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Is what you do important?

By Jim Whitt I was on a conference call as part of my preparation for speaking at a staff development meeting for a trade association. The CEO and a couple of senior staff members were on the other end of the line. My parting question was, “What’s the most important thing you want your people to take away from my presentation?” The CEO didn’t hesitate, “I want each of them to believe that what they do is important.” To drive that point home in my presentation, I decided to share this story about my friend Kent Stroman. Kent grew up… Read More

August 13th, 2018 at 3:18pm

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What does the Flag mean to you?

By Jim Whitt My friend John Teeter shared a story with me that is appropriate as we celebrate Independence Day: “When I was 23 years old I worked in the parts department at Teeter Irrigation. It was a hot summer day when R.D. Floyd, one of our longtime customers, walked into the store.  This was not unusual as R.D. came in frequently to pick up parts. What was unusual was that he was carrying a tattered and torn American flag — the flag, which until a few minutes earlier, flew outside our store. R.D. was a man of few words… Read More

June 14th, 2018 at 8:53am

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What a dog can teach us about customer service

By Jim Whitt After picking up the mail Charlie Mitchell and I were on our way out of the Post Office when a man pointed to Charlie and asked, “Is that a service dog?” Before I could answer he added, “If he’s not you can’t bring him in here. I might get sued.” “Are you the postmaster here?” I asked. “No, I’m the station manager,” he replied. I stuck out my hand and said, “My name is Jim Whitt.” He reluctantly took my hand with a limp grip but didn’t offer his name in return. “I’ve done a lot of… Read More

June 9th, 2018 at 4:53pm

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The Perfect Place

By Jim Whitt There’s a story of a man who wished for a world where people wouldn’t have to struggle. It was unfair, he believed, that for all the progress humanity had made throughout history that so much of the world’s population still struggled just to survive. He roamed the world searching for the solution and while traveling in the Middle East encountered a beggar in the streets. He was not an ordinary beggar, however. He knew what the traveler was searching for — the perfect place. The man followed the beggar who led him through darkened streets to an… Read More

February 16th, 2018 at 3:50pm

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Giving what is most difficult to give: What Doc Lunsford taught me about Christmas

By Jim Whitt The following story about Doc Lunsford was published on December 23, 1991. It remains one of my favorites. So much so that I decided to make it a tradition and share it with our subscribers each Christmas. At a time when Christmas seems to have lost much of its meaning in our hectic lives, it is my sincere desire that this story about Doc would remind us of what we are truly celebrating. Have a Merry Christmas and a Purposeful 2018. We called him “Doc” – Doc Lunsford. I never knew how he came by the nickname… Read More

December 18th, 2017 at 10:36am

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A lesson in race relations

By Jim Whitt There was one summertime activity that dominated all others growing up in my little hometown of Shidler, Oklahoma — baseball. And no one loved baseball more than my father. It would be hard to count the boys who grew up playing on teams he coached. The first league he coached in that I can remember consisted of two teams — the Mules and the Frogs. As I recall, my brother Marc played for the Mules. A few years later Dad coached the town team Marc played for and I was the batboy. The team won their league… Read More

October 5th, 2017 at 6:03am

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The future is a foreign country

By Jim Whitt There’s a monument in Liberal, Kan. that reminds me of how different the world looked like 30 years ago. It’s easy to miss because it lies flat on the ground like a stone marking a grave in a cemetery. And in a sense, that’s what it is. It’s a concrete slab upon which once stood a Purina feed mill. I used to ship feed out of that plant when I was in sales with Purina. When I left the company in 1987 that mill was running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It was idle… Read More

August 15th, 2017 at 6:03pm

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The 7 levels of leadership

My friend Kathy Wright has written an article entitled The 7 levels of leadership that is required reading for anyone who wants to understand what it takes to be an effective leader. I want to share the first two levels with you because you’ll learn what it takes to be an ineffective leader. Leaders at Level 1 typically work in crisis mode because they tend to attract and focus on problems. They have no real plan for where they are going and communication skills tend to be poor with no ability to inspire or motivate others. They tend to have… Read More

June 22nd, 2017 at 9:19am

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A Memorial Day Tribute

By Jim Whitt As this was our first trip to France we suffered from a perpetual state of directional disability. And that is how we met Michel. We wandered through the gate of a small cemetery not a stone’s throw from Omaha Beach in Normandy.  Michel did not speak much English but fortunately, Suedy, a friend of ours from the U.S. spoke a little French. So, with much hand signaling, exaggerated facial expressions and a few exchanges of French and English we were able to communicate. It turned out to be a most fascinating conversation. Michel explained to us that… Read More

May 26th, 2017 at 4:41pm

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A Superhuman Race

By Jim Whitt We’ve all seen the devastation of the fires that have swept across the Great Plains recently destroying lives and livelihoods. In its wake, however, we have seen an even more powerful force. People have come to the aid of ranchers and farmers donating money, food, feed for livestock and materials to rebuild fences and structures. Many have taken time from their own work and traveled many miles to assist in the rebuilding. This passage from The Transformational Power of Purpose is a reminder that times of tragedy serve as a catalyst that liberates the human spirit to… Read More

April 3rd, 2017 at 7:39pm

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