• Week 36 - Are You A Leader?

    Posted by J. Clay Norton on 5/19/2017 7:00:00 AM

    "Leaders who don't listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say." - Andy Stanley


    Well, it is that time of year again...  The last of "Thoughts on Leadership" 


    As we close out the year, I found this post by Steve Keating, https://stevekeating.me/2017/03/19/what-makes-a-leader/ and thought it would be good to share as we close out the year. We have to know "What Makes a Leader."    


     What makes a leader?  I'm sure everyone can come up with his or her own ideas for an answer to this question.  But... are our ideas formed from what society thinks or from what you think?  I believe that success can be equated with leadership but at what expense?  Here is a thought, just because people follow you does not make you are a leader.  A "leader" is so much more than directing where others should go and what they should do.  Can we be a leader that puts off the "self" and puts on the "others" mentality?  Leadership is sometimes hard to define but very easily recognized.  The hardest question to answer is the one we have to ask ourselves, "Am I a good leader?"  We can lie to ourselves but those who follow us know the truth.  


     As we continue to lead, the challenge is to become a servant leader.  It must be about others.  Everyone around will breathe a little easier.  


     Thank you so much for a wonderful year.  We have had a stellar year in athletics.  So much to be proud of... Our teams competed at the highest level.  Every sport made or qualified for playoffs and post-season play.  We had twenty-nine athletes sign letters of intent to play at the next level.  Nineteen of our teams had a 3.000 GPA or better for the first semester.  Twelve teams won the District Championship.  And... We have three State Champion Teams along with good many individual state champions in their respective sports.  


     A thank you also goes out to our community and our supporters.  Your commitment to helping us sound the ArrowWarchant is greatly appreciated.


     Go Arrows!




    What Makes a Leader


    Calling yourself a leader does not make you a leader. Holding a position of leadership in your organization does not make you a leader. Having an important sounding title does not make you a leader. Having someone else describe you as a leader does not make you a leader.


    Your promotion to a leadership position does not make you a leader, in fact the managerial skills that likely earned you the promotion are very likely holding you back as a leader.


    If you’re trying to manage your people then you will always have people problems. Human beings do not respond to being managed. Actually leading your people will permanently eliminate most of the “people problems” managers face everyday. 


    So, here are a handful of traits that contribute to being a leader:


    Risking your success being hidden inside the success of someone else makes you a leader. 


    Caring as much about the advancement of those around you as you care about your own advancement makes you a leader.


    Tackling the assignments no one else will tackle makes you a leader. 


    Investing your time where it’s needed rather than where you want to makes you a leader. 


    Making right decisions that most people simply won’t makes you a leader.


    Finding common ground where only mud previously existed makes you a leader.


    Seeing the potential within every person you meet makes you a leader. 


    Doing what’s right when everyone around you believes it’s wrong makes you a leader.


    Working to build more leaders rather than more followers makes you a leader.


    Understanding that your own success is dependent upon the success of your people makes you a leader.


    Having the courage to let the best idea win, whether it’s yours or someone else’s makes you a leader.


    Understanding that constant collaborative communication with your people will help them succeed makes you a leader.


    A willingness to be held accountable, by anyone and everyone makes you a leader.


    Being completely honest with yourself makes you a leader.


    These are some of the traits that make a leader. To be sure there are more. Few leaders possess every recognized leadership characteristic but they possess more than people who do not lead.


    The right to truly lead must be earned. It can’t be earned through what you say, it is earned through what you do. Leader “wannabes” tend to talk leadership, Authentic Leaders tend to do leadership. 


    Are you just talking or are you doing? 

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  • Week 35 - The Essence of Leadership

    Posted by J. Clay Norton on 5/12/2017 7:00:00 AM

    "If you set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing." - Margaret Thatcher

    Why do some leaders not SERVE?  Are they too proud?  Are they... you can fill in the rest.  I once heard an adage that stated, "It is very hard to give or receive anything with a closed hand."  That statement can also be said for those who have a closed heart and I believe that the heart is the core of servant leadership. 
    Servant leaderships is one of those things that you can only see.  Many talk, but the essence of it is always seen.  The concept of serving takes humility.  It can never be about us.  Let's put off the self and lead through serving.  
    As we begin to wrap things up...  thanks for your continued support of Clinton Athletics.  We have a lot to be proud of and you are a vital part of our success.  



    Image source by George Hodan

    Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller capture, “The Secret,” of leadership in five letters, SERVE. The beauty of SERVE is inescapable simplicity and actionable clarity.



    See the future: envision and communicate a compelling picture of a preferred future.

    1. What do I want to be true of the future?
    2. Why should anyone care?
    3. How will progress be measured?



    Engage and develop others: recruit and align people for the right job. Create environments where people bring vision to life.

    1. What invited my engagement in the past?
    2. Which of these factors are missing in those I lead?
    3. How can I help teams and individuals grow?



    Reinvent continuously: continuously focus on improvement.

    1. How do I need to change?
    2. Where do I want different outcomes?
    3. What organizational changes will accelerate progress?



    Value results and relationships: generate measurable results and cultivate great relationships.

