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

Wednesday, June 28, 2023


We all have finite amounts of energy. We deal with endless incoming data, urgencies, people, and demands that compel our attention and energy.

If we want to have optimal impact -- in both our personal and professional endeavors -- we are wise to direct our energy and attention toward the BIG stuff and away from the little stuff.

Consider NOT investing effort-energy-time in the following distractors:

  • Negative Nellies -- These are the complainers, whiners, victims, problem identifiers.
  • Asses -- These are the insulters, the devious, the ill intentioned, the parasites.
  • Non-learners -- These are the change resistors, the bureaucrats, the incurious, the purposefully uniformed.
  • Myopics -- These are the minutae-driven, the small picture, the narrow minded, the knit-pickers, the non-servants. 
Our time, and lives, can be much better spent. 

(But, don't forget to ignore these folks in a respectful manner.)

Sunday, June 25, 2023


Sarcasm generates giggles. Tackiness scores laughs. Insults get chuckles. Condescension delights. Disrespectful snipes entertain. Mockery amuses. Ridicule gets likes.

Almost always are those effects short lived, among the watchers. 

Almost never are those efforts forgotten, by the targets.

Civility and respectfulness come with their own rewards. 

And, generally, those rewards compound over time.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023


I've got a little age on me now. And yet, I still have mentors. My mentors come in all shapes, sizes, ages, and genders, but they continually make me better. As the beneficiary, I've had a front-row seat to their deployment efforts. 

Here are some of the impactful things those MentorMeisters practice:

  • Advocacy - they cheer and encourage.
  • Attentiveness - they pay attention, intensely.
  • Inquisitiveness - they ask really good questions.
  • Listening - they engage in powerful and active listening.
  • Reflectiveness - they cause me to look at myself, VERY closely.
  • Betterment - they embody continual improvement, and invite others along.
I have much to pay forward.

Sunday, June 18, 2023


The best leaders I know understand that the quality and impact of their work is directly proportional to the quality and impact of the work of those with whom they serve.

The get-this-done-today list of these wise leaders resides permanently at the forefront of their brains. It looks kind of like this:

  • Listen more, talk less
  • Foster pervasive trust
  • Connect authentically
  • Exhibit respectfulness
  • Challenge, don't threaten
  • Model eyes-forward optimism
  • Notice and acknowledge worthy effort
Their motive and approach? Move the needle today.

And tomorrow....................they get up and do it again.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023


Our professional-intellectual growth is a direct function of intentional decisions we make -- every day. We accelerate our journey toward betterment with a robust network.

One of the most impactful decisions I made about 30 years ago was to join a professional organization. In my case, as an educator, the organization was the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP). That organization is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. 100 years of service to students in Texas and the principals that serve them. 

Without question, that organization provided me with resources, connections, and support systems to help me better serve the students and communities of the schools that allowed me to work for/in them. 

Perhaps the biggest benefit of that participation is the support network of committed professionals that has evolved for me over the decades. Countless times have I been faced with a tricky dilemma which was beyond my isolated ability to frame and address. Again and again, my colleagues in that organization offered questions, insight, guidance, and even commiseration, in the interest of helping me be a better servant leader. 

At no cost, and without judging me. Good and smart people, helping me be gooder and smarter. 

Every profession has organizations of this nature. To choose not to participate is a choice to make our work even harder than it already is. 

Sunday, June 11, 2023


Most of us want to accomplish a couple of things in life:

  • Have meaningful impact
  • Be effective in our undertakings
To be sure, there are a lot of sub-objectives to both of those endeavors, with nuances and webs extending from each.

Constant reflection is required to optimize our impact and effectiveness. And, impact necessarily implies connections and relationships. 

Some important questions to consider in the Reflectification process:

Am I focused on the right thing(s)? 
How well am I fostering new and nurturing current relationships?
Which of my habits contribute to my impact and effectiveness? and Which don't? 

Our answers determine next steps. There is no finish line, so we're in for constant improvement along both dimensions. There's plenty of room for growth.

Right now is always a good time for reflection.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023


If we work in some kind of organization, there'll be problems. If we work with people, there'll be problems. If we're trying to accomplish something important, there'll be problems.

Problems are best addressed with a mindset of improvement. Getting better is the objective (since getting it perfect is probably not a realistic option).

The best leaders I know lead with important betterment questions:

Is our ship headed in the right direction?

How can we do what we need to do better?

What are we doing that isn't moving us toward our object(s) needs to be eliminated?

What personal/organizational habits need to be adopted/abandoned, to make us better?

And tomorrow, they ask the same or very similar questions.

Getting better and thinking about getting better are both HABITS.

Sunday, June 4, 2023


I spent the day yesterday with my grandson and a very eclectic group of musicians. When our calendars can align and accommodate, he and I like to travel to a monthly "music circle" in San Angelo, Texas.

In that gathering, and myriad similar, a strange mix of music appreciators mingle. It's open invitation; pull up a seat and join in. Ages from teens to octogenarians are represented, genders aplenty, education levels across the spectrum, instrument variety a given, skills ranging from neophyte to professional, worldviews diverse to the extreme. Songs of ancient origin as well as current Top 10 are played, and everything in between.

And yet........................we set aside the obvious differences. We embrace fully that one commonality -- a deep appreciation for music. We swap tunes, we accompany each other (as we can), we attend carefully to the performances of each other, we learn from each other, we cheer and clap and encourage, and we freely dismiss mistakes. 

We listen, really LISTEN! 

Music seems to bind us intellectually, socially, spiritually. 

The verdict is still out on whether I'll have opportunity to be present, but I'd bet good money there'll be music circles in heaven.

Thursday, June 1, 2023


Decades ago, one of the students of my lovely bride of 46 years -- Moe -- related to her that he had had an "epiphery." Moe quickly discerned that he was sharing with her about an epiphany, but had mispronounced the word. To this day, Moe and I frequently use the word "epiphery" to describe those breakthrough moments in our learning. 

Some common elements by which Epipheries find us:

  • When we are being intentionally observant.
  • When we carve out time regularly to think and/or meditate.
  • When we are engaging purposefully with bright-minded others.
  • When we cross-pollinate by probing across multiple topics/genres.
  • When we have been focused and fixated on raising our level of learning.
Rarely, if ever, do Epipheries come to us in the midst of a hurricane (literal or metaphorical).

Intentional effort at learning anew seems to play a pivotal role in Epiphery appearances.