A la Carte

When referring to a menu, something is a la carte if it is priced and ordered separately from other full menu items. LDRS “a la carte” entries are simply that – unrelated, brief entries that have captured our attention during recent weeks.


Is there a leadership void on the Hokie football field?  Marcus Davis thinks so…

The Three “L’s” of Leadership… in the wake of Sandy, leadership lessons shine.

And what happened to Hostess?  What roll did leadership play in the downfall of an American icon.

Even though you are on vacation… don’t treat your brain like junk!

The Engagement Secret of Great Leaders… how storytelling and leadership go hand in hand.


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52 Responses to A la Carte

  1. Rachel E. says:

    I chose to read the article about Marcus Davis and the Virginia Tech football team. I find it interesting that two of the ex players, Carmichael and Taylor were leaders made known. He points out that they gave great speeches to motivate the team. The fact that the team’s attitude has changed towards the more confrontation side is upsetting. The other players need to learn that constructive criticism is important. The team has to be able to help each other but not single players out for doing something wrong. The article continues on but the team needs to make it a priority to work together to get better, not individually but team work.

    • Ryan Jenvey says:

      Rachel makes a good point. In order to be successful in football, you have to work as a team. The attitude needs to be one of building each other up instead of tearing down. As a former football player, this is something I have first-hand experience with. There were times when players had to step up to motivate the team towards a common goal instead of fighting against one another.

      • Luke Carroll says:

        I agree with Ryan, having never played high school football or competitive football besides backyard football, I have however played ice hockey my entire life. Hockey is a little different from football in well many ways, but one way in particular besides the ice is that everyone on the ice for your team may have the title as an offensive or defensive player, but everyone while on the ice together plays both offense defense. Everyone had to be accountable to their designated role on the ice and make sure that they did their job. If they didn’t players on the team would let them know. I feel that Virginia Tech football needed to have that kind of mindset during the season instead of letting their egos get in the way. There also should have been more leadership from the older players but if the season doesn’t start like that it is hard to incorporate later down the road.

  2. emmahdouglas says:

    Storytelling is an incredibly important component of leadership because, if done properly, it allows followers to connect to leaders on many different levels. A leader who possesses good storytelling abilities can influence followers through offering hope, promoting engagement, and recognizing others for successes. Without the ability to tell stories, a leader could struggle to influence their followers. When a leader tells a story, it also lends itself to more personal connections between leaders and followers. When followers know more about the personal aspects of a leader’s life, it is more likely that they will feel connected to him or her. Ultimately, the ability to tell a good story is vital to becoming an effective leader.

    • Courtney H says:

      I like what Emma is saying here, because she is right: “without the ability to tell stories, a leader could struggle to influence their followers.” Some of the greatest leaders in world history (Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, even Hitler), all had the ability to be powerful orators who captivated their audiences with anecdotes and visions that motivated their cause. If you cannot speak and wow your followers, then they will be less inclined to follow you. People want to be behind the big dreamers and the visionaries, but the only way to portray that is through a great story. Like the article says, “show me a leader, and ill show you a great storyteller”

  3. Morgan Carson says:

    I read the article about treating your brain like junk. The most important message I got out of this article was to have self control. As an adult, you should control your eating habits, sleeping habits, exercise habits, and stress levels. These steps will not only keep your brain healthy, but they will also keep you happy. When I started reading the article, I smirked, thinking I knew everything in the article, but by the end, I realized I can make a few changes in my own lifestyle. Most importantly, I need to get more sleep. Secondly, I need to monitor my stress levels and find ways to counteract the stress.

  4. Morgan Carson says:

    Also, I read the article about Marcus Davis and the Hokie football team. There are always many sides to this story. Marcus Davis said it could be a lack of leadership. A third party observer says it could be lack of talent. A Hokie says it’s just a rebuilding year on the field, but whatever it is, leadership can be the solution to all those problems. Although this article was written before the Florida State game, it still seems to me that the right encouragement from the right individual could change the teams attitude for the better. At the end of today, we are still heading to a bowl game, so it wasn’t a horrible season. I’m still hoping for more next year though.

  5. Carly Scullin says:

    I read the article about the Hokies void in leadership. As an athlete I can relate to what Marcus Davis was saying about the need for leadership from a team member and the change in attitude. As a member of a crew team we had the privilege of having a coxswain to steer and motivate to crew. The coxswain is the leader of the boat, and if anything went wrong they often received the blame. Most who are unfamiliar with the sport of rowing often believe a coxswain is unnecessary, but to the crew they are very important. A coxswain not only steers the boat, but provides encouraging words and yells out the “game plan”. This is similar to what Marcus Davis is saying. The players atitudes have changed and no one is saying those small words of encouragement like Tyrod Taylor. In general the team can not just rely on skill, but must have the motivation to want to win, and someone to motivate them.

