Ron's Material Leadership Blog

It is my sincerest hope that the stories I share are helpful to others. I have experienced first hand that many people toil in obscurity, searching for answers, ashamed to reach out and ask for help. This blog will contain experiences and wisdom that I have gained over the years that I hope will offer guidance in dealing with some of life's challenges.

Why the name material leadership? If you are curious the answer is on my website.
The link on the side bar.

Lead well


Saturday, October 6, 2007

Relating to Others

As a leader we must have the ability to relate to any number of people. This weekend I had a unique experience that I would like to share with you. I met a biker.

Larry was a biker. Not your forty something midlife yuppy trying to redefine his manhood on a Harley. No Larry was a biker. He carried a carved bone handled knife in a leather sheath. He wore road cured chaps over well worn levis and a broken-in leather jacket that clearly was the cure for serious bouts of road rash. A black bandana covered thinning hair; sunglasses protecting eyes that have seen more of life than many ever will. A hand rolled a cigarette dangled from his lips. No filters, no conforming to the ways of civilized man here. A guy that cussed as easily as he breathed. Rough and tough a guy who has seen things you don't ask about.

He should have scared us. He should have had us quaking in our shoes. Two middle aged guys meeting on a Saturday morning to discuss the bible; two men who admittedly have seen little of the violence and tragedy of this world. But there was no fear, we were firmly rooted in our faith and open to what may happen.

My friend and I talked to Larry for over half an hour. Two disparate worlds met this morning on a patio. We learned much from Larry. Most of all we learned that he was just a man who like any other was interested in connecting, in discussing life over a cup of coffee.

We learned about his occupation, his hopes, his frustrations, his leisure pursuits. We asked him questions we answered his. We shared openly and offered him friendship. We withheld judgment and met him as another man interested in sipping coffee on a wonderful Saturday morning in the California fall.

The real lesson here relates to respect, dignity and seeing others as worthwhile human beings we just might learn something from. What opportunity might we have missed had we been closed off to Larry fearing what he represented?

As a leader this same lesson holds true. We need to respect others and realize that they can teach us a lesson we may not see coming at first. If we remain open to their perspective, open to their influence we will gain the opportunity to also influence them

Lead well


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Thoughts on a Recent Read

The Dip by Seth Godin

This was the first of Mr. Godin’s books I have read and I must say it will not be the last. I enjoyed this book and found its message wise and on point for our age. The premise of the book is that there is a time to quit a role, project, effort and a time to stay. When we have the opportunity to be the very best and are willing to pay the price, it is time to stay. When it is clear that staying will result in mediocrity or worse yet (Mr. Godin’s term for a dead end) a cul-de-sac, it is time to move on to something where we can be our best. The dip is the place in between. The place where we face opposition, adversity and discouragement. It is here that many wrongly chose to give up when greatness is not that far away for the brave souls who persevere.

Complexity: Low

Length: Short

Compelling: Very much

Worthwhile: Definitely