    1. Which is my personal bias as a leader – results or relationships?
    2. How can I compensate for the area that’s not my personal strength?
    3. What happens if I don’t broaden my definition of success?



    Embody values: live fully aligned with stated values.

    1. What values do I want to drive behaviors in my organization?
    2. How can I communicate these values?
    3. What are my actions communicating?


    The ultimate question


    “Am I a serving leader or a self-serving leader?”



    Apart from the ultimate question, the question that most hits me this morning is, “How do I need to change?”


    It’s easy to see where they need improvement. It’s fun to “help” them. This morning, I’m the one who needs changing. I shouldn’t say, “This morning.” It’s every morning.


    Organizations grow when their leaders grow.

    The Secret” won’t take long to read but it takes a lifetime to live.


    Which question in this post is most relevant for you, today?


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  • Week 34 - Uncommon Leadership

    Posted by J. Clay Norton on 5/5/2017 7:00:00 AM
    "Insecure leaders feel entitled and are always unhappy.  Sure leaders show up each day with gratitude, knowing they're owed nothing." - Kevin DeShazo
    Common = Average?  If so, we should have no desire to be that way.  We want to be exceptional in what we do.  As leaders we must.  If we are not, then we are just common.  Uncommon Leadership is where we need to gravitate towards.  Let's be and do leadership different.  Let's do and be uncommon.  Everyone involved will thank you for it. 
    The post below on Uncommon Leadership by Steve Keating of LeadToday https://stevekeating.me/2017/02/24/uncommon-leadership/ 
    One area that I found thought provoking touched on perpetual "bad" leadership.  We lead as we were or as we are now being led.  That can be either good or bad.  But if it is bad, then the cycle must be broken and that is done through leading by example by caring.  Wow!  Leaders need to care?  You bet they do.  When leaders care, like serving, it is about others.  Too often, people take the title or position of leader and stop right there. They have what they want and they might not ever admit to it but they are just common leaders.  Leadership is not a noun, it is a verb.  It is action and doing.  Are you able to recognize the difference between common and uncommon leadership?  If you are fortunate to have uncommon leadership where you are, then have an awesome concept to model. 
    Do you remember what Rain Man said about average?

    Uncommon Leadership


    I’ve had the opportunity to spend several days recently with a person recently promoted to a leadership position. He was very good at what he did and earned his promotion. His promotion came with a new title and higher income, unfortunately what it didn’t come with was any hint of how to actually lead. So he doesn’t lead, he just tries to get by managing his new team.


    I’ve seen the same scenario play out literally hundreds of times through the years. A person is good at what they do so they are promoted into a leadership role even through they have little, or more commonly, no leadership experience or skills at all.


    I call them common leaders. I don’t mean to be disparaging here but it is what it is… common leadership really isn’t leadership at all. At its best it’s just managing and and at it’s worst it’s something much worse. That something involves fear, coercion and sometimes even outright abuse. 


    Absent any real leadership skills people in leadership positions too often tend to use intimidation, coercion, threats and punishment to force the compliance of their people. 99.9% of the people in leadership positions who use those tactics are not bad people, it’s just that in many cases that’s how they were taught to “lead.” Sadly, they were likely taught to lead by people who themselves had few if any leadership skills. So the cycle of common leadership simply repeats itself. 


    Individuals who do manage to break the cycle of common leadership and become uncommon leaders don’t do so on their own. They most often have a mentor or are led by someone who has broken through the common cycle themselves. 


    Here’s one of the most interesting aspects of leadership: it can’t actually be taught but it can be learned. It is learned not so much by listening to a true leader but by watching them. 


    Authentic leaders lead by example. They show the way to true uncommon leadership. I can tell people what to look for in a leader, I can share with them the characteristics that make a good leader, and I can even help them judge whether or not someone in a leadership position truly processes those characteristics but a person must teach themselves to lead. 


    Let me give you one example. 


    Caring for people, truly caring and investing yourself in another person’s success and well-being is an absolute characteristic of an uncommon, authentic leader. I can tell someone that, I can point out a person who has that characteristic but I know of no way to teach someone how to care. They must develop that caring nature on their own. The quickest way to do that is to see someone else display their own caring nature and decide if the results they see are something they want in their own life.


    If you were taught to lead by someone who did not develop those uncommon leadership skills then my very best advice to you would be to find a mentor who has. Find a coach or hire a coach who will help you break that cycle of common leadership and become a leader who can actually make a positive difference in the lives of those they would lead. 


    Never assume that a leadership position makes you a leader. A leadership position doesn’t come with the right to lead, that must be earned by demonstrating consistent leadership skills. 


    Develop those skills and people will naturally follow you. 

