The Power of the Pen, The Clock and The Spoken Word

April 18, 2018
Mike Lejeune
There is a big power in the pen, there is power in timelines, and there is power in seeking accountability by speaking intentions to others.

Every now and then, someone comes along as an example of authentic leadership, whose keen insight into the hearts of others compels people to stretch the horizons of their possibilities. Every so often, someone shares a profound message that on the surface has value in business but if you allow, it can strengthen your foundation at home.

I was surprised when that introspective, tender-hearted, spirit filled “Yoda” turned out to be linebacker…

Okay, used to be a linebacker. He was also one of the most outstanding coaches in the NFL, Mike Singletary. Mike was one of the most dominant defensive forces in the 80’s, causing ball carriers to fear running into the zone covered by one of the finest linebackers to play in the NFL. His intensity and leadership shown on and off the field were a major factor in the Chicago Bears winning the 1986 Super Bowl. I heard him speak in Houston at the Greater Houston Partnership Leadership meeting to a packed audience of business people representing a true cross-section of our city.

This is not a book report on Mike’s presentation. The comments are in reference to the points that especially stood out to me personally. There is a major difference between having a vision and having a dream. Dreams are possibilities we think about, roll around in our heads, play within our minds, and offer fuel to make our current situation tolerable as we believe in, hopefully, a better tomorrow. Dreams, however, create no action or direction if we do not turn them into a vision. Vision generates power from three components: it is written down, there is a timeline or timeframe to make it a reality and it is shared with someone else for a sense of accountability. This is how you create forward motion and move out of perpetual dreamland.

There is a major difference between having a vision and having a dream. Dreams are possibilities we think about, roll around in our heads, play within our minds, and offer fuel to make our current situation tolerable as we believe in, hopefully, a better tomorrow. Dreams, however, create no action or direction if we do not turn them into a vision. Vision generates power from three components: it is written down, there is a timeline or timeframe to make it a reality and it is shared with someone else for a sense of accountability. This is how you create forward motion and move out of perpetual dreamland.

I stood in the line to shake hands, smirking at the girl who brought a camera to have a picture taken with him. I also wondered if it was proper protocol to ask a complete stranger if they would use their camera to take my picture as we shook hands and send a copy to me by email. Either common sense or fear prevailed.

When I finally reached the front of the line, I saw firsthand from close range the tremendous intensity in Mike’s eyes, a blessing you might miss from the back row of tables where I sat. I had heard his words and experienced the visual picture of a man comfortable in who he was, who believed without a doubt the credibility and importance of his message. Yet when I met him personally, even after an hour-long presentation, his eyes remained locked on mine causing me to feel that my meager attempt of an introduction was as important to him as his moving delivery was to me.

I asked Mike if I could comment on his presentation in my blog, telling him I would have it finished by the end of the week. Once completed and posted I would email him a link to it. Immediately on returning to my office, I jotted it on my action plan and told two people on our leadership team that I would have a blog finished by morning. This was not the first time someone suggested to me the importance of writing down what you want to accomplish or setting deadlines to make things happen or making verbal commitments. This straight forward, very specific message screamed loudly to me that there is power in the pen, there is power in timelines, and there is power in seeking accountability by speaking intentions to others.

I now have a vision, no longer a dream, of writing another blog, trying to find inspiration from interviews I conduct with CEOs of major corporations. Tonight, I am writing…go figure…