THE HISTORY AND CELEBRATION OF MEMORIAL DAY

As we approach this annual holiday weekend, it is a good idea for us to reflect on the meaning of being able to observe this federal holiday.

 First of all, Memorial Day is always celebrated on the last Monday of May.  It was formerly known as Decoration Day. The special day was declared in 1868, by General John Logan, the National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic.

The very first Memorial Day was observed on May 30th, 1868 by placing flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate Soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.  Finally, in 1871, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holidays to be celebrated yearly on the last Monday in May.

 Memorial Day has classically become the marking of the beginning of summer vacation season, and Labor Day, the closing of summer.

 Memorial Day has reached beyond remembering and honoring the soldiers from the civil war or any war, to actually honoring the deceased whether they were military or not.  Families have learned to celebrate with picnics, family reunions or get-together’s, to fireworks displays and parades, not to mention the Indianapolis 500 auto race which is held every year since 1911 on Memorial Day.

 On a consumer note, most sales are big on Memorial Day Weekend.  Many people take advantage of the savings to shop that weekend.

 Mostly however, in Washington, DC, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died while serving our country.  The monuments are a heavy attraction during this holiday.  The usual celebration and this year is no different, is the National Memorial Day Concert,  the National Memorial Day Parade that includes marching bands and veteran units from all 50 states.  The parade is sponsored by World War II Veterans Committee and normally includes patriotic floats and USA helium-filled balloons.

 There is also the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally where thousands of motorcycles ride through Washington in an annual demonstration promoting the initiative to improve veteran benefits and resolve POW/MIA issues.

 Monday, May 30, 2011, 11 a.m. A wreath-laying ceremony and concert will be held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in honor of Memorial Day.

 Vietnam Veterans Memorial-Monday, May 30, 2011, 1 p.m.

This year’s annual Memorial Day ceremony includes Presentation of the Colors, remarks by a special guest and wreath-laying service.

 Whether in Washington or your own home-town, millions of Americans will be reaching out to our service men living and deceased to honor their love and dedication to the United States, which stands united through any type of war, disaster, or less than perfect politics. 

 God Bless America this Memorial Day Weekend.

Advertisements

WERE YOU BORN TO BE A LEADER?

Being a Leader is more than just having the title or ownership. The start-up phase and the established business management phase – may require two different types of people. Handling the responsibilities of a group or team is challenging and quite different than making the start-up decisions.

What makes a Good Leader? Certain capabilities, traits and skills, all factor into being a good Leader.

Leadership Capabilities Include:

• Passionate about people
• Performance management
• Building effective teams
Performance Appraisals
• Coaching
• One-on-ones
• Touch-points
• Giving Feedback
Managing change
• Managing conflict
• Employee Service

Leadership Traits

• Initiative
• Flexibility
• Persistence
• Resilience
• Passion

Leadership Skills

• Managerial courage
• Persuasiveness and influencing
• Presentation skills
• Telephone skills
Verbal communication
• Running meetings
Written communication
• Negotiation
• Listening

These lists outline the Leadership criteria to be an effective leader. However, it doesn’t stop here…no, it’s just the beginning. Now we group the skill levels to form the techniques used by Leaders.

Managing Teams

 One on Ones – underestimating their value will be your downfall.
 Setting Expectations – your commitment to clarity
 Start-up meetings – make a difference.

Leading People

 Can you assess their performance?
Performance Management
 Delegation –
 Hands on during Change

Leadership – Ongoing

 Building company spirit
 Driving culture change
 Demonstrating your people value
 Motivate Me!

The bottom line in Leadership include all the above, but none of them matter if you don’t possess the PEOPLE SKILLS. This would include:

 Be Trustworthy
 Inspire People to Work Toward a Vision
 Be Aware of Your Impact on Others
 Accept Responsibility for Your Actions
 Lead vs. Manage
 Have High Self Worth and Self Esteem – Invites Respect

This list would also include the intangibles, Passion, Compassion, Understanding, Empathy, Perpetuity for ongoing goals and success mindset and most important, the ability to communicate.

“There, now that isn’t asking much is it?”

Congrats, now you are a successful leader. C’mon, it wasn’t that hard – you were BORN to be a leader!