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There is not one question in my mind about who is “THE Boss.” I am fresh off my gazillionth Bruce Springsteen concert. This show was in San Jose, at the HP Pavilion on April 24, 2012.

Let’s talk about Leadership, Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band.

Full disclosure…I am a Jersey Girl…

Bruce Springsteen is an extraordinary leader. What makes an extraordinary leader, you ask? Let me give you the top qualities and explain.

First, some context – Bruce is 62 years old, has 20 albums over a span of 40 years, 21 Grammy Awards, one Academy Award, two Golden Globes, and has sold more than 120 million albums globally. He has been married since 1991 and has 3 children.

There are multiple qualities that make an extraordinary leader. I will look at 5 of those qualities and put them in Bruce-eze.

  1. TRUST – When a fan walks into a Bruce show there is one thing that is absolute – and that is: we know and trust that Bruce will give every ounce he has to the performance. His expectation is that the E-Street Band will do the same…and…the fans will do the same. There is an unbreakable code of trust that we are all in the same place to rock, dance, forget whatever else is going on in our lives, and have a grand ol’ time.

  2. COMMUNICATION – Watching Bruce and the E-Street band on stage is like watching a mime speak. He nods his head and the band all seem to know exactly what he is saying. It is as if they have their own language. It’s amazing to watch. The same communication happens with his fans. Bruce puts out the microphone and we sing. Bruce puts up his hand for silence, and we are quiet. Bruce is not afraid to express his opinion. Just read The Rolling Stone article in the March 2012 issue. He communicates clearly, is very open and heartfelt (especially about losing his band mate and friend Clarence Clemons) and has a backbone. Not everything he says is popular, and he still has the guts to speak his mind.

  3. VISION – Bruce has known since an early age that he wanted to play music and he has never wavered. He has said in interviews that he couldn’t do anything else. His vision incorporates being true to himself, speaking his mind, loving what he does, surrounding himself with a strong community and not compromising.

  4. INSPIRING – The man oozes inspiration. He loves what he does. It is contagious. When you are at a Bruce concert you are in for the treat of a lifetime. It is part rock concert, part community rally, part spiritual awakening…dance-fever, party, sing-along and just a damn happy crowd of people!! I always walk away wanting to be certain I am listening to my “soul” and living my life to the fullest.

  5. LEAVING A LEGACY – I think all of the above sums up Leaving a Legacy clearly. And if that is not enough to substantiate Bruce’s legacy, The University of Southern Indiana is again partnering with Monmouth University and Penn State Altoona to offer the 2012 “Glory Days: A Bruce Springsteen Symposium ,” devoted to the life, work, and influence of Bruce Springsteen.

What a lesson in extraordinary leadership – be true to who you are, love what you do, build a community of people with similar values, speak your mind and never compromise. It’s time to form our own E-Street Band…

Till next time,


Bruce springsteen, Leadership, New jersey, Professional and team leadership

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Dollars on My Mind

October 15th, 2012

By: Karen Colligan

Let’s continue our walk through The Get Real Guide to Your Career. We’ve been very busy in the last seven blogs taking inventory of who we are today. We’ve looked at skills we want to use, our values, the natural talents that make us who we are, and of course, we’ve even looked at the themes that are the foundation for our accomplishments and have established our career path.

No Running Away!

Now…it’s time to look at the one area people normally run away from screaming – the dreaded financial conversation. I can already hear you all saying “I’ll wait till Karen’s next blog. I’m cool with money; I don’t need to look any closer.” And…I can even hear “has she gone completely nuts? Why do we have to discuss money? I was having so much fun rediscovering who I am.” Yep…I’ve heard it all…and…I doubt there will be much that will surprise me. So, here’s a thought…just keep reading for a minute and see whether you can power through without shutting down.

The Financial Conversation with yourself…

I know that the financial conversation can bring up emotions we don’t want to deal with. The financial conversation can remind us of our upbringing, it can remind of us what we haven’t achieved and it can remind us of how incredibly lucky we are to be where we are today. My vote, let’s go with the last one and be very grateful for where we are today. Remember…success is defined by each of us individually, and we have to judge our success on ‘our terms.’ Our financial situation don’t define our success, and it is only one component of our life. As we look back at all we have learned so far, maybe we can take the “charge” out of the money conversation and realize our life is made up of multiple successes and experiences, and that darn money part is just a piece of the entire picture.

You’ve got to SEE it to internalize it!

So…let’s go for it. You might as well get out your paper and pencil because you know what’s coming. Ya gotta write it down. Ya gotta see it to internalize it and make some shifts.

As we begin thinking about what’s next, and the financial rewards we want with our new career role, we also have to think about our financial requirements today – what we will need to sustain our lifestyle while we look for that next opportunity. The first part should be fairly easy for us to define. What are your current fixed expenses? Those bills that you know have to be paid each month: mortgage/rent; auto and health insurance; car payment; child care. Well, you get it. We all have our fixed expenses, so really think that through and get it down on paper and total the amount. See that wasn’t so painful, was it?

Now let’s think about our variable expenses: groceries; gasoline; credit cards; eating out; entertainment; clothing; shoes (a girl’s gotta have a new pair of shoes – maybe that should be in the fixed category!) Again, you get the idea. Write down the approximate amount you spend in each category and get your total.

How about those savings? What amount of accessible funds do you have available (just in case you need them): savings; stocks/bonds; IRAs; change in the piggy bank; money stuffed in the mattress. Get it down on paper. I am in no way suggesting you use your accessible funds; however, it is always good to understand the amount of money you have, where it is and how to get it if necessary.

Remember, this is all so we can truly understand how much money we need/want to make in our next position. Some people will be thrilled with their current financial situation and will not want to take big risks for big rewards. Other people might want to take some bigger risks so there is a bigger payment in the end. All of this is an individual decision and needs to be based on what is best for you.

Time to do some discovery work on what you are looking for from a total compensation perspective. It is important that you understand your salary/income requirements prior to your search. This will be based on your target market – including geographic location, industry or type of organization, position/function (all coming in future blogs). Look at your requirements in the following five categories. List what you: a) would like, and b) what you are willing to take in each category. Be realistic. Or…maybe you can dream a little bit and have two lists. Why not? One that is realistic, and one that is completely out there in dreamland. You are going to write that book you know is in you, get on Oprah and become a zillionaire!!

  1. Base salary

  2. Commission

  3. Bonus

  4. Benefits

  5. Other (stock, signing bonus, extra vacation time, etc.)

See, that wasn’t so bad, was it? The salary conversation is often the hardest one to have and you need to really think it through. That is why it is so important to be clear about your requirements and be able to clearly articulate them. The more prepared you are, the easier it will be for you to answer the question “what are your salary requirements?” You don’t want to hesitate…you want to be sure of yourself…and say exactly what you want. Remember…if you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will.

Hope this helped, and you don’t have knots in your stomach. In fact, I hope this exercise took the knots away. You are now clear about fixed and variable expenses. You are clear about your compensation requirements, and you are very, very proud of where you are today.

Your success is defined by you and for you!

Remember…your success is defined by you and for you. Don’t let anyone else place their values on you and tell you what success looks like for you and your life!

Here’s to the greenbacks coming your way!!!

Till the next time…Karen

Bruce springsteen, Career, Jersey shore, New jersey, Performance Reviews with The Get Real Guide to your Career, Professional and team leadership

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