New Video: The Five Be’s

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Speaking, The Five Be's

Honored to have presented to the Ft Worth Downtown Rotary last month, and so appreciative for the Fort Worth Municipal Channel for the webcast!

This is the abbreviated version of my Five Be’s talk – hope you enjoy!


Mickey is a consultant, author, and keynote speaker. He believes everyone can reach high levels of performance if inspired and led. During his 30 year US Air Force career Mickey commanded thousands of Airmen, managed portfolios worth billions of dollars, and worked with military, civil, and industry officials around the world. He is a Distinguished Graduate of the Eisenhower School at National Defense University in Washington DC.
Mickey is the author of eight books, including Leading Leaders: Inspiring, Empowering, and Motivating TeamsMickey’s Rules for Leaders, and The Five Be’s: A Straightforward Guide to Life.

Sign up for my mailing list and get Mickey’s Rules for Leaders ebook as a thank you!

Tourist in My New Hometown

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Photography

Leaving Hawaii for the second time to return to the Mainland was extremely difficult for my bride and I. Not because we don't love our family or the land of our birth--we do--but because once you've tasted Paradise it's awfully hard not to compare everything else to that.

We lived in a little town on the Windward Side of O'ahu called Kailua (Hawaiian: "Two Waters"), where I could slide my kayak or standup paddle board off the back steps and paddle to the warm Pacific Ocean any time I wanted. It was a lovely little town filled with the spirit of Aloha and with a strong sense of healthy community. We formed strong friendships in those four years, and renewed our love of those islands after being away for 11 years after our last four year tour.

Landa Park - Wurstfest

However, work and family brought us home, and so we searched for a similar "vibe" in the Greater San Antonio area and found it in New Braunfels. We instantly fell in love with the beautiful mix of German, Czech, Mexican, and American culture here. As we always did during our 16 moves-in-30-year Air Force career, we became tourists in our new home. 

Imagine a small Texas town with dozens of live music venues, brew pubs, shops, and eateries--and of course Wurstfest, our little version of Munich's Oktoberfest!

 

Of course the first draw for me was water, and there is a LOT here in New Braunfels. The city sits at the confluence of the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers; the former spring-fed and the latter fed from the Edwards Aquifer and Canyon Lake. They're both fun for tubing, kayaking, and rafting!

With the Comal at a constant 75 degrees all the time, it's actually accessible year-round in the mild Texas winters.

Ich Bin Klein

The city itself has an amazing Faust Street Bridge over the Guadalupe, so photogenic! I snapped this particular photo on a late evening walk in August while we were staying at some riverfront condos in New Braunfels' east side. We had to wait for the air to cool off!

King Iron and Bridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio constructed the bridge in 1887. It was originally a wagon and pedestrian trestle, but now is a pedestrian and cycling bridge. Just across the bridge is the old Mission Valley Cotton Mill, and later the New Braunfels Textile Mill, that employed 100 people from 1923 to 2005. It's slated for redevelopment into an upscale mixed use apartment and shopping area.

Aside from the Missions, Sts Peter and Paul Catholic church was built in 1871, and is one of the oldest churches in Texas. It became the permanent home for the Catholics of New Braunfels who'd worshiped without a church since their arrival in 1844. It's German roots are evident in the stained glass windows where German and English prayers are side by side. This one is among my favorites, and it's a children's prayer.

 

Then there's Landa Park. Right in the heart of the city, this "mini-Central Park" hosts the Panther Canyon hiking trial, ducks, fish, and deer. All the animals are very tame, and will approach for snacks if you're still and quiet.

The Park is very quaint, and gets a tremendous number of visitors daily. Cyclists, Mom's groups, joggers, fishermen, walkers, and naturalists. It hosts and Arboretum and a Dance "Slab" for gatherings in the summer, and it's very popular for family photos and wedding photo shoots. Landa Park has a natural swimming pool with a rope swing and water slides, a miniature train that circles the park, and of course an ice cream stand for hot summer days!