  6. Daniel M says:

    I read the storytelling article and agree completely. A good storyteller can really engage the listeners and make them feel like they were truly there in the story. By communicating the story in a certain way, leaders are able to draw in everyone (even out-group members). I see stories the same way that Northouse sees a vision: A good story always requires a combination of a picture, change, values, map, and challenge incorporated into it.

    • Luke Carroll says:

      I definitely agree looking back at any story I ever heard as a child the story teller was always the one who was in charge of the group and connected to the group in one way or another. In this way the story teller is able to connect to not just the group but every member on an individual basis. Also, I would add that being a good storyteller couples with leadership simply because being a good orator is a strong characteristic of leaders in every situation.

  7. Anna Lehman says:

    I read the article about the three L’s of Leadership. The first L is love. Another way to put this is appreciate or care. As leaders it is important to appreciate our followers and all that they offer. The second L is listen. Leaders need to listen to followers, but also try and understand and bring everyone together to move forward. The last L is leap. This means that leaders need to take the leap and lead others to a new reality. I think that these three L’s are very true to any leadership position. Most of these L’s can be found in the social change model, collaborate, conflict with civility, congruence, and common purpose. It is very important to remember that the followers hold a lot of power just like the leader does.

    • Luke Carroll says:

      Having also read this article it is interesting what Cashman has to say especially in light of the recent Hurricane Sandy disaster. What I find the most intriguing is the comparison he makes between managers and leaders. Not unlike the information we have taken from people like Koller and his view on Leadership vs. Management, Cashman presents managers as people that take the step by step and get things done, but the leaders are the one that leap ahead and provide the group with vision and guidance along the way.

  8. Riley St. Pierre says:

    I read the article about treating your brain like junk. I feel that exercise is one of the best ways to have a “healthy brain” and I think exercise is a good way to reduce stress which was something they talked about in the article as well. I definitely think stress can hurt a person’s ability to think but I think in the right dose it can help someone’s brain as well by being under “pressure circumstances” etc…just not for a long period of time. I’ve always got a good amount of sleep (7-9) hours, even during high school and when I came into college I was worried about not getting enough sleep. Even though now I only get about 5-6 hours or so I find myself able to function quite well off that much sleep without ever “crashing”.

  9. Jacob Clore says:

    I read the article about the void of leadership on the Hokie Football team. I definitely agree that there are several factors other than leadership as to why the Hokies aren’t at the top of their game, but Leadership is definitely one of them. I feel that if a player cannot own up to their mistakes, then the rest of the team will follow suit. Each player needs to be a good influence and take responsibility for their actions. Sometimes I wonder what the Hokies are saying to each other during timeouts.

  10. Thomas Nave says:

    I read the article on Treating Your Brain Like Junk, and I think it is so interesting that there are so many different things that you can do to better your body as well as your mind. I think that sleep deprivation is a huge problem, especially with college students. I feel that if we all could fit more time into our schedule to get a better nights rest, we would all be healthier overall. I feel that exercise is huge as well, because it not only benefits our body’s processes, but releases endorphins which make us happy and feel better overall!

  11. Zack Snow says:

    I read the article on treating your brain like junk. I think that most of the problems that were mentioned are things that are ingrained in us as we grow up. Many kids like to eat junk food, watch television, or play video games. This habitualizes these activities, and they tend to stay with us as we grow older. If more people made an effort when they were younger, they would not need this realization when they were older. Good article!

    • Luke Carroll says:

      I definitely agree with Zach more and more these days the growing rate of kids doing poorly in school and not being social due to the lack of exposure to the things we were as younger kids. I feel, like Zach, if we take on these problems when we are younger they solve themselves when become young adults and face these problems.

  12. Esther Jeong says:

    I read the article about our football team. I think athletes should take leadership. It helps you think twice about the way you will achieve what you want to achieve. Especially when there is interdependence. But its not always the leader who is the problem. The followers need to be more accepting of advice. If you have a leader who is genuine, then he, in this case, will be wanting to help you so when he says, “pick it up”, don’t take it offensively. Put down that pride and PICK IT UP. The Hokies are clearly struggling and I hope that they can work out this team leader follower issue as soon as possible.

