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.

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.

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.

The “other 6%” The will to progress

Jan 18, 2015 (San Diego) –

            A bit late, but “better late than never”:  a happy and prosperous New Year to you.

In my Dec 14th blog I wrote that I would write on the “will to progress”.

My experience as a manager and consultant is that almost anyone can

                                 get to be one of the 6%ers on their critical tasks if they want to. Their

                                 major obstacle is their will to progress and having a coach to help them

                                 move from average to way above average.

                                      In my next blog I will write about the ‘will to progress.’”

              I get to do a lot of training of managers. They gain skills and get the practice those skills while we are together. The amount of application after the session is often very low. They said that the information was good. The presentation was good. The usefulness was good. What then happened to application?

For the 9% who already have the discipline skills to apply a new skill without additional guidance, you can forgo the rest of this blog entry. For the rest of us, read on.

A key tool that I use to systematically begin learning a new skill or to perform a non-routine task that is calendarcumbersome for me like completing my taxes I use my calendar.

  1. I schedule 15 minutes to 30 minutes a couple of times / week to work on the task or the new skill
  2. More time than that will prove overwhelming as our plate is already full
  3. I need to start the task with enough 15 – 30 windows to complete the task before the deadline
  4. I need to know what the deadline is
  5. If I miss a scheduled “window” I need to do two thingsclock
  1. Reschedule as the deadline is coming
  2. Check why I missed the window. I may need to rethink the planuntil the day before you meet with your tax preparer or the 13th of April and go into “crash” mode to either get the taxes done or file for an extension. Either last minute action will require more time and can potentially set you up for error. Not good.
  3.             Take the easier road and systematically schedule things on your calendar. Try it once you will like it.
  4. Of course you can completely forgo all this proper planning and just leave it

Tip #4 – Practice with a supporting group

July 27, 2014 (San Diego)

Why do people often “freeze up”, lose verbal fluency, and become nervous when merely moving from their chair to the front of the room to make a presentation? When making a point to the same audience from freezingtheir chair there is no loss of fluency. However, when they move to the front of the room the world seems to have changed.


There seems to be 2 general reasons for the “freeze up”:

  • They feel exposed, naked, transparent       That alone would not cause the troubles, but couple it withnaked
  • They feel the audience will not like them or their message.



Where do people get the idea the audience will not like them or the message when delivered up front, but there is less worry when making the same point from the chair? I am sure part of it comes from their own asking questionslearning environment. When they were listening to others where they listening to learn or listening to critique? My guess is that they were listening to critique and that is what they think is then happening to their presentation, so they are worried. As they worry more and become more self absorbed by the worry their message starts to deteriorate. They become so absorbed with doing poorly that the message literally becomes worse.


Tip #4. To overpower this predisposition practice in safe environments where the audience is there to learn and appreciated your message, not to critique it. As one gives more messages in the safe childrenenvironments one becomes more confident of one’s message and his/her ability to deliver the message in all environments. Toastmaster Chapters are a wonderful places to find these safe environments:


While you are following this tip be sure to incorporate tip 1, tip 2, and tip 3.


Presentation tip #2 – Intentions – reloaded revised

My first tip was “be passionate about your topic or do not be passionate.” Ok, I am passionate about my topic, now TIP #2 my intention:…ip-1-re-loaded

Do I intend to share my passion, involve the others in the passion, persuade the others to become passionate also, or delegate the passion and have the audience move it forward? I suppose I am most interested in this question because for the longest time I gave presentations without having first determined the answer for my self. My presentations were good. They received good reviews, but nothing came of them since I had not thought in advance of the outcome I wanted to occur.

However as I became clearer on my intention from my perspective I could determine how to arrange the data of the message to gain the outcome. I became purposefully better at presentations.

If I am sharing data for information purposes only, then making the data attractive, keeping the audience’s attention, and making the data memorable will all be important.

On the other hand if my intention is to move the audience to action as a result of hearing the message, not only do I need to do all the above I also need to get the audience to own some action as a result of the message. I need to connect with intrinsic needs of the audience to allow them to see that resultant action is in their best interest.

The current political contests in the USA were a clear example that a speaker is greatly hindered if he/she attempts to get the audience to do something of great magnitude, but their personal history or integrity does not support the plea. In this case the speaker’s intentions were undermined by the speakers history. It was in fact the history that told the audience about the intention regardless of what was being said.

The more your speech tends towards a call to action the more the speaker had better best be “connected” to the audience. This of course is true for speeches as well as leadership.

Expand your effectiveness upfront: tip #1 re-loaded

June 21, 2014:

I have the privilege of working with hundreds of people who want to expand their effectiveness while in the front of an audience.

The 5 principles entered on 2 June 2014 are why people want to expand their effectiveness, now I will write one tip on several blogs of how to be effective.

TIP #1: Be passionate about your topic or do not be passionate:

Being passionate drives all other effectiveness aspects of your presentation. Think about the last time you were “passionate” about something: amorous towards another, angry at the kids, really happy about the outcome from an employee. You did not need to tell yourself to be energetic, to have vocal variety, to demonstrate your passion with body language. You were very passionate about the topic and your voice and body language backed you up. We all know how to be really pleased with something. We know instinctively how to communicate “really pleased.” Parents are great at this. Dad or Mom comes home and all they need to do is say your name and you know, you know how the conversation is going to go. All you need is the content. The disposition of the conversation was announced in one word: your name.

