Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Reflection

Reflection - the image we see bounced back at us from a mirrored surface.  We take a look at how we shape up.  That examination can range from the very superficial and cosmetic all the way to deep assessments of purpose, motivation, intention, and meaning.

Reflection - a mental exercise in which we take stock of who we are or what happened, and make some judgement calls about how we respond to those realities.  In essence, we evaluate the level of our satisfaction with our performance (or that of our team) in some endeavor, or in life. 

Both forms of reflection provide important data in relation to these questions:
How we doin' right now?
How did we get in this shape?
What improvement measures are needed?
Are those measures needed in cosmetic terms, in behavioral terms, in mindset terms?

Reflection yields its best results when we engage in it often.  

Path corrections are best made before we get 100 miles (or 6 months) down the road.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Confrontation'sDescendants

Confrontation occurs when we choose (yes, it's a choice) to address a difficult issue with another person.  Group confrontation can also occur, but it's rarely fruitful.  

Some humans seem to thrive on confrontation, as if it is an addiction.  Others persistently avoid it.  To be sure, confrontation puts everyone on edge, heightens our blood pressure, kicks the old sweat glands into gear.

The folks I know who handle confrontation in the healthiest manner do these things:

  • They ask good questions of the other, in attempt to fully understand.
  • They listen carefully to the other in response to those questions.
  • They purposefully try to turn down the volume and limit the hostility.
  • They insist on sticking to the issue, not drifting toward peripheral issues or the digging up of old bones.
  • They ALWAYS assume that, in the end, they themselves could be proven wrong.
  • They attempt to use the confrontation as a way to build a bridge rather than destroy a relationship.
Unhealthy approaches to confrontation include:

  • Threatening words, threatening postures, threatening acts.
  • Surprise engagements, the launching of the confrontation without warning or prelude.
  • LOUDNESS in the discourse, as if the decibel level somehow lends credence to ones position.
  • Leveraging divisiveness, rather than unity or compromise, as a tool.
  • Demonizing the other when resolution seems elusive.
I trust that Moe (my lovely bride of 41 years) and I were reasonably successful in teaching our children the healthier approaches to confrontation, for most assuredly, our grandchildren (and their own) will harvest the efforts of that teaching.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Jackass

"Jackass" was a popular TV show a few years ago.  It featured stuntmen trying crazy stuff that was clearly risky.  Almost always, viewers could forecast the potential risks as we watched the attempts unfold.  Often, the results were extraordinary fails, which made for great entertainment.   

The wisest leaders I know exercise thoughtful and deliberate forecasting before launching a risky decision.  They purposefully rely on very deliberate cost-benefit analyses before making decisions that put their organization at risk.

The wisest of the wisest organizational leaders leverage the thinking of trusted others before putting their organizations at risk.  Thoughtful decision making doesn't necessarily make for great entertainment, but its absence often yields Jackass-like results -- the loss of time, productivity, market share, customer allegiance, talent, or even life.

Jackass behavior/thinking/decisions are best left to................the Jackasses.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Ists-Ans-Ics

Communists
Bostonians
Alcoholics
Capitalists
Vegetarians
Academics

Labeling is a handy convention we use to plop people in groups.  We can then jump to some conclusions about that person, or those people (or, canonize/demonize them according to their grouping).

Problem is, the labels don't define us.  Making assumptions based on labels is like walking through a minefield.

If we want to know another person, perhaps it's best to get to KNOW them, personally.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

MultiGuided

The best leaders I know do their research, consuming and metabolizing wide-ranging content and perspectives.

These leaders understand that, since they are servants beholden to those who choose to follow them, they own the responsibility to be well-informed, to be addictive consumers of knowledge, to be keen observers of human dynamics, and to be macro-learners.

These wise leaders avoid mightily organizational insulation and echo-chamber-like sources/resources that tend to foster very narrow world views, that limit innovative thinking, and that affect short-sighted decisions.

In short, the wisest leaders intentionally choose to be MultiGuided, rather than MisGuided. 

Saturday, October 13, 2018

YouThey

A lot of folks in leadership positions seem to start sentences/speeches/diatribes/soundbytes with a couple of key words:

"You.............." or "They.............."

In most cases both of those words put the hearers somewhat in defensive mode, from the git-go.  

With the "You" stem, it feels a little like there's a finger being pointed at us, like we're being accused of something, as if we're in for a good scolding, like we've done something wrong.

With "They," it feels as if we need to gear up for some fight against an evil entity deserving of our wrath/scorn/hatred, yet the pronoun doesn't even clearly tell us who we should fear or despise.  "They" is just the enemy (for this moment, or this speech), so get ready to wage war.  (Expect casualties.)

The leaders I most admire, and who seem to me the most worthy of my attention, use a lot of sentence stems with these words:

"We.............." or "Our.............."

Just feels a little more like we're being invited into something bigger than ourselves.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

ChristModel

I rarely discuss religion in this blog, only making tangential reference occasionally (and I avoid politics like the plague - perhaps it is one???).

My faith is in fact just that -- FAITH.  Faith that what I currently believe is even in the right ballpark, or universe.  My views of the Christian faith and the efficacy of my attempts at adherence to its tenets have changed over time.  I assume they will continue to do so.  

In the discussions, debates, and arguments about right practice of that faith (and, boy, do we Christians have wide-ranging understandings and applications), I continually find myself trying to listen/read with an open mind.  I seek to understand if there is something I am missing, or have missed, in my faith learning along the way.  Some of the nuances and ambiguities seem intractable, even irreconcilable. 

Always, I find myself thinking about what I know of Christ himself, and wondering how he might behave and react, were he in my boots.  I never bought one of those "WWJD - What would Jesus do?" bracelets, but I find myself asking that question quite a lot.  

Against that standard, I consistently find myself unworthy.  Jesus seemed to embody and express LOVE in ways that I am not yet able.  

I am eternally grateful for that "grace" component embedded in the Christian faith.  It seems that may be my only salvation.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Spicy

I've always preferred spicy over bland.  That preference goes for food, and for people.

Here's why:

  • Spicy "feels" vibrant.
  • Spicy is a little surprising, even when expected.
  • Spicy lingers in my brain long after the initial effect.
  • Spicy clearly differentiates itself from "the crowd."
  • Spicy piques my interest, garners my attention.
I know!  It's just my personal preference.  I'm not trying to persuade you.

Bland just feels too............mushy, too average.  In every way.