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Top 40 under 40 … in 2007. “What’s the right stuff to become one of the top 40 of Canada’s business leaders under 40 years…

Top 40 under 40 … in 2007.

“What’s the right stuff to become one of the top 40 of Canada’s business leaders under 40 years old?”

The Globe and Mail chose 40 business leaders in Canada under 40 as the top 40 for 2007, and asked them that question in the May 6th issue.

Marcelle Faucher boiled their answers down to one or two words, and those words became the front page of a special section. “The larger the word, the more frequently it was cited.”

I set out to measure and list them.

Eyeballing became the choice of measure because they were laid out individually in varying sizes, and in curves making a great graphic presentation but a pain to measure with a ruler.

“PASSION, INTEGRITY, FOCUS, TEAM PLAYER, EMPATHY, PERSEVERANCE, COMMITMENT, DETERMINATION, GOOD JUDGMENT, CREATIVITY, TENACITY, PEOPLE PERSON, RISK TAKING, HUMILITY,” and here the words began to get progressively smaller, but not tiny by any means.

“Family support, intellectual curiosity, generosity, optimism, open-mindedness, compassion, enthusiasm, straight shooter, work ethic, leadership, high standards, fairness, curiosity, drive, respect, honesty, optimism, responsibility, sense of humour, caring, sense of purpose.”

An admirable list, though there’s one word missing, isn’t there?

The praise heaped upon General Rick Hillier as a leader came from everywhere, spontaneously and generously, and the missing word wasn’t there until someone said, “I love that guy; now there’s a leader. I wish the rest of them would pay attention and take lessons from him.”

Love? In leaders? In the business world? In politics? Why not? It’s implied in the words chosen by the young leaders, isn’t it?

General Hillier is living proof. He obviously loved what he was doing, and his people even more. He went to bat for them and they batted back, making him look so good we all loved him, well, almost all! There’s always a detractor or two in the crowd, eh? It’s the Canadian way, right?

Or is it just a manifestation of the guy thing, picked up by the gals in management too — we’re a bit shy about it; tough love, maybe. We don’t talk about it, we just do it?

Or maybe, if you’ll pardon me playing silly devil, we’re looking for love in all the wrong places. After all it’s in Saskatchewan, the province Canadians love to flatter with put downs. You see, Saskatchewan has Love. The home of 80 Saskatchewanians, a hop, skip and a jump, off highway 55 near Nipewyan, Love, SK.

China has love too — well, one woman, who had already suffered through one of the world’s worst-ever earthquakes in her city Tangshan in 1976. She empathized, going all out collecting money to help other people. When asked, she gave her personal philosophy, which I found so profound, yet so simple: “I believe everyone on earth is of the same family; we should treat everyone like family.”

Six billion could learn from her, leaders especially.

Back to the business side of the coin, where the Globe’s top 40 live and work. I’ll measure them a complete leadership success when they match a man I know in the higher echelons of the travel business. He’s known to step out of his car, help a guest with their luggage, or help the baggage boys unload a bus and deliver the bags to the customers’ rooms when he discovers the staff is shorthanded.

When the top 40 can match him, they’ll be the top of their management game, in my books.

Yep, Pearl Bailey’s got it right: “What the world really needs is more love, and less paperwork.”

I suppose Melanie Clark has a point too: “You can’t put a price on love, but you can on all its accessories.”

A tip of the hat to love, and to Love, Saskatchewan. If you hanker to get Love stamped in large letters on next years, Valentine cards the postmistress in Love is ready for you with a CanPost officially approved cancellation stamp. Her address: The Postmistress, Love, SK, Canada, S0J 1P0. Even T-shirts are available from Love!

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