  13. Esther Jeong says:

    I read the article about the relationship between leadership and storytelling. It makes me think of Harry Potter or the Hunger Games. These two great stories lead people into a movement, silly as it is. However, there are books that do contain stories with deeper meanings that actually move people towards change. This is the case because stories are something people can imagine themselves apart of. They can envision themselves apart of a certain common purpose. Once people are hooked just like with the two best selling book series, any movement become a possibility.

    • Morgan Carson says:

      Esther’s comment is very true. The comparison of Harry Potter to The Hunger Games is very accurate. Whether it is a New York Bestseller, or a simple story with a touching plot, people live vicariously through their books. Stories have a way of deeper understanding what some people have a hard time saying themselves.

  14. Lauren Nance says:

    I read the article on treating your brain like junk. I agree that not eating right, stressing too much, not exercising, and not sleeping enough really affect our attitudes and behaviors. For me personally, if I don’t get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, I feel like a totally different person when I wake up and it ends up taking a toll on my entire day. This article was a good reminder-especially around exam times that I need to get enough sleep so I can function to my best.

  15. Kristina Gallagher says:

    I also read the article on treating your brain like junk and I agree with Lauren. Although it is sometimes difficult to take care of your body in the midst of stress, it is essential to your long term health and well-being. Working at Gold’s Gym has also instilled in me the importance of staying active and eating healthy.

  16. Andrew says:

    The article about Hokie football is very true, there are many reason’s the Hokies are struggling, it can’t be attributed completely to bad leadership on the field!

  17. Patrick Lawrence says:

    I read the article on Marcus Davis. He indicates that in the past there have been strong leaders in the locker room and on the field as well. In the past few years there have been players at his position like Danny Coale, Jarrett Boykin, even farther back in the years of Eddie Royal, Josh Morgan and Justin Harper, that have lead by example and vocalizing their thoughts to the team. This year, with uncertainty in the season, there is no real leader. Last year Logan Thomas was the leader by example, and because of his success he was able to become a vocal leader. With so much failure this year, he is unconfident as a quarterback, and his leadership role has taken a plunge. You can obviously see the lack of leading.

  18. Alexander Jones says:

    I think the lack of leadership on the Virginia Tech football team this season is obvious with me being a fan my whole life. It can be seen in all of Coach Beamer’s press conferences after a loss where he just isn’t the same man we’ve seen in the past. He always uses the same lines and seemed like he almost lost hope, but it was obvious the last 2 games of the season that the Hokies football team rallied together to reach 6-6 to make it to their 20th consecutive bowl game. We’ll have to wait and see how leadership is shown out on the field in the Russell Athletic Bowl at the end of the season…

  19. Emma Reeves says:

    I read the article on Marcus Davis’ views about his football team. From just watching Hokie football this year, I have felt that something didn’t seem right on the field. The team seems extremely disconnected. I figured it was lack of communication, lack of motivation, or maybe both. Marcus Davis points out that the attitude of the team isn’t the same. Instead of collaborating to work towards a common goal, each player singles himself out to try and be the best. This is disappointing because many people admire and look up to college football players, and our players can’t even work together as a team.

  20. Rachel Cotton says:

    If there hadn’t been good leadership within the unions, so many thousands of workers would not have banded together for the common cause. Even though their leadership failed to attain their goals, they were strong enough of a leadership to band together thousands of workers from across the country who had nothing in common other than the company they work for.

  21. Rachel Cotton says:

    I read the article about storytelling. Storytelling is a very important skill because a good story can be as effective as a well thought out argument in a debate. It is also important because unlike an argument, it is relatable by most if not all in the audience, even out-group members. Story telling is essential to being a good leader. A good story engages followers on a personal level to makes them engage with their leaders.

  22. Victoria Gray says:

    I read the article about treating your brain like junk, and I realize that I back some big mistakes in taking care of my health. Since attending college I have been rarely getting 7-8 hours of sleep and I can see how it greatly effects my mood and ability to stay focused. With exam week coming up, I am going to try to get some more sleep and this article was a good reminder of that.

  23. kelsey edmonds says:

    I read the article treating your brain like junk and I definitely agree with many of things being said. I am a nutrition major and in many of my classes I have learned the realities of how sleep,exercise, and eating-habits can affect your entire life. I am very guilty myself of having bad habits in college when it comes to sleep and exercise because I feel like I can never make time with all pressures of doing well academically. Once you get into the cycle of pulling all-nighters and not exercising, it is hard to break away from it. However, getting a healthy amount of sleep and exercise actually helps you perform better on tests and overall makes you a happier person in the end. This is definitely something I need to work on and especially with exams coming up right around the corner, I hope I will be able to take this into consideration and treat my body properly so I can suceed.

