Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Blue Skies

Blue skies, smiling at me;
Nothing but blue skies do I see.
Blue birds, singing a song;
Nothing but blue birds all day long.

Never saw the sun shining so bright;
Never saw things looking so right.
Noticing the days, hurrying by;
When you’re in love, my how they fly.

Blue Days, all of them gone;
Nothing but Blue Skies from now on.

When I first heard this Frank Sinatra tune I wanted to remember it as a kind of toast. It is such a beautiful thing to wish for someone – blue skies and sunny days. Of course, life doesn’t work that way and true character is built on how we negotiate the squalls and dark clouds of adversity.   

My son Ben will be married later this year. Ben and Allison met in Miami as students at the “U.”  The Coral Gables campus is an especially beautiful place when the sky is blue and the sun is shining. In South Florida, if you spend enough time there, you really grow to love the feeling of being in paradise all the while knowing it cannot last. The Miami football team will win 57 home games in a row. The team will be declared a college football dynasty. Eventually, of course, they will be defeated. The Orange Bowl will be torn down. A spectacular baseball stadium will take its place. Tropical Storms will cause massive flooding, Category five Hurricanes will reach landfall and the Everglades will catch fire. But in spite of it all you will never forget the beauty and color of a casual walk through the Fairchild Tropical Gardens and remember just how fantastic things can be.  

Ben and Allison we love you. We wish you all the best that life has to offer. Still we are also painfully aware of the ebb and flow of things. You will be tested. You will see storms. You will have setbacks. But you will face them together and that will make a world of difference. I think you both understand this concept because I see how you both cherish every moment together. You took the time to preserve in a painting the profoundly mature thought: “Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.” If you know that to be true, nothing can stop you from having a remarkable life together.  

While we cannot promise anything, we can still wish this for you both:

Blue Days, all of them gone;
Nothing but Blue Skies from now on. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Remarkable Leadership

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Kevin Eikenberry, the author of Remarkable Leadership. Kevin is a speaker and leadership trainer for a long list of clients including corporations and industry associations. He insists he is not a motivational speaker because that inspiration has to come from within an individual.  However, at the heart of his work is the challenge to “Be remarkable.” He believes strongly that everyone has the potential to be remarkable.

The day I met Kevin, he actually gave two presentations. The American Marketing Association Leadership Summit scheduled him for two sessions. I attended both. His morning session included interaction with a smaller group. It was clear that he made mental notes which added value and relevance to the keynote presentation to over 500 people that evening.  

Remarkable Leadership is a practical handbook written for anyone who wants to hone the skills they need to become a remarkable leader. This book outlines a framework and a mechanism for both learning new things and applying current knowledge in a thoughtful and practical way. It provides a guide through the most important leadership competencies, offers a proven method for learning leadership skills, and shows approaches for applying these skills in today’s multitasking and overloaded world of work. The book explores real-world concerns such as focus, limited time, incremental improvement, and how we learn.

Kevin is a true believer that leaders can be made. The book identifies behaviors that remarkable leaders exhibit. He gives practical ways to develop for those who aspire to be remarkable. After his keynote you could feel the motivation of chapter leaders starting to emerge. In my book, he is a motivational speaker if the mood in that room is any indicator. Thanks Kevin!