In my junior year of high school I had a pivotal leadership experience I was the drum corp captain for the Jackson Central-Merry high school band. Things were not going so well at band camp, and one of the duties a captain had was to recognize mistakes and see that they were rectified. This usually involved handing out laps or pushups as a consequence.

I had given out a number of consequences which were to be carried out while the rest of the corp waited at attention to start over again at whatever point the mistake had been made. The guys were grumbling, and outright rebelling at the idea of doing more pushups or repeating a section one more time. Finally the point came where I made a mistake. Not even really a noticeable one, but one I had recognized myself.

Now there was no in charge of giving consequences to captains. So I dropped my drum and took off for a lap without a word, and returned to my place with several surprised looks. “I messed up,” I said. After that I did not have to call out any mistakes. Each guy recognized his own mistakes and automatically took their lap. The whole atmosphere changed.

It’s the idea of ownership. I am responsible for the best performance possible at home, at work, in my church or my community. I will look in the mirror when mistakes are made, and congratulate my team in the successes that are achieved.


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