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 ….



On Being Curious, Cruel, and Critical . . .

“How DO you come up with something to talk about every day?

I am sometimes asked how I come up with ideas for blog posts.  

Well, sometimes someone asks “Where in the world did THAT come from?“, which may be a different question:).

However, to address those who actually are interested in the creative process of writing a blog around six days a week, I follow Three Laws of Being:  Be Curious, Be Cruel, and Be Critical:

Be Curious:

I follow a large number of people who blog regularly in the areas of leadership, learning, and human behavior, as well as several sub-categories, such as spiritual and social issues, written communication, and visual communication.

I don’t know how people can write about a subject or area without paying attention to the other people who are doing the same thing.

My interests are all over the place and some might say I lack focus.  I prefer to stress the positive aspects of being curious about many things.   From this interest in many different things come an ability to “connect the dots”.  I see how concepts or ideas from very different areas can relate to one another.

I can see both differences and similarities in apparently unrelated things

Since this practice generates an immense amount of content to check each day, see my second Law below.


I can decide whether to read a blog post or a stream in about 2 seconds maximum.   As many have posted, titles are important and so are those first few lines of text.   Decisions are made and “delete” is often clicked based on that bit of information.

I also regularly unsubscribe to blogs, regardless of who writes them or what they are about.  My DiSC profile reflects a strong orientation toward C behavior, which includes a tendency to engage in “comprehensive” review of a topic.  If I am following leadership blogs, I want to follow them all.

To avoid becoming overwhelmed with words, I have to make hard decisions about which blogs have not proven to offer one of two essential elements for me:  Usefulness or Amusement.

A valuable stream either provides content which I can reflect on or makes me smile.  Either works to give value:)


Critical thinking involves both creative thought and analytical or logical thought.  Both are very useful when reflecting on someone else’s words.  I look for ideas, concepts, terms, and words which appear in a new light.  I look for a fresh way of thinking about something.

I value the weight of statistics and facts, while keeping an eye out for those whimsical thoughts which may contain the truth of an issue or situation.

An important element here is to avoid the filter bubble” effect, which is the disturbing tendency of search engines to show us information that closely relates to what we are already interested in, based on the sites we have already visited.

If you only look at one side of an issue, you only know one side of an issue.

Be aggressive about seeking out diverse viewpoints and oppositional positions.

Since Becky Robinson will not let me take any more than 12 minutes to compose a blog post, I am now finsihed:)

What important elements have I missed or misstated?

Creating content critically in the Heartland  . . .


These Are My People . . .

Well, now you’ve met my core leadership team:

DEBORAH:  Decisive, outcome-oriented  and assertive leadership

IGNACIO:  Inclusive, people-oriented and positive leadership

SUSIE:  Supportive, trusting and steady leadership

CHARLES:  Conscientious, analytical, and quality-oriented leadership

This is a strong leadership team and I am proud of each one.   My goal is to help them grow and use their unique mix of skills and abilities effectively.  Doing this with respect for each difference is a bit of a challenge.

One thing I have learned so far . . . leading these folks effectively is not about right or wrong styles.  Each behavioral style has value and each style has a “dark side”. Continue reading

Charles . . . Backbone, Analyzer, and Conscience

When I am out of the office, I leave Charles in charge,  because I have absolute faith that he will protect the organization . . .

Dignified and always dressed more formally than the rest of the team, Charles is one of those people with perfectly knotted ties and polished shoes, who projects what can only be termed “gravitas”.

However, he is far more than his appearance.  He may be the single most valuable member of our team.

Charles is our parliamentarian, ethicist, and resident nitpicker.

Charles is always early to our meetings, walks in ready to talk about the topic, and is sometimes visibly anxious to move past the “small talk” and get to the point of the meeting.   His analytical mind and attention to detail helps us insure we do not miss important things.  This is good.

He has been known to spend a great deal of energy and time on points that the rest of us see as trivial.    This is not as good.

Charles is almost always right.  He may be overruled by other considerations, but his facts and his perceptions are pretty much dead-on.  He actually reads the Annual Report and the monthly financial statements . . . every page.

Charles keeps us centered on using the structures, systems, and processes that are necessary for efficient and effective business.

He is honest to a fault and one of his most helpful traits is his willingness to bring our attention to those times when our behaviors and directions could become “problematic”, as they say.   

What he has been known to say  is “This course of action will probably result in adverse customer legal action” or some similar phrase.  He helps us remember that while we always have options, some options are better in the longer run that others.  

Not to his face, I call him my “Stay Out of Jail” card:)

Charles is driven by the desire to get things done within certain parameters and structures.

He is a rule-follower, a “Boy Scout”, sometimes a pain, but he has also earned my trust and respect with his consistent and honest approach.

Admittedly, sometimes I wish he would just go on a hunch or take an emotional leap of faith, but I have other team members who do those things easily and often.

By the way, if you visit the office and meet Charles, remember this.  It’s never “Charlie”, it’s Charles.  When I first met him, I thought he was a little stand-offish, which would not mesh well with my more “folksy” approach.

Over the years, I found him have charming and friendly on those occasions when this type of behavior is proper, but he always maintains a certain propriety and formality . . . not stiffness, just formality.

Charles is our conscience and our reality check.  He ensures that we add real value to what we do for our clients.

Relaxing because I know Charles has my back in the Heartland . .  .