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

Sunday, July 30, 2023


In most organizations, the end of summer marks a "new" beginning. Rather than January 1, the return of employees (or students) at the end of summer seems the de facto initiation of a work year.

The best leaders I know understand the power of HABIT, on themselves and on the organizations in which they work. In simplest term, HABITS are those things we repeat, again and again, until they occur mindlessly.

Wise leaders also know that talking about it doesn't affect adoption of new habits, nor eliminate bad ones. Doing good habits is the only thing that gets it done.

Some habits worth considering:

  • Focus daily on the vision and driving goals.
  • Frame all meetings around the vision and driving goals.
  • Allocate resources only to things that contribute to the vision and driving goals.
  • Isolate and eliminate "stuff" not directly contributing to the vision and driving goals.
  • Notice employee acts/decisions made in the interest of the vision and driving goals.
  • Converse often and individually with team members about the vision and driving goals.
If we really want to achieve our Vision and Driving Goals..........they pretty much have to become HABITual foci.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023


Sometimes those of us in leadership roles shoot ourselves in the foot. We can become our own worst enemies.

Here are some of the common acts of FootShooting we commit: 

  • We perservate on process, at the expense of focusing on outcomes.
  • We slip into treating team members as enemies.
  • We decide to talk more than we listen.
  • We build walls instead of bridges.
  • We think we can stop learning.

Most often, we slip into those FootShooting activities in times of crisis, stress, or duress.

Organizations seem to function better when the leaders don't have feet with gunshot wounds.

Sunday, July 23, 2023


The challenge of finding work-life balance is familiar to many.

How much time, energy, effort should we dedicate to our work? How much should we carve out exclusively to family, to recreation, to self-therapy?

Michael Fullan says that "it's not hard work that de-energizes people, it's negative work."

But, what if we're convoluting things by thinking of "work" and "life" as mutually exclusive constructs? If they are, then we are compelled to constantly tip the scale between the two back and forth in mostly futile attempts to achieve "balance." No surprise that so many fail miserably and disproportionately to attend to one at the expense of the other.

Might our lives achieve a healthier balance if we choose service as the primary driver, in all facets of our lives? What if both in work and in life, our primary motive is to seek avenues for rich service to the other humans within our sphere of influence (whether professional colleagues, friends, or family)? Service, in fact, seems to afford significant benefit to both giver and receiver. 

The most admirable people I know seem to have figured out a way to spend all their moments in service to others, regardless of the "activity" in which they are involved.

Seems worthy...

Wednesday, July 19, 2023


You've heard the old saw: "Curiosity killed the cat." While that idiom may hold fair warning for cats, it's not a great tenet for humans to live by.

People with truly curious minds tinker, poke, stretch, re-do, undo, experiment, innovate, and improvise. They LEARN! (And, usually, they're fun.)

The best leaders I know take that curiosity to another level. They use their curious minds to foster improvement in themselves, in their teams, and in their organizations on two important fronts:

1) Observation and Attention-Paying -- these leaders closely watch, attend, listen, notice, discern .... ALL the time.

2) Inquire -- these leaders ask really good questions of themselves, of their teams, of their competitors, and of high performers in other professions. Moreover, they learn from the responses they get because they LISTEN to those answers.

Wonder what I can learn today, and from whom? 

Think I'll ask.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023


Some of the folks I admire most get a LOT of stuff done. They have eclectic interests, curious minds, and superb skills in task completion.

I've noticed some commonalities in these Gitter-Doner types:

  • They know the time of day when their brain works best, and they do the most cognitively challenging work at those times.
  • They tackle the "worst first" during a normal day.
  • They organize their files/documents/emails/stuff so that they can lay their hands/brains on it immediately (without having to go on a time-sucking scavenger hunt).
  • They have a network of trusted "experts" whom they tap for advice and counsel on tricky decisions.
  • They remove distractions when doing work that requires intense focus.
  • They put tasks/meetings/deadlines on a calendar (usually just ONE calendar) and monitor that calendar daily.
  • They communicate with their team frequently.
  • They create "first drafts" of important work weeks or months in advance, to allow percolation time for improvement modifications and ongoing cognigitation.
  • They have fun with their work and at their work.
Gotta run. Stuff to get done today.

Sunday, July 9, 2023


Leading implies both optimism and hope. 

The best leaders I know inspire us to aim high and perform well. They're fun to work for and with. They're downright contagious.

Here are some of the things those leaders do to inspire and embolden us:

  • Focus the most time/effort/attention on the future (not the past).
  • Understand that perfect is not the goal, better is.
  • Express mucho gratitude and appreciation for effort invested.
  • Develop others to be the best they can be.
  • Know the team and place them in roles well-suited to their skill set.
These impactful leaders understand that hope is just the starting point. The optimism is manifested in the Ways of Thinking and Ways of Behaving, which bring our aspirations within reach. 

Friday, July 7, 2023


Good listeners are rare. Outstanding listeners are rarer still.

What keeps folks -- maybe me and you -- from listening well and deeply?

  • We might not care.
  • We're too &$%#ed busy.
  • We think the speaker is uniformed, or worse.
  • We're distracted by ___?___ (something, or everything).
  • We don't value the speaker, or her/his opinion. 
  • We'd rather be talking.
  • We're TIRED!
Oh, but how much could we learn, and how much more open to us would others be, if............
we'd just LISTEN?

Sunday, July 2, 2023


Trees come in lots of flavors and styles. Some trees...

  • Grow best in dense forests; others survive best in complete isolation.
  • Have deep and strong tap roots; some exist with shallow roots near the surface.
  • Have massive trunks and impervious bark; others have wispy and tender trunks.
  • Have leaves that are broad and expansive; some wear leaves that look like needles.
  • Live for hundreds of years; others but a flash in the pan.
  • Invite engagement and cohabitation; others have defense shields permanently deployed.
  • Shoot hundreds of feet into the air, straight skyward; others have branches that resemble a tangled skein.

    And everything in between.

    All trees have unique personalities. All trees are inextricably intertwined and interdependent with many other species of critters in the environment in which they live. 

    Trees are people, too.