Helping People Maximize their abilities


As I wrote the title I realized that was another way of stating my personal mission statement: “I am Anduril using my energy and creativity to help people move from mediocrity to trainingmagnificence.” Investing in others is the greatest gift from one person to another. This can be done formally as a manager to an employee, informally as a parent, or semi-formally as a sports coach.

No one has spare time beyond their fundamental contributions to life. To help people be more than just what they are today: they will need to prioritize in favor of their future and give something up to make the time available. Interesting to calendarwatch people try to make fit more in along with everything that is already filling their calendar to overflowing . It almost never fits. They squeeze and twist and manipulate the schedule until finally something gives: too much to do and not enough time to get it done. Now we find out where their priorities are.

 Part of people’s challenge is there also seems to be a scarcity of long range planning. There are too many tactical demands. To stop, look down the road 6 months and build backwards from there is not often done. 6 months, how about indifferencelooking down the road even 1 one month. Of course this adds to the tactical demand when the time comes due and they are not ready. They literally are stamping out the fires they created. I guess that makes them organization arsonists.

 For me the principle blessing of leading the others is helping them reach towards their maximum potential and then allow them to see the blessings in their lives jets1from operating beyond the routine: beyond just being mediocre. Most people have so much more they can give. If I can create the environment that allows them to shine, then they really shine. It is wonderful.

The Life “Blood” of a company – the employee

January 31, 2016 (San Diego)

                                   “Our people are the most important resource”

potential                         People are designed for relationship

Therefore, if we are to take the very best care of our “most important resource” we should be building relationships with them.

The trouble here is that as we are promoted, at best we have less and less time per employee for relationships. Added to that, we have more and more tasks that draw us away from connecting with the employee altogether.

Previously, as the leader of a 3000 person organization I found a few things that helped with the dilemma.

  1. Delegating as much and as appropriate to my immediate support staff. delegationThis allowed me to connect with the support staff, empower them, and give some of my “to do” time to connecting with others in the organization.
  2. Be “on purpose” about who I connected with. Once out of the office I met many people casually in passing. I made sure I was totally present with them no matter the length of the conversation. Though I was meeting people casually I did have some employees I wanted to specifically connect with. Though every employee adds value to the organization not every employee’s contribution is “critical” within a specific time frame.
  3. Be open to suggestions and criticism. For me this is much easier written than done. I am a work in progress when it comes to “not taking hard criticism personally.” This openness I found particularly invaluable since once I was out connecting with people I did not often connect with and I allowed them to be at ease in the conversation, they had great ideas, suggestions, and critical feedback.
  4. Why bother going the “extra mile” to connect with the employees? My research reveals that around 60 – 90% of the potential profits of a standard distributioncompany are in the 45% of the results that are not getting done by the present processes.

Working across the “aisle”

December 20, 2015 (San Diego)

            Seems our politicians, save a few, are highlighting how well they “work across the aisle” to get things done. Over the last few months I have been studying a book with a half dozen men about a man who excelled at “working across the aisle”. The man was Daniel. He was the deputy chief of state, the second in command, to Nebuchadnezzar in the geographic area which is now known as Iraq. The time frame was around 600 – 560 BC.

Daniel was Jewish and a captive slave. However he excelled in learning the key concepts of a state leader at the time and became well versed in the theology of the land. He was a super student in comparison to all others including the local learners.

Daniel demonstrated 3 key characteristics that would serve others who want to excel at “working across the aisle.”

Hope: Daniel had his focus and belief system built on transcendent factors way above, politically expedient or “what is good for me.” Daniel operated on transcendent truths of which even his jealous competitors could find “nothing wrong.” Imagine a politician in which nothing could be found wrong. His competitors were really good a finding error in others. One might say they excelled at it.

Humility: Daniel knew he was less than the transcendence factors of life and below king Nebuchadnezzar. Though Daniel had control of everything but the actions of the king alone, Daniel never took advantage of his power or position for self aggrandizement. He took care of the king and the country first and foremost: no corruption, no embezzlement, no lying, no sexual adventures, no complaining, and no blaming, just honoring the king and his God.

