2010 Vector Correctors

Vector Corrector 2010-1

A servant leader is that person who is interested in being a blessing to someone else. Leadership is ALL about people and Delta Airlines seems to have learned the lesson. USA Today, June 25, carried an article “Delta Brings Back Red Coats”. The touch of the past, the personal service that Red Coats provided is returning to serve the airline customers. Lovin’ on people and making them feel special is a great way to serve others. Who are you serving today?

Vector Corrector 2010-2

Connecting/Communication is one of the most significant characteristics of leadership. The same could be said of marriage, music, business, sports, schooling and the list goes on. One fact to remember, God gave us two ears and one mouth. MESSAGE: Listen twice as much as you talk. Retired Air Force General Perry Smith says, “Squint with your ears.” Get the message?

Vector Corrector 2010-3

Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Don’t know who said that, but it reminds me to be a person of conviction — to do the right thing, the right way for the right reason. You and I have a choice: are we leaders of CONVICTION or are we CHAMELEONS? What’s your choice?

Vector Corrector 2010-4

Why is it that compassion seems to only come to the forefront in crisis or tragedy? Great leaders I’ve known have had a spirit of compassion for their people all the time. Are you the leader who is tender and sensitive to the people around you, including your family?

Vector Corrector 2010-5

The metronome is used to mark an exact beat. It brings order and rhythm to music. The same is true of leadership. Consistency is a key to effective leadership. The rhythm of who, what, where and why of the leader is the metronome of consistent inspired influence.

Vector Corrector 2010-6

Leadership is a character quality not a position description. LEADERS know what they believe and ‘live’ what they believe.” ~ Pat Williams, Orlando Magic, Senior Vice President

Vector Corrector 2010-7

Thomas Jefferson said, “I have never been able to conceive how any rational being could propose happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others.” Question — Are you leading or prodding your people?

Vector Corrector 2010-8

Ever go to a zoo? If you have, did you take time to visit the monkey cage? Many of us have and enjoyed making faces or doing other antics so the monkeys would mimic us. EXAMPLE is one great characteristic of a leader. Are we being good, positive examples to those we influence? If not let’s change our vector to be on the right course.

Vector Corrector 2010-9

Lean on Me is the title of a song written by Bill Withers. It reminds me of the characteristic – DEPENDABILITY. Today more employees, particularly younger folks, want someone to lean on. Are we the reliable person who can fill that need or are we just interested in our own world? Coach Bill McCartney, former football coach at the University of Colorado said to the team “I believe in you.” Do our people know we believe in and trust them?

Vector Corrector 2010-10

Discipline often seems to be for others, when it should mean our own SELF DISCIPLINE. Consistent self discipline will build our defense against the forces of evil. Coach John Wooden, former basketball coach at UCLA, said it well, “We discipline ourselves so someone else does not have to.” Is there application of this in our lives?

Vector Corrector 2010-11

Understanding we cannot do everything, is why we have people around us to multiply and help us in our endeavors. The buzz word today is to EMPOWER people to fulfill the assigned tasks. Perry Smith, an Air Force friend and successful leader put this characteristic in the right context: “The best leaders understand that leadership is a liberation of talent; they gain power, not only by consistently giving it away, but also by not grabbing it back.

Vector Corrector 2010-12

George Bernard Shaw wrote, “Some men see things as they are and say, ‘Why?’ I dream of things that never were and say, ‘Why not?’Helen Keller, when asked what would be worse than being blind said, “To have sight without vision.” If we are visionaries we need to anticipate what might come and engage in PLANNING and GOAL SETTING and then take the appropriate ACTION.

Vector Corrector 2010-13

A question we should all ask ourselves: “Do we treat all people with respect for their basic human rights and do we fulfill our responsibilities evenhandedly, without favoritism or partiality?” If we do so, we act with JUSTICE, one major hallmark of a successful leader.

Vector Corrector 2010-14

There is an old saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.” For the leader or a mentor the saying falls far short. Leaders should be setting a positive example in many areas including attitude, endurance and enthusiasm. Walter D. Wintle wrote, “IT’S ALL IN A STATE OF MIND” which can be seen on my web site. What is our state of mind?

Vector Corrector 2010-15

Michael Nichols wrote,”The feeling of not being understood is one of the most painful human experiences.” Good leaders should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. Our problem is we answer before we listen which can be both rude and some would say, stupid. Dallas Demmitt, a communication coach, said, “None of you [us] should think only of his own affairs, but each should learn to see things from other people’s point of view.

