Tag Archive - Character

West Point’s Prayer for Leaders on July 4

cadet-chapel-at-west-point

Thirty years ago this week, I entered the United States Military Academy at West Point as part of the Class of 1988.  This week the Class of 2018 began their journey as part of the “Long Gray Line”.

In honor of Independence Day and the men and women who serve so we can have the freedoms to speak and to pray as we see fit, I am publishing The West Point Cadet Prayer.

Before you read it, ask yourself: “What challenge does this prayer offer me?” Whether you are a person of faith or not, I think you will find a challenge meant for you.

Continue Reading…

Video: The Courage To Lead

Last month, I spoke to over 700 people about the role of courage in leadership.  I had 10 minutes to speak.

Courage goes beyond the physical courage displayed by our soldiers on the battlefield.  Moral courage is needed from leaders in the hallways and boardrooms of businesses and non-profits as well.

Click on the image below to see and hear what I had to say to that audience.

2014 Leaderscast Screenshot

 

Question:

How else do leaders display moral courage in the workplace?

Wisdom Versus Intelligence

Wisdom or Just Intelligence

I knew some brilliant people in high school.  They made good grades and graduated without even trying.  They went to good colleges and got impressive degrees.

I also knew some people in high school who struggled with grades.  Try as they might, they fought to make it to graduation day.  Some went to community college and then finished their bachelor’s degree at another local school with unimpressive grades.

Today, I see success and failure in both the brilliant and the average.  The difference between success and failure is often wisdom.  I’ll take wisdom over intelligence every day. Continue Reading…

Two Ways You Know You Are About to Fail

Should Have Seen It Coming?

Critiquing a basketball team or soccer team the day after a game is easy. ESPN has built a television empire by analyzing the mistakes made by coaches and players.

The scrutiny is often insightful with multiple lessons for other coaches and players to consider. It is much easier to diagnose why someone failed AFTER the failure.

But, what can we to do identify an impending failure? How can we see it before it happens and make changes? Continue Reading…

Leadership: 700 People Can’t Be Wrong

Audience Participation

At 2:30 in the afternoon, I took a risk. An audience of 700 people had been listening to best selling leadership gurus since 8:00 AM. Now I had 10 minutes to make an impact on this group.

I decided to change the first half of my talk and ask the 700 attendees to actively participate in my talk. All I did was ask them to yell out their answers to a simple question.

“When you think of the best leader you ever worked with or heard about, what is one trait that you admired most?” 

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Perseverance – Eliminating Excuses

No Excuses!

What if we did not allow early failure to become enduring failure?  We all try.  But do we try long enough?  Do we persevere?

What makes some persevere and others quit?  For a lot of us, it is the habit of making excuses.  The willingness to make excuses stops many people from going past Plan A or Plan B.

Too often, once we have tried Plan A or Plan B that seems good enough.  What about Plan C, D, E, F, G…?

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What Is A New Leader’s Reward?

Ready To Sacrifice?

The reward for leadership is the opportunity to make more sacrifices. I see many talented people become disillusioned leaders because they are not prepared for this fact.

I attended the National Council On Culture and Leadership Annual Summit (NCCL Website) last week and heard a fellow West Point graduate Steve Ingalls describe the sacrifices we all must make when we become leaders. Continue Reading…

Good People Can Be Bad Hires

Good Person - Bad Hire

“Dave, you are not the messiah of wayward sales people.”  My boss had a way of being direct – sometimes with a sting.  She knew me and my desire to help others.  I didn’t like the delivery, but she was right.

The problem was, once again, I was hanging on too tight to someone who was not making the grade.  He was not meant to be in sales, and I refused to accept it.

This is a repost from April 2013

Continue Reading…

Staying Strong In A Crisis

Stroms are coming!

Business crisis, family crisis, personal crisis – no matter who I am or how blessed a life I’ve led to this point, I will face a crisis sooner or later.   How I respond in a crisis says a lot about who I am as a person and a leader.

Do I run from a challenge or towards one?  Do I act selfishly or selflessly?  Do I disappoint others or do I lead them?

In other words, do I come through the crisis weaker or stronger? Continue Reading…

Leadership Depends On Character

Leadership Philosophy

I believe leadership is inherently a positive term.  Some well known experts whom I respect define leadership as influence, or influence towards a common objective.  However, I believe these definitions do not go far enough.

In my mind, being a leader is a positive statement.  There is a moral component to leadership.  Leadership is not simply about influence.  If I convince someone to perform immoral acts, I am influencing them, but I am not a leader. Therefore. I do not use the word leadership when discussing historical figures like Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin.   Continue Reading…

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