Note: Following is a client letter originally distributed via email on June 30th.
Dear Clients and Colleagues:
Monthly letters normally attempt to dive into a single issue arising out of chosen practice areas. This month’s version is going to be a little more “surfacey” yet ripe with opportunities to travel deeper should you choose to do so on your own time. Of course you can opt out by deleting right now, which may be the whole magic of email.
First truth comes from a client presentation made last year at a business school. The general subject was competition, a red meat topic if there ever was one for aspiring MBAers. The quote can actually be attributed to former Ohio State football coach, Paul Brown, who later became the Cleveland Browns namesake:
“When you win, say little. When you lose, say less.”
Talk about a truth that’s gone straight out the door in our hyper-media, grace challenged world. This quote has been following yours truly around since February so consider it now fully shared. If you’re not winning or losing then keep reading.
The second truth comes from a Lenten handbook date marked Wed., April 16th. It builds off a biblical passage, Hebrews 12:1-3. Rosabeth Moss Kanter once observed that “Change is hardest in the middle…Everything looks like a failure in the middle…Everyone loves inspiring beginnings and happy endings; it is just the middles that involve hard work.” Thankless, mundane drudgery might be closer to the point. If you find yourself identifying with this stage then take comfort in the fact that it won’t last forever. Something will move things out of the middle. That’s not to say you will automatically move forward.
The last truth is a doozy — you’ve been warned — and probably could use better perspective than what this shortened format will allow. Check out now or forever be enlightened.
Following is a passage from the philosopher, Pascal, on human nature. The source of this leave behind can be traced directly to Ken Boa and his December 2013 letter. The passage has been highlighted since then and am sharing it now for the eminently qualified thinkers among you (hint: Not me.)
“Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him. A vapor, a drop of water, suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this.” (“Pensees,” p. 347.)
Now you probably don’t want to scare anyone around the campfire this summer with this last one. But the message is worth considering — as are all three in your own leadership contexts.
Enjoy the Summer,