Inspiring Through Stories

Inspiring Through Stories“The adventures first,” said the Gryphon in an impatient tone, “explanations take such a dreadful time.”  – Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

Think about the people who have most inspired you. What was it that stimulated your enthusiasm, your passion, your connection to their message?  Chances are it was a story that made a connection for you. I watched recently with amazement at the connection between an 80-year-old man and a 12-year-old boy as the older man told his story of life in Europe during World War II. The boy went on to characterize that man as a hero. Continue reading

The Siren Call of the Next Best Thing

The Siren Call of the Next Best ThingAgility, Intrapreneurship, Sustainability, Crowdfunding, Artificial intelligence. Have you been hearing these terms a lot this year?  Is your organization in active process of pivoting (another trendy word) to these new best means to gain competitive advantage?

These ideas, of course, are not the full laundry list of the new and better ways of conducting your business. Depending on which business article you read, you’ll find that the gurus have hundreds of takes on the most important new things to adopt in your business. Continue reading

The Danger of Returning to Better Times

The Danger of Returning to Better Times“This company used to be known for its great customer service and its caring attitude toward its employees,” lamented Tina. “We had better benefits, greater job security, and more respect from management, and the company got really great service for its customers as a result. We need to go back to the way it was.”

We’re hearing a lot of these laments lately. Companies, governments, and all types of organizations are changing. The complaints are often about abandoned non-verbal contracts between employers and employees, about lost cultural norms, and about ethical issues emerging as the change occurred.  And the knee jerk desire is to ‘return to better times’. Continue reading

Traditionalist or Disruptor?

Traditionalist or Disruptor?Today’s leaders can learn a lot of lessons from the upheaval in the political environment – some highly useful, and some perhaps not to be emulated.   But one friction point that is creating a useful dialogue for reflection right now is whether it is better to defend and promote the value of traditional values, norms and ways of doing things – or conversely, to embrace disruption as a means to jar a tired old system into needed action. Continue reading

Where Will You Be Found?

Where Will You Be Found?Recently I was at a woman’s memorial service in which the son read a poem he had written about his mother.  In the poem he spoke to sifting through all her things – her jewelry, her mementos from countless wonderful foreign trips, her photos, her clothing, to try to ‘find’ her, and each time he noted, “and you were not there”.  But finally, he said, he found her in the indomitable spirit of her children, in the devotion of a young man from another country she had relentlessly befriended, in the warmth in the eyes of the caretakers from her final days who rapidly adopted her as family. Continue reading

Does Logic Suffice?

Does Logic Suffice?In our Western understanding of how to find meaning, our philosophers over the past few centuries have gravitated to logic models, trying to apply scientific method to the complex understanding of all things.  Even the names of recent Western philosophies have borne such names as Rationalism, Analytical Philosophy, and Logicism.  We live in an age that celebrates and reveres logic as meaning.  Data and metrics are the answer.  What’s the question? Continue reading

Is Self-Actualization All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

Is Self-Actualization All It’s Cracked Up to Be?In the 1960s, psychologist Abraham Maslow popularized a hierarchy of individual needs that culminated in what he characterized as a basic human desire for self-actualization.  His theory was premised on an understanding of people as wanting to reach both personal fulfillment and a connection with the external world.  He saw self-actualization as an end state in which people found meaning in their lives and used their personal self-fulfillment in positive ways as they lived within their environments.  But clearly, his focal attention was on the individual more than on the society in which the individual operated. Continue reading

Yes You Can

Yes You CanAs hurricanes played out in the US over the past weeks, heartwarming stories also emerged about people who took the initiative to help others, even risking their own health and well-being to be of service to those who needed their aid.  There was a 13-year-old boy who floated an air mattress around his neighborhood, rescuing neighbors.  And a nun who got out a chain saw to get a tree off someone’s car.

But heroism doesn’t need to be big or risky.  In fact, the simplest of acts can be the most meaningful when people need it the most.  Again and again, in the face of fears and tears, people called and texted each other, and when the water receded, what stood out for the survivors were the messages that said, “Yes, you can.  You are capable.  You are resilient.  I believe in you.” Continue reading

Hearken Ye…..

Hearken YeIn the September 12 New York Times, OpEd columnist David Brooks wrote a refreshingly apolitical opinion piece that is a worthwhile reflection on aspects of leadership that are as pertinent today as they were in the stories that formed the Old Testament.  It’s worth a read for this reason alone. Continue reading

Rules of Civility

Rules of CivilityOverheard in a workplace conversation from an older worker to a younger one, “Please compliment your parents for having raised a very well-bred young man.”  The young man had not done anything terribly special.  But he had asked the opinion of the older man, had said, “thank you” when advice had been offered, and had added how he might apply that advice. Continue reading