, please take a moment to reflect on what Monday truly means. There are currently several hundred thousand hundred troops stationed directly in harms way doing very dangerous often thankless work. We owe them and their predecessors a vast debt of gratitude.