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Welcome to nc’s blog. Read, comment, interact, engage. Let’s learn together - recursively.

Thursday, June 1, 2023


Decades ago, one of the students of my lovely bride of 46 years -- Moe -- related to her that he had had an "epiphery." Moe quickly discerned that he was sharing with her about an epiphany, but had mispronounced the word. To this day, Moe and I frequently use the word "epiphery" to describe those breakthrough moments in our learning. 

Some common elements by which Epipheries find us:

  • When we are being intentionally observant.
  • When we carve out time regularly to think and/or meditate.
  • When we are engaging purposefully with bright-minded others.
  • When we cross-pollinate by probing across multiple topics/genres.
  • When we have been focused and fixated on raising our level of learning.
Rarely, if ever, do Epipheries come to us in the midst of a hurricane (literal or metaphorical).

Intentional effort at learning anew seems to play a pivotal role in Epiphery appearances.

Sunday, May 28, 2023


Leadership is tricky business. 

Sometimes we find ourselves believing things that just ain't so.

Like what? Like the following lies we sometimes tell ourselves:

  • "If I ignore the problem, maybe it will go away."
  • "I'm sure I can change Bill (or Betty or Bertie)."
  • "If I just work harder, that'll fix it."
  • "It's best not to be known by, or to know well, others on the team."
  • "Keeping things just like they are is the safest course."
  • "If I show too much appreciation, folks will slip into neutral."
  • "Maybe another rule/policy is needed."
Truth telling is a powerful ingredient. Not telling ourselves lies is equally so.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023


As a kid I loved playing catch. My partner of the moment -- dad or brother or friend -- and I would grab a ball of some kind and throw it back and forth to each other. Playing catch provided an easy but engaging hang with the other person. (It could even include more than two participants.)

Engaging with curious-minded others has the same effect on me. It's like playing intellectual "catch."

Here are some of the benefits of playing Curiosity Catch:

  • Thinking skills sharpen.
  • It is beneficial to all participants.
  • Interesting stuff and ideas always surface.
  • It provides a safe and easy place to "wonder."
  • Collective intelligence accelerates individual intelligence.
  • It pushes thinking to the outer edges of what is already known/believed.
LEARNING is the outcome. Every participant wins. No one loses.

Wanna play catch?

Sunday, May 21, 2023


How energizing to work with a leader that liberates.

Rather than prescribe, direct, demand, define, ..... there are some leaders who take the path of liberating folks to do their very best work.

What are some of the things Liberating Leaders do?

  • Articulate clearly, and dialogue pervasively around, the Vision of the organization.
  • Focus relentlessly on Outcomes that move the organization toward that Vision.
  • Learn team members strengths and place them in roles that leverage the same.
  • Deal with the low-performers directly and individually, without putting constraints on everyone for the sins of a few.
  • Notice and acknowledge frequently those who are serving well the greater good.
  • Learn voraciously, and bring every other person in the organization into the learning journey.
  • Listen deeply, to a lot of folks; and talk sparingly.
  • Model daily the work ethic, commitment, effort that is expected of all.
Liberating Leaders are simply wonderful to work for/with. 

Ask me how I know...........

Wednesday, May 17, 2023


Sometimes we get stuck. The rut seems to grab hold and won't let go. 

Getting stuck happens to everyone. Getting unstuck is not rocket science.

Try this recipe:

  • Get off the accelerator. Spinning the tires even faster won't get us out of the rut.
  • Reflect carefully. Figure out what got us stuck in the first place.
  • Seek the perspective of wise observers from outside the organization.
  • Discern carefully whether we got busier at doing than we were at being.
  • Decouple from habits that got us here.
  • Add in a couple of habits that move us toward what we wanna BE.
Constant monitoring, constant reflection, constant correction. 

Sounds like work, but well worth it to get UNstuck.

Monday, May 15, 2023


I love being in spaces with smart people. 

Smart people come in all shapes and sizes. Two quick "tells" on whether they're the kind you'd like to learn something from are: 1) Bright and interested eyes, and 2) Willingness to engage.

Where do I find those "smart" people? In the checkout line of the grocery store, sitting next to me at a ballgame, serving me at a restaurant, in the foyer of the hotel, in a breakout session at a conference, etc. Pretty much anywhere. If I'm not looking for them, it's my loss.

How do I open the door to engagement? I usually ask a simple question or make an invitational comment. They'll let you know quickly whether or not they're willing to engage.

Where do I look? Everywhere.

Why do I look for smart people? To LEARN. They know something that I need to know.

By the way, the education I get from those folks is pretty much cost free. The only thing it costs me is just a smidgen of my time. And, it's well worth the education.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023


Football can serve as a nice metaphor for organizational endeavor.

The VISION of the football team is to win games and championships.

The MISSION of the offense is to make first downs and score points.

The ACTION PLAN of the offense is to effectively executive plays in a coordinated way.

In football, there are many offensive schemes that can be used (all good), each with its own nuances:

  • Wishbone Offense
  • Split-back Veer Offense
  • Winged T Offense
  • Run-and-Shoot Offense
  • Slot-I Offense
  • and many more
Imagine the result if a team breaks huddle, sprints to the line of scrimmage, and each of the 11 players then attempts to execute a completely different play, from a different offensive scheme.

We see that very thing happen with remarkable frequency in organizations. It's as if the VISION, the MISSION, and/or the ACTION PLAN somehow get lost in the day-to-day work.

When that happens, we should not expect to make first downs.....or score points.....or win.