Sunday at the Post

QUOTE/STORY OF THE WEEK...

“Now it isn't easy to stand up for truth and for justice. Sometimes it means being frustrated. When you tell the truth and take a stand, sometimes it means that you will walk the streets with a burdened heart. Sometimes it means losing a job...means being abused and scorned. It may mean having a seven-, eight-year old child asking a daddy, "Why do you have to go to jail so much?"

– Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., from his speech, “Why I Oppose the Vietnam War”

From Tavis Smiley...Tremendous PBS Special on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Smiley wrote: “The day after his speech, the editorial boards of numerous mainstream newspapers denounced King's stance on Vietnam, claiming that he had speciously fused the struggle for civil rights with the politics of war, and plainly overstepped his bounds. The New York Times cast ‘Beyond Vietnam’ as ‘wasteful and self-defeating,’ while the Washington Post averred that ‘many who have listened to [King] with respect will never again accord him the same confidence. He has diminished his usefulness to his cause, to his country and to his people.’ The severity of the overwhelming media pushback brought King to tears.

“‘Beyond Vietnam’ resulted in King's being disinvited to the White House by President Lyndon B. Johnson and a public rebuke by the leaders of the NAACP and the Urban League. None of this compares, however, to the fateful day exactly one year after King had called the nation to look ‘Beyond Vietnam.’ On April 4, 1968, King was killed by an assassin's bullet on a Memphis motel balcony. Given the adulation and adoration contemporarily bestowed upon Dr. King, it is mind-boggling to note that on the day he died, King was America's persona non grata. Almost three-quarters of the nation had turned against him and more than half of Black America had spurned his witness.”

Today we honor the life of Dr. King, who tragically was assassinated 42 years ago today.

“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land! And so I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man! Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!” – Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., April 3, 1968, Mason Temple (Church of God in Christ Headquarters), Memphis, Tenn.

THINGS I HEARD AROUND THE NFL...

“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” -- Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

1. The trade between the Browns and Eagles on Friday left Philly with 10 picks -- before they trade quarterback Donovan McNabb. The Eagles are a young team, and with 10 additional picks they’ll get even younger. I suspect the Birds are looking to move up in the first round if the right player is within their grasp, but the question may have to be asked if they trade McNabb: Are they too young?

2. With all these trades and free-agent moves, are the Browns improved? Does the move to add cornerback Sheldon Brown now mean they’ll take an offensive lineman or a safety in the first? Offensive lineman will be the value at their pick.

3. The word around the NFL is that the Redskins might be talking about moving up from the fourth pick overall to acquire Sam Bradford. The ‘Skins have made no secret about their intention to add a quarterback in this draft, but the question remains, which quarterback do they really like? My sources tell me they love Sam Bradford and would love to get in position to draft him.

4. Oklahoma wide receiver Dez Bryant is slipping down the first round — quickly. The Cowboys’ interest is minimal, and they would love to trade the pick if Bryant were to fall to them. Like the rest of the league, the Cowboys are worried about Bryant’s life skills.

5. Dallas was not interested in spending $2.5 million on a roster bonus for Flozell Adams, which is why they released him Friday. The Cowboys acknowledges that Adams can still be an effective player, but durability issues were a major concern. I suspect the Bears will be all over him.

6. Another prospect who’s slipping appears to be Rutgers offensive tackle Anthony Davis, who once appeared to be the second tackle likely to be taken but might now be the fourth or fifth.

7. Seattle, Washington, Buffalo, Cleveland, Carolina and New England all appear to have spent significant time with Tim Tebow. From the people I’ve talked to, it now appears likely that he’ll go in the bottom of the first round.

LEADERSHIP IMPROVEMENT IDEA...

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” -- Stephen W. Hawking

Define Your Personal Leadership Brand in Five Steps

By: Norm Smallwood

Norm Smallwood is co-founder of The RBL Group, a strategic HR and leadership systems advisory firm. He is author, with Dave Ulrich and Kate Sweetman, of the 2009 Harvard Business Press title, “The Leadership Code: Five Rules to Lead By” and, with Dave Ulrich, on the 2007 title, “Leadership Brand: Developing Customer-Focused Leaders to Drive Performance and Build Lasting Value” (Harvard Business School Press, 2007)

You probably already have a personal leadership brand. But do you have the right one?

The question is not trivial. A leadership brand conveys your identity and distinctiveness as a leader. It communicates the value you offer. If you have the wrong leadership brand for the position you have, or the position you want, then your work is not having the impact it could. A strong personal leadership brand allows all that's powerful and effective about your leadership to become known to your colleagues, enabling you to generate maximum value.

What's more, choosing a leadership brand can help give you focus. When you clearly identify what you want to be known for, it is easier to let go of the tasks and projects that do not let you deliver on that brand. Instead, you can concentrate on the activities that do.

So how do you build a leadership brand? My co- author Dave Ulrich and I came up with these five steps.

1. What results do you want to achieve in the next year?

The first thing you should do is ask yourself, "In the next 12 months, what are the major results I want to deliver at work?" Take into account the interests of these four groups:

Customers

Investors

Employees

The organization

Dave and I once worked with a very talented and hardworking executive we'll call Tricia. Her successful performance in several varied roles at her organization — she'd been an auditor, a process engineer and a customer-service manager — earned her a promotion into a general manager position, charging her with running one of the company's largest businesses. To succeed at her first large-scale leadership position and meet the complex set of expectations she would encounter in it, she knew she needed to become more deliberate about the way she led others. In short, she knew she needed a new leadership brand, and asked us for help in forging it.

