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Wednesday, April 27, 2022


Change happens. That's a given.

Yet change has variability in its timelines.

Conditions Change. Conditions can change very quickly. Weather conditions can change in a heartbeat. A protest can turn into a riot almost instantly. 

People Change. People usually change more slowly. Sometimes a person will change after a traumatic experience, or as result of illness, or in the wake of a religious experience, or concluding that they've been very wrong. 

Systems Change. The slowest change clock of all is that which alters a system. This is the stuff of culture. The IRS won't change very quickly, if at all. An ideology (political or religious) will only budge at a snails pace. Dogma is an extremely slow learner.

For those of us interested in a better tomorrow, we'll have to commit long-term to tinkering with System Change, because People Change and Conditions Change almost always occur downstream. 

In all areas where humans are involved, it's the habits that matter.

Pack a lunch...

Monday, April 25, 2022


Whether consciously or not, we are all in the FutureBuilding business.....right now.....every moment.....every day.

Most of us (hermits excepted -- well, maybe even them) are also directly or indirectly shaping the future of our families, our friends, and our colleagues. For those of us in leadership roles, we are also directly involved in shaping the future of the stakeholders in our organizations, both internal and external.

It makes good sense that we would engage in this FutureBuilding with extreme intentionality.

Some useful questions for us to consider in this FutureBuilding process:

  • What kind of future do we want?
  • How did we get to the "present" we are now experiencing?
  • What kind of thinking, behavior, planning, and action is needed to help us move toward the desired future?
  • What kinds of thinking and behavior do we need to alter (abandon or adopt) to move in the direction of that desired future?

It always starts with me, but it is always about US.

It only happens one step at a time.

Now is the time to start. 

Sunday, April 17, 2022


I recently read Story Driven: You Don’t Need to Compete When You Know Who You Are by Bernadette Jiwa (2018).  

In this book, BJ speaks to the importance of us as individuals and as organizations to not only “know ourselves” but that that knowing is absolutely essential to our being able to connect with others (whether personally, collegially or transactionally). 


My top takeaways:

·       Our best service posture is achieved when we learn to be responsive rather than reactive.

·       Having a clear sense of purpose and identity is essential to being able to have impact (aka mattering).

·       The best organizations (and people) don’t matter by winning, they win by mattering.

·       Losing is the result of what we sacrifice in order to win.

·       The use of powerful reflective questions is the best starting point for understanding our Story.

·       The Story-Driven progression: 

o   1. BACKSTORY: Our journey to now. 

o   2. VALUES: Our guiding beliefs. 

o   3. PURPOSE: Our reason to exist. 

o   4. VISION: Our aspiration for the future. 

o   5. STRATEGY: The alignment of opportunities, plans and behavior: how we will deliver on our purpose and work towards our aspiration, while staying true to our values.  


My favorite quotes:


‘The greatest way to live with honour in this world is to be what we pretend to be.’ —Socrates (p. 1)


‘The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. —Steve Jobs (p. 3)


“Clarity of intention is where your story starts.” (p. 42)


“Mahatma Ghandi said, ‘Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.’” (p. 53)


Our days are consumed with measuring up in all kinds of arbitrary, superficial, ungrounded ways. What would happen if we spent as much time reflecting— wondering about and working on the inside, nurturing the things that make us who we are? (p. 145)


This book is going on my list of recommended readings. Nuff said! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022


One of my favorite bosses (and mentors) provided to me MUCH loving guidance as he and I were trying to polish up my leadership skills over the years. (I am eternally thankful for his patient and loving support -- still).

When I would get "on fire" about some particular issue, or when we would be dealing with one of those frequent and inevitable "messes" that come through the leader's door on a daily basis, he would remind me consistently to gauge the significance of the issue before reacting.

More specifically, my mentor's consistent coaching (and modeling) was along these lines:

What is the eternal significance of this current "emergency"?

Respond accordingly.

Sunday, April 10, 2022


TRUST is the currency of leadership. 

If those with whom we work TRUST us, then there's a decent chance they'll follow our lead. If they don't trust us.....................not a prayer.

What are some things we can do to diminish, or interdict, the trust others might be willing to place in us?

  • Holding things and information from the team, playing secrecy games.
  • Engaging in words and actions that make others feel devalued.
  • Isolating by avoiding personal encounters with folks up and down the organizational chain.
  • Using MSU (Making Shit Up) communications, either making things appear better than they are or worse than they are (aka disinformation).
Taking a hard look at the items above and adding them to our DO-THE-OPPOSITE-OF-THIS list would give us a nice start to putting some TRUST deposits in the bank. 

We need bank all the TRUST capital we can get.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022


If we only had ONE MINUTE with those whom we encounter, how would we use it?

Would we view the encounter as a precious and sacred opportunity, or squander it as if there would be millions more to come?

What few and precious words would we utter?

Where would we focus our eyes?

What would we listen for?

Would we listen at all?

How would we stand/sit?

What will we and the Other learn?

How attuned would the Other perceive us to be?

Our daily encounters with Others are not coincidental. They are Providential appointments. 

If we intend to change the world for the better, to make better futures, those precious minutes matter. Why? Because we can't change the world, or make better futures, by ourselves. We need an army of like-minded changers.

One Minute matters. Quite a lot, actually.

Sunday, April 3, 2022


Uncertainty is a fact of life. We all experience it, and always will.

Uncertainty almost always creates angst in our being. Depending on the element(s) generating the uncertainty, our discomfort can be cognitive, emotional, physical, or spiritual........most likely, some combination of those dimensions.

While none of us are exempt from uncertainty, we can learn much from those who gracefully navigate it. 

What do we observe in those who respond to uncertainty in the healthiest ways?

  • reGrounding - They remind themselves and those around them of the fundamental values by which they live, and they deliberately anchor their thoughts and actions back to those values. Clarity of purpose has a grounding effect.
  • Panic-less Slowing - They react in almost stoic ways by stepping back and viewing the present uncertainty against the larger contexts and across wide historical frames. They understand that reactiveness often generates more problems than the present uncertain circumstances do.
  • Look-Listen Mode - They assess how others are viewing and reacting to the uncertainty, refusing to isolate themselves from the perspective of a wide and diverse range of thinking.
  • Forecasting - They process through the possible downstream outcomes of the uncertainty and premise their next steps accordingly -- sometimes with very defensive posturing, sometimes aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities. 
Those of us in leadership positions should expect others to look to us for healthy response to uncertainty. It is natural to seek strong mooring when the storm is at its peak.