Cheryl offers: My favorite flowers are blooming now; they are Texas bluebonnets. I’ve always favored them above all other wild flowers. One reason is blue is a fairly uncommon color in flowers, they grow wherever they are planted which is frequently in poor soil, and they endure without a lot of care. When I saw them this past week, I thought of Tom Morris’ book, If Aristotle Ran General Motors. Now if the title didn’t ring a little ironic, Tom’s background might. He was a professor of philosophy for 15 years at Notre Dame who came to believe we cannot solve today’s problems without the wisdom of the ancients. Tom’s book was written in 1997, long before GM’s current problems were apparent. The book contains some great advice for corporations based on 4 key values of human excellence: Truth, Beauty, Goodness and Unity. They are directly co-related to the 4 key dimensions of human experience: intellectual, aesthetic, moral and spiritual. My favorite quote from the book is “The beautiful is as useful as the useful. More so, perhaps.” from Victor Hugo. Morris does a great job in the book admonishing leaders to make sure they think about the aesthetics of work and business because they are important to people. Where do you feel most relaxed, creative, refreshed and alive? Looking at a beautiful sunrise, sunset, lake or checking out the carpet in your cubicle? Beauty is important to all of us. If only more leaders had appreciated and read this book, maybe GM wouldn’t be in the pickle they are in. For me, bluebonnets are an annual reminder to appreciate the beauty of excellent work, innovative ideas, and the look when someone says “Ah-ha!”
Cheryl offers: Sometimes I can’t believe what I read when I pick up the newspaper. It’s generally the reason I don’t look at it very often. When I do, it’s usually to check out the weather on the back page of the Metro section. However, what was on the front page today got my attention. It seems the two top elected officials in Flower Mound, that would be two people in highly visible leadership roles, have been accused of sexual harassment. The chief of police filed the complaint after witnessing the incident in which a police officer was evidently pinched on the behind by the…drum roll, please…two women. Yes, indeed. The male police officer confirmed he was pinched as they stood on either side of him and there’s a video to confirm it. Leaders have a responsibility, both legally and morally, to abide by the law and that seems to be especially true of elected officials. To me, it’s even more important for women to take the obligations and responsibilities of being a leader seriously. We have worked hard to progress to the current state and incidents like this hurt us all. They dent our credibility, insult our intelligence and hard work, and minimize our hard won accomplishments. Bette Price tells us “True leaders are keenly aware of the power of their position, yet are quick to point out that without genuinely valuing their people, their position of power is limited” in her book, True Leaders. Who better to have proven this to be true than these two leaders who forgot the power of their position, dismissed the trust of the people they represent, and placed themselves in compromised power positions? One has decided not to run for re-election and that might just be the best decision she’s made lately.