Is the Grass Really Greener?

I believe we should always be ready and willing to look for other opportunities for employment and residence but how can we know if something else will really be an improvement?

I wonder if we have given our current surroundings a careful and honest evaluation. Are those tasks, incidents, personalities as troubling as we have imagined? Has a natural restlessness settled in? It may pass. If the circumstances are caustic, abusive, contrary to your values then an exit is appropriate and should be as soon as possible. But, if there has been a minor clash over an approach, performance, expectations and you are feeling unappreciative, evaluation may be needed. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes and if it hurts you, it likely hurts them. If you are yearning for something/ someplace different ask ” am I needing the change or am I chasing someone else’s dream?” It may be that moving won’t bring resolution because wherever you go that’s where you are and you find some comfort in being uncomfortable.

The grass often looks greener because of perspective and if you walk in the other pasture you may discover the mirage.  Take a stroll and check out the surroundings before you jump over the fence.

I don’t know your situation but it may be that your lawn needs some weeding and nurturing rather than a new location.


New One Minute Manager


To say that the original “One Minute Manager” is a timeless classic seems silly but it has been one of the most read business books of the last thirty years.  13 Million sold and published in 37 languages speaks to the popularity and importance of this short work. So when IO received a notice from Becky Robinson – Weaving Influence  that a new version was launching very soon (next week) I started thinking about where I was twenty years ago and how the book (among a few) helped shape me.  To be honest, I hadn’t thought about one minute goals, one minute praises or one minute feedback, at least not consciously, for years.

Twenty years ago, I was doing a job, going to work every day, getting the job done – barely. I remember having an attitude of complacency and getting by. I didn’t feel the day-to-day was meaningful. Work to live. Blanchard was one of a few authors I read that changed by my attitude along with a practical approach to making the day-to-day productive and fun. It was a stress reducing, meaning making tool that I put away on a bookshelf.

I am anxious to get New One Minute Manager ;  the new version for the new times where there seems to be so many distractions, pressures, and so many fewer person to person opportunities.

Make Today Remarkable, by praising someone,



The Way to Build Authentic Trust is to Trust.

As I have written here before ‘trust is a choice once made becomes invisible’.  The first step is for you/me to choose to trust and extend it to those in our world. Building authentic trust relationships with coworkers, colleagues, associates means extending both the branch of trust but also the message of trust. Words will work – “I trust you”, ” I trust you will..”, ” I trust you have …” Actions that demonstrate trust go further. Delegating and expecting results. Handing off information knowing it will be honored. Opening your  hands, home and heart. Being a bit vulnerable. Sharing a ‘big idea’.

I find trust liberating. I find trust invigorating. I find trust by trusting Rust changes the relationship. I begin with trust and have only been deeply disappointed by sociopaths (who I hadn’t recognized initially) and those with low characters who think so little of themselves that they believe they are believable when they are manufacturing lies and excuses.

Make Today Remarkable, by trustung two new people,



What are you Reading?

I am a voracious and varied reader with dozens of books on the go at the same time. As I look around the room I am in I see, “Building Trust” ~ Robert Solomon , ‘Challenge Coaching” ~ John Blakey, “Do Over” ~ Jon Acuff, “The Circle Way” ~ Christina Baldwin, “The Book of God” ~ Wangerin, “Seizing White Space” ~ ~ Mark Johnson, “Modern Proverbs” ~ Glenn Ashton, “Surprised by Scripture” ~ NT Wright,  “Higher Ed” ~ Tessa McWatt, and “Together” ~ Richard Sennett. They are all in various stages of being consumed, some I started yesterday and some were first opened in January. That is one room. I tend to spread my books from room to room, so I can always have something to pick up and pick up where I left off. My eReader has 150 books, mostly all finished, but likely a dozen that I will finish soon, or not. I have wrestled through the need to close the last page on books that aren’t appealing, not well written or aren’t teaching me something. I can just leave them unfinished and put them in the pile for a charity book sale.


I read all over the house, all over the map, all over genres. My greatest strength is the ability to pull disparate ideas and quotes from one place and synthesize them, weld them to ideas that I gleaned somewhere else. This can create a remarkable set of new opportunities. My greatest weakness is the ability to pull disparate ideas and quotes from one place and synthesize them, weld them to ideas that I gleaned somewhere else. This can create a remarkable mess. Either way, I have fun and my mind has so far managed the dissonance without complete insanity.

What are you reading? How do you read? Are you a grazer? a gulper? a lingerer?

