I would like to apologize for my posting delinquency. I have been very busy traveling, speaking, working, and doing some deep thinking about my strategy for the future. All the while, I have been working with my good friend Mark Lyons to enhance this website a little. Hopefully you’ll notice the improvements, and hopefully we’ll be able to continue improving the site throughout this year. I am developing some new multimedia content, and a few other things that I hope you will enjoy!
Throughout this blog, and as part of my speaking points, I often challenge everyone to overcome their fears of failure and seek out opportunities for leadership. I believe it is easy for us all to be a critic, and point out where there are issues, but it takes a substantially higher level of effort to be the on in the arena who takes charge and attempts to lead the community towards a positive change. I often challenge those I speak to to become leaders, and I say what we need is leadership… The other day I faltered for just a moment when someone asked me “What is leadership to you? What seemed so obvious to me, was actually very hard to put into a quick and concise definition. I know that there are many ways to describe the concept of leadership, there are many theories and methods and applications of leadership, so no one sentence could ever truly capture it’s essence, but in that moment the most clear definition to me centered around one word”empowerment.” I believe that leadership in a lot of ways should aim to “empower” the community. Whatever vector of empowerment doesn’t matter, so long as your efforts are aimed at improving the environment such as to increase the capability of those in your community to pursue their own individual happiness.
This definition exercise is one of my favorite ways to begin a deep dive into different concepts. We as a culture tend to incorporate buzz terms, slang words, and jargon into our daily vocabulary, but sometimes it’s a worthwhile endeavor to take a time out, and really think about what it is that we’re saying. in the Navy our core values are Honor, Courage, and Commitment. We recite those words many times during boot camp, plebe summer, physical training sessions and then we wear the words on t-shirts, and hang motivational posters on our walls that have those words spelled out in big block letters, but I am willing to bet each one of us would struggle to clearly define what Honor means to them. We know it When we see it, we know what is honorable and what isn’t, but how do we know? I think it is of great value to articulate what these values mean to us individually. I believe it is important to know precisely why something is honorable, and what is not honorable. It is important to know what leadership is, and what it is not.
Leadership to me is taking the initiative to take action that will have a positive impact on the community. The aim of these actions should be to empower the community to better itself. I think of the phrase, “If you give a man a fish he can eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he can eat for the rest of his life.” Leadership is empowering the community to fish.