Words of Wisdom

Wisdom is essential in business and life. It is acquired by learning from the experiences that life presents us. This experiential knowledge allows leaders to make sound, ethical judgments in the most difficult of times. I want to share the “words of wisdom” I learned from one of the great leaders I have had the honor to work with over the years, Stan Sigman. I hope they help you steer through the turbulent times you may face in your life and career.

Stan was an exceptional leader, a pioneer in the wireless industry who rose to be Group President at SBC Communications and CEO of Cingular Wireless. He was as authentic a leader as it gets, a leader who got things done, a leader that was loved, admired, and respected by everyone.

This past year, I was honored to be the Inaugural Keynote Speaker at the Stan Sigman Leadership & Innovation Speaker Series at West Texas A&M University. It allowed me to document Stan’s Values & Principles by working with two outstanding executives, Paul Roth and Mark Collins [1], who I admire and respect.

Stan’s Values & Principles are universal. I have applied them in domestic settings, international settings, and almost every situation imaginable. They worked for me, and I know they can work for you.

Authenticity – Act genuinely and be true to who you are as an individual. Stan was proud of his upbringing in Texas. His philosophy of being open and transparent about your heritage made it easy for people of all backgrounds to feel included as part of the team

Integrity – Do the right thing at all times. Our integrity is never for sale. Stan had unquestionable integrity and would expect nothing less from his team.

Accountability – Leaders have the freedom to make decisions but are always accountable. Stan believed in giving field leaders the freedom and autonomy to make decisions but always held them accountable.

Teamwork – Always select the best people to build a team. The Cingular Team that Stan built was first class. Five members of the Cingular Wireless team are in the U.S. Wireless Hall of Fame (a record for any company).

Execution – Execute, execute, execute your plan. Stan would say a job well planned is half done. A plan needs to be well-planned and well-executed

People – Always bet on people. Stan believed in developing people and betting on them to get the job done.

Communication – Communicate clearly and in simple terms. Stan was a master at clarity. No one ever left a meeting with Stan saying, “I wonder what he meant?”.

Empathy – Treat people right. Stan had a big heart. He would always help people in need and make sure we treated people right.

Respect – Treat everyone with respect. Stan earned the respect of everyone. His team, industry leaders, and regulators.

Vision – Be the Industry leader. Stan created the vision for Cingular Wireless to be an industry leader and achieved it after the Cingular Wireless/AT&T Wireless merger.

As you approach the new year, I hope you find these “words of wisdom” valuable in helping you and your team prepare for the challenges ahead.

I want to thank Dr. Walter Wendler, Dr. Amjad Abdullat, and the outstanding faculty and staff at West Texas A&M University for allowing me to be the inaugural speaker at this important series on leadership and innovation. I also want to thank the many friends of Stan Sigman for their donations which made the series a reality. They will inspire young people from the “Panhandle to the World” achieve their full potential.

Ralph

[1] Paul Roth is the former President of Sales & Service at AT&T Mobility. Mark Collins is the former Senior Vice President of Sales and Service at AT&T Mobility.

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