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

Wednesday, August 30, 2023


Most of us have been "thrown under the bus" at some point in time. Sometimes it happens with malice aforethought; sometimes it occurs as an effect of happenstance.

Either way, it's a most unpleasant experience. 

How we handle being thrown under the bus makes all the difference in how we proceed thereafter.

We can consider these moves in getting ourselves out from under the bus:
  • Take the high road. Recrimination and vengefulness rarely pay worthy dividends.
  • Keep producing. The best way to right wrongs is to prove our worth, which means..........produce desired outcomes.
  • Resist division. Though tempting, alliances and polarization almost always produce negative vibes and worse outcomes.
  • Secure or leverage a mentor from OUTSIDE our organization. We need someone to whom we can talk safely and honestly.
  • Continue to learn and grow from this experience. Just like we do from all the others.
  • Be kind, be pleasant, be professional, be wary.
How we respond to being thrown under the bus makes all the difference.................whether we stay in our current organization or move on to another.

Sunday, August 27, 2023


Pushing for improvement is a process, not an event. It involves adopting new habits AND abandoning old habits. The time-tested mantra of "Old habits die hard" has staying power because of its profound truth.

It really doesn't matter if we are at the top, middle, or bottom of the organizational power structure, we can all affect improvement. And those changes toward improvement rarely come easily.

A common "dodge" is to claim that we don't have the power -- or enough power -- to cause that improvement (which always involves changing something).

But each of us can do something. Even if it's a little something. Even if it's just us doing it. Whining about what we can't do -- or are not allowed to do -- never causes improvement.

Getting better. Every day. On purpose.

And today is the best day to do it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023


Culture is the ultimate expression of our values. 

We default to the values of our dominant cultural affiliation UNLESS we choose values different from those. 

Important questions to ask ourselves and our teams as we examine whether or not our organizational culture is effectively manifesting our chosen values:

  • How clearly have we articulated our fundamental guiding values?
  • What ways of thinking serve to promote those values?
  • What observable behaviors do we see in ourselves that manifest those values?
  • How well do we acknowledge, praise, honor, and memorialize those who are effective exemplars of those values?

As we answer those questions, two important action steps follow:

  1. Adopting habits to reinforce those values.
  2. Abandoning habits that don't.

Culture shaping is hard work that requires constant attention. Culture shapes us AND we shape culture. It is a dynamically reciprocal relationship.

Values matter!

Sunday, August 20, 2023


What we believe about ourselves in frames the way we behave and the actions we take.

What we believe about ourselves is the result of what we choose to believe about ourselves.

What we believe about ourselves has impact on others, and in our world.

Consider tattooing some of the following beliefs on your soul and mind:

  • I do matter, and I will continue to matter. Do my actions reflect such?
  • My happiness and my emotions are under my control. Do my actions reflect such?
  • My doing always matters more than my talking. Do my actions reflect such?
  • Serving is the gold standard of a worthy life. Do my actions reflect such?
  • Engaging with like-minded others accelerates my growth. Do my actions reflect such?
  • My success is directly proportional to how much I help others succeed. Do my actions reflect such?
Well....................do they? 

Wednesday, August 16, 2023


Few things are more motivating to us than when someone notices when we done good or did it right.

When we hear things like.......

"Thanks for...."

"I appreciate your....."

"You inspired me to..."

"I'm grateful for your..."

Makes us wanna do even gooder, or get it more rightlier.

BONUS: Expressing gratefulness to others costs us almost nothing.

Sunday, August 13, 2023


Early in my career I pretended to be an athletic coach. One of the events I attempted to coach was the high jump.

In the high jump (and the pole vault) there is what is called the "opening height." That is the height at which the bar is initially set to start competition. Athletes must clear that opening height to remain in the competition. Those that don't......................put their warmups back on and head to the bus.

In organizational work, we also have opening heights. We call them "standards." 

A mistake that is made quite often is to think of the standards as THE GOAL. They are not! Achieving the standards is akin to clearing opening height -- it is simply the starting point that keeps us in the competition.

EXCELLENCE is the goal. It is that ever-increasing height to which the bar is moved as we push ourselves, and each other, to betterness. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2023


One of the most frustrating elements in organizational life, or personal life for that matter, is dealing with non-answers.

Discovering that there is a problem is not rocket science. Teasing out the root causes of the problem is a little trickier. Addressing the problem is tougher still. 

When we're finally ready to roll up our sleeves and get to fixing the problem, we usually need guidance or permission or assistance or resources. That's the point at which we ask the Boss or the Board or the Team some fairly easy questions about getting started on the repair job. 

If the answers we get to those getting-started questions include stems like: 
"We might..." 
"Maybe we should..." 
"Let's pause just a bit and see if...." 
"Don't do anything until..."

The answer is "NO." 

Getting to "YES, let's fix this problem" is a problem unto itself.

For those committed to continuous improvement, saying "YES" as often as we can is really helpful.

Sunday, August 6, 2023


Good leaders are hard to come by. GREAT leaders, nearly impossible.

The best leaders I know purposefully lift up and inflate those around them. The lesser ones serve as DE-flaters. 

What is it that those DE-flaters do to let the air out of the rest of us?

  • View and speak from the negative perspective, ad nauseam.
  • Insist on time-eating processes, protocols, procedures.
  • Tolerate, or even incentivize, bad behavior.
  • Diminish, devalue, nit-pick, and demean.
  • Focus more on the past than the future.
  • Talk, A LOT.
Anti-example can be an excellent teacher... (for those who are paying attention).

Wednesday, August 2, 2023


Birthdays are merely anniversaries of our arrival on this planet. That day may have been much-anticipated and dearly longed for. Maybe not. It might have gone just as expected and without complication. But then, perhaps not. It might have occurred with much fanfare and brouhaha. Or not.

Whatever the circumstances, that day launched an inevitable turning of the clock. And with it, some constant changes (yes, that seems a contradiction). Don't believe it? Look at pictures of yourself over the years.

We have no control of the birthday clock. We do, however, have tremendous control over our GrowthDay clock. We can choose on this day, and every day, to get better and learn more. On purpose.

There's recipe for making today a GrowthDay:

  • Choosing - choosing to grow and learn gives the process meaning and order.
  • Reflecting - taking glances in the rearview mirror helps us make sense of where we've been, what went right/wrong along the way, and what next needs our attention.
  • Pressing - consequential growth does not occur when we're "in neutral" or comfortable.
  • Inquiring - asking Why? or How? or What if? or Could we? triggers the antecedent to learning-growth which is.................curiosity. 
Atrophy happens. It happens more and faster when we let it.

Happy GrowthDay! (Today, and every day.)