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194 years of Experience

As leaders, experiences shape us. Every opportunity to learn or appreciate something or someone adds to our ability to motivate and inspire. I was lucky enough to express appreciation for the lives of two special women this weekend.  I attended a celebration for the 95thFaye.JPG birthday of my wife’s grandmother and then later the same day honored  my great aunt’s 99th birthday.

Imagine the experiences these two women have lived through.  It is mind boggling the changes that have occurred in medicine, transportation and communications in their lifetime.  They were born into a home with no automobile, no telephone, no indoor plumbing, no electricity, no radio (and no Xbox).  They have seen the rise of fast food, cell phones and reality TV. And now their story is being told on a blog.

These two women have survived two world wars, the great depression, and the deaths of their husbands.  Their talents have blessed the lives of many.  Their lives are a patchwork of people, experiences and places. And maybe that was the lesson for me.  They have experienced so much, seen so many changes – some good some bad.  And yet their success in life has not been defined by the tools they had at their fingertips.  Their life and values have remained constant despite an amazing rate of change in the world. Their legacy is that some of us were fortunate to know them, be loved by them and inspired by them.  

mimi.JPGTheir purpose has been independent of the technology around them. Not a bad thing to remember as a leader. The use of data, tools, charts, technology and reports are critical to managing a business or organization. But in the end, your success as a leader will more likely depend on your values and character; on your honesty and loyalty; on if you can remember the names of your employees and treat every person in the organization with respect and appreciation.  Your vision and commitment will inspire others whether you use a Blackberry or scratch pad. Fads, gimmicks, useful technology and new management theories will surface. However, personal values and integrity are never obsolete. Their value and purpose survive bear and bull markets and are never out of favor. 

So here is to 194 years of experience and the lessons that two grand women (with no direct business knowledge) can teach us. Thanks Faye and Mimi.

Until next year……..

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