The Gift of Angus McGillivray

 

Written by Mark Turner, President/CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

In this season of giving, the story below, reprinted from the Salem News, is a great reminder that the best gifts aren’t always purchased at a store, gift wrapped or found on sale during Black Friday.

In his book, Through the Valley of Kwai, Ernest Gordon shares the true account of life in a World War II Japanese prison camp. The story is about a man who through giving it all away literally transformed a whole camp of soldiers.

The man’s name was Angus McGillivray. Angus was a Scottish prisoner in one of the camps filled with American’s, Australians, and Britons who had helped build the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai. The camp had become an ugly situation. A dog-eat dog mentality had set in. Allies would literally steal from each other and cheat each other; men would sleep with their packs and yet have them stolen from under their heads.

Survival was everything. The law of the jungle prevailed…until the news of Angus McGillivray’s death spread throughout the camp. Rumors spread in the wake of his death. No one could believe big Angus had died. He was strong, one of those whom they had expected to be the last to die. Actually, it wasn’t the fact of his death that shocked the men, but the reason he died. Finally they pieced the story together.

The Argylls (Scottish soldiers) took their buddy system very seriously. Their buddy was called their “mucker,” and these Argylls believed that it was literally up to each of them to make sure their “mucker” survived.

Angus’s mucker, though, was dying, and everyone had given up on him, everyone but Angus. He made up his mind that his friend would not die. Someone had stolen his mucker’s blanket. So Angus gave him his own, telling mucker that he had “just came across an extra one.”

Likewise, every mealtime, Angus would get his rations and take them to his friend, stand over him and force him to eat them, again stating that he was able to get “extra food.” Angus was going to do anything and everything to see that his buddy got what he needed to recover.

But as Angus’s mucker began to recover, Angus collapsed, slumped over, and died. The doctors discovered that he had died of starvation complicated by exhaustion. He had been giving his own food and shelter. He had given everything he had.

As word circulated of the reason for Angus McGillivray’s death, the feel of the camp began to change. Suddenly, men began to focus on their mates, their friends, and humanity of living beyond survival, of giving oneself away.

They began to pool their talents—one was a violin maker, another an orchestra leader, another a cabinet maker, another a professor. Soon the camp had an orchestra full of homemade instruments and a church called the “Church Without Walls” that was so powerful, so compelling, that even the Japanese guards attended.

The men began a university, a hospital, and a library system. The place was transformed; an all but smothered love revived, all because one man named Angus gave all he had for his friend. For many of these men this turnaround meant survival. What happened is an awesome illustration of the potential unleashed when one person actually gives it all away.

Lee J. Colan said, “We were meant to give our lives away. Spend more time living your legacy instead of worrying about leaving it.”

The scriptures themselves declare, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

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Christopher Columbus Discovers 3 Leadership Principles

columbus

Article written by Mark Turner, President/CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

In Valladolid, Spain, where Christopher Columbus died in 1506, stands a monument commemorating the great discoverer. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the memorial is a statue of a lion at the base of it where the Spanish National Motto is engraved. The lion is reaching out with its paw and is destroying one of the Latin words that had been part of the Spain’s motto for centuries. Before Columbus made his voyages, the Spaniards thought they had reached the outer limits of earth. Thus, their motto was, “No More Beyond.” The word being torn away by the lion is, “No,” making it read, “More Beyond.” Columbus had proven that there was indeed “more beyond.”

While many in that day thought they had reached their fullest potential and had gone as far as they could go, Christopher Columbus came along and pushed the limits even further. His willingness to step outside the comfort zone and take risks encourages us to apply 3 leadership principles to our lives, teams and organizations.

There’s More to Achieve if You Dare to Dream.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Set goals and consistently work toward achieving them. Let what’s happened in the past help to motivate you toward achieving success and not become an excuse as to why you can never make it happen. Dream it and pursue it. You’ll be amazed at what can be done and what can be achieved.

Accepting, “No,” as the Final Word Limits Success.

Anyone who has done a tour in professional sales knows it takes overcoming 6-7 “no” responses from a potential customer in order to get the desired, “yes” answer. Many a salesperson has walked away after hearing “no” one time only to leave the sale to a more determined competitor.

