Feed back to my self

Here is week two of my renewed effort to write. I am in transit in Germany on my way back to San Diego after three plus weeks in the mid-East.

Being amongst, people from other countries during such a riotous times as a US Presidential election is eye opening. I was working with Irish joint venture and two French multinationals. People were from everywhere and then there was the one American. They all want to know what I think, feel, project, etc. I am always interested in the thoughts they have. Thoughts that usually come from their own language media and local TV, website news outlets. To hear their points of view is humbling and enlightening. Their points of view are most interesting if they are certain you will not go crazy if you disagree with them. Seems Americans have quite a reputation for being “in your face” if things are said that are disagreed with. Certainly to conversations leading up to Nov 8th did nothing to dissuade that perception.

My coaching. Enjoy life. Travel outside the US and hear and read others perceptions of our country: warts and all.

Getting my own “writing” act together.

Nov 5th fm Riyadh

Each week I have an entry to remind myself to come to this blog site and make an entry. The most recent entry prior to this one, June 22nd. That is a mere 19 consecutive times I have deleted the calendar entry and have not written anything here. Based on my last blog prior to this one, I need to decide for myself if writing is important. If it is important then I need to “show up” on this site and make a thoughtful entry. Or at least make an entry.

Lets see how this feedback to myself works.

Blessings to you all.

The Goal “reloaded” for commitment

June 19, 2016                              

            In my post of March 18, 2011 I wrote on goals and their importance.

           Allow me to take a slightly different tact today.

           Our goals should direct our energy and commitment for day to day, hour to hour allocation of time and energy.

           As the adage goes: “if you are not working on your goals you are using your time for someone else’s goals”. I find it hard to imagine that on a regular basis someone else’s thoughts and aspirations would be more important for another person’s life and future than their own. Yet on a daily basis I see people not willing to commit to time investment they could make in order to be flexible for any activity that might come along. The thought goes that ‘I will miss out if I commit.” True enough one will always “miss out” on everything there is to do once you have chosen to do a particular task. However, if the particular task you do chose is part of your life goals and mission then that focus is strategic for you.

            The outcome I get is the summation of the choices I make. If I make choices based on specific goals then the outcomes are more likely to align with those goals. If I make choices based on someone else’s goals I will get outcomes that are aligned with those choices. If I make choices based on my mood for the moment then I will get sporadic and meaningless outcomes. Focus on what is really important to you and act on the outcome of that focus. You are more likely to be pleased with what is coming into being in your life.

            I am involved with Toastmaster, a self development skill building organization. Every fortnight I build the agenda for our 1 hour development program. 1 hour in two weeks to focus on self improvement: a minimal time footprint for great personal skill building. The turnover in the agenda over the last 3 days before the 1 hour program has been at least 60%. Clearly the goal and subsequent activities for self improvement are happenstance, lacking in motivation and importance. I have been richly blessed by my membership in Toastmasters. Blessed enough that I regularly hear people say that they wish they could be a Toastmaster with the same skills that I have. That is totally possible based on the choices they make and the time they invest for improvement. If the choice is for the goal of skill building they can become even better than myself. If their choices are based on happenstance their skill development will suffer.

LINO revisited

June 15, 2016 Ras Tanura

I wonder to what degree indifference to people per se supports “Leadership in Name Only” (LINO)?  Iindifference have written on this twice before yet I still have feelings and thoughts on the topic.

We say that people are the “most important” resource and at one level we believe it if for no other reason the person who is saying it believes themselves to be “important and valuable”.  The collision of words and actions come in the daily conversations. The conversations are almost exclusively about the business and seldom about the people who get the business done.  Covey would say we are totally focusing on the golden egg at the expense of the goose as if that conversation alone would cause the goose to be more productive.

understanding 2I wonder what would happen if an organization gave 5% of its time exclusively to the conversation of the care and feeding of the goose? Lately I have been working with a ranching company. One of the product lines is dairy. To improve the volume of product they focus on the care and feeding of the cow, not the volume of milk. If you want more of something you look at the source not the outcome. Good process controls is not the source, people engineering the process controls is the source.

