Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Nature of Heroes

I’ve been thinking lately about the nature of the hero: the Rosa Parkses of the world, the airline pilot who last January landed the plane in the middle of the Hudson River, the men and women who are beaten down by the market, who have lost everything they owned, and who still awake each morning with a smile, committed to teaching their children that the world is a bright and benevolent place.

I’m trying to pinpoint the common denominator, and I believe I have found it: heroes do what they are supposed to do. Rosa Parks wasn’t supposed to sit in the back of that bus. The airline pilot—Captain Sully—did what he was supposed to do, and he stayed calm. Every day, men and women wake up and do what they are supposed to do for their children, and that makes them heroes.

The economic slowdown was at least in part because people were not doing what they should have been doing. Were the people who applied for mortgages they could not afford simply because of low teaser rates doing what they were supposed to do? Were the bankers who were giving those mortgages doing what they were supposed to do? Were the politicians over-seeing those banks doing what they were supposed to do?

The blame is almost endless, and it has already been well distributed.

Last year, I wrote a book: Say Hello to the Elephants: A Four-Part Process for Finding Clarity, Confronting Problems, and Moving On. The book could have been just as easily titled: Doing What We Should Be Doing: Finding Solutions and Moving On.

And now, I want to focus on this exact topic. This blog—What We Should Be Doing—is a complement to my book, with bi-weekly thoughts about what businessmen and women should be doing: working together to find ways to move past the economic slowdown, finding our problems, dealing with them, and waking up each morning to a bright and benevolent world.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Tony,
    "Say Hello to the Elephants" is inspiring and perfect for the times we're experiencing. I think your chapter on 'The Law of Unintended Consequences' is particularily useful as we move into the "new normal" era.
    "What we should be doing," is a perfect sequel to "Say Hello to the Elephants" and one of my thoughts to your question revolves around the word integrity. A word that I recently explored in a seven month intensive program on leadership.
    There is a natural law of integrity, one that is quite different from the one the SEC and other regulatory agencies are trying to mandate. I'm talking about personal integrity.
    Why integrity? Because without it nothing works. Without integrity the life you care about is not possible; to live true to the life you envision.
    Integrity is about keeping your promises and doing what you say you will do,no matter what. Integrity is about honoring your word.
    Everytime I dishonor my word I disintegrate myself. When I restore my integrity I am more complete; to thy own self be true. Integrity is about being whole and complete.
    Tony,in my opinion, now more than ever, we as leaders of our businesses, our communities, our families, nead to live a life connected to the things that matter in our life: to listen for and reliably deliver that which makes a real difference for what people in our lives care about.
    Thanks for asking the question, Tony.
    Best regards,
    W. Duke Grkovic ---Richmond, VA