Posted in self-improvement

7 Bits and Pieces to Finish the Month

  1. Ever question if your necktie is too short or too long? If you question it, the answer is yes. The tie should be at the top of your belt if wearing a suit pant.


  1. If you want to lower your blood pressure, listen to classical music. Studies show those who listen to classical music dropped their blood pressure significantly.


  1. An Americano is an espresso with hot water added. It contains more copper than brewed coffee, which helps to burn fat, and it is higher in disease-fighting antioxidants.


  1. Eating up to 8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day has the same impact on the happiness scale as going from unemployed to employed.


  1. If you clean your desk, you improve your brain health. Those who work in dirty and noisy places are more likely to have long-term cognitive decline than those who work in clean and quiet ones.


  1. The typical American weighs around 2000 pounds in clothing and household goods including furniture. In a recent study, people who reduced their house weight also reduced their body weight by 10 pounds.


  1. If you have a hard time falling asleep, but once you do, you sleep fine, you may need a little more fiber, protein, and calcium. (Sheila’s hint: A nutritionist once told me when I was going through this after a medical change to my body to take a tablespoon of peanut butter before bed. It always worked.)


Cite: July AARP Magazine

Posted in writing

Feedforwarding Coaching

I recently read a paper by Nick Petrie at the Center for Creative Leadership that used the metaphor that leadership is perpetual white water. This is my third blog post on the paper. For the first one, check out the August 6, 2017 post, and the second one check out the August 13, 2017 post. The paper discussed the new era of digital information leadership and talked about how to develop leaders in this new white water era.

A third suggestion from this paper is a time-efficient form of coaching, one that takes only two to three hours a month to complete. People who are looking to change behaviors often choose coaching. Author Petrie suggests raising the bar from Coaching to Feedforward Coaching, which puts the responsibility for development into the person’s hands by tailoring the process to work for them. Feedforward Coaching means the person chooses trusted colleagues to help them by focusing on three areas:

  • Focus on the future
  • Give only suggestions
  • That are positive that the person can do


  1. Person chooses one or two areas to improve.
  2. Person chooses five to eight internal, trusted people who become feedforward coaches.
  3. Person gathers monthly suggestions from the feedforward coaches and determines which to implement.
  4. At six and twelve month points, measure level of behavior change.

The six and twelve month check-ins could be something like:

  • Behavioral goal to change – I need to be more patient with other people (visible goal).
    • Wait until people stop talking
    • Talk slower
    • Walk around the office slower
    • Listen to people
  • Behaviors to work against the goal (doing/not doing)
    • I interrupt people instead of waiting for them to finish talking
    • I talk very fast and very loud
    • I make quick decisions
    • I walk around the office so fast I sometimes forget to say hello to some people
  • Hidden competing goals
    • Worries:
      • I’ll have to spend more time at work every day if I listen to everyone
      • My attention will be diverted to nonsense things and that will delay important things
    • I am committed to
      • Not wasting time on nonsense things
      • Not damaging my home life
      • Not having my career stalled because my performance drops
    • My big assumptions
      • I need to be fast and impatient at all times or I will not get results
      • If I am not fast and impatient all the time, my results will decrease and my image will be damaged.

Will you try this kind of coaching? Why? Why not? What expectations / concerns do you have?

Cite: Future Trends in Leadership Development by Nick Petrie

Posted in leadership

Adult Levels of Development

I recently read a paper by Nick Petrie at the Center for Creative Leadership that used the metaphor that leadership is perpetual white water. This is my second blog post on the paper. For the first one, check out the August 6, 2017 post. The paper discussed the new era of digital information leadership and talked about how to develop leaders in this new white water era.

Discussing Adult Level of Development, Kegan lists three categories:

Category 3 – Socialized mind. At this level people are shaped by the expectations of those around them. What people say and think is strongly influenced by what people think others want to hear. #Dependent Conformer. #Opportunist. #Diplomat.

Category 4 – Self-authoring mind. At this level people have developed their own ideology and internal compass to guide them. Their sense of self is aligned with their own belief system, personal code, and values. They can take stands, and set limits on behalf of their own internal beliefs. #Independent #Achiever. #Expert.