Sadly, we often tell ourselves “no” before we get started in a new venture, writing a book, going for that big account, starting a business, expanding a product line, launching a non-profit organization or believing we’re deserving of success. Had Columbus subscribed to the Spanish National Motto and believed there was “No More Beyond,” he would have never been willing to take the risk necessary to achieve success. The word “no” leaves us with a choice, to accept it as the final word or an invitation to think differently.

Jose Ortega y Gasset said, “The stone and tiger have no choice of life: the stone must gravitate and the tiger must pounce. Only human beings are faced with the mind-blowing responsibility of having, at each and every moment of their lives, to choose what to do and what to be. It is both a necessity and an invitation.”

No Deposit, No Return – No Risk, No Reward

Back in the day people used to pay a deposit on their beverage bottles because they were so expensive to produce. Bottlers used a deposit-refund system which motivated people to return the bottles after use, in return, the consumer received their deposit back. As time went on and bottles became less expensive to produce, the words “No Deposit – No Return” began appearing on bottles. No extra effort was required on the part of the consumer to get some of their investment back.

The “No Deposit, No Return” principle can be applied to many different things. No investment at the gym to lift weights or do cardio workouts, no personal health benefits; no investment in education, no advancement in one’s career; no time invested in others, no leadership development.

At times it’s necessary to take risks whether in one’s personal or professional life. Blind leaps of faith are not the only requirement to achieving reward and success. Most often times, “risk” decisions are made after thorough research and information gathering has occurred. Calculated risks can minimize negative outcomes but cannot always guarantee it. That’s what risk is about.

As William H. Shedd once said, “A ship is safe in the harbor, but that is not what a ship was built for.”

Article written by Mark Turner, President/CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

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3 Principles Leaders Need to Understand

the-choluteca-bridge

Article written by Mark Turner, President/CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

The Choluteca Bridge, located in Honduras, is also known as the Bridge of Rising Sun. The bridge was built by Hazama Ando Corporation between 1996 and 1998 and became the largest bridge constructed by a Japanese company in Latin America.

In the same year the bridge was commissioned for use, Honduras was hit by Hurricane Mitch, which caused considerable damage to the nation and its infrastructure. Many bridges were damaged while some were destroyed, but the Choluteca Bridge survived with minor damage. While the bridge itself was in near perfect condition, the roads on either end of the bridge had completely vanished, leaving no visible trace of their prior existence. More impressively, the Choluteca River (which is several hundred feet wide) had carved itself a new channel during the massive flooding caused by the hurricane. It no longer flowed beneath the bridge, which now spanned dry ground. The bridge quickly became known as, “The Bridge to Nowhere.” In 2003, the bridge was reconnected to the highway.

The Choluteca Bridge, was strong, firmly anchored and immovable, however, after the storm blew through, everything around the bridge had changed. Below are 3 lessons leaders can take away from the story of the Choluteca Bridge.

Understand the Need to Know In an Ever Changing World, Change is Bound to Happen

Much like what occurs in nature, due to nature, things have a tendency to change, even when you think it won’t. Change can be difficult to adapt to, however, change is going to happen. Baby Boomers can remember the days of rotary phones attached to a wall. Then, a mobile phone was when you had a long cord attached to the phone which enabled you to take it into another room for what you thought was privacy. Today, technology and the way of doing business change much more rapidly. Like a river that can carve itself a new channel, life, business and leadership are fluid and can change directions in the blink of an eye. Be ready and willing to work with inevitable change. When necessary, be the change agent.

Understand the Need to be Firm But Flexible

The dichotomy of the Choluteca Bridge and Choluteca River is one worth comparing. While the bridge itself remained firmly anchored, which is what one hopes for when commuting over such a structure, the river, by way of a storm, found a different route to continue its forward progress. Sometimes the storms of life can cause us to re-think our goals and how we attain them. After Hurricane Mitch moved through the area, the bridge had become obsolete while the river found a new path. Leaders need to be flexible enough to know when and how to administer change, otherwise they will become obsolete.

Understand the Need to be Anchored in Core Values

If leaders are to be anchored and immovable in anything, it should be their core values, that which they believe in and stand for. For every leader those values are different, but teams, subordinates, co-workers and others look for consistency in a leader’s beliefs.

