When the Fit Hits the Shan

When things go wrong, our habit is to try to control (actively or passively) things, people, and outcomes. But that hardly ever works. And when it does work, it’s at great cost.

No, when the fit his the shan, the best bet is to pause, raise our buzz, listen, and observe. Things will start sorting themselves and we will soon see the exact right, easy course of action to take.

In your corner,



Steady, Determined Culture

Culture isn’t just one aspect of the game. It is the game.

Lou Gerstner

Culture is important. The sages tell us that Culture eats Strategy for breakfast. But the cultures of our organizations are big and complex. There are no play books to follow, no initiatives to launch, no consultants to hire that will replace the steady, determined care and attention of leaders determined to steward a really good organization.

Let’s start by making “stewarding a great culture” one of our key accountabilities at work.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: nerovivo cc


You Won’t Find Success Where You’ve Been Looking

Where does success come from? Is it the right education, career choices, and work ethic? Is it who we know? Is it blessings and opportunities?

We usually act as if success is something out there that we must achieve. We think that some arbiter decides whether we have done the right things, worked hard enough, met the secret criteria to belong to the club, or are just one of the lucky ones.

No, no, nope, no.

We are our own sources of success.

Sure, we each have different backgrounds, different life stories that got us to this point. Maybe the story contains advantages or disadvantages.  Maybe it’s full of dreams and drama. Or deplete of them. It doesn’t matter.  What matters is the story we tell today about from now on.

Such a story feels good to tell,  is free of “yeah, buts,” and has no excuses to make.

So, what’s your story?


In your corner,


PS: If the statement, “I am the source of my success,” sounds too egotistical, try something like, “My connection with [your favorite name for the divine] is the source of my success,” or “My deepest [or highest] self is the source of my success.”

PPS: If any part of the story feels bad, flip it.

PPPS: One tough part about this perspective is accepting a new level of responsibility. If we are the source of our success, then we must be responsible for past and future successes and failures. We can no longer say it was someone else’s fault. On the other hand, we are free to start telling and living our great-feeling story of success. So we got that going for us.

PPPPS: Which is nice.


Today’s photo credit: David Yu cc


Not Like Us

It seems that we instantly and all day long judge others as one of us or not one of us.

We may judge on skin color, education, political bent, gender, sexuality, weight, membership of this crowd or that, wealth, religion, title, clothing, hairstyle, accent, apparent intelligence, tone, body language, who their friends are, what kind of car they drive, where they live, what they eat, the music they like, etc. We can even judge others on how they remind us of other people we have known.

Evolutionary biologists will tell us our judgment helped us survive. Perhaps. But for most of our daily interactions, judging prevents us from connecting and thereby leading, influencing, or selling as easily as we could.

If we look closely enough, we can see that we are much more alike than different. We can set aside the judgments we’ve used to keep us apart. We can lay a significant block in the foundation of a trusting relationship. Upon this foundation we connect and derive win-win benefits. Our innate unity is profitable.


In your corner,


PS: “But,” you might think, “The evolutionary biologists have a point. There are people out there who are dangerous. How do we guard against the shysters and psychopaths?” Good question. First, we need not jump from stranger to complete trust in one instant. We can usually set aside judgment at first and build up trust along the way. Second, we can rely on all our other relationships for support, insight, and guidance. Third, we go for win-win. Remember, win-win is short for, “I win and you win or we don’t play.” As we get good at setting aside judgments and opening to people, we will will also be good at sensing when others are not reciprocating.  When we feel bad, we walk.


Today’s photo credit: Tawheed Manzoor cc


When the Going Gets Tough

When the going gets tough, when you are tempted to fight, flee, or duck for cover, stop.

Instead, find a way to bring more love (or care or connection) to the situation. Start by raising your buzz. Care for and, perhaps, forgive yourself more. Then turn your attention to others and spread your care there.

Counterintuitive, yes. And it works.


In your corner,


PS: After all, this is what’s needed. When the fit hits the shan, everyone wants to feel good again. So, “If not you…?”


Today’s photo credit: gordon hunter cc


Open-Faced Sandwich Feedback

There’s a smelly old way of giving feedback that we commonly refer to as the s*** sandwich. When you have something negative to tell someone, you start and end with something positive and insert the awful thing in the middle. This doesn’t work, really. People giving the feedback twist themselves in knots to cover up their discomfort. People receiving the feedback sense the game and tune out.

Let’s just not.

Instead let’s give honest, direct, and specific feedback. And instead of hiding them, let’s use our emotions naturally, respectfully, and appropriately.

To give feedback well, give them an open-faced sandwich. Using a neutral tone, start with a description of what you didn’t like. Next explain why you didn’t like it, pause to let them feel it, then genuinely reaffirm your belief in their capacity to do better.

So much better.


In your corner,



PS: If you can’t genuinely reaffirm you belief in them, talk it out with someone you trust until you can. It’s important.

PPS: As always, you need not have a title to use this or any of these leadership tools.


Today’s photo credit: Heather Joan cc

sunlight and water

Sunlight and Water

The sages tell us that our attention to things is like sunlight and water. It makes things grow.

Why, then, do we give so much of our attention to people’s weaknesses and errors?


In your corner,


PS: Imagine the bountiful harvest we’d have if we gave most of our attention to people’s strengths and their capacity to do better.


Today’s photo credit: Jillian cc


Dreams Coming True

Desire is the pre-sentiment of our inner abilities, and the forerunner of our ultimate accomplishments.


Turns out that our thinking–not the stock market, the economy, our bosses, our education, or our current wealth–determines whether our dreams come true.

Try this. Think of something you really want to achieve at work or home. Picture yourself having it. Notice how you feel and how what you feel changes even within the first few moments.

Often, as we think of something we really want, we immediately start thinking about our Yeah, buts. That is, about why we can’t have what we really want. Odd, huh? Yeah, buts shut down any further consideration about the matter. And, subconsciously, we countermand our desires and move ourselves away from what we want.

Learning to catch and flip our Yeah, buts, we can move ourselves towards what we want.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: thebarrowboy cc


Buzz-Raising for Profit

Avoid the temptation to label feeling good or raising your buzz as soft, touchy-feely, or impractical. Buzz-raising is an asset that generates huge profits. Feeling good, tough problems at work and home become easy. When we feel good, other people benefit and become, in turn, more helpful to us.

When we succeed at raising our buzz, we often find it so delightful and useful that we may think we need to hold on lest we drop back. We try to hedge our losses.

This never works. Thinking we need to hold on is, itself, a bad-feeling, low-buzz, fearful thought.  It points to the belief,”I am likely to lose this asset.” If we focus here, our buzz drops and we lose profit.

Instead, our best strategy, as with any asset, is to put it to work. That is, we keep catching ourselves when we feel bad and we use one or more of the many buzz-raising tools to return to profit.


In your corner,



Today’s photo credit: motoyen cc