Isn’t it peculiar


Isn’t peculiar that in California we raise the tax on cigarettes to minimize their proliferation

and we legalize the use of marijuana, with one of the most  popular ways of using it, is smoking?

Isn’t peculiar that we make such a noise about “vaping” and we legalize marijuana for “recreation”understanding 2

Isn’t peculiar we are downgrading criminality and yet we complain about the increase of crime Orange Man Detective with Magnifying Glass


Americans going crazy

Back in San Diego.

In my most recent post I wrote that while on the road in other countries the locals love to talk critical issues with people from the USA as long as they are certain we will not go crazy. Now the 3-4 million people running around the USA “going crazy.” I am sure my foreign counterparts just nod their heads and note, “that is what they are worried about” in having deep discussions with Americans.

Two things amaze many of the colleagues:

  1. the fact that we can run around and go crazy at all. Not every country where I work would such a behavior be allowed.
  2. the fact that what the crowds are saying is most preposterous.

Anyway as I noted, travel abroad and you will see for your self.

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.             

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.

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.

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.

Doubling the “other 6%” to 12%

Jan 24, 2015 (Munich)

            In my last 3 posts I have written about the distinction of tasks being performed way above goal level performance, at d4 in the Ken Blanchard Companies models. My research has shown that about 15% of tasks are done in this zone: 9% of the tasks by self starters and 6% of the tasks by those who have received some encouragement and support to move beyond average, mediocre, d3.

For the 6% who received encouragement and or support on tasks, that effort at encouragement and or support seems to be happenstance rather than a planned leadership strategy. Yes, some for sure it is a planned leadership intervention, but most? I think not. I base this conclusion on the fact that if it were a sustained purposeful leadership strategy more of the 55% of the tasks being done in an average fashion would have moved into the high performing zone. (Remember, one of my previous observations is that most people can perform their tasks at a high performance level with supportive leadership.)

Why isn’t there a sustained leadership strategy by many managers? Though the answer for each manager is unique and often personal, the broader answer is that top management is not behind the growth and development of staff beyond profession “hard” skills.  They pay lip service to training and development, put money and time into giving training and development, but that is where it ends. Application of learned skills on the job is totally up to the trainee. The pursuit of excellence is totally a self initiative project. The trainees experience from top down that real growth in self driven so they pass that the same effort to their staff. An axiom of behavior in organizations is leaders “you get what you role model.

Managers can break this on/off encouragement and support of staff with some basic planning, personal initiative, and a desire to help others maximize their contribution to the organization and themselves.

  1. A spread sheet of critical tasks and current performance levels: beginners, 3 – average goal level performance, and 4 – exceeds goals.
  2. Use the spread sheet to guide development at least once/ week
  3. Base the use, step 2, on the immediate needs for bench strength improvement
  4. After about 6 months you will have moved development from “immediate” needs to longer term needs out in the 6 month window.

Self sustainability, a beginning

Dec 06, 2014 (Indianapolis) – Self sustainability, a beginning

            What has to be the ultimate goal of any supervisor, manager, employer: helping the workforce become self-directing decision makers on behalf of the company goals. Imagine if most of your employees, maybe 75%, were self directing themselves toward goal level performance on the critical tasks they perform for the company. That should be easy to imagine since from my research most companies in fact have around 75% of the critical tasks being done by self directing employees. That is average though. No big deal. No distinction.

If that is in fact “average” or what I label as “mediocre” – half way up the stony mountain – then what is the distinction that moves some companies to great, further up the stony mountain, while others languish at mediocre? To be useful in this blog think about companies that are competitive pairs as did Collins in the seminal book “Good to Great.”

The model that I will reference is the Ken Blanchard Companies “Situational Leadership II” model. In the model I have found that average = good = development level 3 in the model. The model also has a higher level of performance, development level 4 which I have found as “distinctive” – great – head and shoulders above the “average” worker, manager, or company.

What allows, causes, provokes, drives, entices, or woos and employee, manager, or company to regularly do the critical actions at development level 4? Before I offer my best assessment of my question allow me to offer some data. In my research: about 15% of the critical tasks are being done at development level 4. That is not 15% of the employees but 15% of the tasks. My guess, but not researched is that the “hi-pos”, the designated high performers do more of their critical tasks at d4 than the average performer in the company.  I would even bet that the “hi-pos” have learned better than the average performer which tasks are currently critical and do those tasks much better than the average performer and much better than the average tasks that they are assigned. In short they do first things first and they do them better, faster, and different than the average “bear.”

To the question from above: seems there are two general answers:

  1. Of the 15% of the tasks that are being done in the d4 zone, 9% are being done at that level of performance by naturally high performers. People who would do a great job on a task because of who they are irrespective of any external factors. At times I have been that d4 performer or have seen others perform at that level “in spite” of the external factors. Remember, d4 performance is distinctly above the goal level, average, d3 level performance.
  2. The other 6%? Now that is a group worth pondering. They are in the zone because of extrinsic factors. In my next post I will begin to elaborate on those factors. It will be my Christmas present to all. It will also be a New Years gift as I am sure I will take more than one post.

Engaged workforce?

June 1, 2014 (San Diego) 

            There is a quotation sitting in front of me for today: “It is possible to be busy – very busy – without being very effective. This would be highly engaged employees expending their efforts on moderately effective projects or organizations.

My favorite book that reflects this very condition is “The Goal” by Eli Goldratt, North River Press, 1984. Yes, I know, what can we learn from a 30 year old book? In this case wisdom.

Mr. Goldratt wrote the book based on a consulting project. The focus company was working day and night, constantly in motion, with all kinds of overtime, yet never making deadlines. Over the course of 3 months this company was turned around to being totally profitable, ahead of schedule on all contracts, Diverse Team 2and no over time. Also, there was no additional workforce or expenditure on new machinery. Yes everyone was extremely busy without being effective.

When organizations need to “up their effectiveness” it takes an organization wide effort directed from the top, but with constant input from all levels of the organization.

Help the employees win, reward them appropriately, keep them in the loop and it will be amazingGo for the Gold what they can do.