Author and speaker, John Maxwell once said, “Your core values are the deeply held beliefs that authentically define your soul.”

Article written by Mark Turner, President/CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

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3 Good Principles to Apply to Avoid Flying by the Seat of Your Pants

Airplane

Article written by Mark Turner, President/CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

A humorous story is told about a photographer for a national magazine who was assigned to get photos of a great fire. Smoke at the scene hampered him and he asked his home office to hire a plane. Arrangements were made and he was told to go at once to a nearby airport, where the plane would be waiting. When he arrived at the airport, a plane was warming up near the runway. He jumped in with his equipment and yelled, “Let’s go! Let’s go!” The pilot swung the plane into the wind and soon they were in the air. “Fly over the north side of the fire, yelled the photographer, “and make three or four low level passes.” “Why?” asked the pilot. “Because I’m going to take pictures,” cried the photographer. “I’m a photographer and photographers take pictures!” After a pause the pilot said, “You mean you’re not the instructor?”

Funny stories can help illustrate important life and leadership lessons. Below are 3 helpful principles extracted from the story about the photographer.

It’s Good to Get a High Level View

When setting a goal or getting assigned to a specific task, it’s good to get a higher level view of what needs to be achieved. While some would say the phrase, “30,000 foot view,” is annoying and over used, the intent is simply to get a bigger picture understanding. Individuals and teams need various perspectives with regard to what is considered a successful outcome. Most importantly they need to know what is considered a success by their manager, supervisor or leadership team. Getting a “big picture” view along with perspectives from those “on the ground” will go a long way in achieving success.

It’s Good to Have the Right People on Board

In the story above, imagine the thoughts running through the minds of the pilot and the photographer when they both realized neither one of them could be very useful to the other in a critical moment of need. No leader wants to discover they have the wrong team member when things begin to heat-up or when the project is on the line. Whether it’s a short-term project or long-term employment opportunity, locating and attracting the right talent is important.

With the right mix of personalities and experiences, team members will depend on one another, challenge one another and bring out the best in one another.

Brian Tracey, author and speaker, said, “Transformational leaders pick the right people, match them to the right jobs, achieve mutual clarity on the desired results, and then they get out of the way and leave the individual with maximum freedom to perform.”

It’s Good to Communicate

Good communication is the key to success. Most issues in relationships, personal or professional, can be traced back to a breakdown in communication. The breakdown may be in the form of a misunderstanding, a lack of information or a lack of clarity. Either way, taking steps to ensure communication has occurred is critical if we wish to avoid what George Bernard Shaw once identified as the challenge in communication saying, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

Asking questions, seeking more information and ensuring all parties understand what’s been communicated will help us to keep from hearing this statement, “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

Article written by Mark Turner, President/CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce.

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5 Life/Leadership Principles through the Lens of Photography

Beach 1 Beach 2

Article written by Mark Turner, President/CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

For the amateur, the art of photography has changed over the years. Flash bulbs, instamatic cameras, Kodachrome and dark rooms have all given way to state of the art digital technology. To a large degree, technology has leveled the playing field within the arena of photographic enthusiasts. Professional photographers have an edge as they continually invest, develop, study and master their craft. Still, the amateur photographer, of which I consider myself to be, can also learn how to create greater inspirational pieces of art thanks to the advancements in equipment, technology and editing software.

Even with all the advancements, there are still some important aspects of photography that cannot be taken for granted. What one sees with the naked eye is different than what is captured by the lens. Developing an eye and understanding for the subject matter really does matter. While one person passes by a possible photo opportunity without a second look, someone else sees that same opportunity and great potential for an inspiring shot.

In the same way we develop an eye and understanding for photographic opportunities we can develop eye and understanding for basic life and leadership principles. It all comes down to how we see it.

Be Willing to See the Potential

It’s interesting that when we are in the market for a new vehicle and have decided on a make and model, we see nothing but that make and model all around us. If we’re driving and become hungry, we see nothing but restaurants. The same can be said when we focus on seeing potential, whether it has to do with photography or people. When we begin to focus on it, we start to see more of it. It’s always better to see the potential in our co-workers, team members, employees, volunteers and even our leaders. Working to bring out the potential in others benefits everyone.

