The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective


Archive for June, 2016

15 and 50…

Observing leadership communications and leadership style have been an enthralling side benefit I have enjoyed throughout my career.  Of course in 2016 we are witnessing a big dose of our Presidential candidates’ leadership communications style.  I wonder what the journalists and historians will write 15 and 50 years from now.

What leadership communications style do you prefer?  Those who boast; blare; and blurt out the bigness of their bravado?  Those who calmly convey a collaborative and conservative approach?  Do we prefer political experience?  Intellectual superiority?  Business acumen?  All of the above?  Have your preferences changed over the past 15 or 50 years?

It’s been longer than 50 years, but Abraham Lincoln is recognized as one of America’s greatest leaders.  He had a particular leadership communication style, true?  What do you remember of his persona – his physical image?  His story-telling?  His unique way of managing people and politics?

My policy is to have no policy. 

Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln’s flexibility and willingness to adapt his “policies” to short-term circumstances is considered legendary.  But from a principled perspective almost every Presidential decision he made was grounded on saving the Union as being paramount above all else.  I think they will continue writing about Lincoln’s leadership 15 and 50 years from now.

Maybe you prefer leaders that advocate family-friendly work environments.  Much is being written these days about work-life balance; challenging and fulfilling assignments; the “gig economy”; more paid time off.  Of course, smart leaders don’t worry about employee vacation time – perhaps they follow the teachings of our favorite Unknown Sage:

Luten’s Laws

When properly administered, vacations do not diminish productivity: for every week you’re away and get nothing done, there’s another week when your boss is away and you get twice as much done.

Yes, I’ve enjoyed observing leaders and their communication style for more than 50 years.  Not just business leaders; but world leaders, sports leaders, even the leadership my wife displays as the patriarch of our family.  I’ve hoped some of their greatness has rubbed off on me – or at least appeared to have rubbed off:

The difference between being an elder statesman and posing successfully as an elder statesman is practically negligible. 

T.S. Eliot

Recently, Evan Goldberg Chairman and Founder of my company NetSuite, was interviewed for the benefit of the employees.  One leadership communication challenge is maintaining “contact” with employees when the company grows from a start-up to a multi-national corporation.  It’s been just a few more than 15 years since Evan launched his company with a great idea; a handful of employees; and a passion to succeed.

During this interview, one of the questions he was asked was about the type of employees he relies on to help with the company’s continued growth and success.  Evan cited two main attributes.

First, he looks for people who have “casual intensity”.  I like that description!  He described this attribute as those who work hard; invest long hours; willingly make personal sacrifice, without making a big deal about their efforts (and sacrifices).  These are the people Evan said that just go about getting the job done.

And the second quality of employee he prefers are those types of people you would enjoy going out to lunch with.  Coincidently, this attribute was echoed by my best friend Steve:

Never trust someone who doesn’t go out to lunch with you.

Well, truth be told I’m not much of a go-out-for-lunch-type.  It’s OK though – I doubt anyone will remember that 15 or 50 years from now.


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To Dad…

Happy Father’s Day this coming Sunday!  Aren’t fathers and grandfathers great?  The memory of my father still brings a proud smile to my face (and my heart!).  If you’re lucky enough to have living fathers and grandfathers, give them a hug Sunday, OK?

There are many Father’s Day traditions – what’s yours?  The Westernaires’ White Olympics performance in Golden, Colorado is one (see ).  Ten year old kids performing western-style, precision drills to a small audience of families.  If you’re free on Father’s Day check out their performance – it’s free.

The fearlessness and composure of ten year olds amazes me!  When they’re in the saddle, they’re in charge, just like their Dads (sometimes).   Although these kids will be terrific riders within the next five years or so, those performing Sunday will only be capable of bringing a proud smile to their Dads’ faces (and hearts!).

From this man’s perspective, men certainly have an entertaining view of the world, don’t we?  Take Mike Jaeger’s point:

Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he’ll believe you.  Tell him the plate you’re handing him is very hot and he’ll have to touch it to believe it.

And because my sons have children in their lives, I get to be the grandfather now!   Being the grandfather has responsibilities:

Sometimes the only difference we can make is passing our wisdom on to someone else who will make the bigger difference. 

Linda B. Gray

The older I get the more appreciative I am of the love and devotion I received from my father.   He wanted his sons to make a difference.  He wanted us to be patient with some of his quirkiness too.  I remember after my Mom died, my Dad ate his dinners at the hospital cafeteria two blocks from his house.  It might have been for the convenience; maybe for the memory of the last place he saw his wife alive.

He ate dinner there every evening for over twenty years.  So long, that the employees all thought Al Pokorn actually worked there.  One summer, he was even invited to their company picnic!  I didn’t mind this quirky charade.  But when he won the TV in the employee raffle, I told him he had to give it back!

We are all a little quirky I suppose.  Today when my children use one of my little sayings, or demonstrate a family value or tradition that has been passed down from father to son, it brings a proud smile to my face (and my heart)!

Hopefully, our children and their children will carry on the values and traditions we learned from our fathers and our fathers’ fathers.    For us Dads, this is one of life’s most satisfying accomplishments.

Who was, it Mickey Mantle?  I think he said:

If I knew I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself.

Of course, someday our little angels may turn on us; they’ll want to take away our car keys before sending “Gramps” to a nursing home.  And when that day comes we’ll think of our forefathers again:

When I die, I want to die like my Grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep.  Not screaming like all the passengers in his car.

Unknown Sage

Brings a smile to my face (and my heart!).

So here’s to my Dad; and your Dad; and everyone’s Dad across the world.  They have helped us all make a difference – a tradition to be passed down.


Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my past posts too:

Philosophy or fact?

When I Googled for the definition of “philosophy” I found:

The study of the theoretical basis of a particular branch of knowledge or experience.

