Leadership Profile: Tony Dungy

I thought I would choose Colin Kaepernick as a profile to identify for leadership…but I believe Colin’s story is still being written.

This is not to say this profile is complete but I felt compelled to bring light to such an example that really needs and deserves its due.

I just received the book, “Quiet Strength: The Principle, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life.” by Tony Dungy. I sent his book on marriage to my uncle…damn you Amazon Prime :o)

Wait let me back up…

I had the privilege to attend a speaking engagement with Tony Dungy as the keynote speaker.

You think…yeah Tony Dungy the old guy on the NFL panel, first African American Coach to win a Superbowl, author, Hall of Fame…yadda yadda yadda.  I knew he was a special dude when Michael Vic referred to Tony as the man the helped him out of the prison situation. Mike said, “Tony is my inspiration…” I knew there was something a little different…unique about Tony Dungy but I had no idea how great of an individual he is…and that wasn’t by accident.

There was so much wisdom coming from that podium…I was overwhelmed. To identify one key thing Tony stressed…humility.

Humility is one of the words written on my mirror and this man is just that…humble, but he gets it honest. Tony stressed “Humility is the most important characteristic of leadership.”  That statement, philosophy made me select Tony as a profile to write about. Did you know Tony Dungy’s father was a Tuskegee Airman?! Well…apparently Tony didn’t either, until his father’s funeral and they were running down all of his father’s accolades.  Lonnie Smith and his father talked everyday, and Tony was completely unaware. All of Tony’s life he never knew his father was a Tuskegee Airman. Tony’s belief in God and his mantra of humility obscures him limelight, but that’s by design.

In this selfie world where everybody is consistently trying to impress their friends and followers poppin’ bottles or pontificating, Tony Dungy comes with a level of humility that’s refreshing to witness. We all have people in our circles who’s lives are “Facebook Fabulous” but Tony’s life is just amazing or should I say, how he lives his life, his example… is just inspirational. I had only known Mr. Dungy as a SuperBowl coach…I was so glad I took off work to see this legend, he really is fabulous.

Other quotes Tony mentioned…

“What are you going to do today to make the situation better tomorrow?”

“If you’re going to be a leader, you can’t be out of control.”

Tony’s definition of success:

“Taking what God has giving you and use it to the best of your ability.”

I had a chance to ask Tony a question and I prefaced it with mentoring…I asked,

“Tony what would you tell kids that are between the age of 13 – 18 years old?”

Tony’s answer…

Do what YOU want to do, don’t follow the crowd, MAKE the crowd follow YOU.

MPM

Ps. There is so much more to write about Mr. Dungy but someone said my blogs are too long. LOL

https://coachdungy.com/

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#BMXCEL

While attending the Black Men Xcel Summit in PGA National Resort and Spa in Florida, I was given the chance to learn, laugh, network, golf and just enjoy influential people of color. This is my second time attending the event formerly known as the Black Enterprise Golf & Tennis Challenge.

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Every Labor Day weekend, BE creates an environment that provides access and resource for people of color making “money moves”. (I get that from Cardi B.)

As expected, the event was well attended and very positive. This event, in parallel to the magazine, falls into a niche for people of color that are pursuing & finding a path to success. This summit, as other BE summits, is educational and evolving. Workshops and coaching sessions this year included “Golf: The Sport of Business”, “Succeeding While Black”, discussions on community engagement and a panel on prioritizing mental health.

 

The reason why I found it appropriate for this blog audience, I think it’s important not to confuse movement with progress and while I’m running a business, working and traveling, it doesn’t mean I’m successful at it. You have take time to invest in your yourself and your goals in iterative patterns. It’s not always a fun holiday weekend but it’s necessary to identify and walk deliberate paths to your goals.

 

“Dreams without goals are just Dreams”

Denzel Washington

#BMXCEL is a great environment to resource individuals that are successful and maybe a little further down their path than you.  As with success in anything…it’s not convenient and placing myself in this environment annually provides me examples of success, whether their individuals, companies, or strategies.  It’s a checkup of where I am and where I would like to be.

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Last thing…”Mental Fitness” is the newest term I’ve learned and it’s so obvious. It’s the same as working out, it helps you with your physical fitness…your mental fitness also should be cared for in the same level of importance.

Malik Yoba discussed his 5 Pillars: Spiritual, Mental, Financial, Physical and Emotional…he shared how he works on each of those tenants in his life. I believe that covers just about everything but you find your own. That panel on mental health helped me identify other ways to improve, I hope you can look to make the same improvements in your day to day life.

MPM

“Poor people stay poor by trying to look rich, while rich people are busy getting richer acting poor.”

Ramen Phase

 

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Control your actions…control your narrative.

I’m starting to notice something.

When cops pull over young black kids they ALWAYS have the individuals…

outside the car,

sitting on the curb,

handcuffed,

in clear view of EVERYONE passing in their cars.

What’s the first thing you think…”What did they do or what law did they break?”

Then I started thinking…black kids are not the only kids that break the law and drive…right?!  Well wait…have I EVER seen white kids outside the car, sitting on the curb, handcuffed, in clear view of everyone passing?!

No…not ever.

That doesn’t mean white, Indian, Chinese, and Latino kids don’t break the law. I’m just coming to understand that it’s a common practice to display black youth and men in a demeaning situation or publicly subjugated. Let’s be clear, I’ve always seen it but never really discussed in open forum.

