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Wednesday, March 22, 2023


No, there's not a contest or tournament which results in declaring who the World Champion Leader is.

Yet, those of us in leadership roles typically long to be viewed as exemplars of the craft.

IF, however, such a contest existed, at the very top of the list of determinant criteria would reside a powerful attractor: Respectfulness

Everyone wants to be treated respectfully. And, generally, they afford similar treatment in return.

Here's the short list of folks who crave respectful treatment by leaders: 1) All internal stakeholders, and 2) All external stakeholders. That pretty much covers everybody.

As leaders, how can we demonstrate respectfulness?

  • Create the conditions in which TRUST is offered, earned, and rewarded
  • Exercise in all ways HUMBLENESS
  • Demonstrate CARE in many and genuine ways
  • ASK good questions, LISTEN to the answers, TALK less
Don't worry, it's a learnable skill set. 

And, the game never ends, so we can continually play "catch up."

Saturday, March 18, 2023


I recently read The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus, by Lee Strobel (1998).

I was encouraged to read this book by my lovely bride of 46 years. The title of the book clearly sets the premise.

My top takeaways:

·      LS’s story reminded me of the similar journey taken by C.S. Lewis. 

·      LS caused me to re-think my view of circumstantial evidence, which I have generally always considered through a negative lens.

·      Skepticism is extremely healthy and advantageous, until/unless it turns into cynicism. At that point, curiosity ceases and learning stops.

·      Perfect alignment in testimonials suggest collusion, while agreement on major points with variations in details lends credence to corroborating recollections. I had not considered that nuance.

·      I have long held that context is everything when faced with weighty decisions. That assertion is confirmed in this book.

·      It takes every bit as much “faith” to be an atheist as it does to be a Christian.

·      Reaffirmed is the assertion of one of my lifelong mentors: “Everyone has an opinion; I prefer the informed ones.”

·      LOVE, at the end of the day, is the only and best answer.

My favorite quotes:

“It’s like this: if you love a person, your love goes beyond the facts of that person, but it’s rooted in the facts about that person. For example, you love your wife because she’s gorgeous, she’s nice, she’s sweet, she’s kind. All these things are facts about your wife, and therefore you love her. But your love goes beyond that. You can know all these things about your wife and not be in love with her and put your trust in her, but you do. So the decision goes beyond the evidence, yet it is there also on the basis of the evidence. So it is with falling in love with Jesus.” (p. 125)

“A text without a context becomes a pretext for a prooftext.” (p. 163)

“To paraphrase Martin Luther King Jr., I may not yet be the man I should be or the man, with Christ’s help, I someday will be—but thank God I’m not the man I used to be!” (p. 269)

One of my professional colleagues described this book as “a game changer” for him. It most certainly has bolstered my faith, and provided me whole new set of lenses through which to view my faith.

The Case for Christ in a profound and consequential work.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023


Organizational dysfunction or inertia is typically the result of subversive behavior on the part of some members of the organization (either a few of 'em or a lot).

Assuming that we are voluntary members of organizations that have worthy and noble intentions, what are some ways we -- you and I -- can be better team members, and bolster the likelihood of the success of our team? Consider these moves...

  • Align our time, effort, expertise, words, and influence as highly as possible directly to the worthy and noble goals we share.
  • Bring positivity and energy to the table, every day.
  • Contribute instead of consume. Add value in many ways, small and large.
  • Deal with disagreements in objective, non-emotional, and transparent ways.
  • With all people and in all ways, treat others respectfully and fairly.
  • Perseverate only on the data that highly aligns to achievement of the noble and worthy outcomes we hold dear.
  • Learn, and share learning, relentlessly.
  • Refuse to engage in subversive behavior. Not only does it make our organization less, it makes US less.

If, however, we are in organizations that do not have worthy and noble intentions, perhaps it's time to get off the bus. Life is too short, and our participation in same will only make it shorter.

Sunday, March 12, 2023


Accountability is a word and concept that gets tossed around a lot in organizational lingo. My definition: Accountability is following on through, with fidelity, on what was reasonably ask of me and to which I genuinely committed.

Accountability is a two-way street. It only works when both those in authority (aka Leaders) hold themselves accountable to the same extent as are the others in the organization (aka Followers).

