Volume 2, Issue 1

January 2013

Blue Ridge Conference


New Year, New You!

I am proud to announce that throughout 2013, I will be serving in my elected role as Chairman of the Blue Ridge Board of Directors.  Hopefully, you are doing well as we begin our exciting journey into the New Year.  I trust that you have made your yearly to-do promises or established New Year Resolutions.  I challenge you, however, to add one more objective to your list of New Year Resolutions.

First, it is important to understand the story behind the making of New Year Resolutions.  The following is my understanding about this common year-end practice.  It is written that in the year 46 B.C., Julius Caesar, a Roman, developed a new yearly calendar, which made the date of January 1st the beginning point of each New Year.  In fact, the Romans named the first month of the year after the god named Janus, the guardian of doors and entrances.  This important god was always depicted with having two faces - one on the front of his head and one on the back of his head. Thus, Janus' godly power was that he was able to look backward and forward at the same time.  Therefore, at midnight on December 31st, the Romans imagined Janus, the all-knowing god, surveying the old year while at the same looking ahead toward the New Year.  This is allegedly the reason why we make New Year Resolutions today!

Although I do not believe in the god named Janus, I do take time each year to pause and reflect on the status of my objectives and accomplishments. More importantly, I look back on the past year and attempt to understand why I may have been unable to anticipate certain events.  I ask myself whether I did achieve the goals I set for the past year, and more specifically I ask, "How can I better achieve my New Year Resolutions in the upcoming year?" 

When it comes to setting New Year Resolutions, it is important to determine what really matters to you.  Once you have made this determination, the effort you put forth to achieve your objectives will typically be much greater; and thus, the chances of reaching those objectives will certainly increase.  Therefore, I strongly believe that if you truly want to achieve your New Year Resolutions, or any goals you set for yourself, you will put forth the amount of effort it takes to accomplish your mission. 

I do not believe that we are capable of achieving our New Year Resolutions merely by accident or without effort.  Any success in meeting a New Year Resolution is the result of establishing clearly-defined goals combined with well thought-out action plans. Setting a plan of action is very critical, because a plan provides us with the direction, focus, and the organization we need to stay on track.

Recall the additional objective I requested each of you to add to your list of New Year Resolutions.  Whatever your other resolutions may be, please add one more - simply BECOME A BETTER YOU!  Find a pen and piece of paper and write down the following developmental objective as a New Year Resolution for 2013:  I will develop an action plan in order to enhance my practices of life, improve my leadership skills, and I will strive to be a better me.

I challenge you to accomplish this additional objective.  As you develop your master action plan, I suggest that you record the following dates on your 2013 calendar - OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2013; these are the dates of our annual BLUE RIDGE CONFERENCE ON LEADERSHIP, held in beautiful Black Mountain, North Carolina.  I strongly encourage you to research the possibility of attending this leadership conference - this is not a training event you want to miss, I promise!  Over the next several months you will learn more about the specific training topics and how your participation will benefit you and your organization.  So, continue to read our monthly newsletter, THE VIEW FROM THE MOUNTAIN, and obtain additional information by visiting our website:

In closing, I want to share a brief story with you:

Many years ago as a newly appointed departmental manager; I was told by a person working at the North Pole (i.e., a skilled elf currently employed within Santa's Christmas toy production shop) the mission going forward was very important to all parties involved.  Thus, hanging over the main entrance door was a very large sign for ALL of the manufacturing facility workers to see and read for understanding.  It read as follows:  "If we want to hear Jingle Bells ringing on the 24th of December, we need to establish and live by goals ... ALL YEAR LONG!"

I hope that in 2013, you take the time to determine and focus on what really matters to you.  I wish you the best in achieving ALL of your 2013 NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS, and I hope you all are successful in becoming A BETTER YOU!


Charles Stephens

Chairman Blue Ridge Conference on Leadership & Manager Placement & Development - AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company





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