Leadership for the 21st Century - Part II

Click here for Part ISense of Purpose

Every leader knows what they wish to achieve and though they may not know where exactly their efforts will take them, they are courageous enough to make that crucial first step.

Jennifer Staple-Clark began Unite for Sight in her dorm room at Yale University as a means to provide used reading glasses from the United States to individuals in poor nations. The organizaton has since grown into an internationally-renowned charity and "provided eye care to more than 900,000 people living in extreme poverty, including more than 30,000 sight-restoring surgeries."

Sense of HumorLeaders don't take themselves so seriously that they can't be self-deprecating or crack a joke every once in a while.

"If Gladstone fell into the Thames, it would be a misfortune. But if someone dragged him out again, that would be a calamity."

- Benjamin Disraeli

Ronald Reagan, after being shot in an assasination attempt:

To his wife: "Honey, I forgot to duck."

To his surgeon: "I just hope you're Republicans."

IntegrityGood name in man and woman, dear my lord,Is the immediate jewel of their souls.Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;But he that filches from me my good nameRobs me of that which not enriches him,And makes me poor indeed.

- William Shakespeare

Small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, great minds discuss ideas.

- Eleanor Roosevelt

People are the most important assets. How did China's enemies finally breach the Great Wall? Did they have special weapons, ropes, or climbing techniques? No. They bribed a guard.

- Dr. Sanjiv Chopra

Pack other peoples’ parachutesFinally, Dr. Chopra relays the story of a man that was in attendance for this talk: Captain J. Charles Plumb, a naval aviator who, on his 75th (and what was supposed to be his last) mission of the Vietnam War, was shot down and imprisoned for 2,103 days.

In Capt. Plumb's own words:

"Recently, I was sitting in a restaurant in Kansas City. A man about two tables away kept looking at me. I didn't recognize him. A few minutes into our meal he stood up and walked over to my table, looked down at me, pointed his finger in my face and said, 'You're Captain Plumb.'

I looked up and I said, 'Yes sir, I'm Captain Plumb.'

He said, 'You flew jet fighters in Vietnam. You were on the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down. You parachuted into enemy hands and spent six years as a prisoner of war.'

I said, 'How in the world did you know all that?'

He replied, 'Because, I packed your parachute.'"

“How’s your parachute packing coming along?" asks Dr. Chopra

Finally, Dr. Chopra left us with an admonition: "Many of you have already led. Reflect on what you have done. Then go tell your story."