Mother Knows Best

September 25, 2009 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

Last week, I wrote about the decline of civility in our world. It seemed to me that if we all would reflect on what we were taught as children by our mothers, we’d treat one another a whole lot better. That got me to thinking about the impact my mother has had on my life and led me to the conclusion that everything I need to know about managing people I learned from my mother.

Think about that for a minute. Remember all the things you learned from your mother, whether it was what she said or what she did? How many of those things apply to your role as a manager? My guess would be plenty. Let me give you a few examples.

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What Would Your Mother Say?

September 18, 2009 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

My mother is a wonderful woman. She’s a gentle, caring, nurturing person. When I was growing up, she instilled in me and my siblings a sense of how to treat others. My mother did this by example more than anything. She showed us how to treat others through her actions and words. She rarely, if ever, said anything derogatory about someone, and it was unusual for her to even raise her voice. That’s why I know she was shocked by some of the actions of recent weeks.

We saw a Congressman shout “You lie!” at the President of the United States during the middle of the President’s speech. We had a highly visible tennis professional berate and threaten a line judge on national television. And we watched in amazement as a high-profile entertainer stole the spotlight from and embarrassed a young performer in the middle of her acceptance speech for an award she’d just won.

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Facing Adversity

September 10, 2009 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

My 12-year-old is facing a challenging situation for one of the first times in his young life. And as any parent can tell you, it’s tough to watch your child suffer. Now I don’t want to blow things out of proportion, I’m not talking life or death here, but he’s facing adversity and struggling with it.

I can’t help but to believe this will prove to be an important life lesson for both of us. How he responds to the adversity could make a difference in the person he becomes. And how I help guide him through this situation will make a lasting impression on him. The natural instinct of a person is to protect the child and shelter them from the hurt that is likely to occur. But another side of me believes what Disraeli said, “There is no education like adversity.”

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Categories: Business Management

What Does It Take To Be A Leader?

September 04, 2009 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

A lot is written about leaders. Go to your nearest bookstore and you will find shelves full of books written by politicians, businesspeople, and athletes on how to be a leader. Is there a secret recipe that if you follow every step will make you a leader? I don’t think so. But there are some common traits that all real leaders share.

If you take a look in the dictionary, you’ll find that a leader is defined as a person or thing that leads; a guiding or directing head, as of an army, movement, or political group. That definition does not get to the heart of what it takes to be a leader. By this definition, you’re a leader if you just happen to be standing in the front of the line. But we all know it takes much more than that to be a leader.

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Categories: Leadership

The Willingness to Dream

August 28, 2009 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

For a homework assignment, my youngest child had to find an inspirational quote that he liked and take it to school to share with the class. His choice was a quote that I had not heard before, but its message really struck me. I was impressed enough with his choice that I’d like to share it with you.

Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.” — Leon J. Suenes

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Categories: Leadership


Favre Fumbles When It Comes to Leadership

August 21, 2009 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

I’m going to admit it upfront — I’m a huge Green Bay Packers fan. I grew up in Wisconsin and followed the Pack since I was a boy. I was in diapers when they won the first two Super Bowls and then suffered through some pretty lean years in the ’70s and ’80s. But the 1990s ushered in a new era with the arrival of Brett Favre. The three-time league MVP led them to a 1997 Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots, and everything was right in Green Bay. The once storied franchise was returned to its previous glory, and the conquering hero was Brett Favre.

I always thought Favre played the game the way it was meant to be played. He was a ferocious competitor, but he looked like he was having fun every minute he played. All of us should be so lucky to have a job that we love so much that each day when we awake we can’t wait to get to work. That’s the way I saw Brett Favre, and I respected him immensely for it.

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Categories: Leadership

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Management Lessons from the Oval Office

August 15, 2009 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

Last week, the Wall Street Journal ran a front-page article that discussed President Barack Obama’s management style. Among other things, the article said the President likes to get deeper into the details than many of his predecessors. It also discussed how he uses debate-like techniques to drill into subjects, even having staff members take and defend positions that are contrary to what they believe. Interesting stuff. The article got me thinking about what we can learn about management from those who have sat in the Oval Office.

I’ve never had the privilege of meeting one of our country’s presidents before, during, or after he held the highest office in the land, so my observations are based completely on what I’ve seen or read. Politics aside, here are a few lessons about management that I think we can learn from those who have held the highest office in our land.

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5 Lessons from Obama’s ‘Beer Summit’

August 07, 2009 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

A couple of weeks ago, President Barack Obama held a gathering at the White House that has become known as the “beer summit.” In attendance at this meeting with the President were prominent Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, who is black, and police sergeant James Crowley, who is white, along with Vice President Joe Biden.

Crowley had arrested Gates for disorderly conduct on July 16 after a confrontation at the professor’s home. The incident sparked a media frenzy as Gates accused the policeman of racial profiling. Crowley denied the charge and has even taught courses against racial profiling.

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Categories: Leadership

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Creating a Winning Atmosphere

July 30, 2009 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

I just spent a week in Cooperstown, NY, the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. No, I did not achieve my childhood dream of being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame — I was there to watch my 12 year old play baseball at the Cooperstown Dreams Park.

Cooperstown Dreams Park provides the opportunity for tens of thousands of 12-year-old boys to play baseball in the town where the game was born. What’s more they get to spend a couple hours in the hall of fame dreaming about how one day they’ll have a plaque on the wall. I can guarantee you that every boy (and the handful of girls) who plays in Cooperstown feels like a real major leaguer while they are there.

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Surviving the Recession: How to Cope with Tough Times

July 16, 2009 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

All right, I’m officially over the recession. I’m tired of reading, writing, thinking, and talking about it. Most of all I’m tired of having to deal with it every day in our business. I long for the good ol’ days. For our industry — publishing — that was the go-go ’90s. But at this point I’d settle for anything pre-2008. But for some reason, even though I’m tired of it, the recession is undaunted by my feelings. It continues to rage on, taking its toll on all of us.

No one is exempt. Earlier this year Challenger, Gray, & Christmas, an executive recruiting firm, released data that showed 1,484 CEOs left the corner office in 2008. That number was the most since Challenger began the survey a decade earlier. Of course, some of the executives retired, others just walked away, and many were shown the door because of the poor performance of the companies they led. But it’s no coincidence that a record number of CEOs exited the corner office during the worst economic downturn since World War II.  No one in the current workforce has ever managed through anything like it. It’s not easy, and it’s not fun.

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