From the Publisher
"Get ready to laugh, learn, and be inspired."
Anthony Robbins, bestselling author of Awaken the Giant Within
"[A] book for regular people with extraordinary dreams."
M. Night Shyamalan, award-winning filmmaker, The Sixth Sense
"Just as Pat Croce reinvented the 76ers, we can learn how to reinvent ourselves... [in] this practical, real-life, and down-to-earth guide."
from the Foreword by Stephen R. Covey, bestselling author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
Read an Excerpt
In everyone's life, there are major influences and defining events that help shape who and what you are.
A pivotal moment in my life happened on a typical Sunday afternoon when I was a boy. My mother returned from church and was beaming not so much because of the weekly mass, but because of something that happened afterward.
As my mother made her way outside, a lady tapped her on the shoulder and asked, "Are you Mrs. Croce?" My mom answered, "Yes." The lady said that "Mr. Croce" used to be her insurance man, and explained how his generosity of spirit gave her sustenance, support, and most of all, hope, in her darkest hour. In those days, my dad would travel from door to door to collect his customers' insurance payments. Premiums were pretty low then, yet this lady found it difficult to keep up payments when her husband contracted a terminal illness that dragged on for months. After all corners had been cut, she decided to stop paying the insurance premiums. Following her husband's death, she was shocked to receive an insurance cash settlement; after all, she knew that the policy should have been canceled. Then she learned from the insurance company that my dad had continued to make the premium payments and even triggered the payment of death benefits without telling her. Instead of facing her twilight years not only alone, but completely broke, she would have the resources to live her final days with dignity and some measure of comfort.
Who knows why my dad did it? When my mom told us the story later that day, my dad just smiled and shrugged it off.
I may not have understood at the time, but my father's actions, in retrospect, taught me the most important lesson I've learned: You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.
We will never know the final tally of random acts of kindness performed by my father in his lifetime. But I do know this: in every way, by word and by deed, the original Pat Croce was a leader. I have tried mightily to follow in his footsteps, and in the process discovered much of what I know about leadership.
Leadership is not about getting the money or the fame or the accolades or the status. It is not about one person making decisions and giving orders from a lofty perch, pulpit, or vacuum. Leadership is not possible without a leader who genuinely cares about the cause and those behind it. Leadership is not a dictatorship, but a fellowship.
Leadership is about compassion, and hard work, and dedication, and tireless enthusiasm for what you're doing and for the people you're doing it with. A leader challenges and mediates and motivates and communicates and inspires. Sometimes with a shout, sometimes with a whisper.
And always by example.
Ironically, the month my father died, in 1993, I was putting the finishing touches on the deal to sell my Sports Physical Therapists franchise, marking the earnest beginning of my journey as a speaker and motivator. (Of course, becoming minority owner and president of the Philadelphia 76ers was on the horizon, too, though no one knew it at the time.) All of the theories and practices and ethics and ethos that I would begin to advocate with massive adrenaline had started with my father. And though he would not be there to witness the next stage of my life, his guidance and exemplary, seamless leadership would be put to great use.
I have always believed that if I can do it, so can you. And I am not afraid to tell you so. Now, in Lead or Get Off the Pot!, I lay out all of the concepts and systems and skill sets, as well as the overall philosophy of leadership, that I've used from the training room to the boardroom and beyond. Some of these I got from my dad. Some I learned from the many books I've read and other influences that I cherish (you'll see that I have a tendency to refer to these things often, and with great passion). And some I learned from experience questioning, listening, reacting, erring, learning, challenging, and always growing.
These skills and this mind-set apply everywhere, from the playground to the office of the CEO, because the laws of leadership are universal. They apply to every circumstance, grade school through retirement home. And they work for everyone, from the quiet and meek to the loud and sleek. You don't have to be the top dog to stir up the pack; every dog can have his day every day. And every man or woman, boy or girl, can develop the qualities that make a great leader, whether you're rubbing elbows with the titans of industry or the common man.
I see leadership as a bold and daring adventure, and I challenge you to attack it in the same way that I do. You don't have to tattoo a pirate ship on your forearm (like me) to express your insatiable desire to set out and conquer. But I do urge you to take every chance you can to get on the ship! Every day offers an opportunity to lead; it's up to you to grab the wheel with both hands and steer your journey toward that glittering treasure chest of dreams.
It is my hope and intent that this book will enable you to become a leader or to become a better leader no matter in what venture, situation, or station in life you find yourself.
Copyright © 2004 by Pat Croce