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.


Follow Me On Twitter

Join Me On Facebook

Connect With Me On LinkedIn

Visit My Amazon Author Page


Badge with text

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


 

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


Badge with text

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


 

Make A Memory This Weekend!

Arch

 

I had the privilege of sharing my leadership program with a group of HR Professionals in St. Louis this week. I was humbled by the feedback and truly think a few will return to their jobs and “Lead Like They Own It!”

I was able to turn it into a short Workation. I stopped in North Little Rock and picked up my favorite youngest grandson for a road trip. We were able to see St. Louis from 630 feet in the air from the Arch. There was also a high school all-star baseball game in Busch Stadium that we were able to attend. On the return trip, we made a stop in Mountain View, Arkansas. They have music on the square in the evenings. It is very peaceful.

Mt view

Allow me to set the stage for a memory:

Right after his first Coke Float at an old soda fountain, Papaw and Kasen are on a sidewalk bench “waiting on a woman” as Sandy is shopping in Mt. View. After 30 minutes or so, we join woman and the conversation goes like this;

Papaw: “Kasen, did any ants bite you while we were on the bench? I had a couple of ants bite me.”

Kasen: “No Papaw, I guess they didn’t want the salad bar. They went right to the buffet line.”

We all burst out laughing.

I do not know if there is a sarcasm gene in the DNA or if it’s learned; but either way, it can surface at eleven years of age.

P.S. When Kasen was eight, we were in the car, “waiting on a woman.” I turned to him in the back seat and told him; “Kasen, you will spend many hours of your life “waiting on a woman.”

With the most sincere, innocent look on his face, he answered; “I know Papaw, but maybe I’ll get one someday.” I just patted his knee, nodded my head, turned toward the steering wheel and successfully fought back my laughter.

Man, I love being a Papaw.

What does this have to do with leadership? Absolutely nothing but you can NOT have Leadership without Life.

Do you have any plans to make a memory this weekend?

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


Badge with text

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


 

YOUR Child Is In A Gorilla Cage. Who Do YOU Want In A Position Of Leadership?

Leadership concept in word tag cloud on white background

This blog has been in my draft folder since Saturday night. I always let emotional post or emails sleep through the night. This one slept three nights but was allowed to escape by the bizarre comments of people that have very different priorities than me. I welcome different viewpoints but as a parent and grandparent, I am locked in to one set of priorities.

Okay. Memorial Day is over but I appreciate those that gave all for this country every single day. That never stops for me.

Many did not have their mind on the men and women that gave their life for this country this weekend. This group of perfect individuals, having never made a mistake in their lives, were busy signing petitions, expressing hate, anger and concern over the shooting of a gorilla in a zoo. This blog could take so many directions but I want to stick with leadership. I will let others take different directions.

I’ll make this very simple;

Imagine you are the parent. Your three year old child is in the cage with a 400 pound gorilla. Let’s give your child a random name. Let’s call him Jimmy. For your story, substitute the name of one of your children. Yes, I know the gorilla has a name but you don’t care. He has Jimmy. He is dragging Jimmy through the water and from one side of the enclosure to the other side. He is handling Jimmy like a limp dishcloth. You don’t even know he has the strength of ten humans and don’t care. You want your child back.

You are not thinking; How, Who, What, Where or Why. You want the life of your child spared. You will take any type of personal punishment to have your child safe in your arms. Nothing can come close to the helplessness and guilt you feel at this moment. You know at any second, the life of your child could be squeezed, bitten or choked from his small defenseless body.

It’s like you can hear a giant clock ticking each second off of your child’s life. A child that should be looking at a lifespan of decades could be looking at seconds. You’re thinking your child should not pay with his life because of your lack of attention. You would swap places with your child if you could.

No punishment, petition, hate or angry words can come close to the thought of seeing your child in a small casket. Nothing can mask the pain of thinking about waking up every morning with regret, guilt and anger at yourself.

Right now you are helpless. You need a leader. You need a leader that recognizes the seriousness of the situation. You want a leader that knows that every second counts. You want a leader that knows there are no absolutes in this situation but the life of your child must be the main priority. You want a leader that takes action immediately. You want a leader that no matter how it turns out, they can say, “I did what had the highest percentage of saving Jimmy’s life.”

Saturday afternoon, a mother was thankful that leader appeared. So am I.

Sandy and I have been in a “situation.” We have received the call that our oldest daughter has been in a wreck and they are having to cut them out of the car. It took us 20 minutes to get there and for 20 minutes, we did not know if our daughter was dead or alive. I don’t wish that on anyone. Thankfully, that “situation” worked out.

There will always be more armchair quarterbacks than true leaders. The tipping point that scares me is when many leave their chair and actually assume positions of leadership. As a parent, I’m thankful that some of the haters were not making the call in this situation. Honestly, we are truly better off with them in a chair and their fingers doing the talking on a keyboard instead of making critical decisions that impact lives or livelihoods.

I will leave all the second guessing, hate and anger to others. Personally, I can’t get past Joy and Relief. We can all voice our opinion on this situation because of the First Amendment that Leaders fought and died for. If you are not a parent, well, I will quote a Harley Davidson Marketing Slogan; “If you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand.”

For you movie buffs, I guess what I’m asking is;

If your child was Taken; would you want a petition writing, human or animal rights activist negotiating with the kidnappers or would you prefer Liam (I have skills) Neeson on the case?

Did this situation have the best possible ending? No it didn’t. We all hate that it even happened. That’s why they are called situations. Leaders deal with situations. But it also did not have the worst possible ending. Why? Leadership.

Leadership; you can’t live without it. Families, organizations and countries cannot flourish without it. A child might not be alive today if it did not exist in a Cincinnati zoo.

Yes, I said might not be alive today. There is no way to rewind and try different scenarios. If you want to gamble, go buy a scratch-off ticket. If you don’t have two bucks, offer up your child. Maybe you will win and get them back.

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


Badge with text

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