There is Nothing Good about Goodbye, Version 3

Last night I attended a soccer match to watch my daughter, Rebekah, play one of the first games of her college career. Talk about mixed emotions …

RGI came away reminded of something I have been saying for the past couple of years … There is nothing good about goodbye. And no, the third time is not the charm.

In case you missed my previous rants, I encourage you to read There is Nothing Good About Goodbye, Version One, about Rebekah’s oldest sister, and There is Nothing Good about Goodbye, 2.0, the account of the last time my heart was broken.

There is no other way to say it; watching these women leave home is brutal! 

Like her sisters, Rebekah has indelibly marked my life. Dropping her off for college a few weeks ago was like losing my left arm … And I’m left handed.

I remember the day when she was a toddler and I was supposed to be watching her on a Florida boardwalk, only to turn my head allowing her to vanish. A desperate minute later I found her kicked back in a deck chair taking in the stunning view of the Gulf. 

Bek

I remember hundreds of bedtime stories, countless soccer practices, all the amazing hat tricks, and fascinating adventures around the world.

I remember thousands of family dinners, vacations, conversations, graduations, and so many awesome hugs. Now, it feels like it is all gone, and I don’t like it.

But I have no regrets. I’m glad I spent the last 18 years showing up and being her Daddy.

Truthfully, I raised her to release her. This is the way it is supposed to be. I’ve survived it twice, and I will survive it again.

As for you, if you have kids, may I remind you goodbye is coming like a freight train. One day the apple of your eye will need training wheels. The next thing you know a bill for the cap and gown will show up in the mail and it will be time for goodbye. (TWEET)

While you shouldn’t expect the goodbye to be good, it can be more tolerable if you will make the most of the moments you have left. Squeeze every drop out of every day and create as many memories as you possibly can. Those memories will ultimately cushion the blow when it is time to let go.

Remember … leadership truly does begin at home.

May God Bless Your Family,

Randy

What is your #1 family priority for the coming week?

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5 Constants Every Team Needs

James Earl Jones summed it up in Field of Dreams with his famous soliloquy …

“The one constant through all the years has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good, and what could be again.”

That scene has lingered with me for the past 25 years. Truly, baseball is timeless. 

One of my favorite things, in this sport of unpredictability, is that there are still constants. Teams come and go, crazy things happen during games, field dimensions differ, but one thing is certain – You can always count on there being a foul pole along the base lines. Without the poles the games would be chaos.

With the MLB playoffs around the corner, I found myself in a ballpark a couple of weeks ago working on an upcoming teams project. I stood alone in the upper deck. The stadium was empty. Quiet, with the exception of the faint sound of a small tractor dragging the infield, ridden by a member of the grounds crew.

 Field of DreamsMesmerized, I couldn’t take my eyes off the left field foul pole. It was as if the yellow tower was whispering, “I’m here, and I’m not going anywhere.”

As a leader, one of the best things you can do for your team is to make sure there are things they can count on when they show up at your ballpark. Whether you are in business or baseball, if you expect to win, you better spend a chunk of your time defining boundaries that are constant.

  • Consider the following:
  • A trustworthy leader. When people can’t trust the leader, things break down. Growing organizations are not places of suspicion. There is transparency and authenticity that starts at the top. If you want to create a winning culture, start by being trustworthy. TWEET
  • A place where people are trusted. Leaders not only need to be trustworthy, they also need to trust others. Assuming you hire the right people, move out of the way and let them do their jobs. Ask for input on important decisions, and refuse to micromanage. Great teams are places where trust is present. They are never led by dictators. 
  • A growing leader. I have a friend who reminds me, “Your capacity to grow determines your capacity to lead.” If the organization is stalled, it is usually because the boss has plateaued. A team takes its cue from its leader. If the leader is growing, the environment will flourish and the team will thrive. TWEET
  • Clear expectations. One of the most important things you can do for your team is to communicate what is expected of them. People want to know how to make an “A” on the test. Rarely do employees have a bad heart toward the organization. Usually when they struggle it is because the leader withholds clarity on what is “foul” and what is a “fair ball” on the field of play. When leaders fail to communicate the expectations, at some point apathy sets in and team members become disengaged. TWEET
  • Encouragement. It is a proven fact that encouragement leads to greater performance in any arena of life. I see leaders all the time who neglect to praise their people only to wonder why the team lacks motivation. Critical leaders are constantly looking for mistakes and pointing out flaws. Unfortunately, most critical leaders are too self absorbed or emotionally unaware to think about the culture they are creating with their negativity. If you want to see your team thrive, make sure they can count on a culture of encouragement over one of criticism.

