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.


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Important Message For Only Those That Did Or Did Not Serve in the Military!

Dads Flag

One of our church members sang “God Bless America” as a special yesterday. She did a wonderful job. It made my eyes sweat just a bit. Man, I love my country.

I wasn’t planning on a special but it was Memorial Weekend and I shared a song I wrote and recorded a few years ago titled, “With What They Died For.” I was honored a few years ago to share this song on Veteran’s Day on KATV’s Good Morning Arkansas.

As I listened to Leslie do a beautiful job on “God Bless America,” something hit me like that ton of bricks I’ve always heard about. When I was a kid, I ate many meals around my grandparent’s table.

If it was just our family and my grandparents, my dad served in the military. My grandfather served by working at an ammunition plant in Camden and later at Lone Star Ammunition Plant. If my aunt, uncle and cousins were in from California, my uncle served in the military. If my cousins from Cross Roads were in the house, their dad served in the military.

Throw in cousins from my grandmother’s family, great uncles, a neighbor or three and there could very easily be a dozen men that have served our country breaking bread at a kitchen table, back porch table and TV trays scattered throughout the house. Many more of the men and women served by working at Red River Army Depot or Lone Star Ammunition Plant. My wife said her family was the same way.

What about today’s tables? Look at your crowd today as you grill a burger or steak. How many have served in the military?  I didn’t serve in the military. The Vietnam War was winding down when I graduated. I chose to let it ride and see what happened. I received a draft number in the 300’s.

This made me think; where did my love of country originate? Did some of it come from being in that house with so many people that had to leave their family and country to fight for something they may or may not have understood? At that age, I didn’t understand freedom. I do now. Every time I share a program with a group and cover;

  1. My high on trust, low on rules organization will ALWAYS beat your high on rules, low on trust organization. (Could you substitute country for organization?)
  2. Rules without a relationship results in rebellion.

freedom becomes more and more clear to me. 

I can’t explain it. Even though I didn’t serve in the military, I have a huge sense of pride and truly love my country.

I’ve never been able to listen to Lee Greenwood sing “God Bless The USA” with dry eyes. The National Anthem at sporting events always gets to me. I’ve never been at a rodeo where they always honor God and our country that I didn’t get emotional.

I recently spoke at the Mississippi State Human Resources conference. They opened the conference with prayer, a ROTC Color Guard and The Pledge Of Allegiance. I was so honored to speak after that kick off. Harley Davidson has a marketing slogan, “If you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand.” This applies to many of our passions and especially to love of country. 

As members of our military gradually disappear from our tables and family gatherings; as VFW’s slowly disappear; we as non-military parents have a huge job. We MUST take every opportunity to instill the love of country in our kids. We must talk about Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veteran’s Day and their meaning. We can’t let these holidays or BBQ’s become the jolly, fat guy of Christmas.

There are and will be multiple generations that did not serve in the military. It will become even more important to share this with our kids. We wouldn’t think about raising them without discussing honesty and integrity. If you are strong in your faith, you wouldn’t dream of not instilling that in your child. Love of, and pride in our country should be no different.

If we cease teaching this, future generations could possibly be foolish enough to vote for people that remove some of our freedoms. Those are the same freedoms that the dozen men at tables and TV trays at my grandparent’s house fought for along with hundreds of thousands of other men and women. Those of us in Skip Generations have a huge job in front of us.

Thanks to those that have served and especially to those that gave their lives. Visit ForServing.com for a free download of my song, “With What They Died For.”

Greg Gilbert

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“I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” – Thomas Jefferson

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. – John 15:13King James Version (KJV)


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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We’re From The Government And We ARE Here To Help!

Help Others Concept

I just returned from three presentations in Mississippi with a great group of leaders in Biloxi and Meridian. One of the attendees said when he checked me out, the Letter To My First Leader Blog sold him on attending my program. I was humbled by the positive feedback of the attendees.

After being treated very well by the MS SHRM organization, Ron Meyers Productions, Lynn at Meridian Community College and everyone at the Beau Rivage Resort in Biloxi, I had a couple of really bad customer service examples as I traveled home. I will give them both the opportunity to resolve the issues privately.

I needed a customer service win. I needed to restore my Hope in good old fashioned customer service. It occurred in my hometown of Hope, Arkansas in the Hempstead County Tax Assessors office.

I was on the phone yesterday with a friend. We were talking about the advantages of small communities and rural America. I missed a phone call while we were talking. During the conversation, my friend said his daughter was a big city girl and would not consider living in any city with a population of under 400,000.

