It’s Not My Platform!

When I was a kid, my papaw taught me how to plow behind a mule. The most important rule he gave me was keep your eyes on where you are going and never take your hands off the plow. I recently returned to social media to see information on an upcoming class reunion. Big mistake. I have allowed it take my eyes off my goals and remove my hand from the plow AGAIN.

The latest hand from plow remover is the NFL anthem protests. Before I begin my next sabbatical, I have to share my simple thoughts on this. I’ve heard and read many viewpoints. Maybe this one is out there and I’ve missed it in the huge haystack.

I’ve taught leadership seminars across the country. I’ve not spoken in front of millions but I’ve spoken to thousands. I’ve not been paid millions but I’ve been paid thousands. I, like a NFL player, practice to get better at my craft. I hear my name called in an introduction. Normally, after the introduction, I hear “please welcome Greg Gilbert” and there is applause. I appreciate and am honored by the applause but honestly, I haven’t earned it yet. Most NFL players have already earned the applause.

Outside the room, sometimes there is an easel with my name and photo on a poster. All this occurs, but I’m nothing special. I’m a farm kid that grew up outside of Hope, Arkansas. Fortunately, I had great leaders and mentors in my life just like the NFL players had great coaches, leaders and mentors that influenced their life. I was a student of the games of Leadership and Life just like they were a student of football.

Here’s the first difference between me and some, but not all of the players. At the end of every one of my programs, I say these words; “I am so appreciative, humble and grateful to be able to share these lessons with you today. I’m only able to share them because of the great leaders and mentors in my life.” I then share the lyrics to a song I wrote, “What Are They Leaving With?” I originally wrote the song about the lessons and legacies I will leave to my kids and grandkids but now the song is also about my audience. What are they leaving with? There are only two possibilities, Pain or Pleasure. Mr. NFL Player, your fans will experience one of these two emotions but it should not be prior to kickoff. Are you appreciative, humble and grateful?

Here’s the second difference between me and some, but not all of the players. I’ve heard many players and performers say they feel obligated to use their platform to further their cause or bring attention to something. When I’ve been hired to speak on Leadership or Life; It’s Not My Platform. It is the platform of the people that hired me and I am paid to speak on the subject displayed on that easel out front. It is NOT MY platform to speak on politics, religion or whatever topic I choose.

I believe we are taking the wrong poll. I don’t think the right question is “do they have the right to kneel?” I wrote a song in 2011 titled, “Are You Proud Of What You’ve Done With What They Died For?” The song and background is available at ForServing.com I believe the proper question for the NFL is “what do the people that hired you want to see?” The people that hired you are NOT the owners or coaches. The people that hired you are the Fans. As a former Human Resources manager, I’ve played a part in many dismissals. Did I fire them? No, they fired themselves.

Should you be fired? Time will tell. Normally individuals in most industries are terminated for performance problems, not mistakes. If you are fired, you will be fired very slowly by every individual that decides to cancel their game tickets, cable TV channels or refuses to buy your products and apparel at Christmas.

I do believe your failure to ask the right question will result in terminations, but sadly, the ones that caused the problems may be the last to go. You may be the draw but there are many more families impacted by your decisions. It is the hotels, restaurants, servers, concession stand employees and their families that will be impacted by your decisions.

I’ll give this analogy. If you were a country singer and if your actions only impact you and your guitar, go for it. If you have a family, stagehands or band members, think about it. Be selfless, not selfish. There are many families that are depending on your performance, not your beliefs. 

I know you’ve all had great coaches and leaders in your life but I hate you didn’t have the humility, gratitude and selflessness to KYA, (Know Your Audience).

I also hate that you didn’t have that strong leader in your life that instead of enabling you, looked you right in the eye and said; “Inside the field is NOT your platform!” 

The Platform belongs to the Fans and we may take it back. 

Greg Gilbert


Our Rodeo; Our Rules!

our rodeo

We were extremely vetted tonight. I’m OK with it now but I was not OK with it during the process. It started with Sandy, Kasen and I attending Championship Bull Riding at the CenturyLink Center in Bossier City.

