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Truth Archives, Page 1 of 1
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Oct 5
Are We Missing Mark Foley's Real Leadership Story?

We know … or are quite certain that … Congressman  Mark Foley …

1. was raped by a man who said he represented the gospel – and then sexually abused others …
2. claimed to represent American voters - and then sexually abused young men…

Why are we stopping there … though … when this story is packed with wisdom opportunities for leaders everywhere and for humanity today…?

Foley’s story is one that should inspire leaders and the rest of us to consider opposite viewpoints in questions about leadership… and the human brain….

Leaders … rather than focus on constant coverage of Foley’s choices … might ask  

1. What do we believe ... and how do others see us living those stated beliefs…?
2. Who do we represent when we make choices about how to treat humanity…?

Focus too much on Mark Foley’s erroneous choices and the human brain blocks out inspired lessons from it.
Focus instead on how the human brain helps leaders to restore community… let’s look past Foley … keep his mistakes in mind and imagine a new design for living…. To do so we ask…

1. How can we rewire a brain from focusing on Foley’s flaws to avoiding these mistakes  in our own choices…?
2. What would it take for new neuron pathways that prosper people around us … rather than abuse other humans…?

The media gives us the stories … and that’s their job. Ours is to ask the questions that reflect for personal and leadership growth. Let’s not stop with Foley’s constantly repeated story and miss its less obvious gateways to inspire our minds and lives. What do you think?
Aug 1
Chartreuse Discovering Katrina

There is some good stuff going around the web today.

I offer my support and encouragement to Chartreuse, an independent blogger that has thrown out an innovative idea that captures the power of new media and citizen journalism.

I often read what Chartreuse has to say about blog networks and new media. It is colorful if nothing. Over the past several months, we have become better acquainted with Chartreuse. I never thought of him as an activist but he has started something that is quickly becoming a major story and cause. His action, his innovation, his ability to draw support – his leadership - is worth noting. It started here.

“I read a story about FEMA not allowing Katrina victims to talk to reporters. That sounded a bit outrageous to me so I asked a friend of mine who works in a position which allows her/him to see what’s going on across the state of Louisiana to tell me if it was true. (Sorry, they are not allowed to speak “on the record” to the press!)”

Chartreuse received an unofficial on-the-ground-report from New Orleans – and it wasn’t pretty. It spoke of racial profiling and police harassment of Katrina katrina victims.jpg victims. I have to say, the claims were so extreme, I wasn’t sure what to believe. I trusted Chartreuse to publish the truth. He wanted to know more. From his post yesterday

“I’m putting up $1000.00 of my own cash to send 2 people to New Orleans and the Gulf Region for a weekend to find out what’s really going on.”

“I write a lot about change, institutional collapse and personal empowerment. I don’t write enough about responsibility.

I feel we all have a responsibility to do what we can.

Let’s do something important.”

The call to action has not fallen on deaf ears. Know More Media is in with cash and coverage. Nearly a hundred readers have responded and several citizen journalists have applied to file the report.

We have it in our power to begin the world over again. - Thomas Paine

Jun 9
SuperSize Me! Not

In writing about Jamie Oliver and the good he is doing for the nutrition of youth I got thinking about this nutrition movement and how the real impact has come not from government, education institutions, health ministries but from some independent folks that believed in a cause and brought it to the people through the media.

I will admit that most of the time when one person screams no one hears and in many cases, it is an issue that is only meaningful to a few people or does not make society better. In the case of our children’s nutrition, it is a supersize problem and stands to affect our future. The internet, blogs, and other media enable the word to get out.

A couple of years ago my teenage son told me about the movie Supersize Me after he saw it in school. This movie takes a unique look at the problem of obesity and illustrates the point with a 30-day diet of McDonald's Corporation (MCD).supersize.jpg

Was it a surprise that fast food is not healthy? No. I am health conscious and aware of this fact. But this movie illustrated in a way that made me not want to go back to McDonalds for those tasty fries and Big Mac (that did not seem to bio-degrade in special feature called "The Smoking Fry"). More importantly it made me think about my kid’s health when I wanted to stop at McDonald’s because it was convenient and had a playground and toy in my younger sons Happy Meal.

