Early in my career at US Steel I was given the following advice, typewritten, from my first mentor.

It was attributed to Cason J. Callaway, who was the first ‘Southerner’ to be elected to the board of directors of the company.

I caught the lines for the ore boat named for him when I was a dockhand back in the late 1970's.

I have not seen this available anywhere else, and am sharing this advice today to help preserve it. I hope that it helps you as much as it helped me:

What is an executive?

Of course, he has to have absolute integrity, or it does not matter what else he has.

Of course he has to be willing and able to work, or it does not matter what else he has.

Of course, he has to be objective. If an executive could be described in one word, this would be it.

Of course, he has to have leadership, which is hard to define, but may be described as that quality in a man which makes other men want to do what he wants them to do.

Times have changed, and “he” is no longer the only personal pronoun that can be selected when discussing executives,  but Mr. Callaway’s thoughts on leadership are otherwise just as relevant today as they were when he shared them, and when my first mentor handed them to me freshly typed.

What is an executive?

More importantly, are you executive material? At work? At home? In your community?

I think the world is desperately short of executive talent right now. How about you?