He stood in the middle of the room – in a chair. He was surrounded by 18 senior H.R. executives who had assembled, from around the world, to design a global strategy for their organization. They were here this day to, as he put it, ” agree on a smart strategy to get, grow and keep more than their fair share of top-shelf leaders.” My role was to assist him.
A few minutes before he stood up in the chair, I pulled him aside to let him know that were we way off our agenda. He thanked me and told me to go sit on the table in the back of the room and watch. I did.
Being an agenda guy, I was very nervous. This looked like total confusion. There he was towering 5 feet above this group of type A personalities, holding his hand high, he repeated the goal for the day. Then he asked them what they thought was the best way to make that goal happen. Brief discussion, everyone nodded and a guy picked up a marker and started writing ideas on a board. People gathered around this bold participant, who was one of the youngest in the group, as if he were the meeting leader. The strategy began to take shape. I was still on edge.
He stepped down from his perch, walked to the back of the room, sat beside me on the table and whispered, “When they take the marker from you, you are becoming a real facilitator”. It took me several years of conversations with Cliff , to realize that what I experienced that day was more than him doing a facilitation technique; it was Cliff being.
His full name is Cliff Freeman Eslinger. He is a master executive consultant and has been my friend and my mentor for over a decade. The above story is but one small example of the many insights of consulting and leading Cliff has taught me. He has put his spiritual insight in a tiny little book. It was just published and is entitled, The Serenity Prayer – A Meditation for Leaders.
Journal Entry: As you know, in the past 10 years of writing this article, I have never recommended a book, but today, I request that you purchase and read one book this year. It is The Serenity Prayer – A Meditation for Leaders. In it you will discover a simple way to know real success in your leadership and life in 2015. It is on available at Amazon. (Cliff does not know I was writing this article.)
Happy New Year!
PS – The strategy meeting was an amazing success, so much so that this international corporation is still one of Cliff’s active clients today. That meeting was over 15 years ago. Fortunately for Cliff I keep my seat.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.
~ Reinhold Niebuhr , pastor and author (1892-1971)