Who is your bell cow?

Huh? Just because my pants got a little tight you don’t see a damn bell around my neck, do you? Oh, that’s not what you meant…..

bell cow


a cow, especially the lead cow of a herd, having a bell attached to a collar around its neck so that the herd can be located easily.

You know, same as totin’ the rock, carrying the load; are you the go to person who others look to to lead the way; get it done?

And of course, we always gotta have more cow bell, right?

Lead cow of a herd

Herd? Sounds like a social roundup to me. Sheep might be a better analogy, but I couldn’t find bell sheep in Wikipedia.

If everybody thinks they are the lead dog who’s going to follow?

I know we all want to be uniquely unique, but we are all part of a herd at one time or another, right?

Talk is cheap

I’ve been listening to all the rhetoric being bandied about with the US Presidential election on the horizon, and there is plenty of finger pointing back and forth and grandiose promises being made. Can one man really right the ship and make a significant difference?

Yes, we are talking about the leader of the free world, but how much influence does this person really have in getting things done his way?

I’m thinking the President should be able to do whatever the heck he wants to, right? I mean, what a tough job. At least a 4-yr hall pass, get out of jail free card would certainly be in order don’t you think?

Don’t you know who I am?

However, if your platform is big talk and promises and willing to lay it all out there, the voters should be able to hold you accountable. But politics these days are more sound bites and image; more celebrity than substance for the most part. Some of these leaders get way too much credit when things are going well, and way too much blame when they are not.

Oh yeah, we are not supposed to talk about politics in here……my bad……

It ain’t bragging if you can do it

Yeah, and I suppose it ain’t cheating if you don’t get caught either, huh?

Raise your hand if you like a braggart. And doesn’t it piss you off even more when they are right? This is the person it’s ok to poke a finger in their eye. Sumbich….

Generally, the louder you have to proclaim anything, the less likely I want to hear what you have to say. I appreciate your passion but I’m pretty sure you won’t be changing my mind.

Especially in politics and religion…………oops, dropped the religion bomb too; I’m probably going to get my social card pulled……

Confidence is a good thing though, it can work well for you in many ways. Plus, somebody has to be able to make the tough decisions. If everything was done by committee and meetings, nothing would ever get done.

What does a good leader look like to you?

Tall, distinguished, white, male? Easy now hot rod, you just about offended everybody on that one.

Before I get too far off track, do you think the better looking someone is, the easier their path to success?

Can you be a leader in some things; like a particular project but be a follower in others?

You can find plenty of appropriate adjectives to describe a leader, but here are the traits I look for:

  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Focus/clarity
  • Confidence
  • Collaborative

What would be your top 5; what would make your leader a bell cow?

I surprised you didn’t I?

I am sure you thought there was no way I was going to make this circular enough to finally bring it around to circle the wagons and actually make a point, huh?

I had to put down one of the lead horses but I got it done; did it make any sense?

Lead, follow, or just get out of the way, right?



53 thoughts on “Who is your bell cow?

  1. 😀 They also serve who stand and wait, Bill. That being said, good looks are nice to ogle at – but really don’t matter. I ‘ll go with your list of 5 – they look rock solid to me!


    • It takes all types, but have certainly seen my share of ’empty’ suits who manage to get by on looks and charm alone.

      That’s a pretty solid list; can’t go wrong with it.


  2. You had me up until just get outta the way…..

    Your top 5 is good enough for me.

    Sure, I can come up with another list but why?

    Just don’t be a douche-canoe sums it up for me and what’s great about that it can apply to pretty much anything. I don’t judge. Benefit of the doubt kinda guy over here. Prove me wrong then you’re an ass-hat. Do what you say otherwise sit down and shut the f**k up. Simple.

    BTW, you went over by 51 words. That’s a penalty of $0.10 per word at a total cost of $5.10 to you. Payments will be accepted with most major credit cards.

    • I was going to add intelligence too. But if you know what you know, and know what you don’t know, and understand that there will be things that you don’t know that your don’t know, then honesty, integrity and a collaborative spirite would suffice.

      • Huh?

        You don’t have to be the smartest guy in the room; real leaders know how to surround himself with the ‘right’ people and that’s what makes them successful.

        I know a lot, most of it trivial; but I certainly know what I don’t know and don’t pretend otherwise. But I do know how to connect the dots………

        And that’s a fact Jack.

