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.
Another Memorial Day is here although under these strange pandemic circumstances. I hope your loved ones and you are safe and healthy. Thankfully, some things become clearer with aging. Maybe it’s because we start to realize our own mortality and vulnerability. You begin to appreciate more the sacrifice and courage of others. When I was […]
I am always drawn to the romantic view of the first Thanksgiving. Not sure this is fully accurate, but the story informs, nonetheless. A group of people new to a foreign land begin to build a community completely out of nothing. They didn’t arrive well-versed in how to do this, but instead figured it out […]
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.
If leading was easy, then everyone could do it. I’ve had a number of conversations lately with clients and colleagues who are complaining about how hard they have to work. More often than not, the average age of these people is under 45. I try my best to be understanding and empathetic while also trying […]
It’s very easy to forget the significance of something the further you are removed from its reality. It used to be that war touched the majority of Americans directly, but now many of us only feel the consequences indirectly. Our nation has been at war for more than 10 years now and our troops (and those of our allies) continue to risk their life on a daily basis. Thankfully, we seem to be scaling back the required sacrifice, but the loss of even one soldier is a tragedy let alone the 4,977 that have given their life in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. This is a heavy emotional burden that will be felt by families for generations. We also shouldn’t also forget the life altering injuries that tens of thousand of our troops have suffered and the devastating psychological consequences of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
I’ve witnessed a disturbing trend lately amongst many entrepreneurs. They want to work the hours of a successful person without yet attaining actual business success. I think all this talk of work-life balance has people a bit confused. It you want to run a business that supports a flexible lifestyle, you can certainly choose working for yourself as an option, but financial success usually requires very hard work especially at the beginning. You can’t enjoy the experience of having climbed the mountain without having done the hard work to climb it in the first place. You can’t be all things to all people including yourself; you must make some tough choices about how you spend your time.
It’s easy to get caught up in your own world. Since we pretty much live in our own head, it’s natural to filter everything that happens through how it affects us. However, leaders to need to elevate their thinking to incorporate the bigger picture. The needs of the organization as a whole need to take priority over any one person’s agenda. No leader is ever successful alone. You need employees, clients, vendors, professional advisors and a supportive family. You may sometimes have to sacrifice what you want or desire as an individual for the greater good.
I come across a lot of books, magazines, TV shows these days that are selling simplicity and the quick fix to life. The main contention is that all of our lives are too busy and complicated and if we would just scale back and reprioritize what’s most important to us then everything would be better. The focus is squarely on the individual and what he /she feels they want or need. All we have to do put ourselves first and everything will go our way. Moreover, we shouldn’t settle for anything less than regular happiness and self-fulfillment which in my opinion is an unrealistic and often damaging perspective.
When you teach leadership at a graduate level (which I do part time) it’s easy to be an optimist. You get to see the vibrancy and drive in people. These are individuals who are proactively investing their money and time to better themselves and create a more hopeful future. Some students automatically rise to the top while others shine in different ways depending upon the assignments/discussions. If you are paying close enough attention, it does support the management philosophy that every individual has a strength to share and will step up if they are properly motivated and given the opportunity to do so. No one at this level wants to fail. It’s important to remember this reality as the instructor.
Maybe it’s my age and being more aware of things, but I am convinced there are more egocentric people today than when I was a younger. You meet people like this all the time. Whatever happens is always about them regardless of the situation and its consequences (for others). Sadly, they have been buoyed in their attitudes by a cottage industry of self-help gurus and marketers that continue to reinforce the worldview that everyone should be the center of their own universe and each individual’s primary concern should be their own happiness and self-satisfaction.
Today we got the news that Osama Bin laden has been killed and is no longer a personal threat to the world. Justice has been served and hopefully our leaders will be keep forging ahead and doing what is right to protect our country and its allies from senseless violence and terrorism. I’m sure it has been and will continue to be a difficult and frustrating job for those responsible for our homeland security. It’s been a long time since 9/11.