Today’s post comes to you from 30,000 feet above somewhere in the middle of the United States. I am returning home from an Admired Leadership conference. Perhaps the highlight of the meeting was to listen to Senator Bill Bradley speak. I have always admired Bradley for the level of success he has achieved in so many fields.
Coming out of high school he received over 70 Division 1 Basketball Scholarships all of which he turned down to attend Princeton University. There Bradley was the definition of Student Athlete. He led the Tigers to a Final Four appearance, winning the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and later name the AP’s College Player of the Year. The previous year he was part of the USA’s Gold Medal winning Olympic Team in Tokyo, Japan. However, he was no one dimensional athlete. Bradley also was a Rhodes Scholar, and chose to attend Oxford University rather than go directly into the NBA. Following his time at Oxford, Bradley played 10 seasons for the NY Knicks and his number 24 hangs from the rafters after it was retired. He is a member of the both the College and Professional Basketball Halls of Fame.
As accomplished as he was as a Student Athlete, he was perhaps more well known for his years of public service. Following his basketball career Bradley served as a Senator from New Jersey. He is best known as co-sponsor law that reformed the tax code in 1986. In 2000, he ran for the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States. He has published several books on how improve the American community, many of which were best sellers.. Today, Bradley hosts a weekly radio show and serves on several Board of Trustees and is employed in the finance industry as a Managing Director.
Bradley’s talk focused on the basic principles to running a business. He spoke about the need to have a passion for what you do, to be able to imagine what could be possible, to have the discipline to put in the time, and to have the selflessness to empathize with others on your team. Above all else, Bradley stressed, was to operate your business with a “Public Purpose”; the business must make peoples’ lives better. This is why businesspeople enter business, and this is why they will succeed, Bradley said.
Businesspeople need to develop trust. Bradley spoke of 2 types of trust that a person needs to develop. First, is the more obvious “Trust of Competence”. Without being view as competent in your field clients will not do business with you. The second form of trust, Bradley continued, is the “Trust of Benevolence”, where a person must establish a real connection with other people in other to form a trusting relationship.
Meeting someone you have admired is a wonderful experience. These are all lessons I shall take to heart.