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08.06.07

Quiet Sacrifice

Tami Longaberger
Tami Longaberger, chair and CEO of The Longaberger Companies and was appointed the Chair of the National Women’s Business Council in 2005. She spoke to the attendees at the 2007 Global Summit of Women in Berlin about leading. She made the following comment about a word directly related to leadership that doesn't come up much when people are asked, "Why do you want to lead?"
Leaders also understand the meaning of quiet sacrifice. This is something I have had to do several times in my career and will, I am sure, have to do again.

What do I mean by “quiet” sacrifice? I mean a leader puts her employees and customers, as well as the community, ahead of her own private interests and takes the hard step of giving up something dear so others can benefit and prosper.

Kay Graham surely did this at The Washington Post when she sold her company to Newsweek magazine. She did so in order for her people to have a better opportunity to do what they did so well. She did not personally benefit at all. In fact, she suffered greatly, giving up an institution to which she was so dedicated for so many years. But The Washington Post, and the people who worked there, after they overcame the initial shock, did very well.

Time and again, Margaret Thatcher put her countrymen and women ahead of her own interests and withstood vicious personal criticism to ensure that the British people might live a better life. Her difficult battle with the coal miners union is one example all of us may recall.

Quiet sacrifice is not easy. You have to look into the mirror and ask yourself what is best for my people, my organization, and my community. Am I prepared to act and suffer any personal consequences? And then you need to step into the deep end of the pool without a lifesaver in sight. In my own case, this has never been easy. And it is not going to get any easier as I do so in the future. But it is necessary.
Well put. Nothing great comes without costs.

Posted by Michael McKinney at 06:51 AM
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