    • I would have taken credit for that; nobody in my house would know who said it…:).

      Find a way to allow people to work to their strengths and being able to work together. We all have some greatness in there somewhere, right?

      • I can always depend on you Bill, to put a smile on my face:) And yes…if people focused more on accentuating their strengths instead of improving their weaknesses, I think we’d see results more quickly. And everyone has strengths! (I won’t mention the reverse, haha!) Cheers! Snowshoes

        • Sometimes in my day job world we have positions where we try to make one-size fits all. People will always have things they do very well and things they don’t. Instead of jamming you up with the stuff you aren’t good at, why not be the best of the best on the stuff you really like, huh?

  3. Its such a pity that the five things on your list can’t be seen! Because we do judge a lot based on what and how people look like! If only we could change that and focus on what really matters….

    • I think ‘attractive’ people appear to be more trustworthy unless they just look too perfect. Charm and personality, along with looks can carry you a long way…..just ask me……….:). Ok, maybe ‘just ok’ on the looks but I have plenty of charm and personality……just ask me that too…………doh………..it’s getting deep in here…. what’s that smell?

      Yes, don’t be quick to judge one way or another and give yourself time to see what someone is ‘really’ about; what’s important to them.

  4. Hah…bell cow….I live on a farm and I had never heard that expression before. Its a great phrase! And cows are interesting critters…they aren’t particularly warm and fuzzy and they have a mind of their own. They don’t take to being “led” very well unless it was “their” idea. But, there is almost always a “leader” in every herd of cows and when it’s milking time, the leader typically starts making her way back to the barn on her own and the rest follow. So, I guess sometimes I like to be the bell cow and sometimes I like to be part of the herd…it depends on my comfort zone and what I want to get out of the experience. I’m old enough to not care so much about the perception but to care more about the reality. Life’s too short to sweat the small stuff…I’m just trying to listen to my heart and keep moving forward…with or without that bell cow 😉
    BTW…Hi Bill! 😉

    • From an Army point of view, I think I would have been ok NOT leading the charge. The odds might be a little better if you are part of the herd, huh?

      I actually heard the phrase on a sports talk show; I’m not sure if it’s a common sports analogy or maybe a ‘southern’ saying. But when I ‘heard’ it, I knew I was going to write a post around it………:).

      However, in a lot of choices we are faced with, decisions have to be made. I’m ok being a lead dog when necessary. I’m smart enough to know if there is someone better equipped for the task I will certainly defer to them. What I also know, most people are hesitant to jump out there and be the ‘point person.’ Being part of the herd is so much safer.

      I’ve certainly learned the ‘trial by fire’ method with a few endeavors I’ve chosen to lead, but hard work or making a decision when necessary, I can do.

      Whoa, twice in a week……………yay………….good to see you.

  5. Ok Bill. I’m going to comment once more. From someone who is standing in the corner of the room watching your social-ness, I have to tell you I’m inspired by your posts !

    And I’ve payed attention to all of your wonderful Comment Makers who come and visit you each day (and I visit their blogs too).

    Great Post today. I want to say two things about it.

    First – I would add one more item to your list of 5 things:
    A leader has to be easy to follow.

    Second – I would say that people don’t give enough credit to the First Follower:

    I’ll call you soon and take you out for a beer and onion rings.

    • I agree with your ‘two’ things; yes, you have to be easy to follow and I’ve seen that vid, the first follower seems to never get near enough credit. Sometimes it is really being hard ‘that guy.’

      Of course, you have to say all that nice stuff because you are my ‘brother.’ However, I never tire of hearing it……….:). I do appreciate your kind words.

      Speaking of brothers; one of my best friends is the President of a company called Citrosuco. He’s a Nebraska grad and we’ve been good friends for about 10 years. In fact, he is getting married on Nov 3 to the girl I introduced him to 8+ years ago. We were at an event together about 6 mos ago and somehow I mentioned about being a Delt at FSU. Well, he was a Delt at Nebraska and his brother was a chapter advisor, so they were ‘all in.’ That was kind of cool……..

      I’m meeting some guys I know from ‘social’ on the 17th this month at the Orlando Convention Center. We are meeting about 4:30 pm. If you have some free time, why don’t you try to make it? One of the guys is the creative mind behind Triberr.

      Good to see you; thanks for taking the time to stop by.

