Taking A Long Shower …

Shower StuffI took a shower this morning, which is good news for both me and for others with whom I interact …

As I pondered that experience, it occurs to me that people come in four varieties:


This person uses the shampoo until it is mostly empty, almost empty, or less than half full.  They happily abandon “large” amounts of usable shampoo for the latest and greatest new shampoo.  Showers across the land are littered with large plastic containers which contain amounts of shampoo which might easily last another week … or three.

They are confident that more shampoo will be available as they desire or need such, and have a generally optimistic outlook on life.   God will provide and does so in plentifulness.  Cost is not a primary concern.  Whether the shampoo is completely used up or not is not a consideration.

Users approach life as a continual and reasonably predictable banquet …

mers care about their coin and stretch things as far as they can …

The Grid


The consumer can often be found, if one peeks into showers, tapping the bottle to get the last of the shampoo into a carefully cupped palm, in order to avoid spilling any drop of this valuable commodity.

Scarcity and need has been in their lives, or at least they are fearful of having this enter their lives.  Many early Boomers were raised by parents who knew that life can change abruptly.    Things once blissfully enjoyed can disappear or become rare.

The image of the Consumer is one of a wet person with their finger stuck as far inside an apparently empty shampoo bottle as they can reach, carefully scraping the very last traces of the shampoo into their palm.

Consumers take their pennies seriously …


The Saver was probably a Boy Scout or a Girl Scout.  They use the shampoo and when pretty much done, carefully deposit the rinsed bottle into a recycling bin.  Savers actually save and sort their stuff, including the stuff that many of us just want to flush, toss, or otherwise remove from our immediate presence.

This is sometimes done without regard for whether that particular recycling process allows for plastics.   It’s about saving the world, one smooshed and reused item at a time.  The motives are solid, but the realities sometimes suffer.

Savers care about the larger picture …


 Economists take things a step further than Savers.   Actually, they keep things a step closer by reusing that shampoo bottle for something else.  I guess the current term is “repurposing”, but not like when you shift a group from one project to another without warning, but when you reuse a thing designed for one purpose to another.

These folks are creative thinkers and will see possibilities that many of us just do not think about.  They see a shampoo bottle and visualize a decorative piece.  If the bottle is transparent plastic, they may see small brightly colored beads filling it or, with the top cut off, crayons or markers.

They are Savers on steroids … trying to use and reuse, rather than consume and recycle …

Bonus Questions:

My wife is a User and I have the half-full shampoo bottles to prove it.  What type do you think I am:)? 

What type are you?

What use can you make of this insight?

How far off the mark are my four types?

 Feeling ever so sparkling clean and a bit “better than her” in the Heartland ….



Three “REAL” Values in “Overcoming Fake Talk” …

promo_02Overcoming Fake Talk by John R. Stoker is NOT

A sweeping new vision of business strategy.

An intricately designed model of human behavior.

A stirring account of leadership and creation of empire.

We already have books about fierce, crucial, difficult, and so on.  We know that conversations are art more than science and that they are important in our lives.  As I glance over the many titles of books from counseling, adult learning, leadership, human performance, training, and critical thinking (to say nothing of my extensive “Doonesbury” collection), I repeatedly and consistently see communication and all its parts reinforced as essential.

So why another book on communication?  

Maybe because we still do not practice what has been preached at us.  Maybe because we need reinforcement that communication is about more than just telling others what you want them to do.  Maybe because we need regular reminders of what we should already know.   Maybe because hearing something in a new and engaging way makes it stick.

John R. Stoker has the background, experience, and knowledge to be a very credible source of our continuing leadership education.

Stoker talks about an Interaction Style Model:  eight principles that neatly sum up the core components of talking (and listening) to others in a positive and collaborative fashion to create results.   His model stands above others with which I am familiar, because it is very well thought out, comprehensive, and presented clearly for maximum understanding. 

I am still absorbing this fascinating and enjoyable book, but here are three things I am already finding of value:


Stoker is visual and provides us with clear graphics to support his ideas.  Two related examples of his ability to create visual communication are on pages 59 and 79.  

Using our well-known 2×2 grid, Stoker shows us the relationships and continuum’s about people and task orientations, aggressive and passive behavior, and four primary types that flow out of this:  Builders, Initiators, Discoverers, and Connectors. 