Do you start and finish one book at a time? Do you have favorites? Do you keep shelves of books or circulate them quickly?

Make Today Remarkable, by reading a book,




Sacred Scheduling

If it’s in the calendar, it gets done. ~ Gretchen Rubin


Without destroying spontaneity or sounding anal, “if it is important  it gets in your agenda”. All  calendar appointments should carry the same weight and the same priority. If you have difficulty choosing between priorities – work/family, friends/personal, social/meditation .. maybe beginning to schedule slots would be helpful. You need to have or create the habit of always honoring the agenda, with joy.

If you feel overwhelmed, open your calendar to two days from now and book an appointment with yourself to go for a walk from 11:15 to 11:45 and then do it. If you need some fun, send out a calendar invite to a friend or partner for 4:30 on Wednesday to do something that you haven’t done before (they will put it in their calendar too).

Does your family need you to join them for supper a few times each week but you find that you are still pounding out salt at 7 pm? Book ‘Quitting Time” for 4:46pm on Monday and Thursday and a standing dinner meeting for Sunday at 6 pm.

Are you getting stale? Schedule at DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) recurring appointment for 30 minutes 3 times a week.

Whatever you schedule becomes more meaningful when you habitually honor the commitment (to yourself and others) – no excuses.

Make Today Remarkable, by adding two things to your calendar.



Making a Movement

My friend Wayne Stewart wrote these thoughts in 2009. I think they have a lot of relevance in the work we are doing today.

Movement Making #1 (page references to “Getting to Maybe”)

Why make a movement (advantages)

  • Increase impact exponentially
  • Bring disparate groups working on the issue together
  • Impact the ‘system’
  • Work on underlying causes and prevent reoccurrence
  • Deal with the issue in all of its complexity (beyond the simple and complicated)

Characteristics of a ‘movement’

  • Complex, well beyond simple and complicated
  • Full of ambiguity and paradox
  • Seemingly lacking control
  • In a constant state of change, incapable of being controlled
  • Not capable of measurement by traditional measures
  • Characterized by systems thinking, only understood as a ‘whole’
  • Questions abound, very few answers
  • Intentionality and complexity in tension (21)
  • Relationships are key

Characteristics of a ‘movement maker’ (leader)

  • Has all the skills of the ‘essential modern competency’ (ix)
  • Passionate about the issue, unwilling to accept ‘second best’
  • Driven by a sense of shame (35) and by a ‘call’ (36)
  • Understands the issue fully, in all of its complexity (25)
  • The characteristics of a servant leader, particularly:
    • Listening
    • Conceptualization
    • Awareness, of self first and others
    • Humility
    • Persuasion, political skills
    • Foresight
  • Deep understanding of self
  • Considerable dose of self-esteem
  • Humility, absence of arrogance, willing to let others take credit (Collins’ mirror)
  • Loads of courage (to act in the face of uncertainty and lack of clarity)
  • Perseverance and patience (while impatient at lack of movement- paradox)
  • At the same time, strong on implementation
  • Can-do mentality modified by reflection, visionary (20)
  • Able to think and do simultaneously (thoughtful actors and restless thinkers- 61)
  • Resilient (65)
  • Secure, willing to be fired, able to exist without the security of regular salary
  • Able to deal and comfortable with paradox and ambiguity
  • Comfortable with lack of measurable targets (‘maybe’ rather than ‘yes’)
  • Comfortable with generative work, able to lead others into and through this
  • Comfortable with a sense of serendipity, conviction, risk taking, faith (46)
  • Dreams big, acts bold
  • Must be free of ‘normal requirements’ of a NP leader- funding, operations, regular reporting, performance targets, etc
  • Extremely effective communicator to all audiences
  • Able to vary presentation to meet specific needs of audience
  • Strong advocate

Risks for the movement

  • Our habit of keeping arenas of action separate (85)
  • Our need for answers, lack of comfort with questions
  • Devotion to act without thinking
  • Impatience with measures that don’t fit
  • Issues with leader- lacks competence, loses passion, loses credibility

Risks for the leader

  • No place for ‘control freaks’
  • Can get fired as supporters lose patience with lack of results
  • Active resistance from those outside circle
  • Self esteem and confidence can be destroyed
  • Salary lost
  • Can become a pariah to those whose

On the other hand

  • The joy of making a huge difference
  • A legacy that will be remembered
  • Impact on lives
  • Changed systems that change lives (52)
  • Opportunity to bring everyone into the circle

How to ‘Get To Maybe’ (46 ff)

  • Stable source of long term funding
  • Removal of other, ancillary objectives
  • Cooperation within the sector, broad support
  • Detailed review of current approach and willingness to ‘kill’ irrelevance
  • New performance measures (51 and 83)
  • Advisors who understand, are comfortable with movement characteristics

Critical Elements

  • The right leader
  • Strong, stable support

Wayne Stewart

June 5, 2009


Get it Done.