Landa Drive Bridge at the Panther Canyon Trailhead
Backyard Deer

 

Speaking of deer--there's a herd of probably several hundred that roam the neighborhoods here. Our first "housewarming party" arrived with fawns in tow to browse in the backyard. They've been a daily fixture ever since, and a couple of the bravest young deer have been known to eat out of our hands.

 


Mickey is a consultant, author, and keynote speaker. He believes everyone can reach high levels of performance if inspired and led. During his 30 year US Air Force career Mickey commanded thousands of Airmen, managed portfolios worth billions of dollars, and worked with military, civil, and industry officials around the world. He is a Distinguished Graduate from the Eisenhower School at National Defense University in Washington DC.

Mickey is the author of seven books, including Leading Leaders: Inspiring, Empowering, and Motivating Teams, Mickey's Rules for Leaders, and The Five Be's: A Straighforward Guide to Life.

Sign up for my mailing list and get Mickey's Rules for Leaders ebook as a thank you!

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A Man, a Ledge, and a Plan

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Patio Wisdom

In an effort to have a little fun this week, I thought I’d share a humorous little story from my childhood (you saw my #MondayMotivation Chalk Talk post on Tues, right?). This story is printed in a fun little book I did with my brother in 2015 called “Patio Wisdom,” which is full of humor and quite a bit of wisdom. My brother, aka The Patio King, was fearless. Fortunately for my Dad, he also appears to be both lucky and apparently indestructible! Enjoy this little diversion from the day’s seriousness and have a laugh on me.

Each year, Mom and Dad would pile us all into our blue 1972 Plymouth Satellite wagon and head for Colorado to escape the August Texas heat.

The trip began at “o-dark thirty” with Dad loading my brother and I onto a bed made for us in the back seat. We would drive all day, stopping at a small town on the border of Texas and New Mexico like Texline or Dumas, for a short overnight before the push into southern Colorado. We explored the Rocky Mountains, bouncing from KOA campground to National Forest campground in our Coleman Ticonderoga pop-up trailer.

There were plenty of adventures for young boys to have: exploring ghost towns, abandoned gold mines, tourist trap roadside curio shops, and even the occasional Native American pueblo or village. We panned for gold, rode horses, hiked remote mountain trails, and swam in icy mountain streams.

It was on one of those trips that I almost killed the Patio King before he could grow up, and it involved a granite cliff and a narrow trail. Well, it wasn’t entirely my fault, though I certainly had a hand in it—and not exactly a trail, either. It was kind of a ledge. Actually, it was more of a narrow crack in the rock. To me, however, it was a mountain trail heading up the cliff face for an easy climb.

There we were, on the rocky bank in a narrow ravine with a crystal clear mountain stream somewhere in the wilds of central Colorado: me, Tony, and Dad. We’d gone down to the stream to wash our hair and relax. Dad made sure each of us bathed in the icy water (hey, it was the Seventies, who knew?), and after we were clean he set about washing his own hair. In the few minutes that his eyes were closed and his hair full of baby shampoo, I spotted a crack in the rock wall opposite me and decided to see how far up I could climb. It looked like it went all the way to the top.

I told my brother to “wait here” and then started my ascent. It was easy at first and I was thirty feet in the air before I realized that the crack didn’t go all the way to the top. When I turned around to go back, there was Tony about fifteen feet or so below me, blocking my return. Just as I was about to ask Dad to get Tony to turn around, he saw us. As a father, I can now appreciate the thoughts going through his mind, but at the time I was thinking, “What’s he so bent out of shape about? I got this.”

Sure I did. Three stories above sharp granite rockfall, perched on a narrow 8 inch ledge, and unable to do anything but keep going up, we were in far more danger than we realized. You see, Tony refused to turn around, and the ledge/crack/trail was the only way down. I tried to get over the top, but couldn’t get a grip on the sandy edge. Dad kept his cool though, told us to wait, and hanging onto a pine branch to steady himself at the precipice, pulled us one after the other over the top and to safety.