Category 5 – Self-transforming mind. At this level people have their own ideology but can step back from that ideology to see if it is limited or partial. They can hold more contradiction and oppositeness in their thinking and no longer feel the need to gravitate towards polarized thinking. #Interdependent Collaborator. #Strategist. #Alchemist. #Ironist. (page 13)

Reading this, what category are you? Are you a different category at work? At home? With friends? Did reading this cause you to think about things differently?

A quick list:


  • Characteristics: Wins anyway possible, self-oriented, manipulative, might makes right.
  • Leadership strengths: Good in emergencies and sales opportunities.
  • Weaknesses: Forcibly self-interested and manipulative; Rejects feedback and externalizes blame.


  • Characteristics: Avoids overt conflict; Wants to belong, Obeys group norms; Rarely rocks the boat.
  • Leadership strengths: Good as supportive glue within an office; Helps bring people together.
  • Weaknesses: Avoids conflict; Rigidly conforms and is status-driven; Sees negative feedback as punishment.


  • Characteristics: Rules by logic and expertise; Seeks rational efficiency.
  • Leadership strengths: Good as an individual contributor.
  • Weaknesses: Critical and dogmatic; choose efficiency over effectiveness; Resists subjective feedback.


  • Characteristics: Meets strategic goals; Effectively achieves goals through teams; Juggles managerial duties and market demands.
  • Leadership strengths: Well suited to managerial roles; Action and goal oriented.
  • Weaknesses: Can be over driven to achieve self-chosen objective standards; blind to complex sustainability


  • Characteristics: Interweaves competing personal and company action logics; Creates unique structures to resolve gaps between structure and performance.
  • Leadership strengths: Effective in venture and consulting roles.
  • Weaknesses: Can be a maverick, an outsider, or rebel; Their independence can work against collaboration.


  • Characteristics: Generates organizational and personal transformations; Exercises the power of mutual inquiry, vigilance, and vulnerability for both the short and long term.
  • Leadership strengths: Effective as a transformational leader within large contexts such as organizations.
  • Weaknesses: Tempted by the dark side of power; May not employ their skills in a given context.


  • Characteristics: Generates social transformations; Integrates material, spiritual, and societal transformations.
  • Leadership strengths: Good at leading society-wide transformations.
  • Weaknesses: Personal suffering may obstruct the use of their skills.

Cite: Future Trends in Leadership Development by Nick  Petrie

Posted in leadership

Leadership White Water

I recently read a paper by the Center for Creative Leadership that used the metaphor that leadership is perpetual white water. I was immediately drawn to it because I believe it to be true. There is always something to keep an eye on, always something that may make your day trip of calm water turn into a rapids ride, and always something that could turn your day completely topsy-turvy. There is also something about navigating exciting white water that draws leaders to the role.

On page 7, the author discussed VUCA, an army term, to describe this new environment:

  • V – change happens rapidly and on a large scale (volatile)
  • U – the future cannot be predicted with any precision (uncertainty)
  • C – challenges are complicated by many factors any there are few single causes or solutions (complex)
  • A – there is little clarity on what events mean or what effect they may have (ambiguous)

And on page 5, we are reminded that “In the agricultural era, schools mirrored the garden. In the industrial era, schools mirrored the factory, with an assembly line of learners. In the digital information era…VUCA. “

According to those interviewed for this paper, the most common skills, abilities, and attributes needed for VUCA white water leaders (page 9) will be

  • Adaptability
  • Self-awareness
  • Boundary spanning
  • Collaboration
  • Network thinking

Aids to improve the skills, abilities, and attributes listed above (page 9) will be

  • Training
  • Job assignments
  • Action learning
  • Executive coaching
  • Mentoring
  • 360-degree feedback

One leader interviewed stated, “Some people want to put Christ back in Christmas I want to put development back in leadership development,” (page 10). Suggestions to improve leadership development (page 22) include

  • Open flow of information
  • Flexible hierarchies
  • Distributed resources
  • Distributed decision making
  • Loosening of centralized controls

Does all of this sound familiar and simple? I think so. Do you know of a lot of corporations and agencies who follow it? You be the judge.

