Thinking On Your Feet

A guide at Blarney Castle in Ireland was explaining to some visitors that his job was not always as pleasant as it seemed. He told them about a group of disgruntled tourists he had taken to the castle earlier in the week. “These people were complaining about everything,” he said. “They didn’t like the weather, the food, their hotel accommodations, the prices, everything. Then to top it off, when we arrived at the castle, we found that the area around the Blarney Stone was roped off. Workmen were making some kind of repairs.” “This is the last straw!” exclaimed one lady who seemed to be the chief faultfinder in the group. “I’ve come all this way, and now I can’t even kiss the Blarney Stone.” “Well, you know,” the guide said, “according to legend, if you kiss someone who has kissed the stone, it’s the same as kissing the stone itself.” “And I suppose you’ve kissed the stone,” said the exasperated lady. “Better than that.” replied the guide. “I’ve sat on...

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E.F. Hutton

Years ago, there was a financial services company named E.F. Hutton. Their motto was: “When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen.” Some of you remember their old television commercials. The setting was typically a busy restaurant or other public place. Two people would be talking about financial matters, and the first person would repeat something his broker had said concerning a certain investment. The second person would say, “Well, my broker is E.F. Hutton, and E.F. Hutton says…” At that point every single person in the bustling restaurant would stop dead in his tracks, turn, and listen to what the man was about to say. That’s what I call leadership. Because when the real leader speaks, people listen. Is your leadership characterized by this type of response from those around...

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The Civil Dozen — Part 5(b)

After all the drama and excitement of the battlefield, Chamberlain found the professor’s occupation at Bowdoin tame and uninspiring. Despite receiving an honorary doctor of law degree from Pennsylvania College in 1866, and later from Bowdoin in 1869, a restlessness prevailed within him. Chamberlain decided to pursue a political career, and in September 1866 was elected governor of Maine by the largest majority in the state’s history. He served four one-year terms in all, concluding his last term at the end of 1870. As governor, Chamberlain continued to do what he thought was right, despite objection. He chose to carry out the law and enforce controversial measures as capital punishment even though there were great objections raised by other officials and citizens. In 1871, Chamberlain was elected president of Bowdoin by the trustees of the college. His presidency, which would conclude in 1883, found him being Chamberlain-like. His reign saw him introduce progressive and occasionally unpopular ideas to the conservative institution. He endorsed studies in science and engineering, de-emphasized religion, and became involved in student demonstrations over the question of ROTC (due to him having students participate in military drills in preparation for the possibility of war). To the end, Chamberlain stood for his ideals despite the opposition. The later years of Chamberlain’s career found him pursuing business ventures, serving as U.S. Surveyor of Customs at the Port of Portland, Maine, and writing about his wartime experiences. Chamberlain passed away on February 24, 1914 at the age of 86, having died of the war wound he received so long ago in Petersburg. “In great deeds something abides.”    ...

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