Listen to the podcast »
Today's our 2018 wrap up - what we're thankful for, the awarenesses that we have had over the last year and tomorrow, 2019. We're going to talk about the 7C's: Courage, Compassion, Commitment, Communication, Curiosity, Critical thinking and Community. So we're going to have fun with it. We're going to talk about stories and we're going to talk about hope.
The first C is Courage. It means that we stand up, that we are to be counted, that we have the will - the will to do something, to overcome something, to correct something. Today, courage is focusing on General Electric. Once a great American and global icon of turbine engines, jet engines, TV shows, MRI machines, GE capital and you name it. What happened? GE is now at its lowest stock rating in decades if not forever. It has been removed from the Dow 50 and so a once iconic leader of the Dow is now removed to just one of the rest. What it is is a story of hubris, of lack of courage of its board members and leadership. How can that come about? Well think of GE - all of the power and the engines couldn't bring it to grow at the rates that they wanted in the last 10 to 12 years. And they had a company called GE Capital, it was like a bank. And so all the sins were covered up in GE by GE Capital, where executives had buckets of cash and financial spackle to smooth over the cracks in their earnings report.
Then you had a chairman that came after Jack Welch, who was an engineer who understood General Electric. Jeff was a salesman - nothing against salesmen because I'm one of them. But Jeff Immelt often reminded people through the power of his presentations that he was "the man for a crisis". He was the fellow who took them through September 11th 2001 and the financial crisis of 2008. And he was the guy to lead them as far as the eye could see. But was that true. Not necessarily. Jack Welch said I'm terribly disappointed in Jeff and the board of General Electric that he put in place. He said I thought I made the best choice but it didn't turn out right. So it's an issue of courage, maybe in talent management, recognizing those who can take you to the future as to those who are the most popular or the better presenter. Maybe it's getting to those individuals in the organization who are true leaders not just the most impressive.
GE had been known for its people. Crotonville is a legend in the leadership development world. The Crotonville may have failed in this period of General Electric's history. The story that tells that truth is a story of a new board member as the board was turning over Jeff Immelt's tenure, he said to a senior member, "What is it that this board really needs?" He said, "As a senior member, they don't need anything, just applaud." Well, that tells you a story and the story is of the hubris that we have in organizations that fail to see change. And the board needed courage - courage to look behind the numbers, courage to question the auditors, courage to question the Human Resource group on executive leadership talent management. And it's no different than IBM when it went from John Akers to an outsider, Lou Gerstner. General Electric is now run by an outsider. If they have the same fortune as IBM, they will recover and we hope that they do. But all of us need to remember we need courage when things don't seem to be right.
The second C is called Compassion. It's a story of Dr. Tom Spillane, an oncologist who is on the heading of our local newspaper here in California. And it was about two friends who were patients of his who had very serious cancer. One friend was a football fanatic for the San Francisco 49ers. Another friend was a ever diehard true Seattle Seahawk fan. This weekend they were going to play a game against one another. So Tom got together with Dream Makers, a non profit group which helps those who are dying or those who are seriously ill to live out a dream. And these men had a dream of seeing this football game. So Dr. Tom Spillane arranged with Dream Makers to send them to the game, enjoy it, meet the players, and sit in a privileged area to cheer on their two favorite teams. They had a ball in what they said afterwards that tells us why we need compassion. And that was what helped them to recharge their batteries.
Now I want you to think of the people you come in contact with every day who need a recharging of their batteries. An employee who may have a problem at home; someone who may not be feeling right at this moment. Should we walk on by? Not as leaders. We should care, and we should show them compassion.
The third C is called Commitment and it's about a guy named Joe. And that Joe is Joe Harris. Joe Harris is a key player for the Brooklyn Nets. But Joe wasn't always the hero. Joe played for the Cleveland Cavaliers when he hurt his foot and was in the hospital. The Cleveland Cavaliers thought so little of him, they traded him to the Orlando Magic. In Orlando, while he was in bed and getting ready to go join his new team, they cut him. Joe is without a job. So what happened? Joe decided to observe the game and what he saw was the game changing. He knew the game changers were those who could stretch the foul lines and who could stretch the lines of the court to make three point shots. Those who were expert at it and who had a high percentage of success, were successful. So Joe went on the playgrounds of New York and played to improve his game. And what happened is the Brooklyn Nets took a chance on it. They paid a minimum wage and thought he'd be a good journeyman player off the bench. But Joe became a starter because Joe had stretched the boundaries of his skill. He started to make a high rate over 50% of his three point shots. He started to hit three to five of these shots per game. He became a success.
So the story is Joe made himself better - self development. So as we look at ourselves and the organization, are we like General Electric - going to look at everything in a straight line of the way it was is the way it is, is the way it will be - or do we look at the game and say, there are some changes that are happening or changes that are needed, and so are we the change leader? Are we the change member of the team? Are we the person accepting change? And if we change ourselves and change our mindset, we can conquer the world.
Now the fourth C is Communication. I'm going to highlight two gentlemen that are prominent in the news today. Victor Davis Hanson, a professor at Stanford University, farmer from the Central Valley of California, a man who is on TV, blogs, podcasts, writes articles, books, periodicals. He uses every vehicle of communication to get his message out. And the same can be said for a middle aged psychology professor from Toronto, Canada named Jordan Peterson. He wrote a book called "The 12 Rules for Life". And like Victor Davis Hanson, he uses TV, all the new electronic and social media skills that are needed today to get your message out. And that says to us are we communicating effectively? Are we standing up and using our vocal skills? Are we writing good strong memos? Are we participating in communication because that's what it's about. Social media is it a vehicle of communication. And in that vehicles of communication today we need audio and video like we're using here.
