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

Friday, August 30, 2019


Boots on the ground, ear to the track, hand to the plow.  

The best leaders I know understand fully that Continuous Improvement and Constant Assessment are two sides of the same coin.  

If we're not monitoring and assessing our progress relentlessly, then we..........well..........don't really know how we're doing.  

Yet, wise leaders also know that knowing how we're doing has absolutely zero meaning unless we're continually in the process of making it better. 

Excellence-focused leaders refuse to make the betterment duo of Continuous Improvement and Constant Assessment annual, or quarterly, or monthly, or even weekly foci.  They make them daily undertakings. Just like brushing teeth or combing hair or drinking coffee or.......the stuff we usually call habits.

Those wise leaders make a Daily Big Deal of Continuous Improvement and Constant Assessment for themselves, and for the organizations they serve.

Saturday, August 24, 2019


I recently read Strala Yoga: Be Strong, Focused & Ridiculously Happy from the Inside Out by Tara Stiles (2016).  By the way, “strala” is a scrunch-word coined by TS, from the roots of “strength, balance, and awareness.”

As part of my annual growth plan (you can find it on my website), I have determined for at least one year to learn and practice yoga. 

Admittedly, this decision is pushing me out of my comfort zone.  By disposition, I am a work-hard-lift-heavy-run-fast-sweat-much kind of exerciser.  Yoga is forcing me to think more holistically, less specifically, and far less intensely than is my custom. 

Now two months deep into the practice I am seeing, feeling, and beginning to understand the benefits of this form of health maintenance (still hard to for to think of it as exercise). 

TS makes the point repeatedly in the book that even in the fiercest and most powerful of animals on the planet, we don’t see them going to the weight room or enrolling in group exercise classes.  The analogy does break down rather quickly, but it also holds in many relevant ways.

Bottom line:  I’m in (for at least a year) and, to date, have been most pleased with the outcomes (physically, cognitively, and emotional-spiritually).

Wish me luck.

*If you’d like to read more of nc’s blatherings, go to www.nelsonwcoulter.com.

Monday, August 19, 2019


The wisest leaders I know are supremely conscious of the fact that they are nothing without the TEAM.

Thus, those wise leaders constantly work to accelerate team growth and team performance.


  • They think and talk futuristically (wasting little attention on the past).
  • They handle as many of the tough conversations as possible informally and privately.
  • They stay focused on the things they can control.
  • They make continuous improvement a daily habit, and expectation.
  • They don't take, or make, things personal.
  • They invest in the team generously (both in tangible and intangible means).
  • They spend as little time/effort as possible in the deficit-model activities of judging, ranking, sorting, grading,.......
Exactly the reason that excellent leaders have such committed followership.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


I recently read The China Study: Revised and Expanded Edition by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell (2016). 

The original edition of this book was published in 2006. The book is the culminating work of 60 years worth of research by Dr. T.C. Campbell; Dr. T.M. Campbell is his son, who is a physician.

Interestingly, the research conducted and reported by the authors led TCC down a path he never expected.  He was raised on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, never expecting that his life work of research around nutrition and health would lead him to the conclusions he eventually deduced.

Some of my biggest takeaways:
Ø  A Whole Food, Plant-Based (WFPB) diet is that which seems to optimize the health prospects for humans.
Ø  The more evidence I find/hear/read, the more convinced I am that my health and wellbeing (particularly in the last 1/3 of my life) will be the direct result of the nutritional choices I make.
Ø  Our health and wellbeing is not a primary concern of government.
Ø  Our health and wellbeing is not a primary concern of academia.
Ø  Our health and wellbeing is not a primary concern of corporate entities (in this case, those of healthcare, pharma, agriculture, food distributors,…).
Ø  To think of health in disaggregated forms such as only physical or mental or emotional or spiritual is similar to thinking of an automobile as being only nuts-n-bolts or only drive systems or only body parts or only electronics.  The integrated WHOLE makes it what it is.

Don’t read this book if you’re already decided on topics of health optimization, the integrity of academia, the trustworthiness of government and industry.

Do read this book if you’re willing to have some assumptions challenged, to consider some pretty expansive and compelling research evidence about health and nutrition, to entertain the prospect that if we are to take charge of our own health and wellbeing then WE are the ones that will need to do so (can’t be outsourced).

This book is a superb work, worth every minute of time you spend with it.

Monday, August 12, 2019


The best leaders I know are excellent People Readers, NOT people manipulators.

How do they "read" people?  Here are a few of their techniques:

  • They listen to others deeply, with their ears, with their eyes, with their heart.
  • They ask others about their aspirations, their dreams, their drivers.
  • They are attuned to the strengths others manifest (and try mightily to align their work assignments to those strengths).
  • They seek to learn the not-so-much-strengths of others (and try mightily NOT to align their work assignments toward those areas).
  • They figure out how to have real, even if brief, conversations with others in order to get a better sense of their uniquenesses.
  • They are constantly discerning the catalysts of positive and negative energy generators in the organization, magnifying the former and mitigating the latter.
Rocket science? Nope.  Something you can put on a spreadsheet and disaggregate?  Nope.  Tricky, hard, time-consuming work?  You bet!

Worth it, if a better future for the organization as a whole and each of its members as individuals is among one's important goals.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019


The words Accountability and Responsibility both carry somewhat esteemed connotations in social discourse.  I've recently been pondering their meanings, and differences.

Accountability's features:

  • Some Others determine that certain performance standards and/or behaviors MUST be met.
  • Some Others decide that those performance standards or behaviors will likely occur only if sufficiently rewarded when achieved, or punished when compliance is absent.
  • Some Others apply said rewards or punishments to induce the desired outcomes.
Responsibility's features:
  • We or a group of like-minded and valued others determine that certain performance standards and/or behaviors are worthy of personal or collective commitment and completion.
  • We or a group of like-minded and valued others decide that those performance standards and/or behaviors will be achieved as result of their rightness.
  • We or a group of like-minded and valued others continually modify and adjust our performance/behaviors to achieve the desired outcomes.
When the case has not been sufficiently made for the worthiness of a particular outcome, then Accountability measures must presumably be invoked.

It's really a Push vs Pull thing, but perhaps making a compelling case for Responsibility holds better promise than applying the oppressive tools of Accountability.

The stuff of effective leadership, I think.

Friday, August 2, 2019


Meetings, meetings, meetings.  They seem to be a necessity of organizational life, but they too often produce more harm than good, more stagnation than productivity.

Effectively conducting meetings that move the team productively forward feels somewhat akin to an occult art.  Yet, I know a few organizational leaders who manage to pull it off.  

Here are some of the meetings strategies they use:
> Meetings are scheduled well in advance, with clear start and stop times.
> No wall flowers allowed; everyone invited has some skin in the game.
> Agendas are succinct, communicated ahead of time, and tightly aligned to the organizational goals.
> All attendees are expected to participate, proportional to their closeness to the work (which means the loftiest title holders get the least air time).
> Dissociated ramblings and mind-numbing blather are NOT allowed.
> Decisions are made, with deliverables clearly articulated.

Meetings are typically the most expensive hours spent in an organization's life span.  Wisely managed ones are force multipliers; ineptly deployed ones are just the opposite.