Leaders can do a lot to make accountability more understandable, more attainable, and more palatable by those with whom they share in the burden of "making it -- whatever it is -- happen":

  • Vision __ Leaders make clear the purpose of the "work" is, the direction we're going, and how each person's role connects to that vision.
  • Straight Talk __ Leaders clarify the roles to be played and the tasks to be completed and the metrics by which ALL are to be held. 
  • Monitoring __ Leaders monitor constantly across data sets (the hard data and the soft data), providing feedback that is fair and connected directly to the data, and refuse to allow BS (from themselves or anyone else).
  • Teamwork __ Leaders model and insist upon persistent commitment to continuous improvement, which necessarily means frequent conversations (listening to all voices in the game) around what the data is telling us and how to use that data to make adaptations in direction, in resource allocations, in role assignments, in personnel changes (+ or -), etc. 
Disproportionate accountability expectations is a hallmark of organizations that are CTD (circling the drain).

Holding ourselves accountable is the first step for Leaders who want our organizations to be accountable. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2023


The late Dr. Stephen Covey was fond of saying that 80% of the folks in most organizations are not even clear on the mission of the organization.

His assertions are compelling enough to prompt those of us in leadership roles (regardless of the size or scope of the organizations in which we live-work-relate) to think -- or REthink -- how we spend our effort, time, resources, and energy.

Consider this analogy: My lovely bride of 46 years daily uses a couple of robot vacuums. They have been wonderful additions to our lives (Hazel1 and Hazel 2, we call them). Our Hazels are marvelous workers, doing needed and helpful work. Occasionally, however, our Hazels run low on "fuel" or get stuck or seem to wander aimlessly (lost direction/purpose). 

Seems to me we ALL (people and Hazels) function better when...

1) we're clear on what we're doing and why,

2) we're well fueled and energized, and 

3) we remain unstuck. 

As an organizational leader, perhaps I can help immensely by focusing my time and attention to address all three of those inhibiting factors. Having noble and worthy and well-articulated OUTCOMES is an excellent start.

Sunday, March 5, 2023


Thinking about the future is tricky business. In fact, it's a cottage industry with its own moniker, Futuring.

Strategic plans. Market analyses. Investment projections. Infrastructure anticipations. Technological divinations. Revenue-Expenditure prognoses.

In all situations, forecasting (in our personal lives and in our work) eventually calls us into self-positioning from one of two viewpoints: Optimism or Pessimism.

Those two mindsets are like the ends of a continuum:


I choose Judicious OPTIMISM, somewhere to the left of "stumpedness." 

(Mostly because PESSIMISM just makes me feel hopeless, and because pessimists are not much fun to be around.)

Wednesday, March 1, 2023


For those who lead organizations in which the work does not involve people, you (or your AI) can stop reading this blog post now.

For the rest of us -- those who work in and lead organizations populated by people and are dependent on those teammates for success -- let us look in the mirror. What ways of thinking and ways of behaving and ways of symbolizing will cause our organizations to BE better, and to perform better?

Consider engaging in some, or all, of the following efforts:

  • Repeatedly, often, and across many "platforms," paint a clear picture of the direction we're going. It's that Vision thing. Knowing the direction makes a ton of difference to those with whom we share the journey, even if pesky details about the pathways are deceptive and uncertain.
  • Model the powerful relational elements that glue us together in difficult work: caring, empathy, sensitivity, positivity, appreciation, affording voice.
  • Create and foster an environment in which continual learning, habitual growth, and ongoing improvement are baked into the DNA of all those who choose to remain on our team. 
  • Ensure an environment that encourages and insists on full-disclosure, engagement, safety for dissent, dialogue (instead of diatribe and debate). 
  • Build operational structures and systems founded in voluntary engagement rather than punitive compliance measures. Think in terms of "covenant" instead of "contract."
Our survival depends on it...

Sunday, February 26, 2023


Learning has ALWAYS been personal. Even when we were sitting in lecture halls with hundreds of others, whatever learning we took out of the experience was personal. We either owned it, or we didn't.

Governmental insistence over the last several decades, through standardization and accountability measures, implies that learning occurs en masse. It does not, and it never has. We either own it, or we don't -- it's personal. The tricky part has always been on how best to assess that learning in some meaningful and relevant way.

Recent developments related to the robustness of artificial intelligence (AI) cuts to this very issue. AI accelerates the difficulty in assessing whether or not learning has occurred, and to what degree. AI provides those with a nefarious bent a plethora of options by which to cheat assessment systems (which have always had some rather glaring deficiencies).

As with all other technological developments in the evolution of humans -- from the wheel to plows to email to AI -- we'll have to figure out how best to use the tool for general good.  

In the case of AI, it looks like we may also have to figure out how to keep it from using us...

