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

Sunday, December 31, 2023


Jake, our 90+ year old ranching neighbor, made the following observation several years ago while visiting with us on the country lane that separates our properties: "If you can't find something wrong, you ain't lookin' very hard."

True, and instructive. On the ranch, and in organizational work, there's ALWAYS something that needs fixin'. It is not rocket science to identify the problems.  

When we perseverate on what's wrong, however, we generate some very negative energy and a mindset of UNgratefulness. Vibes and mindsets are both contagions.  

What if our Team learned to expect from us a steady stream of gratitude, appreciation, acknowledgement, and praise. Rather than "Yeah, BUT..."

We can start today. It's the perfect day, actually.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023


I've been pondering about What's Next for me. How should/shall I spend my time/effort/energy in the coming days and new year? A few guiding questions keep bubbling to the surface:

As my faith is built on the foundation of LOVE, how can I more effectively become it's embodiment?

What do I need to learn next, to make me a better servant leader?

How can I be a better caretaker of the small piece of the planet Moe (my lovely bride of 46 years) and I call home? 

What things can I do/say that will serve to unify folks rather than divide them?

How can I improve my teaching "craft," in the interest of making better futures for my students, and, subsequently, the gazillion children they serve?

Looks like I have a busy year ahead of me... 

Sunday, December 24, 2023


I recently read The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming by Henri Nouwen (1994).

HN was a Harvard professor and priest who, in later life, chose to serve in an institutional setting for mentally handicapped folks. 


In this book, HN teaches us the lessons of Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son through the lens of Rembrandt’s famous depiction of same. 


My top takeaways:

Ø  Rembrandt’s painting of the Prodigal Son embodies far more than meets the eye.

Ø  Allowing ourselves to be loved is more difficult than teaching about love.

Ø  The monumental challenge: Seeing others and the world as God does.

Ø  BOTH sons in the parable needed, and received, healing, forgiveness, acceptance, love…unconditionally.

Ø  As was the older son in Jesus’ parable, it is quite possible to be “lost” while still “at home.”

Ø  To truly surrender to God’s love, I must let go of comparisons, rivalries, jealousy.

Ø  God does NOT compare us to one another, ever.

Ø  Cynicism and Joy may, in fact, be opposites; we choose one or the other each moment.

Ø  Regardless of whether we identify as the younger son or older (or both), we are called to move into the spiritual maturity of the father. 

Ø  Jesus’ parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son all point to an all-forgiving God, perpetually in search of “the lost.”

Ø  To become more like God, we must embrace fully Grief, Forgiveness, and Generosity. 

Ø  Our ultimate choice: to accept or not accept God’s all-forgiving love.


My favorite quotes:


“I am constantly surprised at how I keep taking the gifts God has given me—my health, my intellectual and emotional gifts—and keep using them to impress people, receive affirmation and praise, and compete for rewards, instead of developing them for the glory of God.” (p. 43)


“What I do know with unwavering certainty is the heart of the father. It is a heart of limitless mercy.” (p. 75)


“There is an Estonian proverb that says: “Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.” (p. 86)


“I now see that the hands that forgive, console, heal, and offer a festive meal must become my own.” (p. 119)


“The great conversion called for by Jesus is to move from belonging to the world to belonging to God.” (p. 125)


“As I look at my own aging hands, I know that they have been given to me to stretch out toward all who suffer, to rest upon the shoulders of all who come, and to offer the blessing that emerges from the immensity of God’s love.” (p. 139)


This book is one of the most compelling of my reads in the last 20 years. It was reflective, analytical, invitational, convicting, insightful. It calls me to be a better version of myself, one that more closely mirrors the God of my understanding.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023


Anderson and Adams (2015) argue that leaders develop -- IF they develop -- through a well-defined sequence:

Egocentric Leadership 

    >> Reactive Leadership 

        >> Creative Leadership

             >> Integral Leadership 

                   >> Unitive Leadership

The good and bad news is that the teams we lead are swept along with us on our growth journey.

The addendum good and bad news is that WE have immense control over the speed and efficacy of our growth.

What, How, and How Fast we choose to LEARN the craft of leadership is fully within our decision matrix.

Time's a wastin'. Let's roll... 

Sunday, December 17, 2023


I learned the calculus concept known as inflection points while studying to be a math teacher (many years ago). Inflection points are those at which the trajectory of a curve changes directions.

Our lives also experience inflection points -- points at which the trajectory of our lives change directions.

WE have the power to affect those inflection points within ourselves. Our inflection points can also have powerful and positive influence on others, and on the world. "Bending" toward better versions of ourselves is a most worthy undertaking.

It helps a LOT if we have carefully considered what we want that betterment/influence to look like, and align our daily habits to cause those changes in trajectory.

Sunday, December 10, 2023


Lots of competing forces seek to define us. IF we succumb to that legion of definitions imposed on us by others, we are tossed around as a cork on a stormy sea.

It is well worth the effort to define ourselves. And to revisit that self definition often. The late Dr. Clayton Christensen wrote a book and did an excellent TED Talk titled "How Will You Measure Your Life?"

IF/WHEN we carefully explore that question, then make very conscious decisions about apportioning our finite time, effort, and attention along those "metrics," we have taken the most meaningful steps in defining ourselves.

It makes for a much steadier and self-actualizing journey....

As always, today is an excellent day to start.

Sunday, December 3, 2023


Our best team members -- regardless of skills, intelligence, or motivations -- often end up in the weeds (or headed that way). The best leaders I know are masters at Weed Mitigation.   

What do those wise leaders do to help us all stay out of the weeds? Here are some examples of their work in that regard...

  • They keep us hyper-focused on the BIG PICTURE stuff. They constantly explain and communicate that BIG PICTURE and help us channel our time, attention, and effort in that direction.
  • They put systems in place that are aligned to that BIG PICTURE. Stuff that ain't....goes. They seek out and happily remove distractions, trivialities, and redundancies in the workflow.
  • They paint that BIG PICTURE and monitor the progress, but stay out of the way of those who are diligently pursuing it. 
  • They coach people...UP (for those who embrace the BIG PICTURE) or OUT (for those who don't/won't).
  • They connect the team, across divisions and functions, internally, and with valuable resources externally.

Sounds easy, huh? Some make it look so....