Sunday, March 5, 2017

A message from Kivi Bernhard about leadership

This essay isn't about Israel. It's about an Orthodox Jew from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Have you ever heard of Kivi Bernhard? I first met him in Pittsburgh close to 20 years ago. At that time, I had already become a long-term Pittsburgh resident. Kivi was newly arrived. 

He was young, perhaps in his mid-to-late twenties. He was married. He had children. He couldn't afford to live on his own. He and his family lived with his in-laws.

He said he was in the diamond business.

He was very low-key. He looked and acted like a couple of other young 'diamond-dealers' I knew. They worked out of their homes. They didn't strike me as particularly successful. 

I remember Kivi for two reasons. First, he believed in what he called 'business values'. He talked about those values. He sounded like he'd read--and memorized--ten or twenty business-motivation books. He spoke with a passion about his subject--how to succeed. 

You remember a young person like that. They're not 'a dime a dozen'. 

The second reason I remember him comes from a personal experience. During the time I knew Kivi, a business acquaintance of mine came to me with a  personal problem. We had never talked personal issues before. But she now asked me for help.

She was having serious money problems. The quickest solution, she said, was to sell her wedding ring. She knew the value of the ring. She understood she'd have to sell it at a lower, wholesale price, not a retail price. Still, she felt such a price would help her enormously.

Her problem was, she had gone to several local retail jewelry stores to see if they'd buy the ring from her. They would--but at a price she felt was unfairly low. She felt they were trying to cheat her. 

She didn't know how to proceed. She asked, did I know anyone she could talk to? I knew Kivi.

I arranged a meeting. She sold him her ring. 

This woman, a non-Jew, had just dealt with two Orthodox Jews, one of whom could have cheated her. Instead, she ended up with far more money than she had dreamed she could get.

Kivi didn't have to do that. He'd told her he'd give her that kind of money because, he'd said, that's what she said could help her with her problem. He'd also told her he could pay her this amount and still 'make something' on the ring.

It was a 'class act' on his part. It was a kind of behavior one remembers.

Now, I see Kivi only on youtube or on TV. You see, he's become the success he'd dreamt of. 

I tell you about him today because I've just found a video about Kivi and Microsoft CEO, Bill Gates. The video comes from israelvideonetwork. It was posted there on February 20, 2017. 

Take a look:

If you want to learn about values-based decision-making, take a look at the book, "The seven habits of highly effective people". If you want to learn more about how Kivi describes his 'critical business thinking' ideas, visit his website,

You can also find some of his TV interviews--and samples of his presentations--on youtube under 'Kivi Bernhard'.

His business-improvement ideas are based on the hunting abilities of the African leopard. It's a unique approach to business thinking. 

He created the phrase 'leopardology'. He uses that phrase to make you think about who you are--and how to be more successful. 

He's figured out how to reach that success. Now he's helping others. 

I remember him with fondness. I wish him well.

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