Revisiting and Revising …

Revisiting - Leider quotation

Continuing  with my exploration of the themes and concepts in The Power of Purpose:  Find Meaning, Live Longer, Better by Richard J. Leider.  Earlier this week, I kicked around the idea of Loyalty as it relates to our life purpose.  Today I am thinking more about revisiting past decisions and choices.

Many cultural memes point to this, from the saying about never being able to dip your foot into the same river again to 1 Corinthians, 13 where we are reminded that we  act and speak differently as children than when we are older and hopefully somewhat wiser.  That last part is up for discussion.

“There is wisdom in revisiting the questions that we think we already know how to answer.  Our answers change at different phases of our lives and with changing life circumstances.”

Richard J. Leider in The Power of Purpose (p. 7)

Our youthful choices and perceptions are often tinged with naive optimism about both the world we are discovering and our own ability to affect that world.  This is why revolution is best left to those young enough to act, in spite of the reality in front of them.  For example, Benjamin Franklin, a respected 81 years old at the signing of the Constitution establishing the United States, was by 15 years the oldest.  Many of the other signers were much younger, in their twenties, thirties, and forties.

I was very optimistic as a young man in college and the early part of my work history.  I found that many things appeared possible and I behaved accordingly.  While this is not necessarily a bad thing, I look back on my youthful misperceptions around questions of how to approach work, how to lead others best, and who to associate with … and shake my head with a rueful expression. Continue reading

Loyal To A Fault

Pledging Allegiance - Wikipedia Public Domain“Purpose is the recognition of the ‘loyalty of life’ … We receive from life what we are loyal to.” (p. 14 in The Power of Purpose)

When I encounter the word “loyalty”, I immediately remember saying the Pledge of Allegiance as a very young citizen of this country.  Loyalty seems to evoke images like the one above … a group of people earnestly promising to do and support things in a particular way.

As an adult, I have come to realize that loyalty has very little, if anything, to do with reciting oaths and making promises.  Sometimes your loyalty is to an ideal, which means that you resist the outward symbols and take issue with what is asked of you.  But that’s a post for another day …

The type of loyalty referred to in the quotation above is a much more personal type of loyalty. Continue reading

On The Road … A few thoughts about the leadership journey

This post originally appeared on May 28, 2013 and has been revised and updated:


DSCN3228 “Do You Know What Your Leadership Journey Is?”

Dan Oestrich recently (well, three years ago) asked this interesting question of the People Skills group on Google+.

You can read the complete post and all the responses by clicking the title above.  My response is below, somewhat expanded from the original:

My leadership “journey” has been more like an aimless stroll around the edge of a metropolitan area than a planned march toward a specified and clear destination.   I have experienced leadership in corporate environments, on college campuses, in therapeutic circles, the military, and with more groups of various sizes and design than I can remember.

When I reflect back on all that, the clear things for me include these thoughts:

FIRST:  Leadership is a journey, but not necessarily one with a destination at the end … more like an endless spiral.

Leadership can happen in many different environments, in different ways, for different reasons.  Our journey may not be a linear one, or the type that looks great on a résumé. Continue reading

When Life Gets “In The Way” …

Michael and Friend - 2015Status Report:  As some of you may know, my grandson Michael suffered a brain aneurysm on Tuesday morning resulting in treatment in three hospitals, one 5-6 hour surgery on Tuesday night, and intensive medical care, which is ongoing as we speak.  For details, please see my Facebook stream, but the bottom line is that he is doing much better than originally expected, but faces a long recovery.

BTW, Michael is the one in the blue striped shirt in the picture:)

So this is why I have been less active (in some ways) online than usual this week.  As is my wont, now that I have a small bit of breathing room, I want to share some observations around the past few days.  Some of these are in the “Gee, Duh” category, but indulge me.


In a time of crisis, we need to move fast and focus.  Things that seemed important at the breakfast table vanish or shrink in an instant.

The closer we are to the crisis, the more we need to be able to focus on what is happening and devote our energy toward it.  We have a large family and an even larger circle of friends, coworkers, colleagues, and acquaintances, who all shifted gears to help us in ways both large and small to do this.

Everyone once in a while, I read something like Don’t ask what you can do to help.  Look around and do what needs to be done. Continue reading

Something Coming, Something Good …

David Burkus has a new book coming out tomorrow, which should be very good news to us all …

b1e8b0cd-f5de-4901-853c-2dac404c4a62David is a professor, author of The Myths of Creativity and other best-selling leadership and management titles, and a very clear thinker about leadership and management.  He writes concisely, with warmth and humor, and is useful to anyone who cares about making our workplace interactions more effective and more human.

I will have more to say about his new book, cleverly called Under New Management:  How Leading Organizations are Upending Business as Usual, later this week.  

In the meantime, do two things for me, would you?

… Read sample chapters of both books and explore other resources by visiting David’s webpage.  

… For a taste of his thinking and personality, watch this  short TEDTalk charmingly titled Why Do We Keep Our Salaries Secret?. 


Enjoying something old (The Myths of Creativity), something new (Under New Management), and something very useful (fresh thinking) in the Heartland ….