Someone, who I will call Michael for this post, once told me, “If you want to know what Michael thinks, ask Michael.” Apparently Michael had seen this before. Many of the things he supposedly said were distorted when others repeated them. In some cases, his supposed conversation simply never happened. And this was a recurring event.
There are many reasons this can happen. It could be simple miscommunication or a mistake. It could be the sign of a manipulative person. It could also be a damaged culture, creating conversations to serve various political interests. The fact that it happens frequently is definitely a concern. The fact that others may run with it without verifying it is also a concern.
Yogi Berra once said, “I never said most of the things I said.”
“When bad things happen, we all dream of rewinding the tape…but we can’t so we do the only thing we can: we take those bad things and turn them into situations we can learn from. It’s human nature to try to pan for gold, to find a positive slant in something so negative because anything less would feel like defeat.” Lee Woodruff, Perfectly Imperfect
Lee Woodruff dropped into my life unexpectedly. We were both speakers at an event raising funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Within minutes of meeting her, we were sharing stories, laughing, and exchanging email addresses. Some people have that incredible gift to connect with people in an authentic way that makes you feel you’ve known them all your life.
If you were to read only about Lee’s successes, you would think she never had a problem in the world:
Contributing editor for CBS This Morning
Author of three books
Mother of four beautiful children
Married to one of the world’s top journalists
Author of numerous articles published in magazines such as Redbook, Prevention, Country Living and Health
Co-founder of a foundation to help wounded servicemen
We so often read about people who are wildly successful, and think they are somehow different. In some way, the world only showers good things on them.
That’s not the case with Lee. We all remember when her husband, talented news anchor Bob Woodruff suffered a traumatic brain injury in Iraq. Only a month after succeeding Peter Jennings at ABC, it changed the Woodruff’s lives.
Cynthia Montgomery’s new book, The Strategist, will challenge you to rethink your approach to business strategy. For over twenty years Professor Montgomery has taught at Harvard Business School. For six of those years she led the strategy track at Harvard Business School’s executive program for owner-managers, personally helping business leaders around the world with strategy formation. Her experience is that rare blend of the academic with the practical, and her new book offers business leaders the benefit of her extensive experience.
Every year, I read numerous business books and can say that this is one that won’t be relegated to a shelf. It’s a blueprint, a guide to leading your company with greater success. Nothing is spared, and you will question not only your company strategy but also your personal leadership of the strategic process. See if you can answer with clarity the following questions:
Are you a strategist?
Why does your company matter?
Are you the leader your business needs?
Is your strategy filled with generic statements and empty clichés?
Do you know where your company is going and why?
After reading the book, I was personally challenged to rethink strategy. I recently had the opportunity to ask Cynthia about her work and her vast experience in strategy formulation and leadership.
Of all the rooms in our home, the one that accumulates clutter the fastest seems to be the garage. Maybe it’s because we pull the car in quickly. We’re only in the space for a few seconds. Maybe it’s because it’s not air-conditioned or heated, making it a real chore to clean in most months. Or maybe it’s because the items that are placed there are the ones in limbo. You know what I mean. You can’t throw them out easily or you would. That piece of furniture that holds some memories but doesn’t fit the décor of the home. The box of old magazines holding some articles you marked for some reason or another. A nice shelf lined with old shoes that may still fit but have long passed the glory days. Of course, you knew at the time you dropped these items in this state of limbo that they would never return to inside the house.
The clutter built up so slowly that it was unnoticed. We didn’t talk about it like we would if something inside needed to be cleaned up.
I’m guessing that most everyone has a space like this. Last weekend, I spent a marathon cleaning session in the garage. The shoes ended up donated to Soles4Souls. The clothes went to Goodwill. Other items were sent for recycling or to the trash.
I worked non-stop with my characteristic obsession. When I have a goal in mind, I can’t seem to stop. I don’t want to stop. I even worked through most of the night in order to get it all done.