I know that time is an issue and I have written on about time before. We also know that productive clockpeople optimize the time that is available. They literally make time for the organization. People who are moderately engaged lose time for the organization. When managers are involved in the care and feeding of the employees, the engagement level of the employees goes up. We also know that the connecting needs to be genuine. Manipulative engagement is quickly understood for what it is, and is resolutely rejected.

Connecting with the employee purposefully and exclusively for 15 minutes a day. Wow, that would be something. Connecting in the domain of collaboration, decision making, conversation, or calendarempowerment. Make that 15 minutes a calendar event.


Critical Actions rebooted

Critical Actions (CA’s) revisited. CA’s are those few actions/ activities in which a company or individual must have favorable results to be prosperous or successful.  CA’s are the sine qua non, in which there is nothing. If CA’s are not achieved with distinction all the other activities combined will not be able to make up the difference. Therefore it is the CA’s where a manager needs to focus his/her effort at developing the staff.  I am reminded of the segment in “Apollo 13” when the nature of the disaster was clearly understood: they needed to scrub the atmosphere of CO2 or they would die. Tom Hanks, as Neal Armstrong, needed to draw everyone’s attention to a few specific ca’s. If the atmosphere was not scrubbed of CO2 they would die. Nothing else matters. That is what ca’s are.

Once again I am part of a journey at making Blanchard’s Situational Leadership II a measureable success with a company. The will to move it forward and make the difference is there. That will power is an essential first step.

To gain the measureable difference is the next step. To gain a measureable difference will require that managers to use the model on essential activities, activities which I have labeled as CAs. To get individual managers to think through their “sea” of activities they manage and focus on the critical few that make their responsibility fulfilled is a challenge.  Part of the challenge there is to help them push the pause button in the daily deluge of activities and problems to be solved, activities and problems which already take more than the time allowed, and think of the bigger picture.  The second challenge is to help them get out of the mental rut that, “all their activities are critical.” This exercise is totally important when considering using Blanchard’s model on the job.  Since Blanchard’s model is about developing employees and taking time to do it, time which does not exists; where that time is used is beyond important.  If managers are actually going to use precious time to do something they have never done before to accomplish something they have never done before, but the company is doing “good enough” already, the payoff must be high in recouped time.

Let’s see how it moves forward this time.

Integrity or drought

April 10, 2016 (San Diego) –

                1. I am confused. The conversation is that California is in a serious drought.

                2. The behaviors of those who can make a huge difference say otherwise.

                3. I guess we are more concerned about something other than solving the drought situation.

                4. I wonder what some want more than life, or what quality of life do they envision?


California is dumping a trillion gallons of fresh Water in the ocean. Only liberals would declare a water shortage disaster after spending years dumping good, fresh water into the ocean to protect a non-endangered bait fish.


Yet the Obama administration has decided to block a privately financed project that could supply water to 400,000 Californians, even though the project has been approved by an alphabet soup of state and local agencies. The result will be to trap vast amounts of a precious resource beneath the Mojave Desert. Is water the new fossil fuel?


Amid this regulatory hustle, a California state appellate court last month heard six challenges to the project, all of which had been rejected by a trial court two years ago. In 2012, the Santa Margarita Water District’s final environmental impact report noted that the project’s only significant effects would be temporary dust from construction and the hazard of population and employment growth from a larger water supply, which has driven opposition from green groups. While trumpeting the BLM’s decision in October, the Center for Biological Diversity complained that the Cadiz project would “increase urban sprawl in coastal Southern California.”

They are building the Carlsbad Desalination Project, which will convert as much as 56 million gallons of seawater each day into drinking water for San Diego County residents. The project, with a price tag of $1 billion, is emerging from the sand like an industrial miracle. In California’s highly regulated coastal zone, it took nearly 15 years to move from concept to construction, surviving 14 legal challenges along the way.             

Where do people get any time from?

From your perspective Urgent Not Urgent
Important 1. A crisis. Will almost always get time and immediate attention 2. The domain of your ongoing future.

Not Important

3. A crisis imposed by another. Will usually gain time and attention. 4. Just for fun. Company outings, dinners, etc. Where one gets to just enjoy being with others.


April 02, 2016 (Seattle)

Your initial surge of “new time” will be coming from the “time wasters” of blocks 3 and 4.

