Byron's Babbles

Finding The Extraordinary You


“While understanding what makes you unique can give you a leadership edge, realizing what’s extraordinary about you is even better—those unique traits that are particularly special to you. Consistently work to emphasize, develop, or leverage these abilities and you’ll eventually carve out a clearer, greater leadership advantage.” ~ John M. Manning

This week’s lesson in The Disciplined Leader (Manning, 2015) reminded me so much of the work of Sally Hogshead’s work in How The World Sees You. She, like Manning, taught us that what makes us unique also gives us an edge. There is something extraordinary about each and every one of us. Hogshead argues we need to be more of who we are. This means using the archetypes that give us the biggest advantage. Manning (2015) posited if you want to change and grow, you need to believe this about yourself.

“Edge starts with self.” ~ Gene Simmons, KISS, in an interview with Jay Leno

Manning (2015) provided some great ways for us to develop our “edge.” Here are a few:

  • Examine what you love to do – Greater understanding will give you the ability to align future activities to your passions, resulting in even more satisfaction.
  • Determine your best skills – what skills you have that do make you effective and different. Your best skills are whatever you’ve learned to do really well in life.
  • Know your true gifts.

Interestingly, we had a discussion about leadership mantras this past week during a Hoosier Academies Focused Leader Academy session. I asked the group if they were going to imitate me to someone else what would you do or say. They overwhelmingly and imidiately said three things: everything is great attitude, when asked how I’m doing I always say, “I couldn’t be any better” or “If I was any better…” and always saying “Make it so” to ideas. Of course, they were able to poke fun with some of my mannerisms, too. But, what we found was this was a pretty accurate way of identifying different leaders’ edge. A big part of my edge is my enthusiasm and positivity. I am attaching a graphic we did during this session.

Graphic Facilitation by Mike Fleisch


Manning (2015) reminded us we must stay true to the “real you.” My challenge to you in this post is to identify your edge and then develop your skills by using your gifts and passions. What would those on your team say is your leadership mantra? 


Manning, J. (2015). The disciplined leader: 52 concise, powerful lessons. Oakland, CA: Barrett – Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Existential Needs

Posted in Uncategorized by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on November 22, 2015


How do we make ourselves useful to others? How do we make ourselves useful to ourselves? These were both questions that Peter Drucker believed were important us to think about. He also believed organizations needed to think about this for both the people working for the organization and those it serves. We share immensely in the products of prosperity, including better health care and longer life experiences (Maciariello, 2014). These lead us to a whole new range of conditions and choices, especially the opportunity to move from success to significance. IMG_0640

Drucker (2014) argued that the products of prosperity do not create fulfillment, and this becomes very apparent as we achieve prosperity. Drucker recognized that the term “existential” was not only difficult to define, but more difficult to comprehend. The term existential, as used by Drucker, meant the universal need for inspiration, effectiveness, and hope. This definition, I believe, is consistent with that of Kaufmann (1968), who believed “Existentialism”, therefore, may be defined as the philosophical theory which holds that a further set of categories, governed by the norm of authenticity, is necessary to grasp human existence. Please let me be clear, this is not a post about existentialism, but I like Kaufmann’s view of authenticity. We talk about authenticity in leadership all the time. If we go back to Drucker’s view of the need for inspiration, effectiveness, and hope does that not sum up how to be authentic? We need to recognize our own existential needs for inspiration, effectiveness, and hope. Additionally, as we strive for significance, we must strive to provide the existential needs for those we serve and the greater community.

“Here I am in the twilight years of my life still wondering what it’s all about… I can tell you this: Fame and Fortune is for the birds.” ~ Lee Iacooca

While the needs are important to fulfill throughout our lives, they are especially important to fulfill as we try to make the transition from success to significance. Drucker (2014) believed that an important existential need of personhood is to integrate the two dimensions of existence – life in the present and life in the spirit. Organizations need to offer opportunities for meaningful service in the community while also providing a greater sense of purpose for the volunteer. We, as authentic leaders, have the responsibility to bring inspiration, effectiveness, and hope to those we serve and to society. We also must help those we serve do the same thing. Our world’s survival and happiness depend on it!


Kaufmann, W., 1968. Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre, Cleveland: Meridian Books.

