Benevolent Leader

In serving the public for 35+ years as a CPA, I’ve worked with many leaders. Some were wanna-bees; some were dictators; some were regular bosses; very few were benevolent.

The launch of WordPress 5.0 has opened my eyes to understand more about Matt Mullenweg — creator of WordPress and founder of Automattic.

WordPress, “We don’t make software for free, we make it for freedom.”

Automattic, “We are passionate about making the web a better place.”

More Than Meets The Eye

In the realm of Technology and especially in the niche of Design, there is an acronym WYSIWYG — What You See Is What You Get. Matt Mullenweg has taken that to a new level of YEGWYDS — You Even Get What You Don’t See.

Until today, as I’ve done the Google Searches to discover more about this fellow, I had no idea as to his scope, depth, and influence.

What I can do, though, is share my personal experience with a benevolent leader. This story begins in July 2018, when I experienced frustration to the point of having Capital One stop the processing on a credit card purchase.

In my opinion, a company Process was dysfunctional — and, to add insult to injury, I felt that same company was disrespectful to People. As you know, I’m a big believer in POPPeople Over Process.

Well, come to find out, I was preaching to the choir.

Congratulations (In an Email)

Matt,

Congratulations on the very successful launch of WordPress 5.0 — and a tremendous Presentation at WordCamp US 2018.

As you remember, I was frustrated with Automattic because of Jetpack, until out of the blue YOU called. I’m still in awe that a Leader cares so much about those in his Realm to listen and understand.

There was outreach by one of your Employees to work with me to resolve the Jetpack error messages that I was receiving from the Google Mobile-Friendly Test. Silly me — I rejected the offer. My belief and faith in Jetpack and its People had been shaken.

Although, from that moment forward, I noticed a shift in tone. Earlier, my “issue” was not so much a Plugin that didn’t work (for me), it was the disrespect from a representative that turned me off. (HISTORY)

Today, with Jetpack installed, absolutely “no loading issues” — only Success. (CLICK)

Then, more recently was my frustration with Gutenberg and responses I received from Automattic happiness engineers. That was immediately resolved by Gary Pendergast. (HISTORY)

As a Builder, I share the history to document a foundation for my belief that you are Building Something Special. The histories, above, are proof that my experience is much more than a one-off, luck-of-the-draw, random series of events. These are demonstrative facets of purpose, design, and implementation inspired and encouraged by YOU.

Last week, while interviewed in a Podcast, you made a comment about being “a benevolent leader.” We both know it is impossible to “manage by committee.” In the history of all great scientists and artists, there was only one of them. Only when they put beaker to flame, or brush to canvas, did the discoveries and masterpieces appear. That’s the magic of one person with belief in creating Value.

Yesterday, I thought your response to Mr. Blonde Goatee was Sherlock Holmes brilliant, “My dear Watson it’s quite elementary. The interpretation of WE is found in the context of its use.”

Great leaders inspire others to follow. You do that.

Quite often at the completion of a Post composed and published with Gutenberg, I find myself exclaiming, “Wow — I did that!”

That my friend is the sign of a truly great Leader — when those in your sphere of influence say, “We did that ourselves!”

When we say that, it’s because of your Vision and Values.

Thank you for being that kind of Leader.

Best,

Kim

Character Matters

When was the last time you had the CEO of a multi-billion dollar Company call you up to listen to your concerns? I can answer that for me, “Never.” Until one July day, out of the blue, I get a call from Matt Mullenweg.

For me, that memory will be priceless, forever. At the time, I knew something special was happening. Only, today, do I understand a little more about the honor bestowed on me — by a man with humility — a Benevolent Leader.

According to Matt, “This release is named in homage to the pioneering Cuban jazz musician Bebo Valdés.” — WordPress 5.0 “Bebo

Since the phrase “Benevolent Leader” is a mouthful — and probably beyond acceptance in everyday use by Matt — he will affectionately be known to me as “Bene.”

Leadership

Money does not a leadership problem fix.

In fact, a problem is simply an opportunity in disguise.

We grow — when confronted with the impossible. It is that defining moment of decision. Many will quit. A few will do what others say can’t be done.

