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“You guys will rock!”

An excerpt from the 2011 commencement address by Majora Carter to the graduating class at my alma mater, Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.  (It’s true – I literally graduated from the school of “hard Knox” – more on that later.) 

Do you remember your high school or college commencement speeches?  Did you attend a friend or relative’s graduation this spring?  I always enjoy the unbridled hope and enthusiasm that comes from the speakers.  Have you kept up that spirit of “we can accomplish anything” at your company?  Yes?  Good for you – keep it going!  Sometimes a job can dampen our enthusiasm if we’re not careful.  

My company recently staffed a new initiative of “enablement” as we seek to aggressively grow our revenue.  The other day, in a planning and prioritizing  meeting, the senior member of our team expressed concern about the difficulty of our assignment and whether we will be fully supported by management as we strive to live up to our team name, “DFoA”.  Before we  spiraled down that black hole of trepidation and despair, we all agreed to stay focused on Mason Cooley’s perspective: 

            “Why not?” is a slogan for an interesting life.                                 

A key part of our enablement responsibility is to remove internal impediments that have built up over the years and eroded productivity levels of our sales force and our partners.  Our eradication assignment may sound familiar to you at your company.  We need to address outdated reference materials; incomplete onboarding processes; absence of tactical planning; avoidance of accountability; lack of vision; you know – the usual stuff. 

Are we up to the task?  Will our company remain committed to this initiative?  Why not? 

            Why not go out on a limb?  Isn’t that where the fruit is?

                                                                 Frank Scully 

Our internal, executive sponsor (along with the senior member of our team) has named us DFoA, the Delta Fore of Awesomeness!  Truly, with a moniker like that – why not?  

It seems to me that the recipe for fixing things in Corporate America includes the main ingredients of 1-part know-how + 1-part enthusiasm + 1-part fearlessness.  I suppose there are many other minor ingredients, too.  But I believe we have the main ones covered and in so doing are making the best of our assignment.  We are also following Charles L. Bromley’s guidance: 

Why not make the best of things?  Any fool can make the worst of them. 

As for me, I think it helps that I am a graduate of the school of “hard Knox”.  It helps me to think of other great leaders that passed through Knox College and what they went on to accomplish.  You see, Galesburg, Illinois was one of the locations of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates – a series of debates that shaped the future of our country.  Here’s an excerpt: 

Both men arrived at the Knox College campus by carriage and walked into the college’s impressive new building that later came to be called Old Main.  The debate was held on the east side of the building.  As the two men, along with other dignitaries, stepped through a window on to the stage it is reported that Lincoln said, “Well, at last I have gone through college.”

                                                                  Owen Muelder 

OK, my college experience was a bit different than Abraham Lincoln’s.  But if he was here today and looking at our enablement assignment as compared to the challenges he faced during his presidency, he might offer us these words of wisdom – Why not? 

                                                                  GAP 

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©  Please check it out Subscribe.

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11 Comments


  1. John Veire
    Jun 22, 2011

    Great stuff Gary-so funny you graduated from Knox as I was just relating the typical Knox story to my 13 and 9 year old the past week, kidding about having gone to Knox myself.

    I like the attitude.

    Let’s chat soon.

    John


    • Gary
      Jun 23, 2011

      Hi John, Thank you very much for commenting so nicely on my recent post – I hope you find value in reading these little ditties with your 13 and 9 year olds! Thx, GAP


      • Jessalyn
        Sep 12, 2011

        There’s a terrific amount of konweldge in this article!


      • Kaydi
        Sep 14, 2011

        Play informative for me, Mr. internet witrer.


    • Cindy
      Sep 12, 2011

      Gee whiz, and I thhougt this would be hard to find out.


  2. Terrence Gargiulo
    Jun 22, 2011

    Along with humor and engaging audiences, it’s a challenge to offer a diverse audience a message that will resonate and leave them with gifts for their journey ahead.

    Here’s an example of a storied approach to this challenge. A collage of stories is used to offer students three gifts for their journey (judgment, compassion, and mercy).

    http://www.vimeo.com/24981140


    • Gary
      Jun 23, 2011

      Hello Terrence, Thank you for commenting on my recent post. I hope you will add future comments, too – as well as share my site with your friends, family, and colleagues. Thx, GAP


    • Donyell
      Sep 14, 2011

      Now I know who the brainy one is, I’ll keep looknig for your posts.


  3. Tracen
    Sep 13, 2011

    It was dark when I woke. This is a ray of ssunhnie.


    • Gary
      Sep 14, 2011

      Hi Tracen, Thank you for your kind comment. I hope you continue reading my work. Thx, GAP


  4. Teige
    Sep 14, 2011

    That’s 2 celevr by half and 2×2 clever 4 me. Thanks!

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