Wednesday, February 22, 2023


My lovely bride of 45 years is fond of say that we're ALL crazy; some just hide it better than others. I don't believe her assertion to be empirically grounded, but it certainly has the ring of truth.

And, it causes me to think of another commonality that seems to slide its way into the psyche and behavior of most of us: Insecurity. It seems that we all have some degree of insecurity; some just hide it better than others. 

In the role that so many of us play as mentor/coach/parent/leader, we encounter folks with significant levels of insecurity on a regular basis. How can we help them, and thus, our organization, better deal with and overcome those insecurities? Consider the following strategies...

  • Embrace positivity in the language we use, the stories we tell, the questions we ask, the affirmations we emit. Positivity keeps doors and conversations open.
  • Focus on strengths, and spend as little time as possible on weaknesses. Few people change as result of external pressure. Betterment is best achieved when intrinsically motivated.
  • Explore best fit. Our insecurities have a way of melting away when we're ask to do that for which we are well-suited and well-qualified.
  • Process-centric. Keep ALL our attention on the fact that improvement - self and organizational - is a PROCESS, not an event.
Sound crazy?

Sunday, February 19, 2023


I recently read The Pleasure Trap: Mastering the Hidden Force That Undermines Health & Happiness by Douglas Lisle and Alan Goldhamer (2006). 

 In this book, DL&AG provide a clear framework that describes why we humans behave the way we do. They also articulate how our evolution has in many ways created within us ways of behaving that run contrary to the ways that nature intended. Their focus is centered on how these behaviors impact our health and wellbeing.


My top takeaways:

·      THE MOTIVATIONAL TRIAD: (1) seek pleasure, (2) avoid pain, and (3) conserve energy. It’s baked into ALL of us.

·      Moods of happiness and unhappiness signal to us how we’re doing in that triadic endeavor.

·      Happiness is not a place you can find and then stay in forever; it’s the result of temporary and repeatable process.

·      Happiness and unhappiness are merely the feedback systems that signal our triadic success.

·      Modern lifestyles (leisure, comfort, food, drugs, safety) deceive and hijack the motivational triad within each of us. This is The Pleasure Trap.

·      PAIN is a miracle of design, which naturally pushes us to take corrective actions.

·      Modern medicine, particularly in response to chronic illness, shortcuts and tricks the natural systems of self-healing that are engrained in our DNA.  

·      The evolution of human language and agricultural prowess have been both blessing and curse to our existence. 

·      Health by “subtraction” (of harmful inputs and activities) is a better approach than “addition” (of harmful drugs, foods, and treatments).

·      Our bodies have a marvelous ability to self-heal, if we just allow the conditions for that to occur.

·      3 MECHANISMS OF SATIATION – hunger mitigation – are (1) stretch sensation, (2) nutrient sensation, and (3) the “yowel” circuits (the body’s ability to sense available fat storage availability for survival). “A pleasure trap exists when a component of the motivational triad is deceived.” (p. 91).

·      5  KEYS TO HEALTH: 1) Keep no junk food in the house, 2) Craft a weekly, healthy menu and pre-prepare it, 3) Prepare healthy food in quantity, 4) Create a “car pack” of healthy food, and 5) Get help if we’ve lost control of our nutritional habits. 

·      Humans now live in an artificial world of our own making.

·      Humans are designed to sleep to satiation, yet our lifestyles “trick” us into longer-than-healthy periods of awakeness. “Like oxygen, food, and warmth, our need for sleep is carefully calibrated into our instinctive machinery.” (p. 149)

·      Two Myths of Moderation: The first is the myth of moderate consumption: the notion that any lifestyle habit is healthy and acceptable provided it is practiced in moderation. The second is the myth of moderate change: the idea that the goal of healthy lasting change is best approached by beginning with only modest changes, slowly building toward greater success.” (p. 164)


My favorite quotes: 

“You are the prize your ancestors worked so hard to achieve, and you carry inside of you the genes—and therefore the traits—that made them successful. These traits are what the late astronomer Carl Sagan described as “shadows of forgotten ancestors.” (p. 8).

“If I could have convinced more slaves that they were slaves, I could have freed thousands more.” —Harriet Tubman (p. 17).

“What needs to be understood is that health is the natural, spontaneous consequence of healthful living. It is rarely the consequence of expensive or complicated medical care.” (p. 38)

“Our modern diet is artificially concentrated, and this artificial concentration causes our calorie-counting machinery to make errors.” (p. 74).

