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Greatness Archives, Page 1 of 1
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Sep 7
Run from Leaders Without Heads!

Dashing through a mall to pick up a few stationary supplies yesterday, I was stopped dead in my tracks ... by a large display of men’s and women’s clothes. What? Was I seeing straight?  The manikins sported fine threads but none had heads! What's going on? Wait a minute ... is this a picture of where engines of big business and the rest of us have driven American culture?
ist2_235296_headless.jpg
This blatant image troubled me all day … partly because it sports icons for the faceless … images for the nameless … and partly because it flaunts metaphors for a brainless march away from innovations of the mind.

Yikes! Tell me I am wrong! Here are a few clues that send out warning signals:

1. Manikins without heads wear rich business suits
2. Phones with endless menus and mazes block human contact
3. Machines do banking and increase fees frequently … “for your convenience”
4. Web sites remove emails to prevent your ideas and insights about their services
5. Leaders … in global companies … hide from accountability… and steal from coffers

Do you see an increase in any of these areas? Where’s the community leader who we can see and invite for lunch? What happened to the openness that allows us to care for one another in ways that create mutual benefits?

headless.jpgYesterday I dropped my insurance policies with nameless global companies and bought a combined policy with Amica … a community leader in my area. And I shop at Wegman’s for the same reason. In fact I am heading back to community leaders to sign up with firms that:

1. Value the minds and insights from customers
2. Welcome communication by phone or email
3. Step out of offices to greet you once in awhile in banks
4. Invite thoughtful exchanges on their web sites
5. Show transparency in money matters that include integrity and giving back

How about you? Are you ready to look to leaders with heads again… and buy from places that still see yours? In Wegman’s and  Amica’s case … a wider business reach simply takes a back seat to quality and excellence … the kind that wins community accolades. What do you think?
Aug30
Lead Past Traditions - With the Brain in Mind


 

 I’ve been thinking lately about people who lead us beyond traditions… while respecting traditionalists whose wisdom can help us to inhabit new landscapes. My curiosity about that comes from a desire to learn from the pros and a desire to lead with the brain in mind.

We learn from the pros, observe them, seek them out as mentors and partners. That’s good for the brain and good for business. It’s also beyond tradition.jpggood to use proven brain based approaches to challenge traditional pros … especially those who  become complacent or arrogant.

To encourage people’s evolution forward, is to  help them to
reflect on opposite views in ways that show added value that comes from alternative possibilities. It’s a bit like riding the bus and pushing it at the same time… and the brain is equipped for both in ways that amaze people we work alongside.

New Neurons Need Signals to Survive We are reminded at ScientificAmerican.com that “the human brain continues to produce new nerve cells throughout its life and these neurons may be key to learning new information. But many of these novice neurons wither and die before joining the vast signaling network of their mature peers.”

Did you know they recently discovered a
novelty area in your brain? It’s a matter of leading past traditions and into novelty. Interestingly…. new research also shows that the presence or absence of new ideas or insights --represented by the neurotransmitter glutamate—literally decides a young neuron's fate. Sound like a reason to see and do new things to grow and nurture new brain cells?

Fred Gage of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and his colleagues suspected that a lack of brain signals significantly impacted a new neuron's fate. It turns out that the life of the hippocampus is tough … and that it benefits from new stimuli in ways that enable young cells that latch onto new facts to survive some of the old cells fight for survival. Hmmmm….

I’ve decided to golf today on a new course … just to see if any new stimuli there increases the young cells in my own brain. How about you – what new stimuli could lift your day to a new place – past traditions into novelty? 

Apr 5
Basketball, Leadership & Character - Like Father, Like Son
If you can get your hands on a copy of Sports Illustrated April 3, 2006 edition, it isSI cover.jpg worth the price and the read. The issue is devoted to a preview of the baseball season but is bookended by two great stories about high school basketball.

Steve Rushin on page 19 and Rick Reilly on page 140 both share tales of greatness by two unlikely state basketball champions. One is below. The other will follow tomorrow.