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  • Week 33 - Leadership Isn't About Being Great, It's About Enabling Others To Be Great

    Posted by J. Clay Norton on 4/28/2017 8:00:00 AM

    "It takes courage and humility to follow the advice of someone who sees things different from you." - Dan Rockwell

    This is one of the better leadership post I have read lately.  I used the below quote before by David McQueen and would like to share his post.  The website is https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/leadership-isnt-being-greatits-enabling-others-great-david-mcqueen
    These are some really good points.  Each of them should be spot on IF we are open to hearing the truth about leadership.  Of the six points, three of them really stand out for me:  People make the difference, Environment, and Humility & Vulnerability.   
    People make the difference:  Getting to know what motivates is key... AND THEN helping them achieve is what shows leadership.
    Environment:  What type of environment are we creating that people want to be a part of?  If we can get people to enjoy where they are, then their overall experience will be positive and it could become contagious.
    Humility & Vulnerability:  Being human is just being human.  We are creatures of habit but at the same time we cannot afford to confiture to fool ourselves about who we really are.  Be true.  This is a great hashtag:  #makeyourpoeplefamous
    Once again, it is all about Servant Leadership.  
    Spring sports continue on a great run with playoffs.  Would love to see you at an event.  Thanks for being a Clinton supporter.  GO ARROWS!

    "Leadership Isn't About Being Great, It's About Enabling Others To Be Great"


    I've since had the opportunity to reflect on this. What did I mean? How do you enable people to be great, and create 'great teams'?


    I've sought to break this down to what I believe are 6 key points, however one of my biggest learning's is that every day is a school day, and this will evolve over time. I continue to learn every single day!


    People Make the Difference 


    As Jose Mourinho replied when asked about building a successful team, " you can't make an omelette without eggs"


    Great people are the true differentiator in any successful business or team. As a leader, it is key you keep your eyes wide open and enable everybody to be the best possible version of 'them'.


    Get to know all of the people around you, understand what they want to achieve and help them self-realise what they need to do to 'win'. Then you will see that people become motivated, they have clarity and they have belief, both in you and themselves. Success will follow if you believe in the 'possibility' of people.

    Success will follow if you believe in the 'possibility' of people. 




     Would you go and socialise somewhere that made you unhappy? 


     In fact, lets stretch this.. 


    Would you socialise somewhere that didn't excite you, you don't find enjoyable, that you 'don't' want to go to?


    Obviously the answer is no - yet many spend upwards of 8 hours a day in a workplace that they are at best ambivalent towards. As a leader, it is key we create an organic environment that it is enjoyable to be in, that fuels others passion to make a difference and gets people excited to come in to work and succeed.


    Small acts regularly are always better than the occasional grand gesture. Breakfasts, lunches, walk and talks, sporting events, recognition. Even remembering to greet everyone every day and ask how they are, simple gestures that are often forgotten. Diverse teams will have diverse ideas around what's is enjoyable, so ensure everybody can be involved to foster ideas.


    Furthermore, leaders set the tone. Each morning, we need to ensure we walk in and create magic for our teams.




    As Aristotle's quote tells us, 'excellence is not an act, but a habit, we are what we repeatedly do'.


    Im a great believer that consistency is a key trait in great leaders. Those that change their position consistently confuses others and this damages morale.


    We have to know what we stand for and be prepared to remember this in the face of challenges. Those that stand for everything, stand for nothing.

    'excellence is not an act, but a habit, we are what we repeatedly do'. 


    Humility and Vulnerability


    When things go wrong, weak leaders blame others - their predecessors, their team, their leaders. Everybody bar themselves. However if you're explaining, you're already behind.


    Rather, we should be willing to show and share our vulnerability. 


    We all make mistakes and sharing these simply displays that we are human! Subsequently we need to highlight our desire to learn from these. It is a sign of strength, not weakness in asking for guidance and support. This tells your team that asking for help is more than just OK. It's often the right step. 


    The ability to display humility and our genuine vulnerability authenticates that we are after all 'human.' 


    Finally, when the teams wins, victory should be about your people. I still live by the motto to #makeyourpeoplefamous.

    "Finally, when the teams wins, victory should be about your people. I still live by the motto to #makeyourpeoplefamous." 


    Never Give Up


    Some days will be be tough. Things will not go the way we expected. However we need to be relentless in moving forward. Resilience really is one of the greatest traits a leader can possess.


    When things go wrong, understand why, yet don't dwell on it. Instead focus on how you will ensure you wont make the same mistakes, or how you can learn from this. Own it. Never accept failure, never give up, and do this with a positive mindset


    Integrity is Everything


    Finally, be guided by your morals. When making tough decisions, ensure they align with your moral compass.


    When you have tough conversations, have them with integrity and honesty. Never ignore these as this is fastest route to failure. This is particularly relevant with behaviours.You can give second chances on numbers, but not on values.


    If you can look yourself in the mirror each evening, knowing that you've given it your all and you've done the right thing, there really is nothing more you can do. The time is always right to do what is right.

    "The time is always right to do what is right." 


