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The Elephant in the Zoom

Almost 75 percent of employees in the United States, and close to a third in the Asia–Pacific region, reported symptoms of burnout. All nations reported rising levels of pandemic fatigue. Worldwide – organization wide – employees are tired. McKinsey Quarterly Report January 2021 Recently I was facilitating some virtual leadership conversations with three groups of high potential managers who worked in different organizations. All the groups had an engaging conversation about the McKinsey report quote, which they tagged the elephant in the Zoom.   Workplace Boundaries “Covid has taken workplace boundaries away” turned out to be the common thread of

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Fence Post Mentors

“I’m just a turtle on a fence post. And if you ever see a turtle sitting on the fence post, you know it had a lot of help getting up there.” Sunday, January 17, was the official International Mentoring Day. It happens the same day every year.  I hope you aren’t as surprised as I am to learn about this day, which is a keen reminder that none of us get to where we are alone. Learning about this day made me think about those larger-than-life advisors in my life who took time to share a bit of themselves and

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Planting a Strategy

Planting a Strategy I have helped a few non-profit organizations develop plans over the years. The ones that minister to homeless people, Gospel Rescue Missions, have been my favorites for over a decade. In December 2020, I  was asked to write an article about strategic planning for a national association of these missions, who rescue people to recover from addictions to find a new life in Christ. Over time,  I adapted my traditional planning approach to fit the needs of these purpose-driven places, which deal with more uncertainties,  struggle with more complex “friendly” competitors, and have fewer resources than any

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Christmas Light

Christmas Light With a past life filled with fear, depression and loneliness, the Grinch sat with his dog in a cave for years and years – a victim of circumstances. He believed there was no light at the end of his tunnel. Then one day he had a vision and decided to take a bold action, a horribly mean action, to get back at those who he believed had destroyed his life. In the dark of night, he stole all the Christmas gifts, gadgets and groceries in Whoville and piled them in his cave. Then that next morning, the Grinch

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It’s how you look at it

This week I drove to The Tutwiler Barber Shop, where I get a monthly cut with my barber Mimi, is located in the historic Tutwiler Hotel in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. When I walked into the shop, I could see that Mimi had blade in hand and was just about the finish another client’s hot shave. Since I had a few minutes, I walked through the back door and down the hall to get a cup of coffee. That quick detour took me past the hotel janitors’ storage area and locker room. The door was wide open, so I peeked in.

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Thanking Who

Today many of us will sit around a food-filled table with a few friends or family.  Some of us will stop before the meal and acknowledge people and other things we are thankful for in our life.  We also can be grateful to Who made us and continues to faithfully bless those who honor Him in their Leadership and Life. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;    his faithfulness continues through all generations Psalm 100 NIV A psalm. For giving grateful praise. 1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.2     Worship the Lord with gladness;    come before him with joyful songs.3 Know that the Lord is God.    It is he who made

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Lost and Found

He swooped into Dodge City driving a six-horse wagon and totin’ a full pocket of cash. His aim, and only aim,  was to win Miss Kitty’s heart. He worked all days and nights with all his might and with all his money, but to no avail. The more he pushed, the more she pulled away. Her heart was and always would be in the Long Branch Saloon and with her man, Marshall Matt Dillon. Finally, fully exhausted and broke, this once-rich man leaves town walking alongside an old donkey with a half-empty knapsack thrown over his sagging shoulder. This episode

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This or That?

This or that?   “It is those who concentrate on but one thing at a time who advance in this world. The great man or woman is the one who never steps outside his or her specialty or foolishly dissipates his or her individuality.” ― Og Mandino, author  For the first few years their stage name was The Four Aims. That changed in 1956 when they became The Four Tops, a dancing group that sang. Over those beginning years, they waffled from singing to dancing but, even then, were leaning toward dance. They focused on choreographing their rhythm and swag stage

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Unseen Battles

Unseen Battles When I was in my mid-50s, I went through several unexpected life and work changes. They didn’t seem significant, but at some vague point afterward, I slowly disconnected from life and disengaged from my friends and my family. I sat alone, with no energy, feeling like I was walking in a fog. I even recall being so despondent that I hoped the phone would not ring because it might be a client, who was going to pay me to help, and I didn’t want to talk. With my wife’s encouragement, I got some professional help to work through

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Performance or Purpose

Performance or Purpose About a month ago, an organization in the utility industry experienced the accidental death of an employee, a young husband with two children. Attending the funeral of a team member amid the stress of the pandemic was about all the people in this organization could take. To make matters worse, a hurricane hit in the Gulf of Mexico. It did not hit them, but as a good neighbor of the company impacted by the storm, this organization was expected to and had always rallied their resources to assist in this type of emergency. But this time, the

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A Question and A Prayer

Unlike most calls I get these days from executives, this guy’s team was not struggling; as a matter of fact, his division had led the company in production and profits for many years. Everything was still on track even in this current world of uncertainty. When I asked him how he had accomplished this, without the slightest hesitation or posturing, he gave a little credit to “the luck of the draw” on his part, but the lion’s share of the success he attributed to the great work of the people on his team. I asked him what was on his

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The Work Will Teach You

The Work Will Teach You Last year I met with a young man in his mid ’30s who want to be a business consultant similar to what I do. I was happy to help him and asked him what he’d been doing to become a consultant. He said that he has been working on his business financial plan, as well as a business name and card. He had completed several courses to be certified to do the work.  He was now focused on a website, brochure,  and wanted me to help him with proposal writing because if he had all

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Young Again

Youth Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips, and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life. Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity,  of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease.  This often exists in a man of sixty more than a boy of twenty.  Nobody grows old merely by a number of years; we grow old by

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Feeling Overwhelmed – The Eisenhower Matrix

Discouragement often manifests itself as personal disorganization – which is rooted in a temporary inability to prioritize. Last week, I was on a consulting call with a group of managers who were, not surprisingly, feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, as were many of their direct reports. We began discussing how to move yourself and others forward through these times of growing uncertainty.  Our question for the session became “How can we influence others to be more positive and productive when all of us feel stuck in – what is going to change next?”. I introduced the concept, “your feeling will follow

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