Vector Corrector 2010-16

Great leaders delegate because they surround themselves with good people who help the leader maximize his influence. Timothy Ferriss said in “The 4-Hour Workweek,”Empowerment failure refers to being unable to accomplish a task without first obtaining permission or information. It is often a case of being micromanaged or micromanaging someone else, both of which consume your [our] time.

Vector Corrector 2010-17

The most successful leaders I’ve met have possessed the characteristic of SENSITIVITY. What does this mean and how should a leader apply it to his or her leading style? By being responsive to the feelings of others, by being humble, gentle and patient, always listening and being authentic and available. A sensitive spirit always loves and cares.

Vector Corrector 2010-18

Human nature prompts most people to want to be SUCCESSFUL. A select few have the vision of living a life of SIGNIFICANCE. What is the difference?  SUCCESS is personal while SIGNIFICANCE is ensuring the success of those you lead — helping them to be All-Stars. Wouldn’t it be rewarding to be the coach of an All-Star team?

Vector Corrector 2010-19

One never knows what will be in a Fortune Cookie. This was in a recent one I received in a Chinese restaurant: “A leader is a person you will follow to a place you wouldn’t go by yourself.” I thought of Chuck Swindoll’s definition of leadership, “INSPIRED INFLUENCE”. Are we an inspiring influence in anyone’s life today?

Vector Corrector 2010-20

Human Rights too often connotes a Handout. From a leadership point of view, I believe Human Responsibility is what leaders should have as a significant characteristic. Leadership that ensures the needs of their people are being met will have an impact more than any hand outs. Caring for the needs of the team is an essential ingredient for success. Do we really CARE about the people we lead?

Vector Corrector 2010-21

Leadership is not about the leader but about those he/she leads. A good example of that kind of leadership was Louis Neumiller who served as President of Caterpillar Tractor Company from 1941 to 1954. He was known for his humility, integrity and commitment to quality. In the book “In Their Time: The Greatest Business Leaders of the Twentieth Century”, the authors describe Neumiller’s leadership as “…success without fanfare” He took his identity out of the business and “…let his company become a hero instead of himself.” Are we willing to do the same?

Vector Corrector 2010-22

CONFIDENCE not cockiness is one of the strong traits of a leader. Knowing and liking who we are and doing the right thing the right way, for the right reason will draw the team together. We must believe in ourselves in order for others to believe in and follow us. Remember, pride comes before a fall. A good thought is, “It is okay to read your own clippings, just don’t believe them.” A humble servant leader will draw others to themselves.

Vector Corrector 2010-23

A Merrill Lynch executive said, “It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t seek all the credit.” Teamwork is a hallmark of great leaders. They surround themselves with great people and then use all the gifts and talents the group brings to the table. One experienced leader said, “Have the right people on the bus and be sure they are in the right seat.” Team features include:

  • Communications
  • A high level of trust
  • Vision alignment
  • Empowerment

Vector Corrector 2010-24

When I served on the staff of the US Olympic Committee I learned what real training included: the 4:00 a.m. skating practices; the bikers departing very early for their daily ride — half down hill, returning going up hill. There are so many examples of folks in all walks of life who have complete commitment to training and excellence. As leaders we need to ensure and encourage training at all levels for the good of the team as well as the individual. Have the mindset of helping everyone on the team to become “All-Stars”.

Vector Corrector 2010-25

Leaders lead best when they are relaxed and not distracted. Tough in these days of cell phones, laptops, iPods, Blackberries (and maybe even blueberries or strawberries)! How to relax is a real question. Delegating and using our teams is one essential. Another is to rest and get some recreation even if it is only a good workout. I have found I’m much more effective when I get a workout or “CHILL as the young folks say today.

Vector Corrector 2010-26

Surprising to some would be the leadership characteristic called LOVE. Herb Kelleher, former CEO of Southwest Airlines is perhaps the most outspoken in the cause of love. He states bluntly, “We’d rather have a company run by love, not fear,” paraphrasing, either consciously or subconsciously, “Perfect love drives out fear.” Loving our people, and letting them know we love them, is a major aspect for the success of any leader.

Vector Corrector 2010-27

Colonel Joshua Chamberlain was a hero for the Union forces in the Battle of Gettysburg. When the war ended and General Ulysses S. Grant designated him to receive the first flag of surrender, the defeated troops of the South expected to be ridiculed and humiliated. Instead Chamberlain showed kindness and respect. Today, the same is true. Show all people kindness and respect and you will reap the benefits of your actions.