“Life on earth is interrelated within what we refer to as “the ecology.” This set of complex relationships is never in static balance; it is dynamic, always changing. Though we often refer to “the balance of nature,” such a term is somewhat misleading because nature is never in perfect balance.” (p. 127).

“It was Darwin who first understood that living things fit together in interdependent ecological niches. It follows, then, that life on earth is like a woven fabric of uncertain elasticity, and that we should be greatly concerned as we stretch that fabric to its limits.” (p. 140).

“If you want to know what health is worth, ask the person who has lost it.” —John Robbins (p. 153)

“We have repeatedly observed that the human body has marvelous healing capacities that require the optimal environment to be fully expressed!” (p. 188). “The exclusive intake of pure water in an environment of complete rest is that optimal environment.” (p. 188).

My lovely bride of 45 years told me I needed to read this book. She was on the mark…………again. A very worthy work.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023


Research indicates that one of the most powerful "attractors," and most persistent "repellants" in our workplaces is the quality and behavior of the folks leading the organization. 

Here's a wish list (what we'd like Santa to bring us) for organizational leaders to consider:

  • Show a little energy and enthusiasm. We know your job is hard, but...........so is ours.
  • Hand out "thanks" and praise a little more generously. It's like a stimulant (but legal).
  • Engage with us, talk to (not at) us, provide evidence that you're noticing.
  • Celebrate and suffer with us a little more freely. Make us feel like you really care, and that we're teammates with you.
  • Keep reminding us of where we're going, and WHY we're going there. Knowing the direction makes all the difference in the world in how we approach the journey.
  • Provide us with some consistent feedback, benchmarking, and guideposting. It helps to know how "we're doing" (gently, of course).
And, Merry Christmas to you, too.

Sunday, February 12, 2023


Folks get props for a lot of things - achievement, fame, fortune, status. Sometimes that honoring is well-deserved, sometimes it's just the result of pure, blind luck.

The people I most admire and emulate, however, are the ones who choose to SERVE. They make conscious and repeated choices to serve others in ways both small and large. They do it in the shadows and they do it on the hilltop. They just to it; they SERVE, for the sake of serving.

I had a conversation with a teenage grandchild not long ago in which I conveyed my feelings about the importance of service. I'm not sure our lives -- my life -- will have had any meaning whatsoever absent the choices made to serve others.

I'm still learning from those exemplars of service mentioned above. They've provided an excellent map to follow...

Monday, February 6, 2023


Folks who are interested in continuous improvement -- the purposeful pursuit of betterment -- are really in the business of transformation. 

Transformational shifts occur when we learn to optimize the alignment of our Ways of Thinking, our Ways of Behaving, and our Ways of Symbolizing to our Vision -- what we have decided to be and where we have decided we want to go. 

Here are a few things that DO NOT translate into transformation...

  • Confusing...Words are not outcomes. Teaching does not automatically mean learning happens. Talking does not mean listening occurred. Sharing of data means nothing without subsequent and consequential action around that data. Information matters only when it is followed by meaningful changes in Ways of Thinking, Ways of Behaving, and Ways of Symbolizing.
  • Coercing...Attempting to force Ways of Thinking, Ways of Behaving, and Ways of Symbolizing on others through brute force is a failure in understanding history or human psychology. Others have a million ways to "dissent," both in overt and covert ways (and they will/do). Substantive change is a change of "habits," which requires constant attention, revision, and recommitments. Changes in habit stick only when they are intrinsically embraced. Everyone is a volunteer, and should be treated as such.
  • Confounding...Structural changes don't automatically translate into behavioral changes. New paint looks and smells great, but does not change the viewpoint and output of the organization. Reorgs can be helpful, but are inconsequential unless they impact Ways of Thinking, Ways of Behaving, and Ways of Symbolizing. 
TRANSFORMATION requires tenacious, attentive, persistent work. 

It starts with the leadership. Knowing what strategies will help is a good first step. 

Knowing what NOT to do, or assume, is just as important. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2023


An intractable dynamic in the natural world is the delicate balance between predator and prey.

Predators in the wild are trying to survive, in the only way they know how. They hunt, stalk, attack, and consume their prey. Almost always, the prey that predators pursue are the weak, the sick, the slow, the undeveloped young, and/or the marginalized.

The same sort of predatory behavior occurs in the human social theater. Human "predators" (metaphorically speaking) are those with power, resources, or privileged status. Those "predators" seek human "prey" -- others who are weak, slow, sick, young, and/or marginalized.

How do we avoid becoming the "prey"? 

