This Flag, the American Flag, is the emblem of civil and religious liberty and well deserves a place of honor whereever it’s citizens meet. It is our fervent hope that we citizens will stand ever ready to shield and protect it, as we fostere and promote that Divine Principle of which it is a symbol throughout the world.
Divine Principle — Liberty, to which our Founders added Life and the Pursuit of Happiness.
The ideal of liberty motivates our patriotic zeal and loyalty to the Flag and our Country. And, when our liberty is threatened, that same motivation drives to stand as ramparts of liberty, taking up the sword of freedom to protect it and those who swear or affirm their allegience to the Flag and to America – The United States.
That Divine Principle – Liberty – was of primary concern to our Founding Fathers when they were searching for a foundational ideal upon which to build our great country; a divine principle that would be symbolized in the flag of the new nation.
The Founders were well read, highly intelligent leaders, some men of the Cloth who were aware of the many philosophical ideal upon which to create a country. They knew about Plato’s writings in The Republic; they knew about Scotland’s quest for freedom from England. They knew about a letter written from Scottish Leaders called the Declaration of Arbroath, sometimes called the Declaration of Independence of Scotland, in which there is a single line that defines their ideal for America:
“It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for liberty – and that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”
Thomas Jefferson reminds us in one of his over 2700 quotations about liberty and other subjects, when in 1787 he said, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
The Flag is a symbol of patriotism.
Congress proclaimed the design of on June 14, 1777. Prior to that there were many designed of Flags in each of the colonies and localities. One of the most common was the “Don’t Tread on Me” Flag.
President Wilson officially proclaimed Flag Day on June 14, 1916 suggesting that all American fly the U.S. Flag to show our allegience and patriotism to the American Ideal. There have been many writings as to the symbolism of the Colors. However, the one that speaks to the patriotic ideals of the Country more appropriately reflects the American Ideal.
Red: our zeal and courage for Flag and all it represents to Americans. It is also symbolic of the blood shed in the preservation of liberty and America.
White: our purity, our honest, our integrity of actions and treatment of others.
Blue: our loyalty (True Blue) to our country and the ideal of liberty.
Upon hearing of President Wilson’s Flag Day proclamation, a noted Washington DC Patriot, journalist and motivational speaker named John Daley immediately wrote a poem called “A Toast To The Flag” in which is symbolized and memorialized the ideal of liberty.
Toast to the Flag
June 14, 1917
Here’s to the Red of it
There’s not a thread of it,
No, nor a shred of it,
In all the spread of it,
From foot to head,
But heroes bled for it,
Faced steel and lead for it,
Their fortitude embedded in it,
Precious blood shed for it,
Bathing it Red
Here’s to the White of it
Thrilled by the sight of it,
Who knows the right of it,
But feels the might of it,
Through day and night?
Womanhood’s care for it,
Made manhood dare for it,
Their integrity sincere in it,
Purity’s prayer for it,
Keeps it so white!
Here’s to the Blue of it
Beauteous view of it,
Heavenly hue of it,
Star-spangled dew of it,
Constant and true;
Diadem gleam for it,
States stand supreme for it,
Their loyalty true for it,
Liberty’s beam for it,
Brightens the blue!
Here’s to the whole of it
Stars, Stripes and Pole of it,
Body and soul of it,
O, and the roll of it,
Sun shining through;
Hearts in accord for it,
Swear by the sword for it,
Their faith unshakable for it,
Thanking the Lord for it,
Red White and Blue
Take a moment today to remember the meaning and symbolism of the U.S. Flag, the millions of Americans who have paid the ultimate sacrifice preserving the liberty we so cherish.
SGT Ed Mitchell Tribute,
Bushnell National Cemetery,
28 May 2013
Show me a Nation that honors its dead, and I will show you a Nation.
A Nation and people who appreciate the legacy they left as well as that Nation’s appreciation for their sacrifices in helping preserve the liberty we cherish.
It is our way of immortalizing them and the lessons they taught us, the memories they left us, and the important, if not great, accomplishments or achievements of their life.
So it is today as we honor Ed Mitchell as part of the Memorial Day weekend as we take time to honor those whom have gone before us, setting that example of patriotism – a love for our country and the ideal behind our existence; the ideal emblematic in our National Colors that led men and women in our quest of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. His General Order No. 11 in part describes the purpose of Memorial Day and in part our honor of SGT Ed Mitchell. Gen. Logan said it is for:
“preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress ……… rebellion.”
General Logan also proclaimed that we should guard their graves with sacred vigilance.
In 1915, after presiding over the funeral of a friend and fellow soldier, Lt Col John McCrae wrote the following poem about the American Cemetery in Flanders Fields, Belgium.
John McCrae, 1915
Between the crosses, row on row
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved,
In Flanders fields.
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Moina Michael was so inspired by the poem that in 1918 she replied with her own poem entitled We Shall Keep The Faith. These four lines pointently supplement the ideals above, as well as making a new proclamation on the importance of honoring veterans, family members and even friends.
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
(Her entire poem can be read at the end of the tribute.)
Eddie, as most of us knew him, made a personal sacrifice at a time when duty called and Eddie answered the call just like millions of others have down through history. Like many of us who, during the time in our lives when our freedom is threatened, Eddie set aside his personal goals, his vision for his personal future, to be part of that rampart against tyranny, to serve his country.
