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What can leaders learn from grandma and grandpa?

By Doug Sterbenz, Present to Win gradpicA few months before her college graduation, she called home to discuss the plans for the ceremony and asked me a question I’ll never forget, “Are grandma and grandpa going to make it to my college graduation?”

My parents lived here in Kansas all their lives, but once they retired they moved out of state and they don’t travel much anymore.  I didn’t know for sure if they would make the long trip back for her graduation, so I just told her, “They said they’d try to make it.” I didn’t want to overpromise and risk her being disappointed on her graduation day.

Her graduation day arrived and we made our way into the gymnasium, found a seat up in the bleachers and waited for the ceremony to start.

A sea of black caps and gowns entered the gymnasium, each one containing a happy face. As she scanned the bleachers, she saw her mother and me and smiled. She expected us to be there. She took a couple more steps as she continued to intently scan the audience.

Then she saw them. Grandma and grandpa, right there on those bleachers watching her graduate from college. Her face lit up, she rose 4 inches out of her heels, stopped walking and floated up that center aisle. She was proud of herself for graduating, but now she knew today was big, because grandma and grandpa were there – Physically Present.

Just like her grandma and grandpa, don’t you know when you should be physically present?  Leaders that are Physically Present, win.

What will being Physically Present get you?  How will you win by being Physically Present?

Many leaders spend too much time on paperwork and administrative duties, which squeeze out the opportunities for much higher-value leadership work.

Leaders must be both visible and present, overseeing operations while staying connected. Present to Win LeadersTM know what goes on in the day-to-day operations, because they are out there. They know the people at every level and communicate and connect those people to the organization’s mission.

You can’t lead your business from a cubicle or an office. You can’t run it from some centralized corporate organization. Leadership doesn’t work that way. You have to be Physically Present in the middle of the operation.

The best leaders I know get out there with the people when it counts. The best way to engage people is to be physically present.

Think about how valuable it is when people are there for you when you need them. There are times for email, voicemail and texting, but many times the only right thing for a leader is to be physically present.

Be Present to Win – Physically.



 present to winDoug Sterbenz is a retired corporate executive, national speaker, author and a leadership coach.

Doug can be reached at: Doug@PresentToWinLeaders.com www.PresentToWinLeaders.com

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