Last week we lost an exceptional member of our community – Bob Bartz. Bob had been the President of the Chamber of Commerce for 35 years and you would be hard pressed to find anyone in our community who touched more people or had a better reputation than Bob. It got me thinking, ‘What made Bob such an exceptional leader within our community?’

Although any list of characteristics will be both incomplete and inadequate, I have tried to summarize what made Bob so exceptional.

If Bob was one thing, he was humble. He never needed to be in the lime light. He preferred to let the members of his team or members of the community shine.

Bob always wanted to include others. He knew that the Chamber of Commerce could not achieve all its goals without the assistance of other individuals and organizations.

Bob worked hard to respect both individuals and organizations within the community. He never overstepped or made others feel uncomfortable.

Bob was also comfortable taking the lead on ideas that could improve our community while working hard to empower leaders and build consensus.

Bob was comfortable taking measured risks. Although Bob never opened and operated his own business, he took a failing Chamber and earned ‘National Chamber of the Year’ recognition. This required measured risk taking and exceptional leadership.

Bob knew that details matter. He knew the little things like how you dress, identifying and retaining talent and making sure each event was cash flow positive, makes a difference to long term success.

Bob was one of the most approachable people you will ever meet. He always seemed to have time and when you spoke with him you know that he was 100% present.

Whenever something like this happens, I always ask myself, ‘What is the lesson?’ What can I learn from this experience?’ Well, Bob Bartz set a high bar! Working to become more like Bob is an aspirational goal worthy of both time and effort. In life, knowing what direction to move is the biggest challenge for most people. People like Bob provide light for the rest of us to follow.

What is your goal? How are you becoming a better person? How will you inspire others and leave a positive legacy?