Too me the most interesting and scary aspect of the movie how school lunch has been outsourced to fast food.

I am not calling on McDonalds and other food manufacturers to change. I made my choice to not go back. If enough of us choose to stop eating unhealthy options, the economist in me says more healthy options will become available. Consumers have the power.

Fat chance? I hope not.

Check out McDonald's most recent defensive response here.

May26
Business As Usual Fails for Lay and Skilling
It came down to character. Clearly Enron executives Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling were smart enough to lead Enron to rank 7th on the Fortune 500 list of US companies in 2001. However, some of the qualities that enabled them to succeed – keen intelligence, confidence, salesmanship, charisma, vision – may have ultimately led to Enron’s historic fall and now a guilty verdict. Yesterday, a jury upheld the charges of fraud and conspiracy against the two executives.

Leading a company that has a market value of $60 billion and nearly 6,000 employees must tempt a leader to imagine that he is invincible, beyond reproach and due some spoils for such genius and hard work. In the case of Enron, this attitude was brought on by the power, money, and prestige of such success and proved to be the poison that took $60 billion to zero, left the employees without a job or pension and now finds Lay and Skilling headed for an extended stay at the big house. Enron, Lay and Skilling have come to represent corporate greed, wrong-doing and deceit.

The aggressiveness, commanding presence and intellect that carried them to the executive suite contributed to their conviction. Viewed under a different light, many leadership and character traits did not impress a jury of middle-class citizens. Such smart capable men, suffered from a lack of credibility. The Washington Post reports,

“Jurors in the Enron trial made it clear that it would have been better for former executives Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling if they'd kept their mouths shut and stayed off the witness stand. Speaking shortly after a federal judge read their verdict, jurors said Lay's indignant outbursts while testifying in his own behalf made him seem "that he very much wanted to be in control -- he commanded the courtroom," said Wendy Vaughan, a Houston business owner."He was very focused, but he had a bit of a chip on his shoulder that made me question his character," she said.

As for Skilling, who spent days explaining the tedious financial inner workings of the once high-flying energy company, the jurors couldn't understand how he could know so much about that and not be aware of illegal business maneuvering, whether or not he was responsible for it personally.”

Character and integrity. They matter. Despite genius, hard work and an ability to attract followers, a leader cannot ultimately succeed with out them. The following found its way into the trial often. It sums up the case and the man.

“Rules are important, but you shouldn’t be a slave to rules either.”

                                                          - Kenneth Lay

The Moderate Voice provides some excellent commentary. Read more at the New York Times.

Jan24
Of the Things We Think, Say or Do
I spent my lunch hour today with some wonderful people. I was the guest speaker at a local Rotary Club. Rotary International  describes itself as a “global network of community volunteers.” I saw that first hand today and thought back to the quote by Martin Luther King, Jr.,  “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”

In addition to serving, great leaders seem to know instinctively or perhaps learn by experience that leadership requires truth.  For a leader to have the confidence, trust and commitment of her followers, she must always speak the truth.

I didn’t know much about Rotary when I arrived but one thing stood out. At the front of the room hung a banner with these wordsrotary.jpg

"Of the things we think, say or do:
1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?"

The Rotary Four Way Test is a pretty good gudeline for aspiring leaders. Truth, fairness, goodwill and beneficial to all are guiding lights for the decisions and actions of leaders.

This does not mean that someone will not feel that they were treated unfairly or that someone may bear a cost for a leaders decision.  The point is that leaders should strive for these values.  Most people will respect you if you lead by this standard, even if it cannot always be achieved.

It was my  pleasure to be among people who held this as their objective.

FYI -

"Rotary is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and helps build goodwill and peace in the world. Approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 31,000 Rotary clubs located in 167 countries."

You can read more about my experience on Know More Media. 
Dec27
Stand by Right
How do two giant egos from two different worlds collaborate and succeed?  A commitment to a cause and a willingness to put the cause before oneself.  Bono and Gates forge the model. There must be a lesson here.

