January 2, 2007
The Master's Program
The Point of View - A Weekly Commentary by Bob Shank


Dear Marketplace Friend, 

      Okay, I admit it: I took the weekend "off" (kind of). With a dead-quiet phone and an "out of office reply" e-mail world poised to do nothing but parades and bowl games, I took a "buffer day" to start the year: ran six miles with both daughters as the sun came up... and cleared some pesky piles on my seldom-served desk in my home office. The "1st" was intentionally under-leveraged; it was so still that I finally collapsed from lack-of-exhaustion in front of the screen to watch the second half of USC's vindication...
      Okay, now we're back to it. Where's that "to-do list?" Commuters are back on the job of clogging my not-so-freeways this morning; agendas are commanding the attention that holiday parties stole for the last two weeks; Christmas trees are laying at curbs awaiting their last transport to the landfill; what's the first order of business for the 2nd, for me... and, for you?
      There it is: it's that dreaded list-of-all lists, right there on top of the list: your "New Year's Resolutions." You'll be asked about them for the next couple of weeks. When action in those playoff games stops for commercials during January's Sundays, lethargic sports fans will look at one another and snap the resolution pigskin into your hands, and watch what you do with a live ball. "So, what are YOUR New Year's Resolutions?"
      So, buckaroo, how about it? What are you going to do to make 2007 different than 2006? How will you change in the next 12 months... so that the "you" who welcomes 2008 is transformed from the "you" who closed-down 2006? When the ball drops on 2007 - 363 short days from now - will you be celebrating a victory, or lamenting that you dropped the ball?
      Like you, I'm on that high-ground of a new calendar, staring out to the horizon of the year-end. What am I prepared to do in 2007 that will make it a year that goes down in my history as a year that saw me go up?
      Here it is: Shank's New Year's Resolutions. I'm going to write 'em down, and then memorize them so that they're with me 24/7/363. You can challenge me about them every time you see me during the next 12 months. Hold me accountable; ask me during July 4th weekend (if you can find me in Kiev)... bring 'em up if we collide during Thanksgiving next. "Shank, are you current on your New Year's Resolutions?" Ask me...
      Here's the list: I've already memorized it. Ready? Get a pen; don't misquote me; get it right. Here goes: "1: Read More." End of list. Read More. Two words. Eight letters. Two syllables. One thought... that will change my world. How so?
      Harvey Mackay made a name for himself in his envelope business... but how many people watch the holiday bowl where they compete for "#1 Envelope Maker?" He stepped out of the confines of his industry when he wrote Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive... and launched his wisdom business. Author, speaker, sage on leadership Mackay... whose weekend column sparked my Resolution.
      I love famous people who echo my own claims. "Leaders are Readers." (check). No surprise, I guess: an author who advocates reading. But, he's right: "If you read just one book each month in '07, you'll be in the top 25% of all the intellectuals in the world. If you read five books on one subject, you are one of the world's foremost leading authorities on the subject (among your peers, at least!). If you read just 15 minutes a day (that's the commercials-time that your TiVo has redeemed from just one hour's television!) during 2007, you'll complete 20 books (that's enough to make you one of the world's foremost leading authorities in four subjects!)." Mackay is okay in my book; I'll second his motion. It's my Resolution for '07: Read More.
      God loves books. His Son is called "the Word." He wrote 66 books that came together as One. He told us to talk to Him constantly, but to look for His messages to us... in His book. Leaders are Readers... and Christian Leaders are Readers of the Scriptures... and more.
      I'm already a big reader. In 2007, I'm going to be a bigger reader. Ask me. Join me. Let's become the undisputed Foremost Leading Authorities - and Leaders - on life. Why? You can change the world...

Bob Shank


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