Monday, May 28, 2012

Honor Those Who Served This Memorial Day

I never served in the military, although I tried to enlist at one point in my young and wild life.  It was right after a stint with AC/DC.  I spent a few years working with touring rock bands like them in the eighties.  Let’s just say my enlistment did not work out due to my refusal to follow through with certain testing requirements.

Today I’d pass those tests with flying colors.  I was young and stupid back then… Now I’m no longer young!  In other words, I’m too old to serve in the armed forces.  Yet, that won’t stop me from trying to give back to those who have served…

When I reflect on my incredible life, I cannot help but think that were it not for my freedom, I would have nothing.  If it were not for those brave men and women who have served in the armed forces, none of us would have the freedoms we enjoy today.  To the point, everything I have accomplished or accumulated would not have been possible had it not been for our military.

With that, I owe the deepest gratitude to those who have served in our military.  Please help me honor and remember those heroes this Memorial Day.

Nearly two years ago, I was appointed to the strategic board of directors of a new startup non-profit named Disabled Veterans Insurance Careers, Inc. (DVIC).  The DVIC board is comprised of a wide variety of retired military officers and private sector executives.  One of my fellow DVIC board members exemplifies those we should honor and remember on Memorial Day.

Major General (retired) James L. Dozier was born in Arcadia, Florida and a graduate of West Point Military Academy.  General Dozier served in our military for more than 35 years.  He served with the US Army and NATO with two tours in the Pentagon.  While serving in Vietnam, General Dozier received a Silver Star and Purple Heart for wounds he received during combat.  Later in his military career, General Dozier became the only flag officer of the US Military to be kidnapped by terrorist while his wife was chained up and held at gunpoint.  After a grueling 42 days of captivity where he sustaining permanent hearing loss as a result of being forced to listen to exceedingly loud music for hours on end, General Dozier was rescued by a special operations team.

As I mentioned previously, General Dozier and I serve together on the DVIC Board.  DVIC’s mission is to:

Train, and generate meaningful opportunities for, physically disabled veterans who will excel at proactively cross selling personal lines insurance products on behalf of leading independent insurance agencies. 

DVIC needs to raise enough capital to exceed our go/no-go threshold.  Once we accomplish our financial goal, we will begin to create a high-tech virtual operation for service-disabled veterans who will be well trained in sales or customer service, then either matched with local agencies for job placement, or they may choose to work within our virtual call center environment.

If you, or anyone you know, would like to help us help veterans find private sector employment, we’d love to hear from you.  Of course, donations are greatly appreciated.  For more information, please visit

So before you complain about your “bad day at the office”, take a moment to reflect on what the kind of days the likes of General Dozier and others have had serving our country; and honor and remember those who made it possible for us enjoy our freedom.

Friday, May 18, 2012

7 Keys to Leadership Excellence

If you follow my blog you know that I have the privilege of working in both the corporate world and the professional sports world.  I look for opportunities to try to tie things I learn in one area to another.

Yesterday was a great example of where the two intersected once again when Pat Williams, Senior Vice President of the Orlando Magic, autographed a copy of his book on leadership for me.

Pat, the author of more than 70 books, spent more than 40 years trying to motivate and lead professional athletes.  He learned that money is rarely ever a motivator.  He suggests there are 7 core principles that when used in their entirety makes a great leader.

He explained these traits as follows:

 1) Vision (a.k.a. goals)
  • keeps you focused (blinders),
  • keeps you fueled(passionate),
  • keeps you focused on finishing (wins vs losses)

Begin withthe end in mind

2) Communicate your vision effectively
  • must be important to you communicate as much as possible
  • communicate in away that people understand (be clear, be concise, and be correct)
  • communicate optimism (you choose to be optimistic)
  • communicate hope
  • communicate motivation and inspiration (figure out each persons motives)
  • communicate publicly

3) people skills (You can't coach them if you don't love them.)
  • be visible and available
  • listen to your people!
  • ask good questions! (what do you think?How would you make the call on this one?)
  • empower people- boost the selfesteem of your people!
  • delegate

... success without successors is not success...

4) character counts in leadership (guard your character)
  • honesty - tell the truth
  • integrity
  • humility

5) competence- be good at what you do!
  • be a good problem solver
  • put effectiveteams together
  • teach what you know - be life long teacher and a life longlearner (continue formal education, hang out with smart people, be a life longreader)

6) boldness - make the decision and move on.

7) a serving heart... It's not about me, it is about theorganization and the people in it.

Check out his book for yourself if you get the chance.  I can assure you it will be a great use of your time.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Lead By Example

Josh Hamilton Leads By Example

Last night, two of Major League Baseball’s top sluggers faced off when the American League Champion Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton squared off against Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels.  The League expected this to be a real slugfest, so they chose to cover the game first hand.

Albert Pujols may have hit three home runs in one game one of the last times these two sluggers met during the World Series.  However, last night, Pujols went 0-4.  Since becoming one of the highest paid hitters in all of baseball, Pujols is batting a dismal .192 average with only one home run, which he hit earlier this week.

In contrast, Josh Hamilton went 3-4 with two solo home runs boosting his average to .407.  Unlike Pujols, Hamilton has hit 17 home runs, with a record breaking 4 home runs in one game earlier this week.

How rare is a 4 home run game? Very!  In the past 15 years 61 players hit for the cycle, 32 pitchers threw no hitters, there were 31 four-strikeout innings, 7 perfect games, yet only 4 players have had a 4 home run outings!

What’s interesting, though, is regardless of how well Josh has been hitting, he did something far more impressive last night.  He picked up a squeegee and swept the water out the dugout after a two hour rain delay.  It’s not every day you see a multi-millionaire slugger sweeping the floor.  So I could not resist and had to ask Josh if he thought he was a tad overpaid to be sweeping the floors.  Josh smiled and simply said, “Heck no, besides I have to do this at home, too.” (That's me in the photo right after I asked him...)

The moral of the story is I doubt Pujols would be hitting better if he were humbly sweeping the floors.  However, we are never too much of a super star to do the little things, like sweep the floors, which may lead to great success.

In case you were wondering, the Rangers won 10-3.