A friend, associate and advisor once told me, “Jim, when I appear in front of Federal judges, there is an expectation that I must represent a higher standard than my corporate or private industry peers. That is the expectation of the judge, and I know I must provide it.” That attitude made a difference with me way back then, and it still does today. This approach also totally rules out the Woody Allen perspective: “80 percent of success is just showing up.” As subject matter experts, bosses, managers, executives…we have achieved success via our own path, we found some methods to stretch, grow, and extend; we have found ways to succeed, and we have likely all sought and received some help along the way. However, while we all learn new skills and gain experiences, from being flexible to knowing when to take a stand—some key lessons always stand out. Something that I have done periodically is to circle-back with those knowing people who have offered me support, reached out when I was struggling, shared valuable lessons that “made a difference.” Maybe that person was a former professor, boss, associate, client, advisor, or even a good friend or family member. So give that some thought as we near the end of the first quarter of 2012. But let’s get back to that higher standard. We have all seen people in action like that attorney I spoke of, whether they took the “high-road”, treaded along the “road less traveled”, or just drove things along “the right path.” Because of their own expectations, it seems they just always found the energy, smarts, and resolve to operate at the top of their game, so to speak. Right now, we need those kinds of people: in our companies, our organizations, in our government…they make a difference because they still act according to that…“higher standard.” And you know what, when you look for stories to tell, experiences to share…you always remember them. So…who remembers you…and why?
- The West Point Code – “A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do.”
- A leader does not deserve the name unless he is willing occasionally to stand alone. (Henry Kissinger)