A Thought for Thursday

Thursday Thought 1 - 1I think that at some point it is reasonable to be judged based upon our performance and not just our intentions.

So much of what is mainstream thought today seems to indicate that as long as you try really, really hard, then you have accomplished something.  You have expended effort.  But effort is not the same thing as accomplishment.

Is effort enough when it comes to leadership?

Are good intentions enough?

I have a lot of thoughts buzzing around my head today and I am curious if you have any thoughts based upon my opening statement.  If you do, I would love to hear them.

Photo credit: betsystreeter / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
Photo credit: symphony of love / Foter / CC BY-SA

Second Chair Leaders

Second Chair Leaders - 1There has been much that has been said recently in the area of “Leading from the Second Chair”. Although I have not yet read Bonem and Patterson’s book by that name, I have seen a lot of that type of leadership in my own life and in those who I admire greatly.

In fact, from a political perspective, one of the political leaders that I admire the most is Sen. Howard Baker of Tennessee.  His was the very first Presidential campaign that I worked on was as a volunteer.  Unfortunately I was a part of his unsuccessful attempt to become President in 1979. I admire Sen. Baker on multiple levels. Others admired him as well. Known in Washington, D.C. as the “Great Conciliator”, Baker is often regarded as one of the most successful senators in terms of brokering compromises, enacting legislation, and maintaining civility across the aisle. A story is sometimes told of a reporter telling a senior Democratic senator that privately, a plurality of his Democratic colleagues would vote for Baker for President of the United States. Unfortunately, not enough Americans apparently shared that sentiment.

Second Chair Leaders - 2But the times during his career that I admired him the most were his days as White House Chief of Staff for Ronald Reagan, the man who defeated him early in the primary season and caused him to drop out after the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary.

Baker did not seek re-election in 1984. However, as a testament to Baker’s skill as a negotiator and honest and amiable broker, Reagan tapped him to serve as Chief of Staff during part of Reagan’s second term (1987–1988). Many saw this as a move by Reagan to mend relations with the Senate, which had deteriorated somewhat under the previous chief of staff, Donald Regan. (Baker had complained publicly and privately that Don Regan had become a too-powerful “Prime Minister” inside an increasingly complex imperial presidency.) It is interesting to note that in accepting this appointment, Baker chose to skip another bid for the White House in 1988. Who knows if he would have been successful? I, I for one would have loved to have seen him elected in 1988 over the alternative that year.

Second Chair Leaders - 3So what is the leadership principle that I admire in Sen. Baker? Well, I think it is for these two reasons. One is that he understood the power and responsibility to still lead even though you are not “The” one. He had ambitions to be “The” one. But ambition, skill, and aptitude did not translate into the Oval Office for Sen. Baker. So, he withdrew for the sake of the overall mission of his party and supported the ultimate candidate who went on to become President. He waited patiently for the second term of Ronald Reagan and began to make his own plans for another run for the White House. But “Duty” called and Continue reading “Second Chair Leaders”

Shallow Roots

Shallow Roots - 1As a writer, I cannot choose when inspiration comes to me.  I do not get to decide when a great nugget of truth will stimulate the creative flow.  But, sitting in Church this last Sunday, inspiration came in like a flood.  And, I guess our pastors would be fairly pleased to know that I was “inspired” (or at least I was paying attention) during one of their sermons.

But, I am afraid the inspiration last Sunday took me a little different direction than perhaps they were intending.  Although, as I reflect on it now, maybe not so much . . .

“And other seed fell on the rocky ground, where it did not have much soil,
and it sprang up at once because it did not have any depth of soil.”

Matthew 13:5

For those of you who you who have spent much time at all in church, you will recognize the verse above as coming from the Gospel of Mathew and is a part of the Parable of the Sower and the Seeds.  For purposes of his message last Sunday, one of our pastors chose to emphasize the parable from the perspective of the soil.  I won’t go through his message in detail here.  Instead, if you are interested in the message, you can click on this link and check it out for yourself.

Shallow Roots - 2

Instead, I want to take one of his points and apply it directly to leadership development.  Are you ready for the inspiration?  Here it is: Continue reading “Shallow Roots”

Holding the Helm

Holding the Helm - 1Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.
Publilius Syrus

We are living in difficult days. I am speaking globally. And I am speaking about our nation. And I am speaking about the great state of Texas. And I am speaking about my own little life.

Nobody panic. All is well in my home. I am very blessed. But here is the reality of life as I see it.

Holding the Helm - 2Globally – The Olympic flame was still burning and trouble was brewing on the Crimean Peninsula. The flame is now out and Russian troops are amassing. The world watches and waits.  How many times have we seen that play out in that part of the world in the last 150 years?

For those out there with better than a sub-standard education, does The Charge of the Light Brigade mean anything to you?

Holding the Helm - 4Nationally – Our nation is need of strong leadership. Perhaps more so now than even the days of the birth of our great Nation. The choice then was obvious. Freedom and liberty or tyranny and taxation. But today the choices are not as clear. At least it appears that way.

I think I see a clear delineation. But not everyone does and of those who do see a delineation, not everyone agrees how to address it.  And I am not sure that it is even possible to reach some with a message that we face big challenges and we need big leaders to take us through the challenges that are ahead.

Holding the Helm - 3Texas – Here in Texas we are engaged in a battle to see Continue reading “Holding the Helm”