“The single biggest weakness in those who fail in leadership roles is the unwillingness to effectively correct false thinking and inappropriate behavior in themselves, and in those they have responsibility to lead.” ~Conrad Cole
Conrad is a mentor to me. He was born into poverty and hardship on the Mohawk Indian reservation. Despite his disadvantages, he fought his way to success. He used good study habits and his athletic ability to earn a full scholarship at a major U.S. university. He graduated and worked hard at his career, eventually building a highly successful business.
He and his wife, Claudia, became our neighbors at a very important point in my life. For some reason Conrad took an interest in me, and became someone I learned to trust completely. Why? Because he always told the truth. He told me the truth even when it was painful to hear the truth. I was able to grow faster because he spoke honestly with me about what I could do better, and how I could be better.
Conrad was not appreciated by everyone—some people disliked him. Why? Because most people don’t really like to hear the truth; they prefer to live in the fantasy they have created. I once asked him how he could be so courageous in speaking the truth when it was not always political or pleasant to do. He responded, “In the long term, the truth is the only thing that helps anyone, and I try to always think long term.”
I’m grateful for mentors like Conrad Cole, people who care enough to speak the truth.