Ravings of a Mad Printer…..Dealing with Illness in the Workplace
By: John Sarantakos, February 2017
This is an incredibly difficult topic to discuss and deal with inside your workplace. Let’s face it, people get sick and I’m not just talking about the flu. Real life, down and dirty, crappy kind of sick. Whether it is an employee, one of their family members or even yourself. It happens. The ripples created will affect everyone within your work group.
If you have been a manager for any length of time, you have probably had to deal with this exact situation. It is personal and upsetting. Yet we must actively make decisions and take actions that will lead the “business” forward, while not marginalizing or minimizing the personal aspect. Compassion has to be the center piece. But what happens when we must choose a direction that is contrary to a person that is suffering? A perfect example would be a staff member that has been on FLMA for the allotted 12 weeks. They perform a critical job and their absence has put a huge stress on the operation. Overtime and missed deadlines are just a few of the issues. So, do you exercise your rights as an employer and fill the position? Do you limp along and hope the person returns soon? What if that person is you?
I have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Stage one, very treatable. Will it kill me? No, but only because I’m too damn mean. Can it be deadly? Sure it can. Does every man that has ever lived have or will have prostate cancer? Yes, it is just that most don’t know it and almost all die of something else before it ever shows up on a test. My doctor told me that if men lived to be 150, we would all eventually develop this type of cancer. This statement is not to minimize the disease because it can be deadly if left unchecked.
I am telling you this not because I want sympathy. Although I will readily accept any prayers directed my direction. I wanted to emphasis a point; anyone’s life can change in an instant. Even your own and how will you “manage” it?
There is no prescribed method or set of rules to follow. Each person must look deeply into themselves and choose a course of action that they can live with and still allow the work to continue. The reality is that sometime the two don’t mesh. Difficult decisions wouldn’t be called difficult if they were easy.
Whether your work group is five or fifty strong, long term illnesses have an impact. At some point the “whole” begins to suffer and while it sounds heartless, you have to do what is best for your company and your employees. Can one person becoming ill jeopardize your operation? Maybe and maybe not. Everyone has a different situation. The only truth is that you can’t plan for anything like this.
That, my friends, is called management.
Postscript: As of May 4th I have completed my treatment. After 44 sessions and 3000 driving miles, I can rest easy and not worry, at least about this type of cancer. I want to thank my wonderful staff for handling my absences flawlessly and the administration for their complete support. I want to especially thank my family and the special people at ProCure Oklahoma City for their caring and supportive treatment. I had the opportunity to meet many people from around the world and several young children that were facing much worse situations than myself. These kids are the real hero’s in my book. All the folks had a special story to tell. Knowing that you are not making a fresh path, but walking one that many others have taken is very comforting.
Dear IPMA Members, Another year is coming to a close. At IPMA, we have much to celebrate as we look back on the events and accomplishments of 2017. We are celebrating 53 years of supporting in-plants and advocating for the in-plant business model. A lot has changed in the world of print and mail since IPMA’s inception, but the value that in-plants bring to their parent institutions still remains the same. We knew then and we know now, in-plants contribute positively to the overall business success of the organizations they serve. In addition to cost savings, they provide: Total focus on the business needs of their parent institutions Intimate knowledge of the needs of their internal clients Confidentiality Cost Control Consistency of content and graphic identity As the only in-plant association providing for all industry segments, we proudly serve our community by offering a variety of events and programs throughout the year to promote networking, education, professional development and business growth. This year alone we hosted 16 events; creating opportunities to connect with vendors and with each other. These events included webinars, road shows, and appearances at PRINT17, SGIA, SUPDMC, DScoop, PIA and the IPG Innovation conference. Then, there was our very own conference in June. IPMA 2017 was one of those conferences our members will be talking about for a long time to come. Our gathering in Pittsburgh brought together 160 members, 52 