Senator Corey Booker Shines Light On Darkness

Senator Corey Booker delivered yesterday’s commencement speech at my son’s graduation from The George Washington University. Despite the unusually cold and windy setting, Booker was captivating and inspiring. He shared lessons that he had learned from his father, as well as from the death of Hassan Washington, a teenager who was shot and killed in Newark. I urge you to watch…

One of the lessons that Booker shared is important for all of us to consider in our interactions with others:

Don’t give in to cynicism. It is a toxic spiritual state. You’ve got to be one that, wherever you are, like a flower, you’ve got to blossom where you’re planted. You cannot eliminate darkness. You cannot banish it by cursing darkness. The only way to get rid of darkness is light, and to be the light yourself.

What can we do to be the light that inspires employees, improves the lives of our customers, or makes the world a better place for even one person?

The bottom line: We are all the light that can eliminate darkness.

Costco, Newark, and NC On Leadership

Before getting on my flight to Madrid, I picked up U.S. News & World Report. It’s not my typical in-flight reading, but the topic caught my attention: America’s Best Leaders 2009. Here were a few of the highlights from the issue:

  • Jim Sinegal, CEO of Costco, shared his view on employee engagement:
    • We try to give a message of quality in everything we do, and we think that that starts with the people. It doesn’t do much good to have a quality image, whether it’s with the facility or whether it’s with the merchandise, if you don’t have real quality people taking care of your customers.”
  • Corey Booker, Mayor of Newark, shared advice that he follows:
    • My mom used to say that who you are speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you say.” Also look at a previous post with this quote from Booker: “Life is about focus. What you focus on, you become. If you focus on nothing, you become nothing.
  • Roy Williams, head coach of North Carolina, listed his three guiding leadership principles:
    • “(1) Everyone on the team must focus on the same goal. It’s my job to effectively communicate those goals to the team; (2) Emphasize those goals every day; and (3) Understand that although everyone has a common goal, individuals also have goals, needs, and dreams that must be cared for.”

The bottom line: These are great leadership lessons to follow.

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