Jun 4
Does Toastmaster's Grow Leaders?

The basics of being an effective leader involve knowing when to implement ideas that are going to yield the maximum resultpodium.jpgs. Leaders have an instinct, sort of from the gut, to try new, different and non-traditional things. Even if they are wrong, they take satisfaction in knowing that because they put forth the effort to try, results are highly likely to be favorable.


Being a Toastmaster has enabled many would-be leaders to recognize their potential as such and pursue it with vigor and passion. There are systems that Toastmaster’s has placed within its program that are designed to encourage leaders to discover their potential. Every week during club meetings, the members are invited to tap into their leader side by taking roles that will help them cultivate their leadership skills.


Although Toastmaster’s has been useful for some, most people do not agree with its precept. Many people think you can’t “learn” leadership, you have to “do” leadership.

 What do you think about the Toastmaster's organization? Can an organization like Toastmaster’s really help develop leaders?



Jun 3
Celebrations In The Obama Camp
The new presidential democratic nominee and his staffers are celebrating this evening. Senator Obama achieved a sufficient number of delegates to secure the nomination on the Democratic ticket. Things have been interesting for quite a few montobama-6028.jpghs now, but should really begin to become interesting. Hillary has offered her support to Obama as the candidate for Vice-President, but is it too little, too late? Although she seems like a sore loser, can and should Obama really count on her support as his running mate? Can she be trusted?

As a leader, Obama will have to make some very tough decisions in the month ahead. He lacks experience by comparison to Clinton, but more than makes up for it in terms of promises and vision. But how long will that last?

I hope that Obama stays true to his vision as a potential leader for our country. It’s very important that he does what he says or at least makes an effort to do them. All eyes are on Mr. Obama now like never before.


Jun 2
Fashion Icon Yves Saint Laurent Dies At Age 71


The fashion industry mourns a loss as it bids farewell to the quintessential icon, Yves Saint Laurent. Mr. Laurent spent over four decades in the fashion industry making an impact, changing the course of the industry and leaving a phenomenal legacy before retiring in 2002. His leagacy is one that will carry on and one that has impacted the fashion industry in such a way as to set a standard for how and why things are done.

"He was the first to put women in pants, the first to put them in tuxedos, the first to put them in masculine clothes, the first to employ black models," he said. "He was audacious, he revolutionised the trade."

Full story here.

An icon of his time and a leader in the fashion industry, Yves Saint Laurent broke many "taboos" in his day by doing things that hadn't been done by others. He didn't care what others thought or how he was perceived. In other words, he went with his heart and not his head.

Leaders who think about the results of their actions rather than the steps it takes to get there are far more successful than their peers or counterparts. Being an effective leader always require sacrifice and taking chances. Delving into the unknown is what makes a leader stand out and be recognized. Even if they do not find success in their decisions, they will still be known as the one who tried. Yves Saint Laurent was definitely one who took chances and pushed the envelope. For that, and among other things, he will be remembered as the fashion mogul who single-handedly changed the industry. All because he dared.

Do you take chances as a leader? Do you think it's wise for leaders to take chances or to play it safe, assured of the outcome?

Is It Barak Obama or Oprah Wynfrey That You Support?

The other day I wrote a rather "exciting" post that got a reader pretty, well, excited. All I talked about was Barak Obama's and his questionable views on live abortion and pro-choice. I also talked about whether or not the Black community endorses him as a candidate simply because he is Black, and not because he is qualified. I stand by my opinion, but I would like to also offer another take on the subject.

This YouTube video of Oprah Wynfrey on Larry King Live shows Larry King interviewing Oprah and giving her full endorsement of the candidate. If you will listen closely as you watch the video, you will notice about a third through the video Oprah mentions that she likes "what he stands for" and "the things that he has to say are good." Well, what does that mean? What does he stand for? What are the things that he has to say that are good?

Oprah has an immense following and most people listen very closely to what she has to say. Therefore, if she supports Obama, then her followers would probably support him too. After all, if it's good enough for Oprah then why not try it?

The only point that I want to make here is to give people a reason to think for themselves. Do your homework on your own candidate of choice. Have allegiance to a candidate for more than the color of their skin. Find out what they stand for. Find out what they believe in and have a passion for. Listen to them, closely. Then after you feel comfortable enough with them representing you and what you believe in, go with that.

You have to live with it for the next four years.

Kobe Bryant As A Mentu And A Leader

This YouTube video gives a glimpse into the next project by the famous basketball player, Kobe Bryant. It seems that Mr. Bryant has been working on a mentoring program of sorts for some kids in China and is helping get their game up to par. Kobe is a phenomenal ball player, but is he more of a role model than a leader?

While watching the video, you will notice that Kobe (and what appears to be his assistant coach) keep referring to "not making Kobe look bad" because "his name is on these jersey's", so on and so forth. They make it abundantly clear that the kids will be cut from this mentoring program if they do anything that will detract from the Kobe Bryant image.

So, is Kobe more interested in growing sports leaders and team players or in developing more of his fan base who will chant Ko-be, Ko-be when he and his new posse take the court?