Optimize our "health" (physical, intellectual, and emotional-spiritual), both as individuals and in the communities/organizations to which we belong. The starting point of optimal "health" is LEARNING. We all have great control in what, and how much, we choose to learn.

Time to up our learning game.

The predators are always on the hunt.

Sunday, January 29, 2023


Monday morning quarterbacks are those who happily show us how smart they are AFTER the decisions were made, the work was done, and the results are known. 

In the organizational behavior literature this concept is referred to as Management By Exception (MBE). It's when the boss provides little in the way of clarity or guidance, then pontificates or criticizes after team members have acted as they deemed needful (or as they discerned the boss would have wanted).

The best leaders I know refuse to be Monday Morning Quarterbosses. Instead, they engage in a repetitive menu of impactful actions toward organizational improvement and performance. 

That menu looks something like this:

  • Articulate often and with profound clarity the Vision of the organization.
  • With the team, they codify clearly a few (five or fewer) important goals they believe will move the organization toward that Vision.
  • Empower the team to pursue this Vision zealously (within law/policy and within ethical standards).
  • Monitor the activity and the outcomes persistently, through multiple lenses.
  • Meet with the team to collectively assess the impact of their actions, the validity of the data, the fidelity of the efforts, and the adjustments that are needed.
Then they do it all again...............tomorrow or next week or next month. They NEVER wait until next year. 

Note: Team members under the duress of Monday Morning Quarterbosses often find other teams to play on...............because they can.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023


I recently read A Leader’s Guide to Excellence in Every Classroom: Creating Support Systems for Teacher Success by John R. Wink (2017).

JRW does an excellent job of providing a comprehensive framework to ensure optimal learning for
 ALL students.


My top takeaways:

·      Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs can be matched to Wink’s Hierarchy of Student Excellence, from a teacher efficacy perspective. A brilliant analogy. 

·      A 3-Tiered Excellence-in-Learning Support System includes: 1) Schoolwide supports, 2) Teacher team supports, and 3) Individualized supports.

·      Principals should focus on hiring the best applicants, then surround them with systems that guarantee every teacher’s success.

·      CHAMPS intervention technique = Conversation + Help + Activity + Movement + Participation + Success.  

·      Organized classroom management results in smooth routines, minimal loss of instructional time, and high levels of student involvement and ownership of procedures.

·      4 Components of Gradual Release of Learning Responsibility: 1) Focus lesson – “Teacher does it”, 2) Guided learning – “Teacher and students do it together”, 3) Collaborative learning – “Students do it together”, and 4) Independent learning – “Students do it alone”.

·      Rigor = thoughtful work + high-quality learning intentions + high-level questioning + academic discussion.

·      Three important levels of teacher-questions: 1) Scaffolding questions, 2) On-level questions, and 3) Extension questions.  

My favorite quotes:

“An excellent school doesn’t leave excellence to chance.” (p. 9)

“Excellent schools mine for expertise in every person within the organization, and when they find expertise, they empower the expert, whoever it may be, to lead peers toward excellence.” (p. 8)

“Building relationships is the biggest investment a teacher can make in a student’s learning, and in a classroom of excellence, successfully building relationships is not the goal but the constant.” (p. 75)

I highly recommend this book. It is a superb resource for team study by school leadership and/or instructional teams. 

Thursday, January 19, 2023


In electricity, resistors are components that limit or regulate the flow of electrical current.

In organizations life, resistors are often those folks who limit or regulate the flow of the effort/energy directed toward reform, improvement, or transformation.

Regardless of why the resistance is occurring, leaders are wise to deal with it in a straightforward way.

Here are some possible Resistor Responses:

  • Put the issue into open dialogue in the organization. Overtly discuss the pros and cons. 
  • Keep the issue and the discussions around the issue about THE ISSUE (don't let it become about the personalities).
  • Invite troubleshooting around the change effort, seeking suggestions for improvement in substance or deployment.
  • Forecast publicly. What does the future look like if we keep doing the same thing? What might the future look like if we successfully embrace the proposed change?
  • If this proposal for improvement is unacceptable or unworkable, what should we do instead to propel us toward improvement?
Transparency RULES! Keep all (civilized) voices in the conversation. Keep all conversations in the open.

Sunday, January 15, 2023


There are two big drivers in our personal learning journeys: 1) Process, and 2) Outcomes.

