Monday, May 22, 2006

Graduation Season Is Upon Us – Rudy Giuliani Speaks in Boston

I looked at my calendar this weekend and realized that I am committed to attending six graduations over the course of the next few weeks – high school, college and graduate school. It is exciting to see friends and children of friends reach memorable milestones.

On Sunday morning, I was privileged to attend the commencement exercise of Suffolk Law School. My longtime friend, Mike Ortlieb, was receiving his Juris Doctor degree (cum laude!) after an arduous few years for Mike and Crystal of Mike working days and going to law school in the evening. Congratulations, Mike and Crystal!

The keynote speaker at the Bank of America Pavilion on Boston’s windswept waterfront was Rudy Giuliani. I don’t often take notes when listening to a graduation speaker, but I always find what Giuliani has to say worth heeding and thinking about, so I jotted down a few thoughts as he delivered his remarks. He spoke plainly but eloquently, expanding upon six basic Principles of Leadership:

1) You Have to Have Strong Ideals - Know what you stand for and where you are going

2) To Be a Leader, You Have to Be an Optimist - Leaders understand the power of the solution

3) You Must Have Courage – Not the Absence of Fear, but the Ability to Manage Your Fear

4) Take Fear and Risk, and Use Them to Drive Relentless Preparation -Responding to the unanticipated and unexpected is a variation on the themes for which you relentlessly prepared

5) Celebrate and Create an Atmosphere that Fosters Teamwork - Know your weaknesses and built a team that compensates for those weaknesses

6) Master the Art of Communication - Learn how to get your ideas out of your mind and heart into the minds and hearts of your audience

Rudy spoke of his own mistakes and experiences as a young law school graduate, gave generous praise to those who had mentored and developed him throughout his career, and shared poignantly from his experience of confronting unanticipated challenges on 9/11/2001 in leading the City of New York as it struggled to rise from the ashes.

All in all, it was one of the most effective commencement addresses I have heard, and I felt honored to be there to share it with Mike, and his classmates and their families.

1 comment:

Richard Nusser said...

I have to agree with Rudy Giuliani on the six basic principles of leadership. In my blog dated May 9, 2006 titled "Strong Leaders - It's Time to Step Up", I expressed what I call "The Twelve Traits Becoming of a Great Leader". All six of Rudy's basic principles are incorporated in these twelve traits. For any one interested, I invite you to visit my blog Café Ristéard, which I will continue to write on the traits of great leaders over the next few weeks.

Rudy's first two principles are well founded and very much a part of the first three traits that I have already discussed in my blog. I must submit to any of the young professionals developing their leadership skills and the not-so-young (much wiser) strong leaders in our country, I believe it is time to make a real difference, a time of excellence for our country once again. The difference has to start with each of us.

I am not a second rate man (or leader), I am a wise man of strong character and passion. I possess and communicate real convictions—strong feelings and principles projecting a high level of integrity and trust. I don't believe our country should be second rate any longer. We need to see ourselves, our country, with "Global Eyes".

Al, I want to thank you for sharing this experience with those of us who need an inspiring message or two. I also want to say congratulations to your longtime friend Mike Ortlieb on his accomplishments and those to come.