Being of Italian-American descent — at least of half-descent — yesterday wasn't just Columbus Day. This, for me is Columbus Week.
A big time for Italians and a good time to pay homage to one of my peoples' best: Lee Iacocca.
He's one of my favorite CEOs, not because we both have a vowel at the end of our names but because what he represented at the time and what he represents now — especially now.
Lee Iacocca believed in himself, in his company and in his country.
He never wavered. He never shifted. He never vacillated. He was as strong as his country at the time was economically weak.
But he believed in that country and the inherent ability of his people to turn things around.
I'll never forget the tough questions he got looking for a rescue package for his beleaguered Chrysler Corporation.
"What makes you think this'll work?" asked one incredulous congressman?
"Because it can't not work," Iacocca responded.
When asked why, he simply explained. "Because I've got the best people in the world."
Some called him crazy but his people called him a god. And rightly so. He put his reputation on the line because he knew his people would put everything on the line.
He believed — they believed. He won — they won. He and they are wonderful metaphors for today. Not knowing exactly how or when the goal would be achieved, but that it "would" be achieved.
Attitude, they say, is everything. Believing is the whole thing. Fearing, wondering, doubting is the wrong thing. Lee Iacocca would have none of it.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I am a Pollyanna — guilty as charged. But I'd much rather face what we're facing with hope than with doubt.
That's not an Italian thing. I like to think about now, that's an American thing.
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