2011 Vector Correctors

Vector Corrector 2011-1

The New Year is upon us and now is the time to focus on our priorities.  I believe it is best to address who we really want to be in our 2011 life’s journey. The foundation should be the same as last year: serving others before self in the home and in the marketplace; being compassionate in dealing with others; knowing who we are; living a life of conviction so everyone knows what we stand for; and finally, living a consistent lifestyle that draws others to the high standards we espouse.

Vector Corrector 2011-2

As the year proceeds, it is useful to knock the rust off of our personal vision and adjust it as circumstances are ever-evolving. As our vision develops, there follows the need for planning. An article in USA Today stated these 5Ps for Planning because “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.” So true, whether in the home, marketplace, school, club, church or other venues. Establish periodic times to review plans to ensure we’re on course.

Vector Corrector 2011-3

If we truly desire to stay on course, we need to remind ourselves (and those around us) of the absolute need for integrity in ALL we do. Integrity is the key to trust, confidence, credibility, support, teamwork and a host of other positive effects. Questioning our personal integrity on a daily basis is a good means of staying focused in our daily walk. Oh, if integrity could run through the veins of all leaders in our great nation, the results would be astonishing. I’ll check mine, how about you?

Vector Corrector 2011-4

Can you imagine what would happen if we would all admit we have failures in our lives? Such an admission would have an interesting effect and those around us would realize we are also human. I have personally experienced a person admitting their shortcomings and then witnessed the positive response from those who were affected. A humble spirit will not come up lacking but will be a breath of fresh air. Why? Because humility is so lacking in many leaders today.

Vector Corrector 2011-5

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.” If love is a characteristic of a leader both at home and in the marketplace (and I believe it is) then we have a requirement to love those we are in contact with every day. People need to know we love them, care about them and are sensitive to their needs. How about you and me? Is that what people see in us?

Vector Corrector 2011-6

Successful leaders are seen as good role models (examples) and active delegators. Positive leaders provide the 4 “E’s”: enable, equip, energize and encourage all team members to become strong links in the chain to accomplish the mission. How would you and I measure up if we polled our team?

Vector Corrector 2011-7

Are Vector Correctors part of your arsenal as a leader? We can lose our way in our journey of life and leading. Ronald Reagan’s time as President is called by some “The Reagan Revolution”. The former President acknowledged the term but in his words said, “…it always seemed more like the great rediscovery — a rediscovery of our values and our common sense.” If course direction for missiles, bombs and airplanes are important, could it be that we need to review our own direction periodically to be sure we are on course being the leaders God would want us to be?

Vector Corrector 2011-8

Recovering from the Christmas Holidays? Many of us are trying to get caught up on sleep and renew our energy level as we begin 2011. If you and/or your team are in that mode you may find a statement from a PGA pro of some interest. In Golf Magazine, Gary Player said, “Rest or Rust.” I believe his message addresses the need for rest. Docs tell us this is essential if we are to function at peak levels. A characteristic of leadership is rest. Yes, rest, which is so often avoided even though medical research supports this position. Successful leaders discipline themselves to rest as part of juggling their lives. How about you? And your team?

Vector Corrector 2011-9

Keeping our lives in the proper focus is a continuing challenge. It almost appears that there are more distractions coming from work, children, mates, church and social demands, etc., than we can handle. A recent quote in USA Today from Hall of Fame golfer Ben Hogan relates golf to our predicament, “…the demanding mental aspect of golf…is the narrowest fairway between the ears.” Maybe that is why I have so much trouble playing the game and with life’s journey.

Vector Corrector 2011-10

Former US President Harry S. Truman wrote, “In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves. Self discipline, with all of them, came first.” Self discipline should be the hallmark for all of us. Can you think of two recent opportunities where you manifested discipline in your own life?

Vector Corrector 2011-11

Leading includes serving others. In the words of Chuck Swindoll, “Leadership is inspired influence.” As a native Ohioan I remember words from the successful tire maker, Harry Firestone, “It’s only when we develop others that we permanently succeed.” SERVING, INSPIRING and DEVELOPING are all words that should translate into action when we are with people, whether in the home or marketplace.

Vector Corrector 2011-12

Ronald Reagan’s name is mentioned often in political circles, business, foreign relations, elections, Hollywood, broadcasting and many other arenas of life. George Bush, who followed him as President said his presidency was influenced by Reagan’s innate decency and his kindness to people. I don’t know about you, but I yearn to have a humble, kind, sensitive spirit, and to treat everyone with decency.

