Honor

Thank You!

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I enjoy coaching youth basketball and baseball.  Our basketball season ended suddenly (only the champs win their last game) last week.  I couldn’t shift gears fast enough at the end of the game to say what was most important.  I tried to encourage the kids, and that was important also.  But, this group of kids had worked and played particularly hard and they deserved to be told “thanks”.

I ended up sending an email later to the parents and the kids wrapping up the season and sharing the two words that kept going through my mind.  “Thank You!”  It may seem a little odd that I wanted to say thanks to all of them so badly (since I was the unpaid volunteer!) but lets face it.  We were all giving to each other in the relationships and the gift I was given was a lot of hard effort and commitment from players and parents.  What more could you ask for?  “Thank you” seems very appropriate.

How often though do we forget to really recognize those people who give so much to us?  In the moment at the end of the game it did not register with me.  It was only with a day of reflection that I realized how important it was to share my gratitude.   In business and life, it seems the chase is where the energy is spent.  When the end is accomplished, whether it is the end of a sports season, or the client who agrees to a contract, thank you is a very important part of our language.

Even more importantly, when we are successful do we recognize all the people that helped make for the success?  Not only do we need to thank the players and client, but also the parents and staff that made the experience a positive one for all involved.

In many service businesses there is a certain expectation as to the quality of service received, and people often do not feel it necessary to add a thank you for a good deed.   I know it should not work this way, but if you are one of these people, notice that the customers who show appreciation seem to get a little bit higher level of service.  This is easy to explain.  We all like to be around people who are kind and gracious…and level headed!

Do I think we should all walk around saying “thank you” just to make the world a nicer place?  Absolutely not.  “Thank you” is an expression of gratitude that needs to be sincere.  A “thank you” for the sake of thank you is not sincere, and should be meaningless.  I personally want to be able to recognize when thanks are due and immediately let the person know of my gratitude.

Even if it is just minutes after the final buzzer.

Moral Compass

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What can Penn State teach all of us that is relevant to our lives?  I think a very huge lesson.  We all share a knowledge of certain standards in society.  Certain standards trump others.  If you serve an institution, there is a group think that actions must be taken to protect that institution.  We have seen it many times with large corporations.  Now we are seeing it in a large academic community.  The moral compass was programmed to mix up south and north.  Working for a long time in a large institution may blur the lines between moral, legal and ethical.  Clearly, Penn State botched it on all three counts and certain administrators let their moral compass lead them to protect the institution first, and the children were overlooked.  Wrong…but happens frequently..just usually not involving children..thank God.

I suspect it is not easy to keep your moral compass synchronized in a large institution where many of your superiors have lost their moral direction.  It is easier to tell yourself you did your job reporting the wrong to your superiors.  At this point, if clearly people are being hurt, and you feel you have done what you need to do by letting the institution handle the matter, your compass has lost its synchronicity.

Our moral compass can easily be forgotten when it comes to moral and ethical direction and our employers.  Don’t stand by and assume you have done all you need to do.  Check your moral compass today and remember we have a higher calling than just protecting our institutions.  It appears that Penn State lost its way a long time ago.  I doubt if anyone had thought beyond protecting the institution that this scenario would have escalated and so many people harmed.

A moral compass.  Make sure yours is synchronized and guiding you in all you do.

Remember

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While we enjoy our three day weekend, the smell of barbecue, the feel of a beach, or the sounds of race cars, take a moment to remember that Monday is Memorial Day.  Memorial Day originated after the Civil War and as the holiday has evolved, what it serves has not.  This is a day to remember those who have given their lives over the last 150 years so each of us can enjoy the barbecue, beach, race and of course so much more.

The ultimate price has been paid by those who died to protect our freedom.  Today we have troops in the face of danger in three different fronts, and many more serving us throughout the world.  Their gift is selfless and for a greater good that we all tend to take for granted.   Some of them never come home again.  Many have families who miss not having the simple pleasures together we will all indulge in this weekend. 

Remember.  When you see those in service to our country..say thank you.  To the families who have lived through the ultimate sacrifice this holiday honors, give them a hug and a huge thank you.   Not just Memorial Day, but every day.  Remember the selfless acts of heroism and bravery that allowed you to enjoy the weekend.

And from me to all that have served or the families who have given their sons and daughters, I just want you to know how much I appreciate all that has been done to preserve the right I have to share thoughts openly and not worry about punishment.  America is still the best place in the world and Memorial Day is the time to remember those who have preserved the dream!

Promises Promises

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You made me promises, promises
Knowing I’d believe
Promises, promises
You knew you’d never keep
       

 from  “Promises, Promises”  by Naked Eyes

When you promise somebody that you will do something, is it to get them off your back or are you committed?

When the boss asks you to stop texting in the office and you promise not to anymore, is breaking that promise different than promising your son you will be at his football game and then not making it?

Does intent change the penalty when one breaks a promise?  If you make a promise with no commitment or intent to keep it, is the guilt less than when you make a vow and do not keep it?

How many people do you know that seem to not be committed to what their marriage vows promised?  If a person does not honor an oath made to their soon to be wife, family and friends, should you trust them to keep an exchange of promises in a business contract?  Or is an oath given in a ceremony a step higher on the commitment scale?  If so, what does it mean if one does not honor an oath?

When somebody tries to convince me that they have a steel curtain between their business and personal behaviors, I find that this is really a way to say “please do not look at my behavior in this situation as reflective of how I am as a husband or father.”  Why is it necessary to say this?

I think it is because if you can’t be trusted to keep your promises, the truth is that this behavior knows no boundaries.  Likewise, I have found that a person of honor,  does not need to advise us to judge their public persona separately from the way they act privately.

Hard to be trustworthy part of the time.  Do you agree?

Memorial Day-More Than An Excuse For A Three Day Weekend

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“It is my earnest hope, indeed the hope of all mankind, that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past, a world founded upon faith and understanding, a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance and justice. Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world, and that God will preserve it always.”

General Douglas McArthur