To start with, they had built a wall around their rodeo. In order for us to get inside the walls, I had to apply for and purchase entry a few weeks ago. That was the first vetting. They checked my debit card to insure there were funds for the tickets plus $10 for ticket master and $3 for the event center on each ticket.

Once I passed this vetting system, I was able to print 3 tickets. Then, as we were walking out of the parking lot, there was a sign that said no purses over 6X9 inches. This was our second vetting. This resulted in us returning to our country, I mean car, and doing what the police tell you to never do. We left the purse in the trunk of our country and started our journey again.

Once we made the extremely uphill trip to the top, (everything worthwhile is ALWAYS UPHILL), Sandy’s clutch bag was opened and vetted by the security person. I was then asked another vetting question. I guess it was on the sign after the purse but I didn’t see it.

You see, I’ve carried a pocket knife since second grade but I couldn’t lie to security man. The metal detector wand man was waiting for me to assume the “give me a T” cheerleader position. I could not pass this vetting.

I told Sandy and Kasen to enter through the walls without me. I said I would do what I could to meet them on the inside, someday. I waved as they passed through the glass wall. They waved as they stood inside. They had been cleared to be inside the walls. I was willing to do whatever necessary to meet their requirements and be reunited with my family. It was their rodeo, their rules. I had requested entry.

55. That’s how many steps were on the three tiers back to the parking lot. I walked down the stairs and through the lot again to leave my 16 year old Case John Deere pocket knife in my country. There was also 55 steps back to the top. Forget that motivational, worthwhile uphill stuff. I wasn’t in the mood. I was having a few choice words with the 9/11 religious idiots that started this mess.

I reached the top, assumed the “give me a T” position and passed this vetting. I was reunited with my family and we hugged. (Not really but we will in the documentary.)

This is a late night report because I took Facebook off my phone weeks ago. This was good because it allowed me to clear my head. We were in our seats 45 minutes prior to the rodeo. This would’ve been plenty of time for a Facebook venting session on vetting and would’ve taken my attention from my family.

But here’s what changed my mind and heart. The lights were dimmed. Fireworks began as they introduced 25 young bull riders. I saw my grandson’s smile as he watched and listened. I was witnessing his first rodeo.

Then we were asked to stand and remove cover. (Remove your hat if you are wondering.) The rodeo announcer with a voice that compared with Paul Harvey said the sweetest prayer and asked for blessings and safety for each cowboy, our military, law enforcement and our country. Then our flag appeared on the big screen waving ever so gently. I don’t know if I’ve ever sang the National Anthem so loud and proud. P.S. No one took a knee.

After two hours of great action, some prayers for an injured bull rider and watching my grandson laugh and clap, it was over. You know what? Inside those walls was a pretty special place. Yes; I had to jump through some hoops to get there but as I said earlier; their rodeo, their rules. Yes, the rules have changed since I slapped Stoney Burke’s hand as he rode his horse around the Four States Fairground Rodeo arena in the 60’s. He didn’t know or care that I had my pocket knife in my pocket.

The world changed on 9/11. We have to change. I’m not the guy that likes to see our freedoms and liberties whittled away but I’ll share this with you. If I have to go through a few inconveniences to increase the safety of my wife and grandson inside the walls of a rodeo arena or the borders of our country, that’s not too much to ask.

In fact, I’ll do whatever it takes to see my grandson bow his head in prayer and his hand on his heart during our National Anthem with a few thousand others. Honoring God and country; I believe that’s how a country was started that people around the globe are drawn to.

Our Rodeo; Our Rules!

Greg Gilbert


My Tribute To Bob And Bob’s Rules!

bobs rules

 

I lost a great friend and mentor yesterday. I lost a leader that played a huge role in my personal and professional development as a young supervisor. A family lost a husband, dad, grandfather and brother. Bob Harmon of Sherwood, AR passed away on January 13, 2016.

I was promoted from a telephone repairman to a supervisor in 1978. I’m so thankful a few months after my promotion, an attorney scared me when he said, “if it’s not written, it did not occur.” This began my 38 years and counting, habit of journaling. In 1980 I moved from Blytheville, AR to Fayetteville, AR and began working with Bob. Notice I said I worked WITH Bob. I never felt I worked FOR Bob. My journaling continued through this assignment and the remainder of my career.