It is for us, his family and others who remain, to cherish his memory, to never forget the personal sacrifice, the memories of conflict, agony and pain he kept within after he came back home from Vietnam to carry on with his vision and goals for his life, and that of his family.
In a few moments the customary three volleys will be fired, followed by the playing of Taps.
This practice of firing three volleys over a grave originated in the old custom of halting the fighting to remove the dead from the battlefield. Once each side had finished retrieving their dead, they would fire three volleys to indicate that they were ready to go return to the fight.
The fight for us is our eternal quest for Liberty as directed in the Holy Scriptures and, as it says in the Declaration of Arbroath, the Declaration of Independence of Scotland that was used as a template for America’s Declaration of Independence,
”For we fight not for honors, nor glory, nor riches, but for Liberty and that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”
Taps became the more solemn manner of returning to the fight. As it is played think about these, some of the unofficial words for Taps.
Words to Taps
Day is done,
gone the sun,
From the hills,
from the lake,
From the skies.
All is well,
God is nigh.
Thanks and praise,
For our days,
‘Neath the sun,
Neath the stars,
‘Neath the sky,
As we go,
This we know,
God is nigh.
We miss you Eddie and are honored to have known you during your time on this earth.
We Shall Keep the Faith
by Moina Michael, November 1918
Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.
We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.
And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.
Multiple Intelligences are rarely, if ever, talked about in leadership circles. Two that might be discussed are intellectual intelligence (IQ) and Emotional Intelligence (EQ).
In 1983 Howard Gardner, in his book Frames Of Mind, wrote about seven types of multiple intelligences in human beings. Gardner argues that there is a wide range of cognitive abilities, and that strength or weakness in one area or ability does not necessarily correlate to another intelligence. For example, the theory postulates that a child who learns to multiply easily is not necessarily more intelligent than a child who has more difficulty on this task.
While Gardner did not mention leadership in any of his multiple intelligences, it is easily recognizable that to be an effective, efficient and productive leader, intelligence is quite naturally required. As such, I believe there are four kinds of intelligence that directly affect one’s leadership capabilities and methodologies to become a successful leadership practitioner.
A holistic approach to leadership requires knowledge, i.e. intelligence, is these areas: Physical (PQ); Intellectual (IQ); Emotional (EQ); and Spiritual (SQ). They are interrelated in that they build on each other as one’s intellectual level increases over time through normal life experiences, academic achievements and professional expertise in our chosen fields.
Christine McDougall, on her website Positive-Deviant, writes about the importance of Physical Intelligence (PQ) to the overall well-being of personal health and fitness. Physical Intelligence relates to Gardner’s bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. Furthermore, current studies and findings prove the necessity of maintaining a strong fitness level to improve longevity and body functions. PQ theory says that individuals need be knowledgeable in fitness, nutrition, and bodily wellness.
Life-long learning is widely regarded as the increase in the intellectual level – IQ – of everyone wishing to improve one’s mind, professional expertise, and position in life. IQ contributes significantly to the personal “wisdom” one attains throughout the maturing process. Henri Bergson, in his book Creative Evolution reminds us: “To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” Continuing education is a never-ending process in raising one’s intellectual level, i.e. IQ.
Daniel Goleman, writing in What Makes A Leader, says that his findings have shown that the most effective leaders all have a high degree of Emotional Intelligence (EQ). The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) says EQ is associated with better performance in nine different areas of leadership and management. Goleman’s research clearly shows that EQ is the sine qua non – absolute requirement – of leadership.
Cindy Wigglesworth, in her book SQ 21, outlines from her research 21 key elements to Spiritual Intelligence (SQ); which she emphatically differentiates from religious and religious beliefs. She believes that SQ is developed over time, with significant practice. SQ is defined as: “The ability to behave with wisdom and compassion, while maintaining inner and outer peace, regardless of the situation.” Wisdom and compassion being the pillars of SQ.
In The Servant As Leader, Robert Greenleaf lists twelve characteristics of Servant Leadership that practitioners need to exhibit in order to be classified as a servant leader. Two of Greenleaf’s characteristics – Awareness and Self-Awareness are directly related to the above four intelligences.
Self-Awareness refers to having a deep understanding of oneself – emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs, drives, and “who we really are” as we exist in the world. It requires reflection on personal behaviors, interactions with others, and our overall decision-making posture in leadership. Further, it refers to the moral and ethical value system we use as the foundation of our leadership practices.
Awareness refers to our surroundings with whom we interact and build relationships in our leadership positions. Awareness also refers to a leaders abilities to consider the points-of-view or behaviors of others in an attempt to logically learn the inner-self of their behaviors.
The following briefly lists some of the salient points of each of these four leadership intelligences.
Physical Intelligence (PQ).
- Ability to listen, identify and respond to internal messages about one’s physical self. Pain, hunger, depression, fatigue and frustration are examples.
- Learn about and understand the mind body connection. For instance: stomach telling mind it is time to stop eating; understanding the difference between the internal voice of wants vs. needs; the bodies need for exercise when we want to be lethargic.
- Determining our body’s perfect weight, fitness level and perfect diet.
Intellectual Intelligence (IQ).
- Enrolling in classes of higher learning, obtaining a second degree, technical expertise improvement classes.
- Research intellectual topics such as philosophy, religion, symbolism, leadership, psychology.
- Surrounding yourself with people or organizations where life-long learning exists.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ).