Author William Purkey wrote, “Human potential, though not always apparent, is there waiting to be discovered and invited forth.”

Be Willing to See Things from a Different Perspective

Capturing a good photo sometimes means looking at the subject from various angles. By doing so, a photographer can gain a different perspective of the same subject. Seeing things in a different light or from a different viewpoint can bring about an award winning shot.

The same can be said for how we view issues, ideas and people. The willingness to see them from a different perspective can bring about the successful results a team and organization seek.

Be Willing to See What Adjustments Need to be Made

Digital cameras allow the photographer to view the photo and make immediate adjustments and re-capture the subject when necessary. Entirely different outcomes can be achieved in a photograph due to the adjustments that can be made through editing software as well. What might be seen by some as a rather mediocre picture can easily be transformed into a desirable photograph after a few alterations.

When individuals, teams and organizations are working toward a goal or objective, adjustments sometimes need to be made in order to achieve the desired outcomes. Occasionally, immediate adjustments can be implemented while other times, greater scrutiny is required before adjustments to the plan can be put in place.

Tony Romo, quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys once said, “The first game of the year is always an in-season adjustment game.”

Be Willing to See How to Accept Criticism Through a Positive Lens

No work of art failed to receive its fair share of criticism. The artist who produced it had to endure various comments from others in their field. Sometimes the critique is difficult to hear but necessary for the future progress of the artist.

As we go about our personal and professional endeavors, we will hear criticism and critique from those around us. It won’t always be easy to take. Some will intend it for our gain while others will intend it for our discouragement. Learning to receive input through a positive lens will enable us to process that which is beneficial and discard that which is not. It will also help us to keep from responding negatively toward those who don’t have our best interests at heart.

Donald Rumsfeld said, “Know that the amount of criticism you receive may correlate somewhat to the amount of publicity you receive.”

Be Willing to See and Enjoy the Finished Product

While photographers, like any artist, may be more critical of their work than others, there comes a time when they can simply enjoy the final product. A lot of time, planning, editing, adjusting and hard work goes into producing a finished product. Much like a photographer who can see and enjoy the finished product, we too need to take time to see and enjoy the fruit of our labor. Whether it be the salesperson who hits their quarterly goal, the team that achieves their objective, the individual who receives a promotion, the one who launches a new business, pays off their debt or completes their Master’s program, it’s good to see the accomplishment and enjoy the reward of a job well done.

Article written by Mark Turner, President/CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

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Learning Leadership Through Adversity

Adversity

Written by Mark Turner, President/CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

Jim Abbott is no stranger to adversity. He is a retired Major League Baseball pitcher. Baseball isn’t what caused Jim adversity, it’s what helped him overcome it. He played 10 seasons for teams such as the California Angels, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers, from 1989 to 1999.

In 1991, Abbott won 18 games with the Angels while posting an ERA of 2.89, finishing third in the American League Cy Young Award voting. In the 1992 season, he posted a 2.77 ERA, but his win-loss record fell to 7-15 for the sixth-place Angels. Abbott also won the Tony Conigliaro Award in 19920. On September 4, 1993 while pitching for the New York Yankees, Abbott pitched a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians.

Jim Abbot accomplished all of this after having been born without a right hand.

When preparing to pitch the ball, Abbott would rest his mitt on the end of his right forearm. After releasing the ball, he would quickly slip his hand into the mitt, usually in time to field any balls that a two-handed pitcher would be able to field. Then he would secure the mitt between his right forearm and torso, slip his hand out of the mitt, and remove the ball from the mitt, usually in time to throw out the runner at first or sometimes even start a double play. At all levels, teams tried to exploit his fielding disadvantage by repeatedly bunting to him; this tactic was never effective.

Batting was not an issue for Abbott for the majority of his career, since the American League uses the designated hitter, and he played only two seasons in the interleague play era. But Abbott tripled in a spring training game in 1991 off Rick Reuschel and when Abbott joined the National League’s Milwaukee Brewers in 1999, he had two hits in 21 at-bats, both off Jon Leiber. New York Yankees teammate Mariano Rivera claimed to have witnessed Abbott hitting home runs during batting practice.

