Cheryl offers: Not only is Angela Hunt the youngest person, elected at age 33, to serve on the Dallas City Council, she’s also the first to have a baby while in office. What’s even more interesting is what she plans to do next. In today’s DMN, she says “I’ll be bringing her (she had a girl) to City Hall.” Whoa! And it’s better still later in the article when she says she plans to work from home a couple days a week. Who did she ask if this was OK? No one as best I can tell and I applaud her for taking charge, being a trailblazer for women who serve later, and for being the kind of leader and role model we need today. I don’t know if she’s read Womenomics: write your own rules for success by Claire Shipman and Katty Kay, but she certainly gets the concepts from the book. As they convey in their book, “Instead of feeling guilty, as we imagine our female predecessors might think about our choices to scale back the work hours, or what our ethnic community or even family might think, we need to understand that most of those people would be awed by what we’ve already accomplished, which is that we’ve earned the ability to decide. And in fact, exercising this ability will help build a world our successors will be thankful for. “No kidding! Angela Hunt has been and is continuing to create new precedents. I suspect the women who follow in that path will be forever grateful for offering them choices they might never have imagined.
Sara says: Cheryl and I teach graduate students and we’ve discovered that many don’t write well. It’s a rampant problem and when we mention it, some students get a real “deer in the headlights” look. They don’t have a clue where to start. Now, this isn’t going to be a rant about today’s youth not being able to write. It’s about a leader’s responsibility to good communications. The quizzical look from our students, whether it means “I don’t know what you are talking about” or “I don’t know what to do about it” is not a sufficient response. A leader’s job – right up there with delivering results to the shareholder’s – is communicating. Leaders must always be on the lookout for 1) the most effective ways to communicate and 2) the number of ways they can deliver the message.
Lou Gerstner who wrote about the turnaround of IBM, wrote in his book, Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance?, “Personal leadership is about communication, openness, and willingness to speak often and honestly, and with respect for the intelligence of the reader or listener.” I heard Gerstner tell an audience of IBM executives that, “you cannot over communicate. You are responsible to communicate your vision in every memo, every conference call, every interview.” If change in a company fails, look first to the leader and their ability (and tenacity) in articulating the change.
Cheryl offers: Our friend and ally blogger, Bob Morse, posted this question only a few days earlier in June: Q #184: Has the ability to write well become obsolete? Bob’s answer was “No, and I am convinced it never will.” I agree with Bob and Sara. The responsibility to teach, practice, and role model good communications reside with leadership; be it the school system or in corporations. “Have you ever thought about the fact that the great philosopher Socrates had a student named Plato, and that Plato had a student named Aristotle?” This comes from the book, “If Aristotle Ran General Motors” by Tom Morris. Morris goes on to say, “Given the right context of intimate and sustained association, greatness gives rise to greatness.” If that doesn’t inspire a teacher or leader to invest the time to teach their students/employees the value of clear, concise, and grammatically correct communication, I’m not sure it can be done!