- Learn principles and practices for improvements in Self-Awareness and Self-Management: self-confidence; self-control; adaptability; initiative.
- Becoming more socially: empathetic; service orientation to others and the organization.
- Relationship Management: inspirational leadership practices; change management; conflict resolution skills; teamwork building techniques.
Spiritual Intelligence (SQ).
- Deeper understanding of one’s own world view, life purpose, value hierarchy and controlling personal ego to consider the higher self.
- Self-mastery of one’s spiritual growth, living your purpose, values and vision, sustaining faith in and seeking guidance from a higher power.
- Universal awareness of world view of others, limitations and power of human perception, awareness of spiritual laws and transcendental oneness
- Social Mastery/Spiritual Presence: wise and effective mentor of spiritual principles; leadership change agent; making wise and compassionate decisions; and being aligned with the ebb and flow of life.
Gardener’s “mind’s eye” theory refers to the human ability to “visualize” or “see” images in the mind. Arguably, this requires deep and intense thinking in order to see objects in the mind that cannot be touched or felt. However, sports coaches and teachers will tell you to visualize certain actions, such as hitting a tennis (The Inner Game of Tennis) or golf ball (Little Green Golf Book), throwing a football, or similar activities.
Have you expanded your Leadership Intelligence beyond your own personal views and thoughts? Do you exercise your “minds-eye” in your daily leadership of others? Is leadership required to understand the intelligences of others whom you lead?
I’m interested in your thoughts and comments.
President and General Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” In other words it is the art of influencing someone to complete a task while convincing them it is their own idea and something they want to do in the first place.
Notice he said “art”, which indicates that it is not a “science”, that it is a skill acquired through learning, observing, and practicing. Furthermore, since it is not a science, leadership is separate and distinct from management, which is associated with resources such as goods, services, products, procurement and similar functions. Human Resource Management deals with the hiring, orientations, training and policies that deal with employees of the organization.
Management is a complex function, dealing with the science of inventory control, financial planning of procurement, expenses, liabilities and profit. It requires analyzing of the effects of change, including the financial risks to profits and loss. These complexities require accounting, financial management and their associated mathematical compilations.
When all these infrastructures are in place, what is left is the art of influencing and convincing the human factor, the employees, toward the execution of the plans initiated by management.
This is where leadership comes into play in an organization. James C. Hunter in his book The Servant: A Simple Story about the True Essence of Leadership, pointed out that “You manage things, you lead people.” Further, he defines leadership as, “The skill of influencing people to work enthusiastically toward goals identified as being for the common good.”
Complex? I am of the mind it is not all that complex. Difficult? That is another story.
Leadership is a skill and therefore must be learned to be effective. Furthermore, one does not have to be in a top-level leadership position to be a leader.
Maxwell’s Leading from the Middle Myths
Position: “I can’t lead if I’m not at the top.”
Destination: “When I get to the top, then I will learn to lead.”
Influence: “If I were on top, then others would follow me.”
Inexperience: “When I get to the top, I’ll be in control”
Freedom: “When I get to the top, then I’ll no longer be limited.”
Potential: “I can’t reach my potential if I’m not the top leader.”
All-or-Nothing: “If I can’t get to the top, then I won’t try to lead.”
What Maxwell is saying is, “One doesn’t have to be at the top to be a leader.” Nor is he saying that one only learns, or even starts learning, leadership principles when they are in a designated top-level position.
When a person decides on their line of work, that is the time one should begin learning about leadership. One fault of MBA Programs is that their focus is on management, with very little leadership principles and practices being taught.
Another myth is that one has to attend college to learn leadership. Wrong! There are literally thousands of leadership books on the market from which one can learn leadership principles and practices.
A young sailor who worked for me mid-way through my Navy career – Guy Haxton - is a perfect example of the myth that one has to be in a leadership position to be a leader. Seaman Haxton led the following manner:
He learned every aspect of our radio shack onboard ship, every piece of equipment, every system that was made up of this equipment.
He did not hesitate, or have to be told, to train others in the use of the equipment or the various aspects of our communication center.
He could function as a watch supervisor, which required communicating with upper-level management and leadership.
He took the initiative to troubleshoot problem, preventing major disruptions.
Guy Haxton was a leader.
It is really not that complex. Yes, it requires skills to be able to efficiently deliver leadership because we are dealing with people. This is the more difficult part.
Leadership requires practice, experience, making mistakes, control of one’s emotions, listening skills, awareness, self-awareness – Knowing Thyself, empathy, and intense, empathetic listening skills.
Team-building is a much-talked-about leadership topic in today’s business world. While a lot of my leadership skills and practices were achieved through training, a huge amount of it came from my involvement with sporting activities throughout my life; football (quarterback), softball, baseball, umpiring and refereeing, physical fitness competitions and sailing.
As I was watching NASCAR racing last week, I took note of and remembered the team-building training of pit crews, who are key to racing success. In the span of less than fifteen seconds, pit crews can change four tires, refill the fuel tank, clean the windshield, remove litter from the front grill and repair minor damages. I particularly noticed the crew member removing a tire and gently rolling it away. While installing the new tire, another crew member quickly rolled or carried the tire away.
Everyone has an assignment and with methodical excellence carries out their individual tasks, in perfect rhythm with the other team members.
It reminded me of my experiences at sea, the dangers Mother Nature can inflict on ships and boats, and my personal sailing days. Sailing, regardless of the size of the craft, like a NASCAR Pit Crew, requires teamwork expertise and skill to safely sail a craft smoothly through the water.
