As one of the top three thoroughbreds of all time, Secretariat was in a class by himself. In fact, no other horse has ever run 1 1/2 miles faster than Secretariat. Of the greatest sports performances of all time, Secretariat’s run at the Belmont Stakes is ranked second only to Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game by ESPN. The only horse to grace the covers of Sports Illustrated, Time and Newsweek, Secretariat ran each quarter mile faster than the one before it; unheard of before or since.
Like I said, Secretariat was fast!
But the secret to his speed was discovered only after he died; he was all heart. After suffering an incurable hoof condition, the autopsy of Secretariat revealed his heart weighed 22 pounds, the largest ever recorded for a racehorse.
I am often astounded by the intestinal fortitude required to lead an economic or community development organization. Daily, the CEO is challenged by economic, political and civic realities that would bury lesser souls. How does one balance timetables, agendas, and objectives that are not always consistent and may even be antagonistic; be collaborative in an environment that can suggest competition; stay the course when so many interests are conspiring to force detours and different tracks?
The answer? With patience, commitment, resilience and heart!
This past week I was honored to spend time with three clients that share these common characteristics. All three are forcing their volunteer and political leaders in a new direction that will no doubt cause their boards some discomfort. Nevertheless, all three are 100% committed to the future and are not willing to compromise what they believe are the long-term values and objectives required for their organizations to sustain, prosper and most importantly lead in the future. In short, they each have heart!
As we prepare to launch the 2nd half of 2014, I ask you, do you have the heart to lead your organization through the challenges and turbulence that lies ahead. We can’t control the curve balls that come our way but we can control our reaction. Have confidence in your plans, stay the course, run fast and in the famous words of Coach Jimmy McGinty (Gene Hackman, The Replacements) ………. “Heart! ….. We need heart!”