Myths

There are people that are larger than life.  It is a unique list of individuals that are influential in your life and mine.  Their life and words inform us in a way that directly reaches into our hearts and minds.  I grew up with a very short list.  Grandpa Lange and my parents were at the center.  Over time, others have joined the ranks as my elite advisors.  Since many are still alive, I will spare them the burden of knowing how important their voice and actions continue to be.

When one author said that it is the actions that we take when nobody is paying attention that most reflect our true heart, they forgot to add what it means to others.  It is in the mundane moments of life that we speak to others the loudest.  Sometimes our actions are like ripples on a passing pond.  We touch the pond and never see the picture that unfolds.  On other occasions, we touch the lives of those around us. read more

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Awareness

Each visit to California reminds me that most Americans have no idea that their “normal” is actually unusual.  There is no other place that one can live within each reach of a Home Depot or Lowe’s.  Yes, I know they are not in every county, however most cities of any size have one.  For those unfamiliar, these are football pitch sized stores that specialize in hardware, tools, building supplies, and anything remotely in that genre.  There are few places in the world that have the variety of grocery stores, department stores, and malls. read more

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Bravado

The Monga Express was rapidly running its lap.  Kids were screaming in delight while adults scurried out of the way for the wooden replica train making its round at the Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre.  The open main-street store type mall was carefully planned.  Even the train service for young kids was planned to look chaotic, much more so than it actually was.   As the train swung to a stop, a five-year old boy jumped out.  His grandmother had been patiently waiting.  Her silence reflected the years and an awareness of how special the moment was.  The boy shook himself, stood tall, and strutted towards his grandmother. read more

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Clarity

In my search for an email written almost four years ago, I came across a few I have not read in awhile.  One in particular caught my eye.  The individual involved was trying to convince me.  I could feel the truth.  I could sense what was real.  At their best, the words in the email were wisps of smoke clouding my view.  As sincere as they appeared when they were written, they did not reflect the facts.

Fortunately we have moved beyond that old email.  The truth came out in the end.  We dealt with the reality of where we were.  Everyone grew from the experience. read more

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Coachable

Initially I did not notice his appearance.  What caught my eyes was the intensity that he was listening to the older man.  His bright eyes were fixed.  The man moved, they moved.  He proposed, the other responded.  Everything screamed attention.  The kid’s focus was only on the person in front of him.

Each phase of human maturity has a different appearance.  This kid reflected the intensity hat comes during the age of coachable.  I doubt there is a formal name for this.  I am not sure that academics recognize this in the same way.  I find that there is a magical age between the age of awareness (four or five) and the age of becoming a person.  This is when the individual is open to new ideas, willing to try anything that a person they trust suggests, and will reach beyond her/his limitations.  It is a special time!  Nothing is impossible.  Possibilities are emerging from all sides.  Hope is always present. read more

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Reference

Insight often starts from one of three reference points.  The first is experience.  The second is current literature.  The third is conjecture and bluff (personal theories).  Of the three, the one that many rely on is current literature.

Using one’s experience as a reference points opens one’s self up to criticism.  Even if things worked in the past, others can question the methods, challenge the outcomes, and doubt the similarities.  Intuitively we know that every moment in time is unique.  However, experiences do teach us.  We can adapt our lessons can to new situations.  However, there is a risk.  Being questioned opens up the truth.  Whatever one did in the past, it could have been better.  We know we could do more.  I find that if one admits that things were not perfect, lessons have been learned, that the open adaptation gives others the opportunity to intelligently buy-in. read more

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Clarification

Sometimes one forgets.  Christmas is one of those times where a cynical view will cause one to forget the facts.  Christmas was never about being accurate.  Christ was not born at this time of the year, we are months off from the time writings record his birth.  Santa Claus has never been a shared point of everyone’s history and tradition.  Most of the traditions that Christmas has come to be known for were developed long after there were those celebrating the holiday.

Christmas is an ideal.  The ideal contains foundation principles that, when embraced, change the person that chooses to celebrate the season.  I do not think that I know or appreciate just how many principles are wrapped up in the season.  There are several Christmas principles that change the rest of the year for me. read more

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Sense

We sat in his living room catching up.  It had been far too many years.  Our lives had taken us far apart.  As we talked, we realized that in ways other than geography we had shared a similar path.  It was a great memory in the making.

As the conversation continued, his daughter came and in and out of the room.  It took me a moment to catch the signal.  I was taking up time normally reserved for her!  She did not mind, but she also could not help expressing her desire to be with her dad.  As our conversation turned towards our daughters, I asked the obvious. read more

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Outcomes

The task was simple; check the air in the car’s tires, refill as needed.  The hose from the compressor would easily reach.  There was hand cleaner close by for when I was done.  I thought everything would be finished in a few minutes.  The first tire told me that this was the beginning.  Yes, the tire needed air.  No, adding air would not be enough.  The wear pattern told a story of an alignment problem that had played itself out over months of driving.

The initial visual inspection was affirmed on the rack.  The spec on every wheel was different from the factory setting.  Not much, but at least one of the six specifications on each wheel was off.  The combination could be felt when driving.  Without the visual, there was just enough information to be suspicious.  With the visual, there was little doubt.  As the inspection moved towards a close and a choice (when to act), there was more news.  We needed two tires.  The outcome was getting worse, at least for the pocketbook. read more

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Checkpoints

Most people I know hate checkpoints.  I do not know that I hate them, however I will admit that I do not always like them.  I know I am doing a good job, so why stop and evaluate the obvious?  I know there is at least one action that could be improved on.  Yet, stopping to review the situation takes time.  Inevitably it slows things down.  So, what is the point?

The reality is that we do not like bad news.  Even if I am confident that the project is on track, our processes are robust, slowing down for a checkpoint causes me to pause.  What if I missed something?  What happens if somebody decides to take a cheap shot at our plan?   Will we lose our momentum?  Could things be disrupted? read more

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