During one of my sailing classes I remember the instructor, a retired Navy Captain with years of experience sailing his personal 40-foot craft around the world, telling us of the four rules of sailing. These four rules indicate the immense teamwork required to sail a craft, especially when part of a racing team, and can easily be tailored to leadership development, not only as demonstrated by NASCAR Pit Crews, but also in any work environment. They are also quite appropriate to modern team building and teamwork leadership.
Four Rules of Sailing
My sailing instructor explained the four rules of sailing in this manner:
Keep the people in the boat;
Keep the water out of the boat;
Don’t hit anyone; and
You have to look good.
Simple enough wouldn’t you think? I can tell you from experience, it is much more difficult than the rules imply; regardless of the number of people in the boat – i.e. on the team. Let’s look at some of the leadership skills required to follow these rules and smoothly sail – guide – your team to success.
►Keep the people in the boat – On the Team.
Take care of your people. Insure that there basic physiological needs are being met; maintain a safe and secure work environment; treat everyone with respect and dignity to permit a team-connection to the work group; create an environment of empowerment and creativity to build confidence and self-esteem; and lastly permit them to grow emotionally, spiritually and morally in a way that gives meaning and purpose to their lives.
Maintain constant training and life-long learning opportunities to improve personal expertise and skills that contribute to organizational and personal visions.
Create a worthwhile recognition program that instills confidence and creativity. Enable a path to promotion for those super-players with recognized capabilities.
In short, leaders values each team member as in integral cog in the wheel that keep the boat sailing toward its intended objective and the overall mission for success.
►Keep the water out of the boat – Protect them.
Prevent contradictory leadership from sources that disrupt the team and question the motive and legitimacy of the leader. Support them, go to bat for them, take steps to build team-member confidence and trust that says, “I trust that you made the right decision and that you are working for the good of the team.” Mentor them to instill a personal and spiritual connection to you, the leader, and to the team; make them feel like a valued member of the organization.
Help them problem-solve personal issues that prevent their total focus on the team vision and purpose. Take an interest in their well-being.
► Don’t hit anyone – Conflict resolution.
Conflict un-confronted is conflict unresolved.
Leadership must be ready and capable to resolve conflicts regardless of the magnitude of the problem. Leaders need to be skilled in relationship building with empathy, exhibiting a caring attitude about individual success and professional growth.
Create team accountability practices that enable individual team members to resolve internal conflicts – resolve disruptive issues at the lowest level possible.
Leadership requires a keen eye for disruptions in the personal lives of team members that interferes with their ability to perform at high levels of success.
►You have to look good – Professional appearance.
External perception is extremely important to the success of the overall team.
Looking good goes beyond physical appearance of team members. Looking good meant your professional appearance was sharp, neat and clean. Three-day-old, un-shaven 5 o’clock shadow is unacceptable in the business environment. Neatly trimmed and groomed facial hair can be dignified looking and promote a professional attitude.
Team appearance projects a professional customer service attitude that enhances the team abilities to meet the needs of the customer.
In addition, this extends to your physical plant, which to the customer indicates your team and organizational pride. Each team member looks good because they feel that the organization is an extension of themselves – their pride, their professionalism, and their desire to deliver top-notch customer service.
Leadership team building practices – just as in NASCAR and with sailing teams – is a key to organization success. Team cohesion requires a caring and empathic attitude to keep people performing at top-notch levels of performance.
Why do we study History? Arguably, there are many reasons – to learn about past societies, learn about past leaders, to learn valuable skills and attributes of the past, to learn morals and ethical practices that contributed to the greater good of society, and so on.
The key word here is “Learn”, so that one does not make the same mistakes of past societies while concomitantly creating a “Learning Organization”, society, or generation that will sustain from prior learning for generations to come.
In 1990 David L. Steward co-founded World Wide Technology (WWT), Inc. Beginning in 1996, WWT was ranked by VAR Business as one of the Top 500 companies in the US; Inc began ranking WWT beginning in 1997. In 2004 Steward wrote a book about his company called, Doing Business by the Good Book: 52 Lessons on Success Straight from the Bible. WWT is ranked number 24 on the Fortune 2013 Top 100 listing of companies to work for.
You see, history, and the lessons there from, can be learned from a variety of sources, including the Bible, which is chocked full of leadership skills, techniques, strategies and ideals. The New International Version (NIV), Leadership Bible: Leadership Principles from God’s Word is a valuable leadership learning resource. It should be noted, and quite emphatically, that these valuable leadership lessons and practices are not intended solely for churches and other religious organization.
The Learning Organization
Success embodies life-long learning as a practical and sustaining attribute. Leaders know this – as life and organizations evolve, new policies, principles and practices create changes to improve employee effectiveness. Leaders not only train employees on new ideas and practices, they also expect them to research, study and learn on their own.
For a variety of reasons, few organizations keep the same leadership over several years. During the tenure of a particular leader, successes are achieved, affirmations proclaimed and awards are garnered. Success and the rewards achieved can peak, and unless learning continues, begin to plateau. Follow-on leadership must insure enthusiasm does not relax or diminish, which can easily decline into less than effective work ethics. People must remember past practices to sustain efficiency, learn from new ideas, and change accordingly to maintain sustainability.
An effective learning organization will inhibit periods of decline through the building process of an organizational legacy.
