Mentors to Many

I have written often about the mentor I have had since I was 17 years old, George Callahan.  Before I went into the army, George invited me into his home where he told war stories and showed me military memorabilia and old photographs.  George was positive, optimistic, immensely inspiring, and completely encouraging.  I saw George again recently, and we presented a pen to him with the phrase, “Mentor to Many.” George is a decorated combat veteran of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and was a former Army Special Forces soldier.  He went through paratrooper and Special Forces training at the...

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Work in Progress

If it wasn’t for one of my mentors, I don’t know when I would come to know the Socratic virtue of self-control; and that self-sufficiency alone doesn’t equate to a good life. Aristotle taught us we achieve true happiness when we fulfill the design of our nature (i.e., we stay true to our core values, and leverage our strengths).  I believe that self-reliant leadership means knowing what tough questions to ask yourself, and then have the courage to answer those tough questions and act!  Self-reliant leadership also means knowing when you need help with the questions, and it can be...

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What do you think of you as a leader?

I have a mentor who says that he only needs to figure out one thing during an interview:  Is the person a giver or a taker?  It amazes me that very few up and coming leaders say they have ever been mentored.  I contend mentoring goes both ways, and I believe the relationship has to be initiated by the mentee.  That is, a mentor has to be selected based on the mentee’s perceived fit. I also believe that if you have more career years behind you than in front of you, and you aren’t mentoring, you have to ask why you’re not more approachable. I had the good fortune of climbing a Colorado 14er...

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Two Dirty Words and the Multi-Generational Workforce

Carbon-copy. White-out.  Red-line. In-box.  If you entered the workforce before 1980, you remember when those terms described actual physical things.  You typed on carbon paper, used white-out to correct mistakes, made red-line changes on a sheet of paper with a red pen, and the whole editing process involved papers in and out of actual wooden in-boxes. A lot has changed in the last 30 years.  Technology advances have been explosive with major effects on the four generations working side-by-side in today’s organization (i.e., Traditionalists born before 1945; Baby Boomers born 1946-1964; Gen...

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Focus

I recently attended a series of events related to the USA Pro Challenge.  “The USA Pro Challenge, also known as America’s Race, is an annual multi-day professional road cycling stage race that first took place in Colorado in 2011. The race is marked especially by the incredible altitudes (over 12,000-feet), spectacular Colorado Rocky Mountain scenery and over one million annual fans onsite.” What struck me the most about the athletes and their teams is how specialized they have become.  When the sport was less organized a generation ago, racers could aspire to be winners of single-day races,...

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Elusive Focus

Focus can be defined as the ability to adapt to the prevailing level of light and to see more clearly.  In business, focus is all about execution and results, and the adaptation has more to do with internal strengths and weaknesses, and external threats and opportunities.  The one thing most agree on is that in both cases, it can be difficult to adjust and achieve. I am finding that there are two types of focus as a leader:  One where I work by myself on the business; and one where I work with others in the business.  As I focus my efforts on the business, I think about the other things I am...

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