Six months ago, I penned “Goings On…10 Traits Worth Emulating”.  After expressing them, I proceeded to say that it was my intention to drill down on each a bit more “over time”. But, then other priorities emerged!

So, back to the 10 Traits….

  1. Tone at the Top
  2. Add Value
  3. Bring Others with You
  4. Relationships = Retention
  5. Get Over It
  6. The Only People You Should Get Even With are the Ones Who Helped You
  7. The Positive Assumption of a Negative Result
  8. Riding Shotgun
  9. Response-Ability
  10. Quality Time Remaining (QTR)

Previously, I wrote about Tone at the Top but here it is again. Perhaps repeating it is intended primarily for me — to remind me where I was when I first wrote it. My objective is to create a flow for the breakdown of traits a bit more consistently going forward. Interesting that some of us seem to be more productive organizing efforts in predetermined segments of time….daily, weekly, monthly, so it goes.

With that in mind, I have learned that the less something is on a predictable and prescribed schedule, the less likely that I will fit it in to my calendar.  Case in point… the made-for-TV series, Designated Survivor.  I watched the first episodes that were on a regular schedule, but I gave up on it when it switched to an irregular pattern for viewing. Frankly, we all have enough uncertainty to deal with in our lives, but patterns are something worth digging into at a future time. I am currently studying the patterns of some of the most creative people.

On to the traits.

1 Tone at the Top

The first job of a leader is to set the tone for “how things are done here”. Lay the firm foundation of an organization on significant ideals that set the tone for the VALUES that are cherished … integrity, honesty, humility, a respect for others, a joyful operating environment and culture of confidence. All this and more — with a warrior’s approach to winning.


No doubt about it this is my favorite trait.  Each day I read The Daily Word and Daily Dharma. This is my personal recommendation to read both every day. The late Eric Butterworth suggested once that you wake up to make up your bed and then make up your mind. These readings both help set that tone.

After I have read these, I write on the top of my daily 3X5 appointment “buck card” the coded letters that remind me of 5 things that are important to me. Somebody once asked me “why don’t you simply have those 5 things printed on your buck cards — that doesn’t work for me. That would deprive me of the process of writing and thinking about what I am writing down. All this happens just after I have showered, shaved and even left my bathroom! This, too, is tone setting for the day’s actions and adventures.

“AV” is always the first thing I write. AV means ADD VALUE and it is my first assignment to myself. Think of it as an attempt to be a somewhat carbon-plus element.

When traveling this “AV” spur reminds me to start adding value with the first person I see and others after that. If it is a housekeeper in a hotel hallway who is also beginning her day, my assignment is to make a “positive deposit” in her self-image account.  Yes, it requires looking for something both encouraging and authentic to say, but there is always something you can say to make a difference.

Mother Theresa advised, “Let no one ever come in contact with you without leaving happier”. I believe that practicing this actually causes someone to develop a kind of an emotional “glow”.  Get on an elevator with someone like that and you can feel the positive energy. Michael Jackson’s song Man in the Mirror speaks to the same thing. “If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change”.

As you go through the day, look for all opportunities – while driving, in a business meeting, shopping, in relationships, over coffee with a friend, leaving a special note for a loved one — to be authentic and add value.  Not seeking credit or thinking of what you can get … but what you can give.

Looking for opportunities TO SERVE is adding value. While a senior executive at Avon in the late 80’s, a descendent of the founding family of the company asked if I would assist with the Boys Clubs of America’s name change to The Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). He said it would probably take three months. That morphed into 30 years serving on the board where I was also honored to be the national chairman twice. My wife Susan and I pivoted our involvement this past year to the creation of the World Federation of Youth Clubs (WFYC). For over a decade we have been “informally” opening clubs outside the USA, where 96% of all kids live. Creating the World Federation of Youth Clubs just may end up being the most important effort for Susan and me.

Everyone can Add Value through service by remembering the mantra of Time, Talent, and Treasures. Each of them matter.  BGCA used to have a requirement of a specific level of giving or getting of donations to be a member of the National Board. Still fresh in my mind is a discussion at the nominating committee regarding bringing Father Edward “Monk” Malloy, the former president of Notre Dame, on the Board. A catholic priest who took a vow of poverty and lived in the men’s dormitory seemed an unlikely candidate with no personal financial resources. Now, I look back on our many years working together in the service of the kids and the Clubs and view Monk as one of our most giving board contributors.  As our “Chief Ethicist”, this wonderful man helped guide the organization and powerfully open so many doors that had an impact on millions of youth.

What daily interactions do you experience where you can make a difference, can make the change and add value?

  • Walking the hallways at your place of business
  • Over lunch with your colleagues
  • Showing appreciation with a handwritten note
  • Sharing an article that you know someone would find interesting or even helpful
  • Mentoring and investing your time and knowledge in someone’s life
  • Smiling and making eye contact
  • Taking the time to show your interest in someone else’s life – the cashier, the server, the clerk in your favorite store.  Not just communicating, but spending a few moments to show respect and letting them know that their contribution matters.

Again, what daily interactions do you experience where you can make a difference, can make the change and add value?  There are always ways to serve and to ADD VALUE.