Jim Abbot’s story is inspiring while at the same time a good reminder that adversity will be a part of our personal and professional lives. All of us will face and respond to troubles and difficulties differently. In the end, we must recognize that adversity can help pave the road to success. Below are 4 principles to remember.

Expect Adversity

No one likes it, but one thing we can count on, is adversity. In some form or fashion, at one point or another, we will face trials, troubles and tribulation. Even when the best plans are laid out, and good planning is important, adversity arises. A team member forgets a detail, drops the ball on an assignment or fails to develop a contingency plan and everyone else finds themselves dealing with a difficult issue. Sometimes, adversity presents itself through no one’s fault or lack of planning, but simply occurs outside our control. A vendor runs short of supplies, traffic delays a delivery or unexpected increase in material costs affect the bottom line.

Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I would not pass it round. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it. I don’t embrace trouble; that’s as bad as treating it as an enemy. But I do say meet it as a friend, for you’ll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it.”

Endure Through Adversity

Theodore Rubin wisely observed, “The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.”

Growing up, Jim Abbot could have decided his handicap was too much to overcome. Who would have blamed him? He could have received a lot of pity from others and many excuses could have been made for him if he would have chosen to give up. Jim Abbot didn’t see a problem that would end all opportunity, he saw an opportunity in the midst of his problem. He knew it wouldn’t be easy and as a result, he had to think differently, work harder and out-hustle the competition. No one makes it in the major leagues if they can’t compete with the best of the best.

Endeavor to Achieve Success Despite Adversity

Success is achieved due to the presence of adversity not because of its absence. Adversity has the potential to refine who we are, how we plan and the course we take. It has the potential to create inner strength, patience, and maturity. However, it also has the potential to cause just the opposite to occur. It all depends how we choose to respond to adversity.

Walt Disney said, “You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”

Embrace the Good that Comes From Adversity

Adversity can produce good results in individuals and teams. Positive results can be produced from adversity such as, greater appreciation and gratitude toward others, improved relations with others, personal growth and development, character building, even a greater sense of trust can come out of shared adversity.

William Shakespeare wrote, “Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.”

Written by Mark Turner, President/CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

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3 Leadership Principles From Outer Space

Outer Space

Article written by Mark Turner, President/CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

In 1972, NASA launched the exploratory space probe Pioneer 10. According to Leon Jaroff in Time, the satellite’s primary mission was to reach Jupiter, photograph the planet and its moons, and beam data to earth about Jupiter’s magnetic field, radiation belts, and atmosphere. Scientists regarded this as a bold plan, for at that time no earth satellite had ever gone beyond Mars, and they feared the asteroid belt would destroy the satellite before it could reach its target.

But Pioneer 10 accomplished its mission and much, much more. Swinging past the giant planet in November 1973, Jupiter’s immense gravity hurled Pioneer 10 at a higher rate of speed toward the edge of the solar system. At one billion miles from the sun, Pioneer 10 passed Saturn. At some two billion miles, it hurtled past Uranus; Neptune at nearly three billion miles; Pluto at almost four billion miles. By 1997, twenty-five years after its launch, Pioneer 10 was more than six billion miles from the sun.

And despite that immense distance, Pioneer 10 continued to beam back radio signals to scientists on Earth. “Perhaps most remarkable,” writes Jaroff, “those signals emanate from an 8-watt transmitter, which radiates about as much power as a bedroom night light, and takes more than nine hours to reach Earth.”

The Little Satellite That Could was not qualified to do what it did. Engineers designed Pioneer 10 with a useful life of just three years. But it kept going and going. By simple longevity, its tiny 8-watt transmitter radio accomplished more than anyone thought possible.

The story of Pioneer 10 and the 8 watt transmitter is a testament to a well-designed plan and the boldness to carry it out. The story is also a helpful reminder of 3 important principles today’s business leaders and others need to apply if they want to boldly go where few dare to tread.