Rushin writes of the impact one coach had on a community in “It’s a Wonderful Life Story.” The story is about Steve Randall, who coached boys basketball at Oshkosh West High in Wisconsin before suddenly dying of a heart attack in 2004 on the eve of his 30th season and his 16th at Oshkosh. More than 3,000 people showed up for his wake and the Oshkosh Northwestern received “hundreds of tributes to Coach Randall from around the country and overseas.” This outpouring was illustrative of “the effect a simple man has had on so many people.”

Steve Randall was a leader and a mentor to athletes and non-athletes alike.
Continue Reading
Mar17
Peter Vidmar - Speaker, Champion, Author
I was at the home of Peter Vidmar, Olympic Gold Medalist, a few weeks past for a dinner party. I had never met Peter before but I remember 1984 when he earned a “perfect 10” on the pommel horse at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and led the US team to its first gold medal and unexpected upset of the Chinese team. I was a junior at the University of Utah but headed for L.A. to work as a security officer at the Olympics. For me it was a memorable experience to be around the games, for Peter, it was the pinnacle of his gymnastics career and provided the platform for his professional career.
ROV.jpg
Peter and I were talking about leadership and the motivational and inspirational speaking engagements he provides to corporate meetings and trade shows. Peter was kind enough to let me take his book, Risk, Originality & Virtuosity: The Keys to a Perfect 10.

Risk, originality and virtuosity were the elements and basis for scoring in gymnastics in 1984. Vidmar has taken these elements and applied them as important ingredients for success in any endeavor. He shares his athletic and life experiences and uses the elements of ROV as measurements of achievement and has trademarked this concept.
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Jan23
Historical Kobe Bryant
Is LeaderNotes just about basketball? It seems like it lately. I’ll admit, the past week has had a round ball influence. But the inspiring stories of “Glory Road”  and the 183 win streak of the Brea Ladycats  were really about leadership, inspiration and greatness. They just happened to be basketball stories.
kobejumpshot.jpg
Then there is Kobe Bryant. If you haven’t heard, Kobe scored 81 points last night against the Toronto Raptors. This is an amazing feat  in an era of unprecendented talent and parity that exists in the NBA today. Then again it was Toronto. Not really a defensive powerhouse unless it is against a power play.

I live in LA. I love basketball. But I can’t get behind Kobe. I won’t deny it was an individual performance that is amazing. He personally outscored Toronto in the third period. But I don’t see a lot of leadership from Mr. Bryant. I don’t see him making his teammates better like Michael Jordan made Scotty Pippen better. I don’t see him playing inspiring defense and tallying triple doubles like Magic or Bird. I do see him brooding, solitary, demanding Shaq be traded and not leading on any level.

From what I read in the blogoshere, despite the performance, I am not alone. The word “rapist”  and “ball hog”  seem to show up as often as all-star or greatest player. In fairness, read LakersBlog for the “Kobe for MVP” side of the story.
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Jan20
A Team of Greatness
For many of you it might be hard to think all the way back to 1987. For me it is memorable as my first real job after graduating from college in 1986. Ronald Reagan was President of the United States. The cold war was still cold, although thawing. You may recall that the Cosby Show, Cheers and Family Ties were the top TV shows. Michael Jordan started his second season in the NBA and won the scoring title but it would be four more seasons before he would lead the Bulls to an NBA championship.

For most current high school seniors, 1987 was one year before they were born. But here in Brea, California we know 1987 season as they year the win streak started…….

………And we will remember 2006 as the year the streak came to an end. That is right, the Brea Olinda Ladycats won 183 consecutive basketball league games from the 1986/87 season until last Friday when the improbable but eventualladycats.jpg occurred. The Ladycats fell. It took a period of overtime for El Dorado of Placentia to end the streak.

Brea, California is near the border of the Los Angeles and Orange County line in the Los Angeles basin. About 17 million people live in the LA area so this streak was played out in a competitive environment. The span covered 183 games over 20 seasons and remarkably included three coaches, a league change and only one overtime period. The last time Brea lost in league was February 10, 1987, in the season's second-to-last game.

For perspective, the next longest streak in California is 107 and held by a team in the rural central valley of California. The loss endangers another state record. Brea has won 23 consecutive league titles, 10 more than the next current active streak.

The full story can be read in the LA Times,  if you are interested.
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