We Build Great Ships

“The worst crime against working people is a company which fails to operate at a profit.” ~ Samuel Gompers In the early years of Hackbarth Delivery Service, the company that my wife, Carol, and I founded, we are the first drivers making deliveries. Bayou la Batre, a small town in south Alabama, is one of the destinations for some of those shipments. This quaint seacoast community is home to shrimpers, boat builders and companies that provide coastal services. On this particular day, I am … [Read more...]

It’s Never Too Late

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”  George Eliot In December of 1963, my parents gather my three sisters and me into the living room of our home on McMillan Avenue, located in the West End of Birmingham, Alabama. They have an announcement. We hear that Dad has accepted a management job in his current company, which is good news. Then we hear that the new job is located in Jacksonville, Florida, over 400 miles away. We will move within a few weeks. For my sisters and me, … [Read more...]

Down on the Bayou

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” ~ Neil Armstrong, astronaut and first man on the moon My Louisiana cousins suggest that we go catch crawfish.  Growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, with no prior crawfish expedition experience, I jump at the chance for this new, first time adventure.  I have eaten these tasty mudbugs many times with my relatives at the camp in Slidell, the location of our annual vacation trip.  This trip is a promise my dad made to my mom before they … [Read more...]

First Figure out the ‘Why’

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born . . . and the day you find out why.”    Mark Twain “Just one thing,” was the reply of the boss of the cattle drive.  He was answering the question he had posed to the cowhand.   This pivotal scene came from the movie, City Slickers.  Actor Jack Palance played the boss and Billy Crystal played the city slicker, who was now a cowhand on a vacation that provided a real experience of a cattle drive. The question he had posed was, … [Read more...]

PAUSE . . .

It is a dark night. My cousin and I are driving in our hometown, Birmingham, Alabama.  We are cruising along in the downtown area where Interstate I-65 is being built. There are lots of cones, signs and equipment, typical at a major construction site involving a federally-funded highway. Somehow, we have lost our way and the next thing I know, we are on that Interstate yet to be open for traffic.  I am not thinking about whether or not the road is open, or that in this particular area it is … [Read more...]

The Toughest Thing About Communication

I am in the audience for the Wednesday Noon gathering of Toastmasters in downtown Mobile. Our speaker, the past president of the Club, leans over and cups her hands around her ears, just like someone does when intently trying to listen in a noisy environment. It is a great opening, with significant relevance to her speech on communication. The audience sits up to take notice. Her theme – the importance of listening and the inherent difficulties – are the points she makes throughout the … [Read more...]

Simple Formula for Goal Achievement

Create goal Be specific Set deadline Put in writing Make it visible Create accountability Share with supporters Read AM PM Measure progress often Celebrate victory   If you would like to receive details on any of these steps, contact Rob … [Read more...]

Mondays are great if you start with a positive attitude.

Here is what Michael, Charles and others say about attitude. "You altitude in life depends on your attitude in life." Zig Ziglar "Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation." Michael Jordan "Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year." Ralph Waldo Emerson "The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude." Oprah Winfrey "Hope is a waking dream." Aristotle "If you think you can do a … [Read more...]

A Short Book about Leadership

“The Heart of a Leader,” by successful author Ken Blanchard, is a short book about leadership and is worth reading. I love reading and studying about leadership because it is a core factor in the success of organizations, and within families and marriages. In this book, Mr. Blanchard describes a three-legged stool for success in business organizations: Raving Fan Customers, Gung Ho Employees, and financial strength. The first two in his list just happen to be the titles of other books he has … [Read more...]

The Phone Call

I look at the screen of my cell phone that is now ringing. Fifteen minutes earlier, my wife Carol had left for the local Wal-Mart. The screen indicates that she is calling. She probably wants to ask about something I might need from the store. Over the years, we have averaged one phone call anytime one of us goes solo to the store. It is our normal routine. Making lists and checking them twice does not stop the phone call. You can depend on it. One of us will remember something that needs to be … [Read more...]