Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dealing with Temporary Setbacks

United States Marine Corps
Originally uploaded by crosstrippin

My oldest son, Joe, Jr., has decided to join the Marine Corps.

Wow. Feels kinda funny to see that in print.

He wants to "stand on my own two feet, Dad."

Wow again.

The Platoon Leaders Course is in his future and he wants to serve his country. I'm very proud of him. Today, when he went for his physical, he was two pounds under the minimum weight for his height. He also needs to provide the Marine Corps doctor with some documents from his medical file about a busted ear drum.

After waiting all day for this disappointing news, my son says, "temporary setback, Dad."

I'm so proud of him.

His first adult eagle perched on the edge of the cliff, about to fly on his own...

Bittersweet for me. I, more than most dads, understand this desire in him. Been there, done that, got a BDU t-shirt...

Still chokes me up a bit though....

Love you, son.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Crossing the Chasm

Chasm Face
Originally uploaded by Tejananda John Wakeman

I was recently asked to speak on Monday Mover's Monday Powercall. Here's a link to the site:

The selected topic is Crossing the Chasm: Becoming a Better Leader.

The call is Monday, July 28th at noon (Tomorrow!) and is a 15 minute call designed to pump you up about leadership. If you'd like to participate, please visit the site for the details.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sorry Caleb Campbell, but now it's time to do your Duty

A few months ago, the young man pictured above, Lieutenant Caleb Campbell, lost his focus because the Army told him he could go play pro football. Now, there have been many talented players in the history of Army football. All of them have understood that they would not be professional football players because the Army required them to repay the citizens of this country for their world class education by serving their country for 5 years as officers in the Army.
Fair, equitable, honorable requirement.
Well, the Army thought about this stupid change to their long standing policy and said to Lieutenant Campbell yesterday "Sorry, son. We were wrong. It IS more important for you to do your duty to your country first, just like the 50,000+ graduates before you. You can go play with your football later." Here's a link to the article on Yahoo:
Do not feel sorry for this young man. Be glad that more responsible and intelligent heads prevailed and forced him to do the right thing...forced him to do his duty to his country.
He is also not going off to war any time soon as he will be heading back to the Academy to help as a graduate assistant in the Department of Athletics. That assignment will have him doing something for others who want to play football at Army....a much more honorable way to keep a hand in football...
He did not pay to go to West Point, YOU paid for him to go with your tax dollars.
He played a game and was willing to let his 900+ other classmates pay for their educations with service to their country, including his teammates, while he went to play a game.
His actions were selfish, self-centered, and an embarrassment to all of us who served our country after we graduated. (Yes, I graduated there in 1987 and served on active duty and in the reserves until 1998).
Thank you, Uncle Sam, for getting it right.
Go serve your country, Caleb Campbell. Do the right thing.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Simplicity of life....
Originally uploaded by viacreativa

Too often people complicate things.

Too often, in our zeal to communicate a complex idea to someone, we complicate the communication with big words and lengthy explanations until our subject's eyes glaze over or frantically look for a way out of the conversation.

As a leader, communicate from the receiver's perspective...put yourself in their shoes and make your message succinct and to the point.

How's that for simple and to the point?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Enough Meetings Already!!!!

catatonic despair
Originally uploaded by psychonautfromatlantis

"...This is the meeting that never ends,
It just goes on and on my friends.
Some people started having it not knowing what it was,
and they'll just keep on having it forever just because...
...This is the meeting that never ends...."

Wow! What a wasted day! I was in meetings from 9am this morning to 3:15 pm with a 55 minute break to try and run my department. Oh my goodness!

Do you disrespect people's time like this? Do you schedule things last minute and then, without a plan, hold meeting attendees hostage? If you do, you should be shot! (well, not really, but you get my drift...)

Do yourself and your hostages a favor...give them a little respect, for cryin' out loud! Make an agenda, set time limits, communicate needs before the meeting, and give your hostages some time to fit the meeting into their important and busy schedules.

If you don't, the next time you find yourself wondering why your meetings are unproductive and people would rather go for a root canal, you can just look in the mirror for your answer.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The 4-Way Test

The 4-Way Test
Originally uploaded by New Old Glenn

Something to think about as a leader. The Rotary Four Way Test:

The four way test of the things we think, say, or do:

  1. Is it the Truth?
  2. Is it Fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
  4. Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

If you are not familiar with Rotary, this test is probably new to you. If you are a Rotarian, you know this by heart and use it as a touch-stone to drive your behaviors.

Leaders serve. Rotarians are all about "Service Above Self."

Interesting stuff I'd love to hear from you about....

Monday, July 14, 2008

Leadership Thoughts

Desert Leader
Originally uploaded by Hamed Saber

-Leadership is a learned skill. Like most learned skills, some people are better at it than others. There is no such thing as a "Born Leader."