vendors, an arts festival, two rock concerts, and a championship hockey parade. We all face a variety of challenges in our work environment these days. By growing a stronger network we can gain insights on addressing these challenges. Together our network is stronger. As advocates for in-plants through a unified voice we can all grow together. Since I assumed office of the president of IPMA in January, I have been happy to see this community grow and flourish. IPMA’s accomplishments during these last 12 months were made possible by many individuals—members, volunteers, supporting partners, our friends at In-Plant Graphics, the board of directors and a dedicated staff. The growth in our community reflects the growth of IPMA. Five years ago our membership consisted of approximately 400 members. Today, there are nearly 700 members. Of course IPMA’s many accomplishments would not be possible without our most important asset: YOU. Our association thrives because of your activity in our community and your attendance at our events. It is the experiences, the stories, the contributions, and the skills of our members that make IPMA prosperous. As we plan for the future, IPMA is excited for the many opportunities that await us in 2018. We are looking forward to the In-Print Awards contest in January, In-Plant Awareness month in February, IPMA Awards in March IPMA Road Shows in Norman, OK and Charlottesville, VA and the IPMA 2018 Educational Conference in Costa Mesa, California in June. We will remain committed to providing a value to the in-plants we serve while pursuing growth and investment in our community. If you are interested in learning more about opportunities for involvement, please contact IPMA Headquarters at 816-919-1691 or by emailing email@example.com. We hope this year was one of advancement and growth for you. It’s been a privilege to form new relationships in the community, and deepen existing connections with in-plants throughout the year. We would like to wish you and your family a happy and healthy...read more
After deciding to write a blog my first thought was…I’m not a blogger I’m a mudder, referring to race horses who do better in the mud than on the soft smooth surface of a dirt track. I’ve heard about blogs, seen speakers on talk shows who write blogs, but have never written one. So, knowing what I knew about blogs, I reached out for help. Thankfully I have contacts that were more than happy to offer guidance. As a manager, I rely on others to complete many tasks and projects. I think about who can complete the project, who has the time, and sometimes who will need the least oversight. Now I know that sounds bad, but we all do it whether you want to admit to it or not. We are all stretched thin and we can’t complete all project ourselves. We must depend upon our staff to make us successful. Projects that are lengthy are the perfect opportunity to trust and develop our employees. Give them the opportunity to not only grow but to shine. The questions of capability and oversight should not be major factors. We should choose employees who are trying different things or taking on more without being asked. Even someone always looking to make operations better would be a good choice. These folks like challenges and need to be challenged. They will take the project and run with it. But more importantly we can’t forget about those who are less inclined to jump in when the opportunity arises. These are not “bad” employees, they simply like to stay within their comfort zone. These folks are capable too and often have ideas on how to improve. They need to be encouraged and offered the same motivation then given the same opportunity to grow. They will require help, they will ask questions, and they will require some of our time. And yes, they will also make mistakes. Mistakes are how they learn. We all have had someone at some point in our careers that gave us an opportunity to step up and do more. These mentors guided us when needed, they gave us room to work and they were there when we needed them. Mr. Green is the person who did this for me. Even to this day when I feel I have accomplished something special within my job I say a big thank you to him. We as managers owe our success not only to our hard work but to our employees and to those who helped us along the way. Is this the perfect blog? Not by any stretch of the imagination. Is it a bad blog? Debatable. What it is though is an opportunity. An opportunity for me to move outside my comfort zone to learn and grow. This is something we all need to do regardless of where we are within our organizations. As managers and leaders, it is our responsibility to promote and encourage those learning opportunities for our employees too. Member-at-Large Representative Kelly Hogg, Director of Printing & Copier ServicesThe University of Virginia P.O. Box 400728 2474 Old Ivy Rd Charlottesville, VA 22904 Contact Kelly Phone: (434)924-7186...read more
