Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Twelve O'Clock High

Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.

Air Force Colonel Harry Shoup answered a phone and forgot, for a moment, that he was important. Transposed numbers in a Sears ad led children to call a predecessor to NORAD - America's nuclear muscle - believing it was a number to Santa Claus. Colonel Shoup detailed military members to answer the phone "in character" until the mistake was rectified. From that grew the tradition, now almost 60 years old, of NORAD "tracking" Santa. Even First Lady Michelle Obama has participated.

If the definition of leadership is competence, character and caring - it is also the ability to demonstrate humanity when strict adherence to rules would be safer. Colonel Shoup passed away in 2009, but his small contribution to Christmas - and the principles of leadership - lives on.

Fair winds and following seas, Colonel. Merry Christmas.

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