Know the Mission

One of Stephen Covey’s, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” is, “Start with the End in Mind.” In other words, know the mission. Know what you want to accomplish and begin to develop a plan to achieve it. Aimlessly wandering through the wilderness with no clear goal or objective demotivates all involved. When leaders and team members know the mission, everyone is able to get and remain focused, measure progress and avoid distractions.

While the scientists at NASA feared there could be dangerous obstacles along Pioneer 10’s path, they still believed in the mission and knew exactly what they wanted to accomplish. Their goal was to reach Jupiter, photograph the planet and its moons and beam the images back to earth.

Zig Ziglar once said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”

Go the Extra Mile

Going the extra mile is a phrase we often hear but seldom see in practice. It’s the extra effort, the additional effort that can bring about success. Many have said there are no traffic jams along the extra mile. In part because so few people are willing to endure the burden longer than necessary. Much like the start of a marathon, many have the intention of finishing, but few have the endurance to go the distance.

There are challenges along the “extra mile.” For one, it’s a road that never ends. Good customer service is a one-time effort while great customer service is an ongoing effort. An excellent sales record comes from continued training, understanding the needs of the customer, courteously overcoming objections, never letting “no” be the final answer and an innate ability to be at your professional best in every situation. With so few people venturing in the direction of the extra mile, for those who do, it can feel desolate, remote and secluded. But it’s the extra mile where champions are made, fulfillment is accomplished, happiness is realized and success is achieved.

The question is this, what are you doing today that you didn’t do yesterday that will help you get to where you want to be tomorrow?

Napoleon Hill said, “One of the most important principles of success is developing the habit of going the extra mile.”

Exceed People’s Expectations

Pioneer 10 was designed to accomplish the goal of reaching Jupiter, yet it accomplished far more than anyone could have imagined. It exceeded the expectations of those who designed it and knew its capabilities. Each of us and the organizations we work for are designed to achieve far more than we can imagine. The willingness to go the extra mile and exceed people’s expectations is what makes the difference between good and great.

Natalia Chrzanowska, content manager and author at Brand24, shares the story of Peter Shankman, an angel investor, who just before boarding his flight tweeted, asking Morton’s Steakhouse to meet him at the airport with a porterhouse steak when he landed. When he arrived he found a man wearing a tuxedo holding a bag with a juicy steak inside. He shared the experience on his Twitter profile immediately. A great example of jaw dropping customer service.

Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Group, said, “The key is to set realistic customer expectations, and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them – preferably in unexpected and helpful ways.”

Article written by Mark Turner, President/CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce 

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The Leadership of Forgiveness

power-of-forgiveness_t

Article written by Mark Turner, President/CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce 

On February 9, 1960, Adolph Coors III, millionaire head of Coors Company, was kidnapped and held for ransom. Seven months later his body was found on a remote hillside. He had been shot to death. Adolph Coors IV was then fifteen years old. He lost not only his father, but also his best friend. For years Adolph Coors IV hated Joseph Corbett, the man who was sentenced to life for the slaying of Adolph Coors III.

In 1975, almost 15 years later, Adolph Coors IV became a man of faith. Yet, his hatred for Corbett, the murderer of his Dad, still consumed him.

Adolph Coors knew he needed to forgive Corbett as he himself had been forgiven. So he visited the maximum-security unit of Colorado’s Canon City penitentiary to talk with Joseph Corbett, however, Corbett refused to see him.

Adolf Coors left Joseph Corbett a Bible with the following inscription: “I’m here to see you today, and I’m sorry that we could not meet. As a man of faith, I am summoned to forgive. I do forgive you, and I ask you to forgive me for the hatred I’ve held in my heart for you.”

Later Coors confessed, “I have a love for that man that only God could have put in my heart.”

Business leaders do much to hone their leadership skills. They learn about communication, team building, vision casting, influence, risk management and assessment, strategic planning, conflict resolution and much more. One area of leadership not often discussed is the area of forgiveness. Leaders must be able to forgive their employees, team members, directors and others if they desire to be the most effective leaders possible. They must also be willing to admit mistakes and offenses and seek forgiveness from others.

