The T3 Leadership Blog

Teamwork • Tone • Tenacity™

Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Poland was elected Pope on this date in 1978 at age 48; the first non-Italian Pope in 456 years!  He took the name John Paul II and presided over the Catholic Church for 26 years.  A clandestine seminarian in his native Poland during Nazi occupation, he helped many Jews during the Holocaust.  Ordained in 1946, he was recognized for being the spiritual impetus for the end of Communist rule in Poland, and the building of bridges to people of other faiths. One of the most travelled world leaders in history, he visited 129 countries during his pontificate...

Lea Iacocca was born October 15, 1924. The son of Italian immigrants, he was an engineer from working class Pennsylvania who became an auto exec at Ford (developed the iconic Mustang but also the risible Pinto).  He was President and CEO of Chrysler from 1978-1992 (developed the top selling Chrysler Minivan) and saved that company from bankruptcy (paid off Chrysler’s 10 year government loans in three years … which impressed President Regan and began a close friendship between them).  Iacocca served as the foundation Chairman for the rehabilitation of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in the 1980’s (I...

Lady Margaret Thatcher was born on OCT 13, 1925.  She was the first woman British Prime Minister and longest serving British PM of the 20th century (1979-1990).  Her uncompromising conservative political philosophy, support for a strong national defense (Falklands War of 1982), close friendship with President Regan, alignment of Cold War foreign policy goals with the U.S. and domestic economic policies that emphasized deregulation and privatization contributed to her nickname as “The Iron Lady.”  She could command a stage through intellect, quick thinking and a sense of humor.   Whenever I need motivation for a national security keynote presentation, I...

Eleanor Roosevelt was born OTD 1884 in New York City.  She was our longest serving and most consequential First Lady (1933-1945).  Eleanor was a Humanitarian, Social Activist and Diplomat.  Th wife of our 32nd U.S. President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), she defined the role of First Lady on her own terms; leading an unprecedented independent life and actively playing a role in FDR’s administration.  In 1921 she encouraged and steadfastly supported Franklin’s choice to stay in politics after he was stricken with polio. Following FDR’s election as Governor of New York in 1928, and throughout the remainder of his public...

The visionary Norwegian adventurers and ethnographer, Thor Heyerdahl, was born October 6, 1902.  He treated oceans as bridges, not barriers.  Heyerdahl is most famous for his 1947 “Kon Tiki” expedition.  He sailed 5,000 miles across the eastern Pacific in 101 days on a hand-built 40-square-foot raft to demonstrate ancient peoples could have conducted long sea voyages from South America - Polynesia to establish contact between societies.  I read a book about the expedition in elementary school and wanted to be an adventurer!  A 1952 documentary film about Kon-Tiki  was awarded an Oscar.  During Heyerdahl’s “Ra II” expedition of 1970, he...

Ray Kroc, the inspirational founder of the McDonald's Corporation and its CEO from 1968-1984, was born in Oak Park, IL on this date in 1902.  A transformational leader who changed America’s dining lifestyle, Kroc is credited turning McDonald's into the world’s most successful fast food corporation.  He was also owner of the San Diego Padres of MLB from 1974 until his death in 1984, when the Padres appeared in their first World Series. His motivational style included:  TEAMWORK: “None of Us is as Good as All of Us.”  Kroc was a hard charging perfectionist when it came to McDonald's food...

Happy B’Day Julius Rosenwald (1862), Best known as part-owner of Sears, Roebuck and Co +  establishing the Julius Rosenwald Fund which donated $Millions to promote education and build nearly 5,000 schools  mainly in rural Southern African American communities.  About 500 still exist,   a few operate as schools but most that have been restored are community centers/museums.  His inspirational “T3” leadership style: TEAMWORK: Collaborative owner-operator of one of America’s largest retail stores; Sears, Roebuck & Co. Oversaw the implementation of the “schedule system” that allowed departments to ship orders the same day, and orders from multiple departments the next day; an amazing...

Happy Birthday (1747) John Paul Jones, America’s first inspirational maritime hero. Jones established the standard of courage and professionalism that defines our Navy today.  The Scottish born Jones’ aggressive actions against the British in their home waters influenced a new nation and sent a message to the world that the American Navy was a new force to be reckoned with.  There’s rarely a keynote address when I don’t reference some aspect of Jones’ remarkable leadership style:   TEAMWORK:  On the qualifications of being a Naval Officer (which is still taught at the U.S. Naval Academy today as a pillar of...

Happy B’Day Mel Brooks, b. (Melvin Kaminsky) OTD 1926. Inspirational Comedian, Actor, Writer, Film Maker.  One of very few to win Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards.  Mel’s leadership style:  TEAMWORK:  Famously built trust, comity and loyalty with others.  Envisioned goals and inspired collaborators to achieve them while selflessly sharing credit with colleagues and co-stars. His partnership with the late Carl Reiner in “2000 Year Old Man" skits is comedy genius TONE:  “Patriotic WWII Vet; Combat Engineer who fought in the Battle of the Bulge.  Mel’s courageous boundary-breaking slapstick, parodies and satire took on social norms. “Being stupid and politically incorrect...

Happy B’Day Helen Keller, 1880.  Lost sight and hearing at 19 months due to illness. Overcame extreme adversity and became an inspirational author, lecturer and advocate for the disabled.  Changed society’s views of the disabled.  Helped make braille the standard of writing for the blind.Her success attributed to:  TEAMWORK:  Met her “Miracle Worker” teacher Ann Sullivan in 1887. Their efforts together allowed Helen to flourish via a uniquely adapted touch teaching method. Shared comfort, companionship and humor with Mark Twain for more than a decade; he called her “The Eighth Wonder of the World!” “I can feel the twinkle of...