Maciariello, J. A. (2014). A year with Peter Drucker: 52 weeks of coaching for leadership effectiveness. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

Stewardship of Affluence & Influence

Posted in Uncategorized by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on November 21, 2015


In an ideal world, social science research would provide a strong basis for advocacy and social
policy. However, sometimes advocates misunderstand or even ignore scientific research in pursuit of their policy goals, perhaps especially when research pertains to controversial questions of social inequality. This past week’s lesson in A Year With Peter Drucker dealt with using affluence and influence to become passionate advocates of change and important initiatives. In other words we must be good stewards of affluence and influence.   
Drucker (Maciariello, 2014) believed we must be passionate advocates for innovative projects. These projects could be within our organizations or for social change. Drucker (2014) believed in using pilots. Neither studies nor market research nor computer modeling are a substitute for the test of reality. Everything improved or new needs, therefore, first to be tested on a small scale, that is, it needs to be piloted. In other words, we should pilot innovative projects on a small scale before introducing them on a larger scale. 

Common Mistakes In Introducing Change

 A big advantage to pilots is the ability to identify unintended consequences on a smaller scale. This is especially important for complex government programs that often experience many unintended consequences of well intended legislative programs (Maciariello, 2014). Public administrators should learn from experience, and piloting is a way to gain experience. 

Enough Is Enough!


Maciariello, J. A. (2014). A year with Peter Drucker: 52 weeks of coaching for leadership effectiveness. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

Values Define Your Unique Leadership Identity

CoreValuesSlideImageLeaders know what they value. They also recognize the importance of ethical behavior. The best leaders exhibit both their core values and their ethics in their leadership style and actions. Your leadership ethics and values should be visible because you live them in your actions every single day. People know what to expect if leaders have identified and shared their core values, living the values daily – visibly will create trust. To say one sentiment and to do another will damage trust – possibly forever. As Manning (2015) pointed out in The Disciplined Leader it is not only important for leaders of lead according to their values, but the leaders core values must also align with the values of the organization they work for. Our unique leadership identity is made up of our core values. As a leader, choose the values and the ethics that are most important to you, the values and ethics you believe in and that define your character. Then live them visibly every day at work. Living your values is one of the most powerful tools available to you to help you lead and influence others. Don’t waste your best opportunity.disciplined-leader

Bottom line, the role of leadership is to add value to other people and the true measure of leadership is influence, thus a great leader must have the ability to change the attitude or behavior of others. Therefore values must be aligned to key decision making. Organizations must also determined what the core values of that organization will be. We have really been working on this becoming a part of the DNA and culture of the schools I lead. This has to be so much more than just words on a paper. I was so proud this past week when I was meeting with some members of our team to make some decisions and one of them referenced our core value of putting students first. In fact, she said, “You know, this is a pretty easy decision if we truly want to put students first ahead of the adults this decision will affect.” She even pointed to our graphic we are using to represent our vision, mission, and core values. I thought, “Wow, it does not get any better than this! We are truly changing the culture and really using our core values, not just printing them on a page.” We all need to use this example to guide us to use our core values to proactively and consistently guide our personal and organizational decisions.

2015-11-04 03.42.43

Students Are At The Top of Our Core Value Structure!

Many organizations will define their core values, publicly share them as prints in the offices and stores and post them on their website, and just stop here. Eventually, the core values get ignored. Michael Hyatt, the author of the New York Times bestseller, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, identified 6 ways to communicate the core values to every member of the organization:

  1. Living the values
  2. Teaching the values
  3. Recognizing the values
  4. Hiring new people based on the values
  5. Reviewing people based on the values
  6. Letting people go based on values

In this week’s entry, Manning (2015) also reinforced points 5 & 6. Many CEOs don’t make it because their core values don’t match those of  the organization they lead. My goal for the organization I lead is to clearly communicate and integrate our school’s core values with all the processes and operations of our school. This should result in higher employee engagement and making sound decisions based on our #1 core value of putting students first. This also plays into another important leadership point of making sure that all team members understand his or her role in carrying out the vision, mission, or strategic plan of the organization. Understanding, living, and making decisions based on the core values of the organization goes a long way to making this possible.

