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Sunday, August 30, 2020


Back when I was pretending to be an athletic coach, I carefully studied the practices of numerous outstanding coaches (in various sports).  I came to understand a commonality in them:  they were all fundamentalists. 

 No, not the religious kind. 

Fundamentalists in the sense that they knew that when athletes are put into the crucible of competition, they will physically, cognitively, and emotionally default to their HABITS.

Thus, those coaches built into each and every practice session certain fundamental skills routines, to ingrain deeply the auto-responses desired under duress.  Dribble drills in basketball and form tackling in football are examples.  Do them right, every time, without having to think about it.

The best Servant Leaders I know engage in the same type of daily disciplines - the habituation of the fundamentals.  They know full well that under the pressures of organizational crises, disruptive events, tight schedules, difficult negotiations, etc., we default to deeply ingrained schemas - physically, cognitively, emotionally, and spiritually. 

Both sets of consequential leaders I've studied - the athletic coaches and the Servant Leaders - were fundamentalists.  They deliberately chose and practiced daily the default responses they deemed necessary for success. 

I'm still thankfully learning from some of those exemplars.

Thursday, August 27, 2020


 Learning is the result of thinking.  

Learning is directly proportional to the amount of time/effort we put into thinking.  The more and more deeply we think, the more we learn.

Our thinking, and the subsequent learning we take from it, cannot be outsourced.  It's work we gotta do for ourselves.  Having teachers/guides/mentors/leaders can facilitate that process.

Pseudo teachers/guides/mentors/leaders presume to think for us and/or to tell us what to think.

Good teachers/guides/mentors/leaders actually cause us to think.

Extraordinary teachers/guides/mentors/leaders create the conditions that entice us into thinking deeply and critically.

World class teachers/guides/mentors/leaders craft environments in which we think collectively, synergistically accelerating our thinking.

More than ever, we have the power to pick our own teachers/guides/mentors/leaders.

Pick wisely.  LEARN much.

Friday, August 21, 2020


Wisdom is often assumed to be a function of age. 

Clearly, that is not always the case.  Examples abound of folks who've managed to keep living, but somehow missed important lessons contributing to wiseness.

On a recent morning walk, Moe (my lovely bride of 43 years) noted that age simply slows the rate at which we "go the wrong way," make crappy decisions, do stupid stuff.  To be sure, youth confers on us a degree of nimbleness, agility, and speed with which we miss, or misinterpret, a lot of important details/lessons.  

Wisdom implies we've actually LEARNED something from our myriad experiences over time. 

I think Moe's onto something.  

I still head off in the wrong direction far too frequently these days.  Age has simply served to limit the range of my lostness before discovering the need to redirect.  

Maybe we should call that phenomenon Agedom (instead of wisdom).

Saturday, August 15, 2020


 For some reason the lyrics to Paul Overstreet’s song titled “Heroes” has been playing in my mind: 

“Cause you know heroes come in every shape and size
Making special sacrifices for others in her lives
No one gives them medals, the world don't know their names
But in someone's eyes, they're heroes just the same.”


Here are a few commonalities of some of my personal heroes:


> Love – somehow, they seemed to love me despite knowing me.

> Vision – they remained relentlessly focused on the big picture.

> Learning – they insisted that I LEARN, both the easy and hard lessons.

> Reflection – they modeled and required of me reflective practice.

> Kindness – kindness was the constant, even when unwarranted. 

> Steadiness – they were emotional rocks during storms of chaos. 

> Faith – they lived out their belief in a higher Being, but in myriad ways.


Some of my heroes have passed, but many of them are still walking around.  


It’s been a comforting exercise thinking about them. 


Makes me wanna be like them.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020


Leaders are influencers.  

I learned a lot about leadership during the years I was charading as an athletic coach.  It became clear to me that the best coaches and leaders continually hone their skills in influencing others to become better versions of themselves (individually AND collectively).  Moreover, those leaders affect transformations toward betterment at paces far quicker than the team members would achieve if left to their dispositions.

Leader-influencers have a choice to make.  We can take a negative view and try to push the team forward through a deficit mindset and fear.  Or, we can choose to assume a WE CAN AND WE WILL perspective both in our vision of the future and in deploying the disciplines necessary to create that desired future.

I came to believe fully that the latter approach is the most worthy one.  I also came to be very suspicious and distrustful of leaders who chose to lead through negativity.  The motivations underlying the mindset of the leader matters.  A lot.

Choose who you follow wisely.  

Your future depends on it.

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