Which One of These? …

Which One - Gratisography.jpgThe other day, I saw a friend going through a significant amount of angst around whether to unfriend someone on Facebook.

Not the stuff of an exciting novel,  but their situation did raise some interesting questions for me.


The crux of this person’s issue was whether to continue their active and visible support of a cause that is gathering much attention in our society at present.  The issue has significant political, economic, sociological, and societal ramifications.   Please feel free to spend a few minutes trying to guess which issue it is … I am not saying.

The other person is on an opposing side of this issue, about which my friend feels strongly.  My friend believes that how our society deals with this issue will have profound impacts for many in a number of different ways.  

The other person apparently feels equally strongly about the profound nature of the issue and the effects of the outcome for everyone.

These two people have been friends for most of their adult lives and have shared the raising of children, managing of careers, and personal traumas in abundance.  On a personal level, they have each given much of deep and lasting value to each other.  

For each person, although these are not their words, I think they believe their world would be paler and less joyful without the other person in it.

However, each also feels strongly about the issue and the long-term effects for them, their children and families, and for society.  To choose to support the issue as they see it matters to them and to those they care about.


So the real question here is not which person is right or wrong … and it is not about the issue.  Issues will always come between people.

The decision each of us has to make is this:

When it comes to decision time, do I choose the Greater Good or to sustain Personal Relationships?

We all have to answer this question, at least to some degree.  With the swirling social, cultural, educational, economic, and political issues that face us, we probably do not have the luxury of only associating with or living with those who are in lockstep agreement with us on everything.

If you do have this type of life situation, you probably are either in a cult of some type or have decided that getting along with whoever you are around is more important than anything else.

But I am not asking whether you would rather “just get along” … we all probably would like that.

The question rephrased is this: 

Which is more important to you:  A good friendship or an ideal or value?


This relates to the well-known continuum used in the leadership development world to describe two ways of behavior as a manager or leader:   One has an orientation toward Task (Achieving business goals and getting things done in the workplace) at one end and an orientation toward Relationship (Collaboration, connection, and maintaining relationships as the primary goal of leadership). 

Of course, we are not completely anchored to one end or the other and the leadership environment in which we operate affects our orientation in a specific situation.   Still, in general, we trend one direction or the other, and the more we have to work in the non-trend direction, the less comfortable we are.

Current progressive leadership thinking, as described in exciting new books like Mastering Leadership, supports the idea that an effective leader is able to focus on both task and relationship, and not moving too much toward one or the other.

My original and rephrased question is more personal though:  

When you must choose between supporting a cause or an issue and maintaining a close relationship, which one wins your time, energy, and talents?

Well, I have asked the same basic question three different ways .. so YOU CHOOSE which version to respond to:)

Wondering about my own choices around issues and people in the Heartland ….


Image: Gratisography.com

Title:  If you are a Jack Nicholson fan, you know where this phrase came

“Give Peace A Chance” …

International Day of Peace logo OLDOver at The Lead Change Group, people from all over our shared planet are banging the drums for peace … in the world, in our organizations, and within ourselves.  A worthy focus for all of us, with much of value being shared.

You will not find much pie-in-the-sky optimism, but you will experience reality-based thinking and solid recommendations for action to create transformative change.  

Here are three distinct things you can do now to connect with all this.

First, check out the clear-eyed observations of Chery Gegelman at Peace – A Leadership Strategy, Not Pixie Dust.  Chery’s series on peace provides a wealth of information, highlights varying perspectives, and helps us understand the depth and importance of past, current, and future work to create peace

Then join Chery and Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach and creator of the Google+ People Skills community group, as they co-host a #PeopleSkills TweetChat this Sunday, September 20th, at 10 AM EST.  Share your thoughts, experiences, and hopes with others who are exploring positive and real-world action to work for peace.