As a leader you get to choose the boundaries you set for your team. I’m convinced if you will build trust, continue to set the pace by modeling growth, communicate clear expectations, and create a positive environment, your organization will be on its way toward a playoff performance.

Count on it!

Leadership Begins at Home,

Randy

What other things does a team need to be able to count on from their leader?

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Truett Cathy … The Power of a Good Name

“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” Proverbs 22:1

Those words were the North Star for the founder of Chick-fil-A, Truett Cathy, who died yesterday at the age of 93.

Truett

It goes without saying, the inventor of the chicken sandwich was an impressive leader. He grew Chick-fil-A from a single small diner in Hapeville, Georgia to one of the greatest organizations in the world. Currently, there are over 1800 Chick-fil-A’s with an annual combined sales totaling more than 5 billion dollars. Talk about results.

But for those who knew Truett, he was not driven by the results alone. Truthfully, he focused more on relationships, and he created an unrivaled organizational culture. The results were simply the byproduct.

I had the opportunity to meet Truett once, and I was captivated by his focus on my visit to his office. I walked away feeling like he was my grandfather, rather than a billionaire.

Truett gave me a copy of a book he had written. The title, It’s Easier to Succeed Than to Fail, was a reminder that doing things the right way, coupled with a strong work ethic, always leads to success.

When he handed me the book, he told me if I ever had trouble sleeping to be sure and read the first few pages. “It’ll help send you to dreamland,” he quipped with a warm smile. His humility was enviable.

Inside the front cover of the book, right below Truett’s autograph, was the inscription, Proverbs 22:1. It seems the thing he desired most was to bring honor to God by living a life of integrity.

I’d say you hit the target, Mr. Cathy. Thank you for your amazing example of what a leader is supposed to look like.

Well done good and faithful servant … You will be missed, but not forgotten.

Leadership Begins at Home,

Randy

What is the legacy you desire to leave behind with your life and leadership?

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Give Us What You’ve Got

What are you bringing to the table today?

I love Steven Pressfield’s quote, “Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”

Show up today and do something great. Make your music. Lead your team. Write your story. Share your talk.

Read Pressfield’s last sentence again . . . “Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”

There is greatness in you … Amazing gifts and talents that need to be shared with the world. (tweet)

Make the choice to be engaged today. It will literally be a gift to the world.

Leadership Begins at Home,

Randy

What is one thing you can do today that could be a gift to the world?

Comments?

What if You Decided to Add One & Change One?

Yesterday while walking through the lobby of a hotel I was tempted by a sign hanging on a post near the front desk. “Wet Paint,” which is Latin for touch with the index finger, was irresistible to me.

Wet PaintI have no idea why I filter everything through the eyes of this blog, but I do. Seeing the sign stopped me in my tracks. I stood staring at the two words and was struck by how easy it would be to change “Wet Paint” to “West Point.”

Add an “S” in the right place to the word wet and switch the “A” in paint to “O” and everything changes. Suddenly you go from sticky liquid temptation, to what some believe to be the greatest leadership institution on earth.

We all recognize there is a big difference between wet paint and West Point. However, to close the gap between the two you really only have to add one and change one.

I suspect there are similar “gap” areas in your own personal leadership environment … areas that have you feeling despair instead of hope. The good news is, change might be closer than you think. (tweet)

In fact, I’m guessing you could add one thing and change one thing and your gap would narrow in a hurry.

What if you decided to add one and change one? Could it be that simple?

If you need to close a gap, see for yourself. Add One, Change One is the place to start. (tweet)

Leadership Begins at Home,

Randy

What is one thing you need to add to your current leadership reality?

What is one thing you need to change?

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