    David McQueen is the author of several articles that have been featured on both Linkedin, in the International Press and by several digital channels. You can follow David and see more of his work at:


    Twitter: @rundmcqueen and @leadershiprojec

    Facebook: facebook.com/leadershipprojec/

    Instagram: @leadershiprojec

    Comments (-1)
  • Week 32 - RESPECT

    Posted by J. Clay Norton on 4/21/2017 7:00:00 AM
    "Correction does much, but encouragement does more." - Goethe
    R-E-S-P-E-C-T - Now that you have the song stuck in your head...
    Is respect for you or for others?  Most of the time respect is often wanted instead of being given.  Do you subconsciously find yourself wishing you were given more respect?  Like many other areas of leadership, I believe respect falls into the area of servant leadership.  It has to be about others before it can be about you.  In some ways, two-way respect is beginning to fade.  As leaders, how we give respect tells a lot of our leadership mindset.  Let's make sure we are showing and giving respect.  If we do not, we are certain to never receive the respect we believe we should have or even earn.  
    Here is a great post by Michael McKinney regarding respect..  
    Each of the twelve points offers us a different perspective on respect.  Some of the points should make us reconsider how we deal with respect.  
    We have had another great week for us at Clinton Athletics.  All of our spring sports are playoff bound.  If you see one of our players or coaches, make sure you encourage them.  

    The 12 Rules of Respect



    Paul Meshanko has highlighted the importance of demonstrating respect in all of our interactions in The Respect Effect. The desired result is that those we interact with will feel valued in some way. He offers 12 Ways of thinking and behaving around others: 

    1. Be Aware of Your Nonverbal and Extra-verbal Cues. 
    What we say is important but how we say it can make or break the communication. “Extra-verbal cues include the speed with which we speak, our volume relative to background noise, our inflection, and our willingness to pause to make space for others to speak.” 

    2. Develop Curiosity About the Perspectives of Others. 
    “Empathy is demonstrated when it becomes evident to others around us that we are interested in what they think, why they think it, and how they feel about it. When this happens, it becomes easier to communicate respect to others, even if we disagree with them.” 

    3. Assume that Everyone is Smart About Something. 
    “Because I like to think I’m smart, it is reasonable to assume that other people like to think they are also smart. The only difference is that we are all smart through different histories and life experiences.” 

    4. Become a Better Listener by Shaking Your “But.” The word “but” can be used in a way that hinders our ability to show respect. The word “but” negates what came before it. Replacing it with “and” and other words that validate and convey consideration, the entire tone is changed. 

    5. Look for Opportunities to Connect with and Support Others. 
    “Even in the heat of conflict, there are ways to connect with people if we want to. When we demonstrate a willingness to move away from our immediate agenda and search for positions of agreement first, it makes working through the actual differences a bit easier.” 

    6. When You Disagree, Explain Why. 
    “It is disrespectful when we fail to share our observations and opinions in order to avoid conflict. We have an obligation to others to be truthful with our perspectives and points of view. When done with civility, tact, and room for counterarguments, sharing our perspectives leads to the best decisions and optimal results. It also prevents the accumulation of ‘baggage’ that builds up when we keep things bottled up.” And remember, it works both ways. 

    7. Look for Opportunities to Grow, Stretch, and Change. 
    “As we develop the desire and the willingness to hold ourselves up to the proverbial ‘bright light’ for an occasional reality check, two things happen. First, we become infinitely easier to be around because we are less critical of others. Second, we grow in wisdom and perspective. That’s because we start considering that, in situations where we might initially view others critically, the problems may be ours to deal with and not theirs. 

    8. Learn to Be Wrong on Occasion. 
    “From a neurological perspective, there is absolutely no correlation between our degree of certainty about a subject and the likelihood that we are actually correct in our beliefs. This means that our feeling of certainty about something is nothing more than a strong emotion. The stronger the emotion, the more likely we are to develop blind spots around it.” An open mind is a demonstration of respect. 

    9. Never Hesitate to Say You Are Sorry. 
    “Unfortunately, it is often when we’re at our worst that our actions are most memorable to others. While we don’t expect everybody to be perfect, “we do expect people to make it right when their words, actions, or decisions cause damage.” 

    10. Intentionally Engage Others in Ways that Build Their Self-Esteem. 
    “Building esteem in people we work with or for requires a shift in agendas. It takes a shift in focus away from what we need to what others need.” Meshanko colleague Teresa Welborne said, “If you are in a leadership position and you are not a people person, you become a liability to your organization. And if you’re not willing to make the effort to become a people person, you should not be in a position of leadership.” 

    11. Be Respectful of Time When Making Comments. 
    “If we don’t become curious or have value for what other people have to say, it is difficult to consistently fake the behaviors that demonstrate interest.” 

    12. Smile! 
    “Sometimes the most effective strategies are also the simplest. With rare exception, when we meet people who greet us with a smile, they are sending us important information about heir intentions.” 

    Meshanko concludes with 3 key ingredients to improving your ability to demonstrate respect for others:

    Respect is about you and me, not “them,” and our commitment to it influences everyone around us. Once we understand the value proposition respect offers, that insight can provide us with patience, courage, and creativity. 

    Patience permits us to maintain our composure and respectful demeanor when others are not acting at their best. 

    Courage enables us to candidly challenge disrespectful behavior and actions directed toward others. 

    Creativity allows us to see points of connection, even in the midst of conflict. 