I call on all warring parties to lay down their weapons and observe a global ceasefire. To them I say: stop the killings and the destruction, and create space for lasting peace.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Finally, join the world as the United Nations celebrates the International Day of Peace on Monday, September 21, 2015 to learn more about how we can and must work together to reduce and end conflict.  This years theme is “Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for All” focusing on how all segments of society can work together to create peace.

This is not a movement to sit out … at stake is nothing less than the well-being of everyone in our shared world.

As I softly sing “All we are saying is ‘Give Peace a Chance’” in the Heartland ….


“Being The Best …”

FailureI enjoy online groups which regularly offer stimulus for my thinking about leadership and human behavior.   The Lead Change Group regularly provides intellectual stimulus and practical thinking about leadership and human behavior, mostly through their daily blog posts by a “motley crew” of folks who care about intelligent and positive leadership development.  When I have a fresh pot of hot coffee and am reading their daily blog post, I am one happy camper.  

Today’s bon mot was Sharon Reed’s excellent post on leadership confidence and fear of failure.  Sharon tells about an artist who invites criticism (in the useful sense) of his work to grow in his competence.  This really struck a chord with me, since I believe that being open to criticism is essential to both personal and professional growth.  This concept has been a part of my professional journey in more ways and at more times than I have the space to convey here.    Below are my amplified comments on failure and success, adapted from earlier comments made to Sharon’s post.


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Guest Post: “How Happy Are You Willing To Be?” via Nancy Smyth of the Arbinger Institute

promo_02This fascinating guest post flows from concepts explored in the latest edition of The Anatomy of Peace from the Arbinger Institute:


How Happy Are You Willing To Be?

Nancy Smyth

Managing Director of Coach Training and Personal Coaching

The Arbinger Institute

What lies at the heart of a productive and happy life is fundamentally different from accepted thought.

There is a prevailing view that others should change, so we’ll be happy. Has some version of this narrative ever run through your mind? Are you sometimes on alert, seeing how you are being treated? Do you measure or tally up the score about what others should be doing for you?

I know for me it’s exhausting to keep trying to get people in my world to change. I have to work at it pretty consistently and still don’t get lasting results. I firmly believe that I deserve to be happy and am upset by others’ lack of respect for me. Don’t they know who I am, what I have accomplished, what I have done for them? Can’t they see I am contributing over 100%?

These thoughts are fatiguing. They are burdened with a desire to be appreciated. They are unending and spin me into a denser and denser web of emotional bankruptcy.

All the energy we expend in this direction is ill spent.

Happiness is our natural state and is experienced when we are seeing properly. As long as I am accusing you and seeing your faults, I need new lenses. My vision is distorted by what I incorrectly believe. I no longer honestly see myself or you. I insist on the reasons why I deserve respect from you, rather than seeing how I am slighting you with my judgments.

Actually, I am doing exactly to you what I don’t want done to me.

I need to examine my own thoughts. I need to see how they are a story I build in order to support my insatiable need for recognition. What if I saw my need for respect directing me to know my own worth? What if I generously gave you the very thing I desire? My shift in focus from proving my worth to how I can be a better person in our relationship produces honest exchange. It is a path towards more truthfulness and earned integrity and generates a positive environment filled with well-being and happiness.

Give without measure to other people what you most want from them. This  life-altering shift frees us to significantly increase effectiveness in all our projects, whether personal or professional in nature

Nancy Smyth - Arbinger InstituteNancy Smyth, Master Certified Coach, is the Managing Director of Coach Training and Personal Coaching for the Arbinger Institute, the organization-author of the bestsellers, Leadership and Self-Deception and The Anatomy of Peace. To learn more about the new expanded second edition of  The Anatomy of Peace, please visit www.arbinger.com/anatomyofpeace. The Anatomy of Peace and The Anatomy of Peace Telecourse provide practically helpful ways to practice a heart at peace.


5 Things We Can Learn From Ferguson’s New Leadership via RELEVANT Magazine

Interesting article which provides somewhat of a review of the week’s events in and around Ferguson, Missouri:

5 Things We Can Learn From Ferguson’s New Leadership | RELEVANT Magazine.