Five Attributes of a Learning Organization
The Apostle Paul, in a letter written in AD/NE 62 to the people of Colosse, as laid out in the Leadership Bible, Book of Colossians, outlines five major attributes of a Learning Organization. In the letter, Paul’s desire is for leaders of the church to instill an ideal of learning. In a functional organization, learning takes place at all times, during work, in building relationships, after hours, quite frankly – at all times. Each organization has a curriculum built into the daily functions of all employees. The learning organizational structure – curriculum – is outlined in five attributes.
Standards. Organizational values, employee ethical expectations, and behavioral standards must be outlined clearly, and disseminated in writing to each and every employee, as well as publishing them in the Organization’s policy and procedures.
Instruction. Just knowing of the standards – wisdom – is insufficient for sustainability. Training sessions must be held to explain their meanings and the associated ethical practices required by employees – understanding. Wisdom and Understanding help leaders achieve employee acceptance, as well as buy-in that teaches the importance in instituting the standards into their individual value systems. Employees must understand that they represent the company regardless of their location and whether working or living in their community.
Practice. Practice makes perfect. Practice creates habitual behaviors, which teach personal growth and life-skills. Practice also enables success after failure by teaching what “should” have been done versus what “was” done. Practice builds expertise in professional skills and personal life styles. Practice solidifies the value system associated with professionalism that sustains with growth and learning.
Feedback. Leaders need to constantly and consistently monitor and evaluate performance. Employees require feedback in order to insure practice is productive. And when exceptional or positively productive, public praise is required to build confidence and esteem. Conversely, private feedback is necessary when practice reflects negatively on the individual, the team, and the organization. Private feedback reinforces instruction. It re-teaches required policies and practices, to re-direct the employee’s learning and productivity. It then allows for follow-on practice and future feedback. Feedback teaches for personal growth.
Release. Micro-managing, even micro-leading, is counterproductive to growth and employee effectiveness and efficiency. Constantly keeping an “eye-ball” on those you lead creates an “ask the boss” mentality that inhibits personal confidence and growth. Leaders must release control, leaders must empower others, leaders must let employees make mistakes from which they can learn, leaders must let them grow and function on their own. Sooner or later leaders must let them “drive Dad’s car” to demonstrate that their personal values and behaviors conform with organizational norms and expectations. Release is vitally important to long-term growth and performance.
The attributes of a learning organization create an attitude of endurance, which prevents fall-back to old, unproductive ways, and enables sustainability. Employees desire standards for their own behaviors, they desire to learn and grow, they desire to be empowered to fail or succeed, and they desire to be turned loose to become leaders in their own right.
One intrinsic reward of leadership is knowing that you made a difference in the organizational learning process. Material rewards are short-lived; intrinsic rewards are life-long and become your personal legacy.
I appreciate your thoughts and comments.
While standing in the check-out line in Publix, I listened as a Lady in line ahead of me was explaining some customer service techniques and skills a young female checker needed to improve her expertise: “greet people, smile, be positive, she said.” The young checker never responded, either verbally or non-verbally. I whispered to the Lady, “They don’t teach them customer service skills.” She said, “I know, that is why I do it.” While the young Lady did at least greet me verbally as I paid for my goods, she remained expressionless and failed to even express Publix gratitude for shopping at her store.
Joan Maddox, VP of Client Services for School Dude says, “Client service must be reliable, responsive, reassuring, and empathetic.” She stresses that client service is a commitment, and that it must not be an option, but a requirement of your job. In her Client Service presentations, Maddox quotes Dr. Leonard L. Berry, who is a Distinguished Professor of Marketing and former Texas A&M Professor. Dr. Berry says this about customer expectations:
“Customer expectations of service organizations are loud and clear; look good, be responsive, be reassuring through courtesy and competence, be empathetic but, most of all, be reliable. Do what you said you would do. Keep the service promise.”
Customer Service, customer relations, client services, regardless of how you brand it, it can either positively or negatively affect revenue, organizational vision and customer attitude about the organization. In fact, if you are a customer service representative – and who isn’t? – then “you are” the company or organization you represent. As such, there is a “Servanthood” attitude that must be portrayed in every exchange you have with a client.
J C Penny, founder of JC Penny Company, is famous for saying, “The Customer is always right.” His idea was that Customer Service is priority one at JC Penny. CEO Emeritus of Southwest Airlines, Coleen Barrett, always said about her company, “We are a Customer Service Company, we just happen to fly airplanes.”
Customer Service is a leadership skill that must be trained, practiced, and perfected to insure employees represent the company in the brightest pane possible. Servanthood is a major aspect of customer service, which says that one is “serving” the needs of others. Using Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership ideals, “serving” in this context means “to make them better” than they were when the encounter began. In other words, “healing” the customer’s stress and pain, while relieving them of their perceived burden is a characteristic of quality customer service.
The following are from my experience of over 40 years of providing customer service.
Top 5 Customer Service Principles
1. Establish a vision of Customer Service Expectations. If the company vision and/or mission statement says you will focus on customer service, then establish a program that insures you will do what you say. Follow the practice of Southwest Airlines: “Hire people with a ‘servants’ heart. Customer Service representatives need to care about fostering and promoting the vision and/or mission of the company. Establish standards for those you place in customer service positions: caring attitude; cheerful, happy demeanor; outgoing personality who are assertive and proactive conflict resolvers; courteous and respectful; good communication skills; and gracious in personality.