So I'm just going to give you a list of Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules for Life: 1) Stand up straight with your shoulders back 2) Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping 3) Make friends with the people who want the best things for you 4) Comparing yourself to who you were yesterday not to someone else today (wow that sounds like our basketball player) 5) Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them 6) Set your house in perfect order before you criticize others 7) Pursue what is meaningful not what is expedient 8) Tell the truth or at least don't lie 9) Assume the person you're listening to might have something to say, and here to me is one of the most importance for me 10) Be precise in your speech 11) Do not bother children when they're skateboarding (that says let them have fun) 12) Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street. If you can figure that one out, please answer us on this podcast.
Communication. Use all the methods of communication available to you to support your messages to show your courage to be part of the organizations you're part of, whether it be in your personal life or your professional life.
Number five, Curiosity. There are three men, all who are curious and you've heard of them. They're all successful in their own endeavors and they're all doing new curious things. Not Governments, not big corporations - three entrepreneurs - Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos. All three are launching spacecraft.
Elon Musk has his Space X corporation and he's sending messages to the world that he's going to be the guy to take you into space. He's not alone. Richard Branson is also flying his spacecraft and signing people up to take you into space. And Jeff Bezos, of course, sees himself using space to ship goods around the world, if not to the moon or Mars. Now why is this important. Here are three eminently successful entrepreneurs. Elon Musk has his Tesla car. Richard Branson has a number of different activities that are eminently successful. Jeff Bezos of course with Amazon. But their curiosity gets the better of them and they try to find new ways to capture that curiosity for the benefit of all of us.
Are you curious? Is there something that you see you'd like to do? Is there some invention, some new way of doing things, innovation? And what it says is do it. Don't let it linger in your mind. Just go out and do something that shows you have that edge of curiosity.
Number six, Critical thinking. I want you to think of a writer. There's an English gentleman who wrote numerous books all with deep thoughts. His name is G.K. Chesterton. He wrote one great book that I will forever keep reading called, "The Everlasting Man". And in critical thinking, the example I want to use, you may think strange but it's an example that highlights to me why we need to look deeper into those things that confuse us so we brush over or we're told that's the way it is, but really isn't. It may be the General Electric story. In this book of critical thinking, G.K. Chesterton says there are two great transitions we need to think about. One is the origins of the universe and the other is the principle of life itself. Well we all know the big bang theory today and that may have helped answer number one but life, why do I exist, why did the birds, animals and fish of the sea exist. We're concerned about the environment. But why do the trees and all the glorious colors and flowers in their penelope of variety of shades and hues - why do they exist, how did they get there?
He uses a great story called a caveman. The caveman is a brute, somebody whose knuckles drag on the Earth possibly and somebody who is brutish and cruel in his hunt for food. But if you look at the less so caves in France, that's Lascaux caves. Some young men found this a hundred years ago, when they went inside they found drawings, paintings, art. What was revealed on its walls were large and sprawling outlines, colored with pigment from the earth, reds, yellows, greens and blacks. What was discovered were the drawings and paintings of people who lived 17,000 years ago, some six hundreds of animals and man. This showed experimentation, creativity, adventuresomeness, action. In fact it was a picture of a stag in full gate, with its head turning and its tail swishing. Can you draw that today? 17,000 years later? Maybe not. Maybe this was not drawn by brutes. In fact, these drawings were made across generations 17,000 years ago, not by one person but by people over generations. So when archaeologists, anthropologists and psychologists talk about cavemen, do they really describe the human in that cave? And that's what critical thinking is about - what G.K. Chesterton is trying to teach us - that we need to think, not just accept things as they are, not just accept what is told as the truth because the truth may not be a lie, but the truth may not reveal the actual honest observation of what's transpiring. So when you think a caveman, think of the 17,000 years ago and the 600 drawings.
Number seven, Community. This is the last one but it's one near and dear to us right now. It's about two guys. One guy is named Guy Fieri. He's a chef, very successful chef. And the second is a guy named Dave Grohl. He's a lead singer with the popular singing group Foo Fighter. So what are these two guys have in common?
Well they lead a community, in both cases. Guy Fieri, for example is from Northern California, where the devastating camp fires we had this year that killed over 85 people, destroyed more land and buildings and houses than any fire we've had since the Great Fire of San Francisco's earthquake. Guy Fieri took a whole team of people and went up to this area so that he could feed the first responders. He could help the people in the community who were without housing, who needed food. And so he brought together a lot of people who were there voluntarily, The Red Cross and the other church groups. He brought them together under a big tent of community to help others in the community. And Dave Grohl did the same thing. These two didn't know each other but Dave Grohl took his Foo Fighter group and they went to the Malibu fires outside of Los Angeles, and they did the same thing. And the firefighters said that it was absolutely astounding to see these people who normally they wouldn't expect to see in the front lines, actually cooking 24/7 and bringing food, shelter, medicine, clothing and other goods to those who were in need. So there you go, community.
So we look inside our organizations, are we truly part of that community or are we just a member doing a job? I would think that we should be part of a community, whether in our private life or both in our private life and our professional life. And in that community are we helping one another? Are we helping those in need around us?
So reflect on your 2018. Enjoy the stories that we've told of these individuals and groups and send this on to friends and family to share in the joy of 2018 and to build the hope for a wonderful 2019 with the 7C's - Courage, Compassion, Commitment, Communication, Curiosity, Critical thinking and Community.
Topics: Effective Communication , Employee Engagement , Growth & Productivity , In The Workplace (Podcast) , Leadership , Learning & Development , NBO Podcast