May-June produces the annual crop of graduations speeches. I had the pleasure to listen to former President Clinton at the New York University graduation at Yankee Stadium on May 18th. Clinton, as always is interesting and provocative. I took away 3 messages:
- Do what you love to do.
- We need a nation that works for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.
- Graduates are facing a challenging world and it’s up to the next generation to really tackle the problems they are being handed.
And even stronger speech was given by outgoing US Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the US Naval Academy.
Gates focused on the qualities of leadership. He listed several key ingredients that will help young military officers develop into leaders:
- Vision – ability to see beyond the day-to-day with a broader world view
- Conviction – a strength of purpose a belief that reaches out to others
- Self-confidence – quiet self assurance that allows a leader to give others both real responsibility and real credit for success
- Courage – knowing what to do what is right and not just what is popular
- Integrity – self-reliance, self-control, honor, truthfulness and morality are the building blocks of character and integrity
- Common Decency – treating those around you – and, above all, your subordinates – with fairness and respect
From our experience at CommCore training leaders, this is a terrific list. Heard any other good graduation key notes?