“Disciplined Leaders regularly reference their values in critical decision making and rely on them when they are stuck between “a rock and a hard place.” They use them to establish specific direction and get confirmation about those choices they’ve made.” ~ John M. Manning

For me, as a leader I must continue to developed my leadership style around my personality and values, and in the end,  actions are consistent with what I truly believe. As Goethe said: “Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.”


Hyatt, M. (2012). Platform: Get noticed in a noisy world. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

Manning, J. (2015). The disciplined leader: 52 concise, powerful lessons. Oakland, CA: Barrett – Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Knowing Your Mission & Purpose

2015-11-04 03.42.43

A Graphic Representation of Our Organization’s Study of our Mission & Vision. Thanks Mike Fleisch!

Notice the title of this post is “Knowing Your Mission and Purpose,” not “Writing and Memorizing a Mission Statement.” There is a difference. So many organizations, I’ll bet you have been part of this, write fancy mission and vision statements only to have them made into a plaque to be put on the wall. Maybe, at best, all team members memorize the mission statement so it can be regurgitated to anyone who will listen, or some evaluated who things that’s an important thing to do. This post is not about that, but about the fact that every organization and every life is driven by something. To be effective, organizations must specify a mission (Maciariello, 2014). Then it must be determined how the mission fits assumptions about the specific environment facing it, and the core competencies possessed by it that are needed to accomplish its mission in the specific environment.

We are working on this very process right now in the schools I lead, Hoosier Academies. I have attached some visuals of our work in this area thus far. It is our desire that this process go so much further than just having words. We want our mission and vision to truly represent the shared purpose of all stakeholders in putting students first. By doing so, we can then budget on purpose, structure on purpose, staff on purpose, program on purpose, and strategic plan on purpose. We must know our mission because not everything is in life is worth doing. Without purpose it is hard to discern what is worth doing. In week 45’s lesson in A Year With Peter Drucker (Maciariello, 2014), five reasons for being purpose driven:

1st Draft of Our Graphic Study of Our Mission & Vision

1st Draft of Our Graphic Study of Our Mission & Vision

  1. Purpose builds morale.
  2. Purpose reduces conflict in organizations.
  3. Purpose provides vision.
  4. Purpose allows concentrating.
  5. Purpose provides a system of evaluation.

Drucker (Maciariello, 2014) posited that a theory of business needed three parts to be successful. First, there needed to be defined assumptions about the environment of the organization. Second there must be a specific mission. Drucker put this so well, saying, “The assumptions about mission define what an organization considers to be meaningful results – they point to how it envisions itself making a difference in the economy and society at large.” (Maciariello, 2014, p.353) Finally, core competencies define where an organization must excel in order to maintain leadership.

IMG_0690One of the main reasons we are going through this process right now was driven home by the fact that a mission must be tested against reality. Our schools had not taken a look and really studied it’s mission and vision since the start of the schools. No mission lasts forever. Also, we have to remember what Drucker (2014) taught, “Knowledge is a perishable commodity.” (p. 355) We must not procrastinate if our mission and vision are obsolete or no longer match our purpose. Additionally, we must rethink the assumptions and core competencies on which our mission and vision are based and update the premises on which our organizations are operating. I always have to remind myself and our team to stay focused on the things our organization must do extremely well in order to succeed in carrying out our mission. You will notice in the graphic representation of our mission and vision we chose to use a Jenga theme (I will be doing a post dedicated to the process we are using with our Graphic Facilitator, Mike Fleisch, later). We really think in the case of a school this is such a great way to look at our purpose, vision, and mission using because we have the student at the top, but if any other area fails it brings down the tower and does not allow us to carry out our core value you of putting students first. We must support those areas of required excellence by offering continuing professional development and education.


Maciariello, J. A. (2014). A year with Peter Drucker: 52 weeks of coaching for leadership effectiveness. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

Overcoming Obstacles

Posted in Uncategorized by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on November 9, 2015

2015-11-07 12.33.29

Showing off our stylish socks!