I recommend a Customer Service Motto that will not only tell the customers your attitude about providing superior service, but also to remind representatives of company expectations. In my last position, our Custodial Services Motto was the following:
“Customer Service is our Purpose, Quality Service is our Goal.”
We used the motto in our Standards and at the end of all our communications. Everyone in the organization knew our standards and our goal of providing superior customer services.
2. Establish a Customer Service Training Program. Train new employees, and re-train periodically current customer service reps, on the visionary expectations. Servanthood is the “practice” of serving. Teach the common behaviors of customer service representative: telephone etiquette; conflict resolution techniques and skills; develop an attitude to resolve the problem to make a positive impression on the customer; and impress upon employees to not take the customer’s anger and negativity personally. Keep the quest alive to resolve the customers complaint.
Customer Service expert Glen Hamilton advises, “Create Happy Employees. Employee beliefs, attitudes and behaviors determine the quality of the customer service provided. Happy employees create happy customers.”
3. Establish relations with customers. JC Penny knew that a happy customer was a returning customer.
Shawn E. Gilleylen, author of “Success with Etiquette: Books of Etiquette” explains the importance of etiquette toward customers – “make customers feel comfortable, valued, and appreciated. Treat them with respect, empathy, and efficiency.” She also says, which I call most important, “Say “Thank you” and “Please” graciously.
4. Monitor and evaluate their performance. Leaders must proactively monitor and evaluate customer relations practices in action – inspect what you expect is a proven leadership principle. Glen Hamilton maintains that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it; the same is for leaders. He suggests several ways to measure customer satisfaction, including surveys, telephone contacts, customer feedback forms, and observing employees to insure they are functioning within prescribed customer service standards.
5. Maintain Customer Service Pride. Recognize employees who demonstrate customer service excellence, who are recognized by customers for superior performance, and who promote company goals within Customer Service missions. Advertise the recognition through company Newsletters. Create a “Customer Service Plaque” and hang it in the main entrance area of the company for everyone to see.
Southwest Airlines is known for two things: low fares and high levels of quality customer service. United States Automobile Association (USAA) seeks to be the provider of choice to the military community. Their employees are personally committed to delivering excellent service and great advice by putting their memberships’ needs (customers) first.
Customer service is “serving” others first. When customers walk out the main entrance of your company fully satisfied, everyone feels good about their accomplishments. Maintaining company Servanthood is vitally important to organizational success.
Thank you for your comments and feedback.
A team, regardless of its size, is a mixture of personalities, values, beliefs, leadership styles and practices, and intellectual levels.
The responsibility of leadership is to unify the team members toward organizational vision, mission and goals. Because of the variety of personal characteristics, producing a cohesive group of employees is challenging, requiring simple and complex practices.
Ideally, leadership expects the team to work together on all tasks, in every situation without conflict and disruptions. However, ideally does not always occur. In these situations, leaders must be proactive in the process and create an approach that will re-unify the team to insure a smooth-operating group.
Here is an easy and simple method that I used successfully in the past. The exercise produces within the team – 1. A singular purpose, 2. Behaviors that are acceptable (Ok), 3. Behaviors that are unacceptable (Not Ok), and 4. Team member accountability practices to follow that help maintain teamwork at optimum performance levels.
This exercise is completed at an “All Team” meeting at a time and place that is arranged by the team leader. The facilitator – you the overall leader of the organizational entity – begins with explaining what is about to happen, the steps of the process, and that “they, the team”, are going to come up with the team standards that all team members will follow.
You explain that everyone must contribute to this process. You as facilitator insure everyone does contribute, and that all questions are answered in very step before continuing to the next step. When this process is clear to everyone, you, the facilitator begins and will act as the primary note-taker to document the standards of the “Team Norms” as created by the team.
Step 1. What is the Team’s Purpose.
The purpose must be in-line with and support the overall organizational vision and mission. Limit the discussion to about 15-20 minutes, during which every idea is written on newsprint so that no one forgets what is put forth.
The purpose can be a complete sentence, short and concise. It can be a listing of activities or actions that the team displays each work shift. No one comments on other’s suggestions, either good or otherwise. All ideas are written down.
Next, the ideas are narrowed down to what they feel is their overall purpose. Some ideas are discarded, some are combined into a single statement. When finally agreed upon as their “Team Purpose”, and there are no more comments or questions, move on to Step 2.
Step 2. What is Ok?
Team members produce a listing of acceptable behaviors for the team when at work during their shift. A list of about 10 behaviors is determined acceptable by team members. Examples include: 1. Come to work ready to work; 2. No talking about others behind their back; 3. It is ok to help others; or, 4. Treat others with respect and dignity.
When complete, move on to Step 3.
Step 3. What is Not Ok?
Team members produce a listing of unacceptable behaviors for the team. Follow the same procedures as in Step 2. Examples include: 1. Yelling at your teammates; 2. Taking co-workers work products or tools without permission; 3. Skipping steps in your schedule; and, 4. Watching TV when not on a break.
The team will have plenty of “Not Ok” behaviors for the list. It could be a little longer than the list in Step 2. Again, the facilitator must refrain from adding to the list, or attempting to “pencil-whip” others just because you are taking notes.
When complete, move on to Step 4.
Step 4. Team Accountability Actions.
