Every day, the average American consumes that bountiful beverage known as coffee. In fact, according to a popular coffee brewer’s website, they serve over 1.5 billion cups of coffee annually—that’s a lot of coffee! So where are you going with this you might ask. The point is that in organizations around our Nation, someone needs to fire up that coffee pot and make that coffee every morning, so folks can enjoy that wonderful aroma and kick start the day.… Read the rest
Search Results for: The Practice of Leadership
In 1989, an earthquake in Armenia flattened the entire nation and killed over thirty thousand people in under four minutes. Moments after the ground quit shaking, a father raced to an elementary school to save his son. When he arrived, he saw that the school was gone. It had been reduced to a pile of rubble. Then he remembered a promise he had made to his child, “No matter what happens, you can count on me to be there for you.”… Read the rest
Several years ago the U.S. Army unveiled its newest advertising campaign. You may remember it. The TV commercial showed a soldier running alone across the desert, carrying a backpack but no rifle. Helicopters swoop overhead. A squad of soldiers runs past, moving in the direction opposite of the lone runner. Voiceover: “Even though there are 1,045,690 soldiers like me, I am my own force. . . . The might of the U.S. Army doesn’t lie in numbers. It lies in me.… Read the rest
Thomas Merton, in his book, The Wisdom of the Desert, recounts a story of the early desert fathers. These were men who gave up everything to live a very simple monastic lifestyle focused on setting aside all elements of self in order to focus on building relationships of service toward others. However, even these pious, selfless men struggled with the battle between pride and humility.
Merton shares an example in which a certain brother was consistently praised by his contemporaries in the presence of Abbot Anthony, the leader of the community.… Read the rest
I love the story of the young man with the bandaged hand who approached the clerk at the post office. “Sir, could you please address this post card for me?” The clerk, happy to help, agreed to write the message on the card.
Once complete, the postal clerk asked the young man if there was anything else he could do for him. The young man looked at the card and then said, “Yes. Would you please add a P.S., Please excuse the handwriting.”
As this tongue-in-cheek tale illuminates, gratitude is rarely our first response. For all the benefits of gratefulness, it’s just not a virtue we naturally put into practice.… Read the rest
Many of you may remember seeing the following TV commercial several years ago: A soldier is running alone across the desert, carrying a backpack but no rifle. Helicopters swoop overhead. A squad of soldiers runs past, moving in the direction opposite of the lone runner. Voiceover: “Even though there are 1,045,690 soldiers like me, I am my own force. . . . The might of the U.S. Army doesn’t lie in numbers. It lies in me. I am an Army of One.”
For those of us serving in the military, this seemed a particularly odd recruiting slogan. With very few exceptions, the image of a warrior acting alone is far from the reality we either espouse or embrace.… Read the rest
“The conductor of an orchestra doesn’t make a sound. He depends, for his power, on his ability to make other people powerful.”
I grew up playing the violin in an orchestra. As a young man, I didn’t fully appreciate how important the conductor’s role was towards conducting a successful concert. My friends and I were doing all the heavy lifting of learning the music and playing the notes. The conductor just stood up there and waved a baton around, how hard could conducting be?
An orchestra is a great example of a team where all members must both do their individual jobs and work together to achieve a common goal. … Read the rest