Lead or Get off the Pot!: The Seven Secrets of a Self-Made Leader

Lead or Get off the Pot!: The Seven Secrets of a Self-Made Leader


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Each and every one of us — regardless of our age, position, or station in life — has the opportunity to take control of, and improve, our lives...and the lives of those around us. In Lead or Get Off the Pot!, the irrepressible count of carpe diem shares his bold vision and unorthodox strategies for developing personal passion, a can-do attitude, and the motivation essential for cultivating leadership skills. Pat's advice includes:

  • Twelve Ways to Build a Passionate Team
  • Walk the Talk
  • The Ten Commandments of Service
  • How to Listen with a Leader's Eye
  • Learning your AAAs — Attitude, Assets, Ambition

...and other leadership lessons that can teach you to become a true leader — one who challenges, mediates, motivates, communicates, and inspires.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743266499
Publisher: Touchstone
Publication date: 05/03/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 775,071
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.43(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Pat Croce is a minority partner of the Philadelphia 76ers, founder of Sports Physical Therapists, Inc., in-studio commentator and venture partner of Slamball, NBC commentator for the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, columnist for Fortune Small Business magazine, creator of Pirate Soul Museum in Key West, and a knock-your-socks-off motivational speaker. He and his wife, Diane, have two children and reside in suburban Philadelphia.

Bill Lyon has been writing for forty-seven years and has been a sports columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer since 1972. He is a recipient of the National Headliner Award and a six-time Pulitzer Prize nominee. He and his wife, Ethel, have two sons and two grandsons. This is his sixth book.

Recognized as one of Time magazine’s twenty-five most influential Americans, Stephen R. Covey (1932–2012) was an internationally respected leadership authority, family expert, teacher, organizational consultant, and author. His books have sold more than twenty-five million copies in thirty-eight languages, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was named the #1 Most Influential Business Book of the Twentieth Century. After receiving an MBA from Harvard and a doctorate degree from Brigham Young University, he became the cofounder and vice chairman of FranklinCovey, a leading global training firm.

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

Table of Contents


— by Stephen R. Covey


One: Paint the Vision in Vivid Colors

The Vision Quest

The Vision Keeper

Write It Down...Please!

The Vision Breakdown

Whose Choice Is It Anyway?

Oh No! The Fred Incident

76ers Vision Breakdown

Two: Build a Passionate Team

Triple A: Attitude, Assets, and Ambition

Delegation Built a Nation of Forty

Slogans Don't Guarantee Success

What About Chaplain Bob?

Goals, Roles, and Tolls

R and R on the Rocks

Team Building's Dirty Dozen

Three: Preach the Mission...from Every Mountaintop

An Equilateral Attack

The Strongest Muscle

A Leathery Negotiation

I Found Six Cs in Communication

The Meat of the Message

Lights, Camera, Action!

The 93 Percent Rule

A Cigar, a Top Hat, and a Silver Tongue

Four: Walk the Talk

Me, Myself, and Integrity

"Trust Me" or "Screw You"?

Influence or Influenza

Inspiration in a Habit

Intensity Sets the Vision on Fire

Insomnia Is Not in My Dreams

Five: Listen with a Leader's Eye

Listening Between the Lines

Keep Your Attention on Your Intention

Presence with Presents

The Ladder of Flattery

That's a Slammin' Idea!

Keep Your Finger on the Pulse

The Daffodil Principle

Six: Slay Them with Super Service

The Golden Rule

The Ten Commandments of Service

A Hole in One!

Short Circuit to Success

One-of-a-Kind Special Delivery

Lifters and Leaners

Seven: Celebrate the Journey

Celebration Education

Sharing in Others' Success

A Cause to Celebrate

Atlantic City or Bust


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