Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving for Hallowed Ground

I have had the opportunity to spend time recently around “hallowed ground” and I’m grateful for that. The term hallowed ground can surely mean many things, to many people. My intention here is to not offer any new definitions, but rather a view on what it means to me.

My recent visits to hallowed ground include time my son Zack and I spent at Gettysburg, the great turning point of the American Civil War. No words I can offer can add to the volumes spoken and written about those momentous three days of July 1st through the 3rd, 1863, except perhaps for these. I agree with the great Civil War historian Shelby Foote that the Civil War defined us as a nation and I believe the Battle of Gettysburg defined the Civil War. Let’s hold on to thoughts of defining moments and hallowed ground.

Other visits to hallowed ground have included being a judge at the Russ Berrie Institute (RBI) for Professional Sales 2011 Sales Triathlon. RBI is part of the William Paterson University Cotsakos College of Business and advances the cause of professional selling skills through a Bachelor of Science degree in Professional Sales.

Another continuing visit to hallowed ground is working with the Career Services professionals at Rutgers University, New Brunswick Campus, as they aid the cause of professional development for the students they mentor and counsel. Hallowed ground is also occupied, from my view, by the work being done by the Career Counselors at Berkeley College through their internship programs for students of the school. The folks of the New Jersey Technology Council, through their Technology and Entrepreneurship Talent Network, are also traveling through hallowed ground as they assist in career and job development efforts for the unemployed or those in employment transition.

I work with many dedicated professionals at SetFocus, a school for advancing education and training, while at same time bridging the gap between talent and opportunity, in the information technology career space. If you hold to the belief that a school is a building with the future inside of it, the physical and virtual campuses of SetFocus are tending to the future very well indeed.

And now back to defining moments and hallowed ground. I believe that hallowed ground is defined by the cause, belief and vision of those who travel it. Edison had it right when he said that “vision without execution is hallucination”. The Battle of Gettysburg was won because of a number of factors; I’d like to believe due to the character, competence and bias for execution shown by the victors.

My colleagues and friends at SetFocus, Rutgers University, the Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales, Berkeley College and the New Jersey Technology Council are traveling on the hallowed ground of learning and growth. When they sound the call of “fix bayonets”, it is for education and the vision and execution behind the creation and sustainability of jobs.
And for the ample evidence and substance they bring to the "better angels of our nature", I offer my thanksgiving.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Better Angels of Our Nature

On March 4, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln concluded his first Inaugural Address with an exhortation and promise to our soon to be embattled nation. He spoke with full knowledge of the looming conflict that became the American Civil War; he also spoke with a deep conviction and belief that our “better angels” would prevail.

I agree with the historian Shelby Foote who said you cannot understand us a nation without understanding our Civil War, a war that was “central to all our lives.” I also believe that the lessons of this conflict stay central to this day.

As we recognize the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, I trust you will join me on this blog and Twitter for a discussion on lessons and learnings in the workplace from a time long ago but, in reality, not far away.