Star of the Netflix Series, The Kindness Diaries, Leon Logothetis added as the keynote speaker at the IPMA 2018 Annual Conference June 10-14, 2018 The Hilton Orange County/Costa Mesa Costa Mesa, California Leon Logothetis, global adventurer, motivational speaker, philanthropist, author and host of the Netflix series The Kindness Diaries will be the keynote speaker at the In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA) 2018 Annual Conference held at the Hilton Orange County/Costa Mesa. Who is Leon Logothetis and why does he have a Netflix show? What is his story and why is it significant? Logothetis had it all—prestigious job, money, a home, a beautiful girlfriend and a friendly dog. But he traded it all in to live his dreams. His inner rebel, the part of him that yearns to follow his dreams, once again wanted to feel the magic of the human experience by connecting with people through the language of kindness. This is what prompted him to travel the world relying solely on the kindness and generosity of strangers. And now, he is giving back. “I have always had a passion for interacting with people,” says Logothetis. “I love the camaraderie of making new friends and helping those that are deserving, and I treasure the adventure of travel.” During his six-month global adventure, Leon traveled to 20 countries with no food or pre-planned accommodations. Leon discovered that people are so open to helping those in need; all one must do is open their heart. For example, in Pittsburgh, he met a homeless man named Tony who had nothing but a bag of clothes. He took Leon in, fed him, gave him a place to stay and protected him through the night. The experience will forever live in Leon’s heart. If a man with nothing could give so much from his heart how could he ever repay him? You’ll have to come to conference to find out! About Leon Logothetis Leon Logothetis is no stranger to wild journeys and outrageous globe-trotting exploits. Once a broker at a prestigious firm in London, Logothetis boldly quit his job one day after discovering his thirst for exploration had become too much to contain. On his first journey, as host of the hit National Geographic series “Amazing Adventures of a Nobody,” Logothetis had to beg, borrow, and charm his way across the United States, England, and the European continent while traveling on only $5 a day. Since then, Logothetis has become a world-renowned travel expert and TV host, featured in the New York Times, London Times, Wall Street Journal, Budget Travel, Psychology Today, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, and many more. His books, Amazing Adventures of a Nobody, The Kindness Diaries and his newest book, Live, Love, Explore: Discover the Way of the Traveler a Roadmap to the Life You Were Meant to Live (Reader’s Digest, December 2016), are in stores now. For more information visit: www.leonlogothetis.com. DON’T MISS OUT Conference Early Bird Special thru December 31, 2017 $850 member pricing and $950 for non-members. Click here for more information and to...read more
Don’t Ever Give Up on Your Dreams Even if They Seem impossible In my book Vision-Mindset-Grit, I wrote… “While I was an agent with Northwestern Mutual Life between 1989 and 1994, I had the privilege of watching many motivational speakers at their annual conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin—speakers such as Terry Bradshaw, the famous Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, and Charlie Plumb. Charlie graduated from the Naval Academy at Annapolis and went on to fly the F-4 Phantom jet on 74 successful missions over Vietnam. On his 75th mission, with only five days before he was to return home, Charlie was shot down, captured, tortured and imprisoned in an 8’ x 8’ cell. He spent the next 2,103 days as a P.O.W. in communist prisons. What really resonated with me was how Charlie told his story of overcoming adversity and how he drew parallels between his P.O.W. experience and the challenges of everyday personal and professional life. I walked away thinking about my own life, how far I had come, the choices I had made and the challenges I was trying to conquer. From that day forward, a seed was planted in my mind: I wanted to be a motivational speaker.” Long story short, in 1989, I stretched my vision. I wanted to qualify for an industry award. They call it the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT). It’s an award that fewer than 8% of my peers from around the world qualify for annually—peers representing 500 companies in over 70 countries. It took me 5 years to hit that magical number and qualify. When you’re trying to hit a magical number in your own life or business, or are hoping to qualify for an industry award, there’s one criterion: You have to have the right mindset. But what is the right mindset? It begins with an unshakable belief in who you are on the inside when no one else is around. It’s what you believe about yourself, your abilities and your skills especially when adversity is standing