2015-11-08 06.09.50I had the tremendous honor this past Saturday to be part of the Uplift Indy Youth Expo 2015. The theme of the Expo was Overcoming Obstacles. You can take a look at the program by clicking here. I am so thankful that Reverend Antwan Houser, CEO and founder of UPLIFT Indy, invited me to be a part of this incredible event. Teaching kids to overcome obstacles is part of the organizations mission and I am positive this event will help them become more successful in life.Tim Doty from WTTV CBS 4 Indy was the Emcee and did a tremendous job and it was great to get to meet him. He made a point that is so true: “Bringing about change for our youth is a marathon, not a sprint!” We even had a little fun showing off our fancy socks!

I knew I was in for a treat when the first two speakers were youth, MaKayla Ivory and Jalen McGraw. Here are the points the two of them made that really moved me:

  • Don’t let others tell you who you are, what you believe, or what you want to do.
  • Start and finish everything with God.
  • Many obstacles our youth face exist because they are invisible.
  • When working with Indianapolis youth, remember: the blessings are bigger than the burden.

Then, DeAndra Yates, mother of DeAndre Knox who was shot spoke. Knox was shot in the back of head at a party on the city’s northwest side February 1, 2014. Knox is alive today and took his first steps after the shooting on September 30. He still can’t talk, but is starting to respond to questions by nodding his head. Her points were very moving as well. Here are some notes I took during her inspiring message:

  • God did not allow this to happen without a reason.
  • Grieve, but recognize that the God is using this tragedy to open doors. Yates said she is making it her personal mission to reduce crime in the city and avoid another tragedy like her sons.
  • Expect the unexpected. None of us know what the future will bring.
  • This happened to me, yet I am still here.

Corey Parchman & I

Corey Parchman & I

I also had the very special privilege of meeting Emmerich Manual High School graduate, Corey Parchman. Having been the Turnaround Principal at Manual, it was awesome to finally get to know him. His story of how he lost his dad at age 9 and then went on to be the greatest high school football player in Indiana was inspiring. Parchman shared about his struggles losing his father as a child. “Despite having a single parent household, you can still make it and be a successful man,” he said during his remarks. He also talked about having to walk onto Ball State’s football team and making it in the league as an undrafted rookie. The theme of his remarks was: “Don’t think about your obligation. Think of the opportunity!” Thank for reminding us of this Corey!

Other great speakers included State Trooper, Aaron Allen; Pastor Terry Webster, Jr; and, Sgt. Kendale Adams. Here are some points I tweeted from their remarks:

  • Don’t let obstacles get you sidetracked.
  • Any mentorship program based on forming meaningful relationships will be successful!
  • You must define your own destiny.

Then it was time for my keynote. I titled it “Being Prepared for What You Don’t Know You Need to be Prepared For.” I started with the story of the Little Frog in the Well.

Little Frog in the Well

My good friends, imagine if you were to live at the bottom of a deep, dark well. What kind of world would you see?

There was a Little Frog who lived at the bottom of a deep, dark well. Now let us go down there and see what kind of world he had.

It was a very old well filled with shallow water at the bottom. The walls of the well were all covered with wet moss. When the Little Frog was thirsty, he drank a little bit of the well water, and when he was hungry, he ate some insects. When he was tired, he lay on a little rock at the bottom of the well and looked up at the sky above him. Sometimes he saw passing clouds. He was very happy and satisfied.

The little frog

Now, the Little Frog had been living at the bottom of this old well since he was born. He had never been to the outside world. Whenever a bird or birds flew by and stopped at the edge of the well, the Little Frog always looked up and bragged, “Hello! why don’t you come down here and play with me. It’s so pleasant down here. Look, I have cool water to drink and countless insects to eat. Come down! At night I can watch the twinkling stars, and sometimes I can see the beautiful moon, too.”

Sometimes the birds would tell the Little Frog, “Hi, Little Frog! You see, the outside world is much bigger and nicer. It’s many times more beautiful than your little well at the bottom. ” But the Little Frog would not believe them. “Don’t lie to me, I don’t believe there is any place that could be better than here. ”

Gradually, all the birds began to dislike him They thought he was too stubborn and stopped talking to him.

The Little Frog could not understand why nobody would like to come down to his nice place.

