Here’s What You Can Control

Embed from Getty Images Ellie's face turned maroon.  "I'm angry!," she screeched.  She was playing a board game with her twin four year old sister, Evie. Ellie gets intense.  I'd never seen her this irate.  Why was she angry?  No other reason than her sister was ahead of her on the board.   That was deemed unfair.  I calmed her down.  She resumed playing. The girls proceeded to butcher the game.  I resisted my urge to control and correct.  I let them play on, refereeing only … [Read more...]

Lighting Matches on a Windy 4th of July

I closed the last book. They sat there awkwardly. Some looked at me blankly. Others' minds and bodies wandered off.  Mrs. Bush said, "What do we say?" The class mumbled, "Thank you ... ," not quite in unison or unanimity. "What dooo we saayy?!,"  Mrs. Bush repeated with greater expectations. The kids screamed, "THANK YOU!" I was the "Mystery Reader" for Evie's class. She's one of my twin 4 year olds.  I read 3 books ... two too many for the attention span of ten 4 year olds. They tuned in and … [Read more...]

Are You Leading Learners? Sink or swim

Embed from Getty Images Ellie stood at the side of the pool.  "I want my floaties!"  I told her she wasn't getting her floaties.  I needed her to be brave.  She melted down like a Bomb Pop in the Texas summer sun.  I walked to the edge where she stood.  I encouraged her to just let me hold her in the water.  She got in cautiously. I floated her around, holding her by her bathing suit.  I encouraged her.  She relaxed.  I told her to put her face in the water as she swam.  "No.  I'm … [Read more...]

The Top Reason Your 3 Year Old Is Terrible

http://gty.im/185664072   She was writhing naked around on the bed.  She was excited with a huge smile on her face.   My heart rate was rising. We had to be somewhere in 20 minutes.  We were running out of time.  She didn't care. I was frustrated.  She wouldn't cooperate.  Why would she?  I was cramming her into a modern construct that is meaningless from a biological evolutionary perspective. 3 year olds show us how we've gone astray in our attempts to scale and find meaning. Jen, … [Read more...]

Who Cares About What You Do?

  It doesn't matter what you do. It matters what you do does. It matters what the impact of what you do has on your Customer, client, friend, son, mother or husband.  The more impact, the better (Hopefully, that impact is positive). You say, "I talk to my wife 6 times a day. I'm a good husband." Great! Good for you. What's the impact? Maybe she wants you to leave her alone. Maybe you're driving her freakin' bonkers. It's not about what you do. It's about what is create by what you … [Read more...]

Learn This Easy Magic Trick. It’s quick!

  I walked in the door to the office this morning.  Joe, the security guard, waved and smiled.  I caught him in the corner of my eye, over my shoulder.  I turned and waved back.  A smile crossed my face.  I realized this was a ritual that started my day with pleasure.  It was small.  But valued. I stopped, turned around, and walked to Joe.  I opened the glass door to the small reception area where Joe sits.  I told Joe how much I appreciated his wave and smile in the morning.  I … [Read more...]

This Test Is Pass/Fail. Do You Pass This Test?

I've asked a lot people if they want a more significant and meaningful life.  Every person I ask says 'Yes'. They may be lying.  After all, it's a loaded question.  Who really wants to tell someone, "Eh, I really don't give shit ... I'm good enough."    Or they may be answering from the core of their soul.  Looking at how people live tells me it might be somewhere in between.   Or they just don't know how.  At least not consistently. What about you? How do you qualify yourself?  What … [Read more...]

Can you afford ‘No’?

  Hierarchical leadership is a permission machine.  The machine is primed to respond with "No". People's work becomes figuring out how to override the default response ... moving the machine to "Yes".  And then doing it again.  And again.   Working with the mysterious machine to get permission to move things forward. Managers might exist simply to push at the levers ... trying for the right combination to produce a "Yes".    Other managers might exist simply to increase the volume … [Read more...]

What Could You Achieve With Crushing Authority?

  Rob started telling me about the cool stuff he was producing at work.  His team is building things that would cost millions to buy.  I was impressed with what his team accomplished.  I asked him his secret. His team saw problems.  They created solutions.  Rob's job was easy.  Just say "Yes." No one told them to do it.  They just did it.  Rob let them.  More than that... he encouraged them. Rob didn't try to manage his people (or their tasks).  He led his people and their … [Read more...]

Want More Success? You’ll Have To Do This 1 Thing

  Will said, "They won't do it!  Have you read Sven's email.  He said 'No.'"   I asked Will, "Have you spoken to them?"   "No." I Instant Message Sven.  I bring up the situation, apologize for any way we miscommunicated in the past, and ask when there'd be a good time to chat.  Sven sent his phone number.  We had a quick conversation  and set up a meeting with a couple of other folks from his team. Sven's "No" turned to "Maybe."   Two more conversations and we got to "Yes." We … [Read more...]