Wisdom: Daniel was smart enough to let his hope and humility run his life.

I would imagine only a few politicians will take up the Daniel way of life.

Maybe a few of us can do it though?

Maybe a few of us can bridge the gaps in society?

Hinges coming off of yesterday’s integrity?

November 29, 2015 (San Diego) – 

            I will muse for a bit here. When I was 5 Dwight Eisenhower was running for President. Obviously I did not catch much of the details then, but I have done some current reading. Seems like he had a few warts, but for the most part he was a leader with integrity and respect for others. Now I look at the Republican front runner, Donald Trump, and he seems to have neither integrity nor respect for others and, and it appears the “Trump-fans” are encouraging him forward on his current trajectory. Wow, the “most likely to vote” Republicans are indicating in the “polls” that his behavior is what they want in the President of the United States. From Eisenhower to Trump, wow we have fallen off a cliff of human relations here. Whatever was “right” and/or “honorable” in 1950 seems to be totally trashed in the minds of what 28% of the polled Republicans.

Do you want a President short on content but long on ripping others, threatening our neighbors, and saber rattling at the drop of the hat? As far as owning up to error he is nearly the Republican version of Hilary Clinton. As far as respect for others he demeans fellow Republicans with the same animus as Hilary does. Hard to see how that behavior best represent our country.

Oh, Inconvenient Reality

November 8, 2015 (Harrisonburg, Va.) –

            I guess the “green influencers” of my Oct 17th blog did not get fast enough action from Obama. Just 3 days ago it was published that the net ice pack of the Antarctic is positive. That is certainly inconvenient for the “green influencers” when so much of their conversation on sea water level rising and the evidence of global warming has been based on measurements on the Antarctic ice fields.

            The “green influencers” asked that “climate dissenters” be punished.  Since science is Learningan ongoing discovery; if we were to close down the conversation based on yesterday’s discovery then the “world is flat”, “the sun revolves around the earth”, “the universe is infinitely old”, and “the Antarctic ice field is net diminishing” since these four statement were all “yesterdays” reality at one time and their opposite statement were/are high politically inconvenient. If we were not to “allow” any politically inconvenient discoveries we would be just like yesterday’s intolerance which would be quite ironic in our ultra tolerant society.

If we were to close down politically inconvenient discovery and conversation we would be expressing incredible hubris. A hubris which indicates we have the final truth and freedom bellanything “new” is wrong and its publication would only confuse and trouble the existing “truth.” The “new” would not add any value at all because we have the final truth already. Of course if they were successful in slamming all new “voices” they would by faint acompli have the “final truth” because nothing “new” would be allowed into the conversation. Imagine the effort it would take to crush reality. Look at all the effort it has taken to demonstrate man’s existence without the need for God only to have the entire effort crushed over the last 20 years by atheists confirming many realities of the “big bang” theory. I guess the “big bang” theory would need to be crushed by the “green influencers” as the big bang theory puts God into the equation and thus makes God the final voice on good stewardship of the planet not the “green influencers.” That would certainly be inconvenient reality for people who claim they have the final word on husbandry of the planet earth.

Status Quo or the “Rut we are in”

October 24, 2015 (Riyadh) –

            In the previous few blogs I wrote on “fear” driven behavior, the paradox of fear driven behavior, and how at times others want to bludgeon opponents due to the fears they have about their opponents.

I wonder how many “fears” are held in place by one’s comfort zone? As the clique goes, “I would rather deal with the devil in know then take up something unknown.” Children of alcoholics who are sometimes abused and mistreated turn right around and marry alcoholics and are at times abused and mistreated once again. Why would someone go into such a tenuous marriage already knowing the possible consequences? Maybe because an abusive relationship is the “devil they know” and they would rather not flee to the unknown.

