Integrity is usually a major conversation when I coach groups of executives. It almost always comes up in the context of arriving at the meeting on time or returning promptly from breaks.1 This leads to a discussion of consequences, by which people mean punishments for not being on time: fines, humiliation, etc. This opens a powerful examination of monitoring, enforcement, and integrity throughout the organization.
The news item below is a bit technical, so here is the gist:
Every cell in our body is continually sensing and responding to tiny chemical, electrical, and temperature changes created by nearby organisms without physical contact. As a result, cells alter their physical structure in response to the presence of other living things, including reshaping themselves to move toward or away from their neighbors.
A single atom or molecule, without even touching the cell, can move it.
When great big bundles of such cells get close, as in (more…)
My mother, my wife, my sister, and Oprah recommended Ellen Foster to me. Ellen Foster is a very young, very mistreated Southern girl who tells her story in simple, compelling language. She takes us energetically into her world and lets us see adult behavior through her worldly but never cynical eyes. Her saga is funny, clever, and heart-rending. But most of all, it is a true human experience.
Integrity is usually a major conversation when I coach groups of executives. It almost always comes up in the context of arriving to the meeting on time or returning promptly from breaks.1 This leads to a discussion of consequences, by which people mean punishments for not being on time: fines, humiliation, etc. This opens a powerful examination of monitoring, enforcement, and integrity throughout the organization.
Consequences come in two flavors. Imposed consequences are punishments contrived by an authority exerting its power to compel behavior. Natural consequences are what reality delivers in response to actions. If I (more…)
I was angry. My business day had barely begun and I was livid. I had an important presentation and my whiteboard was not installed. The office manager had promised several times over the past month to get it done but there it sat, useless on the floor. I was calculating whether I had time to drive home to get my own tools when she (more…)
“With such an abundance of information available simultaneously at all levels, micromanagement can creep unnoticed into the chain of command and pull it apart. For example, if a general is able to follow an ongoing firefight through email and IM, and he is inclined to believe he knows what’s best for the units in contact, then he very well might start directing those small units from afar, consequently eliminating the need for his colonels, captains, and sergeants to do any thinking of their own.
“a commander may be dismayed to find his soldiers have become too heavily reliant on headquarters for critical decisions. That’s dangerous, because sooner or later headquarters won’t be available. Equipment will break; signals will be lost; communications will go down, and almost certainly at the worst times. That’s when the commander will wish most that he had cultivated his men’s initiative rather than tamped it out through incessant electronic directives or rebukes for mistaken decisions.”
I got a call from a salesman looking for my help to close a business owner. The salesman was frustrated because the owner so needed the product but was not making a decision, though he was willing to keep talking.
The business owner was tired and frantically busy as his company grew past 100 employees. He was traveling more and more, continually meeting prospective clients, reviewing active projects, and checking on employees. He was proudly a stickler for quality and involved with every detail. His company’s reputation for excellent work was a foundation of their success and growth.
My immediate response was, “Wow! He must have a terrible time retaining key employees.”
“How did you know that?” the salesman exclaimed, “He says that’s his #1 problem.”
Randy Pausch’s short commencement speech at CMU on May 18, 2008.
The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.
Charles A. Lindbergh, first person to fly the Atlantic alone, is a fascinating character. This book, written at the end of his life, is a glimpse in the fertile mind of a great man. He tells the story of being one of the first modern media celebrities, an unsought burden. We also follow him through his careers as a civilian combat pilot in World War II and as a medical researcher.
I wrote this review before I was aware of Lindbergh’s pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic statements. People are complex and mysterious. My admiration of some aspects of his work and stated philosophy should not be taken as an endorsement or even toleration of his significant flaws.
The real appeal of this book is not the facts of Lindbergh’s life, amazing and interesting as they are. The true privilege for the reader is to hear Lindbergh ruminate on the nature of life and spirituality, the ways to remain sane and centered in modern society, and what it means to (more…)
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