This week I have enjoyed looking back 45 years to the first moon walk, which happened at 10:56 PM on Sunday, July 20, 1969. I was a camp counselor at Goshen Scout Camps in the hills of Virginia at the time. Being very interested in astronomy and space, I rigged-up the black and white television in the staff administrative building and watched the live feed with a few other interested counselors. I remember at the time wondering why Neil Armstrong got to go first.
For-profit businesses aren’t always known for their generosity. But dozens of U.S. companies buck that trend every year, reaching into their deep pockets and giving money to help make a difference for some of society’s most vulnerable populations, including underprivileged children, victims of domestic abuse and hungry people.
This week I have been following the Tour de France because our family friend, Edward “Ted” King, is riding for the second year for Team Cannondale. Ted is our son’s age, I coached him in youth soccer and his mom and dad are friends of ours. And Ted is on the team because he plays his team role very well. More about that in a minute.
Today, we are used to our politicians taking shots at each other, mostly through third-party ad campaigns. Imagine, however, if Vice President Joe Biden got insulted by some personal comments made by past Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson and then challenged Paulson to a duel with pistols.
There were several days last week when I felt like I was drinking out of a communication fire hose. I spent the early part of the day before 7AM getting caught-up on e-mails and working on detailed tasks. Then I went into a four to five hour meeting and came out to find 70 – 80 e-mails and four text messages waiting for me.
Over 25 years ago a friend and I closed on a business deal that was the worst deal we ever made. Before we got to the closing there were many “yellow and red lights”, but I didn’t see them…I kept moving towards the closing. I have subsequently referred to this as “transaction momentum”, which is when there are so many forces pushing everyone toward a closing that you fail to back-off when you should.
Effective leaders know the emotional capabilities of their team members. They know their strengths and insecurities. They know when to push and went not to. One challenge is to understand how deep one’s well of strength is. This past week when we lost Maya Angelou I listened to an old interview in which she talked about her life, which had very difficult early years. If anyone had a deep well of strength, it was she.
It is job relocation time and you are all stressed? It is but obvious that a change can bring about this state of mind! There are going to be a whole lot of new things and will give rise to tension too in some cases. But, there is nothing that you need to feel tensed about, for you can accomplish all the relocation with great ease when you bear these helpful tips in mind.
One responsibility leaders have is to put people into stretch positions so they can grow. When they do this effectively, people develop. When they do it ineffectively, people regress. It’s like when you drive a standard shift car and you are stuck in traffic on a hill. You have to “ride” the clutch just right so as not to either hit the car in front or in back of you.
Have you ever heard of strategic inflection points? They are times in the life of a person, business, or industry when almost all the rules change and to survive, you must substantially change, quickly. To the uninformed and unprepared, they come as a surprise. Strategic inflection points in industries are caused when changing external forces meet viable, disruptive innovations and then a completely new industry structure forms.