When we are upfront we tend to be neutral on a topic, but simultaneously we try to be animated. This is as being “Liked” and Facebook. There is no energy in it, just a check in the box.  This level of being “nothing” creates a problem when you want animation. The presenting mind is neutral and is sending out messages to the rest of the body to be neutral also. Your conscious mind is telling the body to be animated, do something. . The body is confused, it “knows” both signals. This will definitely generate a “mixed signal” to the listening audience.

                                                                                                                                                                                  The tip: be passionate and let the body follow the emotion. The opposite side: if you do not really care guy oneabout the topic, be careful if you are trying to “fake” the presentation skills. If you are having trouble being passionate about a topic:

1. Determine if it is a topic you want to be passionate about                      challenges

2. Check yourself: am I willing to take a public stand on something?

For more tips go to




Five levels of presentation

Over my years as a member of Toastmasters and as a professional helping others with their presentation skills I have found five level of development.

First Level: is to be comfortable not only up front of people but also in life in general. When I am upfront I am well aware of my personal concerns and worries about being upfront. As I find my self upfront in a supportive club, overtime I learn to overpower those worries and concerns. When I am less worried and concerned about how others think, while I am up front, I become less worried and concerned about what people think in my daily living. I become more of me which opens the door to the second level.

Second Level: is to become reasonably articulate when upfront. Being articulate is linked to and is a normal follow-on to the first principle. If I am not comfortable it is hard to be articulate. On the contrary though I could be comfortable up front and not particularly articulate. Most people join  Toastmasters to be both comfortable and articulate.  For most of us, being articulate is a learned skill. When we are upfront we are often so self aware and disengaged from the audience, that are words do not really communicate and there is a plethora of “word fillers.” In fact when I am really disengaged I do not care if my words communicate or not. I just want to say the words and get off the platform. I am totally not present.  When I am connecting to the audience my ability to be articulate is high. Toastmasters helps people perfect the skill of getting out of my own head and connecting to the audience.

Third Level: OK, I am comfortable and reasonably articulate, now say something useful, give a logical well organized presentation. Be able to talk from 5-15 minutes and stay on the same story line, no tangents. While presenting the story line stay connected with the audience to determine if they are getting the message. If they get the message, you have succeeded. Staying connected to the audience is often more challenging than learning to present the story. To stay connected I must know my material well enough that I do not need to think so much about what I am going to say, but stay more focused on the readiness of the audience to receive the message.

Fourth Level: There is a principle between being articulate, #3 and being a “world  changers” , #5. The fourth principle is being intentional and passionate about your presentation topic. We hear this level from the TI World Champion Speakers. The speech is said with passion. The passion drives voice inflection and body movement. Each thought is ‘weighed’ and given the intentional emphasis so that the audience receives an impactful message. World Champion speeches are not influential speeches in their intent to get you to do something, but they are influential speeches in their intent to arouse emotion in the audience.

Fifth Level:  Give a message that moves people to action, a world changers. This I find particularly difficult. First I must believe in the topic enough to be willing to be ridiculed. I must believe in the message enough to give the time to follow up with those that do respond to the call for action. I must believe in the message enough to follow my own call to action: integrity. I must believe in my message enough to really sell an idea and be willing to deal with the angst of people feeling uncomfortable about being “sold.”

 Helen Blanchard, PIP, once said, if I get all there is to get out of Toastmasters, I will never get out of Toastmasters. I have been in Toastmasters since the spring of 1989 and I am still growing.

You are the captain of your life – Invictus

Feb 02, 2014 (Houston)

There are times when I feel that Lilly Tomlin’s homily fits my life:

         Life is a rat race and even if you win you are still a rat”

To be effective with what gifts and talents I have I need to lift my self image above “rat-hood”.   I find the poem “Invictus” helps me see above the mess of life


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

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

I trust as you reflect upon Henley’s ode to life that it will help you take charge of your own being. Blessings.

“Potential Releasing”

Sep 7, 2013 (Dammam

            For the next 3 weeks I get to work with managers who want to be more  effective with their employees. For managers this means among other activities: improving their communications effectiveness. Most of them have the effectiveness out of the boxalready in themselves. My job is to either give them the skills to release the potential or give them the assurance that certain conversations will be effective at certain times while other conversations will be less effective.

Perhaps at some point in their life “the dark side of release (blog Sep1, 2013) “bit” them and they have resolved to be overly cautious. What we do is carefully help the managers examine the caution or lack of skills to consider other behaviors that willOrange Man Detective with Magnifying Glass help them with their employees. Over the years I have seen managers experience the blessing of communications effectiveness with staff development, literal joy has happened (blog Aug 23, 2013) from that connection. Carney and Getz (blog Aug 15, 2013) take the blessing one step further and demonstrate the very positive business impact of positive engagements between co-workers. When I have worked over a prolonged period of time with clients I also have seen the positive impact on organization result of the released and aimed communications potential of a manager.

My blog of 8 August reminds me that communications effectiveness is not about “control” but “influence.” If a manager wants to improve their communications effectiveness in order to have more control over the employees their motive will under mind the otherwise excellent communication possibility. People do not want to be controlled, but they are open to influence.