I’m a big fan of lists.  There, I said it.  I make lists for everything from groceries to goals and everything in between.  I’m an even bigger fan of short, concise lists.  Can you achieve the exact same thing in three points as you could with ten points?  Sure, why not?

I recently had the opportunity to hear Jerry Stritzke, President & Chief Operating Officer for Coach (yes, ladies – the Coach of luxury designer handbags, luggage and more) at my youngest sister’s graduation ceremony at Oklahoma State University.  I took a lot of notes from that speech on the program that listed all the graduates, but may have missed a few things he said.  After all, my baby sister was graduating college!

Jerry shared three really good pointers with the group of graduates about to enter the “real world”.  Rather than repeat them verbatim, I’d like to give my perspective.

Have a point of view. Having a point of view doesn’t necessarily mean that you should argue with everyone about everything.  As an individual who may be in the job search (this advice applies beyond as well), be deliberate about having a point of view.  Know the conversation topics, politics, and whatever else is going on in the industry and in the world.  Have your own perspective to add with your own thoughts.

Aspire to become. It’s important to have creative aspirations.  Know that landing the job with the corner office or even the luxury of having your own parking space will take work.  Not many people are handed these things.  Aspire to become what it is you want to be.

Have courage. Take risks.  Try something new.  You will fail (it’s inevitable), but learn from those failures and create an opportunity.  Jerry used the phrase to “lean into the pain”, stating that the journey will be difficult at times and that it takes courage to push through.

“It is the nature of man to rise to greatness if greatness is expected of him.” - John Steinbeck

In this competitive job market, you will hear that you’re unqualified for the job.  Don’t let that stop you.  Continue to learn.  Network like crazy (but with a plan – and keep them informed!).  Pay it forward and help others who need a “leg up”.

Have a point of view, have courage, and aspire to become.  Expect greatness from yourself.  Keep those few things in mind and you’ll figure it out.  Oh, and Jerry - if you happen to read this, give me a call.  My wife made her own list and I think you can help me out.  :)

Photo credit: Esquire

Views: 36

Comment by Suresh on February 24, 2011 at 8:39am

If you don't mind me adding...an advise to college grads (they may not need this as much as their parents generation).


The World is more than the 50 states and winning in the US is not a World Championship.


I say this because, this particular viewpoint is very relevant to overall competitiveness.  This attitude was rampant even upto 10 years ago among the leaders of corporations.

Comment by Kirk Baumann on February 24, 2011 at 9:19am



You bring up a good point.  Having a global mindset is very important, especially with today's graduates.  You're right - the 50 states just get you started.  If you want to grow, you've got to be thinking about global opportunities, know how to work with people from different cultures, etc.


Thanks for the comment!



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