Another side of the story is the “fear of the unknown.” From my experience I am never afraid of the unknown per se. What I am afraid of is the mental stories from my past that I put in the unknown. The day before one attends their birthday celebration, though the specifics are not known, one is not afraid of the ensuing party. Experience has told you that it will be a good event. When one has some premonition of an upcoming event that things will not go well, we fill the “unknown” with all sorts of bad thoughts. Where did those thoughts come from? While the specifics of what is coming are unknown, the premonition of what is generally coming is bad. One starts filling the unknown with all sorts of “bad” things that one freezingthinks one deserves based on whatever their life’s story has told them.

The story of Watson as CO of IBM is illustrative. An employee made a $1 million dollar error back when $1 million meant a lot to the business. The employee walked into Watson’s office, an unknown, with his resignation in hand. The employee had a premonition based on the employee’s own history that such an event resulted in a dismissal.understanding 2 He had no idea what Watson would due but the employees “bad thoughts” were running wild. The employee goes into Watson’s office and hands him the resignation form. Watson’s response could be an entire blog in itself. Watson said, “I have just paid $1 million in training you. Why would I fire you? Now get back to work!”

How many times has your fear of the unknown with subsequent bad thinking proven to be baseless other than it was fed by your history and your sense of blameworthiness? Or worse still, you go into the unknown argument 2with such trepidation that those fears in and of themselves precipitate a bad outcome. An outcome that was not planned but happened because of your own fear driven hallucination of what was about to happen.

One aspect of Toastmasters is helping people with their public presentation skills. Going up in front of people is a huge unknown for many. As the story goes, for many there is such trepidation of presenting up front that if they had to chose between giving the eulogy at a funeral or being the person dead in the box they would chose the person dead in the box every time. What are many afraid of: exposure and subsequent rejection? Why do they think they will be rejected? To some extent that is what their history has told them about themselves. Anyway they go to the front of the room, and what do they do but all sorts of things that in any other environment would insure rejection. Their fears alone started precipitating behaviors in themselves that in any less of an environment would have insured rejection.

One thought that I have found that helps me deal with the unknown is being “OK” in my own skin. I do lots of public presentations; lots of opportunity to have trepidations before an event, in fact several every month. I do my preparations, focus on the gifts I am giving and move forward. Yes, I have been rejected but then I move on.  guy one I have not rejected David.

Here is an extract from Shakespeare which is germane to this blog:

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Act 3 Scene 1

To be or not to be…… that is the question

Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

Or take arms against a sea of troubles

And by opposing them, to sleep….. to die…..

But that dread of something after death

The undiscovered country, from whose bourn

No traveler returns, puzzles the will

And makes us rather bear those ills we have

Than fly to others we know not of


That conscience does make cowards of us all

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sickled over with the pale cast of thought

And enterprises of great pith and moment

With this regard, their currents turn awry

And lose the name of ACTION

“Fear” at work again?

October 17, 2015 (Riyadh) –
In the October 11th WSJ, page A10 there is a review entitled: “Shut up – Or we will shut you down” A small group of “green” influencers sent President Obama a letter requesting those who do not share their view, those “climate dissenters”, to be punished.
If they have irrefutable science supporting their position and there is no credible science supporting “climate dissenters” why do they want the dissenters punished? Actually the “punishment” they want is to “forcibly silence their opponents.”
I wonder what they think will happen if they do not forcibly silence their opponents. Ask an actuary and he/she will understanding 2tell you that it will show up soon enough. Just like the paradox involved with car accidents, is all “FEAR” driven behavior. My post of 19 September.
There is another phenomenon on top of fear driven behavior afoot here. The ascribing of negative attributes towards others tells us a sad tale of the attributor but scant little about the accused. The homily about when one points their figure at another is followed by the question, “How many fingers are pointing at you the accuser?” The answer is 3. “Let him who is without sin caste the first stone.” Oops, they all left.
The group of environmentalists wants the “climate dissenters” punished because their words are damaging to others. The dissenters are bad, bad people who need to be silenced. Humm…….pause Shouldn’t we just pause for a minute and think about what we are up to here? I guess science and logic are not enough, we need to force people to do the right thing. Must be a different America than the one I grew up in. Hail Cesar!

