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Getting Hammered This Summer


No one I know has gone unscathed this summer.  Everyone is sporting nicks, bruises and wounds from work, lack of work, economy-imposed stress, unfortunate and untimely life events, etc.


We have been hammered hard.  To wit:

  • Sales plans, once a motivating stretch, have been deemed impossible to hit
  • The results of the straw poll in Iowa have left us asking… well, everything
  • The final judgment re: the dissolution of our marriage arrived in the mail: “it is so ordered
  • The stock market….


Ouch.   These decisions and outcomes are not what we planned.  No, the grand film we produced in our minds of the trail of promise, prosperity and happiness ahead did not exactly play out that way on the real life big screen.  Roll the credits, please.


Lots of people were involved.

Resources were deployed.

Stuff was created.

The end.


Time to break out.  Take back the hammer.  Drive a stake in the ground.  Yes, we are here.  The end?  No $%#@ way!


Look down.  Look out.  Look up.  We are where we are supposed to be.  We have arrived at our incredible, bold launch point.  It is our great fortune to be right here, right now.   What to do?  Cherish what we have learned and launch.  Launch BOLDLY.


Life isn’t going to wait for us.




Fall In

Fall In. That command once bellowed by a drill sergeant decades ago still elicits a nano-second physical and mental reaction:  stop any and everything that you are doing now and get into formation.  Rigid.  Still.  Silent.

There is a corporate version: “Let’s get the team aligned on X.”  What does that mean exactly?  What are the execution steps here?  Yeah, it’s a huge, grey cumulonimbus cloud for sure.  Turns out the dictionary is partly to blame:


  1. to bring into line

Translation often in action:  Follow.  Blend in.  Homogenize.  Abandon your edges.  Eyes forward.  Look the same.  Don’t deviate.  Desensitize.  There is one way and the path has been decided.  “I want to make sure we are aligned on this.”  I want to make sure you understand what is at risk if you do not follow.

2.   to ally (oneself) with a group or cause

Translation too infrequently in action:  Join / build a tribe of like-minded, passionate talent around a defined purpose.  Share the “why”.  Bring your gifts.  Leverage the multiplicative effect of “us”.  When it gets rough, help us navigate and see possibilities.  We expect you to lead, too.


Align. 5 little letters.  Different trails and outcomes.


Get in line” … and stay or “Get our why”… and GO!


Which trail are you blazing, Leaders?





The 80/20 of Going Green


Admit it.  You have wished for it… perhaps this morning.  You strayed a little longer over packing your son’s dinosaur lunch box or spent too much time flipping through your friend’s pictures from their weekend on the lake posted on Facebook.  Now you are finally in your car… running late… wishing, hoping, praying that every single traffic light will be part of a daisy chain of green lights today.

Speed.  Efficiency.  Green magic.

Brake yourself.

Yellows and reds can be rich, one-minute gifts.  On the road, you can take a few seconds at a red light to scope out the face of a new restaurant in your neighborhood, see the innocence and possibility on the faces of the kids as they board the school bus, or safely find that song on your iPod.  Nuggets, indeed.

On the road we call the Corporate 500-meetings-a-day Speedway, a yellow/red light is a bold, authentic connection you make with a peer in the hallway (< 45 seconds), a sticky note you slap on a team member’s laptop to recognize something they did well (< 45 seconds), or a quick call / text to engage a colleague in crafting plans for a record-crushing week.  Simple, rare gifts.

< 45 seconds is all it takes to ask yourself “How am I showing up today?”… and maybe that question changes everything.

Green = good.  Yellow / red = gold.

Get BOLD.  Go 80% green (heck, go 6 speed overdrive green!) and 20% yellow / red today.  What did you learn at your yellow / red lights?  Do share.




Combos Sans Fries

This wine is a result of sound farming practices and lofty dreams.

-       From the label of Goodnight Cellars 2007 Cabernet



Who doesn’t love a good combo?  Sun and surf.  Friends and family.  Pizza and beer.  I am sure you have your own combo favorites.  We like the things we like linked together in ways that guarantee double the pleasure.   In our laser-fast world we can find simplicity in ordering the combo.  Someone has done the thinking and matching for us.  We just have to choose.


There is a certainly some touch of art and genius in creating a fantastic combination.  Kiwi pepper jam.  Running shoes that serve as your personal trainer.  A sports car that goes 313 miles on 100% electric power.  It takes some rebel thinking and perseverance to put these combos out into the world.  Indeed, bold combinations are not for everyone… and the world is richer because of them.


Including people in the mix (no pun intended) makes the art of combo building more difficult.  Parents know this.  Some attempt to create Einstein-Jeter-Jobs-Mozart-Branson kids (check out your friend’s summer camp list).  Recruiters know this.  They are out scoping the landscape for senior engineers with John Wooden coaching skills and district managers who can play the internal game and act like unbridled entrepreneurs concurrently.  Wow!  Somehow this combo building seems a lot more complicated than asking, “would you like fries and a soda with that for two dollars more?”


The best combinations stem from imagination…. leaps from the status quo into the limitless unknown.  What if… we combined our passion for bicycling with our desire to enable easy access to locally grown food?  What if… we created a work environment for the world’s best business tactics/people engagement leaders?  What if… we intertwined our amazing products with leading edge technology?  What if… we mixed our unique skills with our boldacious (yes, I made that word up) dreams?


We don’t need to find a drive up window to start.  We just have to choose.


What combo will you create?



Spend It If You Got It


Interesting.  That is what I call phrases like “How do you spend your free time?”, “I spent the day at the mall” and “Kids spend too much time on Facebook.”  Spend.  Sort of conjures up a vision of a big shiny money clip with minute, day, and week denominations of bills, doesn’t it?


True enough, our time is finite and when it is “spent” it is gone forever.  Forever.  We can’t get April 28, 2010 back.  We spent it already.  It’s gone.


There are a lot of “spend thrifts” among us… people who are seemingly saving up for something… letting the minutes, hours, days pass while their lives are on idle… often wishing the day would speed up or that Friday or 4th of July or vacation day will arrive pronto.  They snore through the hours waiting in the jury pool room, chew in silence on a dinner date with their significant other, check out during the weekly team meetings.  They are everywhere.  Are they you?


Idling or saving up isn’t being careful with how you spend your time.  It is being careless.  Yes, I am saying it, Suze Orman.  Spend thrifts are careless.


Blow the wad, friend.  Take each and every bill of time out of that stack and spend it all.  All.  Every precious minute you have on this earth WILL be spent.  Spend wisely.  Spend broadly.  Spend fully.  Make the call.  Go on the hike.  Kiss the dog.  Now is the only currency you have.


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