(May 27) CHICAGO — Keynote speaker Rudy Giuliani received cheers and ovations among the packed ballroom as he addressed attendees May 18 at The National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Show in Chicago.
The enthusiastic reception indicated his continued fame long after his praised handling of the Sept. 11 crisis, when he served as mayor of New York City.
“I can’t think of an industry that did more to pitch in and help. And I can’t think of an industry that could have been affected more,” he said to the crowd, of which many had to be turned away for lack of seating space.
Giuliani noted that New York is the restaurant capital, “and it was important that they come back,” he said.
He outlined six principles of leadership to get through the difficulties of life, which he related not only to handling the terrorist crisis, but also to getting through his challenges with prostate cancer.
He asked the audience to apply the six principles of leadership to their businesses and their personal lives.
1. Have strong beliefs. “You have to know what’s important to you and what you believe,” he said. Then you have to stick to those beliefs, no matter what others think of you. He cited Ronald Reagan as one who stood for what he believed and didn’t change when opinions of him were contrary.
He also praised President Bush’s decision to fight terrorism for a safer U.S., no matter the criticism he receives.
“Those living in freedom have more strength than those in oppression,” Giuliani said.
2. Be an optimist. “Follow hope, dreams and solutions to problems,” he said.
Martin Luther King Jr. exemplified optimism in the midst of being arrested, attacked and eventually assassinated, Giuliani said. “He had a dream — that all would be judged by character, not by the color of their skin.”
3. Have courage. That doesn’t mean you don’t have fears, he said. “A firefighter is afraid when he goes into a fire. Fear is a necessary part of courage. It’s when you know you face risk and you work through your fear.”
4. Prepare relentlessly. Think of every question and answer for every situation and rehearse how you would handle it. Giuliani thought he was prepared for any crisis with nearly 30 “what to do if” plans in place. “Now we had two planes used as missiles,” he said. That wasn’t on his list.
But he found that if you anticipate everything else, you’ll be prepared for the unexpected. “Prepare and have courage,” he said.