FEAR driven behavior is a paradox

September 19, 2015 (San Diego) – FEAR driven behavior is a paradox

            In the world of auto insurance the underwriters usually raise you rates after the first accident. Why, because they know there is a much higher probability you will have a second accident than that you had the first accident.

What is the phenomenon? After the first accident we are far more cautious because….. we are afraid of having a second accident. Reality….. that increased caution makes one more likely to have an second accident. Thus the paradox: fear driven behavior is nearly self fulfilling. In the above example one is so afraid of having a second accident that they induce the second accident.

I listened to a speech the other day. The person said that most of his life he had been afraid of rejection. Guess what: he is single and many of the physical gestures during the speech were not attractive. We do our selves in.

Back to my August 30th post. People avoid peak performance out of fear of something. That “fear” in fact assures one that they will not get to peak performance and the “fear” will become reality even though they are not a peak performance.

We need a powerful way of dealing with FEAR: the dragons in our lives.     dragons

Test that thought again

September 13, 2015 (San Diego) – Test that thought again             One would hope that the “James Blake” mistaken arrest in New York would be a one-off event. When similar events happen to one’s self it is an eye opener. No I was not falsely arrested nor was my event with the police. My event had the common thread with James Blake as experiencing the capricious use of blunt force power without even so much as a check-in with the person.  challenges I had done an online registration of a single group as part of a larger collection of groups. The registration had been in place for 3 weeks and the first confirmation of a group meeting had been done. I have been a member of the larger group for 12 years. Out of the blue the group was removed from the site with the group registrations. When I checked with the coordinator it was unknown why the group was removed. A guess was put forth that one of the other coordinators might have “cleaned” up the site and my group was removed by error. But why do anything without checking? All the contact data is there. No one is going anywhere. There are no financials involved. Perhaps, just perhaps we are getting too linked into too many things and thus it is too much  trouble to check before taking action. Perhaps the thinking is “just take the action” and if it is wronindifferenceg the person will complain and fix it. Humm, seems like “customer beware.” Or perhaps, it is an issue of power, responsibility, and frustration. As our country slips towards anarchy and people doing what they think is right with little to no accountability, people with power tend to do the same thing. Perhaps even thinking that they can do whatever they want to do? With people in power not using the prescribed channels to get things done perhaps others are beginning to do the same thing?      This will get way out of control before it begins to fix itself.  exploding

Test that thought

September 5, 2015 (San Diego) – Orange Man Detective with Magnifying Glass

            Over my years of life I have often found that my most current thoughts often become “tested” to determine if I am merely “spouting off” or if I have learned my own thoughts.

Over the last two weeks I had been experiencing a lot of “under communications” with a potential client/project worth about 6% of planned budget for the year. Though the project seemed to be “on” and I had invested about $600 in Visas and support work at the last minute a total turn of the agreement showed up in my “in box.”

Wow, what to do?understanding 2     Here it was 7 days before I was to start the project and the reversal of the agreement was huge. I could capitulate, go with the reversal, and wonder if there would be any further reversals when I came to final payment for the project. OR….. I could reference the original understanding, no contract, and see what would happen.

To be high performing for yourself one needs to be willing to stand one’s ground and agreed standards even it there appears to be a loss coming.

I wrote back upon receiving the reversal in “terms” with the cut and paste lines of the original understanding. That was a week ago. Not a “peep” from the prospect.

I stood by the standards agreed upon and only received silence. Wow, how might this have proceeded if I had agreed to the reversal of terms? Would more reversals be forth coming? Who knows?

Be true to standards is important in high performing companies. If managers rewrite the rules as and when it suits them there will be underperformance from the employees. Guaranteed.