    When we bring these qualities online and into our work interactions, everyone benefits, including our peers, customers, vendors, and ultimately, our shareholders.
    Comments (-1)
  • Week 31 - Jeremy's Egg

    Posted by J. Clay Norton on 4/13/2017 8:00:00 AM

    "He is not here, for he has risen, as he said." - Matthew 28:6

    This is a repeat post...  However, the story of Jeremy's Egg is wonderful and I believe it is worthing posting every Easter.  The insight that it brings changes every time I read it.  I'm not sure if the story is true or not, but the emotions and the lessons we receive as we read it are very true.  As you read, find what the story can tell you. 
    We hope each of you have a great four day break.  Enjoy your Easter Sunday.  I believe Easter week is the greatest week in all of history.  Make sure you take the time stop spend it with your family and get some personal rest as well.
    Go Arrows!

    Jeremy's Egg
    Jeremy was born with a twisted body, a slow mind and a chronic, terminal illness that had been slowly killing him all his young life. Still, his parents had tried to give him as normal a life as possible and had sent him to St. Theresa's elementary school. At the age of 12, Jeremy was only in second grade, seemingly unable to learn. 
His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him.  He would squirm in his seat, drool and make grunting noises. At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain. Most of the time, however, Jeremy irritated his teacher. 

    One day, she called his parents and asked them to come to St. Teresa's for a consultation. As the Foresters sat quietly in the empty classroom, Doris said to them, "Jeremy really belongs in a special school.  It isn't fair to him to be with younger children who don't have learning problems. Why, there is a five-year gap between his age and that of the other students!" Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue while her husband spoke. "Miss Miller," he said, "there is no school of that kind nearby.  It would be a terrible shock for Jeremy if we had to take him out of this school. We know he really likes it here." 

    Doris sat for a long time after they left, staring at the snow outside the window.  Its coldness seemed to seep into her soul.  She wanted to sympathize with the Foresters.  After all, their only child had a terminal illness.  But it wasn't fair to keep him in her class. She had 18 other youngsters to teach and Jeremy was a distraction. Furthermore, he would never learn to read or write.  Why spend any more time trying? As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her. "Oh God," she said aloud, "here I am complaining when my problems are nothing compared with that poor family!  Please help me to be more patient with Jeremy." From that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy 's noises and his blank stares.

    Then one day he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him.  "I love you, Miss Miller," he exclaimed, loudly enough for the whole class to hear.  The other children snickered, and Doris's face turned red.  She stammered, "wh-why, that's very nice, Jeremy.  Now please take your seat."

    Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter. Doris told them the story of Jesus, and then to emphasize the idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large plastic egg. "Now," she said to them "I want you to take this home and bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new life.  Do you understand?"
"Yes, Miss Miller!" 
    The children responded enthusiastically - all except for Jeremy.  He just listened intently; his eyes never left her face. He did not even make his usual noises. Had he understood what she had said about Jesus' death and resurrection?  Did he understand the assignment? Perhaps she should call his parents and explain the project to them.

    That evening, Doris' kitchen sink stopped up.  She called the landlord and waited an hour for him to come by and unclog it.  After that, she still had to shop for groceries, iron a blouse and prepare a vocabulary test for the next day. She completely forgot about phoning Jeremy 's parents.

    The next morning, 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as they placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller's desk. After they completed their math lesson, it was time to open the eggs. In the first egg, Doris found a flower. "Oh yes, a flower is certainly a sign of new life," she said.  "When plants peek through the ground we know that spring is here. "A  small girl in the first row waved her arms. "That's my egg, Miss Miller," she called out.  The next egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real.  Doris held it up.  "We all know that a caterpillar changes and turns into a beautiful butterfly.  Yes, that is new life, too" little Judy smiled proudly and said, "Miss Miller, that one is mine."
Next Doris found a rock with moss on it.  She explained that the moss, too, showed life.  Billy spoke up from the back of the classroom.  "My daddy helped me!"  He beamed.  Then Doris opened the fourth egg.  She gasped. The egg was empty!  Surely it  must be Jeremy 's, she thought, and, of course, he did not understand her instructions.  If only she had not forgotten to phone his parents. Because she did not want to embarrass him, she quietly set the egg aside and reached for another. 

    Suddenly Jeremy spoke up. "Miss Miller, aren't you going to talk about my egg?" Flustered, Doris replied, "but Jeremy  - your egg is empty!"  He looked into her eyes and said softly, "yes, but Jesus' tomb was empty too!"  Time stopped.  When she could speak again.  Doris asked him, "Do you know why the tomb was empty?"  "Oh yes!" Jeremy exclaimed.  "Jesus was killed and put in there.  Then his Father raised him up!"  The recess bell rang.  While the children excitedly ran out to the school yard, Doris cried. The cold inside her melted completely away.

    Three months later Jeremy died.  Those who paid their respects at the mortuary were surprised to see 19 eggs on top of his casket, ...................all of them empty.

