A “Leadership Primer” attributed to Colin Powell has been circulating on the web for a while. A lot of writings have attributed to different celebrities in this way, but my research indicates that this one is legitimate. Regardless, the points made is worthy of further dissemination:
Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.
Good leadership involves responsibility to the welfare of the group, which means that some people will get angry at your actions and decisions. It’s inevitable, if you’re honorable. Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity: you’ll avoid the tough decisions, you’ll avoid confronting the people who need to be confronted, and you’ll avoid offering differential rewards based on differential performance because some people might get upset. Ironically, by procrastinating on the difficult choices, by trying not to get anyone mad, and by treating everyone equally “nicely” regardless of their contributions, you’ll simply ensure that the only people you’ll wind up angering are the most creative and productive people in the organization.
Have you seen groups get lost in the weeds trying to make everyone happy? Have you had to make a decision that was best for your group, knowing that it would piss a lot of people off? Are there ways to piss people off without causing divisiveness?
I know that a good leader should do her/his best to avoid giving offense, while not worrying about the small number who all-too-frequently take offense.
I didn’t think it would be difficult to write this. After all John led a full life. Football player, race car driver, etc. and at 71 he was having health problems.
Regardless, here I am shocked he’s really gone.
Mr. John H. Osgood was one of those people that I can say I was glad to have in my life. He was one of those people that you either liked or hated…rarely were there people in between. I believe this was because that was how he looked at people…he either liked you or he didn’t. Simple as that.
John, as one of the owners of DataFlow/Alaska, was my boss…yet I managed him in his position as an employee of the company. We used to joke a lot about the fact that while I could fire him…he’d have the ultimate revenge of firing me for it afterward!
John’s humor was one of his best qualities. He’d keep you smiling and laughing. Hie regular antics as the Pope of ‘The Church of Our Convenience’ (“Mass will be held when it’s convenient for everyone”) would bring smiles to everyone’s faces. If you called him an asshole, he’d thank you and remind you he’s working toward grand asshole and appreciated the encouragement!
When it came to his marriage, he would proudly talk about how he was the perfect husband. His wife, Deidre, is a divorce lawyer so he would conclude “after she dealt with all the wife beating, child abusing, cheating scumbags…she’d come home to a great guy like me!” The looks Deidre would give if she was in ear shot said that wasn’t always the case.
Once we all went to the Corsair Restaurant to celebrate some serious litigation for the company. DataFlow had won and we were celebrating. I’ll remember John’s description of the restaurant…he called it the “You’re going to get laid restaurant”. When asked why (as I had never dined there before) he said “Look…the food’s good, the prices are outrageous and they have a chocolate mousse to die for. Trust me, taking a gal to a place like that get’s you LAID!”
I won’t say if taking anyone there has gotten me that…but my dates have certainly enjoyed the place.
He was also one of those people who genuinely cared for you.
I was in the middle of my divorce and things were not doing well for me and the company. When I left DataFlow, things were not on a good footing. John called me to do lunch, and I was concerned about what it was for. However, John fixed that before anything else. What he said to me is seared in my consciousness and told me how he felt about me. He leaned and said “Look, we fucked up. YOU fucked up. Doesn’t matter. I’m here to tell you we’re still fucking friends!”
To this day, I can’t find the words that describe what that meant to me.
Even after DataFlow changed hands and the contract was over, many of us would meet for lunch. Thursday afternoon at ‘Wings-N-Things’ became a staple for the week. A way for us who were working together to keep in touch. Lots of laughs having lunch with the old crew.
Yesterday we had our lunch, but there were very few smiles. We did get a few laughs in, but for most of us it was somber knowing The Oz was not longer coming. Even the people at Wings-N-Things were saddened by the news.
John had that affect on people.
Eric, the point of contact for all the news said yesterday “John has a LOT of friends! This is real work to keep everyone updated.” When I asked if it was too much, he gave the best answer, “Nope. John’s worth it.”
To Deidre, the girls, grandkids and family my heartfelt condolences. The good thing is a guy like John will be remembered fondly by manypeople.
Gonna miss you, you OLD FART!
If there is a heaven, I can see him talking to an angel like he does to us. He’s nose to nose saying in his low tone “Look you little son of a bitch! When I tell you what I want, I expect it to be here pronto! So get going.”
Rest well John. You will be missed by lots of people.
I had been recently listening to the song ‘Like A G6‘ by the Far East Movement. Thanks to my friend, Shannon (OK…my daughter’s best friend, but she’s my friend too!) I now know of this geektastic version of the song!
During this holiday season I received MANY holiday cards and e-mails. Unfortunately because I’ve been so busy (as usual), I couldn’t send any out myself. So If I could, I’d like to use this as my Christmas Card to everyone who was kind enough to send one to me/I would sent one to….