  6. 1.) In business, I surround myself with people who are getting things done. Not talking about it. Not dreaming about it. Doing it. I’m pretty good at building relationships with these types and they’re always looking for horses to take them and their business to the promise land.

    Did I say you have to be good? : )

    2.) Unfortunately, politics and social media are full of a bunch of crap… Smelly BS to be more precise…

    Thank goodness for our friends 😛

    3.) Good looks can open doors much easier than being butt ugly…

    4.) I’ve never met a great leader who wasn’t also a great follower.

    The Dorman just keeps getting better and better…

    Cheers friend : )

    • Hola sir, thanks for the kind words.

      Like you, I’m in business. In my world I’m working with the CEO, CFO, COO & HR typically. All have distinct and different leadership abilities. And multiply this by the number of accounts I have and every situation is different.

      You don’t think I see what works and is good and what doesn’t? I learn from this and it helps with the leadership opportunities I have. One of my strengths is connecting, being able to connect the dots. But that comes through relationship building, which some seem to want to skip.

      I have just enough good looks that grandmothers love me. I guess it could be a lot worse, huh?

      Good point, a good leader will be a good follower as well.

      Thanks for stopping by, always a pleasure to see you.

  7. it is what it is and not what it ain’t or so one of my old bosses used to say. I still haven’t quite figured that one out but this place is swimming in people smarter than I am so…

    • It is what it is and not what it ain’t………..I was hoping to be able to quote you on this but now you are attributing it to someone else…………

      Just about everybody I know is smarter than me, but guilt by association and just by hanging around I get lumped into their crowd.

      Let’s just say I’m smart enough and that works for me.

    • Ah yes, accountability. Some leaders run roughshod because no one is holding them accountable for the consequences.

      Everybody needs a good accountability partner indeed.

      Look forward to seeing you on the 17th.

  8. Hey Bill

    I’d never heard of the noun bell cow.

    I’ve spent a number of vacations in Switzerland over the years and all the cows have bells over there. There must be a lot of confused cows!

    I like your 5 adjectives to describe a leader. I would add in charismatic and approachable.

    I think you need some natural charm to be a great leader.

    From my previous line of business I would also say approachable. You’re not going to get much from your herd if they don’t feel they can come to you with any issues they have.

    Have a great weekend Billy boy!


    • Ah, obviously a leadership group of cows; too many chiefs and not enough indians.

      The term ‘bell cow’ is not one I hear often; however, I heard someone mention it on a sports radio show and I had heard it before, so it then became post ‘fodder.’ It doesn’t take much to inspire a blogger, huh?

      I believe charm can be your most effective trait. I know some out and out scoundrels, but people love them because they are so ‘charming.’ Why do you think I’m so charming…………..:).

      Ok Timbo, you know down south in the USA is the land of knicknames or you add a ‘y’ to everybody’s name. I was Billy growing up but we moved to a different town when I was 15 and started to go by Bill. I must have been a natural Billy because I get called that a lot………endearingly of course…………:).

      Have a good weekend tribemate.

  9. Lot of people proclaim to be “bell cows” right? leaders? They claim themselves that they are leader (some have substantial evidence to do so, while others just don’t).

    Who is a leader anyway?

    Hard to define right?

    Of course, all those good traits are present in a leader, but that’s just present in everyone (only the level differs, some have great levels of dishonest, others don’t, so they are honest?).

    As with politics, that’s a whole another matter to talk about (well, I don’t like politics, but I like to observe it – the petty things people do to get elected, the false accusations, psychology, behavior, greed, money, status, power – every “dirty” act or thing you find in this planet can all be related to politics).

    Talk is indeed cheap, but we also need the talk, right? It is important too, to an extent, I mean.

    All these nonsense.

    Sometimes, I ask myself, just like the alternate version Batman did in Crisis on two earths movie, what’s the purpose?

    What’s the use?

    • What is the purpose? Indeed……….

      Sometimes a leader is one who is willing to step up and at least try. Once you grab the torch you put yourself out there and will be subject to criticism; it’s a position most are not comfortable in. But easy to sit back and second-guess…..

      There are leaders and politicians that are very much ego driven with very little substance. It’s pretty easy to spot those…………

      Talk is cheap; are you willing to roll up your sleeves and lead by example?

      Thanks for your thoughts; always appreciated sir.

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