A few years after retirement from Southwestern Bell, I was contacted to design a leadership development program. The material for this program was pulled from over two decades of journals. It was designed using both personal and witnessed successes, failures and what led to each.

As I look back on the course development process, it was amazing but not surprising, how many leadership and life lessons came out in the five year period I worked with Bob.

In 2015, I combined all the leadership and life lessons into a book titled, “Leading Like You Owned It-Why We Never Wax A Rental Car!” I called Bob when I began writing the book. He thought it was so funny when I told him “Bob’s Rules” would be a chapter. What I didn’t know until now is what a huge role Bob Harmon played in my leadership foundation.

This morning as I thought about this tribute, I did a word search for Bob in my book. It was no surprise that Bob’s name came up many times in my search. That is a reflection of the personal and professional impact Bob Harmon had on a young Greg Gilbert.

I’ve shared these lessons with thousands across the country and sold a few books in the process. The influence of Bob will live on through my programs and book. This fact was proven on December 8, 2016 as I received a text from Lin. Lin had attended one of my seminars years ago. The text read, “I need a Bobisam!” I had no idea what that meant. I called Lin and asked, “what in the world is a Bobisam?” She said, “no, I need a Bobism, a Bobism.” I guess autocorrect does not recognize the request for a Bobism….yet. My only regret is not calling Bob and letting him know there is still a demand for Bobisms.

I wanted to share with you just a few chapters where Bob Harmon influenced my life, my leadership and will hopefully continue to influence others through my programs and book.

Bob, thank you for investing in me so I could invest in others.

 

Chapter 24. Trust, Guts And The Benefit Of Both! 

I share my leadership seminar in different cities around the country. I share this in two different manners. The first is I am invited to present “The Power Of Better!” on-site at leadership meetings and conferences.

The second method is by picking a location and notifying local industry of the seminar. I normally pick the smaller locations because they normally have limited access to leadership development. In many cases, I will partner with a SHRM group, Chamber or local college.

In 2014, while calling industries to notify them of an upcoming seminar, I ran into this response from a Human Resources Manager; “I can’t talk to you and you can’t talk to me. I can’t make any decisions. It all must go through corporate. They never ask for my two cents worth and there is absolutely no need to e-mail the information to me.” When I tried to give her the website of the seminar, she wouldn’t take it.

I finally got a laugh when I asked if she would give me her two cents worth if I offered a penny for her thoughts. She said, “not unless corporate approves it.” Do you think she felt valued? No or No? Do you think she felt empowered? No or No? Do you think she felt her leadership was “For her”, “Against her” or “For themselves?” She was unwilling to even hear the website and review the free tools for managers. I felt as if I was attempting to hand her a Bible on a busy street in Communist China.

This reminded me of a situation early in my management career when I became aware of outside leadership development courses. I was looking for new tools for my leadership tool box. This  occurred over 30 years ago.

Note to my manager;

 

Bob,

There is a manager seminar coming to Fayetteville. I heard about it on the radio. It is $85 and is four hours. I can handle my business that day and would like to attend with your permission.

Let me know so I can register. Seating is limited.

Thank you,

Greg

—————

This is the note I received immediately from Bob.

—————-

Greg,

I received your request to attend the leadership seminar. You are responsible for  the Fayetteville Maintenance Center and have nearly a million dollar annual budget. If you can attend and your business not suffer, go. I have not been, nor do I plan on scrutinizing your hundred dollar decisions. In the future, I trust your judgment. We both benefit from your leadership development. Remember rule # 1; If I have to do your job, I don’t need you. Besides, if you pick up one idea to bring back, it’s worth it.

FYI me on these in the future because I may attend also. I will let you know if I hear of any similar courses in the area.

Bob

————

Pay close attention to this leadership lesson.

When I received this note, do you think I believed my leadership was willing to invest in my success?

Do you believe I felt trusted? Yes or Yes?

Do you think I felt empowered? Yes or Yes?

Do you think I felt he was:

For Me?

Against me?

For himself?

When your team knows you are “For Them”, they will walk through walls for you. I would walk through walls for Bob over 30 years after receiving this note.

