Sunday, December 08, 2013

Random Thoughts on Legacy, Mandela, and Daystar Christian Center

I tweaked the caption on this original photo to read "1918 - Infinity"... Mandela lives!

It’s a pretty long week staring me in the face, and there’s lots of stuff running through my mind, so I might as well do this post now. I’ll lead in with a brief thought on legacy, inspired by a chance encounter with Olav Silden (GM of Duracell, P&G) and the passing of Mandela. At the end, I’ll share a fleeting moment I held briefly during the Carol Service at Daystar Christian Center today.


On Thursday, Olav Silden, a great manager with 20+ years of experience managing various P&G brands and present GM of Duracell, shared with us various thoughts on leadership. Interestingly, he had a lot to say about legacy.

Last year, I had a fantastic manager – Carole Frachon – who said to me “You’ve gotta find a project where you can deliver immense value to the organization, and you’ve gotta deliver on it. That is going to be your legacy. When you leave for your one year of paramilitary service, people are going to remember you for it – and they’re going to miss you”. I found such a project, worked my ass off to deliver on it, and the feedback was amazing.

In retrospect, and with the benefit of hindsight made clearer by Olav’s talk on Thursday, Carole was more than right. Beginning with the end in mind, and a legacy in sight, is a powerful tool that can only deliver astonishing results.

Basically, Olav was saying to us: “Whatever it is you do today, find one or two areas where you can deliver lasting impact. Make sure those areas are aligned with the priorities of your organization. Work your ass off to deliver on those areas. Sit back and enjoy the immense satisfaction that comes with knowing you have done fantastic work.”

And, may I add that fantastic execution most often leads to recognition, and bigger opportunities?

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Random Thoughts about Mothers

"It was some night. I wish my mother could have been there".

People who read my blog often or follow my updates on Facebook know I am sold on Jack Welch and AG Lafley. They are in my estimation, two of the finest CEOs that have walked the surface of this earth.

I have recently completed my fourth reading of "Jack: Straight From The Gut", and this time – I have been struck by how much of an influence his mother was on his life. For the most part of the introduction, you are treated to stories of Grace Welch, her favorite sayings, and sadly – her battle with heart disease. In fact, Jack opens the book by describing her response to an act of frustration he committed in high school – and how in that instant she taught him the delicate balance between losing and winning.

He closes the book with the paragraph I opened this post with. "It was some night. I wish my mother could have been there". A book about how he became arguably the greatest CEO ever, and he opens – and closes – it by talking about his mother.

I got to thinking about the place of a mother in a man's life. And by extension, the place of his wife and daughter(s) too. I'm writing this one for mothers though; apologies – wives and daughters.

Mothers do such a fantastic job! They believe in their kids when all they have got is promise; when there's nothing to them other than dreams and aspirations. They sacrifice a lot (more than most fathers I have met) to make sure their kids have their most basic needs (and sometimes wants) met. Mine was forced to read my earliest (and most meaningless) stories, read Shakespeare with me every afternoon for nearly two years, and listen with feigned attention while I regaled her with tales of my exploits in school – most of them imagined. 

Mothers are an awesome bunch!

If your mother is alive, drop her an SMS and tell her how much you love her. It's probably the least she deserves.