We advised Tricia to begin by focusing on the expectations of those she was working to serve, rather than on what she identified as her personal strengths. Leadership brand is outward focused; it is about delivering results. While identifying innate strengths is an important part of defining your leadership brand, the starting point is clarifying what is expected of you.

2. What do you wish to be known for?

Tricia knew she was seen as technically proficient and hardworking, but somewhat aloof. These traits, she realized, added up to a leadership brand that would not take her very far in her new role.

With that in mind, Tricia picked six descriptors that balanced the qualities that came naturally to her with those that would be critical in her new position. She then tested her choices by sharing them with her boss, her peers and some of her most trusted subordinates. She simply asked them, "Are these the traits that someone in this general manager role should exhibit?" Their responses helped her refine her list to ultimately include the following traits:

Collaborative

Deliberate

Independent

Innovative

Results-oriented

Strategic

3. Define your identity

The next step is to combine these six words into three two-word phrases that reflect your desired identity. This exercise allows you to build a deeper, more complex description: not only what you want to be known for, but how you will probably have to act to get there. For example, calmly driven differs from tirelessly driven. Experimenting with the many combinations that you can make from your six chosen words helps you crystallize your personal leadership brand.

Tricia combined the six descriptors into the following three phrases:

Independently innovative

Deliberately collaborative

Strategically results-oriented

She tested this with several colleagues, neatly pulled together what came easily to Tricia ("independently innovative" and "strategically results-oriented") with what she could accomplish through disciplined effort ("deliberately collaborative"). Tricia was satisfied that it aptly described both the kind of leader she was and the kind of leader she was becoming.

4. Construct your leadership brand statement, then test it.

In this step, you pull everything together in a leadership brand statement that makes a "so that" connection between what you want to be known for (Steps 2 and 3) and your desired results (Step 1).

Fill in the blanks:?? "I want to be known for being ______________ so that I can deliver __________."

Tricia's leadership brand statement read: "I want to be known for being independently innovative, deliberately collaborative and strategically results-oriented so that I can deliver superior financial outcomes for my business."

With your leadership brand statement drafted, ask the following three questions to see if it needs to be refined:

Is this the brand identity that best represents who I am and what I can do?

Is this brand identity something that creates value in the eyes of my organization and key stakeholders?

What risks am I taking by exhibiting this brand? Can I live this brand?

After going through this exercise, Tricia was satisfied that she had crafted a personal leadership brand that was appropriate for her new role and within her power to live and make real.

5. Make your brand identity real

Espoused-but-unlived brands create cynicism because they promise what they do not deliver. To ensure that the leadership brand you advertise is embodied in your day-to-day work, check in with those around you. Do they see you as you wish to be seen? If you say you are flexible and approachable, do others find you so?

After Tricia defined her personal leadership brand, she shared it with others. She let people know that she was evolving as a leader and invited their feedback, especially on her efforts at working collaboratively.

The exercise of forging a leadership brand and the day-to-day discipline of making it real, Tricia said, helped her stay focused on the most important challenges of her new role.

To be sure, your leadership brand isn't static; it should evolve in response to the different expectations you face at different times in your career. In our work, we have seen that leaders with the self-awareness and drive to evolve their leadership brands are more likely to be successful over the long term — and to enjoy the journey more.

ARTICLES YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED THAT AREN’T WORTH MISSING...

“We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It's one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it's another to think that yours is the only path.” -- Paulo Coelho

Tragic Story…ND recruit dies in spring break accident. Standout lineman Matt James fell from a third-floor hotel balcony

Hoops gods smiled on Hahn

STORIES TO SHARE...

“In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand and we will understand only what we are taught.” -- Baba Dioum

OLD MAN AND HIS DOG

Author unknown

An old man and his dog were walking along a country road, enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to the man that he had died. He remembered dying and realized, too, that the dog had been dead for many years. He wondered where the road would lead them, and continued onward.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall, white arch that gleamed in the sunlight. When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother of pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He was pleased that he had finally arrived at heaven, and the man and his dog walked toward the gate. As he got closer, he saw someone sitting at a beautifully carved desk off to one side.

When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, but is this heaven?"

"Yes, it is, sir," the man answered.

"Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.

"Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up."

The gatekeeper gestured to his rear, and the huge gate began to open.

"I assume my friend can come in..." the man said, gesturing toward his dog.

But the reply was, "I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets."

The man thought about it, then thanked the gatekeeper, turned back toward the road, and continued in the direction he had been going. After another long walk, he reached the top of another long hill, and he came to a dirt road which led through a farm gate. There was no fence, and it looked as if the gate had never been closed, as grass had grown up around it. As he approached the gate, he saw a man just inside, sitting in the shade of a tree in a rickety old chair, reading a book.

"Excuse me!" he called to the reader. "Do you have any water?"

"Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there," the man said, pointing to a place that couldn't be seen from outside the gate. "Come on in and make yourself at home."

"How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog.

"He's welcome too, and there's a bowl by the pump," he said.

They walked through the gate and, sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a dipper hanging on it and a bowl next to it on the ground. The man filled the bowl for his dog, and then took a long drink himself.

When both were satisfied, he and the dog walked back toward the man, who was sitting under the tree waiting for them, and asked, "What do you call this place?" the traveler asked.

"This is heaven," was the answer.

"Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "It certainly doesn't look like heaven, and there's another man down the road who said that place was heaven."

"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates?"

"Yes, it was beautiful."

"Nope. That's hell."

"Doesn't it offend you for them to use the name of heaven like that?"

"No. I can see how you might think so, but it actually saves us a lot of time. They screen out the people who are willing to leave their best friends behind."

Follow me on Twitter: michaelombardi

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