Young Again


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 deserting our ideals.

Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.  Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust.

Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being’s heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing child-like appetite of what’s next, and the joy of the game of living. In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage, and power from men and from the Infinite, so long are you young.

When the aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of cynicism and the ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at twenty, but as long as your aerials are up, to catch the waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at eighty.

Author: Samuel Ullman, Educator, Entrepreneur, and Civic Leader.  Birmingham, Alabama (1840-1924)

Two years ago, we had a bad drought in our area. One seemingly healthy tree in our backyard appeared to be dying. We called an arborist to look at it. He did and said it was dead. Immediately we feared that the trees nearby might catch the same thing and die as well.  He said, “ you have nothing to worry about because a virus or disease will not usually kill a healthy tree. These things are floating in the air all the time, and the only reason your tree got sick and died, was because it was under a lot of stress from the drought. So, it wasn’t an outside virus that took the tree. It was the atmosphere that produced stress inside the tree that made it weak and vulnerable to the disease.

“ Class of 2020 -We will Survive” was the banner on the tee shirt worn by a high school senior I walk past last week. “ We just have to get through this” is the language I hear almost every day when working with business teams and leaders.   There is an atmosphere of a drought that is being perpetuated in our world, doing it best night and day to keep people living in emotional and spiritual stress. Still, thankfully each of us can choose to participate or not.

Journal Entry: If you’re tired of living in like this and you want to do more than survive then, here are two things to try:  First – don’t walk away from negative people – RUN! Second- keep running, then start j playing, being silly, and laughing like you did when you were young. Remember your ideals, put your aerials back up, and try riding the wave of Youth in your leadership and life.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will. – The Bible, New Testament the book of Romans 12:2

The top 10 funniest jokes of all time according to kids:

  1. Why was the sand wet? Because the sea weed! (52%)
  2. What do you call a blind dinosaur? Doyouthinkhesaurus (45%)
  3. What did the policeman say to his tummy? Freeze you’re under a vest (44%)
  4. Doctor, Doctor! Help, I feel like a pair of curtains! Pull yourself together then (42%)
  5. What’s the fastest vegetable? A runner bean! (41%)
  6. What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire? Frostbite! (40%)
  7. What’s brown and sticky? A stick! (39%)
  8. What do you call a blind deer? No eye deer (38%)
  9. Why should you be careful when it’s raining cats and dogs? You might step in a poodle! (38%)
  10. Do you want to hear a joke about pizza? Never mind, it’s too cheesy (37%)

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 your actions.” That is, doing something will change the way you feel faster than waiting until you feel like doing something. Then we discussed a leadership concept from my new book, Helping another person get through their struggles is the best way to get through yours 1″ Then they began to come up with some ideas to support and encourage their dispirited teammates.

Here are a few of their ideas:

  1. Remember everyone is on an emotional roller coaster
  2. Listen, don’t try to fix – just do your best to understand
  3. Don’t judge how a person acts or reacts now
  4. Have a plan and share it often*
  5. Help people prioritize work tasks *

They realize that the first three ideas are a mindset they needed to hold on to and model every day,  but numbers four and five were actions they could take that could help someone and, in turn, maybe motivate them to be more positive as well. They realized that sharing a plan more often and prioritizing tasks went hand in glove. But how to prioritize and to help others do the same was the challenging part. They asked about a tool. Thankfully there is one invented by someone much smarter than me.

The inventor of the Tool 

The Eisenhower Matrix is named after Dwight David Eisenhower – an American army general and statesman who served as the 34th President of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During World War II, he was a five-star general in the United States Army and served as Supreme Commander, who prepared the strategy for an Allied invasion of Europe.

Eisenhower made tough decisions continuously about which of the many tasks he should focus on each day. This finally led him to invent the world-famous Eisenhower Method, which today helps us prioritize by urgency and importance.

The management group had seen and used this matrix before but never realized the Eisenhower connection.  They like most of us when we get stressed, tend to forget the simple things that could make our life easier. Some of them are trying this Tool now. I’ll let you know how it works out.