right in front of you. Adversity takes on many forms: the physical, such as a debilitating handicap or illness; the mental, such as low self-esteem or a lack of knowledge; and the emotional, such as depression, fear or others telling you you’re not good enough, smart enough or resourceful enough to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself. Any one of these can be powerful enough to thwart your ambition, which is why it’s imperative to lock in a mindset that will help you to achieve the level of confidence you need to face them down. You may never fully conquer a fear or recover from a physical setback, but the right mindset, one that works for you, will still let you move forward toward your goals. I’ve discovered that through personal experience time and again. Attending the MDRT’s Annual Conference in 1994, in Dallas, Texas—with 8,000 of my peers on hand, the best of the best top sales producers in the world—I again had the opportunity to watch some amazing keynote speakers on leadership and team building, dynamic men and women who encouraged others to set goals that stretch the mind. That was when I made the decision to leave an industry I had so much passion for to pursue a brand new career: motivational speaking. This...read more
Chris Barclay the Printing and Mail Services Manager at Connecticut College in New London sent IPMA an email giving some insight as to his in-plant marketing. We(Connecticut College Print & Mail Services) had 25 attendees representing Alumni, College Relations, Development, Donor Relations and the Communications office including four vice presidents. This is the first of a series of “town meetings” / “open house” we are planning, one a month through June of 18. It was amazing on how much they didn’t know about us. We also discovered that more work was going off campus then we had thought, simply because they were unaware of our services. This is my BAD!! I thought everyone on campus knew what we could offer. When this open house was all said and done, we can anticipate more business. It was truly a WOW experience for both us and our customers. My Director was also impressed. We started with a shop tour and explanation of devices and there purpose. We displayed printed samples ranging from pocket calendars to Large format prints. We spoke about our past history through where we are today. Print on demand, Personalized Print and Mail and software were big topics. When I started to mention personalized mail using software like Direct Smile and the data collection that can be derived via the software their heads were turning. They have never heard of this type of software or this type of opportunity. At the end of open house we demonstrated our job ticketing system, which is now archaic, and how to properly complete the ticket. Our new ticketing software will be unfolded in June of 2018. We ended with an 8 question questionnaire for gift certificates from the campus post office and Dining Services. For some odd reason everyone is impressed with the cutter. Everyone wanted to see this in operation. Chris Barclay Manager Printing & Mailing Services 270 Mohegen Avenue New London CT 06320 860-439-2373 860-439-5444 Fax For ordering & setting up a print job How To’s/FAQ’s follow the link below....read more
In-Plant Professionals and Privateer Motorcycle Racers>Mike O’Hara, IPMA Board Membership Representative My best friend in high school was a motorcycle junkie. He loved to ride and race. He started on dirt and trail bikes, and shortly after we graduated from high school, he started racing sport bikes (road bikes). I had the opportunity to travel with him and act as his unofficial pit and support crew as he traveled to different racetracks around the western states. I loved it. One of the things I loved most about traveling with my friend was the access to the paddock and interactions with the other privateer racers. I was mesmerized by the camaraderie, passion, innovation, and creativity of this disparate group of people. Some racers were well-traveled veterans of the sport. Some were new and green. Some privateers had deep pockets with all of the newest bikes, tools, and gear, while others spent every last penny to stay on the track with older machinery and equipment. The commonality however, was that they all loved racing. Every one of them wanted to be on the track, and when the chips were down, they were there to prop each other up, regardless of station. If someone broke down or wrecked, everyone pitched in to make sure his or her fellow-racers were back up on the track for the next race or safely headed for home. There was solidarity amongst privateer racers that I thought was unrivaled until I started working in the in-plant print and mail industry and became a member of IPMA. One of the first things I was introduced to when I started working in DMBA’s in-plant was the IPMA community. Rob Lingard, Director of DMBA’s Central Services Department, had been working in this industry