Many productivity experts offer a simple rule; “If something will take one minute to complete – do it immediately”. The small ‘to-do’s’ that pile up seem to evaporate using this practice. But I find I take about 40 seconds deciding if I can complete the task in a minute so I am proposing that you tackle everything that clearly can be finished in 2 minutes. Just get started at the task; answer the email, file the statement, read the one-pager, respond to a voice mail, send a text, put the laundry in the machine, …

I have been able to tackle and complete all of these in under two minutes and then I return to an area that requires 10,20 60 minutes  or more without allowing the nagging notifications to draw my attention. It may just be me but I  am better, I feel better and I produce better when I chase a few of these impending two-minuters away and can see the top of my inbox, my desk or the table.

The one minute rule or two minute version is counterproductive if you don’t reduce the number of times that you allow these burst tasks to draw your attention. Maybe start with an early morning ten minute session 5 to 10 tasks in ten minutes, a ten minute mid-day catch up, and then a just before quitting time dash  5 to 10 off the list.

I would love to hear how this practice impacts your day. How do you feel? How much did you get done?

Make Today Remarkable, doing some 2 minute bursts,



Why are You Curious?

Curiousity and a curious attitude is not motivated by the need to be right but by the need to understand. This may sound like a repetition on a theme (see My Raging Confirmation Bias) but if it is, it bears repeating.


When you wonder about something; a question, a problem, an unknown story… is your interest out of a pure quest for knowledge or to acquire a sharp sword to slice someone else’s position to pieces?

The areas of my life that receive the most attention and time; politics, social issues, religion and social change have strong advocates for strongly held ideological positions. I am considered one who has strong opinions, ideas, tendencies. On the days I am researching, writing or presenting with a quest to learn and understand I receive gifts, gems of wisdom, that I might instinctively ignore. When I am head down, blinkers on searching for the evidence to confirm my thesis, I don’t learn much (even if I am in the same text, room, or conversation).

I suspect curiousity is a muscle that needs to be exercised and a practice that needs rehearsal. When I have spent some time reading for pleasure, with an open heart, from a source that I wouldn’t normally choose I acquire interesting and useful nuggets. I know when this happens because I smile or knit my brow as a reflect to my curiousity being whetted. It seems that an hour of rehearsal strengthens the muscle and when I delve back into subject or interest  area work, I am questioning.

Make Today Remarkable, by being curious,



I am Responsible

As I examine my bumpy journey to this destination, I acknowledge that the bumps were a result of my decisions, my choices, my actions. I am tempted to blame others – my mom, my boss, my competition. I could try hold timing, finances, weather, responsible. I could deny that I am complicit in my journey but I have learned so much from the ups and downs, it would be disrespectful to me to not accept my primary role in the state of my personal affairs.

When we accept that we are responsible for getting here, wherever that is then we can take the sum total of all those experiences and make a better, more meaningful future. I have learned tough lessons in the first 60 years. I have been privileged to be in remarkable relationships. I  got to make nonlethal but semi-disastrous missteps. I learned from the experience. Today I face new decisions, new opportunities, new challenges and because I accept personal responsibility for yesterday, I get to take credit for tomorrow.   I will learn from today and add it to yesterday to improve all the tomorrows I get.

Make Today Remarkable, by accepting responsibility,



Keeping Up is Easier than Catching Up

Coming from an amateur procrastinator that title is borne from experience and some determination. I can convince/deceive  myself that I am smarter, faster, more effective than everyone else so I can blast out an assignment or commission at the last possible date. I do always get it done but if I had written for an hour each day for a week, I wouldn’t have needed to trade 7 hours of enjoyment for 7 hours of stress on a Saturday.

If I hang up my clothes or put them in the laundry, it takes 2 minutes but if I pile it on a corner chair, it clutters the room and changes the atmosphere. I still need to deal with the clutter that takes  10 minutes to sort through.

If I enter my expenses into a spreadsheet every week rather than once a quarter, I don’t feel guilty and rushed.

Taking small steps each day, habitually, means that I never need to swallow hard and ‘get it done, today’.

Make Today Remarkable, by keeping up,