Leaders

Leaders will accomplish what has never been attempted, before.

Those who do are the leaders among us. Those who talk are not necessarily the followers. Talk is cheap and those who blather, generally, complain about all of their problems. Unknowingly and unwittingly, they are complaining about themselves.

For the entirety of human existence, the accumulation of wealth has been the measure of empires. The Golden Rule has been disenfranchised into a barbaric slogan, “Those who have the Gold make the Rules.”

Rules and regulations do not an Empire make. In fact, Empires come and go — because, their leaders abdicate the responsibility to set an example. We — the People — learn by doing.

Passion

Leadership is not a cult-like mission of forcing others into compliance. Leadership is a deep-felt passion of guiding everyone to the best individual choices.

Say what?! Doesn’t a leader, by default, need followers?

For a moment, forget about following and let’s focus on leading. Leaders believe in the power of one. They understand life is best experienced from the inside, out. They are true to themselves, by constantly improving the character at their core.

Leaders make absolutely sure they have much to give. What they offer to the whole wide world is the Three-E Formula to Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage.

Enlighten

We don’t know what we don’t know. Leaders share the best of what they have learned with all who are accepting. The story of their journey is the inspiration for broadened horizons and myriad options of choice. Leaders communicate their saga — and, they color that vision of abundance with broad strokes and vivid detail.

Empower

Knowing what to do and doing it are two, entirely, different things. Leaders offer the tools to build something special. We all want and need something different. Leaders are the ultimate teachers through explanation and demonstration, then asking for imitation, offering correction, and expecting repetition.

Encourage

The best teachers have humbly learned from the School of Hard Knocks. They can share many lessons learned the hard way and know, for an absolute fact, their Students need a few of the same experiences. Leaders patiently wait for new lessons to be learned, all the while supporting that effort.

The Legacy

True leaders always have a following. Hundreds, maybe even many thousands, are watching the silent example of their heroes. Actions speak so much louder than words. A life of sterling character generously offered to others — through consistent choices to build mutually beneficial dynamic relationships — is the legacy of leaders.

The choice is free, for us to make.

The results are priceless, for future generations.

Let’s accept the challenge of leadership.

Why and How

The secret to getting things done is to ask, “Who is going to do What by When?”

An even greater mystery to doing the right things is to know, “Why and How!”

There’s a story about a Montana rancher that goes something like this —

Post Turtle

A country doctor is suturing a cut on the hand of a Montana rancher.

Rancher: “At least this hurt comes from building something. Just imagine the pain of a post turtle.”

Doctor: “Oh? What is a post turtle?”

Rancher: “Well, when you’re driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top. That’s a post turtle. You know he didn’t get there by himself; he doesn’t belong there; he can’t get anything done while he’s up there; and, without help to get down, he’s stranded!”

How often do we get stuck?

Pedestals, Ivory Towers, and White Horses

Do we ever consider: “Why?” Is it because we allowed someone to place us on a pedestal, in an ivory tower, or on a white horse? It’s one thing to work hard to earn our place in the world — it’s quite another to be placed somewhere. Even more dangerous than the physical geography is the mental fantasy. It can be our mind playing tricks on us — or, the imaginations of another person projected onto us.

From our earliest memories we are indoctrinated with the propaganda that, to be somebody, we must rise above. Movies, novels and childhood stories revolve around the themes of a princess in an ivory tower attracting the knight in shining armor who gallops in on his trusty white steed.

Joy Is In The Doing

What goes up must come down. Down to the reality that the greatest joys in life are found by serving — not swooning. Life is all about attitude — not altitude. Love is defined as giving — not getting. Let’s all get down, to the business and pleasure of accepting others for who they, really, are — not who we want them to be.

While the grandeur of heights is intoxicating, the grounded efforts of servants produce harvests of abundance. Those who are the greatest, purposefully, take the lowest rank. They are recognized as true leaders by their efforts to serve.

They are the ones who know Why they are here; How they got here; What they are doing here; and, Who have absolutely no fear of falling down. When they stumble, it is to learn a new lesson on their way to another opportunity — of service.