    • Kyla Mauro says:

      I also read this article, and I realized how important it is to take care of your body. It may seem like a good idea to pull an all-nighter to study for that class, but the long-term you are not helping your body at all. Sleep is important for you and neglecting what you need is going to hurt you.

  24. Taylor McClain says:

    I think the article about brain health was really interesting. The article points out things that should be done that seem obvious, but getting enough sleep, exercising and eating healthy regularly is easier said than done. About a year ago, we found out that my brother has some pretty severe food allergies. As a family we basically had to go to an all organic diet. At first, I didn’t want to be on this new diet (it’s not like I have these allergies), but after a few months, I saw a huge difference. My mom cut out processed foods and made all of our dinners from scratch. And I couldn’t believe how much better I felt during the day. I felt alert and had more energy during the day. It was great.
    As far as exercise goes, my grades in high school were always higher during the quarters I was running cross country or track.
    Sleep is something I struggle with, especially since coming to college. I’ve modified my habits a bit, which has helped. If I don’t get at least seven hours, I truly feel awful the next day.
    Leadership is about helping others, but it’s important to make sure you’re helping yourself, too.

  25. John jones says:

    The brain article was definitely interesting to me. The brain itself has always been so fascinating to me so this article captured my eye. It made me think that I definitely treat my brain like junk without realizing I am doing so. For example with the sleeping, I have always been a late night person and I rarely get the recommended level of sleep that is healthy. This article just kind of opened my eyes to the little things like that.

  26. David Bohn says:

    I read the article about the health of your brain. Throughout high school my best semesters were the ones when I was participating in a physical activity. I used to think, an extra involvement would lesson my time to devote to studying, but I actually did better in school when participating in a sport. This article backs up what I have observed through my life so far.

    • Morgan Carson says:

      I agree with David. I used to think that with practice after school, I would lose study time, but it actually put my brain in a more functioning condition for when I get home. Looking back, I wish I would have taken more advantage of that.

  27. Anna Fox says:

    I read the article about the Virginia Tech football team. The author mentions that two former football players were strong leaders who inspired their teammates to work together. From the article I learned that now the team has shifted towards a more confrontational style which is unfortunate. I think that the best way to grow as a team is by building others up even if the use of constructive criticism is necessary. This can be a very positive thing because with it players can learn from one another rather than simply tearing eachother down.

  28. Will Coffey says:

    It has been evident this football season that leadership has definitely been lacking for Virginia Tech’s football team. Every game this season except maybe Bowling Green, I feel like players were counting on someone to step up, make a play, or take lead. It never happened. Living in Blacksburg my entire life, I have always kept a close eye on the football team, and this season has just seemed different than any other I have experienced. There was no vocal leader, everyone was just searching for an answer, instead of trying to do something on their own. 20 consecutive bowl games is a feat, and hopefully Frank has the team ready on December 28th, and hopefully a player steps up and rallies momentum for next season.

  29. Will Coffey says:

    I also read the brain article, and it is really fascinating how every aspect mentioned is so crucial. I know that if I don’t exercise, eat, or sleep I feel terrible. I have to eat breakfast and constantly eat throughout the day or I feel tired or even light headed. As some people have mentioned above I do believe sports and physical activity help people perform better in school and get better grades. I know that if go without exercising I feel more lethargic and do not feel as good when I do get exercise. Sleep is obviously important, and I definitely do feel better when I get seven or more hours of sleep.

  30. Suzanne Berry says:

    I completely agree with the brain article. I think most people know that these things are true, but most do not actually do them. Personally, I can relate to exercise. People used to tell me that they would not be in dance class during exam week because they were studying. For me, this was the most important time to go. The exercise gave me energy as well as a break from studying. Sleep is also one I can relate to. My senior year of high school, I typically got 8-10 hours of sleep, even on weeknights. The nights that I didn’t get this sleep affected me on the next day, but mainly a few days later when I would have to catch up. Since being at VT, I typically only get about 5-7 hours of sleep and I don’t exercise as much I notice a huge difference.

  31. Crista Watson says:

    Storytelling is key to leadership. I really think that being a leader is being able to capture and inspire others. How to do this? Well, we have only one option as human beings: to use our voices and minds and communicate our thoughts. Anyone can do this but it takes a leader to get the speech and storytelling skills just right.

  32. Luke Carroll says:

    Oh dear Hostess….you were good to me as a young lad. I will miss you much, and so will Tallahassee from Zombieland but you can thank your crooked executives for this blow. I don’t understand how people who already make a very good sum of money I am sure can continue to take more and more out of a companies dwindling budget when they know it is on the brink of closing or filing for bankruptcy, again. It really is just a small thing that encompasses many of todays Fprtune 500 companies that have highly paid executives while the workers who make them rich are living paycheck to paycheck. I’m not asking for a communist infrstructure where everyone is paid equally, but I am saying that recognition for the efforts of those that work for you go a long way in the business realm.