-Management and Leadership are not the same. You manage things. You lead people.

-Leaders do what they do primarily for others.

-It has been said "The art of leadership is telling someone to go to hell, and they can't wait to pack their bags."

-A leader avoids managing methods.

-A leader shares his or her knowledge freely and enthusiastically.

-A leader pushes responsibility to it's logical, practical level.

-A leader knows the value of respect.

-A leader praises in public and criticizes in private.

-A leader attracts responsibility and instills confidence.

-True leaders are unique because they are rare and valuable.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Pay it Forward

Pay it forward
Originally uploaded by kicsoda

I love that phrase! Pay it Forward.

The concept is simple: You do something really nice for someone. When they ask you how they can repay you, you tell them to Pay it Forward: Do something really nice for someone else and when they ask the same question, give the same answer.

It's a great way to share good things with more and more people. There's even a foundation out there promoting the concept:

I submit that if you take the time to do this, I mean really try to do this, the rewards will be beyond your imagination. The Law of Attraction is all about this kind of selfless service to others.

Give it a try. I promise you won't regret it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Two Legs!

Two Legs a Loungin'
Originally uploaded by kayakwcc

There is a school of management thought that believes every problem has two legs (translation for true leaders: every problem is somebody's fault!)

Now, when I hear this philosophy, I usually think the manager has a dim view of people...that he/she is always looking for someone to blame. Today, however, I hand and "aha! moment, as it were. Today I realized that this statement is usually true!

What?!?! Have you been hitting the single malt a little hard Joe?

Nope. This statement is usually true because the manager is often the one that the two legs are attached to! To wit:

  • If the problem is an employee's lack of knowledge, the manager may not have adequately trained that person.
  • If the problem is the equipment did not run, it's usually because the manager didn't schedule the Preventive Maintenance.
  • If the problem is a botched set of verbal instructions, it's usually because the manager did not make his/her expectations, his communications, clear.

Too often, the manger is looking for someone to blame, but doesn't look in the mirror.

Leaders look first in the mirror. Leaders ask "what didn't I provide so that my folks could be successful?" Leaders take responsibility for their own failure to set their folks up for success and look to learn how to do it better next time. It's how leaders grow and get very good at what they do.

Leaders are accountable for whatever does or does not happen on their watch.

You can learn to be a leader and I can help. Drop me a comment and we'll take action together!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Why Wait?

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing
Originally uploaded by Silvia de Luque

What are you waiting for?

I'm not ready yet because:

  • I'm afraid I'll fail
  • What if they don't like me?
  • I don't know enough
  • I don't know how
  • I can't find my motivation
  • blah, blah, blah. Excuse, excuse, excuse.....

Practicing is important. Being prepared is good. But life is not a dress's live, baby!

What are you waiting engraved invitation? (yeah, that's one of my dad's...and probably your dad's too!)

Get up! Get out! Get going!!!

Massive action is a force to be reckoned with!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Amazing Energy!

Originally uploaded by finepixxler


I just had an amazing conversation with a new friend. Torin Ellis is the founder of a social network called Monday Mover (

We spoke to learn a little more about each other and to see if we could help each other grow personally and professionally by interacting with other Monday Mover members and each other. We have mutual friends that we value highly and a belief in the power of friends, networking and helping a word: service.

To be truly effective and valuable, networking needs to be mutually beneficial and rewarding. True leadership is first and foremost about service to others.

I was so impressed by Torin's interest in me. It took a few weeks to actually coordinate a call, but I for one have been looking forward to our conversation. I must say it was worth the wait! His passion and energy, even at the end of a long day, were invigorating!

We are all passionate about certain things. One of my driving passions is helping others understand and develop their leadership talents. It is something I have developed over many years of study and practical application. I am excited by the opportunity to help others at Monday Mover with their leadership challenges and to learn from them as well.

Thanks, Torin!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Wow! What a week!

Wow! What a week!
We've never really vacationed like this as a family. With my oldest starting his senior year next year, the reality of my family being together (I mean Mom, Dad, and ALL the kids) just to have fun and be with each other, really hit me like a ton of bricks. We all get so wrapped up in so many important things that sometimes we look at things like this as an unaffordable luxury.
All I can say after this week is: I will never take that view again.
We have made so many wonderful memories this week that we will do this every year from now on.
We had to save and plan and budget, but in the end, it was more than I could have imagined. I love this crew so much and I have given, and will continue to give, my entire life to their happiness and well-being. As leaders of our families, it's what our Creator calls on us to do: To take care of those He has entrusted to our show them the wonder of the world and the value of family.
My life is full and rich and wonderful. I thank God for this family and this time together.