Inspirators

We are well past the Point of No Return and headed into uncharted territory. Literally, all of the graphs and maps of the past are of little value as we navigate into this new frontier of uncertainty and opportunity.

Beyond the time for leaders — this is a time for Inspirators.

Inspirators provide a breath of fresh air while inspiring the next bold Step, forward, to Success.

Each Day We Have A Choice

1.) Give in and give up to Resignation and Despair — or,

2.) Set a course of discovery with Fascination and Curiosity.

Break Down To Build Up

I ~ Ideas, beliefs, and thoughts are the very fuel for the engine of the Inspirator. Not just any old idea will do, either. An Inspirator will collect, process, and file the stories of others until they find one concept that can change the lives of many. They give the rest of their life to make a difference in the lives of many.

N ~ Novel approaches to old problems and new opportunities are the Trademarks of the Inspirator. They refuse to be bound by the insanity of doing the same old things to achieve the same old results. Inspirators break molds to create, heretofore, unknown beauty.

S ~ Singular focus on a target results in a laser-like power to melt away the distractions and objections standing between mediocrity and greatness. Although they are dogged in determination, Inspirators are flexible in philosophy. They adhere to the proven — right up to the moment of innovation.

P ~ Passion is at the core of every breath an Inspirator takes. They inhale the chaos contaminating their world and exhale solutions. First, they listen — then, they generously share in word and deed what is necessary to make a difference. Much more than a desire “To do and die,” theirs is a passion to “Live and guide.”

I ~ Inherent faith, hope, and love of a Power greater than themselves is the catalyst for every successful launch of new endeavors by the Inspirator. They accept the physician’s creed of primum non nocere, (first, to do no harm) as a reminder of physical limitations. Inspirators understand the Latin phrase is “a hallowed expression of hope, intention, humility, and recognition that human acts with good intentions may have unwanted consequences.”

R ~ Radiate one small speck of light and darkness is destroyed. Inspirators understand the premise — from the inside, out. They are conduits of goodness for the benefit of all. They purposefully manage their wake to ensure that the ripples from their actions lift others to the beaches of new opportunities.

A ~ A, B, C’s — always maintain an aura of excitement for the Inspirator. Those simple letters are a reminder of the importance of a strong foundation of Education. They are also the trinity for the Experience of building dynamic relationships. Attitude, Boundaries, and Commitment are the cornerstones of life — because, life is all about the people.

T ~ Teaching, coaching, and mentoring are the ways Inspirators transform the “Why” of their existence into the “How” of guiding others to “What” their students want and need. Theirs is not a one-way street of pompous dictation. Inspirators learn, grow and develop from the feedback, insight and creative challenges of other viewpoints.

O ~ Open to constructive criticism is the greatest attribute of an Inspirator. It will be one of the last character traits accepted and practiced. It is the difference between good and great. Inspirators find optimism is easy — acceptance of negatives is hard. No one enjoys receiving honest suggestions for improvement. Inspirators, eventually, accept the importance of understanding the real impact they have on others.

R ~ Releasing the past, letting go of hurts, and offering forgiveness brings the Inspirator to the present belief, “Right here, right now, it’s great to be alive.” They are enlightened, empowered, and encouraged to manage everything within their control for the express purpose of building bright futures for everyone within their sphere of influence.

S ~ Serving is a present tense — action — verb. It is what Inspirators do. While freely giving of their life in service, Inspirators are not doormats to be used and abused. They know and will defend to their last breath the Universal Principle — giving is the secret to receiving.

Fun Is In The Doing

Those claiming to be “leaders” are a dime-a-dozen. In fact, leadership has become nothing more than a synonym for narcissism. Listen to those touting themselves as leaders and you will hear a chorus of accolades about their own greatness. Pedestals are dangerous — for those on them and for those below.

In fact, life is not about the empires — empires come and go. Life is about the doing — and, the fun is in the doing. Actions speak louder than words and bright lights make, absolutely, no noise.

The difference between leaders and Inspirators is the difference between words and Deeds. Please, tune out the static shrill of self-professing leaders and follow the example of an Inspirator — to become one.

Your life and the lives of many will be positively changed to make a difference in this Universe — and, beyond!

(Originally published on April 9, 2011)