If they believe you are “Against Them” or “For Yourself”, they will do just enough to get by OR leave UNLESS they are the less than 5% that will do the right thing even in the absence of leadership. You cannot build a successful team with only that 5% AND they will eventually leave incompetent leadership.

Even though my company had internal training, every leader I worked with was open to outside perspectives.

Do you think Bob had the guts to make this decision on HIS own? You bet he did. He had a multi-million dollar budget and was not being scrutinized on HIS $100 decisions.

Are you willing to forward an e-mail of a $100 leadership development seminar to your leadership team and allow them to decide whether to attend or not? You would find out who sees the value of personal development. That is Leading Like You Own It.

While we are on the subject of trust, let me share something I wrote in my journal years ago. My high on trust, low on rules organization will always beat your high on rules low on trust organization.

I had also written in my journal this statement; Rules Minus A Relationship Equals Rebellion. I’m not positive, but there were probably two teenage daughters at home when I wrote this in my journal.

Upon recently revisiting my journal, I realized this applies to all ages. I’m not referring to the type of rebellion that overthrows a company. I’m referring to the type of rebellion that does just enough to get by and cost companies billions of dollars every year. 

Chapter 47. Bob’s Rules. 

In 1980, I reported to a new position in a the Fayetteville, Arkansas Test Center. My manager, Bob, took me to lunch on the first day. We ordered our meal and he said “I only have two rules”;

Rule Number One – “If I have to do your job, I don’t need you.”

Rule Number Two – “I will never jump in front of you in your organization to solve a problem. I will make you aware of the problem and always give you the opportunity to solve it first. You will probably like your way of solving the problem better than mine. Welcome to the Test Center.”

This was one of many great leaders that contributed to this book and my leadership seminar. I was held accountable. I’ve adopted “Bob’s Rules” and shared them with thousands, but they are never “Greg’s Rules”.  They belong to Bob and are worth sharing. 

Chapter 65. We Will Always Beat Me.

Early in my career, I was an enabler. If you had a problem, all you had to do was bring it to my office and I would take it. It was like I had a sign outside my office and was wearing a tee shirt that said “bring me your problems.” Eventually, I began to feel like a porta potty at a music festival; the recipient of what others did not want.

Something had to change. Bob’s Rule from 1980 resurfaced; “If I have to do your job, I don’t need you.” I began a new process. This was probably a suggestion of a mentor, leader, seminar or book. I would hate to go through life totally dependent on my original thoughts.

When someone shared a problem, I acknowledged the problem and requested they bring me two possible solutions. This opened the floodgates of ideas. Many were so much better than mine. Our creativity is amazing when challenged.

This drastically reduced my work load and stress level. This is a form of delegation and must be mastered to be successful at a higher level.

However, to reap the full benefit of this process, you must possess one trait. You must be willing to truthfully, honestly consider the ideas of others as sometimes better than yours. This process does not mix well with a large ego.

—————————————————-

This is such a small sample of the influence Bob had on me and one of the true definitions of leadership is the ability to positively influence others.

I hope all of you are fortunate enough to have one or more Bobs in your life. If not, please allow books, videos, seminars and podcasts to become the Bob in your life. However, I do believe the only thing worse than not having a Bob in your life, is having a Bob in your life and not becoming a Bob to someone else.

Bob, thank you again for investing in me so I could invest in others,

Greg Gilbert


Lean Towards The Write!

Journal laid open on a desktop, ready for notes or thoughts. Depth of field focused smack dab in center of pages.

Last night Sandy and I stopped in at Khalils for the monthly gathering of the Central Arkansas songwriters. They gather every first Monday unless there is a holiday.

There were 12 songwriters sharing their original songs and the story behind the song. I love hearing the inspirations and how it led to the song. Many songs were started years ago and recently finished. I can relate because I can point to the inspiration behind every song or poem I’ve written.

One song was a product of a letter found in a grandmother’s trunk. She had just lost her 41 year old husband. One song was inspired by a date asking a policewoman if she could smoke some weed.