One day, a yellow sparrow stopped by at the edge of the well. The Little Frog was so excited he greeted the sparrow and invited the sparrow eagerly. “Hello, Mr. Yellow Sparrow, how are you? Please come down to my most beautiful house.” The yellow sparrow did not say a word and flew away. The next day the yellow sparrow came again and the same thing happened again. It went on for six days. On the seventh day, the yellow sparrow finally said, “Little Frog, may I show you the outside world?” But the Little Frog refused the offer.

Finally the yellow sparrow became angry. He flew down to the bottom of the well, picked up the Little Frog on his back, and flew out of the well.

“Oh!” the Little Frog exclaimed. “How is it that the outside world is so big!” He had been in the bottom of his dark well for so long that the bright sunshine made his eyes blink shut, and he could hardly open his eyes to see.

When he finally opened his eyes, he saw so many things around him. “Hey! Be careful! Don’t hit this strange thing. What are all these green high and low things?” The yellow sparrow laughed happily: “Ha! ha! These are mountains and valleys. There are countless mountains in this world. The Himalayas, the Swiss Alps, the Rockies and… ”

The Little Frog could not believe there were so many big mountains in the world. When they flew over the high mountains, the next view made the Little Frog even more surprised.

“What is this long, silvery, shiny view?”

“It is a river,” the yellow sparrow replied.

“Then what is that huge, blue thing over there?”

“That is a sea,” the yellow sparrow replied.

“That river and sea, how much water do they have? How much bigger are they than my well? They must hold a billion times more water than my well.” The Little Frog began to realize how tiny his well was. “Let’s go down, O.K. ?” The yellow sparrow put the Little Frog down on the ground and flew away.

The Little Frog jumped into the grass and saw many beautiful flowers of different colors. He had never seen such beautiful flowers and had never smelled such nice scents. He kept on going and went into a forest. In it he looked up and saw many tall trees. He looked down and found many different kinds of fruits that had fallen to the ground. He picked up an apple and tasted it. “Wow, so sweet !” Then he listened to the beautiful singing of the birds. The cute squirrels were jumping, the monkeys were swinging from branch to branch, and the antelopes were scampering speedily.

In the pond, the lotus flowers were dancing in the air, and the lotus leaves were floating on the water like umbrellas. There were many fish in the water.

“The outside world is so big, so wonderful, and beautiful!” The Little Frog finally cried out happily and jumped into the pond. He climbed up on a huge lotus leaf and enjoyed his new life there. The yellow sparrow came back and asked, “Little Frog! How’s this outside world? Big? Beautiful?”

“Thank you very much. If you had not brought me out to see this world, I would never had known that there are such beautiful things that exist outside my well .” The Little Frog never tried to go back to his old well again.

I then talked about my past and how I had ended up in teaching. My teaching career did not begin with the same story that many teachers share. I did not have an epiphany when I said to myself, “I want to be a teacher.” My journey as an educator began during my sophomore year at Purdue University when Professor Dr. Hobart Jones pulled me into his office and asked if I had ever considered teaching. When I said, “no,” he explained that he saw a talent in me for educating and wanted me to double major in Animal Science and Agricultural Education. It is amazing how someone like Dr. Jones can make a huge impact on someone’s life.  His inspiration and personal interest helped me to deal with the challenges of a double major, making my 31 year educational career possible. Without Dr. Jones’ personal interest in my abilities, I probably would have missed this opportunity. It is his example of true caring that I strive to emulate every day of my teaching career.

We Must Be Prepared For What We Don't Know We Need To Be Prepared For!

We Must Be Prepared For What We Don’t Know We Need To Be Prepared For!

It is so important that we have people in our lives, just like the sparrow served the frog, to serve as “kickstands” in our lives. These people do not just end up there by chance. I believe God places them there. I went on to explain that I really have not spent a lot of time planning my career. It is more important that we make sure we are prepared for what we don’t know we need to be prepared for. In education we use the term “backward planning.” In other words you take the standards you want the students to have mastered in the end and you plan backward from there. I explained that I believe that God is the ultimate backward planner. He knows exactly what is going to happen and what his end goal is for us and plans, with favor, accordingly. God doesn’t really work from harsh domination or a strict set of rules. It’s not about God saying “it’s my way or the highway.” Instead, it’s about loving God enough to trust him fully with everything. It’s about understanding that his perspective is so much greater than our own as he sees the big picture of what he wants to do in our life. We just need to accept and continue to prepare for what we don’t know we need to be prepared for.

“Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.” ~ General Douglas MacArthur

I then closed with two Bible verses from the book of James that give us comfort when coming up against obstacles in our life and prepare us for what we don’t know we need to prepare for:

“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” ~ James 1:4

In other words many of the obstacles we come up against are placed there by God to help prepare us for our future missions and roads in life. We may not know what we need to be prepared for, but God does.

“Come near to God and He will come near to you.” ~ James 3:8

Panel Discussion

Panel Discussion

At the end of the Expo I was part of a panel that took questions from the participants. It was a great discussion. The very last question came from a youth who asked a very astute question that caused me to do a great deal of reflecting. She asked, “How do we ever get to a time when we can recognize and appreciate all the uniqueness that each of us possess?” I used what I have learned from Sally Hogshead to answer the question. Sally believes the greatest value a person can add is to become more of themselves. If this isn’t appreciating the unique gifts we have, I don’t know what is. I told her these unique differences are what make us fascinating. While we have society norms we must adhere to, like sometimes needing to wear a tie in my case, we need to be more aware of who we are and who others are. Sally has taught me to take negative things said about my beliefs or actions as compliments and proof that I am fascinating.

I would like to close out this post by repeating the question of this young lady for you to ponder and maybe leave a response to this post about. “How do we ever get to a time when we can recognize and appreciate all of the uniqueness that each of us possess?”

It Isn’t Always Right To Be Right

This week’s lesson in The Disciplined Leader (Manning, 2015) dealt with humility. Manning points out that disciplined leaders admit they do not have all the answers. They are able to let go of the ego and ask for and accept help. The lesson here is, according to Manning (2015), you are responsible for how you carry and lead yourself. It’s really pretty simple, talk less and listen more.

“Disciplined Leaders live and die based on the performance of their team. You will find that many of the best business leaders talk about their team and keep them in the spotlight, not talking about themselves. These leaders understand their role is to help their team be successful and give them credit every time credit is due. Through these actions, such leaders earn that crucial respect, build loyalty, and consistently get their desired results.” ~ John M. Manning

Manning (2015) gave us three great points to live by in the book:

  1. Look beyond you for answers.
  2. Adopt a teamwork mindset.
  3. Grow awareness of your verbal and body language.


I am a believer we must share our mistakes as teachable moments. When, as leaders, we showcase our own personal growth, we legitimize the growth and learning of others; by admitting our own imperfections, they make it okay for others to be fallible, too. We also tend to connect with people who share their imperfections. Another way to practice humility is to truly engage with different points of view. Too often leaders are focused on swaying others and “winning” arguments. When people debate in this way, they become so focused on proving the validity of their own views that they miss. As Manning(2015) pointed out, “It isn’t always right to be right.” Ambiguity and uncertainty are par for the course in today’s knowledge society. When leaders humbly admit that they don’t have all the answers, they create space for others to step forward. Finally, we must role model being a “follower.” Inclusive leaders empower others to lead.

“Develop your leadership style like a branded product. You want others to trust that brand and always lean toward it.” ~ John M. Manning


Manning, J. (2015). The disciplined leader: 52 concise, powerful lessons. Oakland, CA: Barrett – Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Being Prepared For What You Don’t Know You Need To Be Prepared For

Posted in Coaching, Education, Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Inspirational, Leadership, Spiritual by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on November 7, 2015

Later today I will be speaking at the Overcoming Obstacles Youth Expo. This expo is being put on by Uplift Indy. I love the title, “Overcoming Obstacles.” That’s really what it is all about. I will be closing out the day and will tie it all together by working with the youth on around the idea of “Being Prepared For What You Don’t Know You Need To Be Prepared For.” Isn’t that what obstacles are? Things we are not prepared for. But really, we have some tools already in our toolbox for being prepared and just need to think through how we get the rest. I can’t wait to spend time with these kids today! 

I will post my comments and thoughts from the day when the expo ends today.

