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

Sunday, March 26, 2023


Meetings often generate negative vibes, if not outright dread. Poorly structured and managed meetings do so on steroids. When meetings become mindless wastes of time, producing nothing in the way of positive momentum toward our goals, then it's time to re-think and re-structure them.

Consider refashioning the meetings you are compelled to participate in thus:

  • NO agenda item makes it onto the page that is not directly connected to espoused goals. None.
  • Every meeting begins with kudos specific to movement toward espoused goals.
  • DATA of some kind is the required premise for discussion and action items. Pontification and dodging are not allowed.
  • Everyone at the meeting is required to speak/participate. Hiders are uninvited.
  • The meetings start on time and end on time (or before). Dishonoring of others' time is one of the most disrespectful and de-energizing acts that can be committed.
  • Homework assignments are clearly stated, put into writing, and subsequently viewable/reviewable by ALL after the meeting ends.
  • Respectfulness is required toward and from everyone. Violations are noted by the chair, and violators are excused from the team (not just the meeting).

Something to think about.....................before your next meeting.

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...