Be Willing to Forgive

If leadership is influence, forgiveness is freedom. Nothing can hinder leadership and influence more than the unwillingness to forgive someone on your team or under your direction. There are going to be times when someone doesn’t do what you expect, says something disrespectful, acts in an unbecoming way, betrays your trust or drops the ball with regard to meeting a deadline. While some situations require disciplinary actions and even worse, possible dismissal, forgiveness still needs to be part of the equation.

The first step to forgiving is being willing to forgive. Taking up an offense and holding a grudge is not healthy for the individual who is offended but it’s not healthy for the team either. Team members can sense when there is tension between individuals, especially between a leader and a subordinate. It’s always best to gather the facts, deal with the individual directly without undue delay, come to a resolve and forgive the offense. Sometimes an offense can take more time to “heal” from, but don’t let anger, resentment and bitterness linger. It will poison you and your team.

By the Measure of Forgiveness You Provide, So Too Will Others Forgive You

Leaders are not exempt from offending others and need to be aware when it happens. For various and understandable reasons, workers don’t usually approach their leaders when the leader has acted in an offensive way, said something hurtful or was carless about the effort put forth by their team.

When a leader becomes aware of their own offensive actions or words, they need to move quickly to admit their wrong and seek forgiveness from others. Leaders will quickly find that by the measure of forgiveness they have provided others, they will be rewarded by that same measure in return. For some, that may not be good news.

Leading in the area of forgiveness is not easy, but it is necessary to lead effectively.

It’s Not About Getting Even – It’s About Getting Even-Keeled

When someone says or does something to hurt or offend us, we are thrown off kilter. We may be taken back by those actions. We struggle to understand what warranted such comments or actions. Thoughts might turn to paying that individual or organization back, however, it’s not about getting even, it’s about getting even-keeled.

The word keel has its origin in boating and sailing. The keel is a flat blade sticking down into the water from the bottom of a sailboat. It has two functions: it prevents the boat from being blown sideways by the wind, and it holds the ballast that keeps the boat right-side up.

When applied to people, even-keeled means someone is well balanced and not likely to change suddenly.

Leaders don’t allow the actions and comments of others to blow them off course or lose sight of the goal and destination. As tempting as it may be at times to strike back or engage in a verbal boxing match, good leaders know how navigate through delicate situations not stoke the flames by foolishly saying and doing things to create more problems.

Forgiveness is a keel that keeps leaders on course, properly focused, and free from torturous thoughts.

Louis B. Smedes said, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

Article written by Mark Turner, President/CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of  Commerce.

 

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3 Business Principles Learned From Discovering Oil

Yates Oil Field

Article written by Mark Turner, President/CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

The story is told of a famous oil field called Yates Pool, often referred to as Yates Field. During the depression this field was a sheep ranch owned by a man named Yates. Mr. Yates wasn’t able to make enough on his ranching operation to pay the principal and interest on the mortgage, so he was in danger of losing his ranch. With little money for clothes or food, his family (like many others) had to live on government subsidy.

Day after day, as he grazed his sheep over those rolling West Texas hills, he was no doubt greatly troubled about how he would pay his bills. Then a seismographic crew from an oil company came into the area and told him there might be oil on his land. They asked permission to drill a wildcat well, and he signed a lease contract.

At 1,115 feet they struck a huge oil reserve. The first well came in at 80,000 barrels a day. Many subsequent wells were more than twice as large. In fact, 30 years after the discovery, a government test of one of the wells showed it still had the potential flow of 125,000 barrels of oil a day. In the year 2000, Yates Field was still one of the top 10 oil producers in the United States.

And Mr. Yates owned it all. The day he purchased the land he had received the oil and mineral rights. Yet, he’d been living on relief. A multimillionaire living in poverty. The problem? He didn’t know the oil was there even though he owned it.

Deal With Delays

On the road to success, delays can feel like the transportation department doing street repairs in the middle of rush hour traffic. On one hand, delays can bring frustration, discouragement and dissatisfaction. On the other hand, delays can create opportunities such as re-evaluating the plan to make sure you are on track or determining if your goals are in line with your personal or company’s values. Delays are a part of life and cannot always be avoided. Good planning can minimize delays but some delays are outside our control. Deal with delays when they come and realize they don’t equate to denials or defeat.

Maxwell Maltz said, “The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term is the indispensable prerequisite for success.”

