Thursday, May 30, 2013

Passion + Soda Pop = Customer Loyalty

Passion is all too often overlooked today. Today we look for the person who can get us the quickest results for the least amount of money. People all over the world pour their passion into what they do. Sometimes their passion is for something as peculiar as carbonated beverages. Check out this video and be amazed at how much passion someone can have for a sugary drink:

John Nese is not normal. He cares about unique soft drinks, glass bottles and getting the exclusive rights to drinks most people have never heard of; John is challenging the way we all do business. His customer base continues to grow and come to his shop because they know there is something different about Galcos Soda Pop Stop.

Be different. Have Passion

Thursday, May 23, 2013

To College Students Everywhere

Do not let this summer come and go without improving something in your life. A normal summer is full of laziness. Sure, a summer job is usually in the cards, but does that job really make you better at anything? Decide you will press through this summer with purpose. Reading books, learning a new language, and getting outside your comfort zone are only three of the endless ways your summer could be spent. Do not prove those gray hairs right by spending all of your time on Twitter and Running with Friends. Be different. Yours is the generation that brought the idea of solving the world’s problems with a buy one give one concept. Sustainability is an idea mainstreamed by you. Do not fall into the trap of every summer ever, don’t be normal. Make a difference. Because the truth is, you will be leading our world in a much more formal role in a few short years. You have a great chance to begin to prove to the current leaders that they are wrong about you. Live each day with purpose (even those summer days).    

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Reflecting On The Last Nine Years (The Short Version)

In the fall of 2004 I started working in the president’s office as a student worker. I had no idea how my future would be transformed by taking that job.

For the last seven years I’ve worked in a more formal role as the assistant to president. Every day provided an obstacle, but it also provided an opportunity to learn something new. At the core of my learning experience was Dr. David Burks. He would allow me to sit in on meetings I had no business being in, make presentations on behalf of Harding, and even sit at the table for strategic planning. I had a front row seat to the inner-workings of higher education.

Before working with Dr. Burks, I had no intention of being involved in higher education as a career. His patience with me and determination to teach me what he knew about higher education is something I will never forget. I am in higher education today because of him. His passion for teaching and shaping young adults is carried on through many people; I am included in that number.

His guidance and mentorship has meant the world to me. He taught me about leadership in a very tangible way. There was no need for conceptual discussion because he put me right in the middle of situations that would stretch and mold me into a leader. Dr. Burks genuinely loved coming to work each day. There were some days that may have been less desirable than others, but he chose to lead by example and pushed through the hard times with little if any complaining. I cannot think of a better mentor than a senior executive who loves what he does; David Burks was that for me.

The most valuable piece of advice he ever gave me is to “In all things keep your faith strong. Do not let the job take such a toll on your life that you put your relationship with God on the back-burner  Stressful situations in the workplace will come and go, but God will always be there for you; do not neglect your relationship with Him.” This advice is representative of how he fulfilled the role of president and how he became an instant leader to those he came in contact with.

June 1, 2013 will be a marker on his career as president, but not the end of his leadership by any stretch. This post does not even scratch the surface of the amount of respect I have or the gratitude I owe David Burks. He is and will continue to be a dear friend and mentor. Working with him over the past 9 years has made a profound impact on my life, it has truly been transformational.  

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Normal Is Not Safe

Normal is what got us here. Normal is safe.

These two ideas are unfortunately in the minds of too many leaders today. Companies that once changed the business world by their innovative products are now in a rut of normalcy. What got them to their position of success is assumed to retain their placement in the business world. Innovation is stifled.

Being open to new ideas is essential to continued growth. Blockbuster is a great example of a company that decided the way things have always been done would suffice going forward. Blockbuster did try to stream movies and even mail orders out, but it was too late; someone else had already blazed the trail for what we know as Netflix and Redbox.

Can you think of the last time someone decided your new idea was too hard to accomplish? Maybe the phrases "That's not how we do it around here" or "We've always done it this way and it's served us well" come to mind? True leaders innovate. They not only innovate, leaders remove bureaucracy and hurdles that may stifle original ideas within the team.

Do not become a Blockbuster. Do not let your innovative ideas be silenced. Do not become the kind of leader who stifles innovative team members. You will not only risk breaking their spirit, you risk losing them to a leader who is open to new ideas. In a world that is changing daily, taking risks are not easy, but being normal is not safe.  Being normal will not get you where you need to be.   

Thursday, May 2, 2013

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Just last week Bill Simon, CEO of Walmart US, was recalling an interaction he had with a recent college graduate. The question presented to Simon revolved around career advice. He responded with a simple question, “What do you want to do?” The graduate quickly responded, “I want to be a vice-president.” Simon suggested she work at a bank because everyone there is vice-president.

At the heart of the matter stands a deeper response, an introspective one. What do you want to do? Simon suggests that a title is not what you want to do; it’s what you want to be called. Decide now what you want to do and work towards that framework. The real question is the tough one. Anyone can say they want to be a vice-president, but what will you accomplish as a vice-president? How will you decide to spend your life? Will it be based on obtaining a meaningless title or will your life have purpose because of what you do and not what you are called?