Byron's Babbles

Something To Build On

Posted in 9/11, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on September 28, 2020

“A record is never something to stand on, it’s something to build on…” ~ Richard Nixon in his first debate with John F. Kennedy on September 26, 1960. The two met in Chicago to discuss domestic issues in the first televised debate in history. American History TV did a great job of providing a look back at the first televised presidential debate. Interestingly there were no more debates until 1976. Dr. Barbara Perry, professor at University of Virginia’s Miller Center, did a great job discussing the highlights and answering questions.

Nixon’s statement that our records are something to build on really struck me. For each leader, the records are always a bit different. We must remember, however, that trust is an important piece of our record. People have unique strengths to leverage and vulnerabilities to address. We must not forget that our mistakes are a part of our records. We need to take responsibility for our mistakes. When we admit we’ve made a mistake, you don’t erode trust in your leadership, you strengthen it. When the people we lead see us stepping up and owning our mistakes, they know they can trust us to do the right thing in tough situations.

Nixon’s point was that we should never sit back and become comfortable with past successes; we must continue to build on those successes. It’s always beneficial to review our accomplishments to build on prior successes. The key is to recognize current successes and chart a course for future advancement.


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