for several years and was involved with IPMA on the national level and with the Utah Chapter. He could see, right away, that I needed to be educated. I was well versed in document imaging but knew very little about business and production print and mail services. Rob started taking me to both local and national IPMA events and acquainted me with the old IPMA listserv (now the Community Forum). Once again I was mesmerized by the camaraderie, passion, innovation, and creativity of the people I encountered. Much like the privateer racing community, I found my in-plant colleagues to be a diverse group of like-minded professionals willing to collaborate and provide assistance when a need arises. This community is forged in a desire to support one another and preserve the unvarnished truth that an in-plant, if managed judiciously, can outperform potential outsourcing threats. With that said, there will always be pressure to outsource the services provided by in-plants. This constant risk underscores the importance of IPMA to its members. I would encourage you to utilize the IPMA community as a resource to help better yourself and your shop. Sharpen your skills by taking advantage of educational and collaborative opportunities. Attend local events and/or the national conference when possible. Get on the community forum and participate. Keep up with technology innovations and best practices by signing up for webinars. Reach out to other in-plant professionals. In doing so you will not only strengthen your organization but the in-plant community at large. Mike O’Hara – Central Services Manager,...read more
“The Future of the In-Plant” IPMA is proud to provide our membership with a 1-hour webinar looking toward the future of in-plants. Greg Cholmondeley, author of the study presented by IPMA and sponsored by Canon, will present the findings of the directions and plans of in-plants over the next five years. He will be joined by John Sarantakos, from the University of Oklahoma and Kris Tanner from Schneider Electric, who will share their perspectives as well. Attendees will come away with a good idea of what in-plants across the country see as the major upcoming changes, the challenges they’ll need to overcome, and the actions they are taking to increase their success. Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 1:30 PM Central time zone. If you would like to view his summary presentation CLICK HERE. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR WEBINAR SYSTEM REQUIREMENT PRESENTERS Greg Cholmondeley- President, Cholmonco, Inc. Greg Cholmondeley has 35 years of experience in the printing industry as a design engineer, a marketing manager, and as an industry analyst. He’s been the Worldwide K-12 Industry Marketing Manager for Xerox, the In-Plant Segment Marketing Manager for Ricoh, the Marketing Manager for the Book Production and Financial Services Sectors for Oce, and the Director the Caslon/PODi Workflow Practice. Mr. Cholmondeley is currently President of Cholmonco, Inc. which researches, analyzes and documents best practices and innovative solutions in the printing industry. He has written hundreds of case studies, blog articles, and trade magazine articles, and, most recently, has published the first of two novels. This vast array of experiences provides him with a broad collection of connections and perspectives to identify and interpret trends and opportunities within the in-plant and production printing marketplace. Robert Barbera – Senior Manager, Production Solutions Division, Canon USA, Inc. Robert Barbera is the Senior Manager, Solutions and Channel Marketing for Canon U.S.A. Inc., Production Solutions Division. Barbera is responsible for developing the solutions and services business, managing the outbound and channel marketing initiatives and liaison with industry associations. He brings over 20 years of hands-on involvement in business development, production printing workflows, and professional services associated with digital printing. Mr. Barbera has a long history of involvement with industry association and standard groups. He is a past-board member of PIA/GATF and has actively participated on numerous industry committees. In 2017 he was inducted into the Idealliane Soderstrom Society which honors professionals whose careers have advanced the visual communications and media industry. He is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology in Printing Management and has attended executive management training programs at the University of Notre Dame and Columbia Graduate School. PANELISTS John Sarantakos- Director, Oklahoma University Printing Services John Sarantakos has spent 40+ years in the printing profession as a manager, educator and craftsman. The past 18 years he has directed the OU operation to become the largest and most award winning University in-plant in the country. Kris Taner – Manager, Solutions Support Group, Schneider Electric Ask Kris Tanner what he does on most days and that’s likely the answer you’ll receive. Utilizing over a decade of experience in broadcasting and newspaper marketing, Kris joined Schneider Electric in 2005 to help launch a new multi-faceted team that moves quickly, gets results and slashes through the corporate red tape. As part...read more
