This week, a significant leader/mentor in my life will turn 80 years old. At the recent Global Leadership Summit, we were challenged by Bill Hybels to reach out to those who helped mold our leadership skills and tell them “thank you”. This morning, I wrote a letter to this leader. Here is an excerpt from that letter:
I just wanted to say “thank you” once again for all that you’ve done for me in my life. I am often asked who was a major influencer. Your name tops the list (after my parents). Here’s why:
So, who in your life could you “thank” for helping you? It really takes moments to craft a letter. But you will encourage a mentor in ways you cannot imagine.
They invested in you. Invest in them today. Thank a Mentor.
So you feel you’ve reached your capacity? You’ve tapped out?
Consider these folks:
Stewart had worked on Wall Street and owned a Connecticut catering firm, but her real success came after age 41 with the publication of her first book, Entertaining, and the launch of Martha Stewart Living seven years later. (Of course, she weathered some pitfalls later, before rebounding once more.)
Wang was first known as an accomplished figure skater and a fashion editor before deciding before her 1989 wedding, at age 40, that she wanted to be a designer. She commissioned her own wedding dress for $10,000 and opened her first bridal boutique the following year.
Sanders was “a failure who got fired from a dozen jobs before starting his restaurant, and then failed at that when he went out of business and found himself broke at the age of 65,” according to one account. But then things worked out when he sold the first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in 1952.
At age 55, he wrote his first food and hotel guides (including one that mentioned Sanders Court and Caf, the original restaurant owned by Harlan Sanders, above). At age 73, licensed the right to use his name to the company that developed Duncan Hines cake mixes; unfortunately he died six years later.
Jackson 46 years old (and in recovery from addiction to cocaine and heroin) before he starred alongside John Travolta in Pulp Fiction.
At age 41, after a series of entrepreneurial ventures, Fisher and his wife Doris Fisher founded The Gap. It’s now a $16 billion a year company with more than 3,200 locations worldwide.
Kroc had passed his 50th birthday before he bought the first McDonald’s in 1961, which he ultimately expanded into a worldwide conglomerate.
Although he’d owned a small chain of discount stores, Walton opened the first true Wal-Mart in 1962, when he was 44.
At 53, Walter Hunt, an inventor, patented the safety pin.
At 62, J.R.R. Tolkien published the ﬁrst volume of his fantasy series, “Lord of the Rings.”
At 72, Margaret Ringenberg (Grabill, Indiana native) ﬂew around the world.
I shared some of these thoughts with someone just a moment again via email. I thought I would share this with you.
Are you the CEO, VP, Director, Manager, etc. on your team? If so, your team needs something from you. If you are in a team meeting, departmental meeting or all-company affair, don’t discount your impact in those moments.
I’m sure you know this is a plumb bob. It is used to insure accuracy in construction. A carpenter’s eye can deceive him. But a plumb bob cannot be “off”. The weight and gravity work in accordance with laws of physics. The plumb bob always shows what is in line/accurate.
Your team does not intend to ever “get off” the line (expectations) in their daily work. But it happens. Life events push in on them. Relationships in the office can become strained. We all can have bad days. Sometimes, a customer can be a jerk.
Our teams get off-kilter.
When you have your time in front of your team, it is a perfect time to help them re-calibrate. To hear and see the vision again. This is their plumb bob. And you get to hold the string.
You believe in your company’s vision/mission. Like it or not, your team looks to you at these key events to hold the string, remind them of their “calling”, spray a little Windex on the vision, and point all of your team’s ships in the same direction.
Be great at this.
That’s what your team needs from you. To be your best self. Your team all loves that, wants that, and needs that.
Last week, I had a doctor’s appointment. I was not happy with my check-up. Over a year and a half ago, I was diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes. I began to make life changes. I lost over 30 pounds. I changed the way I ate (yes, I cheated from time to time). I made other changes as well.
From a recent wellness exam we do at work, I saw that my blood sugar numbers actually went back up a bit. Also, I’m in the middle of some heart tests now. And I’m back on medication.
This put me in a funk. I was doing things that were supposed to help, but I’ve gone backwards. I know genetics are at work, but this “set back” has not been good.
So, how do I get out of this funk? I know the eating regimen I’ve been on is good for me. I just need to ramp it up. I need to change my exercise to something more rigorous. I need to follow my doctor’s orders.
I found the following this morning. It’s good advice. I need to follow it. If you’re in a funk or have been in one, perhaps this may help you or someone you know. Share this!
Resource for these steps: How to Get Out of a Funk
In a little over an hour, my leadership team and I will gather in a room to start a brainstorming session. We’re going to talk about how we can become better/do better. But instead of talking about ethereal topics, we’re going to put a timeline on our path to improvement. We’re going to get specific on how we plan to improve. We’re going to own our journey and our results.
Last week, we all attended the Global Leadership Summit (#gls17, #fwgls) here in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We were exposed to a lot of great content. It’s time to put that content to work for us. Today’s brainstorming session will kick-off this process.
Shock Test? Yes. We’re going to discuss what we would do/be differently when a deadline is applied to something we are expected to provide every day. More on this later…
Today is about being intentional, creative, and influential.
It’s about leadership.