Journal Entry: Is this a good time for you to apply this matrix, with its principles of prioritizing, delegating, and scheduling, to help yourself and others get out of a funk and start becoming more productive and positive in leadership and life?

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor E. Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning

1 Seasons come and go. Life is a series of transitions in which you decide to either loathe the change or learn to love yourself more and serve others willingly. Helping another person get through their struggles is the best way to get through yours. Observation # 8-  Roll Up your Sleeves – Leading and Living in a World of Constant Change by Michael Alan Tate 2020  

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight”. Book of Proverbs 3:5-6 – The Bible

Bad Joke for the day:

What’s a horse’s top priority when voting? A stable economy.

Leadership and Life Journal  – A new way to look at the important things you already know”

Catastrophizing or Looking the Other Way

In the United States, people spend an average of 444 minutes every day looking at screens, or 7.4 hours. That breaks down to 147 minutes spent watching TV, 103 minutes in front of a computer, 151 minutes on smartphones, and 43 minutes with a tablet.


Over 20 years ago, Graham C. L. Davey, Ph.D.*, knowing that the proportion of negatively-valenced emotional material in the news was increasing, conducted a study looking at the psychological effects of viewing negative news media. There were three groups: One saw all negative news reports, one viewed only positive news, and one saw no news. The most impressive insight gained from this study was the
revelation of the effect that watching negative news stories had on peoples’ personal
concerns or worries. He said,” We asked each participant to tell us what
their main concern was at the time, and we then asked them to think about this
worry during a structured interview. We found that those people who had watched
the negative news spent more time thinking and talking about their worry and
were more likely to catastrophize their worry than people in the other two

Catastrophizing is when you think about a worry so persistently that you begin to make it seem much worse than it was at the outset and much worse than it is in reality—a tendency to make mountains out of molehills!

Henry’s Awful Mistake**

One of the many pleasures in my role as a grandfather is to read to my young grandchildren. Each child always has a favorite book and wants me and others, adults, to read it over and over.

Now, I’m not quite sure whether this repetition happens because the child likes the story so much or because there is a message which they, in their innocence, know that we adults need to remember.

The favorite story of one of my grandchildren was Henry’s Awful Mistake by Robert M. Quakenbush. It is a comical story about a duck named, you guessed it, Henry. Henry is preparing a meal for his friend. The doorbell rings. As Henry goes to greet his guest, he sees an ant on the wall. He swats at the ant and misses it, and it takes off across the room, with Henry close behind. Henry chases the ant around the house, upending all the furniture. The ant finally runs into the pantry. Henry dives after it, throwing all the food containers out.

At long last, Henry spots the ant. He grabs an iron skillet, swings to squash the ant, and misses. The skillet goes through the wall and breaks a water pipe. The house fills up with water and is washed away, along with Henry, the ant, and his guest.

The last few pages of the book show Henry a year later with a new house and a hot meal on the table. The doorbell rings, and as Henry goes to welcome his friend, he sees an ant. The last line? “… and Henry looked the other way.”

Journal Entry: What if you decided to invest 50% or even  25% percent of those 7.4 hours looking the other way? You might have time to read a story, listen to someone to tell you their story, even climb a real mountain, or stroll around a molehill. Is today a good time to cease catastrophizing? Stop making Henry’s Awful Mistake and intentionally focus on a few things you can do something about in our Leadership and Life.  

“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened. Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.“- Mark Twain

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34

“A cheerful heart is good medicine,  but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” – Proverbs 17:22


*Graham C. L. Davey, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology at the University of Sussex, UK. His research interests extend across mental health problems generally, and anxiety and worry specifically. Professor Davey has published over 140 articles in scientific and professional journals and written or edited 16 books