In this process, the team formulates a listing of actions that team members will follow when others on the team exhibit behaviors that are outside the team norms as establish and agreed upon by team members. Examples include: 1. Address others with respect about the concern or behavior; 2. Ask if you can teach them a better way to behave; or, 3. Intervene when necessary to correct behaviors that interfere with team cohesiveness.
Accountability practices empower team members to exhibit leadership within the team. This accomplishes two things: 1. It solves problems at the lowest level in the organization; and, 2. It develops leaders and leadership skills within the organization.
When complete, the facilitator reviews, without changing what the team decided upon, each step. When everyone on the team is in agreement with all steps and their contents, explain what will happen next (Steps 5 & 6 below).
Step 5. Facilitator Documents Steps 1-4.
The Facilitator combines all steps into a formal “Team Building Policies & Practices.” I suggest that each step be on a separate page for clarity. As you document, do not “word-smith” unless grammatically incorrect, which you will explain to the team in Step 6.
You will also want to make a “Signature Cover Sheet” that each team member will sign as their agreement to follow the policies and practices.
Step 6. Follow-up Team Meeting.
Hand out copies of the Team Building Policies & Practices for each team member to review. Hopefully, no corrections will need to be made. When all agree, have them sign the Signature Sheet, explaining that this is their agreement to follow the procedures they have outlined.
As the team’s leader, you monitor with the team leader the affects of the team building on the team’s behavior and performance. I found that team members will not only adhere to the practices, but also they will be empowered to take corrective action within their realm of authority.
Faith, Hope, Love (Charity), but the greatest of these is Love. Three words in a single phrase provide guidance and direction for the greatest intrinsic values relating to our daily purpose. While love is considered the most powerful, faith and hope are equally important aspects of our lives, and, as leaders, in our leadership of those with whom we work and lead.
February 12, 2013 was the 40th Anniversary of the release of the Vietnam Prisoners of War (POW) from Hanoi Hilton. The leadership of Admiral James Stockdale, Arizona Senator John McCain, Texas Representative Sam Johnson, and others who were confined for as many as eight years during the war provides strong leadership lessons for all of to emulate.
Many emails were spread around the Internet about Navy Flight Officer and POW Mike Christian, who had made a small flag resembling the American Flag. One day the prison guards found the flag. Christian was severely beaten near death by the guards when they discovered the Flag. Thrown back into his cell to die, Christian wasted no time in making a second one because all Servicemen revere the Flag as a symbol of their patriotism and the mystic tie, i.e. faith, that binds men to nations.
The event and article in the Washington Post brought back memories of an Air Force pilot who had been held captive for several years, and was a guest speaker that I heard while attending the Air Force Senior NCO Academy. He spoke on the Five Faiths that gave the POWs strength during their captivity – Faith in God, Faith in Country, Faith in fellow POWs, Faith in Family, and Faith in themselves. They never let their faith become weakened with “hope” – they innately believed their faith would keep them inspired in captivity.
These “invisible” beliefs of great leaders can easily be applied to leadership, especially Servant Leadership. My Leadership Bible: Leadership Principles from God’s Word (NIV Version) lists over 250 different verses on faith, which does not include other spelling variations of the word. Over 250 jewels of wisdom about faith in our daily lives, regardless of our station in life.
Kenneth E. Hagin, writing in his HopeFaithPrayer Blog, give us some insights on the differences between Faith and Hope. Faith is about now, hope is always about the future. In 1650 Jeremy Taylor, writer of numerous devotional and theological works, tells us that St. Augustine describes them similarly. St. Augustine said, “Faith pertains to all things revealed…..but hope has for its object only things that are future, are good, and pertain to ourselves. The certainty of hope is less than the adherence of faith.”
As leaders we don’t just hope that our leadership will positively affect others, we have faith in all aspects of our practices, the positive affects they will have on the outcome of others, and the effectiveness it delivers through their performance and productivity.
Five Faiths of Leadership
1. Faith in God or Supreme Power.
Enthusiasm – the derivation of which means “the God within” – is a strong motivating force in personal leadership, especially as it pertains to projecting a positive attitude in your daily activities. Faith in a higher being contributes to our moral imperative to do the right thing, to serve others in a positive and humble nature. Immanuel Kant refers to this as following a holy or divine will based on the Natural or Moral Law. Accordingly he points out, following a holy or divine will insures that we are not swayed by personal desires to operate outside the moral law, or independently of morality.
Our conscience, that inner voice, quite possibly that divine will, reminds and compels us to follow the Moral Law in our leadership, insuring that our decisions are just and in the moral interest of those we lead. Faith in the purity of the Moral Law impels us to build our action on the Law.
2. Faith in Country.
The POWs at the Hanoi Hilton believed that their Country would eventually gain their release from the prison camp. Equally so today, leaders believe in the leadership of the country acting in the best interest of the Nation as a whole, protecting them under the ideals, laws and policies of Federal and State Constitutions. We have faith that our leaders will act justly, with high moral character and integrity, and with the intent of doing what is right for the Citizenry.
3. Faith in Others.
Leaders have faith that everyone in the organization will work toward the vision, mission and goals of the organization in a productive and forthright manner. Leadership believes that employees will hold each other accountable for their actions, to insure a high moral character that contributes to teamwork and efficiency. In their efforts to “Lead by Serving Others” (LBSO), leaders are faithful that the “Led” will follow suit and lead others in like manner. Leaders have faith in others support and contribution in the best interest of the team, their co-workers and the organization.