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  • Week 30 - Leadership Ladders

    Posted by J. Clay Norton on 4/7/2017 8:00:00 AM
    "A smart man only believes half of what he hears, a wise man knows which half." - Jeff Cooper
    This is one of the best post I have come across in a while.  The post is by John Mertz and the website is:  https://www.thindifference.com/2017/03/four-essential-leadership-ladders/?utm_content=buffer317fd&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
    I am pretty sure each of us have access to a ladder.  It's one of those items that we only use when we need to and it sure comes in handy when we do.  But, do we ever really think about what a ladder enables us to do besides just climb up?  The four areas spoken about are essential for each of us as leaders to keep our leadership defined.  If one of the areas begins to weaken, it often times will effect one of the other areas as well.  Family and Personal are listed first.  Not sure if this was intentional but I believe these two are the most important.  We can hide a lot of stuff from the public, but cannot hide it from our family members nor ourselves.  The Organizational and Community areas are important as well.  This is where we get to see our leadership effect in others.  
    If there is one take-a-way from the entire post, it is this statement:  We are in a season of discontent and bad leadership examples.  We need to shift to a builder's mindset.  More than our attitude, we need to get to work in building more leadership ladders.  
    Let's make sure we continue to build for others and not ourselves.
    We are glad you choose to support our student-athletes and Clinton Athletics.
    We live in a town where the warchant sounds and that makes all the difference...

    Four Essential Leadership Ladders

    By March 30, 2017Leadership

    leadership laddersLadders enable. We climb to gain a better view. When climbing a ladder, we reach to adjust or fix something. Ladders raise us up with each step up.


    Leadership ladders empower in similar ways. Leadership ladders:

    • Deliver a more expansive view, offering context in the matters at hand
    • Challenge us to step up to the task confronting us
    • Provide a platform to adjust ourselves and prepare to fix and refresh


    If we are not developing the right leadership ladders in our work and life, we begin to slip and slide in directions that take us off course. We need certain leadership ladders in our life work.


    With leadership ladders, there is a catch, and it is this – it is not about yours. Leadership ladders are mostly what you build for others.


    Essential Leadership Ladders


    Building leadership ladders take place in four areas. Each are important to raise up many vital elements of life and work.




    Building leadership ladders is essential in family life. Key questions in building the right ladder include:

    • What does my partner in life want to achieve?
    • What do my kids want to pursue, and what will give them the experience to set a good path?
    • As my parents age, what do they want to do and experience?


    Building ladders is not about carrying others. We can provide a safety net if needed, but finding ways to challenge, guide, lift, and share is how we build ladders for others in our family.




    We do need to build our own ladder, too. If we are going to help others in achieving the best out of themselves, then we need to do the same for ourselves. We need to find ways to:

    • Challenge ourselves in our mindset, passion, and health
    • Learn more about areas of interest and then find new areas of interest to expand our outlook
    • Refresh our spiritual, career, family, and community center, especially since we lead from within and then keep humble by the outward work we do
    • Step up to protect others or raise a call to act in a better way



    Wherever we work, we need to build leadership ladders. We do not have to lead a team or department to build rungs up. Through our collaborative efforts, we can help others find their step or build new steps up. Organizations become an unengaged mess, so we need to find ways to leave the place better than before.


    Within organizational ladders, a personal responsibility exists. We need to:

    • Mentor more than tell
    • Listen abundantly to understand with depth
    • Engage younger generations and learn from them
    • Encourage individuals to step up and then support them if they misstep
    • Open more windows of opportunities than close doors to new experiences and initiatives
    • Hold accountable with compassion and honesty


    Imagine an organization with ladder builders!




    Too often, we ignore our community until we are older. More than serving on boards, we need to gather neighbors and do the work to lift up those who need a helping hand. More than giving dollars, we need to guide and get our hands dirty in building the bridges within our communities.


    Some questions we should ask:

    • Where are the gaps within my community that need to be closed?
    • How can my efforts have an impact in the place I live and work?
    • What community initiative resonates most within my soul?
    • How can I work toward building rungs up for those needing a better outlook and opportunity?


    Finding the alignment between where help is needed and what sparks my soul creates the right rhythm. Unfortunately, many areas of a community need help, and we cannot do it all. However, we can never be overwhelmed by what is needed. We cannot underwhelm with our efforts. Instead, we build the ladders where our talents and spirit guide us in the areas that matter.


    Our Responsibility: Build Leadership Ladders


    Each of us is a builder if we choose so. We are carpenters of our family, self, organization, and community. If we are not building and constructing, we are missing opportunities to make ourselves and others better.


    We are in a season of discontent and bad leadership examples. We need to shift to a builder’s mindset. More than our attitude, we need to get to work in building more leadership ladders.


    What other ladders do we need to build? What helps spark our builder work and mindset?


    Jon Mertz
    Jon Mertz is one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business and highlighted as one of the Leaders to Watch in 2015 by the American Management Association. He also is the author of Activate Leadership: Aspen Truths to Empower Millennial Leaders. Jon serves as vice president of marketing at Corepoint Health. Outside of his professional life, Jon brings together a community to inspire Millennial leaders and close the gap between two generations of leaders.


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  • Week 29 - Frank Martin - Passion & Tenacity

    Posted by J. Clay Norton on 3/31/2017 8:00:00 AM

    "Leadership isn't about being great, it's about enabling others to be great." - David McQueen

    In Tuesday paper, there was a great article on Frank Martin, University of South Carolina's Basketball Coach, regarding his philosophy and his beginnings.  Below is the entire article and it is worth five minutes of your time to read.
    The take-a-ways in the article are many but here are a few thoughts that I believe are relative for our leadership.
    1.  Being tough but takes care of his people
    2.  Humble
    3.  Appreciates those in life who sacrifice for our well-being
    4.  Positive work ethic no matter the job
    5.  Perseverance
    6.  Handles adversity
    7.  Doesn't give up on people because of mistakes
    8.  Has core values
    Let's make sure as leaders we never forgot where we came from, where we are, and where we are going.  Let the people in our lives be built up for them and not ourselves and appreciate what they give to our teams.
    Another great week here at Clinton Athletics and we would love to see you at a game, match, or event.


