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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sydney: Day Negative 1. Impressive

It wasn't the 14 hour plane ride. It's the fact that I boarded the plane on Friday and disembarked the same plane on Sunday that is confounding.

Sydney is one of 'those' cities - one that should be visited at least once - for us Yanks for sure.

To me, the city has the same feel as San Francisco, in a good way. Except for the steering wheels being on the wrong side of the Ford and everybody driving the opposite side of the road.

The hotel is a mix of old and new. Old brick facade one side of the lobby, contemporary, updated architecture the other.

The service is impeccable; Cultural mix, multidimensional - West and East meeting at the crossroads.

As much as I expected to feel the flow of a culture and get some MpS vibe going on the other side of the international date line, two hemispheres away, I did not expect to discover, to see what I saw: National pain, wrapped with Dignity, Respect, and Honor.

You see, the news of the day included Quantas grounding their entire, world-wide fleet, over some union troubles - inconvenient, yes. But the somber mood expressed to a nation and from a nation was word of three Australian soldiers being killed in Afghanistan.

This struck me. Afghanistan is OUR war. Fun loving Aussie's aren't suppose to get blown up.

Emotions riled through me - sadness, remorse, and just when I was feeling a bit guilty, the Prime Minister of Australia takes center stage in a nationally broadcast news conference to specifically address the death of these three brave soldiers.

I had never heard her speak before - hell, I didn't even know Australia had Prime Ministers. But there she was, addressing the press. Steadfast, articulate, knowledgeable - when she knew the facts she stated them, when she didn't know the facts, she said so - she did not mislead, there was no grey area in her responses.

As I listened, drawn, almost hypnotized in a moment of refreshing confidence, I noticed another aspect.

She wasn't using a teleprompter.

My embarrassment over pulling friends into our fight gave way to shame, then to anger.

Was I pissed over a war "we shouldn't be in"? No. The bad-guys took down my Towers and killed fellow sales people while they drank Starbucks.

It was the absent teleprompter that got me...

If you know me, then this question won't surprise you,

"Why doesn't The United States of America have this level of leadership?"

That's the thought that pissed me off. It gets worse. Julia Gillard covered all the aspects, expressing grief, sadness and bitterness over these deaths. She revealed discussions with her military commanders, the US field commander and her Canadian counter part.

Apparently, her discussion with the President of the United States did not rise to a level comparable to the Prime Minister of Canada.

Oh, wait, the "O" was prepping for his appearance at the National Italian American Gala Saturday night and probably just couldn't get a call off.


You're probably wondering how in the world I am going to tie this into MpS. Well here it is - We've known this from the beginning - to be successful in MpS, upper management/ownership must be committed and willing to transform.

Successful MpS Leadership knows who they are, has a clear understanding of MpS, manages through an open, clear narrative and a trusts the people around them.

They stand up and explain the situation when things go wrong and spread the admiration around when things go right.

Not wishy-washy. They own their space and are committed to their team and mission. When addressing the team, they don't require a script, a teleprompter.

They don't play a round of golf while Rome burns; they do reach out to co-workers when tragedy hits.

Lessons learned.

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