The Learning Processes entail things like:

  • The content we consume -- the knowledge, skills, ways of thinking, and ways of behaving
  • The pace at which we learn it -- the speed, which can be slow and steady, or it can be on steroids
  • The products we generate -- the papers, artifacts, exams, demonstrations, change of practice, sharpening of skills
  • The environment(s) of learning -- reading or writing alone at our desk, making observations while walking in the park, dialoguing with other learners, experimenting in the "lab," sitting in a lecture hall with hundreds of others, sense-making in our dreams, ...
  • The collaborators of learning -- the gurus, Yodas, partners, and teammates that learn alongside us
The Learning Outcomes are the fruit of the Process:
  • Changing the way we think or behave
  • Doing things we couldn't do before
  • Sharpening our ability to do things better than we could do them before
  • Failures which serve to accelerate more learning
  • Seeing farther, thinking more deeply, questioning more astutely
Just like the fruit we find in nature, they serve as both evidence of success and regenerative seed for the future. Think of it as recursive.

The smartest and most capable people I know deliberately up their Learning game, day in and day out. They don't view Learning as something they "have to do," but rather, it's something they "get to do." 

Maybe that's why they're so smart and capable.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023


I am an educator by vocation and avocation. Thus, learning theories are my jam.

Connectivism is now widely accepted as a theory of learning. 

Here's a workable definition: Learners make sense of and construct their understandings through a wide array of sources; the interconnectivity afforded by technology and the internet to knowledge sources and knowledgeable others -- Connectivism -- serves to accelerate that learning.

For your consideration............If we increase our skills in digital connection capabilities yet lose our ability to effectively "connect" in interpersonal ways, perhaps we've not learned as much as we should/could. 

Maybe Connectivism has always been a thing, and the digital modality is just the most recent iteration of its evolution. 

Rather than either/or, it seems to me that BOTH is the best path to optimal learning. 

Sunday, January 8, 2023


We all know what a tree is, right? A quick search for images of "trees" yields THIS. Wait! What? How can trees be so different?

We all know what a dog is, right? A quick search for images of "dogs" yields THISWait! What? How can dogs be so different?

Any guesses what happens when we search for images of humans? How about Buddhists ... or Americans ... or Methodists ... or Democrats ... or Bosses ... or ?????

The vast differences we see are reflected in the images, alone. Imagine the uniqueness of each if we were to also consider their smell, dispositions, voices, intellects, personalities.

The filters we use come with MUCH prejudicial baggage. When we choose to focus on the collective assumptions implied by those filters, instead of trying to understand and engage with each other as individuals, problems and misunderstandings assuredly follow.

When I can see you as YOU, not as a representative of a bunch of other ___?'s___, the opportunity for mutual understanding and meaningful engagement is greatly improved.

"Drop the filter and step away from the..." (Computer? Meeting? Microphone? Decision?)

Thursday, January 5, 2023


Achieving continuous improvement in organizations is a tough slog. 

The efforts of each individual or division in the organization certainly helps. The stacking up of those efforts can be thought of as the addends in a mathematical sum. 
Looks something like this:

a + b + c + d + e + ..... = Improvement

A more robust approach, however, is to leverage the mathematical concept of products in our efforts to get better. The resulting product is sort of like a sum on steroids.
Looks something like this:

A x B x C x ..... = IMPROVEMENT

If the addends in the sum represent the individual efforts of the organizations members toward improvement, what do those factors in the product represent? Those are the systems we put in place.

While both sums and products move us in the right direction, it's our systems that propel us toward improvement in accelerated fashion.

**Next week's lesson will focus on the debilitating effects of subtraction and division on an organizations efficacy. (Yep, not pretty.)

Sunday, January 1, 2023


The difference in Gurus and Charlatans is more often in the delivery than in the substance. Most of us have a few of those Yoda-type Gurus whose insight is highly sought (and even occasionally heeded).

What often has the effect of fingernails scratching along a chalkboard is advice that is unsolicited. Yet, the Charlatans feel compelled to continue to spew their advice broadly and pervasively.

As one of my mentors is fond of saying, "Everyone has an opinion; I prefer the informed ones." Amen!

My most highly valued Yoda-types behave in these manners:

  • They WAIT for me to ask before offering their wisdom.
  • They LISTEN to me before offering their wisdom.
  • They READ me and my contexts before offering their wisdom.
  • They FRAME their wisdom to me as a menu of options.
  • They FORECAST with me the possible outcomes of those choices.
  • They DO NOT JUDGE me on the difficult choices I've made after seeking their wisdom.

"Thanks" is usually the only pay my Yodas receive from me, yet they give freely and repeatedly. I can't imagine trying to navigate life and work without them. 

Here it is again: THANKS! (They know who they are.)