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The Right Questions

Of the things we think, say, and do we will ask ourselves— 1. Is it the truth? 2. Is it fair to all concerned? 3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships? 4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned? I have been an active member of Rotary International for 24 years. Rotary has 1.2 million members in 200 countries. This network of clubs has one big goal, which is to promote ethics in business and peace in the world though strategic investments of financial resources and hands-on action. One of this organization’s many objectives is the eradication of polio

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Another Option – Clarity

A mentor of mine once told me that when you’re frustrated you have three options: Stay frustrated & worry Quit/ leave or Make a request. At the beginning of each new year, many people get frustrated and think about changing jobs or careers. Most assume that the best way to get a better career is to quit where they are and move on to another organization or start their own business. Sometimes leaving is the best option, but not always. Twenty-five years ago, I found myself in a situation where I had good job and made good money with a

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Stand There

I walked through the pristine workshop admiring the creations of the piano artisan. Each piano, some over 100 years old, had been refurbished to its original glory, except one. The Baby Grand looked perfect except for a large spot on the lid. “What happened?” I asked the craftsman. He stared at the spot as he explained, “I was working nearby and inadvertently dropped some solvent there, then I immediately picked up a cloth to wipe it off.” He took a deep breath as he continued, “In that moment I forgot the advice my mentor offered me years ago.” His teacher

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Parable of the CEOwer

The parables of Jesus are rich with instruction and applicable to our work and lives in so many ways. Envision for a moment a slightly altered pronunciation of the word “Sower” to see how a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) learned the lessons of the farmer. Letting Ego Rule the Day He was moving fast up in his career path. He had just landed the top spot at an organization twice the size of his last. Intent on building a world-class organization, he hit the ground running and pulled his team together to talk about “the amazing things we did at

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It’s A Wonderful Life

This classic movie was on TV on Christmas Eve. Of course it’s on every day in December, but my wife and I watched it that night. I noticed something I had missed before. As you may recall, Clarence, Angel 2nd Class, was assigned to go to earth to help George Bailey. Clarence asked, “Why are you sending me to help this man. Is he sick?” The head angel replied, “Oh no, it worse than that. He’s discouraged.” At this time of the year a good many people, like George, are discouraged. Many are discouraged about work. According to the 2017

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Finding Your Mission in Life

Earlier this year a great man died. His name was Richard N. Bolles. He was the author of What Color is Your Parachute, a book that the Library of Congress listed as one of the 25 most influential books in the world. I was lucky enough to have known Dick, as he preferred to be called. He helped a lot of people and wrote many amazing books, but one of the most astounding gifts he left here on earth is something he wrote to a lady who ask him the question of all questions, “How do I find my mission

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Caring or Comparing Culture

Last month , I offered some suggestions about what to do and what not to do when there is a death at your workplace. There was a tremendous response to those simple and practical ideas. To refresh your memory, the August 31 Leadership and Life message boiled down this: to equip employees to help those who have experienced a tragic loss, ask those employees three questions and suggest that they take a step as follows: Have you ever experienced a tragic loss in your life What did people who tried to support you do that was helpful? What did people

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What’s it all About?

I was in a skating rink enjoying a birthday party for one of my grandchildren. By the way, not surprisingly the skatin’ around music was much hipper than when I was a boy. But when the unfamiliar music finally stopped, something very familiar happened. A teenage employee, dressed as a clown, skated smoothly to the middle of the rink. The lights dimmed. The room went silent. The clown called in the kids, then the light went up and the sound system blasted, “Put your right foot in, put your right foot out.” On cue every kid and a few the

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Finding Your Place in 2017

Most people in the US hate their jobs. National surveys support this idea finding that 65 – 70 % of all employees are dissatisfied and disengaged in their current job. A 2015 Gallup poll states that 30%- 35% are saying they plan to leave their current job within a year. When I was in my mid-30s years ago, I was one of them. I was productive, but my work didn’t fit me. I got depressed. So I quit a good job and went to a career counselor to help me change careers. Then I got even more depressed. Because his

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Letting Light In

Our 3-year-old Grandson wanted one thing under the Christmas tree this year – a big red fire truck. My wife searched and searched online, and finally found what she thought was the perfect one. It arrived last week and was promptly placed in our secret gift closet. Yesterday she decided to put in the batteries and do a trial run. When she pushed the truck’s horn, we heard a strange sound like a dog in great agony. When she turned the siren switch, a litany of agitated voices, in some Asian language, blasted from the tiny truck speakers. She was

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Three Choices

Carnival Cruise Corporation began in 1972. The company couldn’t afford a new ship, so they bought an old beaten-up one. Their cruises consequently took longer than their competitors’ to reach the same destinations. Instead of giving up, Carnival added discos and other amenities to keep their passengers entertained while on board. By doing so, the company reinvented the cruise industry, and today is the largest cruise line in the world and is known as “The Fun Ship” Cruise Line. The leaders of Carnival had their original agenda, but it was knocked off track. As a result, they had three choices:

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And the Team Played On

On this scorching hot day the local politicians were lined up at the hand-shakin’ door of the old city hall and community center. Armed with a smile and a fistful of flyers, each one assured potential voters that their ballot could be wasted only if it were miscast to some ne’er-do-well opponent – i.e., those who didn’t show up for the Dodge City Lions’ Club annual barbecue and hoedown. Inside the smoke-filled room, a local all-string band played and sang hauntingly, “They’re tearing the home place down. They’re tearing the home place down. Oh why did I leave these plowing

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Curve Ball Management

“When you see a curve ball coming, don’t bend you knees” is what a baseball coach would tell a player who is batting against a good-breaking pitcher. Don’t bend your knees means: Don’t move when it looks like the ball is going to hit you. Watch the ball, stand firm and swing. Lots of baby boomer CEOs and key executives are leaving the workplaces these days, which means top leadership and Boards of Directors have to take a swing at managing more complex leadership transitions. The majority of Boards and senior teams think that they have a solid leadership succession

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River Bends

I was floating down the Green River in Utah in a drift boat with a fly-fishing guide. His name was Boomer. We had drifted along in calm waters for several hours and caught a good many rainbow trout. As his name implies, Boomer was a very loud and dramatic guy, but he also was a great guide and teacher. He taught me several lessons of fly-fishing that morning – like how to cast into a strong head wind, let my drag do the work to land a big trout and roll out my line for a perfect drift. Little did

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