It was a quiet walk back to camp. After he caught his breath, the only thing he could get out was, “Don’t tell your mother.”

We didn’t.

 


Mickey's Rules for Leaders eBook CoverMickey believes everyone can reach high levels of performance if inspired and led. During his 28 year US Air Force career Mickey commanded thousands of Airmen, managed portfolios worth billions of dollars, and worked with military, civil, and industry officials around the world. He is a Distinguished Graduate from the Eisenhower School at National Defense University in Washington DC.

Mickey is the author of seven books, including Leading Leaders: Inspiring, Empowering, and Motivating Teams, Mickey’s Rules for Leaders, and The 5 Be’s For Starting Out. He’s a frequent contributor to industry publications and writes for his own blog and GeneralLeadership.com.

 

Sign up for Mickey’s mailing list and get Mickey’s Rules for Leaders as a thank you!

 

Patio Wisdom Tuesday: Parenting Advice from a Six Year Old

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Patio Wisdom

Parents get advice on how to raise their children from lots of sources–sometimes that’s from their kids. One of my very favorite stories about my brother happened when he was very young, perhaps four or five, but certainly no older than eight. In the 1970’s there were few real shopping malls in Fort Worth. When we went shopping with Mom, we all piled into the blue Plymouth and went downtown to one of the city’s larger department stores like Cox’s or Montgomery Ward’s.

Mom and Dad always taught us to be gentlemen and to hold the door for ladies, so when Tony arrived at the door to the Leonard’s department store ahead of a lady shopper, he sprang into action.

plymouth-satellite-custom-station-wagon-03Even as a very small boy, it seemed my brother was perpetually in trouble. His exuberance and curiosity usually got the better of him, and so he broke things occasionally (well, a lot). It was fairly common when we were young to hear a parent roaring from another part of the house that Tony had broken something. Candidly, the broken things around the house weren’t always his fault, but it happened often enough that everyone in the family seemed to think it was. For my part, I was happy to let him take the blame instead of me! Tony would get his revenge, however, if only by accident.

Gentleman Tony dutifully held the door open for our mother and the lady shopper. Taken in by the cute little boy holding the door, the lady shopper turned to my brother and exclaimed loudly enough for Mom to hear, “My, what a lovely thing to do! What’s your name, young man?”

My brother pulled himself up to his full three and a half foot height and, beaming, replied with the name he’d been called so often he believed it to be his own, “Tony Dammit!”


Like what you’re reading? Get more Patio Wisdom at the Lulu Store and at Amazon.

Mickey's Rules for Leaders eBook CoverMickey believes everyone can reach high levels of performance if inspired and led. During his 28 year US Air Force career Mickey commanded thousands of Airmen, managed portfolios worth billions of dollars, and worked with military, civil, and industry officials around the world. He is a Distinguished Graduate from the Eisenhower School at National Defense University in Washington DC.

Mickey is the author of seven books, including Leading Leaders: Inspiring, Empowering, and Motivating Teams and The 5 Be’s For Starting Out. He’s a frequent contributor to industry publications and blogs.

Rewind Tuesday: Integrity is the Cornerstone of Leadership

Posted Leave a commentPosted in GeneralLeadership.com

Aggie cadetIntegrity must be at the core of who we are as leaders if we’re to successfully inspire confidence in our teams. Because leadership is fundamentally about human relationships, integrity must be the very cornerstone of any leader’s foundation. In every aspect of our lives we depend on the integrity of others, and others do the same for us. We count on stores to give us fair prices, on students to do their own work, and athletes to play by the rules. That’s why it’s such a big deal when there is a breach of integrity like a public lie or the discovery someone we trust isn’t playing by the rules. A leader who lacks integrity is headed for disaster; leaders who lead with integrity are the ones we truly value.

The origin of the word “integrity” is a great place to start the conversation in the context of leadership. The root of the English word, integrity, is the Latin word integritatem, meaning “soundness” or “wholeness.” A person with integrity, therefore, is solid and whole. They aren’t “flimsy” or “two faced”: what you see is what you get with them. A leader with integrity is the same person on Monday morning they were Sunday morning, and they don’t tell different stories to different people.

