Sunday, March 27, 2011

Who Will Step Up?

Our nation is in deep trouble when it comes to leadership.  On both sides of the aisle there’s a void of real leadership.  Ongoing issues like unemployment, social security, the budget deficit, Medicare, and the various wars in which we are engaged, represent critical challenges that require strong and decisive leadership.  Unfortunately, all we get from Washington is finger pointing and placing the blame on the other party.  As a result, all over the country there is this boiling caldron of frustration, anger, hate and mistrust that has led to numerous protests.

The decisions our leaders have made over time are now changing the very foundation of our country.  It appears that all they are concerned about is maintaining their power, and many are willing to deceive and spin the truth to keep what they believe is theirs.  How long will we sit back and watch this happen?

Who will step up to be the leader to bring stability to our country?  This nation is ripe and ready for authentic leadership to emerge.  However, I believe it will not come from any one person.  It will come from each and every one of us taking a stand and demanding that our voices be heard.

It’s amazing how Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have impacted so much change, not only in our country, but in the world.  One person challenges the status quo and others pick up on it and it then goes viral.  All of us must be willing to challenge our leaders and hold them accountable for their decisions and to keep their promises.

We must demand that our leaders look out not for individual interests, but the interests of all Americans.  We are all in this together.  Regardless of what party you are affiliated with, Democrat or Republican we are all breathing the same air.  The sun shines and the rain falls on each of us.  The last time I checked, both Democrats and Republicans are facing the same challenges of unemployment, high taxes, and fighting for our freedom.

Who of us will be willing to take a stand and be counted?  Complaining and sitting idly by while our economy and the future of the next generation continues deteriorate, will not get it done.  Write your congressman, blog, volunteer, lead.  You may say that I am one person, what can I do?  You have the power to make a difference.

If we continue to wait for our so called leaders to make the changes necessary to lift up this nation to its former greatness, we are going to be waiting for a long time.

It is up to all of us to do our part. The time is now!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My Leadership Philosophy

On December 31, 2010 I wrote a post about developing a leadership philosophy.

In that post I said that I was working on developing my leadership philosophy.  My leadership philosophy is very simple and I am willing to be held accountable to the people I lead in the words I wrote and I believe. Well true to my word here it is:

Tony Friday’s Leadership Philosophy

I have developed this philosophy to help guide me as a leader. I will work to consistently live out these principles.  I expect you to hold me accountable when I fall short. I am committed to helping you to grow, develop and realize your potential both personally and professionally.

Operating Principles

1.       Set the example—What I expect of you, I will expect from myself.  I will not ask you to do anything I would not do.  I expect you to set a positive example for others.
 2.      Coaching for Success—When you need me I will be there for you.  I will not give you the answers, but I will help you through the thinking process.  You have the solutions.
3.       Treat each other like you want to be treated—I will treat you with fairness and respect.  I expect that you do the same to those you work with and lead.
4.       Accountability—I expect you to do what you say.  You can count on me to do the same.  If you are in danger of not delivering on a promise you have made, please let me know as soon as you know.  We can then work together on finding a mutually beneficial solution.
5.       Listen— I do not have all of the answers; I will actively listen to your ideas and your point of view.  We will work together to make our company better.
6.       Communication—I will provide regular feedback that is direct and constructive relative to your needs and the needs of the company.  I want you to do the same for me.
7.       Operating with Candor—I will be candid, not critical in my communication with you.  If you feel my comments are critical, please let me know.
 8.      Shared Risk—We are in this together.  I will not engage in the blame game and I expect the same from you.
 9.       Excellence—I will create a team where we pursue excellence, (not perfection).  I expect you to do your very best every day.  I will not tolerate sloppy work.
10.     Positive Attitude—I will bring a positive attitude every day and I expect you to do the same. Challenges will come, but with the right attitude we can overcome them all. 
11.     Celebrate Wins—We will celebrate our wins, no matter how small.  Little victories are the stepping stones to great accomplishments.  Every day we will play like winners!

Here are a few things that I will not stand for (my hot buttons):
        Disrespecting your teammates
        Sloppy work

My commitment to you:

I will give you my very best every day.  I will continue to learn and grow as a leader. We will have fun!


Now it’s your turn.  I challenge you to write your leadership philosophy.  It does not have to relate solely to business, it can be your philosophy on how you lead in your home or in your community.  Whatever your philosophy is, be willing to be held accountable for who you say you are as a leader.

I hope you accept the challenge, it will differentiate you from the millions of leaders who are winging it and are not willing to be transparent to the people they lead.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

52 Blog Posts!

On March 14 of last year while sitting with my family in Peet’s Coffee in Pleasant Hill, I started my first blog.

I was apprehensive in starting it because, 1) I do not like to write; 2) So many of the blogs I had read either had few posts, or posts were spaced months apart, and 3) the author stopped posting altogether. With that in mind I made the commitment that I would post weekly and write 52 straight blog posts as a challenge to myself.  It is with great joy and a sense of accomplishment that I post BLOG POST #52.

ver this past year I have learned a lot about myself as a leader. I have also learned about my ability to do something that I had never done before, and that is to write.  I am obviously not the best writer, but I continue to grow and develop and I am satisfied with that.  I am also happy with the fact that as a leader, I was able to commit to my readers that I would be here each week, writing about my perspectives on leadership, and to follow through on that commitment.  Believe me it has not been easy, but it has been rewarding knowing that there are people all over the world reading my blog.  I have been encouraged that in some small way I am having a positive impact in the lives of those who choose to read my words.

Right here and now I am making another commitment that I will be here for another 52 posts.  God willing I will continue to share with you my perspective on leadership.  Your comments and encouragement are always appreciated.

Have a Powerful Day!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Unsung Hero

A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others.  ~Author Unknown

While many in our culture call our athletes, actors and singers heroes, there are real heroes making a difference in the lives of the next generation of leaders.  One such hero is a teacher who lovingly labors in the Oakland school system.  Her name is Ms. Dixon.  Although she stands at about 5’5” inches tall, she is a giant in the lives of many of her  students.  She is energetic, soulful and speaks with confidence and authority.

ecently, before speaking to a group of her students, I told her she was my hero.  (This caught her off guard, probably because many teachers are not treated or thought of as heroes.)  She possesses a commitment to her students that drives her to help each and every one of them realize their potential.

Hundreds of students have come through her classroom and many have gone on to higher education.  Sure, there are those who have not taken advantage of her instruction and her compassion and have gotten lost in life.  However, this does not deter her or quench her spirit!

She continues to lead and positively impact the lives of her students.  She shows them that there is hope for a better life if you are disciplined and determined.

This year she received one of the greatest gifts a teacher can receive; one of her students is now attending a prestigious California university.  Some might say that is no big deal, but if you knew the hurdles and barriers that the students have to overcome, you would realize that it is a big deal and a significant accomplishment.  This is especially true since the person is a young inner city male who is now taking advantage of what this great country has to offer, an education.

I want to acknowledge Ms. Dixon’s commitment to service as a teacher, mentor and leader in her school and in the community.  She is an inspiration to me and to many others that have come to know and respect all that she does for our young people.

She is an Unsung Hero!