After completing my conversation, I checked my voice mail. I had a message from Judy in the Hempstead County Assessors office. She said they were going through the list of people that had not assessed their taxes. She then checked to see if she could find a contact number. The message said I needed to assess by the end of the month to avoid paying a 10% penalty. I called, assessed and thanked her for calling and reminding me. I felt she went over and above because I have forgotten in the past and paid the penalty.

This is especially commendable because the Assessors Office has no competition. They could treat their customers poorly and their revenue stream remains the same. In fact, their good customer service probably reduced their revenue by eliminating some penalties. My sincere thanks to the Hempstead County Assessors Office. This was very different from a previous experience I wrote about in We Are Government. We Are Different!

Oh, I did call my friend back. I suggested he ask his daughter to not assess in Dallas next year and see if her local assessors office calls and reminds her to assess and avoid the penalty. I’m betting a 10% penalty the answer would be NO!

There is still Hope in good old fashioned customer service. Do you have any recent examples of good customer service? I need some more wins.

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.


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What Mountains Have You Climbed This Year?

top of roys mountain

This is a photo I took from the top of a mountain on my friend’s property outside of Medina, TX in May of 2015. It just popped up as a memory on Facebook.

In December of 2014, two of the goals I set were to climb this mountain and finish my book. Check. Check. What I didn’t plan on were two surgeries in early April. There were quite a few rest stops on the way to the top. The view was well worth the climb.

What intentional goals are you setting? Successes do not just occur.

Can you imagine this? You run into someone you have not seen in a year. They look like they have lost about 30 pounds. You comment, “You look great. What have you been doing?” They say, “Nothing really. The weight just fell off.”

No. I can’t imagine it either. It must be intentional. P.S. If this ever does occur, this person needs to see a doctor immediately.

What mountains have you climbed so far during 2016?

Greg Gilbert


Greg Gilbert conducts keynotes and the Leadership Development Program, “Education, Engagement, Accountability; The Results, Morale And Culture Solution!” 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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Eddie Excuse Or Randy Results? You Choose!

16th floor 

Yesterday I had the privilege to speak to a group of Leaders in New Orleans. As always, I had a great time sharing the leadership principles of Leading Like You Own It. I was also humbled by the feedback. It was a great group of leaders facing some unique challenges now and in the future.

Early that morning, I went to the workout room in the hotel. I arrived at 5:30AM to find every treadmill and stationary bike in use. Eight people had beat me to starting their day. Wow! I heard a voice in my head.

It was Eddie Excuse. It said this would be a great opportunity to go back to your room and catch a few more Z’s. I’ve listened to Eddie Excuse too many times in my life. This time was different. I phoned a friend. A true friend; Randy Results. He pointed me to the stairwell. The workout room was on the second floor. The hotel had 16 floors. Randy Results said I will see you at the top and he was gone.

I hit the stairwell. Somewhere between the 10th and 12th floor, Eddie Excuse caught me and began riding piggyback. I didn’t realize how much an excuse can weigh. They really slow you down. They can make you quit.

I know because I had my hand on the knob on the 12th floor. I was thinking about taking the elevator to my floor. I had my left hand on the knob and then it caught my eye. My Fitbit. It had been tracking my steps and the number of floors I climbed. I thought, “why wear one if you’re not going to use it?” I then heard Randy Results calling from the top floor. I let go of the door knob and headed to 16. There was a balcony at the top that overlooked the city and the river. Below is a photo.

new orleans

 

I’m so thankful I left my excuses on the 12th floor. The view was beautiful. It began to rain and I stayed outside. The rain felt so refreshing. I said my morning prayers with this view and included all the folks of this city affected by Hurricane Katrina. I pray their lives are back to some sort of normal.

I don’t know if there was a balcony on the 12th floor. If there was, I know the view would not have been as beautiful. Many times in life, I have settled for a lower floor view. I’m over that. If the top floor view is available and within reach, why not go for it? That is the “Power Of Better.” Besides, if I had quit on the 12th floor, you would have never known it. It’s no fun to write about our excuses. We normally keep them to ourselves.

Do you have any recent examples of Randy Results winning over Eddie Excuses?

Greg Gilbert


Greg Gilbert conducts keynotes and the Leadership Development Program, “Education, Engagement, Accountability; The Results, Morale And Culture Solution!” 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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