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Leadership: What Are You Overcoming?

Saturday was the Bearathon in Waco – a half marathon raising money for Baylor University scholarships. In the Waco paper was a picture of a runner. On the back of his T-shirt:

On January 10, 2008 while running I was run over by a truck. I broke my neck, back, shoulder, 20 ribs, pelvis, and punctured a lung. My heart stopped twice. What are you overcoming?

The story went on to tell about what happened that fateful day. He needed 12 pints of blood and besides everything documented on his T-shirt, he had a concussion and still can’t remember three weeks of his life. He had to learn to walk again and went from a wheelchair to a walker to crutches and then a cane. Five months after the accident he was running. Yes, it was very slow, but he was running.

As I think about “leadership” in our industry I ask you this question – “What are you overcoming?”

As I look back, I realize that the only thing I ever needed to overcome was myself. My attitude, my pity parties, my inabilities to make the tough decisions – even they were the right decisions. I needed to stop ignoring the red warning flags of hiring the wrong employee or, especially, not becoming a better manager.

So what do you need to overcome? Is it that you have competition? Grab a phone book (it is that yellow thing you use to keep the door open – that yellow thing we used to use before Google) and check out “attorneys.” Think there is competition there? Drive down the street and check out the restaurants. Think there is much competition in that business?

Do you need to overcome your inability to find the right employees? The first franchise I sold, while at Batteries Plus in the early `90s, was to a man who owned four McDonald’s. I thought at that time owning a McDonalds franchise was the as good as it could get. He told me 10 percent of his employees call in sick every day and he spent his time in a small office trying to get kids to come in to fill the shifts. I don’t know of one business on the planet, that serves people, that doesn’t cry out for good employees. It is always their number one challenge – regardless of the industry.

Three of my good friends are in the midst of cancer treatments. I find they have better attitudes than most people I know. Guess they figured out they must have a good attitude to try and beat this dreaded disease. And, yes, they are overcoming.

The challenge with leadership is that it is an every minute thing. What you did yesterday counts, but what’s more important is what you will do with your challenges today. Good leaders understand there will be challenges every day.

Good leaders know that inspiration means perspiration. Whatever you face in the next two weeks will, in most cases, be much easier than being run over by a truck! Continue being a leader in all you do!

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One comment on “Leadership: What Are You Overcoming?

  • A great story Mark! It hits the issue of day to day, circumstantial leadership on the mark (no pun intended). As a marathoner myself, I can totally relate to the concept of self measurement and management of physical and mental resources toward a goal. At Lloyd’s Glass in Pensacola, I focus on holding myself accountable to a positive attitude and solution based thinking at all times. As you so accurately demonstrated through examples, all businesses have their problems. It is our role to be the steady hand and positive model to guide those that rely on us through the rough patches and help in celebrating the hard earned victories where they come.

    Thanks again for the insight!

    Barry Lintner