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Wednesday, February 28, 2024


My pentecostal grandmother convinced me at the age of 10 to pray daily for my future life-mate, even though I had absolutely no idea who that person might be. I did (and still do).

That Girl entered my life several years later, and immediately changed it for the better. She still does. 

The hang has been easy for 47 years.................and still counting.

Tracy Byrd captures is HERE.

Sunday, February 25, 2024


Over the years I've often heard leaders posit the strategy of pairing criticism (usually of employee performance) with doses of gratitude/praise. I think of it as "graticism."

The best, and usually the smartest, team members I've worked with recognize this psycho-manipulation for what it is: an attempt to "soften" criticism with praise. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, as the old mantra goes. 

I am neither a fan, nor practitioner.

Two considerations that spring from my hard experiences on this front:

1. Uninvited criticism is rarely, if ever, received well (I believe the research in psychology supports my position in this regard). Rather, surfacing poor performance issues through conversation and inquiry has always provided for me better results in conducting these difficult conversations. Trust is the starting point of solution crafting in this area. Making folks feel they're being psycho-manipulated is not a very good trust building technique. 

2. Saying THANKS and offering praise for good effort (and work) in stand-alone formatting is a marvelous and high yield strategy. The cost is low; the dividends are high. In fact, it's often the antecedent to that trust building thing... (and it makes both giver and receiver feel a little better).

(And, yes, I know I'm not in the main stream of thought on this subject. I'm fine with that....)

Tuesday, February 20, 2024


Obfuscation, ambiguity, misdirection, and outright bamboozlement. We see tactics of this sort steadily employed from leaders in all kinds of organizations.

And then....

Other leaders take the position that TRUTH is the starting point of TRUST creation.

Wise leaders of this ilk practice a simple set of strategies:

  • They package and report organizational news (both good and bad) in plain language.
  • They remind us of the WHY of our organizational efforts.
  • They challenge us to own the bad news, and to collectively correct the problems that cause(d) it.
  • They celebrate the good news and praise those (both publicly and privately) who had a hand in generating it.
  • They remind us again of the WHY that underlies our work together.
The best servant leaders invest daily in building TRUST. They know that the foundation of that covenant is telling the TRUTH. They lean into it daily. 

Thursday, February 15, 2024


Attention spans seem shorter than ever. Droning on is one of the surest ways to lose our audience(s). 

The best communicators I know engage some very intentional strategies when they have opportunity to speak. They leverage:

  • Connections -- Folks listen best when we are discussing something important to them.
  • Future Focus -- Speak to a better future we can craft together.
  • Specificity -- Ambiguity and mush are.............ambiguity and mush.
  • Inquiry -- Let powerful questions drive the conversations toward solutions.
  • Brevity -- Less is more, especially when garnering attention/interest is our goal.
  • Inclusivity -- WE is always a more powerful attractor than me.
When we successfully engage the thinking of others, we rattle around in their brains long after we have relinquished the microphone and the room has emptied. 

Sunday, February 11, 2024


Most people think of their job as continuous work. Folks who are committed to excellence, however, think of their work as continuous improvement.

ONLY when our work is that of service -- making the world a better place -- does that continuous march toward excellence yield the best versions of ourselves. Continuous improvement, constant betterment, and the pursuit of excellence can be undertaken regardless of job title.

Getting better. Every day. On purpose. 

Yes, we can. And LEARNING is the vehicle that gets us there.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024


Most of us have mentors. Most of us have many mentors. Most of us also serve as mentors.

The magic of mentoring is asking the right questions, the ones that cause the mentee to think.....

             What am I doing? 

                  Why was/am I doing that? 

                       How can I do (it) better? 

                            What do I need to learn next? 

Master mentors are maestros of inquiry.

Mentors who don't ask powerful questions.......................should just send a memo. (Which no one will read.)

Sunday, February 4, 2024


Every organization has poor performers on the team. What are leaders to do with those poor performers?
Our options are few:
  • GROW 'em -- We can choose to build their capacity toward achieving the outcomes we need from them.
  • MOVE 'em -- We can admit that we are asking them to do a job for which their skills are not well suited. Moving that team member into a role for which they can be more successful may be the best option.
  • ACCEPT 'em -- We can choose to live with their shortcomings, if and only if their contributions in other dimensions adequately offset those deficiencies.
  • REMOVE 'em -- Separation is the most painful option. IF the poor-former is willing and able to get better, at an acceptable speed, choose one of the other three options. If not, respectfully remove them as quickly as possible.

Deciding which of those paths to take is more occult art than exact science. Making that decision requires that we know the poor-former well enough to have some understanding of the genesis of the problem. Sometimes, life circumstances cause windows of poor performance, for which we are wise to exercise a measure of grace.

Always, these decisions have rippling implications for the health and wellbeing of the whole team. The Team is watching. ALWAYS!

Friday, February 2, 2024


Ever work in an organization that felt like it was "stuck?"

Some of the best leaders I know interdict this state of stuckedness by engaging in the following strategic moves:

  • Make perfectly clear to all stakeholders -- internal and external -- WHY the organization exists and what it's noble pursuits are.
  • Clearly define the roles of those in the organization. Everyone knows how they can, and are expected to, contribute.
  • Listen daily to team members up and down the food chain, to get their take on how those pursuits are going.
  • Model and insist upon continuous growth and improvement from everyone in the organization, beginning with the head honchos. 
Unstuck is a way better state than stuckedness. The leader moves described above make the folks who revel in stuckedness extremely uncomfortable. By design.

Time to shift into four wheel drive...