General Schwarzkopf Quotes

General Norman Schwarzkopf passed away this week in Tampa of complications from pneumonia.  “Stormin’ Norman” was the four-star General who commanded Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

Here are a few of his memorable quotes.

You learn far more from negative leadership than positive leadership because you learn how not to do it.

True courage is being afraid, and going ahead and doing your job anyhow, that’s what courage is.

You can’t help someone get up a hill without getting closer to the top yourself.

Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one be without strategy.

When placed in command, take charge.

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Leadership Lessons from Over 50 Thought Leaders

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People + Books = 1 Changed Life

 

Charlie “Tremendous” Jones was one of my great influencers.  He repeatedly said that, “You will be the same person you are today in five years but for two things:  the people you meet and the books you read.” Every year, I am privileged to have the opportunity to read so many incredible books and meet fascinating people from all walks of life.

Last year, I launched this blog with the idea of sharing insights, ideas, and inspiration from many sources. On the one hand, I’m disappointed that I was only able to share a fraction of all of the people who influenced me. On the other, I’m glad that I started doing it because now, as I look back on it, I’m the one who benefited the most. Charlie was right. All of the books I read and all of the people I met did indeed change me.

Here are a few of the people who shared their experience and wisdom. If I can learn a fraction of what they know, I will be better equipped to lead in the coming year.

Before you start the new year, take the time to meet some of these people and take their leadership lessons with you. Instead of “interview in progress” you will find a “great life in progress.”

Leadership, News & Politics

 

Dan Rather (his life in the news)

Condoleezza Rice (former Secretary of State)

Barbara Simons (on the dangers of new ballot machines)

Senator Bill Bradley (on how we can all do better)

 

Business Leadership, Strategy & Execution

 

John Baldoni (purpose, leadership)

Jill Geisler (Make Work Happy)

Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos on culture)

Cynthia Montgomery (strategist)

Jim Huling (on the 4 disciplines of execution)

Geoffrey Moore (how to cross the chasm and rethink the future)

Faisal Hoque (BTM CEO on the power of convergence)

Chris Grivas (which creative style are you?)

Shep Hyken (7 strategies of amazing customer service)

Dear Santa: My Twitter Wish List

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Dear Santa,

This year, I’ve fallen in love with Twitter.  You remember I sent my first tweet just over a year ago, and I’ve never looked back.  I launched this blog one year ago, and Twitter connected me with many helpful people.

This Christmas, I’d really appreciate it if you could just change a few things on the service for me and a few hundred million users.  Here’s my list:

I’m always getting direct messages saying things like:

“look at this pic of you!”

“someone caught you in this video.”

“Horrible things about you!”

“find out who unfollowed you.”

“Early investors got filthy rich.”

“Someone is making cruel things up about you!”

I don’t know what these are, and I think they may be viruses.  Why not create an easy way to report and remove these?  Or a “spam alert” button?  Then Twitter could sweep them away for good.

Oh, and the people doing this, would you mind putting coal in their stockings?

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Today: Find Peace Wherever You Are

In every part of the country, you can find beautiful scenes to relax your spirit.  Driving my daughter to school one morning, we pulled over and took this quick snapshot of our neighbor’s horses.

Today, take time to find peace in nature somewhere during your busy day.  You’ll find it will help your physical, spiritual and mental well-being  Some of the benefits:  less stress, deeper sleep, a higher ability to concentrate, less pain, clearer thinking, better breathing, a sense of balance, and an awareness of others and the world around you.  You’ll find you will be a better leader of others and better able to manage yourself.

Do you have a place near you where you can relax and find some peace?

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Why You Should Empower Employees

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Several weeks ago, my wife and I headed out for a quick lunch.  I had been traveling and speaking in a few cities and was glad to be home.  Before lunch, we needed a few supplies and stopped at Target.

Target does a lot right.  Wide, brightly lit aisles.  Easy-to-find merchandise.  And friendly staff who seem happy.

When I was grabbing the items I needed off the shelf, I noticed a sign.  “Buy three of these items and get a $5 gift card,” one sign said.  The other said, “Buy two and get another $5 gift card.”  I only needed one of each item, but I thought why not take the money so I loaded up.

At the checkout counter, we paid for items and then I asked about our gift cards.  We liked the kind woman who was helping us.  She was efficient and the type who could build a relationship fast.  “I thought about that,” she responded.  “Let me check….no, this item doesn’t qualify for some reason.  I know you only bought this many so you would get the card.”

She pulled open the Target brochure, looked at the item, and still couldn’t figure why it didn’t give us the cards.  I explained that I checked the labels when I took the items off the shelf and that they were immediately behind the sign.  She shook her head and offered to have someone go check the sign.

Immediately in my mind I pictured what would happen:  A light would go off.  She would get on an intercom and bellow, “Man in Aisle 9 needs a price check!”  We would hold up the line, miss our lunch reservation, and a manager would come out to talk to us.

“Forget it,” I said, not wanting to cause a scene and not having any time to wait.  For me, the pain wasn’t worth it.  (But I’m thrifty enough that it did bother me.)

“I’m sorry,” she responded with an “I wish I could do something” attitude.

Management Lesson

This is not a story about Target.  It’s a good store.  This is not a story about the checkout clerk.  She was so nice we would seek out her line next time.

It’s a lesson for management.  And it’s all about empowerment.