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

Urgent Illusions …

Noise of UrgentWe seem easily distracted or swayed by that which is urgent, don’t we? …

Now when a person’s life is in danger or damage to property looms, we ought to act decisively and quickly to protect people and things.  No question there.  When significant things are at stake, our actions are BOTH urgent and important.  

However, that’s not really the type of “urgent” we are talking about in the quote above, is it?

A good thing to keep in mind here:  We are talking about the MOST valuable use of YOUR time.  


“Urgent” things are those tasks we feel should take priority, not because of danger or potential loss of property, but because they claim our attention for reasons that do not meet the criteria of “Important”.  

For a clear short discussion of “Urgent” versus “Important”, read Organize Tomorrow Today by Jason Selk and Tom Bartow, specifically page 36

In many cases, a thing is “Urgent” if …


Probably the most common excuse I hear offered for spending time on something other than your important things.  Now, the boss is the boss and you ultimately should either comply with legitimate requests by someone with legitimate authority.   Continue reading

True Confessions … Book Review: New Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins

ipad_ebookI am reading New Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins … and I can already tell I will be rereading it more than once.

NO, this is not the latest James Bond story, although at times, it feels like one, as the author describes the secret workings of world governments and international organizations, and the people who work in them.

The timing of this updated version of a classic exposé is exquisite, with the US presidential campaign tortuously underway and global upheaval evident in every corner of the planet.

 Originally published in 2004, this edition continues into the present day the story of global intrigue and power brokering based on the four pillars of modern empire:  fear, debt, insufficiency … and the divide-and-conquer mindset (pg. 293) … unfortunately, the story has gotten worse. Continue reading

Best of the Best …

Best of LWG 2016

Yes, it’s that time of the month again …


Lead With Giants is one of the most active and valuable online communities for those interested in leadership and personal development.  Among many other activities across several major online platforms, this group provides us with a monthly compilation of some of the best leadership and personal development thinking going.

… and just like when I was a child, the big kids let me play with them:). 

Click the image above or GO HERE to read the posts for February and get to know some of these folks.


LWG visionUsing my experience over the past several years participating in the LWG group in various ways, I have determined three reasons why I can comfortably sing the praises of Lead With Giants:

Active Practitioners:

The authors are mostly folks who actively work in leadership development every day, stopping now and then to write books, speak to groups, and do other awareness-spreading activities.

Everyday Leadership:

The topics are mostly about aspects of leadership you can use now wherever you are.   While some posts focus on the 30,000 foot view of corporate leadership, the majority are about how people relate to and influence other people.  The ideas, concepts, and techniques are scalable to the personal level.

Approachable People:

While many of these folks are known internationally, are successful in their fields, and some have even written books about what they do, I have found them approachable, warm, and welcoming.   You can reach out to any of this tribe without fear or concern.

A perfect example of this is the leadership force behind Lead With Giants:  Dan V. Forbes (Click to visit Dan’s LinkedIn profile).  Dan is simply one of the good guys and a true evangelist for leadership and community.


One other way to learn more about this community is to engage in one of our weekly Tweetchats (generic – click link to learn more). 

LWG Tweetchats are fast-paced and fascinating learning and sharing events where some very thoughtful people get together online to share their experiences and perceptions around important leadership topics.

Oh, by the way … there’s one tonight:)

image not displayedHere’s the basic information:  #LeadWithGiants Tweetchat Monday, Feb 1 at 7:00pm ET Leading Innovation with host @ZacharyJeans and @WBCG_Ruth

Use the hashtag #LeadWithGiants to find the Tweetchat.

I’ll be there, on a platform also called Tweetchat (application) which greatly simplifies following and participating in the discussion.

Join us … you should find value, openness, and connection.

Getting ready to learn at the speed of the Internet in the Heartland ….







Meetings …

Meeting SpaceInspired by David Dye’s excellent post on the Lead Change Group blog on January 21, 2015.David provides some excellent observations about how to create better meetings.  My additional thoughts on this topic are noted below, edited for clarity and length:


I just wish we were not still having to concern ourselves with doing meetings better. It seems this has been a topic throughout my professional life … (Insert heavy sigh here).

One assumption that flows throughout David’s thoughts:

When you take the time to strategically plan a meeting by identifying clearly who is gathering and what they are to do, you need to clearly communicate that IN ADVANCE so people can prepare.

I have heard the idea that a best meeting practice is to have a one-page agenda.

I respectfully disagree a tad.

The agenda, published well in advance of the meeting date, should contain the information needed for the person to come ready to contribute. Depending on the size of the meeting , this might be much more than one page.

I think agendas should include:

1) Who is coming, and if necessary, their title and function.  This introduces accountability and alows everyone to know the participants in a more useful way.

2) The Bottom Line purpose of the meeting (as you say deciding to do something and deciding how to do that something are two very different discussions).

3) The specific expectations for participants regarding each activity of the meeting.

4) Pertinent information that participants should have that is not within their ability to find out themselves. If you do expect people to come prepared, help them by telling them what you expect them to know and share.

I still attend meetings where an agenda with topics is handed out, often at the meeting, which makes it useful only as a Tick List to tell me how much more we have to go before I can leave.

When people know clearly beforehand what is to be done at the meeting, they have the opportunity to prepare to do exactly that. Otherwise, we are just guessing at what we are supposed to do.

Considering my own past meeting sins and promising to do better in the future in the Heartland …



Image:  Morguefile.com