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Wisdom From The Rock

He grew up in Brooklyn, the son of an ex-con father and with a Mob-connected uncle who earned a living as a loan-shark. He credits his father continually saying, "Never lie, never steal," as an influence in his making a better career choice. After getting a law degree, he became a U.S. Attorney, prosecuting organized crime and Wall Street inside traders. Of 4,152 convictions he attained, only 25 were reversed.

During two terms as mayor of New York City, he achieved many major victories including reducing crime, spurring economic recovery and advancing education. While critics frequently accused him of being too aggressive, he charged ahead. Then, in the days following September 11, 2001, he unveiled an entirely different side. His consoling words to the victims' families and assurances to all that the city would prevail inspired New Yorkers, our nation and the world.

Earlier this year, I saw "America's Mayor" speak at the opening session of the International Franchise Association convention. Rudy Giuliani glided across the stage as if in a courtroom and paused often to make eye contact with many of the 2,000 in attendance. As a veteran trial lawyer, he displayed a knack for timing and delivery, seriousness and humor. The "take-away" from his presentation was a primer on effective leadership, which he said didn't rise from the tragedy of 9/11, but was developed by facing big challenges his entire life.

Here are six Leadership Lessons from the man French president Jacques Chirac dubbed "Rudy the Rock". Using them in your small business will lead to outstanding results:

1. "Have a firm set of beliefs" ? Giuliani said the first step as a leader is to know who you are. He used Ronald Reagan as an example, pointing out that while many people did not like him they always knew where he stood. Reagan never wavered from his stance that communism was evil and government was too big. The Soviet Union fell and individual enterprise in America expanded during his presidency.

2. "Be an optimist" ? Good, ethical, decent leaders are a magnet for people. Giuliani said, "What if I had walked out here and began with 'It's bad out there, and it's going to get worse'? Who wants to be around that type of a person?" It's important to have confident vision of a good future. He reminded the audience that legendary coach Vince Lombardi once said, "I never lost a game. I just ran out of time."

3. "Have courage" ? Guiliani said courage is not the absence of fear, it's learning to overcome the presence of fear. "To be a successful leader," he said, "manage fear to do what you're called to do." He pointed out fear can be a good thing, if you don't allow it to immobilize you.

4. "Relentless preparation" ? Results, Giuliani said, are about hard work, not style. He said his first boss taught him, "You win cases not in the courtroom, but in the office." It takes four hours of preparation for every hour spent in court. When something unexpected happens, then you know how to react. Giuliani had New York prepared for many things ? fire, smallpox, poison gasses ? but planes flying into buildings had never been discussed. Yet, they utilized the same disaster responses they had rehearsed, if for different reasons.

5. "Teamwork is essential" ? No one achieves anything in life by themselves, Giuliani said. Ineffective leaders think they have to make all the decisions. Effective ones ask, "What are my weaknesses?" Then they find others to complement them and do what they do not do well.

6. "Be There" ? Giuliani said it is important to truly love people and spend time with them. "Weddings are discretionary, funerals are required," he said. Everyone shows up for a celebration, but real loyalty comes from being there in troubled times. After 9/11, he attended nearly 200 funerals, services and wakes for police officers, fire fighters and emergency workers.

Success Handler Action: After you finish reading this E-Newsletter, think about how you rate as the leader of your small business. What do you need to work on to be more effective? Use these questions to help you identify those areas:

~ What are your strongest beliefs? Do you live them every day?

~ How optimistic are you? Is the glass half full or half empty?

~ Who better describes your courage ? Braveheart or The Cowardly Lion?

~ When crises arrive, how prepared are you and your team?

~ Where are your weaknesses, and is your team designed to balance them?

~ Which are you: a guest at weddings or a consoler at funerals?

When Rudy Giuliani became mayor in 1993, more than one million residents were on welfare. Under his leadership, nearly 700,000 individuals moved to self-sufficiency. Crime fell 65 percent, murder dropped 70 percent, and the FBI recognized New York City five consecutive years as the safest large city in America.

If an optimistic, courageous man with firm beliefs, who prepared relentlessly and built a supportive team he was always there for, can change something as big as New York City, what could you do by being the rock of your small business?

Copyright © 2005 by Success Handler, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Coach, David Handler, is the founder of Success Handler, (, and specializes in helping small business leaders find clarity and take action. He understands the challenges of running a business, because he's been there ? as a small business owner, franchisee, franchisor, corporate leader and trainer. Much like sports coaches, his coaching will show you how to compete on a level playing field in your industry.

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