Navigating the river of life – grab a kayak!

Life has been compared to a river that flows from our inception to the sea of our destiny. In this life River journey, we are one of 3 kinds of travelers – a drifter without a life preserver, a rafter, or a kayaker.












The drifter stays barely afloat, struggling against the currents just to keep their head above water, bumping into logs and debris as the current takes them where it will, or against their will. It is a route of moving from one problem to the next. And they are so focused on the obstacles, they can’t even enjoy the journey.

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How to have a Happier New Year!

Happy New Year! I find there are 3 typical responses to the calendar turning. Some are excited about the new year with new possibilities and new mountains to climb. Some are just glad that 2011 is over. Or maybe you’re just apathetic, considering it just another day.

Personally, I am big about all beginnings, especially the beginning of each new year. But I think the beginning of each day and each month to be just as important. I treat each day is a gift and treasure the 86,400 seconds that God has given me to either use or waste, at my choice.

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More Eagles Part 3: Raise the Altitude. Focus on your Eagles First

This is part 3 in a series describing solutions and tactics to one of the greatest challenges that faces every organization- recruiting, retaining, and developing the best talent -  and for getting the most productivity out of them to your mutual benefit.  In short, how to get more eagles and less ducks.











Last time we set the foundation for recharging your group to turn them into a high-performance team. First, you have to be working for a good company, that has a good value proposition and values people. If you don’t work for a good company, one that has features and benefits that set you apart, that even the best leader will be limited by the ceiling of their company. Why would you work for a duck company? Either help them to improve or move on.

The 2nd foundational element is to look at yourself. You attract who you are. If you are not a highflying eagle, then you will never recruit or retain many Eagles. So, I gave you some steps to assessing yourself and committing to raising your game. So now what?

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A Poem of Hope : “The Flower”

I am a fan of the arts, but I’m not an artist per se. I’ve seen the great museums of the world, viewed man’s greatest works, and can recite much of art history since ancient times. But I can’t draw more than a stick figure. My art is with the word, the pen, of making word pictures to give a glimpse into my feelings and my interpretation of the human  condition.

Georgia O'Keeffe, Flowers

The “arts” come in many forms and most of us have at least a modest gift in one or another. Many think of art as simply painters or sculptors. But there are many traditional arts like dance, theater, and music. And there are modern arts like cinema, photography, crafts, and even new age graphic design. My artistic medium is poetry. And poetry is a lost and under-appreciated art. One rarely hears of great modern poets like Robert Frost or Emily Dickinson. Our closest modern-day poets are songwriters such as Don Henley of the Eagles. But there is something in a poem well-written that strikes a chord and resonates across generations.

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Eagles part 2: How to get more Eagles and less Ducks? Start with you

In my last post, I described one of the greatest challenges that faces every organization – how to attract and retain more eagles while eliminating ducks and cancers.  And I used one of my past mortgage branches as a case study.

When I fit each of my  teammates into the Jack Welch Personal Assessment model above, I found out my problem, why my organization was underachieving despite my working huge hours. I had too few eagles trying to pull the entire train while caring too many ducks and cancers along for the ride. It was getting heavy with my Eagles  were at risk of breaking. What to do? Continue Reading…

Supercharge your organization by Recruiting, Developing, and retaining your “Eagles”

A coaching client of mine asked me last week, “after vision and business plan, what is the most important factor in determining the level of success of an organization”. To paraphrase Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great”, one of his major themes was “get the right people on the bus”. But I’ve modified it slightly to say, “get the right Eagles on the bus, in the right positions  -  and get the Ducks and Cancers up or out.”

With apologies to Mr. Collins, the name labels of the bus riders are my own interpretation of his principal. And before “good to great”, Jack Welch said much the same thing  as a sidelight in one of his annual reports – it’s about the  right people.

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Struggling with the ebbs and flows of life…? Keep the faith! You never know what the tide will bring

Everyone loves it when the tide is going their way in life. But how do we react when the tides of life are flowing away from us? I recently wrote of my passion for classic stories with a moral that resonate across time and culture. I also collect classic movie scenes and lines that have a hidden metaphor or message for my own life-usually just at the time that I need it.

you never know what the tide will bring

you never know what the tide will bring

I am naturally a very positive and joyful person. But I have had periods of darkness in my life. I’ll bet many of you have suffered the same or know family members who have experienced dark moments that have tested their soul and character, especially in recent years since the financial crises of 2008. The psychologists say that in life you are either  “in a crisis, exiting a crisis, or getting ready to enter a crises”. Not an optimist’s view, but with a certain truth.

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Costa Rica Epilogue – Do you Know What you want from Life? You may already have it…

I love a good story. I always have, from early childhood with mom reading “Cat and the Hat” other bedtime stories. I guess they remind me of that childlike joy and wonder, of simpler times, and innocence. They were my first lessons in reading. But they were also my first moral lessons of honorable and heroic behavior, the human condition, and the choices that we make throughout life that define our destiny.

From the epic tales of Homer, the myths of Hercules, Aesop’s fables, Grimm fairy tales, and the parables of Jesus I have learned history and made friends across the ages. And it is amazing how I still remember those stories, those heroes and villains, and the morals and wisdom that they imparted that are timeless and universal across cultures. Continue Reading…

Pura Vida – Why is Costa Rica “The happiest place on earth”?

I just came back from a week vacation in Costa Rica and it far exceeded my expectations-and I am a seasoned traveler who has seen much of the world. I expected to see lush rain forests, active volcanoes, exotic plants and animals, and pristine beaches-and it lived up to that vision as the most lush place that I have ever seen. National Geographic calls it “the most biologically diverse place on the planet”. But I also expected this lushness to be accompanied by hot and humid (it was 80 with light breeze), full of mosquitoes and bugs (minimal), dirt roads (paved and safe all the way), and a little seedy (and there was some of that in the tourist areas only). Click on some Costa Rican Latin Jazz to feel the vibe 01 Congo Mulence

But I saw something else totally unexpected. Upon arriving, I was reminded that Costa Ricans (otherwise known as “Ticos”) have been evaluated by sociologists as either number one or two in the happiest index of all peoples worldwide (World Database of Happiness,2010).  Note that in the same happiness index, the United States rates surprisingly low for such an affluent country at 7.4 and 21st place. Continue Reading…

Are you playing to “Win – Win” Or grabbing for your slice of the pie?

“Winning” has taken on new meaning thanks to our friend Charlie Sheen. Like Charlie are you playing to win? Are you fighting hard for your slice of the pie? I was reading the Sacramento bee (yes, I still read newspapers) this week and read an opinion article by Dan WaltersSlicing pie real agenda for capital“.

In the article he describes that the real agenda of our California legislature is not always what is purported to be (i.e. doing the business of the people and compromising to do what’s best for the state today and in the future). He says that their real purpose is “slicing up the pie” according to their own self interest. And this problem has been exacerbated in recent years as the pie has gotten smaller and the fighting has gotten Fiercer.

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