New WashingtonExec Series:
WashingtonExec asked the simple question to top area executives:
“If you could give your kids only three pieces of advice, what would they be?”
Bud Langston, Vice President of Oracle’s Public Sector North America sector:
In this older season of my life reflecting on some wisdom of experience, I would tell my grandchildren something different than what I said as a parent to my children.
1. In America Life is about Work and Work is about Life; so forget about retirement and find something you really love to do.
2. The 3 things most people try to balance in life, Career, Family & Taking Care of Yourself, put in balance will probably make you pretty average. If you wish to achieve a degree of Greatness in any of these categories figure out which one is most important to you and convince the other two to contribute.
For instance, I could say that Family was my first priority of my life because in a crisis they would come first, but in reality overall my military flying career was #1. Fortunately, I was able to convince my Family that it was a noble worthwhile cause to serve our country flying off aircraft carriers, and to be a Naval Aviator required a high degree of physical fitness, so the 3 were in alignment but certainly not balanced. I doubt any CEO of Fortune 500 company can truthfully say their Family is their first priority, but they’ve created a Family environment that is willing to support the passion for their career motivation.
3. I want my children and my grandchildren to be Successful in their careers but also be Significant in their lives. To accomplish both Success & Significance they need to be good Leaders. So I remind them that there are many attributes of good leadership, but the mandatory prerequisites of Leadership start with first being Competent, , having impeccable Character, the courage to stand up for what they believe in, and demonstrating throughout their lives a whole lot more Humility than ego.