Anonymous Distributor

Where has this year gone? Darned if I know.

At least the year ends with holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Hanukkah and Kwanza. It’s a time for reflection, for family, for eating or should I say “overeating,” and for being grateful for what you have. If you’re able, please help a family who needs your assistance. There are so many people unemployed who need our help. Maybe your company or department, big or small, can adopt a family for the holidays and make a difference in their daily lives. You and your employees will feel good and the family you help will be eternally grateful. It doesn’t take much, but it does take a “first step” to get “the ball rolling.” Just do it. You’ll never regret it.


Dan McCarthy, who writes a terrific blog called “Great Leadership,” recently asked this question: “As a leader, what should the sign on your wall or desk say?”

My sign says, “Get Over It!” And it’s there on my wall for me first and then for others who see it as they leave my office. My sign reminds me and them not to worry obsessively about things that are really not important. I’d be the first to say that worrying or getting upset about nothing important is really easy to do. But none of us needs that additional but absolutely unnecessary stress. But what do other people’s signs say?”

Here are a few sayings or pictures that McCarthy noted as being on the office walls or desks of business leaders: 1) “No Whining” on the desk of James Parker, former CEO of Southwest Airlines; 2) “The Buck Starts Here” on the desk of Donald Trump; 3) “Be Brief, Be Brilliant, Be Gone” on the wall of Mark Goodman, CEO of Twist Image; 4) A picture of Henry Ford on Bill Gates’ wall to remind him that Ford didn’t listen to his customers who wanted cars in colors other than black, ultimately resulting in a large market share loss to General Motors; 5) “Leaders should be able to Stand Alone, Take the Heat, Bear the Pain, Tell the Truth, and Do What’s Right,” on the wall of Brian Morehouse, coach of the Hope College women’s basketball team; and 6) “Be Realistic, Demand the Impossible” on the wall of T.J. Rodgers, founder and CEO of Cypress Semiconductor.

My favorite in McCarthy’s list was a poster on the office wall of former VeriFone CEO Hatim Tyabji that appeared as follows: “There was a poster that consisted of 12 blocks, each with a photo of an Irish setter. The first 11 blocks show the dog standing, not responding to a command to ‘sit.’ Finally, in block 12, the Irish setter sits. ‘Good Dog,’ reads the poster. Tyabji says the poster means that ‘leaders must be clear, consistent and repetitive, repeating the message until it sticks.’”


My one-sentence summary of the 2010 OPE business year in my part of the world goes like this: “It started early with a bang and ended early with a whimper.” And that sums it up very well.


Clarence Otis Jr. is the chairman and chief executive of Darden Restaurants Inc., which operates Olive Garden, Red Lobster and other sit-down casual-dining chains. He has some pretty profound statements about listening and allowing people to express their views.

“Over time,” Otis said, “I found my leadership style evolving into one that’s centered around listening. You have to allow room for other people to express their views. As you move into leadership positions, if you are quick to express your point of view, you never hear anyone else’s. There’s a lot to be said about the power of being quiet versus the power of being heard. I had a self-awareness of how I came across to others. That’s important. I didn’t want to come off as crowding other people out. I don’t think any good manager should.”


Don’t forget your employees who were at your side through another tough year. They’ve remained faithful with extra responsibilities and smaller raises than normal — at least mine have. Your employees are your company’s greatest asset. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. Can you imagine what 2010 would have been like without some of your key players?

The New Year is coming. Choose to greet it with renewed optimism. Choose to focus on all that is good in your life. Choose to love and appreciate family and friends. Choose to “Get Over It” and fight only the battles worth fighting. 2011 can be and will be a great year if you choose to make it so.


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