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

Wednesday, October 30, 2019


Epiphanies are quite rare.  Cathartic experiences are quite rare.  "Damascus road" type events are quite rare.

Tackling sticky problems (whether as individuals in our personal lives or as teams dealing with organizational conundrums) is almost always best addressed using a simple recipe:
1) Admit there is a problem.
2) Define the problem as simply and clearly as possible.
3) Pick one (or two) action steps you believe will begin to affect improvement.
4) TAKE THE STEPS, by embedding them into our day-to-day business (habitize them!).
5) Review the impact of those changes on a regular basis.
6) Modify and adjust as needed.

Waiting for an epiphany, or a cathartic experience, or for some existential transformational solution.................rarely yields the outcomes we seek.

If the problem is OURS, then so likely is the solution.

Monday, October 28, 2019


I recently read Sheep No More: The Art of Awareness and Attack Survival by Jonathan T. Gilliam (2017). 

In this book, JTG provides a simple, layman-friendly guide to planning for our own safety and that of our families.  From his experiences as a Navy SEAL, an FBI agent, and a federal air marshal, JTG talks us through the importance steps of awareness and simple preparatory acts that can help us avoid dangerous situations as well as survive them if we ever find ourselves therein.

Some of my biggest takeaways:
  • Try to think from the perspective of an evil intender when considering the environments we’ll be occupying or visiting.  Think about critical assets, critical areas of exposure, and critical times of high vulnerability.
  • When visiting other locales, do a visual reconnaissance through Google Earth or similar technology to get a broader sense of the location, its particular vulnerabilities, and potential escape routes.
  • When traveling with groups of friends or family, discuss escape routes and re-assembly locations in case catastrophe or separation occurs.
  • Think through our options for how to escape or evade if faced with a dangerous encounter, AND also through strategies for aggressively fighting our way out should the first two options not be available to us.

My previous service as a school principal and school superintendent had already conditioned me to think in these safety-minded terms.  I had not, however, spent as much time considering danger avoidance and interdiction from a personal perspective.  Clearly, a gap in my thinking (and preparedness).

I have written often in this blog about the power of HABIT on our lives.  Situational awareness of potential dangers fits squarely in the “habit” category.  Just a little thinking and a little planning and a little practice for unexpected and dangerous eventualities could make a real difference for us and our families.

Saturday, October 19, 2019


Storms come through our lives. There's no getting around it. 

Just like the weather version of storms, we have no control of when life's storms will come our way, how long they will pelt us, or the amount of damage they inflict.

What we do control, however, is two things in relation to the storms of life:

1) our Preparedness. Paying attention to the warning signs, learning from our own and the experiences of others who have survived similar storms, and thoughtfully prepping for the eventualities requires some attention on our part, and a modicum disciplined practice (both thought practice and physical practice).

2) our Response. Bolstering ourselves physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually after the storm and moving forward immediately is the best and surest path to recovery. Almost always, this is done in concert with loved and valued others. Move on, together, one step in front of the other. 

While charading as an athletic coach decades ago, I recall often telling my players before a game that we could expect bad things to occur. Bad things - storms - would happen to both teams. That the victor would most likely be the one who handled the adversities with the most skill. And, that adversity is a much more accurate revealer of one's character than is prosperity.

True words when I spoke them to those young men and young women in my charge back then.

True still.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019


The good old days are just that - OLD!

Pining for happier, more peaceful, times is a lovely delusion, but the clock stops for no one (arguably, not even for the dead). 

The people and organizations I admire the most are the forward-looking ones. They're the ones who only spend enough time looking backward to do two things:
1. Honor past accomplishments, heroes, and relationships.
2. Learn needful lessons from former fails and evil doers.

Time overspent on those two activities is wasted time. Why? Because today's future-oriented folks are busy creating today's accomplishments, heroes, and relationships. And, they're busy mitigating the prospects for today's underperformance and dastardly actors. 

We are, in many and even most ways, writing our own history, on both personal and collective levels. 

We can most assuredly do better (but not by spending an inordinate amount of time looking backward).

Tuesday, October 8, 2019


I was raised in the Christian faith. My understanding of that faith has been shaped, re-shaped, thinned, thickened, refined, revised, reformed, transformed, hammered, smoothed, forged, .... you pick the verb. 

To say that that understanding has changed over time is the pinnacle of understatement. Each day I am challenged to learn new elements of that faith, AND to abandon pieces that seem now to have been misinterpreted.

The God of my understanding has likely not changed all that much over the last 60 years. It is clearly my understanding of that God that continues to.......... grow? clarify? evolve?

However, the word GRACE has not altered during my spiritual evolution. The unearned and un-earnable love and favor of the God remains the only safe ground for me to stand on. 

Grace-less means Hope-less, for me.  My Hope for betterness (both now and beyond, for both me and those with whom I share this planet) is grounded firmly in the GRACE of my highly misunderstood God.

I am most certainly the beneficiary of tsunamic GRACE.  

To whom much is given, much is required.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2019


The best leaders I know understand that neither they, nor the organizations they lead, live in a vacuum.  They know well that we are all situated within the milieu of interconnected humanity.

Thus, those astute leaders study and network beyond their bailiwick. Most of them consume content and make connections voraciously, both within their professional genre and beyond.

For example, those versatile leaders might explore content along the following lines:

  • Manufacturing - to understand better how to identify and mitigate bottlenecks in production.
  • Faith-based - to understand better the search for meaning, for themselves and for pursuing worthy organizational goals.
  • Psychology - to understand better how and why humans act, react, and interact the way they do.
  • Marketing - to understand better how to reach target audiences with the goods and services they produce.
  • Science - to understand better how the most current research informs practice.
  • Health - to understand better how movement, peace, hydration, and nutrition (in both their literal and figurative forms) impact performance and longevity.
You get the idea. Those truly wise leaders understand that they can never understand enough, and that they most certainly cannot understand enough if their learning focus is narrow.