Announcer: Please welcome Kevin Litt, field director for the Boy Scouts of America. Kevin Litt: How is everyone doing? Pretty good. All right, very good. I’m here from the boy scouts. You probably think that I’m probably best qualified to teach you guys how to tie a square knot, how to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together, or the absolute proper technique for helping an old lady cross the street. She’s laughing. These are all things I’m highly qualified to teach you but that’s not what I’m talking about today. Today what Iwant to talk to you guys about is the greatest leadership secret, a great leadership secret and I want to share it with you but instead just telling you what it is because that would be way too simple I’ll give you six hints, you see if you can figure it out when we get to the end, okay? The first hints to this greatest leadership secret is that it’s a palindrome is sort of, a palindrome is a word or phrase written forwards the same way backwards. Take a look at a couple, madam, race car, senile felines or my favorite a Santa dog lives at a devil’s guide at NASA. The greatest secret say palindrome sort of. Hint number two, you have to lead from the inside out so you see this jar here it’s full of rocks. Would you consider it full? What if I were to pour sand into the jar and fill the space in between the rocks, would it be full? What if I were to pour into the sand in the jar until it flowed over the top, then would it be full? What is the point of this whole little demonstration up here? It’s that if you don’t put the big rocks in first into that jar, you’re never going to fit them. They’re never going to happen. It’s never going to get in there. What are the big rocks in your life, food, security, good health, time with your loved ones, faith, your education? You got to lead from the inside out, you got to lead yourself first. There will still be space left in your life after you put your big rocks in to lead and serve others, but you’ll be better leading others because you first led yourself so lead from the inside out. Our third hint, that great leaders are great teachers. Great leaders develop their people, the developed leaders who can lead themselves. The ultimate test for a leader is not whether they can make a good decision, but whether they can teach others to be leaders, whether they can build an organization that can run even when they’re not there. Great leaders help others to think, to judge, and to act. If you’re not teaching as a leader, you’re not doing your full job. Another couple things about being a great leader, great leaders are lifelong learners, always pulling information, they have a passion for learning. They also assess, analyze everything they do and always trying new things. In the business world, you might know these terms as continuous quality improvement or total quality management. You guys heard that before, right? Doesn’t matter what you call it. What you need to know is that with continuous and careful analysis, everything we do can be improved, everything we work on, and as an individual or as a team, we can do things better. Great leaders are great teachers. Hint number four, build hard connections. What I want to focus on here is communication, about caring for and about other people. You have to respect and value people, great leaders always do. Even those whom you disagree with or think are different. Hard connections about genuine care and respect, respect only has value when it’s given freely and genuinely. People can see through counterfeit respect and caring. You probably see it all the time at work. Think about how a parent deals with a child as they grow, as they learn. At some point as a parent we. Have to let our children go. We have to get out of their way and let them succeed on their own and it’s the same with leadership. Nurture, encourage and care for others and develop a genuine respect for them. Build those hard connections. All right, hint number five, it’s in every one of us, got to take charge of your own life, the first step towards being able to lead others is to be able to lead yourself, and take responsibility. Accept the responsibility for your own growth and progress and turn that responsibility outward, empower the others that you work with, so that way they can — yes. Allow people to realize and utilize their own abilities, help them develop a self confidence. The great thing about leadership is all people have an untapped leadership ability. It’s just like athletic ability. Most of us probably can’t run a marathon today but if we trained we could do it. Leadership is the same way. Coaching and practice brings out that ability, helps other people find it and effective leaders empower themselves and bring out the best in everyone. And I have one last hint for the greatest leadership secret, it helps you leave a legacy. Leadership can be studied and practiced. We can all get better at it. We can all win at this game of life and leave a legacy that brings us satisfaction and pride. What will your legacy be? What impact will you have on others? How will you bring your leadership to the programs out here at NASA? So what is this greatest leadership secret? Let’s review real quick. First of all we know that it’s a palindrome, and we know that it contains the five attributes of a leader, lead from the inside out, great leaders are great teachers, build hard connections, it’s in every one of us and leave a legacy. The greatest leadership secret is infused throughout the human history though its message may be worded in several different ways. Lord Baden Powell the founder of the scouting movement said the real way to happiness is by figuring out happiness. Confucius, the ancient Chinese teacher said what you do not want done to yourself do not do to others and Socrates said do not do unto others that which would anger if they did it to you. The leadership secret is the golden rule, do unto others as you would have done unto you. It is what great leadership is all about, tell us what we need to know about leadership, as a leader and human being we can all strive to meet the challenge called life and in doing so we will find ourselves enriched with the knowledge that we are doing our best. I want to leave you with one last thought and it comes from a man named frank crane and he wrote, the golden rule is of no use to you whatsoever unless you realize it’s your move. All of you have the knowledge to be great leaders and you will have opportunities every day to change people’s lives. Each of you can leave a legacy, but none of
that happens unless you take action. So what will your legacy be? It’s your move.
[ APPLAUSE ]