Demonstrate Determination

While it may be good to evaluate and re-evaluate the plan, sometimes the plan just needs to be consistently worked. Results will eventually come. Determination overcomes discouragement. Mr. Yates was concerned about how he would pay the bills, but that didn’t stop him from going about his daily tasks. He still tended to his flock, managed the ranch and did his best to provide for his family. Mr. Yates didn’t quit, didn’t look for excuses or a way out. He remained determined.

The great baseball coach, Tommy Lasorda, once said, “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.

Dig Deep

Unknown to Mr. Yates at the time was great wealth below the surface of his property. Whether it was Mr. Yates himself or the seismographic crew from the oil company, someone had a hunch there was an answer to his problems. It just need to be tapped into.

Sometimes individuals need to dig deep to find the determination, strength and will to move forward. At times, the answer to our problem, the solution we’re searching for or the key to our success lies somewhere within us. Know that it may take others to help with that mining process. Allow those individuals who have knowledge, insight and experience to come along side to assist and encourage you along the way.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us pales in comparison to what lies within us.”

Article written by Mark Turner, President/CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

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4 Leadership Lessons Taught By Early Spanish Explorer

ship burn her

Article written by Mark Turner, President/CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

On April 21, 1519, the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez sailed into the harbor of Vera Cruz, Mexico. He brought with him approximately 600 men, and yet over the next two years his vastly outnumbered forces were able to defeat Montezuma and all the warriors of the Aztec empire, making Cortez the conqueror of all Mexico. How was this incredible feat accomplished, when two prior expeditions failed to even establish a colony on Mexican soil? Here’s the secret. Cortez knew from the very beginning that his men faced incredible odds. He knew the road before them would be dangerous and difficult. He knew his men would be tempted to abandon their quest and return to Spain. And so, as soon as Cortez and his men had come ashore and unloaded their provisions, he ordered their entire fleet of eleven ships destroyed. His men stood on the shore and watched as their only possibility of retreat burned and sank. And from that point on, they know there was no turning back. Their only option was to go forward, to conquer or die.

While the story of Hernando Cortez seems extreme, it brings to focus four principles to consider when determining a goal or objective.

Create a Plan

Knowing what you want your team to accomplish is one thing, creating a plan to accomplish it is another. The plan becomes a road map enabling you and your team to maneuver through and around any obstacles or concerns that might arise. As J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the Hobbit wrote, “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.”

Count the Costs

There are always some costs related to the pursuit of a goal. While there is reward in accomplishing the goal, one has to consider at what cost? The day those 11 ships burned and sank in the harbor, the accountant in the group of 600 men was no doubt calculating the financial loss. Will there be frustration and anxiety to deal with? How will morale be affected? Might team members choose to transfer out of the department or worse, choose to leave the organization? Sometimes the financial cost is less than the human toll.

Henry David Thoreau said, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”

Commit to the Goal

When it’s been determined the goal is worth pursuing, commit to the goal. There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you only do it when it’s convenient. When your committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results. Hernando Cortez was not simply interested in conquering, he was absolutely committed to it. He removed every doubt and excuse that would hinder success. Once an individual or team decides to go forward, it should be done with every intent to succeed at accomplishing the goal. Half-hearted attempts only bring about half-hearted results.

The story is told of a chicken and a pig who were talking one day and the chicken said, “Let’s start a restaurant.” The pig replied, “Good idea, but what should we call it?” “How about Ham and Eggs,” said the chicken. “No thanks,” said the pig, “I’d be committed, you’d only be involved.”

Complete the Mission

B.C. Forbes once said, “How you start is important, but it is how you finish that counts. In the race for success, speed is less important than stamina. The sticker outlasts the sprinter.” There are always challenges that need to be overcome but steady progress is indeed progress. Setting time frames and establishing benchmarks helps to determine just how well progress is being made. Celebrating small victories along the way can help keep others motivated. In the end, the reward is greater when you talk about what you did as opposed to what you hoped to do. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Well done is better than well said.” Even the Good Book encourages us to stay focused on the finish line, “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!”

Stay true to the purpose for pursuing the goal and pursue it with the intent to accomplish it.

Article written by Mark Turner, President/CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce.

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