Living A Courageous Life Full of Contribution

Posted in Uncategorized by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on November 1, 2015

thPeter and Doris Drucker gave tangible form to their values and concerns for America. When they arrived in America in 1937 they were faced with the severe economic challenges all Americans and the country itself was facing at the time. The Druckers did find and treasure the hospitality and warmness of Americans that they called “sweetness” (Maciariello, 2014). Peter Drucker believed, however, that it would take the social sector, particularly nonprofits, not government, to solve our social problems. He believed the social sector must create communities for citizens.

Drucker believed that only nonprofit organizations could provide the diversity of communities we need. These organizations include churches, professional associations, homeless care, health clubs and many others (Maciariello, 2014). Drucker argued the nonprofit social sector organizations were the only ones capable to satisfy the need for effective citizenship needed by an effective community. Drucker posited, “Only the social sector can create what we now need, communities for citizens” (Maciariello, 2014, p. 345). By doing this and becoming involved in the social sector we can give tangible form to our values and concerns.

“What bothers me in this country is that our society today has lost its sweetness. It’s sour, terribly sour, and I think that this isn’t anything government can do much about, or is likely to do very much about. In fact the way we are going, government is making the sourness worse. It’s only this kind of activity in the nonprofits, this kind of self-respect shown to people, this kind of initiative in solving our most difficult social problems that I think we can make this a society again.” ~ Peter Drucker

IMG_0690Drucker taught us we should strive to elect local public officials who understand the limits of government and the need for public, private, and nonprofit cooperation to further strengthen the work of our social sector and public sector institutions. I’ll close this post with the charge that we all need to become involved in civic organizations that are active in strengthening the social bonds that help create more healthy communities in the United States.


Maciariello, J. A. (2014). A year with Peter Drucker: 52 weeks of coaching for leadership effectiveness. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

Truth: The Key To A Candid Workplace Culture

Posted in Coaching, Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Spiritual by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on October 31, 2015

“The longer I live and participate in the business world, the more I realize telling the truth is almost always the correct choice, painful or not. There are ways to communicate with tact; a harsh reality can be delivered in a constructive way.” ~ John M. Manning

truthAs I read this week’s entry in The Disciplined Leader (Manning, 2015) I was reminded of the dramatic scene in the great movie A Few Good Men. In the movie’s final court scene where the military lawyer, Kaffee, played by Tom Cruise is trying to draw the arrogant colonel, Jessup, played by Jack Nicholson into admitting that he ordered a Code Red (a sort of vigilante justice within a unit) that was officially not allowed by the military; Kaffee yells at him: “I want the truth!”, and then Jessup yells back “You can’t handle the truth!”, and then proceeds to make the admission and tell the truth, finally. This telling of the truth ultimately builds trust on the team. According to Gary Peterson of Forbes Magazine (Peterson, 2013) there are four key attributes to strong followership. Followership is defined, according to the University of Oregon, as the willingness to cooperate in working towards the accomplishment of the group mission, to demonstrate a high degree of teamwork, and to build cohesion among the group. (University of Oregon, 2013). Here are the four key attributes:You-cant-handle-the-truth6

  1. Trust: Through everyday behavior, “followership” requires that the leader provides evidence that they can be trusted.
  2. Stability: Leaders with strong “followership” remain calm in the face of panic and give a sense of confidence to those around them.
  3. Compassion: Strong “followership” leaders have unrelenting passion for people and show empathy when those folks are enduring hard times.
  4. Hope: “Followership” requires that the leader has unwavering belief that their product/service will not only succeed, but will change lives.disciplined-leader

Manning (2015) points out that the truth also sets the stage for a candid workplace culture. This allows it to be a productive and safe place for team members to be engaged and part of a learning organization culture. The truth never hurts us, it is what we do with the truth. I really like the way Manning (2015) describes the truth as giving us the ability to act fast. He posits that truthfulness is a change agent (Manning, 2015). This truthfulness will act as a catalyst for making decisions that mirror our core values, wisdom, self-discipline, and integrity. We must remember to make the truth a part of our core values.


“Followership.” Followership. The University of Oregon, 01 Jan. 2013. Web. 15 June 2013.

Manning, J. (2015). The disciplined leader: 52 concise, powerful lessons. Oakland, CA: Barrett – Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Peterson, Gary. “Leadership 310: The Four Principles of ‘Followership'” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 23 Apr. 2013. Web. 14 June 2013.


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