4. Faith in Family.
Leaders know that leadership responsibility and exhibiting ethical leadership extends beyond the workplace, and that it is a 24/7 job. Likewise, family leadership requires each of the above Faiths discussed above. They faithfully believe that the family will be loyal and support their ideals of leadership, which family members believe is in their best interest.
5. Faith in Self.
Honest faith, integrity-based belief builds your confidence that enables you to move forward knowing you are doing everything in your effort to turn your vision into a reality. Likewise, moralistic actions enforce the moral authority of leaders; a major leadership characteristic of Servant Leaders. Erich Fromm says, “Only the person who has faith in himself is able to be faithful to others.”
Leaders have a vision and each day work toward turning that vision into a reality – not with “hope that it will be achieved”; but with “faith” in which you intrinsically know deep down inside that you know something positive is happening because of your leadership.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Faith is not something to grasp, it is a state to grow into.” As the adage goes: “Keep the Faith.”
I appreciate your comments.
Five Steps to Prevent Ethical Breakdown
Ethical practices in the organization is a responsibility of every employee, which contributes to company values, vision, and perception by everyone on the outside looking in.
Peter Drucker writes that there is only one ethics, one set of rules of morality, one code, that of individual behavior in which the same rules apply to everyone alike. This means that the same rules applies to CEO’s and upper level leadership that hold all levels and employees in the organization, and therefore, every organizational member is responsible for practicing ethics.
So what is Ethics? And, what is the foundation of organizational ethics?
The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics says ethics is two things. One, ethics refers to well-founded standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues. Two, ethics refers to the study and development of one’s ethical standards, which requires the constant examination of those standards to insure that they are reasonable and well-founded. Therefore, ethics is the studying of our own moral beliefs and our moral conduct, and striving to ensure that we live according to standards that are reasonable and solidly-based. Below lists the elements of a Code of Ethics, which serve as the foundation for organizational ethics.
Immanuel Kant, in his Critique of Practical Reason, affirms the existence of a moral law within that makes everyone a “good person” or one who does right things, because it is the right thing to do. He stated: “Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.”
Apostle Paul, writing in his first letter of mentorship to his follower Timothy, describes to him the importance of ethical behavior and the problems associated with the individual perception and love of money. He says, “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and description. For the love of money is the root of all evil.”
Earlier in the book of Mark, Jesus describes that it is not what goes into a man that is the cause of evil behaviors, but that which comes from within, out of man’s heart that causes evil actions – specifically: evil thoughts; sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy slander, arrogance and folly.
In his latest book entitled “The Moral Basis for Liberty”, Dr. Robert Sirico talks extensively about the foundational ideal and concept of a moral order that extends from the natural law, that is was an important ideal rooted in Greek and Roman thought, and that is was the central foundational philosophy of our Founding Fathers.
What is the cause of this moral and ethical decline of Business in America?
Kenneth Andrews’ Ethics in Practice, which appeared in the Harvard Business Review on Corporate Ethics, says it can be attributed to the lack of moral development at home, at school, at church, and at work. He writes, “Moral philosophy, which is the proper academic home for ethical instruction, is even more remote, with few professors choosing to teach applied ethics.” Combine the decline of moral and ethical instruction with the steady increase in amoral and unethical practices in today’s media, film and television programming, it is easy to recognize the declining standard of morality and ethics in general.
As a business entity, it becomes imperative that standards and instruction must contain principles and practices on morals and ethics to prevent an ethical breakdown that could even lead to the total failure of a company. The following are steps that can prevent this process from becoming a reality.
Five steps to prevent an ethical breakdown in the organization?
There are five steps organizations can take to help prevent ethical issues and concerns that may arise as a result of behavioral violations of ethical policies and standards.
1. Inspire leadership “Self-Awareness” of organizational ethical standards.
Constant awareness of one’s ethical standards and behaviors are crucial to prevent becoming sidetracked to a more inviting, but unethical practice. One’s personal character must continually reflect his/her moral foundation.
2. Model ethical principles and practices.
Walk-the-Talk. Everything a leader says and does is being constantly viewed and evaluated. The character you exhibit when no one is looking must be a total reflection of the character you model when everyone is looking.
3. Create Ethical Standards of Performance (ESOP).
Ethical standards cannot be assumed, nor can ethical practices. Specific and clear standards must become part of the organizational structure. Emphasis must be outlined that ethical practices apply up and down the organizational hierarchy. Training must contain ethical practices, dilemmas, consequences, and decision making practices for full and complete understanding.
4. Build relationships that instill Ethics into Team-building practices.
Discuss morals and ethics with employees during relationship-building encounters. Ask questions about ethical concerns and observations among employees. Build trust to prevent fearfulness of blame for identifying unethical behaviors. Mentor openly and sincerely to improve the ethical awareness of individuals.
5. Publication and periodic review of ethical standards.
Include articles on corporate values and ethical standards in your Newsletters. Educate, model, and reward applicable to measures associated with unethical practices. Review regularly and update as necessary as required to maintain the ESOP.
Leading ethically builds one’s Moral Authority making him/her worthy of respect, inspiring trust and confidence and enabling leaders to lead with high standards of performance. Leaders with accepted moral authority are able with a clear conscience to enforce and maintain organizational standards of performance. Furthermore, leaders are able to mentor poor performer from the heart to improve not only their performance, but also their behaviors.
Thank you for your comments.