The theoretical basis of knowledge, hmmm.  Sounds… well… philosophical.  But I digress:

Digress: Leave the main subject temporarily in speech or writing.

I’ve been attending a new MeetUp for B2B sales reps and the last session, facilitated by Chad Burmeister, author of Sales Hack © and Director of Sales Development at Ring Central, was stellar ( ).  Chad facilitated an examination of cold-calling; starting with the rhetorical question, “Is cold-calling dead?”

Rhetorical: (of a question) asked in order to produce an effect or to make a statement rather than to elicit information.

And continuing on with Chad’s leading practices for cold-calling tools, tactics and techniques.  His presentation and discussion was stellar.

Of course, during the MeetUp many attending sales professionals offered differing opinions about their preferred cold-calling tools, tactics and techniques.  And as anyone even slightly involved in the business development field (e.g. sales, marketing, branding, etc.) would know – much is being said and more is being written on the topics of cold-calling, social media selling, and the like.

Chad’s presentation offered facts and statistics supporting his beliefs.  When others chimed in they too offered facts in support of their beliefs.  I’ve noticed when I am exposed to other authors, presenters and pontificators and their cold-calling beliefs each offers a persuasive set of facts as evidence proving the truth behind their pontification:

Fact:  A thing that is indisputably the case.

But if everyone has their own set of supporting facts, even if their beliefs around the singular topic of cold-calling are different, what is the truth?

Truth:  The quality or state of being true.

Wait – what?  Truth is the state of being true?  What the hell does that mean?  Ah…but I digress…

All-in-all, my pursuit of the “truth” seems to keep me in a constant state of self-reflection:  How do my beliefs (and corresponding facts) compare to the beliefs (and facts) of others?

I believe I am a die-hard, self-reflective sort.  As a life-long-learner, I find myself constantly asking “Why?” when presented with beliefs and facts that have serious impact on my professional success.

I am told in the book, The Absurdity of Human Life © by Tom Nagle – he writes of the collision between what in life we take seriously while simultaneously doubting the “why” behind these serious things.  I am also told (having never taken the pursuit of philosophical investigation seriously) that the 16th century French philosopher Rene Descartes (considered a “modern skeptic” of his time) suggested we should subject everything to doubt and see what is left.

As a self-confessed skeptic, my continuous search for answer to “why”?” seems to fall into Descartes’ philosophy of subjecting everything to doubt.  After doubting some of the beliefs that were debated during this MeetUp, what was left for me was an epiphany!

Epiphany: a moment when you suddenly feel that you understand something that is very important to you.

When it comes to cold-calling, social media selling, and any other form of sales-prospecting there is no “truth” regardless of what facts someone offers in support of their beliefs.  There are simply our beliefs and the corresponding results – nothing else matters.

In the sales profession if our beliefs are generating successful results, we should continue; if they aren’t, we should change.  “Change to what?” you might ask.  Well, simply change to beliefs that work.   Ut oh – does that sound too philosophical?


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Just for fun…

Thought I’d lighten things up a bit today after writing a few heavy posts recently.  I mean, I know life can be tough; but it also can get better:

Life breaks us.  And when we heal, we’re stronger on the broken parts. 

Ernest Hemingway

My wife and I went on a weekend getaway with our best friends Steve and Jacquie.  Beer; bear country; and besties – we headed out to mend a few of those broken parts.  We didn’t see any bears but the trip reminded me of my favorite sighting:

A bear who, displaying a $5 bill, had entered a bar and ordered a beer and; the owner of the bar directed the bartender to give the bear the beer, saying that since the bear didn’t look very smart to only give it 25 cents in change.

Having done as he had been instructed, and having watched incredulously as the bear placidly sipped the beer, the bartender finally could no longer contain himself and sought to engage the bear in conversation.  “You know”, he said to the bear, “we don’t get many bears in this bar.”  To which the bear is said to have replied, “at $4.75 a beer, it’s no wonder.” 

Norman R. Augustine

Ah that Norman R. Augustine, former head of Martin Marietta Corporation a huge US Government aerospace contractor.  Talk about broken parts!  Norman shared his sense of humor in his book, Augustine’s Laws ©.  Here’s an excerpt courtesy of Wikipedia:

Law Number III: There are no lazy veteran lion hunters.

Law Number XIII: There are many highly successful businesses in the United States. There are also many highly paid executives. The policy is not to intermingle the two.

Law Number XIX: Although most products will soon be too costly to purchase, there will be a thriving market in the sale of books on how to fix them.

Law Number XXXI: The optimum committee has no members.

Law Number XXXVI: The thickness of the proposal required to win a multi-million dollar contract is about one millimeter per million dollars. If all the proposals conforming to this standard were piled on top of each other at the bottom of the Grand Canyon it would probably be a good idea.

Law Number LII: People working in the private sector should try to save money. There remains the possibility that it may someday be valuable again.

I know it’s not fair to poke fun at our government during an election year.  In the 1930’s America’s leading political wit, Will Rogers, couldn’t help himself:

The trouble with practical jokes is that very often they get elected.

If America’s political process doesn’t drive us all nuts, the cost of living certainly can:

It seems that there was a pretzel stand in front of an office building in New York City.  One day a man came out of the building, plunked down a quarter, and then went on his way without taking a pretzel.  This happened every day for three weeks.  Finally, the old lady running the stand spoke up, “Sir, excuse me.  May I have a word with you?”  The fellow answered,I know what you’re going to say.  You’re going to ask me why I give you a quarter every day and don’t take a pretzel.” The woman replied, “Not at all.  I just wanted to tell you that the price is now 35 cents.”

William Schreyer

Grab your besties everyone – let’s head to bear country for a few beers.  I’m buying!


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