You Lucky Dog

We will call the two principles of this month’s Leadership Challenge the tall one and the short one. They came together to form a partnership that has made a significant impact on the world around them.

The tall one came from tiny Quinlan, Texas, born into a loving family that instilled a significant work ethic that has served him well. The short one had a little different start in life, not knowing who his father was.

The tall one went to work right out of high school; the short one just drifted from here to there causing mischief and never going to school, but developing an intellect far superior to his peers. Oprah Winfrey said he’s the smartest she has ever met.

The tall one is the first to admit this relationship happened almost by accident, and in fact considered ending the relationship before it even got started. The tall one’s wife actually instigated this unlikely alliance.

I will pose the Leadership Challenge questions before asking you to watch a short video of these two. I hope the questions will alert you to look for the leadership points, some obvious, some not.

  1. Where does the tall one stand on self- reliance, and have we lost that characteristic in America today? If we have, can we instill it in the younger ones coming behind us? If we can, and I’ll have to admit it’s a big if, how do we do it?

  1. The tall one realizes, more than the short one, that his success is totally dependent on the other. How often in leadership positions do we readily accept accolades when things go well, but blame others when things go badly? Is a good partnership always 50/50?

  1. What does stewardship mean and how does the tall one display it?

  1. I once told a friend of mine he was a great salesman precisely because he didn’t think he was one. How is this manifested in the tall one?

  1. What’s more important – fame and fortune, or relationships?

  1. Does the short one really respect and admire the tall one? How do you know?

  1. This business relationship, like a lot of business relationships, is winding down. What is being done about succession planning? Is this a shortcoming in most organizations today?

  1. It appears the short one is no longer “bringing home the bacon.” What has this done to their relationship? As leaders, how do we treat those who have gone before us? Do we keep in touch and continue to show our appreciation for their contributions? What commitments could we make in 2007

to do better?

  1. The tall one didn’t recognize the talent right away and was ready to end it before it began. As a leader, do we dig deep enough to find the talent of each individual? Was he judging the book by the cover?

  1. Last but not least, where does luck fit in? Do you believe in luck, good and bad, and what can we do, if anything, to be “luckier”?

The video is truly amazing. Just one warning: if you have a heart, you may want to watch the video in private.

We at Executive Education at the Moore School hope you had a great Thanksgiving. With all of our warts — some real, some imagined — we are still the greatest country on earth. I give thanks often that I was not born in some of the places we see on TV each evening. If that’s luck, then I am a firm believer!

For the video, please click here. If the video does not automatically download, press “download” in the grey box on the right side of the web page, and then click “download the video”.

If you do not have the Google video player software, click here, then on the web page, click “Download Video Player”, run and install following the prompts.

I encourage your response to these thoughts. farlgroup@aol.com

Have a great day!

Please forward this on or send us the e-mail addresses of co-workers, friends or family members who

might enjoy a monthly leadership thought.