“Learn How to ‘GREEN’ Your In-Plant with the Latest Environmental Innovation” IPMA in-plant members joined PrintReleaf Founder and CEO, Jordan Darragh, Wednesday, October 11th, at 1:30 PM CDT as he shared the latest environmental innovation to enter the commercial print market. Jordan was joined by IPMA President, Dwayne Magee, who has successfully implemented PrintReleaf at Messiah College and recently won an award for Outstanding Achievement in ‘Green Print Operations’ as a result of Messiah’s partnership with PrintReleaf. This webinar educated attendees on the inner workings of PrintReleaf, specifically: more efficient and cost-effective means for certifiably reforesting paper consumption in an effective workflow very marketable means of promoting your participation in certified global reforestation – to employees, students, customers, stakeholders, et al means of reducing conventional costs associated with green print operations new approach to integrating and automating sustainable paper certification This IPMA webinar presentation is available to IPMA members only. Not a member? CLICK HERE to learn more about IPMA and its in-plant member benefits program. You may also email Amy Banker , IPMA Membership Sales Coordinator or call 816/919-1691 ext. #102 for more information. PRESENTERS Jordan Darragh, Founder and CEO of PrintReleaf Jordan Darragh is a graduate of Michigan State University. He began his career in sales and marketing at LaserCycle Imaging—one of the largest direct providers of managed print services in the Western United States. Following a successful stint at LaserCycle Imaging, he held a senior business development position with EnerNOC, a company that develops virtual power plants providing demand response during peak demand on the electric grid. The EnerNOC focus is on energy efficiency, carbon accounting, and energy supply management. Having firmly established his printing and environmental credentials, in 2011 Jordan founded PrintReleaf, a company that helps businesses reduce their environmental impact by connecting them to the PrintReleaf Exchange [PRX], a patented software platform connecting enterprise printer environments to a network of global reforestation projects where customers can have trees planted to reforest (or “releaf”) their paper consumption. Under Jordan’s direction, PrintReleaf has enjoyed considerable success responding to demand for reforestation services in the managed print services area, including establishing relationships with partners such as Toshiba, Clover Imaging Group, EFI, Publication Printers, and hundreds more. The company recently broadened efforts into the commercial and quick printing areas, enabling print-for-pay businesses to offer reforestation services to their customers. Dwayne Magee, CGCM, Director Messiah College-College Press and Postal Services Currently serving as president of the In-Print Printing and Mailing Association, Dwayne is in his 13th year as director of College Press and Postal Services at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. His department was recipient of the 2015 IPMA Innovation Award, the 2017 ACUP Green Service Award, and the 2015 ACUP Collaborative Service Award. Prior to joining Messiah, Dwayne worked for 17 years at AlphaGraphics as an assistant manager and ISO coordinator. He began his career as a teenager with Perry Press Company in a rural part of central Pennsylvania. There, he composed type and operated a Heidelberg Windmill press. He also operated Linotype, served as offset press operator and bindery specialist, and developed skills as a graphic artist on the 9″ screen of an original Apple Macintosh computer. He is currently in his junior year as an English major with a concentration in writing at the college he works and...read more
I bet many of you thought this day would never come. Well it has. I was not only wrong, but dead wrong. I actually believed that within our industry there were vendor partners that cared and supported In-Plants even though these “partners” had divisions that are counter to our goals. Naïve, uninformed, blind, or stupid all fit. Never again will I fall into a false sense of security with any vendor. I will qualify this by saying that I have great relationships with folks from many of our vendors. I also believe those friends place our industry ahead of other corporate goals. Problem is when it comes down to it, they have no vote as to what happens. Therein lies the rub. My Grandfather used to tell me that the road to Hell was paved with good intentions. Too many of my friends have been sold out by said “good intentions”. An industry vendor’s good intentions recently caused an in-plant take over. To