The Devil Really is in the details

I guess I am going to need to pay more and more attention to the details of what is said and implied.

Hillary did win the popular vote. Yes indeed she did. However, the way it is talked about one would think that this was childrena broad vote across America which was only usurped by the Electoral College. Not so fast. Roughly speaking Trump won the popular vote in 49 states by about 850,000 but lost it in California by 3,400,000 votes. Alas, Hillary wins the popular vote by 2,500,000 ish.

No denying the pdragonsopular vote win for Hillary. The demon though is not the Electoral College. If there is a demon it is that we are a Federal Republic with significant State-power. Thus the other 49 States to count. California: shock to you, you are just one of 49, not the end all and do all of the United States.

Seems sometimes that our passion for a position way out weighs the reality of the facts so we then shift into broad homilies and hope others do not delve into the details.


My coaching for myself and other, become detail mongers.

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.

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.

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 – 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.

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?

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 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

Justice and Hope

April 5, 2015 (San Diego) –

            I was outside church this morning, I saw these two words side by side: justice and hope.  As I began to think about the linkage between the words my thoughts went in this direction: when justice fades, hope for fairness between people erodes. When hope for fairness erodes then the probability of the growth of “every person for themselves” thinking grows. There will be a tipping point when the fading justice creates chaos of an irreversible magnitude.

Does hope need to fade as justice fades? Probably not. A person could double down and push, extol, for greater justice. However a paradox is here. To extol for greater justice one needs to stand on the existing foundation of justice and the law; the very foundation for which the “fading justice group” is pushing away from. It would appear that a power struggle would ensue:

  1. Those who are pushing some agenda that erodes justice and
  2. Those that are pushing for an agenda the holds up law and the present system of justice.
  3. Of course this is the very dilemma that existed in the 1760’s here in America.

The best I can do is to be a “light” of justice to all practical extent. I know I will be tested as I am also within and influenced by the ongoing effect of eroding justice. Thus I am affected by the tendency of wanting to watch out for #1 at the expense of justice. I know though tested I also have the “way of escape” to overcome and prevail in the test.