Vector Corrector 2010-28

As the war in Bosnia was starting, I was invited to push away from the dock aboard the Teddy Roosevelt and watch the Air Wing come aboard before the ship headed to the Med. Visiting the ship’s crew I was told that young sailors wanted leaders who where AUTHENTIC in their leadership lifestyle. The same is true of all the people I’ve worked with or for. Be authentic. Be real. That is what people desire in their leaders.

Vector Corrector 2010-29

One of President Lincoln’s principles was, “Remember, everyone likes a compliment.” If that is true, and I believe it is, then why are we so hesitant to give them? We like to be acknowledged, too. So let’s set the example and give compliments when deserved. We may be surprised at the positive impact we can have.

Vector Corrector 2010-30

Are we listening? Friends often speak with wisdom that can help us in our journey of life. One such friend shared this with me.


  • Politics without principles
  • Pleasure without consequences
  • Wealth without work
  • Knowledge without character
  • Science without humanity

Are we listening?

Vector Corrector 2010-31

Dale Carnegie was popular several decades ago with his book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People. He said, “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain, and most fools do. But it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving.” The question is: Are we leaders of character and self control or fools?

Vector Corrector 2010-32

In the book, “George Washington: Lessons In Leadership by James Rees is a very significant statement referring to the first president’s decision making approach. Rees states that Washington did not take opinion polls and make decisions based on what would be the most popular course of action — which, as we know, is an all too common political practice today. I’m challenged to do the right thing, the right way, for the right reason even if it goes against the grain of some. What is your approach to decision making?

Vector Corrector 2010-33

Andre Malraux, a French author wrote, “The first duty of a leader is to make himself be loved without courting love. To be loved without ‘playing up’ to anyone — even himself.” Yes, LOVE is a significant characteristic of any leader. When your people know you love them, they will go the extra mile to do their very best.

Vector Corrector 2010-34

A good leader is a positive enabler when we efficiently equip, energize and encourage our team members to become a strong link in the chain of accomplishing the mission. Focusing on the mission is essential if we are going to have our team pulling in the same direction.

Vector Corrector 2010-35

In the military, if course direction for bombs, rockets, bullets or smart weapons is slightly off course, innocent people can be killed. The same applies to the leader regarding decisions, policies, etc. That is why Vector Corrector is important. VC is designed to keep us on track in our leading of people. Failing to stay on course may not inflict physical injuries, but the breaking of spirits and not accomplishing our mission can be discouraging and counterproductive.

Vector Corrector 2010-36

Former President John F. Kennedy said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” Putting it another way, knowledge is essential for every leader. The How to’s can be: reading applicable books and journals, attending professional conferences, hanging out with successful leaders, listening to wisdom from learned  people in one’s profession and seeking to be the best in your business. You can do it!

Vector Corrector 2010-37

As the daily headlines become more frightening we need to check our attitudes to be sure we’re on course. Our attitudes are observed by many people. We may influence them negatively which could have an unwanted impact on them, the team, their  families and us. Let’s discipline ourselves to be THANKFUL in all things. Let’s be thankful for the team and even crisis situations that come in the course of life. Remember we are molded and refined in times of crisis.

Vector Corrector 2010-38

A day does not go by that I don’t observe weakness in communication. In the marketplace, schools, businesses, homes or marriages there is a consistent challenge to communicate more effectively. President “Abe” Lincoln knew what he was saying when he expressed this on communication: “I determine to be so clear that no honest man could misunderstand me and no dishonest one could successfully misrepresent me.” Remember communication is only complete when the sender and receiver are on the same page.

Vector Corrector 2010-39

In the book, “It Was Never About the Ketchup H.J. Heinz is portrayed as a man who believed we need a mind of absolute integrity. To recognize truths, a man must love truth. It is the person who seeks truth, and knowledge, who leads with integrity, gaining the trust and confidence of the people [team], who has the greatest potential for success. Are you that person?

Vector Corrector 2010-40

Appreciation! One may never know if we are talking to heroes or angels. That became evident when, in the 70s at the Air Force Academy, Bill Crawford, a janitor for a cadet Squadron, was discovered to be a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. He was a quiet, unassuming man, who did his chores extremely well but never talked about his past until a cadet read WWII history and learned Bill Crawford earned the MOH for action in Italy. From that day forward the cadet’s appreciation for their “janitor” escalated as they honored an American hero who was their janitor. The lesson here is to appreciate everyone from the lowest to the highest. Every one should be equal in our sight.