Secret Service Father’s Day

My father’s name was Odus Tate and he was in the Secret Service. He was a practical man. He loved his God, his family, and his carpenter work. At his funeral, my sister read this first poem, his favorite. My son, Brad, wrote the other poem as a tribute to his grandfather’s life and work. Together they pretty much summarize who he was. After you read them, if you’d like to learn or about my father’s Secret Service work, you can listen to my special Father’s Day podcast at HERE 
I’d Rather See A Sermon 
I’d rather see a sermon
than hear one any day;
I’d rather one should walk with me
than merely tell the way.
The eye’s a better pupil
and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing,
but example’s always clear;
And the best of all preachers
are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action
is what everybody needs.
I soon can learn to do it
if you’ll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action,
but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver
may be very wise and true,
But I’d rather get my lessons
by observing what you do;
For I might misunderstand you
and the high advice you give,
But there’s no misunderstanding
how you act and how you live.
Edgar A. Guest 
More Than Stairs
Centered and true
Plumb and level
Lived as you built
Each step with special
–care you took to live just right
Seeing, serving, sound advice
You told me once about a staircase
The ups and downs, the winding rails
Grace, precision, and attention
The wood, the hammer, and the nails
The Ins and outs
Design and bevel
Built as you lived
Each step with special
–care you took to build just right
Seeing, serving, sound advice
I now hear better what you were saying
Was more than stairs that you were laying
Journal Entry: If you have 10 minutes take a listen to My Father is Secret Service by Clicking Here.  
Colossians 3:23, NLT: “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”

Let Me Be Clear

Last week Dr. Joey Faucette interviewed me on his podcast. He reminded me of something vital to remember but difficult to do. He said in his 20 plus years in training, coaching, and consulting that he had learned one big thing- amid significant changes, people crave certainty about everything, but leaders can only give people clarity around a few things.

I didn’t ask Dr. Joey what those few things were, so I came up with my own leadership clarity starter list.

I’m clear that:

  • This will not be easy.
  • I don’t have all the answers.
  • I’ll do my best, but I might make a mistake.
  • We can all get better by learning through this together.
  • I will support you and have your back if you give your best effort.
  • Work is important, but family is more important.
  • I will listen to everyone’s ideas, but I will make the final call and live with the result.
  • For the next 2 months, we will focus on this 1 thing for our organization, which is______.
  • You need to choose 1 thing you will learn to become a better person, which is ________.
  • When I count my many blessing, my many worrying counts less.

Clarity is not just talking about things that will happen next but offering some things to hold onto when the next change happens. 

Journal Entry:

Remember, you will earn a reputation for how you show up during times of change. What do you need to get clear on, so you can support and guide others to get through their ups and downs in leadership and life?

 Extra Note: A CEO wrote this to the leaders this week: “I think it’s more important than ever to step back and ask ourselves, “are we leading others as they need us to right now?” We can all agree that whether you have managed others for 30 years or 3 months, none of us are experienced with supervising others in a pandemic.”  If you feel the same way and would like to discuss how you can help your team managing better and even grow through this time of hardship, click the link below.

 I look forward to talking. To schedule, a phone call with me click here:


Learn Something New Every Day

Your organization may have not officially restructured or furloughed any employees, but the way people work is restructured forever. Every manager I talk with is consumed with the safety and mechanics of moving people back into their next routine, and rightly so. People are trying to find a new rhythm while the ground is shifting under their feet. They feel their stress level going up and most don’t know how to deal with it.

Unfortunately, there are still a few  managers out there who are oblivious to the emotional side of all this workplace reshaping. They continue their micromanagement and subtle manipulation to grind away at “the task” and feel in control. 

Fortunately, the better leaders out there realize this emotional side of transition is real.  But they teeter between attention to physical safety concerns and psychological safety needs, struggling to balance both as they guide people forward.  

One Thing To Do Now

Actively supporting personal and professional development will help people become more productive ( see AMA study). Encourage and allow time for people to learn something new every day, as you model the same. Today may not be the time to engaged a full-blown training and development initiative, but my experience has been that people stop worrying when they are intensely involved in learning something new.  

Journal Entry: Since it seems like everyone is “Zoomed Out,” meaning they have done way too many virtual meetings, why not find a small hard or softcover book and ask people to read ten pages a day. Encourage them to share one thing they learned each day that helped them in their leadership and life.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”― Mahatma Gandhi

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

“Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” ~ Henry Ford

“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Next Normal and a 40-Day Plan

Why 40 days?