Those who are familiar with the DiSC model will feel right at home, but Stoker adds richness and his own stamp to what in other hands might be stale material to these two graphs, which show the same basic information, but with nice variation.


Stoker has an ear for dialogue and the book is full of actual, quoted words and conversations to illustrate the points being made.  

This is no dry textbook or extended analytical article, but an engaging and useful series of vignettes where we actually see and hear (at least in our heads, unless we read aloud) real conversations. 

Stoker uses the acronym REAL in his book, and these conversations show this nicely:  authentic people speaking in authentic language.


Stoker is up-to-date and incorporates current thinking about neuroscience to explain how our brains work during discussions, why this is important, and how this knowledge informs our transformation into leaders who can create and engage in “real” conversations. 

In earlier times, we had inklings about what was effective, but did not always know how to explain why communication worked better in some ways than others. 

Now we can support effective practices more clearly and Stoker does so nicely, without overwhelming those of us who are less “technically” oriented.

I keep using the term “real”, but this book is about more than just the opposite of “fake” … REAL” conversation in Stoker’s world “is the process of creating dialogue” and includes the following:

1) Recognizing and Suspending to Uncover

2) Expressing Your Intention

3) Asking to Reveal

4  Listening and Attending to Connect 

(Stoker, 2014, p. 57)

Through the course of the book, Stoker explains each part in great and engaging detail.   Overcoming Fake Talk is just a very well-written and thorough book about making our conversations “REAL”

Actually, if you read and think about the practices outlined in this book, then put what you learned into action, you may actually find yourself creating sweeping business strategy, changing your view of human behavior, or finding your own voice for leadership and creation … or you may just find working with others to carry out your mutual goals a lot easier and more rewarding than you imagined.

I could tell you more about this exciting new addition to my library, but you need to discover the value in Overcoming Fake Talk yourself.   Let me just end by saying that this “fake” book is the real deal.

Having a blast reading and relaxing as summer ends slowly in the Heartland ….





promo_01For over 20 years, John R. Stoker has been facilitating and speaking to audiences, helping them to improve their thinking and communicating skills. He is an expert in communications who believes the human capacity to achieve astonishing results depends on the individual’s ability to interact with others.

John holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Behavior as well as a J.D. Degree. His landmark book, Overcoming Fake Talk, is both entertaining and engaging, and it presents skills that help readers talk about what matters most.

In the past, John worked as a practicing criminal defense attorney, spent summers as a Grand Canyon white-water guide, and taught on the university level for 13 years. John has been happily married since 1994 and he and his wife Stephanie are the proud parents of five children.


Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book for review before it was available for sale.  If you think a free book is enough to sway my professional considerations, I have a very large image problem with which I need to deal.

Execupundit.com: Inner Circles, Fast Tracks, Window Dressing, Hall Closets, and Siberia

Another one of my trusted sources:

Michael Wade (AKA Execupundit) is always worth reading.  Click the link to read a clear and dead one typology of the folks in the company.  I can promise you will find some familiar ground here and an opportunity for reflection.

Read all about it here:  Execupundit.com: Inner Circles, Fast Tracks, Window Dressing, Hall Closets, and Siberia.

Execupundit.com: Monday Morning Advice for Leaders


Quite a list for aspiring leaders this morning over at Execupundit.com: Monday Morning Advice for Leaders.

Personal favorite:

“Before you hammer a change through the organization, use the hammer on your ego and listen to more people.”

If the leaders I know all took this one idea to heart and actually listened more than they try to lead, more positive change would occur … as if by magic.

Enjoying wisdom in the Heartland ….


I Want To Be Alone … Don’t I?

Solitude by Frederic Leighton (1830–1896) - PD via Wikipedia“Solitude is fine, but you need someone to tell you that solitude is fine.”

Honoree de Balzac

  We do need human connections, even those of us who draw energy from within.

Sometimes we think that because so much of the human behavior literature talks about either being oriented toward drawing strength through connections with others and the external world or drawing strength from reflection in our internal world, that you have to be one or the other.

Tain’t so simple …

 We all gain through community … and we all gain through solitude.

We just do not all need the same amounts of either.

 So, as you interact with others at work and at leisure, keep in mind that what you need may or may not be what they need … but ultimately we all have the same needs.

Considering how this plays out in real life in the Heartland ….