Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I seldom pay any mind at all to anything Glen Beck has to say. His charm eludes me completely.

But as someone who has spent a fair amount of time putting words in other people's mouths, I found something he said at the recent gathering at the Lincoln Memorial compelling.

Speaking of the Gettysburg Address and MLK's "I have a dream" speech, Beck told the crowd: "The words are alive. Our most famous speeches are American scripture."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Making the cut

Yesterday the Arizona Cardinals cut QB Matt Leinert, the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner who once was heralded as the franchise’s savior.

After first losing the starting job to Kurt Warner a few years ago, Leinert seemed content to back Warner up while awaiting what many assumed to be his automatic ascension to the starter’s job. Despite his long apprenticeship behind a future Hall of Famer, Leinert wasn’t ready to take the reins and, by all accounts, did nothing to win the confidence of his coaches and teammates. A multimillion dollar bust.

I’ve seen this happen in corporations, too. Seemingly capable lieutenants work for years – sometimes decades – in the shadow of key executives and everyone assumes they’ll take over when their bosses move on to greener pastures or retire.

Sometimes it all works out. Sometimes the second banana is as capable and successful as the first. Sometimes he or she takes the organization to new heights.

Sometimes not. Sometimes the old boss leaves and it turns out the heir apparent wasn’t that apparent after all and the company promotes or hires someone else. Other times the backup gets the job, can’t hack it and is quickly replaced or, just as bad, rendered irrelevant.

The lesson, I suppose, is to assume nothing and prepare for everything. Sounds a bit trite, I’ll admit.

Not that many years ago I supported a CEO who was compelled to fire the person who had succeeded him. A multibillion dollar mistake, perhaps. I’ll never forget what he said as the search began for a new successor: “We have to find someone who views this job as a challenge, not a reward.”