Although there is not scientific data to support the significance of 40 days, history, specifically Biblical history, certainly points toward a pattern of effectiveness to this time-frame. Theologians in general  agree that the period of 40 days signifies a period of testing, trial or judgment. The Israelites walked through the desert for 40 years. The tower of Babel was built in 40 days, Jesus Christ fasted for 40 days, and He ascended to heaven after 40 days.

The Latin root of the word quarantine is 40. Which is even more interesting since the U.S. effort to control the COVID-19 outbreak by instituting a quarantine/sheltering-in-place began on March 25. Now there is talk of backing off this quarantine until the first week of May . That’s real close to 40 days.

As of today, 28 days have passed since that announcement, the change event, that altered everyone’s life. All of us either observed, read about and personally experienced the natural phases of emotions shown in the illustration taken from my next book Roll Up Your Sleeves.

I don’t know where you are on the wave of transition moods and feelings shown here, but most people are ready for a new beginning and need a plan. What I do know is that having a timeline helps people plan. So, if you assume first that 40 days is where you need to concentrate your energy and your team’s energy, this one assumption can help you get going and avoid the pitfalls of inaction or snags of overreaction.

Next Normal Culture
A challenging truth is that a new beginning births another change  – not a new normal, but a next normal. Which means we will experience a new period of transition as we move forward into a world that is a bit more familiar but not the same. The great news is that change comes bearing gifts, but like the gift of the good stuff inside a pecan, walnut or chestnut – it takes effort to get to it.

Shelling a nut requires a brute force or a sturdy tool to crush with. Now don’t take this as a recommendation to use brute force to get people moving into their next normal, although a few of them who are a little nutty might respond , and sadly a few nutty managers will do just this. There is a better way, a  40-Day next normal strategy. Most teams already have a next steps plan for finance and operations , which is vital, and if you don’t have that, stop and do that first. But I’m talking about your next normal culture strategy and plan.

Assume Some Things    
Having stated assumptions is the foundation for effective strategy and plan execution. Assumptions are defined as statements of what the planning group assumes will happen and what they believe about their environment. Not having a discussion and agreeing on your assumptions will result in continuous communication breakdown, barriers and recurring issues. Which will stall your plan. Clarifying your assumptions is the foundation, the philosophical underpinnings of any plan.

Some Steps to Consider
I recommend that you call a team meeting. Begin the meeting by agreeing on your assumed timeline. I suggested 40 days but choose a definite realistic time-frame That should have be easy. Now that you’ve cracked the shell, it is time to go deeper and get to the meaty stuff that really matters, by clarifying your team’s culture assumptions in three areas shown in the box below.

Here is a 3-step process to consider as a model to help you get started:

Step 1– Display the three inquiry statements, shown in the box below, for all on the team to see. You may want to distribute this before you hold your meeting to give people time to think.

Step 2– When you meet, have each person select a number from 1 to 5 that represents what they believe on each of the three continuum lines. (Example: On item A – selecting a I or 2 means “I really believe money and pushing is the best way to motivate” and choosing a 4 or 5  means “I know that visions and listening is what works best.”)

Step 3- Starting with A, ask each person to explain why they chose their number, discuss differences and similarities and come to consensus on your collective belief for A. Do the same for B and C.

Follow-up every 10 days. When you change an assumption, your behaviors and actions will change.

Note: The items below are listed in priority order. If you can’t come to consensus on Statement A, there is no need to discuss the other two. Just hold on and be prepared for the worst.

  1. People are motivated to do their best through:   

Money, Pushing and Telling  1 2 3 4 5   Inspiration / Vision / Listening

  1. The best approach to help people move forward is to:

Allow people to get back to normal on their own 1 2 3 4 5  Lead people into our next normal – (describe what back to normal and/or your next normal looks like, feels like, and sounds like)

  1. The most effective way to lead is to act and speak like:

People should suck it up & move on  1 2 3 4 5  People experience emotions & need support (describe ways you can facilitate your assumption).

