I just finished speaking with a friend of mine who is in senior management at a local manufacturing plant. Before I get too far into this let me say, my friend is an African-American. Now on to the story…He arrives at work this morning at his usual hour of 8 a.m. and spends the next hour receiving phone calls from employees who say they are sick and cannot come to work today. Nearly 100 of his 225 employees on the day shift had suddenly been consumed by some mysterious virus that had zapped their capacities to work.

Being the professional he is my friend decided to have the company nurse give all them a call in the hopes of ruling out a disease that my infiltrate the plant. To his astonishment, many of his dishonest but honest employees said they were not sick but tired from staying up late last night and celebrating Obamarama.

I totally understand the excitement of all of you who celebrated the Obama victory last night. However, I will say that if you are devoted to the causes of Barrack Obama you would have gotten your rear ends up this morning and went to work.

No reason you can’t party all night and work all day, unless you have a case of Obamatitis.

What were they thinking?

You never know what occurs when you lay a solid foundation

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the heat of the Washington sun they lined up hand-to-hand in an assembly line-like formation as they passed each stone, from one to another until the man at the end of the line placed the stone in its final resting place. They braved the cruel winters of wind blowing across the Potomac as they labored to build a house that would be home to their country’s president.

They took the lashings when the boss thought their work seemed sub-standard. They sang hymns that lifted spirits that had been broken. They broke their back to construct America’s masterpiece.

In recent months I’ve been thinking about what must have been running through the minds of the slaves who poured blood, sweat and tears into constructing the home of America’s President? Amidst the cruelty of slavery, what were their thoughts as they placed those stones that laid a foundation for what the world now considers as a “Monument of Royalty and Peace?”

When they put that last stone in place did they think the United States would one day elect a President of their color? Realizing their spirit I’m sure those slaves didn’t question the matter with ‘if’ but ‘when.’

Although I didn’t vote for President elect Obama I am happy to say my country took a gigantic step toward healing the wounds of those Georgetown slaves, those who marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge and those who braved the fire hoses of Birmingham.

I just wish Dr. King could have been here to see it.

Chris Columbus was a salesman?

Sales and motivational legend Zig Ziglar has an interesting read in today’s edition of the Zig Ziglar Newsletter. According to Ziglar, “America was discovered by a salesman. Christopher Columbus was looking for India and missed it by about 10,000 miles. Fortunately, he was a better salesman than he was a navigator!”

Read more of Zig’s insight on Columbus and be sure to sign up for his newsletter.

Back in the saddle again…

I’ve tried the daily blog on two previous occasions but never quite found the time to make daily postings. Much of this was due to the fact that I needed to work for clients in order for my family to eat. What has transpired over the past few months has been nothing short of a miracle. Now, thanks to some great friends I can do both.

So what does this mean? As a part of my daily routine of supporting and consulting with clients I will be sharing stories through the blog.

It’s been a while and I know I’ll need to relearn the ropes. I’m happy to be back in the saddle and sincerely hope I can share some insights that will make a positive impact in your life.

Never Underestimate the Power of HOPE

I was reminded recently of one of the most important characteristics a true leader must exhibit, Hope. Hope must always be the common theme throughout our leadership processes. A project without hope is doomed from the beginning. A team member without hope is doomed for failure. A leader without hope is an incurable cancer that will affect the entire team.

A friend of mine shared a story with me recently of a team leader who called a meeting with subordinates to discuss a new marketing project. When the team members assembled their leader stood before them and announced, “We have a very tough assignment, but one that must be accomplished. This is our last chance at this, if we don’t get it done this time all of us are out of here.” What little hope team members may have had when they entered the meeting were now dashed. With hope seemingly gone, you can imagine what happened to the project. Yep, it failed and just like the team leader explained, everyone on the project was terminated.

As leaders we are often faced with some pretty tough consequences if those we lead do not perform to levels that exceed the norm. We must always remember that it’s our job to inject those in which we lead with the empowering effects of hope. While we may feel that if the project doesn’t succeed all will be terminated, that message should never be shared with the team. Inject hope instead of doubt.