Similar to the “perp walk” on tv, when they escort a handcuffed man who has been arrested. I started paying attention ever since they locked Mike Tyson up for rape. They covered his handcuffs up with a coat but he jokingly showed them to the tv cameras. That was the first time I saw a black man in handcuffs that were covered. I had never paid attention until that moment.

When it’s a black man, you will almost always see the handcuffs.

When it’s a white person, the handcuffs are usually covered by a coat or a jacket.

I’m not saying it’s all the time but just understand what the visual narrative does to minorities. What it’s been doing to us for a long time. It discredits us, it paints us as criminals, it lessens the empathy for people of color…most importantly people expect us to be violent or ignorant. It’s not just the law enforcement that paints us in a bad light, the news media has their paint on the canvas also. When there’s a mass killing you don’t see a white face for days, maybe not days but you know it’s a white perpetrator because they don’t show a face. If the subject is apprehended, he’s usually white, if he shot and killed he’s usually a person of color. When there’s a rape or murder and a black man has a actually been apprehended, you can bet his mug shot is all over the news. Everybody knows this, this is nothing new. That’s our country, I love it but it is what it is.

Fortunately technology is allowing us to tell our truth. We can now record on Facebook live a cop shooting an innocent child or police killing unarmed black men selling cds or groups of cops choking an unarmed black man to death while he repeats, “I can’t breathe”. Regardless if the jury finds them guilty or not, technology allows us to see what happened with our own eyes.

It’s been going on for years…it’s just now technology is recording it for the whole world to see. So…when you can, just control your reactions, change the narrative. Be intelligent like Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson. They are the two gentlemen unlawfully arrested in Starbucks back in April.

They did nothing wrong.

The cops tried to provoke them…they didn’t get react.

The manager lied about what happened…they didn’t argue.

They still didn’t raise their voice and they still controlled the optics. It was recorded for the whole world to see. They didn’t get upset…they didn’t react…more importantly Donte & Rashon didn’t give the cops any reason to arrest them on some minor offense that puts them in the prison system. If they would have done anything wrong…

anything

we wouldn’t be talking about it. The nation wouldn’t be talking about it. Starbucks CEO wouldn’t be trying to “fix” anything. They would be just like those kids outside the car, sitting on the curb, handcuffed, ready to processed and churned in the billion dollar prison industry. Donte and Rashon would be among the thousands, millions of incarcerated black men trying to get out of prison.

So…let’s take the lesson from these two mature individuals, control your narrative.

MPM

“Have you ever seen a successful person angry? It is very rare. It is extremely difficult to become successful if you go around letting others control and manipulate you, which is what happens when you let them make you angry.”

 

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Handling leaving a job & moving on in your career

A rainy day finally happened.

Without a job lined up, on Feb 2nd I turned in my resignation. I’ve never quit a job without having another one lined up. I quit because I was being over worked and after joining the company my quality of life had not changed for the better. Yes, my commute was about 15 minutes walking but when the owner of the company that hired me stated, “We gave you 3 full time jobs” I knew I had to leave. About ten days later with his CEO present, during my 90 day evaluation, he adjusted his statement with “we gave you 3 tasks”. My response was, “Ok…but if each task required 35 – 40 hours per week, what’s the difference?” I wasn’t angry or mad, and I said it with a smile on my face. I had also been very vocal about the level of work asked of me. The Tuesday after that meeting the CEO said I had to be “flawless”. On the Friday following, I turned in my resignation. I won’t go into the culture that people of color are expected to work harder than their white counterparts, that’s not what this blog is about, but it’s a very relevant to this story.

One of my coworkers said, “I don’t think you’re going to be able to handle the work coming your way.” Another coworker said, “I knew you were F@#$?% 2 weeks after you came on board.” Both of them were white, that’s not saying that if they were black I wouldn’t believe them but basically I was set up to fail and staying on board any longer than 6 months was going to cause more problems.

That’s the background for this blog.

I was able to quit without worrying about a job for a while because I have a savings account, “rainy day money” saved up to look for another position. I also used the time to get many of the things done that I had been putting of in other arenas of my life. Also, because of my reputation and resume, I had no insecurities about getting another job. One of my managers said, “I feel like we chewed you up and spit you out”, I laughed and said, “Pretty much”  He asked, “Are you worried about having a 5 month job on your resume?”  I responded, “In 25 years, I’ve never left or quit a job in less than 2 years, so that speaks volumes…I’m good.” He offered to write a recommendation letter. I said, “Thanks” and agreed,”that might help.” Throughout the entire process, I’ve been professional and 2 managers offered recommendation letters.

The time off gave me some clarity and allowed me to reset some priorities with my other business endeavors. With a lot of home tasks done, my business tasks at a good stopping point, I can focus on the job I accepted and start Monday recharged. If that doesn’t work out, my old position from last year has an open offer so there’s a parachute there.

PS…it’s crazy waking up not knowing or caring what day it is, I’m looking forward to retirement.

Key takeaways:

  1. Finances provide freedom to make a decision that’s best for you
  2. Your reputation follows you…the good and the bad
  3. Leave and start professionally
  4. Keep a positive attitude

MPM: Middlepassagementor@gmail.com

 

 

 

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