    NEW YORK — You see the patent leather dress shoes glimmer as he stalks the sideline, and you think Miami. You see the patented death glare when he stands still, preparing to rip into a player, and you think, well, this coach is perhaps a bit too intense.


    But those public glimpses of Frank Martin, the South Carolina men’s basketball coach, tell only part of his remarkable story — and personality.


    “Everybody thinks he’s tough,” said Lourdes Martin, Frank’s mother. “He is tough; you’ve got to be tough to coach. But at the same time, he’s got to take care of his players. At home, he’s a great husband, a great father, a great son. He cooks for them, takes care of them. He’s just a big teddy bear. Frank is very, very humble. He will always be the same man no matter where he goes.”


    Lourdes is the reason her son is the way he is, fueled by a fiery passion but softened by a deep capacity for unconditional love, part basketball instructor, part life coach. She’s the most important woman in his life, Martin gushed Sunday, the strongest woman he’s ever met.


    “Husband runs out, leaves her, never gives her a penny, she never takes him to court — doesn't make excuses,” said Martin, 51, an hour after his No. 7-seeded Gamecocks beat Florida to advance to the program’s first-ever Final Four. “Worked on a salary as a secretary. Raised my sister and me. We'd go to Wendy's or Burger King every two Fridays — that was our family meal.



    “She gave me the courage to try and do this for a living. Every time I'm in a difficult moment and I got to make a choice and do right or do wrong … I made her cry one time when I was a teenager because I made the wrong choice. I'm never making her cry again for making the wrong choice. And I’m watching her cry tears of joy because all her sacrifices have allowed me and my sister to move forward in life. Those are the tears that are important to me. That's extending her life. When you make your mother cry for joy, it gives her more life, and she's a special lady. Special lady.”


    And those are the tears that were shed Sunday evening, as Lourdes watched her son do something he’d never done before, with a program that had never come close to a Final Four berth before. Confetti then covered the court; bits and pieces of the nets were being cut and stuffed in pockets and hats as mementos. Martin walked around and around until he found her.


    “I was out of breath, and then when I hugged my son, it was just ‘Please, God, give me some peace,'” Lourdes said. “He told me, he said, ‘Mommy I’m so happy but please don’t cry.' But he was crying, too. I’ve been crying for a while now.”


    Martin was the first American-born child in his Cuban family, and he grew up alongside classmates at Miami High School who came over to the house to swim and eat tuna steaks and have never left Martin’s side in the decades since.



    He worked myriad jobs as he grew older in Miami, at one point moonlighting as a bouncer at a local nightclub while coaching junior varsity basketball at Miami High School. He has said that one incident in 1992 — a group of men he had kicked out of the club for fighting returned with a gun and fired several shots at him — convinced him to pursue coaching full time.


    Martin’s first gig coaching varsity came in 1993, at North Miami High School, and then came big success at Miami High — three consecutive state championships — but ended in his firing amid scandal, and the 1998 title being vacated because of recruiting violations. That situation is something Martin has not shied away from addressing, even during the most successful month of his coaching career, because it prompted him to shoot for college basketball jobs. He wrote more than 100 letters to college coaches all around the country; only Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski wrote back.


    “When we sit around and start judging people and their difficult moments, it says a lot about the people that criticize, not the people that make the mistakes,” Martin said. “I was a part of an unfortunate situation coaching high school basketball. It was under my watch. I still to this day say we were not guilty, but I was responsible for that situation, and I lost my job. And that was the first time I ever said, you know what, I'm going to try this college thing.”


    A year later, he landed a job at Booker T. Washington High School. One year after that, he was hired as an assistant coach at Northeastern. From there, he joined Bob Huggins and Andy Kennedy at Cincinnati, then followed Huggins to Kansas State.


    When Huggins left for West Virginia, Martin became the head coach of the Wildcats, taking them to four NCAA tournaments in five years, including an Elite Eight run in 2010. Then, of course, he headed to South Carolina — where, in his fifth season, he’s taken the program to levels it had never been close to reaching, led by players such as Sindarius Thornwell and P.J. Dozier, homegrown stars who trusted Martin’s vision for what he could build if they stayed home and stayed with the Gamecocks.


    “If you ever lose your dream or your desire to fight for your dream, then don't get mad when you don't get it,” Martin said. “But adversity and how we handle that determines what comes forward.”


    These are lessons Martin teaches his players daily; he considers himself an educator. Yes, sometimes they’re lessons that are imparted with screaming and yelling — which brought a one-game suspension from the school at the end of 2014 regular season for "an inappropriate verbal communication."


    But the players see the teaching on the bench, the love in his embraces.


