I doubt that Merle Haggard would have reached his true potential as a singer had he not taken a detour through San Quentin. Mama Tried was a cautionary tale — a reminder that no matter how much someone may try to steer us down the right road it’s up to us to choose that road. The thing that Merle Haggard thought would wreck his career turned out to be the thing that took his career to iconic status. He became successful when he dared to sing about the experiences that shaped who he was.
Search by Date
One of the celebrities who played in the tournament was Charley Pride. Charley performed a few of his songs at a reception during the tournament. Getting to meet him was just as exciting for me as meeting any of the Major Leaguers. One of his greatest hits was, Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone? I told Charley that I had a friend in junior college who was from Freedom, Oklahoma so whenever that song was playing on the radio we sang along but changed the lyrics from, “Is anybody going to San Antone or Phoenix, Arizona” to “Is anybody going to San Antone or Freedom, Oklahoma.”
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.
We called him “Doc” – Doc Lunsford. I never knew how he came by the nickname of Doc – his real name was Claude. He never had been a doctor – in fact he didn’t even have a grade school education. As a boy Doc had polio and was unable to attend school. He lived with his parents until they passed away.
I’ve worked on ranches, farms and feedlots and even built bridges. I’ve worked in blistering heat and in freezing rain and snow. And I thank God that I did. I always have a sense of gratitude when I see people getting their hands dirty engaged in physical labor. I have that same sense of gratitude for people who stock shelves, work the registers, wait tables or perform any job that involves long hours, sore feet and aching backs.
In 2020 everything we see in the news is scary. It’s like a never-ending horror movie where a two-headed monster — pandemic and pandemonium — roams the earth seeking whom it may devour. One head spews a poisonous virus like a Biblical plague. The other morphs into a legion of masked demons that run rampant in the streets rioting, looting and burning. It is not a beautiful day in the neighborhood. The monster attacks its victims physically but exacts an even greater toll psychologically. The result is anxiety, fear, anger and frustration.
COVID-19 turned the world upside down. Then the death of George Floyd set it on fire. Since then it gets a daily dose of gasoline from pundits, politicians and protesters. As it burns, we wonder, “Will the world ever be normal again?” The answer depends on your definition of normal.
We have no idea what will happen as a result of coronavirus pandemic. More people will suffer and die. But when you look at life on a continuum over many years this is normal. What is not normal is the idea that we should not have to experience any degree of pain or should ever have to be uncomfortable. The economy will turn around. The markets will go up. New businesses and jobs will be created. That’s normal. But to expect things to remain that way is not.
Hank Williams made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry in 1949. At the time Roy Acuff was known as the King of Country Music. “I was a pretty good imitator of Roy Acuff,” Hank said. “But, then I found they already had a Roy Acuff, so I started singin’ like myself.” It turns out people were hungry for something different. The Opry audience demanded six encores. Today’s success can blind us to the opportunities of tomorrow. But we’ll never know what those opportunities are if we aren’t willing to buck the trend.
We’ve used this process to completely restructure organizations. It not only clarifies existing roles but identifies roles that need to be created and those that need to be eliminated. When the right people are in the right roles it’s like putting round pegs in round holes and square pegs in square holes. Everything fits. Productivity, synergy and morale improve dramatically.
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 2020!
We are living in the age of disruption. Of course, the world has always been in a state of disruption, but it’s now happening at warp speed. It’s affecting every industry and field of endeavor. It’s not a question of whether your world is going to be disrupted, it’s a matter of choosing to be the disrupter or the disrupted. If you choose not to be a disrupter you will be playing catch up in a game where you probably won’t catch up. But if you choose to be a disrupter be prepared — you will be attacked by the disrupted.
All too often it’s easy to see the negative in situations or people. The following is a short parable, sent to me by a subscriber that illustrates the importance of perspective. Makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for everything we have, instead of worrying about what we don’t have.
Instead of dictating, managers should be “producers” who collaborate with their
employees. A culture of collaboration engages employees. They don’t
just take ownership of their ideas,
but they share ownership of ideas.
Futurist Daniel Burrus describes the difference between change and transformation like this, “Change comes from the outside in, forcing us to react and manage crises. Transformation, on the other hand, whether it is business or personal, always comes from the inside out, and that gives us far more positive control while allowing us to actively shape the future.”
Transformation always begins with the question of purpose. When you are purpose-driven you become proactive instead of reactive.
I thought about the American soldiers Michel described. Imagine, they were the survivors of a blood bath on beaches not far from where we stood. Over 9,000 of their brothers-in-arms are buried in the nearby Normandy American Cemetery. And yet, somehow in the midst of this hell on earth, their battle-hardened hearts were still soft enough to show compassion for Michel and other children like him. These liberators who had sacrificed so much were willing to give away what little comforts they had to a child who had absolutely nothing to offer in return.
There’s a big difference between being a manager and being a leader. In the words of John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Managers push, leaders pull. People don’t follow managers, they follow leaders.