Vector Corrector 2011-13

Wisdom from Career Transition Corp:

  • You don’t fire people electronically.
  • You don’t end relationships by text.

Real leaders are sensitive and compassionate to people in both hiring and firing as well as daily activities.

Vector Corrector 2011-14

John Foster Dulles was quoted in UPI, “A man’s accomplishments in life are the cumulative effect of his attention to detail.” I can’t agree more but I would add that the “details” include your family and your people.

Vector Corrector 2011-15

Who are you, REALLY? A servant leader, an example, a decision maker, a communicator, one who is full of compassion or one who is an example or a leader of strong CONVICTION. Remember, we are a window to the world as they see who we REALLY are by the way we live our lives all the time.

Vector Corrector 2011-16

My daily reading included this quote, “Listening may be the most loving thing you [and I] do today”. This quote reminded me of two characteristics of a leader: one is communication and the other is love. Both characteristics stand on their own but should be intertwined together.

Vector Corrector 2011-17

This is a thought-provoking exam we all need to take on a regular basis:

Kipling wrote in “The Serving Men”:

I keep six honest serving men
[They taught me all I know]:
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

Vector Corrector 2011-18

What you believe is right.” “It is only a lie if you get caught.” “Morality is a matter of choice.” “No rules are valid.” “Style is more important than substance.” “Words no longer have meaning.” I’ve heard these phrases lately and they sent chills up my spine. They seem to reflect a spirit of entitlement and destroy all moral criteria. What I believe is happening is both insidious and a move to bring about accommodation which could destroy families, companies, schools and our entire society. I share these thoughts because leaders need to be aware of trends today.

Vector Corrector 2011-19

Courage is not having the strength to go on, but it is going on when you don’t have the strength. Just ask those who have been on the ground in the Middle East. The same applies wherever we are. Courage can be contagious when leaders are in the forefront and through their example, others display courage, too.

Vector Corrector 2011-20

Justice is one characteristic that sometimes is evasive. Ross Perot said, “Justice delayed is justice denied.” Oswald Chambers wrote, “Never look for justice, but never cease to give it.” A keyword that has helped me is favorites. Everyone is equal in God’s eyes. If that be true, should we show favoritism?

Vector Corrector 2011-21

According to Ben Franklin, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best return.” How true! Knowledge can be accomplished in many ways other than the schoolhouse. Try experience. Try learning on the job. Try going beyond your job description. Seek your own higher level of involvement in or on your team.

Vector Corrector 2011-22

Communication is one of the most challenging attributes of any leader at any level. One of the major aspects of communication is being a good listener. Following are some keys I’ve discovered about listening:

  1. Limit your own talking.
  2. Don’t interrupt.
  3. Ask questions.
  4. Listen for ideas.
  5. Concentrate — try to focus your mind on what the person is saying.
  6. Try to think like the person you are talking to.
  7. Don’t jump to conclusions.

Vector Corrector 2011-23

One of the keys for hiring is ensuring the right people are offered the opportunity to be part of your team. As a leader, I believe the most important qualification is character. Bo Schembechler, former University of Michigan football coach said, “When you recruit for character, you sleep a lot better.” How are you sleeping these days? Get the right people on the team and have them play in the right position.

Vector Corrector 2011-24

What makes you great is starting something that lives after you.” I read that years ago and cannot recall who made the statement. It is true because our legacy or our heritage is what will last long after we are gone. Our example and the positive influence, the standards, love and a servant’s spirit all can influence those whose lives we have touched. Challenge: touch a life today.

Vector Corrector 2011-25

Have you ever considered the fact that you do not have all the gifts or talents needed to fulfill all the tasks you face as a CEO, Coach, Manager, Mom, Dad or whatever position or venue you hold. That is why it is so important to look beyond self and find and use other people to expand your usefulness. Many will call this the team approach. Regardless, we all need others to maximize the unique gifts and talents we possess.

Vector Corrector 2011-26

In good times and bad, are we people of conviction? Do your family, your colleagues, your coworkers and your supervisors know who you are and what you stand for or are we known as chameleons? A person of conviction normally is a person of courage who is credible, just, dependable, sensitive and respected. They have intense integrity and reflect the greatest characteristics we all seek in leadership. Since I’m still in the molding process, I need to do a personal check on my progress in all these areas of my life.