Block 3 time wasters are mostly exerted on you by others. Meetings that do not need your attendance. Help others on things just to be nice. Interruptions. Popular things that are not necessary.

Block 4 time wasters are the “do it to yourself” time wasters. Games on your phone. Prolonged lunches. Junk mail. Mindless TV.

To overpower these time wasters takes discipline upfront.

Will you do it for yourself so that you can begin creating a better life for you and the others you care about?

Be all you were created to be – Decisiveness

March 26, 2016 (Riyadh) –

Being decisive is a key to fulfillment. There are just too many things to do and too little time to do them all. One must decide what is “best” from the sea of “good” and “better”. Below is an application of being decisive when it comes to the task of developing employees. This is a spin off from a 2010 blog.

How to develop a person in any skill area is well documented. The question is not “how” mechanically but “how” within the existing morass of things to do. The requirements of understanding 2your job takes more time than most of us have to give in the first place and then to add development of others on top of that can become quite overwhelming.  I see a lot of managers “delegating” the development to a concept: “if you are any good you will figure it out on your own, after all that is what I had to do.”

clockWhere does a person get the skills and time to consistently apply development to others in order to create a better than average organization?

  1. I believe it is a matter of the will and determination. You will be overcome by the day to day activities of the job. Guaranteed there is more to do than you have time to do it. Full stop. You must decide that you are going to do development activities.
  2. This decision will require good delegation and follow up. This will also mean that there is the possibility that some things might not get done as well as if you did them delegationyourself. You cannot live with that in all areas but it is amazing how many areas when done “good enough” still allow for better than average overall results.
  3. This decision will require you knowing the critical actions of the job. This year I have been having a lot of conversation about employee development. As a leader I see everything in terms of how things add to or detract from employee development.
  4. The decision will require focus and continuity. This must be a “way of life” not just a “one off” announcement.

Be all you were created to be – in action

March 13, 2016 (Riyadh)

In my post of March 6th, below, I wrote that owning your situations in life will help you persevere, endure hardship, solve problems, etc.

I saw an application-extension of that idea last night. I was at a speech contest the other night. Two of the speakers who placed 1st and 2nd both had great presentations. In fact the person who came in 2nd probably had the better overall presentation. The person who came in 1st had one factor in his decisive favor. He had personally experienced the key story that he used in the presentation. By having experienced the story he could not only intellectually own the story, he could emotionally own the story. Since he had been in the story he could share it at the emotional level with the audience and thus bring the into the story. He owned the story and he helped the audience “own” the story as if they were right there with him. It was captivating and he thus “captivate” the judges and won over a superior presentation.

We see politicians use this tactic all the time. They want us to “buy into” an idea not only at the intellectual level but also the emotional level. Since they often have not personally experience the situation they want to fix, what do they do? They bring in someone (s) to be the “story” in the audience. It is not as good as owning the story yourself, but it is better than no emotional-owner of the story at all.

Owning your life’s events not only can help you defensively as it did Nelson Mandela on Robben Is, it can help you offensively when it comes to persuading others.

Be all you were created to be.

March 6, 2016 San Diego

I am reading a book that looks at the lines below of Henley’s from the “light” of leadership. The title of the book is “Extreme Ownership” by Willink and Babin. One of the couplets is be “strong but have endurance”. I think about Nelson Mandela on Robben Island for all those years. Strong in his resolve that he had extreme ownership for himself yet with massive endurance to persevere 18 of his 27 years of imprisonment with no expectation of outcomes. Just the expectation of being, being the captain – the owner, of his own soul / mind.

(extract from Invictus)

It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll. I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul. William Ernest Henley

Imagine if we, if I, had that level of ownership for all that occurred in our / my life. Tough to get mad or angry as the event that would cause anger is an event that I own myself in. I am not a victim. I am the captain. Imagine the strength of character it takes to “own” a situation: to stand opposed to the energy that is trying to make you a victim; particularly unfair energy which was crafted just to target you.

Consider how much stronger you and I will be in our daily life if we take on “ownership” for what is going on. If I position myself as the “master of my fate”, my guess is our full potential will move from potential to action. We will be a blessing to most and a role model to all.

Be all you were created to be.