We believe in integrity so much, various professions and institutions create their own system of ethics as a measure of the group and members’ integrity. For example, like many colleges and universities my alma mater Texas A&M has an Honor Code we expect all Texas Aggies to embrace when they enter the University. The Aggie Code of Honor is: An Aggie does not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do. In that short sentence is the community’s shared ethic: honesty and trustworthiness and a refusal to allow individual members of the community to compromise the integrity of the whole. An Honor Code is a visible representation of the kind of cadet we expect Texas Aggies to represent to each other and the world.

Likewise, professions like civil engineering and medicine have their own systems of ethics. For engineers, it’s “Hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public.” Of course the most famous and probably the oldest professional ethic is the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. Systems of ethics need not be so formal, it can be as simple as a discussion about expected behavior between leaders and team members during the annual evaluation process. Professional ethics set standards so the public can trust individual members, and so the group can deliver value to the public with honor.

At a basic level, what these systems of ethics accomplish is a shared sense of what “integrity” means. Furthermore, an individual who enters a community with a code of ethics voluntarily adopts the groups’ ethics and definition of integrity as his/her own. In doing so, the individual becomes an integral part of the whole, building a shared sense of mission and belonging among members of the team. There’s often no one around to “police” a leader when there’s a tough call to make. The leader people respect, the one who creates an environment of integrity, will always make the right call no matter who’s around and what the personal cost. He or she will simply hold their personal honor and professional ethics above any temporary cost. Those are leaders people will willingly follow through thick and thin.

Obviously, leaders have a significant responsibility to set the example of sound professional ethics and personal conduct. But a leader’s responsibility doesn’t rely only on an explicit system of ethics or an honor code, there’s plenty of societal norms requiring honesty without writing down a formal system of ethics; but when there’s an explicit system of professional ethics a leader’s responsibility is even more crucial. Nothing creates cynicism among a team faster than a leader who either violates, or allows others to violate the trust of the group, particularly when there’s a public system of ethics. Leaders must create an environment where integrity is the expected behavior. They cannot allow a breach of integrity to fester; such a breach must be dealt with immediately and decisively. Like mildew, a breach of integrity not addressed becomes a rot that infests the entire organization in short order. The fix for a breach of integrity by a team member is similar to cleaning mildew…sunlight and a scrub brush in the form of transparency and decisive action.

Integrity is fundamental to any leadership discussion because without it, there can be no trust between leader and team or between team members themselves. With integrity as the cornerstone, teams can achieve great things together.

Action Steps:
1. Write your personal system of ethics.
2. Name the one leader you admire most for his or her integrity.


Originally posted on GeneralLeadership.com.

Corndogs Make A House A Home

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Road Wisdom

A house is not a home without corndogs!

We’ve moved a lot in our military career, and no matter where we’ve found ourselves we’ve made ourselves a home by bringing in familiar and homey things. The Patio King’s touchstone is corndogs (and whiskey, pork butt, and…)

Tell us in the comment section what your comfort items are!

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General Leadership: Champions Don’t Take Shortcuts

Posted Leave a commentPosted in GeneralLeadership.com

My latest on General Leadership:

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A lesson every successful athlete learns quickly is champions don’t take shortcuts. Sure, an athlete can take performance enhancing drugs or try quick fixes, but those short term wins are usually overshadowed by long term defeats. The true champion, the one who everyone aspires to emulate and sports magazines profile, is the one who did the hard work even when it would’ve been easy not to do it. It’s the one rising before dawn to work out before starting a full day at work or school, then repeating it day after day until they reach their goal. In Texas, many championship high school football programs start their first practice at midnight on the first day the league allows teams to work out. Those coaches know the players who start out with a “do the work” mentality develop into teams who’ll give their all when the time comes.

In short, champions earn their titles long before the title contest in November. They earned their championship at midnight in August under stadium lights.

Read the rest on GeneralLeadership.com