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"Be tactful: do not overlook your own opportunity."
Today’s fortune came from my daughter Asia. As you can imagine, today’s blog post is a special moment for me, as I have the privilege of introducing her to you. Asia is 16 years old. She plays bass guitar in a rock band, she is the salutatorian of her sophomore class in her high school, a prolific writer, and a talented illustrator. Asia has the whole world in front of her, and as you can see, I am a proud father… and for good reason!
Today’s Marketing Cookie is about two important factors of leadership.
I am writing today’s cookie from Terminal B at Logan Airport in Boston while waiting to board my flight to Chicago. I am excited this morning because over the next two days, I will attending a series of meetings as a new member of the International Board of Directors for the American Marketing Association. I considered the nomination to such a position, a great honor and was profoundly humbled to learn that I had been elected by the members to serve them as best I can over the next three years.
Seven years ago, a few of us set out to improve the Boston Chapter by meeting every Saturday morning from 8:30 to 10:29… because no one should ever meet for two hours. We met like that for one hundred and sevety consecutive Saturdays and grew our chapter one week at a time. It wasn’t easy and although we made a lot of mistakes, our chapter grew from the seventh largest to the fourth largest chapter in North America. Our use of social media served as a model for the Association’s social networking site, and our Score Card template is being used by most local chapters to measure and optimize performance. The two terms I served as President were among the most challenging and rewarding of my career as a marketing professional.
Two years ago, I was selected as the Volunteer Chapter Leader of the Year and given an honorary lifetime membership in the association. When I writing my acceptance speech, I realized two important factors that contributed to my success and the growth of our local chapter. As I wrote the words of my speech to articulate these two factors, and would eventually struggle to say from the podium, I was greatly humbled by the magnitude of their truth.
The first of these is collaboration. To put it plainly, I’ve accomplished nothing by myself. I may have served as the pied piper and worked relentlessly to bring people to the table, but unless they were willing to raise their hands and put their shoulders to the fly wheel, we wouldn’t have moved the organization forward. I simply could not have done it without the many volunteers who answered the call to serve the community.
The second of these factors is gratitude. I called it “the currency of thank you”, which is how I paid volunteers for their generous contributions. I learned that when appreciation is given sincerely, consistently and publicly, it has the power to move unshakable mountains, build energy and momentum, and it gets things done. By getting into the practice of demonstrating my appreciation for others, I was able to truly understand the privilege of serving.
As I sit at the table over the next few days with some of the world’s greatest marketing minds, I bring with me these two factors. I struggle to understand how today’s fortune can fit into the valueable lessons I’ve learned about leadership. On one hand, today’s fortune recommends that, “I shouldn’t overlook my own opportunity”, which sounds somewhat selfish to me. On the other hand, my greatest achievements have been a result of the times when I focused less on myself and successfully recognized the efforts of others. Without exception, I’ve discovered many more opportunities when working together with others, than I could have ever found on my own.
I suppose for now, I’ll choose to ingore the recommendation on today’s fortune, and stick with what I know.
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