Journal Entry: If you chose 5’s and 6’s on the scales above, the questions below are worth considering when you talk and meet with the people who are moving into the next normal in their leadership and life.

Past >

  • How do you feel about what happened?
  • What do you think about the way this was handled?
  • How could we have handled this better?

Present >

  • What has been positive about this for you? What has been painful?
  • What would you like to see happen now?


  • What ideas have you thought about that might help others on your team?
  • What would be a good next step to take to improve our team/department?

Roll Up Your Sleeves – Living & Leading in a World of Constant Change, Part 10

Well this is it! #10 or 10 in this special series about the observation of four young men who take another life altering journey together in my forthcoming book Roll Up Your Sleeves.

Over the past 2 weeks we have covered our One Unshakeable Truth plus these 9 concepts.
One Unshakeable Truth – Everyone has unseen battles they are fighting. Be kind.
#1 Change is not the same as transition.
#2 Personality matters.
#3 Role clarity counts.
#4 Principles set the pace.
#5 Purpose is power.
#6 Process matters.
#7 Endings let us begin again.
#8 Seasons come and go.
#9 Self-counseling doesn’t work.

Today is #10 Pray first: Before life gives you more than you can stand, kneel. The more you kneel along the way, the easier you’ll stand the test today.

Everyone gets tested by something. For some of us it’s dealing with technology end equipment. For others it’s having to fool with finances or budgets. Dealing with politics, both inside and outside of work, can push some people over the edge. Many of us have a challenge with that “other generation” – whoever they are and whatever they’re thinking. The list is endless. During times of transition, the things that test us can elicit a response we do regret later. When change hits, you may have noticed feeling more anxious or worried, reacting to little things that didn’t bother you before. If you’re like most of us, you wish you could do something to better manage those behaviors that did not work.

“To whom should I go for some self-help.” – Ashley Brilliant

I have found that the most ineffective way to change your behavior is to try to change your behavior. By this I mean, attempting to force yourself or persuade yourself into changing how you think or what you do. Most self-help books recommend this type of direct approach through using a step-by step technique or applying a clever psychological scheme or the classic line from the well-intended but emotionally unaware manager – “just don’t do that.”

These external motivation techniques might work short term, but behavioral changes that really stick only happen when a person looks inside, reframes their personal context and starts to see themselves playing a role in a bigger spiritual (not religious) purpose. Even when this type of spiritual transformation happens, it still takes personal effort to stay there and to grow into it. In my experience there are three things that help new behavior stick : monitor your actions by keeping a written record, make a commitment to someone who will support you and pray first more often.

Researchers from Baylor University looked at the data of 1,714 volunteers who participated in the most recent Baylor Religion Survey (1). They found that people who pray to a loving and protective God are less likely to experience anxiety-related disorders — worry, fear, self-consciousness, social anxiety and obsessive-compulsive behavior — compared to people who pray but don’t really expect to receive any comfort or protection from God. The findings add to the growing body of research confirming a connection between a person’s perceived relationship with God and mental and physical health. In fact, a recent study by Oregon State University found that religion and spirituality result in two distinct but complementary health benefits. Religion (religious affiliation and service attendance) is linked to better health habits, including less smoking and alcohol consumption, while spirituality (prayer, meditation) helps regulate emotions.

When I’m working with a client, after taking time to be totally prepared with my materials and notes, I say this prayer, which was offered to me by my friend and colleague Cliff Eslinger – The Consultants Prayer, “God get me out of the way so these smart people can get what they need from You today.” We are both amazed at the outcome when God honors our request and He usually does.

Almost every morning I begin my day in my big brown recliner. I sit there, read my Bible, especially The Proverbs, and say a prayer. There is a small lamp table beside my La-Z-Boy. Under the glass that covers the top of the table there are a few things I’ve gathered over the years: A printed copy of Psalm 16:1-11 and Philippians 4:7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” Below that scripture verse I wrote this: “Problems can either be mine or God’s – they can’t be both.” I try to take a look at those every day.