    “A lot of times you see the yelling while we’re on the court, but people don’t pay attention when we’re on the bench and he’s teaching,” senior Justin McKie told The(Bergen County, N.J.) Record. “They just see he’s loud. And he is loud; coach is loud. That’s his intensity.”


    Martin told players to trust him, hang on to him and “not let go of the rope,” a tug-of-war analogy he’s used for a few months now with his guys. He doesn’t give up on people, and they don’t give up on him. Martin’s wife, Anya, said current and former players visit her house so frequently it never feels like she only has three children. She said she sees how much he cares about his players, his kids, on a daily basis. She admitted her husband has been calmer than she thought he’d be as he’s worked toward reaching the pinnacle of the coaching profession — and that it must be because of those around him.


    And how he treats them, too.


    “Passion,” Martin said. “When I go back to my high school, which I do all the time, I never go see the teachers that made it easy on me, the ones that just kind of let me get by, I got no time for. I liked it when I was 17 years old. But I’ve got no time for them as a grown man now. I go back and I hug and kiss every single one that held me accountable here and would never let me off the hook. So, when I go in kids' homes and I recruit, what I tell their parents is, you guys might be mad at me sometimes, I'm OK with that, but the one thing you never have to worry about me is that I'm going to lie or I'm going to cheat your child. Neither one of those two things are ever happening. And that's who I am. That's who I am.


    “See I’ve got four core values I live my life by and I run my teams by and I run my family with: Honesty, loyalty, trust and love. And the only way you get to love is if you experience the other three. When you get to love, that gets strong. I don't care what storm comes through, you're not breaking love. But if you get to love without the other three, you let that thing go right away. So, you’ve got to go through the first three and that's the only way you get to love. And that's what I live by, I run my family by that, and I try to coach our guys that way. To get them to that place in life.”


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  • Week 28 - Chase the Lion

    Posted by J. Clay Norton on 3/24/2017 8:00:00 AM

    "The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves." - Ray Kroc

    I saw this the other day and thought it was pretty good.  It has some really thought provoking statements.  We all chase something in our lives and a lot of times what we chase reveals our character.  Let's make sure what we are chasing is productive and worthwhile.  Good locker room material for our teams.  Here is the link so you can download the poster:  http://chasethelion.com/wp-content/uploads/LionChaserManifestoWeb.pdf   
    Hope you enjoy.
    Another great week in Clinton Athletics.  Thank you for being a part of our continued support.
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  • Week 27 - Pull vs Push

    Posted by J. Clay Norton on 3/10/2017 7:00:00 AM

    "Gratitude tells others they matter." - Dan Rockwell



    Pull vs Push.  



    Here is a great post by Liz Stincelli.  http://www.stincelliadvisors.com/are-you-pulling-others-up-or-pushing-them-down/



    I guess it is sort of like transactional vs transformational leadership.  Which are you doing as a leader?  I would dare say that often times we let our ego get in the way and become self-serving and tend to push more then we pull.  The very last line of the post is something that we need to focus on and make sure that we stay on the high side of leadership and help others. 



    Thank you always for your support of Clinton Athletics.











    “There are two ways of exerting one’s strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.” —Booker T. Washington


    The saddest thing about business and success is the internal political games that some people are willing to play in order to get themselves ahead. There are two different ways of getting to the top and they both look very different and have different impacts on your ability to lead. You can get to the top by pulling others up; serving them, inspiring them, and encouraging them. Or, you can get to the top by pushing others down in an attempt to make yourself look better and eliminate any competition. When you pull others up you serve in a hero role; you earn trust, respect, and loyalty. When you push others down you become the enemy; losing all trust, respect, and influence. Here are three questions to help you determine if you are pulling or pushing.


    What is your attitude?


    Do you see others as being capable and willing to do the task at hand? If you have the attitude that you are the only one capable of doing things right, I guarantee you are pushing others down. Recognizing the strengths that others bring to the table and giving them the opportunity and support to use those strengths is the trademark of a leader who is pulling others up.


    Do you have the influence?


    Do you inspire others? Do they trust and respect you? Without these things you do not have influence. If you do not have influence you cannot lead effectively. You gain the ability to inspire others and you earn their trust and respect by being a leader who reaches out and helps them along. If you continually push others down, you may have the false illusion that you have influence, but your employees know different.


    Are you willing to make the investment?


    If you are unwilling to invest your time and resources into building others up, then you are selfishly pushing them down. I’m sure you had a mentor at some point in your career, someone who you looked up to, someone who was willing to invest their time and energy into showing you the ropes and helping you grow. These are the true leaders. When you are unwilling to mentor others, you appear to have a hidden agenda. Employees will feel that you are withholding pertinent information in an attempt to make yourself look better.

    Pull Others Up


    Whether you are pulling others up or pushing them down, it will be reflected in your attitude, your ability to influence, and your willingness to invest in others. True leadership is about pulling others up, making them look good, and helping them to become the best they can be. This is the type of leadership that actually makes you, as the leader, look good. When you are pushing others down as you climb your way to the top, you are really showing everyone that you are not actual leadership material at all. Leadership is not about you so reach down and start pulling others up!


    © 2017 Elizabeth Stincelli


    Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

    Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at [email protected].


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