Vector Corrector 2011-27

Human nature gives each of us a passion for different things. Sometimes it is family, work or sports. It may be music, art, education or exercise. Whatever our passion, I strongly believe one passion should be people. As examples and influencers, regardless of the venue, we should desire to serve people. By serving others, we might find this the most rewarding involvement of life’s journey.

Vector Corrector 2011-28

Henry David Thoreau said, “You cannot dream yourself into character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.” Thanks to John Grant for sharing the quote since it hits the nail on the head. We all need to work hard and be ever so careful in developing our heart and spirits so we reflect the values, integrity and convictions that tell everyone who we REALLY ARE.

Vector Corrector 2011-29

Experience gives us an understanding that great leaders surround themselves with staff who are experienced, wise, talented, courageous, humble and in many cases, more gifted than their boss. I’m reminded it is never about the leader, but about those they serve. This happens when the staff team and the leader are all in sync.

Vector Corrector 2011-30

Daniel Webster speaking at Bunker Hill in 1825 said, “Let our object be our country, our whole country and nothing but our country.” This statement reminded me that our country is an assembly of people, each one unique yet part of this great nation. Can we, as leaders, help as many as possible be citizens of character?

Vector Corrector 2011-31

Communication continues to be challenging for most of us. Listening is a major, if not the most important, aspect of communication. Also ranking high on the list would be appropriate feedback, which can have positive effects. An increase in performance and production are two positive impacts of feedback. It can also lead to greater accountability. Feedback can be an encouraging technique of communication.

Vector Corrector 2011-32

Effective leaders create work environments that are pleasant, comfortable, productive and peaceful. The workplace should be where employees look forward to participating and not the opposite. Whatever the type of marketplace, leaders should be sensitive to their team and know what attitudes prevail where they work. A good work environment, good people, good challenges, good attitudes and good leadership all go hand in hand.

Vector Corrector 2011-33

Tom Skinner former Chaplain of the Washington Redskins said, “I spent a long time trying to come to grips with my doubts and suddenly realized that I had better come to grips with what I believe. I have since moved from the agony of questions that I cannot answer, to the reality of answers that I cannot escape… it’s a great relief.” It is a statement on how important our beliefs are in relationship to our character and influence on others. The question is, who are we — REALLY?

Vector Corrector 2011-34

Leadership in the midst of our current culture is more demanding and challenging than ever. This electronic age and instant communication has led to a world that is about the size of a ping pong ball. Skype, video conferencing, iPhones, cellphones, the Internet and social networking is now the norm. It is hard to assess the impact, but someday we’ll realize the human dimension has slipped through our hands and it may be impossible to recover. What’s our challenge as leaders? To proactively ensure the PEOPLE DIMENSION is part of daily life for your team and for you.

Vector Corrector 2011-35

Your character does not operate on AUTOPILOT. Someone shared that statement with me regarding her life. The same could be said of everyone since we should proactively work on being a person of character, integrity, conviction, humility and discipline. We need to smooth out those rough spots in our lives where we fail the test of being a trusted friend, employee, parent, boss, spouse, teacher or leader. Never give up on being special.

Vector Corrector 2011-36

Live above board, not below deck. That sounds like Navy talk from a former Air Force officer, but I think you get the point. Too often we have a tendency to try to get away with something illegal, immoral or just plain unacceptable. Some even think they are immune to laws and acceptable societal standards. The challenge is to live an authentic life that people can and will respect.

Vector Corrector 2011-37

What do people expect from you? Is it just the fulfilling of your job description, or perhaps the instructions of a parent, spouse, boss, teacher, coach or other “person in charge”? As leaders or followers it is best to create conditions where those around you feel secure, have fun and desire to share their experience with others. The most successful people are great recruiters who bring folks into their cocoon.

Vector Corrector 2011-38

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said:

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sand of time.

What is our legacy going to be?

Vector Corrector 2011-39

A successful high school coach started the season with this theme, “GOOD LEADERS STAY IN FRONT OF THEIR FOLLOWERS.” The same can be said of all leaders regardless of venue. Leaders lead by serving with integrity, conviction, consistency and a positive example. How do you and I measure up in the world of distractions where we live? Only we as individuals can answer this question.

