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The Journal Gazette

September 22, 2016 10:07 PM

Leadership instills an attitude, not just an appetite for excellence

Lisa Green | The Journal Gazette

While listening to a noon-day newscast Thursday, I caught part of an interview with Marshall White, director of the local Voices of Unity Youth Choir and founder of the Unity Performing Arts Foundation.

The youth choir has had the fortune of traveling to perform in international competitions. If you've ever been to one of the choir's local concerts, you can see the discipline - and leadership - that it takes to pull off such quality performances with dozens of energetic young people.

White told the interviewer that youth who traveled recently with the choir had to learn more than 30 songs and multiple languages. The youngest who toured was age 7. He mentioned youth learning a mission statement in Italian.

Most people have an appetite for excellence, White said, but not an attitude of excellence.

It reminded me of what author John C. Maxwell said during a leadership conference in August.

"Everything worthwhile is uphill," he said. The irony, though, is "people have uphill hopes and they have downhill habits."

I was at an event this month where the theme the speaker was to address was excellence. In helping to prepare some of the promotional steps, I had Googled variations of excellence. One of the quotes I came across, attributed to Ralph Marston, said: "Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude."