The Need for Civility

In today’s day and age, it often easy to see that our civic discourse has become much more harsh and adversarial in nature. This decline in respect and civility has troubled me greatly. Especially as it pertains to political discussions, which are at the core of a strong and robust society. Andy motivating a crowd

I have always believed that it is important to be informed and engaged as a citizen, whether one chooses to ever seek public office or not. Our role as active participants in our own governance requires that we should  welcome a free and full exchange of ideas and perspectives, as we seek to solve shared problems, or to seize opportunities to improve our world.

Although, we may disagree on means and methods, or perhaps on core principles and philosophies, we need not become disagreeable or contemptuous with one another. If we do not see eye to eye on everything, this does not mean that we cannot seek out common ground on some things. There is no need to demonize people that disagree with us, when there is an opportunity to seek greater understanding.

I do not pretend that there are not deeply-held beliefs that will sometimes lead to fervent and passionate disagreements among groups and individuals. However, I do subscribe to the wisdom of the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes, who said that, “A mind, once expanded by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.”

It is in this spirit of celebrating our shared humanity, that I hold out the hope that we can continue to build a more civil discourse on the important issues of our time. If we have the courage and wisdom to talk with one another, instead of at each other or over each other, there is no limit to what we can achieve.

Dr. Stephen Covey put it beautifully, in his influential book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, when he wrote that we should “seek first to understand, and then to be understood.” While this is often easier said than done, it is a challenge that I hope we are up to accepting and committed to attaining.

I believe we will all be the better for it…and so will our society.

-Andy Ortiz, J.D., M.P.A. – President & CEO, Ortiz Leadership Systems, LLC.



Doing Good And Doing Well in 2015!

I am honored and pleased to have the opportunity to welcome in the new year of 2015. This new year affords us the chance to re-visit unattempted or perhaps unfinished goals, and to seek to improve ourselves both personally and professionally.

It is with great anticipation that I continue my journey of self-discovery and learning. Each day is replete with lessons to learn and experiences to relish, and I vow to make the most of all of these.

I challenge and encourage all of you to make note of those things you wish to achieve in this new year, and to have the courage and discipline to formulate a plan for making those dreams and goals realities in your lives. Understanding full well that a goal or a dream without a plan and a deadline is simply a wish. Do not be content to wish for things to be better, or to wish that you were better. Make it so.

I recently sat down and read from an old book in my personal library that dates from 1907 titled Thoughts That Inspire by George H. Knox. In that book was included a piece that was under the title of Ten Things To Do that I wanted to share with you. I hope that you are able to derive some wisdom from it.

Ten Things To Do

  • Do good to all.
  • Speak evil of none.
  • Hear and know the facts before judging.
  • Think before speaking.
  • Hold an angry tongue.
  • Be kind to the distressed.
  • Ask pardon for all wrongs.
  • Be patient toward everybody.
  • Stop the ears to a tale-bearer.
  • Disbelieve most of the ill reports concerning friends, neighbors, and people in general.


  • Submitted By: Andrew Ortiz, JD, MPA – President & CEO, Ortiz Leadership Systems, LLC.


When I was a boy, I heard a quote from Zig Ziglar that really impacted me. Zig said boldly that, “Your attitude and your aptitude will determine your altitude.” These words inspired me then and still do today.

If you wish to be a successful leader, always strive to develop and maximize a positive mental attitude, and do not allow yourself to be negative or petty. A cheerful disposition on life will affect your subconscious mind in a productive way also. It will allow you to approach life as a “can-do” person who practices possibility thinking, and not what Zig Ziglar used to refer as “stinking thinking.” Think good thoughts and do good works. That alone is a fine philosophy for living.

“Attitude is the speaker of our present; it is the prophet of our future.”  – John C. MaxwellImage



I was once told that wisdom is knowing which advice to take and which to reject. I have always been one to seek the sage wisdom and counsel of mentors that have served me well throughout my life. Their words have provided me with courage and direction when I needed it, and inspiration and motivation when I was either forlorn or doubting my abilities.

I am a firm believer in seeking the advice of those whom you admire and respect, because their tips will likely provide you with the fuel and direction that you need at the moment; and over the course of a lifetime, these pearls of wisdom will have helped us to achieve at a higher level than we could have achieved alone.


“Advice is like snow; the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind.”  – Samuel Taylor Coleridge




Andrew Ortiz Speaking on Leadership at ASU Polytechnic Campus on March 28, 2014

American Indian Student Support Services Presents Scholar Circle Series: Leadership by Example

Sponsored by: Student and Cultural Engagement & One Native Nation Club
Friday, March 28
1:00 P.M. – 2:00 P.M. Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus – Cooley Ballroom C
Andrew F. Ortiz, J.D., M.P.A. – President & CEO Ortiz Leadership Systems, LLC. –


Andrew F. Ortiz, J.D., M.P.A.

President & CEO Ortiz Leadership Systems, LLC. 


Andrew Ortiz holds three degrees from Arizona State University (ASU), including a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (1992), a Juris Doctorate of Law (1998) and a Masters in Public Administration (1999). In 2004, Mr. Ortiz was inducted into the Arizona State University College of Public Programs Hall of Fame. He is a National Fellow with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and is a member of the Congressional Award Foundation Board of Directors in Washington, DC.


For more information: Felicia Little





There will always be challenges and trying times in the life of a leader. Sometimes adversity will present itself as a bitter defeat, and other times, it may be just a temporary setback. It is important, however, that we look at adversity as the hottest fire which tempers and forges the strongest steel. Our adversities will often prove to be crucibles that we must endure on the way to being all that we were destined to become. Tough times never last, but tough people do.


“Adversity has the effect of eliciting  talents which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.”  – HomerImage




In society there is a great deal of attention and focus applied to great thinkers.

We can look at the examples of the great philosophers, such as Voltaire, Rousseau,

Locke, and Spinoza. However, at the end of the day, our thoughts must prompt some

type of action that will translate these good thoughts into good deeds.


Dr. Robert Schuller put it well when he said, “You’ll never get ahead until you start

advancing.” I believe in the merits of developing strong, noble, and powerful ideas —

but I even more strongly exhort these great thinkers to also become great doers. The great

thoughts are the cause, and the great works are the effect. Go out and do both with great



“Unless a capacity for thinking be accompanied by a capacity for action, a superior mind

exists in torture.” – Benedetto Croce


When I was a kid, my mother used to always tell me to give my level best at whatever I did. Whether in the classroom, on the playing field, or on the job. I was told that hard work and passion applied to a noble effort would yield great achievements.

This formula for achievement still holds true today. To achieve great things, one must constantly establish new and lofty goals and put forth the committed effort to make these achievements concrete and real. In all that you endeavor to achieve — always give your all.

“Accomplishment will prove to be a journey, not a destination.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower


You owe it to yourself and to the world to fully establish your potential and to develop your abilities to their full extent. Each and every one of us has skills that others do not, and we are called upon to hone these skills and to truly transform these skills into distinct abilities.

 The extent to which you maximize your personal gifts and talents will determine how well you are able to positively impact your life and the lives of others. Do not allow your abilities to lay fallow, but rather, use them freely and proudly. The world owes its progress to men and women of ability.

 “The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators.” – Edward Gibbon

Stoke The Fire: Seven Ways To Maximize Your Leadership Potential

Stoke The Fire: Seven Ways To Maximize Your Leadership Potential
By Andrew F. Ortiz, J.D., M.P.A., President & CEO, Ortiz Leadership Systems, LLC.

A few years ago I was sitting in my office in Tempe, Arizona, and I was reflecting on my life and career. Through that reflection, I contemplated things that I have been fortunate enough to experience in life and in leadership. I analyzed both the successes and the failures that I have experienced along the way, and I started writing down some leadership traits that I thought one should possess to maximize their leadership potential. This article was born out of that thought. The seven leadership traits that I share in this article are by no means a magic formula for success, but I certainly believe that they will set you on a true and steady path in your own respective leadership journeys.

Principle 1: Passion – I have found it to be true in life that passion and enthusiasm have consistently taken my performance to higher levels. The energy that you bring to your work infuses you with a spirit that motivates you to always give your level best. As Aldous Huxley so aptly stated, “The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age which means never losing your enthusiasm.” Find the work that you were meant to do, and put your heart and soul into it. The results will most certainly amaze you. Ralph Waldo Emerson was right when he said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

Principle 2: Vision – I have always been inspired and fascinated by the works of visionary leaders who have been able take their followers from where they were to where they needed to be. Visionary leadership conjures up images of Martin Luther King, Jr., Winston Churchill, and Mahatma Gandhi. However, in our own lives, we are often asked to be visionary in our roles as leaders. Vision is the ability to create a picture of the future that inspires followership. Keep your eyes on your environment and seek to anticipate the trends in your fields of endeavor. There is a Japanese proverb that informs my thinking on this topic, which states: “A vision without action is just a dream. Action without vision is just a nightmare.”

Principle 3: Communicator – Ideas are the currency of the communicator. I have always thought that any leader worth his or her salt should be effective communicators – both as speakers and writers. Communication can take many forms and can take place in various ways. Communication can involve addressing a large audience at a convention, or it can involve motivating an employee in a one-on-one discussion. Your interpersonal skills will likely be called upon at some time to lead a team, or perhaps your writing skills will be required to communicate ideas in an article, a blog, a report , or in a memorandum. Give deep thought to the ideas that you communicate to others, and the style in which you communicate them. Make your communication thoughtful and compelling. In her book “Gift From the Sea,” Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote, “Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after.”

Principle 4: Connector – How many times have you heard it’s not what you know, it’s who you know? (Actually it’s both.) Effective leaders not only get to know lots of different people through their work; they also are mindful of connecting people together than can learn from one another. This allows people to achieve great things together that they could not achieve alone. I like to call this being a broker of relationships or a connector of the dots. Leaders should become great judges of talent and they should readily cultivate this talent where they find it, through mentorship and other support services that they can provide to up-and-coming leaders. We must work together to achieve our goals and aspirations, because our organizations, communities, and society depend on it. Martin Luther King, Jr. put it well when he said, “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” Let us connect with others to bring out the best in ourselves, and to seek to bring out their best in return. In doing so, we create a true “win-win”.

Principle 5: Builder – One of the top leadership traits that I have witnessed in leaders that I have admired is that they are builders – builders of organizations, movements, coalitions, and relationships. It is far easier to sit on the sidelines and criticize those that are seeking to build all of these things, than it is to roll up your sleeves and do the work. That is why the leadership role of builder is so important. A leader should seek to build up people and organizations, and not tear them down. As former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Sam Rayburn once remarked, “Any jackass can kick down the barn, but it takes a carpenter to build one.” Be daring as a leader, and lay strong foundations for success.

Principle 6: Knowledgeable – I have always maintained that a leader is a person who is always thirsting for more information and knowledge. Information, put to good use in the service of others, is a source of great influence and can lead to great achievements. Leaders should learn from those that are wiser than themselves, and they should create reputations as credible sources of information. Knowledge is not of particular value on its own, it must be put into practice. As Herbert Spencer put it, “The great end of education is not knowledge, but action.”

Principle 7: Sense of Humor – A leader should take their work seriously, but they need not always take themselves too seriously. It is an admirable trait for a leader to maintain a sense of humor and levity. Even in the midst of the tumult of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln said, “With the fearful strain that is on me, night and day, if I could not laugh, I should die.” When the stresses of our lives seem to weigh like the world upon shoulders, we can employ our sense of humor to not only survive, but to thrive. In his landmark book “Laughter is the Best Medicine”, Dr. Norman Cousins wrote, “Laughter is a form of internal jogging. It moves your internal organs around. It enhances respiration. It is an igniter of great expectation.” Here’s wishing all of you happy leading!

I hope this article will inspire you to become the best leader that you can possibly be. The path of leadership is never completely smooth, and there will undoubtedly be pitfalls to avoid and obstacles to overcome. However, the journey of leadership can also be rewarding beyond measure. So allow me to bid you Godspeed on your journey of leadership and achievement. Enjoy the ride!

About the Author: Andrew Ortiz, J.D., M.P.A. is the President & CEO of Ortiz Leadership Systems, LLC in Tempe, Arizona. Andrew is an internationally renowned speaker, leadership trainer, personal development coach, and management consultant. Andrew can be reached at . To learn more about his work and how to engage his services, please visit