Teddy Kennedy would not have been tolerant of lip synchers in his midst.

This last week, a top professional I know admitted to a guilty pleasure: She had been to the Britney Spears concert the night before at Madison Square Garden (she was a fan). Naturally, I had to learn more about what a Britney Spears show was like!  My colleague said she had a wonderful time; it was an exciting show, very entertaining, but that it appeared as if Ms Spears lip synched all but one of the songs and only twice did the pop star even bother to address with the audience.  Yet even after all that, yes, my business associate said she would certainly attend another “live” Britney Spears show in the future.
This last week we also all learned about Senator Ted Kennedy’s passing. Say what you will about his politics, the scandal at Chappaquiddick or anything else regarding his life, but by all accounts Senator Kennedy was passionate about his work, sincere in his beliefs, and truly genuine. Consider this one tribute from Edward Rollins, someone who certainly didn’t share many of Senator Kennedy’s views:

As I went about my day-to-day business affairs this past week I couldn’t help but connect what I unfortunately encountered to Britney Spears’ re-emergence and Senator Kennedy’s death (strange–but read on).

Edward M. Kennedy earned respect, particularly by his adversaries, because he held strong beliefs and was focused on driving results he thought to be important. He was at the eye of many legislative storms, but he built extraordinary working relationships over the course of a nearly 50 year career in the senate. Similar to the work team I wrote about back August 27th, he forced others to bring their best game and they brought out no less the same from him. By contrast, Britney Spears fans seem to not only tolerate the apparent lip synching portions of a live concert,  they enthusiastically cheer it.

The workplace remains dominated by too many people who physically show up to work each day, but who don’t bring the same intellectual or emotional commitment. I truly hope that we mourn the death of one man and not the passing of a much-needed approach to one’s work. To me, the best way to remember and honor Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts is by adopting the same principled, passionate, collaborative and results-oriented energy to our careers as he did and perhaps become less tolerant of the lip synchers in our midst.

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