Last in Line
I deeply felt the death of John McCain and was glad to see how many shared my high regard for him as exemplified in the incredible sendoff he received. People across the political spectrum and from all walks of life spoke with deep feeling about all he meant to them.
Underlying every homage was respect for his ideals: honor, service, community. He honored his country, putting its well-being above his own. He lived in service to his country by striving to do the right thing so that all its citizens could prosper and live a good life. And he believed strongly in creating community by bringing people together. This last ideal is exemplified in his request to have the two presidents who denied him the chance to live in the White House speak at his memorial.
Watching the people honoring McCain and listening to their stories got me thinking about how unique he was in these times, and how few people in government and in all other walks of life live out his ideals. I thought about what an exemplary leader he was, and how all business leaders should follow his example.
Picture your company or organization led by someone who unselfishly makes every decision based on how it improves the well-being of the entire entity and those the entity touches. If an action improves the common good, it gets done. If not, forget it.
Think about being led by someone who isn’t thinking about what’s in it for me but is guided by what’s in it for all of us. Someone who when they talk about all of us really mean all of us, irrespective of differences of ethnicity or religion or gender or any of the myriad other things so many use to place themselves and their preferred group above everyone else.
Is your leader someone who would refuse an early release before his fellow prisoners-of-war, offered because of his family’s position, thereby enduring additional years of imprisonment and torture?
Imagine how it feels to be part of an organization where the leader clearly puts what happens to you and everyone else above what happens to them. And if you happen to be a leader, imagine how your people will act if you live by and exemplify the ideals of John McCain.