It sounds like a childhood taunt. “What are you afraid of?” If you close your eyes for a minute, chances are you can go back in time and recall a situation in which you were asked that exact question. Someone was trying to push you into doing something you really didn’t want to do—daring you to push beyond your comfort level.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the phrase “servant leadership.”
Yesterday I happened down a road I drive on occasionally. I typically take the road northbound as a shortcut to a particular destination. But yesterday I found myself driving south on the same road and barely recognized it. In fact, I had to turn to my wife and ask if we were on the right road. The surroundings seemed unfamiliar to me despite the fact that I travel on the road a couple of times each month.
Against my better judgment, I’m going to address the tragic death of Michael Brown. Any time an 18-year-old boy dies, regardless of the circumstances, it’s a tragedy. And yes, I believe he was just a boy despite legally having reached adulthood. I have a son who is just months away from his 18th birthday, and to me, he’s clearly still a boy.
With the recent tragic death of comedian and actor Robin Williams, my family and I decided to watch one of his many great films over the weekend, Dead Poets Society. The movie is about a group of boys at a private prep school. It’s there that they meet Professor Keating, their new English teacher, who is played by Williams. Keating encourages the boys to embrace their individualism, think independently, and pursue their passions. This leads them on a path of self-discovery that clashes with the rigid culture of the conservative institution they attend. Keating’s methods ultimately cost him his job, but they win him the respect and affection of his students.
You don’t spend nearly enough time simply thinking. Before you take offense to that statement, consider how much time you spend talking, responding to e-mail, even reading—my guess is that you spend more time doing any one of them than you do thinking.
Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.
—Joel A. Barker
Among my favorite movies is the 1991 film City Slickers. Billy Crystal plays radio ad salesman Mitch Robbins, who is having a bit of a midlife crisis. Mitch and his two best friends decide to leave New York City to spend two weeks on a cattle drive in the Southwest. It’s there that Mitch meets Curly, the crusty trail boss played by Jack Palance.
A colleague shared with me an article published recently in the New York Times Sunday Review. In addition to the fact that the article had been recommended, its title, “The Secret of Effective Motivation,” was certainly enough to get me to read it. Who in management doesn’t want to know the “secret” of effective motivation?
Let me see if something strikes a chord with you as it did with me. As a manager, you’re asked to be a wise steward of the resources given to you. That means not only generating an appropriate amount of revenue and profit with the resources you manage today but also investing wisely to find new opportunities that will sustain the business in the future. A delicate balance, to say the least.