Thursday, February 27, 2020

44HutHut

I loved playing football.  I loved coaching football.  I love watching football.

One of the attractors to the game for me is the continual re-setting and re-launching process.  In very short bursts the two teams review what just happened, re-strategize, reset themselves, and re-launch.  

Almost always the re-launching occurs when the quarterback loudly marks the beginning of the next play with a guttural exclamation that sounds like...
"10-25-Hut-Hut" 
or 
"Blue-17-Hit-Hit" 
or
"Deleware-33-Deleware-33-Fire"
or somesuch.  

Whatever shape it takes, it means GO!!!!!

Both teams then enthusiastically deploy their very best individual and collective efforts toward the accomplishment of their goals.  After a lot of crashing, banging, sprinting, blocking, tackling, feigning, tossing, passing, catching, etc., that play quickly ends and the process starts all over again.

44-Hut-Hut:  Today marks the day that Moe (my lovely bride of 43 years) and I celebrate the completion of our 43rd re-launch and mark the beginning of #44.  After another very quick year ends, a new round of crashing, banging, sprinting, building, growing, working, buying, eating, traveling, crying, hugging..............LOVING begins. 

I absolutely love being on her team.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

EnergyDance

Energy required!

Energy is required for progress, for success, for life.  It doesn't matter whether we're talking about the energy produced by the mitochondria in each cell of our body (which keeps us running) or the energy produced by a team of folks accomplishing great things (whether athletes pursuing a title or researchers seeking breakthrough solutions).

Like so many other things in life, energy can run both ways. 

The Neg:  Sometimes energy is sucked out of the room/organization/body as result of diversions, delays, ignorance, inattention, jealousy, hyper-caution, selfish ambition, fear. 

The Pos:  Good energy is generated by noble pursuits, worthy goals, risk tolerance, encouragement, support, self- and team-actualization, HEALTH. 

The best leaders I know are adept in doing a tricky energy dance.  They identify and mitigate the energy sucks and the energy diverters.  At the same time, these wise leaders free and protect components/folks/systems that are creating positive energy toward valued goals.

I think I hear the band tuning up...


Friday, February 14, 2020

LearningWork

WORK!  

Most all of us work, in some form or fashion.  Even those who are not officially "employed" engage in work, somehow.

The best leaders I know understand that work is the result of LEARNING.  They also know that better work is the result of better learning.

The best leaders I know are constantly LEARNING, for themselves.  They mine deeply from books, from articles, from videos, from podcasts, from conferences, from others in their field, from folks in non-related fields, from asking questions, from observation, from ...  The possibilities are endless, and their learning is relentless and intentional.

The best leaders I know are fully aware that the success of their organization (whatever its mission) is directly proportional to the amount and quality of the learning that goes on within the membership of the organization.

The best leaders I know intentionally and with great discipline schedule LEARNING into the workdays/workweeks/workyears of their organizational membership, top to bottom.  

Survival in a competitive marketplace is most certainly one of the drivers behind those decisions.  Prospering in that marketplace is an even more powerful objective.

The late Stephen Covey was fond of asking this question:  "Did you ever get so busy driving that you didn't have time to stop and buy gas?"  Point well made.

LEARN ON!

Thursday, February 6, 2020

AlienatedAmerica


I recently read Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse by Timothy Carney (2019). 


In this book, TC dissects voting trends in both the primary and general elections of 2016 to try to make sense of why large collections of American voters felt/feel disenfranchised.  TC not only carefully disaggregated the numbers via statistical analysis, he also followed up with qualitative interviews/observations to delve more deeply into the causes and effects of political, social, and economic disparity. 

Some of my biggest takeaways:

Ø  Ease of mobility in America has had the effect of creating pockets of self-segregated “elites” (affluent and/or educated) from the “non-elites,” resulting in the polarization of worldviews. Those are not “merely differences of income, wealth, or education; they are differences of health, hope, and opportunity.” (p. 62)
Ø  When people are afflicted with “idleness” – nothing to do – traditional social institutions begin to collapse.
Ø  To truly understand others we must engage them where they are – in their communities.  Simply crunching data sets does not effectively tell the whole story.
Ø  Trust is a requirement of healthy community; it allows us to lower our defense shields.
Ø  The dissolution of family and houses of faith are at the root of America’s social and economic problems.
Ø  Loss of civility is directly proportional to the collapse of traditional social institutions (e.g., family, church, book clubs, bowling leagues, service organizations, etc.)
Ø  Secularization is the effort to force religion into being solely a private experience, depriving it of the self-actualizing effects of service for the greater good of the community.
Ø   A continuum:  Total regulation & low trust  <--->  Low regulation & high trust.  (Community health is low on the left end and high on the right end.)
Ø  Family strength is a powerful predictor of the potential for upward mobility for children.

My favorite quotes:
“Strong communities function not only as safety nets and sources of knowledge and wisdom, but also as the grounds on which people can exercise their social and political muscles. These are where we find our purpose.”  (p. 12) 

“Bad economics can help kill a community, but good economics cannot, alone, rebuild one. And if you’re not building community, you’re not getting close to fixing what ails us.” (p. 282) 

A very insightful examination of our national “health.”  Thanks for the recommendation, TM.