say I am disappointed by this vendors’ predatory actions would be a gross understatement. To say I was MAD would also be an understatement. I guess in a nut shell the “smile and sell practices” must be balanced by a “sneer and stick a knife in the back” tactic. Best of both worlds for our “partners”, not so much for us. A wise man told me to keep your numbers to yourself and never share them. They are the gold in the vault. Numbers are like statistics and can be made to say whatever you want and the FM jack wagons will do just that. Smoke and mirrors. Think of it like the news, edit and cut then spin till you get what you want. I have never been fearful of sharing information. My operation is strong, with great support and I can be a mean SOB when needed. Not anymore. I will still be a mean SOB, but all my data is now top secret. Not that I would not share with you my brothers and sisters fighting for the cause, but my vendors can make proposals till they are blue in the face, but not with my data. Next time you need to write an RFP, be elusive and force vendors to provide all their numbers. Then be ready to dissect those numbers and see how you can make them work to your advantage. Then put the screws to them and drive the costs down further. Never give them ammunition to use against you. The other thing I have learned is to get non-compete agreements from all service bidders. Let them know your operation is off limits to their FM hitmen. While the In-Plant model has not been this strong in many years, we can’t let our guards down for a second. With the help and support from IPMA, we can continue to promote and help defend our operations. It is quite humbling to be so very wrong. John Sarantakos, Oklahoma Printing Services Director and IPMA...read more
As a Motivational Keynote Speaker, I have been invited to speak to different industries, associations and Fortune 500 companies around the world sharing my success strategies that revolve around Vision-Mindset-Grit. Three simple yet powerful words that, when put into action, can absolutely help you conquer your goals and push the limits of what is possible regardless of the challenges standing before you today. Vision helps you set manageable but far-reaching goals. Mindset allows you to stay focused on those goals by making adjustments as circumstances, personnel and other elements change. Grit is the everyday determination and willingness to persevere and be resilient in your pursuit especially when all else beckons you to throw in the towel, or worse, stay in your paralyzed state, your comfort zone while maintaining the status quo. During a keynote, I typically use my own life-changing story as the backdrop to bring the concepts of Vision, Mindset and Grit to life. Lately, I’ve been encouraging my attendees to Reflect back on their own lives and experience self-awareness, to Reflect back on how far they have come, on the choices and decisions they have made, the challenges they have overcome, as well as the contributions they have made to their organization, other employees and members of their team. In doing so, I have found that Reflecting is a Mindset technique that can help you tap into your inner strength and be more productive while keeping your Vision clear and always in the forefront of your thinking. Due to my physical handicap, I cannot ride a traditional bike; however, with new biking technologies and modifications I’m able to ride a hand-cycle, which is a 3-wheeled bike. It’s aerodynamic, sits a few inches off the ground and can now be seen by Paralympians using it to compete in distance runs at the Paralympics. When I bike, I enjoy letting my mind wander. On one ride, I found myself Reflecting back on some of the choices and decisions I’ve made in my life. In doing so, the words leaders leading leaders kept speaking to me. My mind drifted back to 1983, when I was 18 years old and playing college football as a walk-on wide receiver at Florida State University under head coach Bobby Bowden. During that season, I noticed that Coach Bowden was a delegator who led from the bottom up as opposed to the traditional top down. He would encourage assistant coaches and frontline players like me to take charge and lead on and off the field and challenge each other, day after day, to perform to the best of our abilities. It proved effective and became a powerful life lesson that I teach and have incorporated into my everyday existence. That reflection triggered another memory that I consider to be one of the most defining moments of my life. On November 3rd, 1984, while a sophomore in college, a bunch of us planned a weekend on those gorgeous white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, at a place known as St. George’s Island. We arrived around 8:00 PM, set up our camp, built a fire, started drinking (as the drinking age in Florida was 18 back then) and telling story after story with our best teenage hormonal sense of humor. As the hours passed, my...read more