One song was inspired by a daughter becoming engaged and telling her dad, “this is the end of the beginning of our love.” There was a song inspired by a grandpaw and one by the white oak trees on an old home place. One song was “I Want To Love, Like He Loved Me.” This song was about how the Lord loves us.

I write to make this point;

If you have ever had the urge or inspiration to create content, write songs, poetry, blog or a book; do it. You never know who needs to hear your thoughts and message.

I caution you to not write to point fingers, correct or change others. Trust me, this doesn’t work. Let your words plant seeds of inspiration, encouragement and entertainment. We all need this.

You may never receive a dime in payment for your message. We all dream of writing the award winning song, poem, book, blog or article. We may dream of mailbox money but let me share what you can’t measure in dollars. “Thank you for writing that song,” “thank you for honoring my son with that song,” an appreciative note, email or a hug with tears streaming down both of your cheeks can NOT be measured in dollars.

Don’t write it for the money, write for the meaning. Write so you will be remembered as kind, loving and funny instead of angry and bitter. Don’t use your writing and content creation to change others, use it to change yourself. Osmosis will handle the rest.

Greg Gilbert

P.S. For three hours I did not give one second of my thoughts or energy to the crap (excuse my language) that is going on in this country. I left with the most peaceful feeling with a rejuvenated sense of purpose but that will be content for another blog.


Greg Gilbert conducts keynotes and the Leadership Development Program, “Leading Like You Own It – Why We Never Wax A Rental Car!” On-Site and at locations around the country. He also presents “Lessons In Leadership, Life And Laughter” with “Mr. HR With A Guitar” at team, association and civic meetings.

He is the author of “The Power Of Better Series – Volume I – Leading Like You Own It! Why We Never Wax A Rental Car.”  and his PDF (Personal Development Fiction) book 50 Days Of Hay – A Life Changing Summer. He is committed to improving results through increased Education, Engagement and Accountability.

Visit GregGilbertCoaching.com for more information.


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He Let Me Help! – Happy Father’s Day

amber autumn weddings

I’ve had a blessed life and have been grateful for all the different roles I’ve played in life. Dad to two girls and Papaw to two boys are no exceptions. This year my favorite youngest daughter brought my favorite granddaughter into our lives. I look forward to many more memories with my family.

There has been much more laughter than tears and many more memories than regrets. That’s what life is all about.

Note: Tears during two trips down the aisle and father/bride dances do not count as bad tears.

I tell a story in my leadership seminars about the pleasure of watching a leader grow and develop while knowing you played a small role in their development. I wish that feeling and experience on each attendee. Every time I tell the story, Father’s Day hits my mind and I totally lose my train of thought. I do believe I recover before my attendees notice.

I think about watching my two girls grow into beautiful young women.

I know. I know. God did that.

However, what I’m most proud of is even though they have their own personalities, they both have the same good, kind heart. They are both wonderful parents as a result of that heart.

I know, I know, God did that too, but you know what I’m most grateful for?………….

He let me help.

Happy Fathers Day to all dads.

What are they leaving with?
Do they have a loving home?
Leaving with?
Have I showed them right from wrong?
Leaving with?
When we’re miles and miles apart,
there’s a choice to be made,
and they look inside their heart,
what are they leaving with?

Chorus from “What Are They Leaving With”
Music and lyrics by Greg Gilbert-
Greg Gilbert Publishing – Ascap

Click greglgilbert.com/thanks/ for a free download.

Greg Gilbert


Greg Gilbert conducts keynotes and the Leadership Development Program, “Leading Like You Own It – Why We Never Wax A Rental Car!” On-Site and at locations around the country. He also presents “Lessons In Leadership, Life And Laughter” with “Mr. HR With A Guitar” at team, association and civic meetings.

He is the author of “The Power Of Better Series – Volume I – Leading Like You Own It! Why We Never Wax A Rental Car.”  and his PDF (Personal Development Fiction) book 50 Days Of Hay – A Life Changing Summer. He is committed to improving results through increased Education, Engagement and Accountability.

Visit GregGilbertCoaching.com for more information.


Follow Me On Twitter

Join Me On Facebook

Connect With Me On LinkedIn

Visit My Amazon Author Page


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Click the photo above to receive a quote for your leadership team.