Friday, September 2, 2011

And now...the good news from the seminar

Okay, so yesterday I posted some bad things about the management seminar I attended. So let me share three very good things.

First, Colin Powell (my favorite speaker of the evening) talked about the importance of being trustworthy. He said that none of us are perfect (no shock to my readers!), but that people will follow a leader who is trustworthy into battle while abandoning a deceptive leader even during good times. The way he said it was like this: "Trust is the foundation of every organization that is the glue that holds the team together, and the lubricant that keeps it moving forward." He advised that all of us in leadership positions make it our top priority to demonstrate what he called "moral courage"--the willingness to publicly and privately do the hard things that were right for the vision set forth for the company, even if it led to personal loss.

Another nice moment was when, Lou Holtz, former football coach for our Razorbacks, spoke. In the midst of his speech he was going to give us his version of the three most important things we can learn. Now usually I roll my eyes at this point: every speaker has some magical formula that will lead you to success, and (strangely) they all just so happen to be different from each other. But Holtz actually gave great, practical, spiritually-relevant advice. He says that these are the only three rules he had with his children, and his only three rules on a football team:

1. Do right, to the best of your ability.
2. Pursue excellence in your chosen path, whatever it is.
3. Show people that you care about them.

He argued that if you balanced those three things, you would find yourself making wise decisions that were Godly in nature. I think he was right in general (though I would have added: #4. You cannot will yourself to perfection, and God loves you anyway.). But his basic point is that we can strip away most of the complexity of life and just simplify things. Jesus said something similar, as I recall--all that really matters is to love God and love your neighbor; if we just do those two things everything else works itself out.

Finally, Terry Bradshaw--who was just as goofy and un-serious in his speech as he is on Fox NFL Sunday--had a profound statement. When discussing his suffering after his wife left him, Bradshaw said, "It is in the private, painful crucible of suffering that God gives you the greatest gifts. ...None of us can be displaced from failure, or from God's love during it." Wow.

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