I spoke yesterday to PCBC2008, the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (residential contractors), on the meaning of excellence in tough times. My title: EXCELLENCE. THE BASICS. NOW MORE THAN EVER. I shared the platform with, among others, Carly Fiorina, Malcolm Gladwell, and Gary Hamel. While I deny owning rose-colored glasses, I do believe that nasty times provide exceptional opportunities for those who grasp the nettle vigorously. Thus, among other things, I said, and meant:

“It doesn’t get any better than this—U.S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln, and John C. Fremont were born for moments like this. There is no such thing as a good-great leader who has not confronted, been battered by, and stumbled through-overcome a catastrophe. The Upside for the gutsy and creative is as high as the downside is low for those who attempt to hide in the closet until the fur stops flying.”

[For the slides, you can use this link: Pacific Coast Builders Conference.]