. "Building a better you is the first step to building a better America."... ~ Zig Ziglar.
There is a lot of talk about the decline of American competitiveness lately. Doom and gloomers have landed during the recent recession and feasted on our challenges like buzzards on road kill. America is done and the American worker must settle for a new normal, a new standard of living, and recognize that we aren't the preeminent power in business any more they say. I say ~ Bull. Yep ~ Pure Bull.
Of course there will be challenges, as in any competitive arena, but here is what is going to happen. American workers will learn, innovate and compete like no other. We will shake hands with the big boys, like China, and we will do what we do best. We will create, invent, market and sell better than them or anyone else. We will fight. Cause that's what we do. We are young and insolent, brash and bold, irreverent and yes - irresponsible. We Fail. We Get knocked down. But when we hit the canvas we get up again. We don't believe in whining, blaming or staying down and Americans certainly don't believe in losing.
America makes movies and she is about to write a blockbuster.
The hero got whupped and people wrote him off - but guess who is just starting to get up again? Guess who is going to signal in a new generation of prosperity and growth. America and American workers that's who. What are we going to do? Well try looking at Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Ford or any number of others to get an idea. We are going to do what they do. We are going to learn, adjust, reinvent, change, recharge ourselves and WIN. We are going to get up again and build things that others haven't thought of yet. We are going to innovate, create, market and sell the living, you know what, out of new ideas, insights, solutions,services and stuff. ~ Why?
. "Conscience is a man's compass." ~ Vincent Van Gogh.
Like many young boys I worked during my high school vacations to earn a little extra money. Sometimes it was washing dishes at a local cafe or pub, sometimes it was cleaning out cow stalls at the village dairy, and sometimes it was at the church clearing weeds from the graves and a bit of painting, sweeping, and odd jobs here and there.
It was at the church that I learned a lifelong lesson from the old caretaker. Bob was eighty, if he was a day, and he talked and moved real slow. He didn't say much but what he did say you could take to the bank. It was priceless stuff. One day Bob was varnishing the church pews and I noticed it was taking him a heck of a long time.
Day one turned into day two, three, and four and he was still applying coats of varnish. From what I could tell the pews looked the same on day four as they did on day one. So the impudent child in me asked him - "Bob - How many coats of varnish are you putting on those pews?" "Six" he said. "The pews need six coats of varnish".
"But Bob - They look the same after the second coat. Who would know if you just put on two coats and you could be done much quicker?" "I Would Know" he said. ~ I'd know that I only put on two coats when they needed six. I never knew Bobs last name but to a young boy...
. "Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected." ~ Steve Jobs.
My daughter, Brina, recently graduated from the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business and has accepted a position to work for Apple Computer at their headquarters in Cupertino. It got me to thinking... She is going to work for a man I admire a great deal, Steve Jobs. A man who is the same age as I am and has accomplished so much that I am truly humbled to think we have been on this earth the same number of years.
Apple Computer is really a remarkable company. It's an exceptional brand and an American success story for the ages. You've got to hand it to the guy - whew - What a Vision! What Drive. What a Standard of Excellence and what...
But let's take a look at something the man has done that doesn't get mentioned as much. He has surrounded himself with vibrant, creative and driven individuals. He has articulated his vision and consistently won the hearts and minds of both internal and external stakeholders. He has won those hearts and minds with a brand that is seen as cool, innovative and a must have. Along the way he has successfully commoditized cool while keeping his profit margins out of the commodity realm. Now that takes something special. That takes a discipline and a desire to make something, to produce something, that truly makes a difference - In his own words that takes "Wanting to make a ding in the universe". More importantly it takes getting a whole lot of other people to want to make a ding in the universe too.
It takes winning hearts and minds.
You've got a pretty good business model there sir - "Win Hearts & Minds with Excellence." Well Mr. Steve Jobs You've got my daughter. I do believe she couldn't be in better hands.
. "People's minds are changed through observation and not through argument." ~ Will Rogers
The new year is a time when we all talk about what we are going to do. How we are going to improve and what changes we are going to make. How about we look at it a little different this year and make a pact with ourselves and promise ~ Here's 5 Things We Won't Do This Year.
We Won't Blame.
We will make resolutions, promises and efforts to do better this year - But we won't blame when we fall short, fail or don't meet expectations. Because we are better than that. - We Won't Blame.
We Won't Make Excuses.
We will endeavor to improve, make more and be more this year - But we won't make excuses when we run into resistance, challenge and difficulties. If it is going to be it is up to me and I will be fully accountable to results not reasons. - We Won't Make Excuses.
We Won't Ridicule.
We will encounter people that take pleasure in ridiculing others in order to make themselves appear (well whatever)...But we won't ridicule others for it only serves to ridicule us. - We Won't Ridicule.
We Won't Rationalize.
We can all come up with good reasons for sometimes falling short and not getting the results we envisioned. We can all find intelligent and reasonable explanations for getting, being and doing less at times. But we will not accept those reasons. We have a duty, an obligation, to be the change we want to see in this world. - We Won't Rationalize.
We Won't Be Ungrateful.
We may, at times, feel we are giving more than is being noticed and getting less than we deserve this year. We may sometimes feel entitled to just a little more attention and appreciation. But we will overcome this feeling and recognize that we are all about as happy as we make up our minds to be. - We Won't Be Ungrateful.