I’m sharing all today not to call myself up as an example or to impress you, because anyone who knows me knows I all too often lose my temper especially with technology, can quickly judge people who in my opinion “don’t get it” and leave the ones I love feeling ignored or discounted with my silence and the list goes on – just ask my wife. My reason for my being so transparent is to let you know if I can pray first almost every day, anybody can.

Journal entry: I also hope that if you start your day in a different way – I don’t mean jogging instead of sitting in a lounger – that this email might intrigue you to give “pray first” a try and see if you might find the more you kneel along the way, the easier you’ll stand your tests today in your leadership and life.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His will.
That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with Him forever in the next.
~ Reinhold Neibuhr

Roll Up Your Sleeves – Living & Leading in a World of Constant Change, Part 9

So far we have covered One Unshakeable Truth plus these 8 concepts, which are found in my forthcoming book Roll Up Your Sleeves:

One Unshakable Truth – Everyone has unseen battles they are fighting. Be kind.

#1 Change is not the same as transition.

#2 Personality matters.

#3 Role clarity counts.

#4 Principles set the pace.

#5 Purpose is power.

#6 Process matters.

#7 Endings let us begin again.

#8 Seasons come and go.

Today I get personal with a few thoughts about Observation #9 Self-counseling doesn’t work. – When change hits, we become our worst counselor. Instead of turning inward, share your story with a trusted friend who will listen and not try to fix you. If you go it alone, you will go too fast and crash. If you go together, you will go farther and heal.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” The Book of Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 by one of King Solomon’s scribes

In 1814, Henry Kett, an eminent clergyman, academic and writer, said, “I hesitate not to pronounce, that every man who is his own lawyer, has a fool for a client.”

Despite Kett or Solomon’s message of the power of personal inter-dependence, which has been repeated and reflected on for centuries, the fools of the world have not been derailed off their “me, myself and I” track of life. Sadly, this Rambo-ish, one-man show mindset is still held in high regard by many people in the US. It is hailed in our movies, modeled by some top politicians, held on to by a few lesser-regarded businessmen and serves as the philosophical underpinning of tyrants who view humans as soulless and physical matter to be disposed of when change disrupts their plans.

As you know, a stand-alone persona can be efficient in a short-term ox-in-the-ditch predicament or sudden crisis and for long-term dictatorship as well. But this self-absorbed, self-reliant stance cannot be sustained long in place that values the sanctity of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If you believe in these Creator-endowed values, when change happens your instinct will be to invest in getting people through the emotional phases of transition, rather than eliminate them. You will see people as struggling souls and realize that your leadership strength comes from leaning on others to inspire a shared dream of a fresh beginning and better life for everyone.

In 1967 Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston sang the hit song “Takes Two”
One can have a dream, baby
Two can make that dream so real
One can talk about bein’ in love
Two can say how it really feels
One can wish upon a star
Two can make that wish come true, yeah
One can stand alone in the dark
Two can make the light shine through
It takes two, baby, it takes two, baby
Me and you, just take two
It takes two, baby, it takes two, baby
To make a dream come true, just take two

Power of 2
Over the past 25 years I have noticed a trend in business structure which no one talked about. It is that most healthy organizations are directed by two people – a primary and secondary. Natural law has revealed this truth in healthy families, but this duo-at-the-top principle seems as reliable and trustworthy as the rule of three is for having the optimal execution structure. No matter what the official organizational chart says, successful companies officially or unofficially have a top leader, with one other person beside her or him. They together share primary influence over the future of the enterprise. The same pattern of two holds true for departments, divisions or teams. The secondary person in the pair can be someone within the organization, an outside confidant or even a family member. I’m not saying that these two don’t consult with, listen and gain perspective from others, but when it comes to making the final call – everyone may have a voice, but only two have a final vote.

