(1) Are you ready to improve as a leader?
(2) Do you know my friend Robert Hunt?
If I were giving a presentation and asked an audience of business people in DFW those two questions, I would be willing to bet that at least 75% of the people attending would know Robert Hunt. The more influential the crowd, the higher that number would be. Here is why: Robert had lunch with Gabray.
A Story of Character
Who is Gabray, you wonder? Gabray is the parking garage attendant at Robert’s office building.
Stop and think about that for a moment.
Have you ever stopped your busy, all-important life long enough to have lunch with the attendant at the parking garage of your office? Have you ever even thought about taking the time to stop and have lunch with someone in such a position?
Are you being honest with yourself when you answer those questions?
For most of us the answer is an emphatic “of course not!”
But, when it comes to Robert, I am not the least bit surprised because that is just who he is. You can read more about what he learned from lunch with Gabray at this link. There is a lot more to the story about Robert than just his having lunch with Gabray but the reason I’m making this point is because this one simple event exemplifies Robert’s character, his compassion for others, and his genuine interest in people — regardless of what they can or can’t do for him.
He is truly one of the most giving and genuinely caring people I have ever met. That is who he is as a person. He has leadership roles in more charitable and volunteer organizations in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex than anyone else I know. He is as actively involved in his church as he is in the lives of the people he knows. While he may not quite be “the most interesting man in the world” as he sometimes tries to appear to be (isn’t that picture great?), he is the man of integrity that so many men pretend to be.
As I was paying while leaving the parking garage of Robert’s office, I met Gabray and mentioned to him that I had been at a meeting with Robert. He stopped and looked me in the eyes. The look on his face was priceless, filled with gratitude and sincerity, as he looked at me and in broken English said, “Robert is such a wonderful man, he lives in the spirit of Christ.” We talked briefly and closed in agreement that any time spent with Robert Hunt is time well spent. I will never forget the look in that man’s eyes — it was solemn and reverent, as real as it gets.
I thought about that look as I drove back to my office and was reminded of an old saying that went something like “you can judge a man’s character by the way he treats those who can’t do anything for him.“ That led to my thinking about my old Zig Ziglar calendar that I have written about and the following pages jumped out at me and, ultimately, what moved me to write this post:
What’s in this for Business Leaders?
So, what was I doing at Robert’s office this morning?
Robert leads CEO peer groups through Renaissance Executive Forums Dallas. His purpose:
To influence leaders and encourage their efforts to lead with excellence. To fan the flames of creativity, to focus on their passions, and bring clarity to their vision. To be a Trusted Advisor who understands their burdens, to remove their isolation; to help them reach their DREAMS.
Sounds great, right? But how? That is the million dollar question. Robert has been telling me about his work for quite some time but it never really clicked with me until today when he invited me to join in on one of his half day “open” CEO peer group meetings so that I could see for myself. It helped.
Most of you know that I have a “coach” — Cordell Parvin — and I have written about my experiences with Cordell’s coaching a fair amount on this blog. I trusted Cordell to be my coach because he not only had a lot of knowledge and a proven track record of coaching other lawyers, but he had also done it himself in the real world. He was a true rainmaker when he was practicing and that gave him an added measure of credibility with me.
In the past, when Robert described his “peer groups” to me, I viewed them through the lens of my experiences, as a sort of coaching for CEOs. Admittedly, that always made me wonder (without asking), “Robert, what qualifies you to coach these folks???” Now I understand. THIS IS NOT COACHING!!!
Here is how I describe what I witnessed, from my own perspective: This is like a supercomputer that combines the brain power, knowledge and, more importantly, experience, of 10 highly successful real-world CEOs who get together as a group to discuss and work out solutions to issues that are important to their companies. They do this in a structured manner that is facilitated by Robert. Now compare that to a 4-year-old Dell laptop with the outdated CPU, broken fan, maxed out hard drive, and no antivirus software? :) Which do you think is more effective? (see, I worked in the cyber connection)
While I am not a CEO by any stretch of the imagination, I am someone who is extremely interested in improving in my profession and finding ways to deliver outstanding service and value to my clients. One of the things we talked about today was our vision and our mission. It was deep and powerful. I have some refinement to do here. We talked about a lot of other things and I took a ton of notes and have more solid action items than you could imagine, but that is exactly what I was hoping for. Expect to see more effective work out of me going forward — and hold me to it.
One of the lighter points of discussion that I really enjoyed was our discussion of the book Raving Fans. Robert has also written about this. After this discussion, I committed to myself that I would re-read it this weekend so, with that, I have blathered on long enough and will sign off to get to reading.
Hopefully, you know and trust me well enough to know that I would not have taken the time and energy to write something like this if I did not believe the message could help you. For non-business leaders, there are plenty of lessons about life in this post. For business leaders, I encourage you to get in touch with Robert and learn more about what he does, how it does it, and why he does it. Heck, just go have lunch with him — no obligation whatsoever. And, if you want to do this but don’t want to spend the money on the lunch, call me and I’ll be happy to tag along and pick up the lunch tab (my choice of restaurant). Remember, any time spent with Robert Hunt is time well spent!
p.s. I am serious about lunch!