Black People Should Listen Closely To Barak Obama
Some people in the Black community are so excited to have a Black candidate representing them for a spot in the White House, that they've lost all sight of what's really going on. I was eating breakfast this morning, listening to the news, and heard the newscaster go into a spiel about how Barak Obama was pro-choice, blah, blah, blah…

I put my fork down.

Now although this doesn’t apply to everyone in the African-American community, the majority of Black people are Christians, or at least anti-murdering or pro-lifer’s. I think that the Black community is oblivious to or at least doesn’t care what Obama’s views are concerning abortion and pro-choice.


Out of all the preacher’s who support Barak on Sunday mornings, not one has (to my knowledge, including my own) bothered to mention Barak’s politics concerning killing babies. None of them has talked about his views on live abortion and how he “avoids” the issue of terminating pregnancies.


I’m not trying to make this a racial issue, but I want the Black community to take note of the politician’s stand on a controversial subject. Is America really ready, especially those who are firm, dedicated Christians, to compromise their views and beliefs all for the sake of having the “first Black president?” Is it really worth it? Will the Black community close their eyes, stick their heads in the sand and pretend he didn’t say it or that it’s not going to happen?


Barak believes what he believes. So do you. Now how far are you willing to go with that?



Starbuck's is Struggling To Define Their Economic Position

I remember about two to three years ago hearing a rumor that Starbuck’s starbucks%20logo.gif(Nasdaq: SBUX) did not support the military and that they were anti-war. While to each his (or her) own as it pertains to opinions about the war, businesses that struggle to keep their customer base are finding that they have to change the way they do business. Strong issues like war, abortion, government control or politics is enough to change the way businesses impact the economy. Starbuck’s found this out. Whenever you go into a Starbuck’s chain now to purchase any of their product, you get a “military discount” (provided you are military), and on occasion, a free donut.

Starbucks has been feeling the economic pressure for quite some time as they struggle to identify themselves as a corporate culture leaving an impression and still able to retain and grow their customer base. They haven't done anything different than what any business would do who's in trouble or find that they're challenged in robust bottom line profits.

What they've done is good. They're realigning themselves as a viable competitive force in their industry and wooing the customers back slowly through excellent customer service, customer discounts and a superior product.

Let's just hope it all works out for them.

Why Is There So Much Pressure On Leaders?


It's really interesting the ideas that people have concerning leaders. A lot of responsibility and high expectations are placed on leaders with very little room for error. Everything a leader does and every time he or she does it, it's noticed and critiqued.


I remember when I was a Branch Manager for the Olsten Corporation at their local offices here in Alabama. I had just taken over the position as Manager and within the first week, I was expected to grow sales and undo everything the previous manager had done. The other thing that was so unbelievably comical was that I was expected to do these added responsibilities with no increase in pay.


Now I understand that in order to be a leader, and an effective one, we must also be willing to donate our time and efforts to ensure a job well done and a level of measured success. But just how far should a leader extend themselves to ensure this job well done? How realistic should these expectations be?




Top Careers In Leadership

It's often believed that leaders are automatically businesscareer%20image.jpg owners or entrepreneurs. Not so. Leaders can be found in almost any industry. and not always as executives. Besides the upper management level of leaders, you can find leaders acting as the middle man, as a leader of operations or systems and even leaders among the rank and file.


Here is an article that lists what the top ten careers for leaders are. I read over it and tried to decide which one I might perhaps fit into if I wasn’t already an entrepreneur . The Hotel Manager career sounds quite intriguing to me. Aside from it being a lucrative industry, the hospitality aspect of it really appeals to me since I am a social person, I believe that I could really enjoy this industry and a career in luxury services.


What would your career choice be as a leader? What industry do you currently work in as a leader?


Tricia Walsh-Smith's Rant On YouTube: Doesn't Anyone Have Couth Anymore?

I thought I had seen it all. But until today when I saw the YouTube rant by Trisha Walsh-Smith, I realized that I still had a lot more to see in this life. As I watched the video with my eyes stretched in disbelief, I was distrathe%20smiths.jpgught to see that some people are just not interested in practicing good manners or being a little civil in dealing with unpleasant situations. What’s going on in the world?



Mrs. Smith’s husband doesn’t want her as his wife anymore. He didn’t give her a reason why (per Mrs. Smith), but wants her out of their luxury apartment and also wants to end the marriage (again, per Mrs. Smith). This type of thing happens every day with couples who decide that they no longer want to be married. But what doesn’t happen every day is when people go on YouTube and talk about the details and personal business of a marriage gone bad. Herein, is my problem.



Divorce is not new, nor is it pleasant. There are hurt feelings. There are things said. There are sometimes even things thrown. So why do people like Trisha think we want to hear about her husband’s condoms or his prescription for Viagra? I certainly don’t, so I can’t imagine what she thought she’d accomplish by doing this video.



With a staggering divorce statistic of 50%, a trend of going on YouTube to air dirty laundry certainly is not the answer. Practicing a little couth, perhaps a little discretion could actually work in a person’s favor when they go before a judge. Do you think people will consider this before they go off making YouTube videos?


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