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Thursday, February 15, 2018


Our personal and work lives provide us with a fair dose of both Joy and Misery (with a lot of experiences that fit somewhere in the middle).  The overall assessment of our position on the 

Joy <<<< >>>> Misery

Index is the result of a number of factors.   

While important, the following DO NOT usually drive us to the far extremes of that continuum:

  • The software.
  • The schedule.
  • The pay.
  • The conditions.
  • The tools.
What does?  The PEOPLE.  They bring us joy or they bring us misery.

Given that fact, we get to make choices everyday about how we contribute to the health of the organizations and families to which we belong.

We can and do move others toward Joy or toward Misery.  

(Note to self:  We reap what we sow.) 

Thursday, February 8, 2018


Statues freeze-frame a moment, locking it in time and space.  They are simply representations of a real (or imagined) moment in life, but they are not LIFE.

Leadership, rather, is a contact sport which requires LIFE.

Some leaders try to insulate themselves from the potential negative consequences associated with living boldly by:

  • Distancing themselves from bad news. 
  • Placing layers upon layers of bureaucracy between themselves and customers.
  • Talking persistently in bland and diluted platitudes.
  • Avoiding ownership in decisions.
  • Scapegoating anyone or everyone else when things go badly.
Some of the best and wisest leaders I know, however, breathe LIFE into their work and the work of those around them in these ways:
  • They boldly lean into rather than away from a vision of a better future for all.
  • They notice and acknowledge the hard and risky work of those who "lean into" that vision with them.
  • They focus intently on what's going right and only spend time on what's going wrong in the interest of righting it.
  • They talk continuously in ways that make those around them feel emboldened, supported, and energized as they stay in the fight for betterness.
Statues need not apply.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


I recently read East of Eden by John Steinbeck (1952).  

This was my first reading of Steinbeck.  (I know, I know!  Save it!).

This powerful tale of fiction is every bit the masterpiece I was told it would be.  The story traces the intertwined lives of two families (the Trasks and Hamiltons) in the Salinas Valley of California in the early 1900s.  

JS beautifully develops his characters while building multiple plots that touch on such powerful themes as love, betrayal, guilt, loyalty, and freedom.  The word-smithing is out of this world.  The imagery and allusion simply remarkable.   

A beautiful and powerful work.  Thanks for the rec, Moe. 

Friday, February 2, 2018


The concept of "deficit model" works like this:  People will only do the right and appropriate thing when they are coerced to do so; left to their own devices, they'll shirk, skate, squander, pilfer, and cheat.

Organizational leaders who operate with this mindset usually lean heavily on strident and voluminous rules/protocols/regulations which are meant to ensure "right and appropriate" behavior through layers of monitoring and compliance-based processes.

The wisest leaders I know, on the contrary, make their expectations clear about the efficacy of right and appropriate behavior, for the individual employees, for the culture of the workplace, and for the ultimate benefit to the customer/client base.  

When/If those leaders discover employees NOT behaving in accordance to the articulated expectations, they address the problem with that employee (not by issuing more rules/protocols/regulations).

The deficit model mindset does nothing but perpetuate the................deficit.  

The cost is quite high.