  33. Esther Jeong says:

    The article about not treating you brain like junk seems repetitive and common knowledge but is it? How many people in our modern today ACTUALLY truly believe in the studies and are willing to live it out. I know that the first thing i give up is sleep if i have more work to do and eating healthy is almost a chore. But in order to optimize my work it is so crucial to take care of my body which allows me to do work in the first place. This transfers well to leadership because leaders need to remind themselves that doing and progressing is great but to be the most effective you have to take care of yourself instead of being so wrapped up in getting to the common goal because it wont be your best if you aren’t 100%.

  34. Dixon Holland says:

    Leadership can literally be found in our every day lives. It is tough to look for, but it is always present, even within these “a la carte” entries that we see in the newspaper. Leaders are present all over the world, even if they aren’t well known or known at all.

  35. Jacob Clore says:

    I found it interesting that products such as twinkles and hostess cupcakes are outdates while nutter butters and swiss cake rolls are still popular snack items. Anyway, I think this is the perfect time to talk about change. I think those at the top of the company needed to think of something new to attract new customers. It was irresponsible of them to think that the company would survive with the same policies while they had filed for bankruptcy twice.

  36. Hoo In Won says:

    Dont treat your brain like junk. This article drew my attention because of the sleep part, which is the last section of the journal. The article presents that average human take about 8~10 hours of sleep to be fully function. I believe sleeping is alot important than eating. By sleeping you can refresh your brain and save energy for later usage. i take average of 6 hours of sleep combine a day, which include short naps. This article was interesting that only 10% of the population sleep less than 7 hours and be able to fully function.

    • Miles Rachner says:

      I agree with Whoon that sleep is crucial to how we function. People can suffer mentally with a lack of sleep, and there are cases where people will even lose there personalities due to mental sickness. Lack of sleep can also kill you because the body will not have a change to recharge. The body will even shut a body down before a person dies of a lack of sleep, but if they continue past this point people have died. Sleep is vital to people’s mental well being, and is very important. However people must eat so I would not agree with Whoon in the aspect sleep is more crucial than eating. They are both needed for humans to survive, and live well. It just so happens a person can do more with less to eat than with less sleep.

  37. Adam says:

    I had never really thought of storytelling as such an important part of leadership. I love to tell stories with my friends and in my writings. It is great to think that a story not only tells so much about the orator but also can be used to build motivation and even teach.

  38. Miles Rachner says:

    I would like to talk about the “Don’t treat your brain like junk” segment. I think it is very important that people do not treat their brains like junk, even if I do time to time. Hippocrates said that “Let your food be your medicine, and let your medicine be your food.” This means that you should eat healthy and you in turn will not need medicine. Today it is too often we eat junk food that is terrible for our bodies and will need medicine or medical treat because of what we eat. So it is very important we eat health and give our brains the food we need be be active and successful.

  39. Miles Rachner says:

    I’ve always known that storytelling was a skill, but I never really incorporated it with leadership before. However it is true that if a leader can master the art of storytelling they can move the masses with it. Throughout history you hear about great epics and speeches of leaders who motivate people to do amazing tasks. So I agree that storytelling is a skill that every leader should try to master.

  40. Libby Howe says:

    The Engagement Secret of Great leaders correlates directly to the Golden Circle theory of Simon Sinek in that people buy what you believe not what you do. Storytelling gives followers a personal relationship with leaders and an important emotional insight into what drives a leader. The cohesion that results from these types of telling relationships cannot be bought. Storytelling is an important facet of leadership in that it gives followers a peek into what is driving the leader and, more often than not, shows a follower that, yes, they want the same things as the leader.

  41. Jerry Huang says:

    Great leaders seem to have what some may call the “gift of gab” or an extremely charismatic personality that captures attention. Much like the leader, comedians have an ability to portray a certain situation in a humorous light and to create an association with the audience . While the comedian’s career involves around good humor, a great leader has the same ability to incite emotion within a group of people and are similar in that way. To be a strong leader means to have the ability to speak and describe a situation, linking two unlikely parties together.

  42. Taylor McClain says:

    I read the storytelling article. I think a good storyteller is similar to a leader because they must be a good public speaker and they must have charisma. This article reminded me of when we wrote our “This I Believe” essays. We were digging deep to tell our personal stories in the best way we could. I think a lot of times telling a story is a way a leader can establish a vision.

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