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Playing it Safe with My Wife

2 Apr

I had begun rock climbing some time in the past year. I’d done a number of top-rope climbs in Southeastern Missouri and Southern Illinois and I was eager to progress to my first multi-pitch climbs. Along the way, separate from my climbing circle, I’d met my wife-to-be.

I lived in St. Louis and Bonnie lived in Washington, DC, so I could easily pursue my new passion out of sight. It might have been out of her sight but it was not out of her mind. Bonnie was not very keen on my climbing. It seemed dangerous to her and, as she explained, she wanted to keep me around; she kind of liked me.

Bonnie moved from Washington to St. Louis so we could pursue our relationship in a new way. Continue reading

With Apologies to Ronald McDonald

19 Jan

A larger 20-something, guy, lumbering stature. A 30-something  woman, tall, stereotypical Midwestern mom-like in appearance.  A man of about 50 years, short, with a ready smile and laugh, a feisty attitude. An 18 year old girl, thinner, quiet, pretty.

“Everyone take one quick step backwards and try to land in a good, balanced stance. Again. One more time. OK, now two steps back; remember, pay attention to your stepping, landing and balance.”

The Midwestern mom does rather well. The smaller, feisty guy not too bad. The girl is very tentative and her body stays rotated awkwardly. The lumbering guy steps and lands with his legs too twisted up, appearing uncomfortable, almost teetering on the edge.

This could be any taekwondo class. People come in with all variety of physical habits and capability. Our job is to overcome those, move things closer to a functional norm, and yet also realize that unique habits, differences and limitations always come out, sometime always stick around. A lifetime of habits and movement patterns become our status quo. It’s tough to change the status quo.

The situation I described above, however, is less typical than I implied. Those four participants, and others not mentioned, are all Continue reading

My (Leadership) Bads. And My Goods

1 Aug

Five things I believe about leadership, based on my experiences:

Good leadership ensures there is a clear, compelling vision/mission and communicates them frequently. People always know and understand The Why (and The What) and are reminded of them often.

Good leadership ensures people have the tools and support they need to succeed, on an ongoing and consistent basis. If people aren’t succeeding and thriving, look back to leadership.

Good leadership focuses on recognizing people doing things well and right. It praises in public but coaches in private. Particularly, it DOES praise in public — it knows and celebrates good work and successes — and DOES make sure that it coaches as necessary. It is knowledgeable and active in these respects.

Good leadership fosters an environment of trust and open, honest communication. If people aren’t talking openly, look back to leadership. If people aren’t coming forward for help with their needs and challenges/problems . . .it’s a big problem.

Good leadership results in excited, motivated, happy follower-ship. If people aren’t happy . . .you know where to look.

We Ain’t Them

16 May

I’m at the BNI National Directors Conference in Tampa. As a Director Consultant, I coach and support BNI chapters in my home town area (Duluth, Minnesota).

At the conference, we’ll hear many presentations that share, teach and illustrate examples and best practices of helping chapters of business owners and professionals succeed at, ultimately, getting more good business for members.

In many ways, BNI is a system; follow the steps and structures and things should work out well, if not amazingly great. Continue reading

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