Now there is data to back up my hunch. The researchers at Gallup have published a report and now a book, Power of 2. Their detailed research is illustrated by stories of famous partnerships. Examples include pairs such as Tenzing and Hillary who were the first to scale Mt. Everest; Malone and Stockton who were the key to each other’s success on the basketball court; Eisner who was never as effective at Disney without Wells. The book offers eight characteristics of these powerful partnership, which are: complementary strengths, a common mission, fairness, trust, acceptance, forgiveness, communicating, and unselfishness. The book reminds that what Solomon said thousands of years ago was right on target- many of the greatest accomplishments can be reached only by two people working together.

Journal Entry: Do you have someone beside you who sincerely applies their strengths to compliment yours, shares a common ideal, is fair minded, trustworthy, accepts you unconditionally, forgives and forgets, communicates with ease and is committed to service above self? If you have a such a comrade, chum or companion, count yourself blessed by God and don’t be surprised when together you turn out to make a big difference in the well-being of people you serve with your leadership and life.

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” The Bible book of Proverbs 18:24

Roll Up Your Sleeves – Living & Leading in a World of Constant Change, Part 8

So far we have covered One Unshakeable Truth plus these 7 concepts, which are found in my forthcoming book Roll Up Your Sleeves:

One Unshakable Truth – Everyone has unseen battles they are fighting. Be kind.

#1 Change is not the same as transition.

#2 Personality matters.

#3 Role clarity counts.

#4 Principles set the pace.

#5 Purpose is power.

#6 Process matters.

#7 Endings let us begin again.

Today is #8 Seasons come and go. Life is a series of transitions in which we decide to either loathe the change or learn to love ourselves more and serve others more. Helping another person get through their struggles is the best way to get through ours.

The Give Factors
A number of years ago, I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about my work. An executive I was coaching was having particular trouble moving his team forward. He said all the right things, had all the right technical knowledge, people seemed to like him, but his team wasn’t achieving key business initiatives. Trying to make sense of that situation, I asked myself what was missing. What was it about this guy that was causing this stalemate with his team to happen?

A key skill of any successful leader is the ability to coach and mentor people. This guy couldn’t coach people. Why not? He had drive and determination. He had read all the “how-to” leadership books and knew the right words. I finally realized he was missing a key, underlying, foundational attribute of all truly successful leaders. He was missing a spirit of generosity.

Robert Hargrove, in Masterful Coaching, explains it this way, “Coaching is a way of being, not just a technique that allows you to help other people achieve success. Generosity of spirit allows you to give people the gift of your presence in any conversation. It motivates you to give authentic feedback that helps someone grow and learn, as well as give praise that affirms that person. People with generosity of spirit give others credit.”

Before I finally fell back to sleep that night, I grabbed a notepad and wrote down eight words: Give Thanks, Give Credit, Give Back, and Give Up. Those were the variations on the concepts behind Hargrove’s generosity of spirit that I’d seen over and over in truly successful people. These traits were definitely lacking in the executive I was working with. It was from that series of events that what I now call “The Give Factors” came into being(1)

Give Thanks … For things you are most grateful for during both good times and bad
Give Credit … To those who play a role in your success, helping you and just being there for you
Give Back … To other people and groups who can never repay you
Give Up … Or let go of something that’s worked in the past to move a new level of success – on purpose

If you were rating yourself on how consistently you displayed these characteristics at work and home, what number would you select for each factor? 1- never 2- sometimes 3- more often than not 4- always

Journal Entry: When leading people through a transition, modeling these four behaviors is vital to gaining the respect needed to get people through their emotional wilderness to a new beginning or shared promised land. You will know you have mastered these traits when you observe the people under your influence making the Give Factors an integral part of their leadership and life.

(1)- The four Give Factors were published and explained in detail in Chapter 2 in my first book Design a Life that Works

Of the things we think, say, and do, we will ask ourselves—
Is it the truth?
Is it fair to all concerned?
Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
– The 4-way Test of Rotary International

“There is a wonderful, mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life—happiness, freedom, and peace of mind—are always attained by giving them to someone else.” – Peyton Conway March, soldier

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. – The Bible book of Luke 6:38

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