by Van Carpenter, Chair of the DANC Innovation & Leadership Forum
What are we really celebrating on Presidents’ Day? That question might have as many different answers as the people you would ask. However, let’s take a quick look at the Holiday and see what we can learn.
Just the Facts
Celebrating the leadership of our past Presidents is done on President’s Day, a federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. The date was originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington. At that time, Washington was venerated as the most important figure in American history, and events like the 1832 centennial of his birth and the start of construction of the Washington Monument in 1848 were cause for national celebration. The holiday had many iterations and celebrated different Presidents throughout its history, but became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act making it a three-day weekend celebration. While several states still continue to have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other figures, Presidents’ Day is now seen as a day to recognize the lives and achievements of all of America’s chief executives. Learn more at https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/presidents-day.
WHY is President’s Day Important?
Perhaps the most important conclusion we should reach as leaders is that we, as Americans, have a history of celebrating quality leadership. Throughout our national history, we have taken numerous opportunities to recognize great leadership. Utilizing that historical perspective, perhaps we should take this current time to establish a continuing celebration of leadership at all levels, not just Presidential and governmental leadership. What can we do personally?
- We can create an environment of positive reinforcement for those who step forward and become leaders in our businesses and organizations.
- We can provide leadership training & awareness at all levels recognizing that leaders are not born, they are made!
- We can actually volunteer and become a leader, no matter our job description or age.
Let’s utilize the occasion of Presidents’ Day to rekindle our focus on becoming leaders and to celebrate our leaders and their leadership! The Defense Alliance of North Carolina (DANC) is an excellent organization where you can assume and hone your leadership skills and style while furthering our Alliance goals and objectives. DANC has numerous Forums, committees and projects that need leaders. Leaders Like YOU! Explore our website further to determine where you fit as a leader.
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To close our thoughts about leadership, here are a few inspirational leadership quotes from Warren Bennis, sometimes referred to as “the father of leadership”:
- “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
- “Leaders must encourage their organizations to dance to forms of music yet to be heard.”
- “Managers do things right. Leaders do the right thing.”
- “No leader sets out to be a leader. People set out to live their lives, expressing themselves fully. When that expression is of value, they become leaders. So the point is not to become a leader. The point is to become yourself, to use yourself completely – all your skills, gifts and energies – in order to make your vision manifest. You must withhold nothing. You, must, in sum, become the person you started out to be, and to enjoy the process of becoming.”
Van Carpenter is a global business change agent, advisor and communicator. He regularly advises, coaches, speaks and trains on innovation, creative change, catalyst communications & marketing, and adaptive leadership. Van has over thirty plus years of entrepreneurial and executive experience in corporate, government, military, marketing, agency and entrepreneurial sectors. He brings his unique blend of diverse experience, business acumen, humor, and real-world perspective to both his advice and communication.
Van is a retired Commander in the Naval Reserve. He lives near Clayton NC with his wife Deborah and is currently hanging out in the “basement office” while managing his business consulting and innovation group – Van Carpenter Innovative Solutions. Contact him anytime at 919-539-3499 or email him your topic suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.