Inject hope and you’ll be amazed at how the human spirit will react. Hope never disappoints us. I’ve often found that those in which I lead are often searching for hope in their personal, professional and spiritual lives. When I introduce them to hope its amazing how they become more involved in the project, grow personally and ultimately become leaders themselves. And if you’re truly a leader, developing other leaders is the ultimate goal.

Never, ever forget, every project in which you lead must begin with hope!

Thursday Quick Hits

• I received an interesting question yesterday from a new reader of the blog. Apparently, they disagree with my (and leading experts) opinions that leaders are made not born. Folks, I am personal proof that you are not born with leadership abilities. If I had been born with the leadership gene I don’t think I would have made and continue make mistakes in leadership. I am a firm believer that leadership is a journey, a process.

• While conversing with a friend I felt the need to encourage him to get out of his comfort zone and realize he was a leader at his place of employment. He had the typical response, “I’m not in management, I can’t lead.” Unfortunately that’s exactly what we’ve been brainwashed into believing…if you’re not at the top of the chain then you’re not a leader. Mark Sanborn in his book “You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader,” discusses this topic in detail and explains that leadership is influence and not merely your position. If you positively influence others, if you inspire others, if you work to achieve goals by working with or coordinating the efforts of others, then you’re a leader. Don’t know about you but I think that pretty much takes care of everyone, from the middle school drama student all the way to Grandma’s bridge club. If you haven’t read Sanborn’s book PLEASE do so immediately…it should be required reading for anyone with a pulse.

• It always amazes me how seasons come and go in our lives. For the past few years I have poured my heart and soul into the leadership development of others. I found out long ago that the best way for me to learn is to teach. But for whatever reason, over the past few months more people who are going through some pretty tough situations have crossed my path. It’s becoming more apparent to me that I’m entering a season that will have me assist them in restoring their dreams, their finances, and their life. I’m pretty juiced about it too!

• College football season is upon us. Living in the south I can’t help but be biased toward the SEC and its 12 teams. So, I’m definitely pumped that tonight’s LSU/Mississippi State game marks the commencement of another season. Let’s just hope the bullies have some bite for the Bengal Tigers.

• I’m currently involved in a pretty radical project to assist in energizing and equipping members of a church to become small group leaders. Over the past few weeks we’ve tweaked the game plan and have what I believe will be the tools for a successful project. However, in order for us to win this game we actually need to kick it off. Good ideas are just that as long as we wait and twiddle our thumbs waiting for the right time to kick this thing off. Success requires action and I’ve about had it with the inaction of not getting this party started. The inaction of the churches leader’s is so loud I can’t hear a darn word their saying!

• May all of you have a tremendous and safe Labor Day Weekend.

Drugs, Porn and Rock-n-Roll Don’t Make You Happy?

This question has been posed millions of times before but a recent poll conducted by MTV and the Associated Press dives deeper into the cause of happiness and the results are not too surprising to me but I’m sure some parents of teenagers were awestruck. The poll queried MTV’s target audience of male and females between the ages of 18-24.

Participants of the poll were asked over 100 questions concerning their personal happiness. As the pollsters began examining the answers an overwhelming theme began to emerge. Not sex, not drugs, not gangs, not rock-n-roll. The number one way this generation finds happiness is when they spend time with family. Number two, spending time with friends, three…spending time with others. Almost 75% of all polled said their relationship with their parents make them happy.

I’m encouraged but not surprised with the results of the poll. I have the awesome opportunity of working with this age group on a weekly basis. Yes, many of them are currently or were involved in sexual activity, have used or at least sampled illegal drugs, they’re current and former gang members, and many are what you would call quintessential rebels. When one develops a personal relationship with these so-called “troubled” youngsters you quickly realize they’re searching for that one key to happiness…family.

Admit it, that’s what we’re all looking for. Teenagers may look for it in different ways than adults. Teenagers often look to sex, drugs and alcohol to fill their need for family. Adults often look to porn, their buddies at they gym or an extra-marital affair. Whatever the case, we’re all searching for family. Through the cloud filled haze of drugs we are searching for family. Through the fantasy of porn, we are looking for family.