Powerful Leadership Lesson from Chris Novak

Here’s a powerful “Leadership Lesson” from Chris Novak, author of an exciting new book titled Inspired to Succeed.
“Absence is not a reward for excellence. As a leadership coach, I cannot count the times that I have counseled professionals to spend time with their best team members. Too often, leaders develop the mistaken notion that their strongest players are the ones they don’t need to spend time with; they don’t need to attend their functions or workplace.
Nothing could be farther from the leadership truth. When leaders spend time with their high-performing or high-potential team members, it signals their support and motivates their continued growth.
Time is one of the most precious commodities we can offer, so when we spend time with another person we acknowledge their value and reward their effort. We do not need an agenda or an action plan or a punch-list for time spent with our top performers; our presence is simply enough.
They will take that motivation and run with it.”

Lead well … LEAD RIGHT,


Inspired to Succeed

12 Powerful Lessons to Develop Leadership Excellence

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“This is a must-read for every leader at every level.”
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Class Act

“Inspiration is all around us,” writes Chris Novak in the introduction to his new book Inspired to Succeed.

“The stories, the lives, the insights that transform ordinary moments into teachable moments are everywhere – if we have the desire to look for them.”

In today’s story, you’ll find an example of a class act making a difference that will leave you speechless. As Chris writes, “Doing more than what is expected is effort; doing what isn’t expected is character; but doing it quietly in the life of a brokenhearted little boy is priceless.”

May today’s story inspire you to do the unexpected. May you be inspired to make a difference in the lives of those around you.

Live Inspired,

Michelle Sedas
Excerpted from Inspired to Succeed
Class Act
I watched as my 1999 Mercedes ML320 was hauled away for scrap after being hit hard from behind and totaled. But despite 11 years of driving and over 140,000 miles, the “tank” protected its driver from deadly harm and for that I was unimaginably grateful.
Ironically, as dramatic as its ending was, this story is about the vehicle’s beginning.
My son, Ryan, was 9 years old in 1998 when his mom, Cynthia, seven months pregnant with our second child, was killed as she drove home from work by a man high on drugs who ran a stop sign at high speed. The nightmare devastated our lives. One of my earliest challenges after Cynthia’s death was getting Ryan into a car – he was terrified we would be hit too. In his mind, he feared every intersection.  It was heartbreaking.
To help him, I told Ryan that we would buy the safest car on the road. We would search out a vehicle that was a “tank” and made us both feel safe. The answer was a Mercedes ML320 sport utility vehicle, a new SUV at the time with all the right stuff to allay Ryan’s fears. Our local Syracuse dealer, Romano Motors, had a website and so a few weeks after the funeral I sent a lengthy email describing the tragedy, sharing Ryan’s fears and the importance of this vehicle. Thankfully, the right person read it.
A few days later, I went to Romano’s to test drive the vehicle. I knew immediately it was exactly what Ryan and I had thought it would be – big, strong and safe. Back on the lot, I told the salesman that I wanted one. He laughed at me and explained that there was an 18 month waiting list for delivery of that model and no way to get one any sooner.
I was crushed and I knew Ryan would be crushed.  Deflated, I said goodbye to the salesman who then asked me my name. When I told him, he stopped and said, “Come with me, please!”
I followed him into an empty general manager’s office where I noticed a piece of paper on the desk. It was a printout of my email marked with highlighter and notes written up the margin.
The GM, Jim Poissant, came in and introduced himself. He told me how sorry he was about my wife’s death. He said he could not imagine the pain of that experience and asked how Ryan was doing. I told him each day was still a struggle and that he was going to be so disappointed at the news that we couldn’t get the ML320.
Jim looked me in the eyes and said, “We’re not going to disappoint your son.”
He told me that after he read my email he called Mercedes Benz of North America and shared the story with some senior leaders there. He said they agreed that this was an extraordinary circumstance and that Mercedes would do whatever it took to help. Jim said the instruction he got from his corporate leadership was simple, “Find Mr. Novak, and if he wants this vehicle, we will build him one.”
I was speechless. Jim smiled and then asked me quite nonchalantly, “So, would you like them to build one for you and your son?” “Yes,” I replied. We shook hands and he said he would call me when the vehicle was ready.
Thirty days later, Mercedes delivered the vehicle – thirty days. Jim personally took Ryan on a tour of the new SUV, showing him every gadget, button and talking about how safe it was. I watched Ryan’s face as fear was replaced with excitement and I knew that we had turned one small corner in our long journey forward.
We traveled everywhere together in that car; racking up miles and memories. When Ryan was 16, he learned to drive in that car, and later, it was his wheels for his first two years of college.
The ML320 showed its age many times but there was never a thought to trade or sell it – no way, it was far too special.
Jim is still the GM at Romano Motors and he was there when I retrieved a few things from the now totaled family relic. We reminisced and I thanked him again for caring enough all those years ago to make that purchase possible. He said it was nothing.
I told him he couldn’t be more wrong.
Leaders value the unexpected opportunity.
They not only see big moments, they create them.
~ Chris Novak

Today’s Inspiration Comes From: Inspired to Succeed

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