Excerpts from Time magazine article on 2005 Persons of the Year as posted on the Philanthropy Workshop West shed some light on the partnership between Gates and Bono in ending poverty and offer insight on how to lead.

Stand for right. Don't be defined by perception or stereotypes.

"Rock stars are designed to be shiny, shallow creatures, furloughed from reality for all time. Billionaires are even more removed, nestled atop fantastic wealth where they never again have to place their own calls or defrost dinner or fly commercial.  It makes you think that if these guys can decide to make it their mission to save the world, partner with people they would never otherwise meet, care about causes that are not sexy or dignified in the ways that celebrities normally require, then no one really has a good excuse anymore for just staying on the sidelines and watching. "

Check ego at door.  Start with genuine sincerity.

"Such is the nature of Bono's fame that just about everyone in the world wants to meet him-except for the richest man in the world, who thought it would be a waste of time. "World health is immensely complicated," says Gates, recalling that first encounter in 2002. "It doesn't really boil down to a 'Let's be nice' analysis. So I thought a meeting wouldn't be all that valuable."

Find and focus on commonalities not differences.

It took about three minutes with Bono for Gates to change his mind. Bill and his wife Melinda, another computer nerd turned poverty warrior, love facts and data with a tenderness most people reserve for their children, and Bono was hurling metrics across the table as fast as they could keep up. "He was every bit the geek that we are," says Gates Foundation chief Patty Stonesifer, who helped broker that first summit. "He just happens to be a geek who is a fantastic musician."
Continue Reading
Dec14
Following Values
As you can probably tell, LeaderNotes is published by Know More Media. Today, Know More Media officially launched its network of business blogs.

This is an exciting opportunity for anyone affiliated with Know More Media and I think for business people looking to “know more” about business. I was part of the process to describe who Know More Media is and what it is we do and hope to become. You can read all about it at KnowMoreMedia.com.

Blogs offer unique publishing features like giving a writer the opportunity to express herself without an editor or to engage others in the conversation. That also makes it a challenge to bring together diverse thoughts, ideas and information under the brand of one network.

A set of common values and vision are tools to promote unity and a sense of purpose. To not only guide us, but all writers that will eventually join our network, we identified values that we hope to promote on Know More Media. These are listed as 11 statements that all begin with “we believe…” These statements will serve as our guiding light and be the values that we strive to follow. For us to succeed, everyone that represents the network will follow these values. I believe that if we follow these values a reader will be able to recognize a "Know More Media" writer and have certain expectations of quality and editorial integrity. 

I wanted to mention one of these values that we hold sacrosanct:

“We believe that truth and knowledge will be better revealed with transparency, community scrutiny, and robust conversation.”

Establishing values and creating a culture that promotes these values enables diverse individuals to forge a team that can be unified toward a goal. We invite readers, writers and anyone with something to contribute to join us in establishing truth and knowledge about business.
Nov22
Murrow
Over the weekend, I fought through the movie going masses that were looking for sorcery from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire or in line to see a tribute to the Man in Black in Walk the Line. Don’t get me wrong, I am part of the masses. I am keenly interested in seeing both of these films, however, not on opening night. Instead, I took the contrarians path and threw down my ten spot and sat down to Good Night, and Good Luck.

The result was a mesmerizing experience. This was not traditional movie making but more a civics lesson from the past with clear implications and relevance to today. A review by Stephanie Zacharek from Salon.com could not have said it any better

"This is serious grown-up entertainment with a sense of history and a sense of style, the kind of picture almost no one knows how to -- or, perhaps more accurately, can find the means to -- make anymore."

Good Night, and Good Luck was directed by George Clooney, and was billed as a film that showcases the historic battle between Senator Joseph McCarthy  and Edward R. Murrow.

For me, the story this movie told was much more. It was about the power of one man’s murrow.jpgability to change history and the responsibility each of us has to seek and report the truth. On one hand, was the power of McCarthy and his ability to whip the public, through fear, into a froth of misguided judgment. Juxtaposed to McCarthy, was Edward R. Murrow, a seasoned and celebrated journalist who took a stand for truth and innovatively used the media to share that truth and thus, represented several qualities of leadership.
Continue Reading

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