Vector Corrector 2011-40

These are very challenging days for many, if not most, Americans. The financial world around us can cause stress. Former President Ronald Reagan said it well, “The future doesn’t belong to the faint hearted; it belongs to the brave.” From my heart, I believe we need strong, dedicated, positive leaders guiding our “ship of State” — men and women who have the courage to make right decisions even when the public tide is against them.

Vector Corrector 2011-41

Years ago, when I was an aide to a general, he said that sometimes we can get in a rut which he said was a grave with both ends knocked out. I’m wondering how many ruts I’ve been in my life. Only with vision, planning and the courage to act can we move out of our ruts. This takes flexibility, resourcefulness and understanding of the pitfalls that put us there in the first place — then we can progress. Learn from history, but don’t languish in it or repeat mistakes that lead to ruts.

Vector Corrector 2011-42

The military fighter community has transitioned into aircraft that use heads up displays. Now instead of looking in the cockpit to check altitude, heading, airspeed or even to lock on targets, the pilot can look at what appears to be a piece of glass that displays all the information needed to accomplish the mission. Commercial aircraft are transitioning to a similar system. In life and leadership, maybe we need to look up at the opportunities to influence through the clutter of distractions that shade our clear focus.

Vector Corrector 2011-43

Charles Stanley said, “Discipline determines our destiny.” Self discipline will eventually determine our destiny because it will be the course we follow and will affect those who are following us. It takes courage to live a disciplined life, one that is an example in the home and our marketplace. Integrity, conviction and consistency are all in play as we bring self discipline into our lives.

Vector Corrector 2011-44

Live above board not below deck.” This is a Navy saying that can apply to all of us. We should live with great transparency so that those around us see the REAL me not just what the world might accept. Our character is who we really are from the heart, mind and spirit. When we live as an open book we will build confidence, credibility, trust and teamwork. The question is, do those around us — whether family, friends, peers or bosses — really know the real us and do we want them to look beyond the surface?

Vector Corrector 2011-45

Never quit when you are going through a deep valley or when you are lost in a dark forest. The easy way out may cost you everything you have including your reputation. So what is the secret? Even if you are trying to do the right thing, the right way with integrity, don’t stand alone or think you can do everything. Seek advice from others who have been down a similar path and survived with honor. Seek wisdom and knowledge from trusted colleagues who have your best interests in focus. Great leaders surround themselves with others who are greater than they are and then know how to use their advice.

Vector Corrector 2011-46

The best leaders I’ve met are always preparing for the future. Planning is essential if there is to be positive growth in any organization, community, church, school or family. Envision where you want to be in two, three or even five years. Former UCLA basketball coach John Wooten said, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” This applies to all aspects of our lives. We might even remember the Boy Scout motto: BE PREPARED.

Vector Corrector 2011-47

The best leaders not only empower us but they teach us how to live. They are positive examples. They invest time in their team. And they work to ensure success. They set standards of excellence and they are there when we need someone we can rely on and trust. Being a leader is a challenge and demands our best so we can produce the best team.

Vector Corrector 2011-48

If you ever wondered why Vector Corrector is needed, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s words provide a good counsel, “Education is of no value and talent is worthless — unless you have an unwavering aim. Never find yourself without a compass.”

Vector Corrector 2011-49

Enduring significance is best provided by leaders of character who desire to have everyone in their family, on their team or in their organization achieve the highest level of success. The trail of successful lives will be your heritage, legacy and what remains when the leader departs. Someone said our legacy is written on our headstone. Remember, it is written every moment of every day.

Vector Corrector 2011-50

A colleague kindly said, “Vector Corrector is necessary because common sense is so absent in many lives today.” As a pilot, I know that airplanes — whether commercial, military or private — are best landed on the centerline. Where are you landing today? Remember the centerline of your character.

Vector Corrector 2011-51

A small study book presented a good challenge for each of us. “DO ALL THE GOOD YOU CAN, IN ALL THE WAYS YOU CAN, FOR ALL THE PEOPLE YOU CAN, WHILE YOU CAN. As I read this statement, a passion for that lifestyle burned in my heart. May these words also capture you.

Vector Corrector 2011-52

Your achievement has been great when “You measure the size of an accomplishment by the obstacles you have to overcome to reach your goals,” Booker T. Washington said. Life’s victories don’t always go to the stronger or faster man [woman] but to the one who thinks they can.