Monthly Archives: September 2009

‘Where Have All The Leaders Gone?”-Lee Iacocca

Where have all the leaders gone book cover.

Remember Lee Iacocca, the man who rescued Chrysler Corporation from its death throes?  He’s now 82 years old and has a new book, ‘Where Have All The Leaders Gone?‘.

Lee Iacocca Says:

‘Am I the only guy in this country who’s fed up with what’s happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder! We’ve got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we’ve got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can’t even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, ‘Stay the course..’

Stay the course? You’ve got to be kidding. This is America , not the damned, ‘Titanic’. I’ll give you a sound bite: ‘Throw all the bums out!’

You might think I’m getting senile, that I’ve gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore..

The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs.. While we’re fiddling in Iraq , the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving ‘pom-poms’ instead of asking hard questions.. That’s not the promise of the ‘ America ‘ my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I’ve had enough. How about you?

I’ll go a step further. You can’t call yourself a patriot if you’re not outraged. This is a fight I’m ready and willing to have. The Biggest ‘C’ is Crisis! (Iacocca elaborates on nine C’s of leadership, with crisis being the first.)

Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It’s easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory. Or send someone else’s kids off to war when you’ve never seen a battlefield yourself. It’s another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down.

On September 11, 2001, we needed a strong leader more than any other time in our history. We needed a steady hand to guide us out of the ashes. A hell of a mess, so here’s where we stand.

We’re immersed in a bloody war with no plan for winning and no plan for leaving.

We’re running the biggest deficit in the history of the country.

We’re losing the manufacturing edge to Asia , while our once-great companies are getting slaughtered by health care costs.

Gas prices are skyrocketing, and nobody in power has a coherent energy policy. Our schools are in trouble.

Our borders are like sieves.

The middle class is being squeezed every which way.

These are times that cry out for leadership.

But when you look around, you’ve got to ask: ‘Where have all the leaders gone?’ Where are the curious, creative communicators? Where are the people of character, courage, conviction, omnipotence, and common sense? I may be a sucker for alliteration, but I think you get the  point.

Name me a leader who has a better idea for homeland security than making us take off our shoes in airports and throw away our shampoo?

We’ve spent billions of dollars building a huge new bureaucracy, and all we know how to do is react to things that have already happened.

Name me one leader who emerged from the crisis of Hurricane Katrina. Congress has yet to spend a single day evaluating the response to the hurricane or demanding accountability for the decisions that were made in the crucial hours after the storm.

Everyone’s hunkering down, fingers crossed, hoping it doesn’t happen again. Now, that’s just crazy. Storms happen.. Deal with it. Make a plan. Figure out what you’re going to do the next time.

Name me an industry leader who is thinking creatively about how we can restore our competitive edge in manufacturing. Who would have believed that there could ever be a time when ‘The Big Three’ referred to Japanese car companies? How did this happen, and more important, what are we going to do about it?

Name me a government leader who can articulate a plan for paying down the debit, or solving the energy crisis, or managing the health care problem. The silence is deafening. But these are the crises that are eating away at our country and milking the middle class dry.

I have news for the gang in Congress. We didn’t elect you to sit on your asses and do nothing and remain silent while our democracy is being hijacked and our greatness is being replaced with mediocrity. What is everybody so afraid of? That some bonehead on NBC news or CNN news will call them a name? Give me a break. Why don’t you guys show some spine for a change?

Had Enough? Hey, I’m not trying to be the voice of gloom and doom here.  I’m trying to light a fire. I’m speaking out because I have hope – I believe in America . In my lifetime, I’ve had the privilege of living through some of   America ‘s greatest moments. I’ve also experienced some of our worst crises: The ‘Great Depression,’ ‘World War  II,’ the ‘Korean War,’ the ‘Kennedy Assassination,’ the ‘Vietnam War,’ the 1970’s oil crisis, and the struggles of recent years culminating with 9/11.

If I’ve learned one thing, it’s this: ‘You don’t get anywhere by standing on the sidelines waiting for somebody else to take action. Whether it’s building a better car or building a better future for our children, we all have a role to play. That’s the challenge I’m raising in this book. It’s a “Call to Action” for people who, like me, believe in America ‘. It’s not too late, but it’s getting pretty close. So let’s shake off the crap and go to work. Let’s tell ’em all we’ve had ‘enough.’

Make your own contribution by sending this to everyone you know and care about. It’s our country, folks, and it’s our future. Our future is at stake!!


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A List of Inspiring Encounters

How much do you love CraigsList? I know there is that ugly shadow side to the List that has been in the news. However, like life, we can live in the light without delving in, or even being aware of, the dark. The simple decision of reaching out, posting something, or responding can be an adventure no matter. Yes, I know it can also be a waste of time, but I’m talking about the good stuff here…

My first sale on Craigslist was a large piece of carpet we pulled off the stage. Durable and multi-colored to fit most any decor, I knew someone could use the remnant. Right away I connected with the purchaser. Diane is another local women entrepreneur and artist of photography. Wedding photography specifically. Her eyes lit up when she spoke of how she enjoyed capturing the happy and tender moments of each bride and grooms special day. As small business owners we exchanged concern on the state of the economy and the costs of doing business. The meeting ended with me not only recycling a good piece of carpet but also picking up a Web site order. All she needed was a clean, simple, professional Web site she could update regularly without breaking the bank. This was an easy task for us of course, perfect size site to turn around quickly and an ideal client who knew what she wanted. She’s able to update her site easily and we even set her up to have her own blog. Of course a shout out to Kalyn at Connection Group for design and production of the site. 😉

The most recent CraigsList encounter took us south-west Michigan to the outskirts of Kalamazoo. I have been searching for reasonably priced, large, wooden whiskey barrels to use outside the school house as rain barrels. Have you ever priced these puppies? Not cheap – and I can’t get past the irony of using plastic barrels in an effort to being green… I’ll do it if it means keeping the water away from the historic building – but only in the back. You can’t argue, the plastic ones are seriously ugly. After a month or so of searching companies on the Web and ads in Craigslist we found two in Kalamazoo. The price was right so we headed South. In a quaint wooded setting tucked just outside of the urban sprawl of the university town we met Bonnie Jo Campbell. An award winning novelist who sells us the most perfect wooden barrels the universe could provide. Now where else but Craigslist could I find cast oak barrels, a women entrepreneur, artistic writer and micro-brewer in her own right? Check out her Web site and blog. Be sure to look for and purchase Bonnie Jo’s books at a local book store near you. Her cutting style is fresh and the stories center around rural Michigan at it’s core.

Until my next adventure I just needed to share some gratitude.

Support Michigan artists and buy local.
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