Cite: Future Trends in Leadership Development by Nick  Petrie

Posted in planning

Implementing Your Plan


 What are your life goals? Write them down.

How would you like to spend your next three years? Write them down.

Place them in A, B, C order. See the July 9th Planning Blog.

Ensure your daily priorities are determined. Never leave your office without tomorrow’s priorities on the desk.

Remember to give yourself do nothing time so you can return to work or your projects refreshed and physically able to continue to work hard. Determine your free time and plan it so it doesn’t get overrun.


People spend time unnecessarily on secondary matters, leaving lots of important ones undone. This pattern often tends to be cumulative. Are you guilty of this?

Find time that you’ve previously overlooked. Do you plan, read, listen to things on the ride to and from work? What about when you are getting ready for the day? Rumor has it that Robert F. Kennedy used to listen to Shakespeare when he shaved and got ready in the mornings.

When planning your work, remember Parkinson’s Law, which states that the job or project will expand to the amount of time given for it. Thus, consider something called ‘special emphasis goals, those which take between a week to two months.

Each day, remember to work on something on you’re a list. see July 9, 2017 blog.

Cite: How To Get Control of Your Time and Your Life by Alan Lakein








Posted in planning


Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now. – Alan Lakein

Everyone makes plans – big plans, little plans, realistic plans, farfetched plans, serious plans, and playful plans. The serious planner takes frequent shots at planning. It may begin fuzzy, but continual working at it will help the planning to come into focus. A wild shot that doesn’t fit will get weeded out. The more important aspects of the plan will be refined and elaborated on so that more and more meaning is built into them. The serious planner regularly checks on his plans and how he is following through on them. He looks for problems, false assumptions, difficulties, and hang-ups. He makes corrections and adjustments where needed.

Planning and making choices is hard work. They involve careful thinking and decision making. They force you to recognize what criteria you use in setting priorities. Different criteria may result in different priorities and cause conflicts of interest. Choices depend on priorities; proper planning enables the serious planner to recognize conflicts that may arise.

Setting priorities are as simple as A, B, and C, with A equaling high value, B equaling medium value, and C equaling low value. Items marked A should yield the greatest value. Adding time and urgency to the list will be marked adding numbers, such as A1, A2, A3, etc. Priorities change over time. Today’s A may be tomorrow’s C.

What’s your A, your B, your C? Are you spending your time correctly according to the priorities you’ve set?


Cite: How To Get Control of Your Time and Your Life by Alan Lakein

Posted in self-improvement


Time is life. To waste your time is to waste your life, but to master your time is to master your life and make the most of it. – Alan Lakein

There is no such thing as lack of time. We all have plenty of time to do everything we really want to do. If you believe you are too busy to get things done, keep in mind there are people who are busier than you, who manage to get more done that you do. They don’t have more time that you do. They just use their time to their best advantage. When all is said and done there is nothing more important in your life than time.

Time use is a highly personal, individual matter of choice, you must choose what works for you. Your time is limited but your imagination is not. Most people in a few moments of daydreaming can come up with enough things to do to keep them busy for weeks. There are also the things that you are required to do. Tomorrow there will be things to do. The choices are often complex and difficult.

Some demands by others should be accepted graciously. When something is important to someone you care about, even if it is not important to you, remind yourself that you are living interdependently in the world, which means sharing your time. Situations in which you feel other people are making your decisions are not uncommon. A parent, child, spouse, or friend, may seem to have as much say about how you spend your time as you do – and sometimes more. The fact, however, is otherwise. You make the decision to allow others to tell you how to spend your time. Others can only recommend things for you to do. The decision is yours.

Your time use is the result of hundreds of thousands of big and little choices made each year, month, day, minute. Some ways you make decisions are habits, demands of others, escapism, spur of the moment, default, and conscious decisions. There is no right or wrong ways to make your decisions. The answer is are you satisfied with the payoff of your decisions? If not, then changes should be considered. You can drift, dream or drown – the choice is yours.

Cite: How To Get Control of Your Time and Your Life by Alan Lakein