The Cycle of Life

I am currently sitting on a beach in Port Aransas, TX with my wife Sarah, our son Lucas, his wife Erica, and our grandson JW (now 2 ½ years old).   Almost 30 years ago Sarah and I brought our son Lucas down to this very same beach.  Yesterday as I watched Lucas expose his son JW to the wonders of the ocean, I flashed back to when I did the same thing to him 3 decades prior.   What he did with his son is what I did with mine.  He held his hand very tightly as together they walked towards the ocean.  You could tell that JW was unsure about what he was looking at.  It was a lot larger than his bathtub or his Grandpa’s swimming pool.  As JW’s feet first felt the ocean water, his eyes lit up with wonder.  He reached down and grabbed a handful of sand

Memorial Day

The other day, someone came up to me and wished me “Happy Memorial Day”.  I don’t understand that.  How can the day, where we pause and reflect on those who gave their lives in defense of our freedom, be happy?  It’s like telling someone who recently lost a loved one “Have a happy funeral”.   We as a Nation take freedom for granted, because it is all we have ever known.  Folks wake-up each day able to enjoy freedoms, but they came at a cost.  Memorial Day is intended to be that day we as a Nation remember the cost.  Since our founding fathers, over 665 thousand Americans have given their lives in defense of our freedoms.   Most recently over 6000 have died protecting our freedoms and our way of life in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And, behind each of those fallen heroes is a Family that mourns the loss of their loved

Leaders Have Fun Too

Some folks believe it is ironic that one of my leadership principles is “Have Fun”.  They believe that being a leader is all about dedication and hard work.  That’s true, but it is not the complete story.  There is more to life than just work.  We must have fun as well. I believe that leaders must demonstrate that it is OK to have fun.  They must show those folks around them that they have fun, and want them to as well.  They should talk about things other than work.  They should highlight their passions and show everyone what they enjoy. There are people who believe that they should work hard today, but play hard tomorrow.  I hear that all the time.  Folks tell me that they have goals and aspirations, and that if they don’t work hard to accomplish those today they will fall short.  The problem with that logic is

Leadership in American Universities

I had the privilege of serving in the US Army for 35 years, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant General.   After I retired from the Army, I was equally privileged to become a leader at one of our Nation’s universities for a couple of years.  Those years gave me insights into university operations.   I tell folks all the time that I think the two most important groups in our society are the members of our Armed Forces who protect our freedoms and our way of life, and our educators who guarantee our future.  As a result of that, I am always looking for ways to improve operations.  I think all would agree that we have some work to do in improving university operations.   From my time at a university, I came to believe we are struggling across America within our institutions of higher learning.  The reasons for that are numerous. 

Achieving a Work Life Balance

There is more to life than just work.  Over the course of my military career, Sarah and I have spent many years living in Europe.  It is interesting to note that in Europe, folks work to live.  In America, we tend to live to work.  Think about it.  There is a distinct difference. One of my leadership principles from my book is achieve a work-life balance.  Leaders must demonstrate that it is OK to work hard, and play hard.  They must highlight the fact that they have a Family and friends that are as important to them as their work.  And always remember, your effectiveness as a leader is measured in deeds, not words.  You can’t just say that your Family is important to you, and then make work your priority. It is important to have priorities in life.  You must look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself what are
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