Vector Corrector 2010-41

Our nation’s first President, George Washington, is a real study in leadership. His wisdom, vision, integrity, courage and sense of responsibility for his actions speaks volumes to anyone who is in a position of leadership. His life can be used as an example of strong and ethical influence in virtually any walk of life. James Rees who is the Executive Director of Mount Vernon wrote, “He [Washington] always led with a greater good in mind.” I agree and then ask, “Why don’t I lead like Washington — with the greater good as my goal?” How would you answer that question?

Vector Corrector 2010-42

Sensitivity to your team is essential for every leader. It is important to have the “…right people on the bus but first they must be in the right seat.” You can substitute team for “bus”. With everyone in the right place we still need to be sensitive to the spirit and needs of our people. Remember, leadership is ALL about people and our job is to draw the best and brightest effort from each person. A metaphor for this is to help everyone be an All-Star. In your self evaluation, could you say you are coaching an All-Star team.

Vector Corrector 2010-43

Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric said, “Change doesn’t come from a slogan or a speech. It happens because you put the right people in place to make it happen. People first. Strategy and everything else second.” Servant leaders know this and quickly realize the unending value of their people. Leaders provide the inspired influence to bring success to the organization. How are you doing?

Vector Corrector 2010-44

Ben Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” President George Washington was known to be in constant search of knowledge as he formed this new republic and while finding ways to defeat the British. It is said that wise men store up knowledge because it is more valuable than gold. Where should knowledge come from? Reading, understanding gained from your own experience, hanging out with people who have experience and accumulated knowledge. Be a seeker of knowledge in areas where you have the greatest gifts and interests. I know what I know, but I don’t know what I don’t know and so I seek to fill the void. It is an ongoing challenge for all of us.

Vector Corrector 2010-45

Compassion and courage sometimes go hand in hand. This became obvious to me at my high school reunion when I visited with a classmate who had lost most of his lower jaw to cancer. He had the courage to attend the gathering, to use a feeding tube to consume liquid refreshments, and to stay and visit with longtime friends. His classmates marveled at his courage and we all showed loving compassion to both our classmate and his wife. Love in action through compassion and encouragement — not easy, but so rewarding. How about you? Can you actively show compassion to those in greatest need?

Vector Corrector 2010-46

A humble servant is hard to find. Serving something greater than self is a wonderful and needed characteristic. To serve with a humble spirit, not caring who gets the credit, brings a whole added dimension to one’s leadership style. The impact can be one of the most rewarding aspects of a leader’s life. Can each of us apply humble servanthood to our lives? If not, why not?

Vector Corrector 2010-47

HUMAN RESPONSIBILITY — what does that mean to you and me as leaders? The most successful leaders I have observed have been very sensitive to the needs of their people. It has to do with pay, perks, and personal issues, such as kids, mates, living conditions, health issues, parents, grandparents. Yes, one can say, everyday happenings can distract from the complete focus of the job. It is difficult to list all areas a leader can and should be aware of, but if you and I have our antennas up, we’ll be surprised by how many things we can do to help the team. In the end, we’ll be the one who will benefit.

Vector Corrector 2010-48

A legacy of a life well lived — that certainly fits Coach John Wooden. The extensive reports of his death reflected his success as the greatest college basketball coach in NCAA history. That was his job. But more important was John Wooden’s character…. who he REALLY was. Words like “…a man of integrity, a humble leader and coach, a moral man, a person of the highest character and a loving servant” could be seen in most newspaper reports. Oh, that each of us could leave a similar legacy.

Vector Corrector 2010-49

President John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” Provocative words that should motivate us to live our lives so we can influence people in a positive way. Are we?

Vector Corrector 2010-50

The late senator Robert Byrd when asked, “How many Presidents have you served under?” would reply, “None. I have served with Presidents, not under them.” Isn’t this a wonderful example of teamwork? Teams, whether in business or athletics or any other venue, are most effective when they all work together — pulling in the same direction. The leader and followers working WITH each other is where strength emanates. Two strands of cord are stronger than one.

Vector Corrector 2010-51

It’s not about you but the people who work with you. Leadership is ALL about people. Southwest Airlines’ Spirit Magazine recently included this quote: “Systematically remind employees of how their contribution affects the company’s goals. Send a notice when a project is finished and in this way help the employees invest more of their egos in the final product.” This is an effective way to help maximize the work effort of your team.

Vector Corrector 2010-52

In the book, “George Washington: Lessons in Leadership by James Rees is a very significant statement referring to the first president’s “decision making approach”. Rees states that Washington did not take opinion polls and make decisions based on what would be the most popular course of action which, as we know, is an all too common political practice today. I’m challenged to do the right thing, the right way, for the right reason even if it goes against the grain of some. What is your approach to decision making?