Category Archives: Leadership

Do what only you can do

My new Vistage Member looked uncomfortable, well maybe downright unhappy. I was a brand new Vistage Chair and a little uncertain. I put down my notebook and just looked her in the eye and asked, “What’s wrong? You look pretty unhappy.” She sighed deeply. >


A new year, turn over a new leaf, leave the pandemic behind….as we began January, hope was in the air. I was feeling motivated, focused, grateful. >

Riding into 2021

If we all learned one thing in 2020, it was that we have darn little control over the waves we ride in on. Who knew last December that we would have a pandemic and all the economic effects that followed. We thought it would all blow over in 2 months and we would be back to our old lives. As we go riding into 2021 on the worst wave of the virus so far, what can we resolve for the new year? >

Covid tests

We have been subjected to so many Covid tests, it is hard to put all of them in categories. And, I don’t mean getting that swab stuck up to my brain and down to my tonsils. Every day, Covid tests our leadership, our mindset and our health habits. >

“Keeping on…”

It seems like the unrelenting anxiety that many of us felt around the election may be easing. Yet, even if you are a Biden supporter, the win didn’t make for any substantial change to the underlying cause of the stress. We still have a growing Covid pandemic that is devastating our people and the economy. We probably won’t have a vaccine until next spring and it could be 6 months until we have enough people vaccinated to create herd immunity. As a small business owner told me yesterday, her only option is resilience: just “keeping on…” >

Share your why

Given a choice, people do business with people and companies they like. If only Amazon has 2 day service, you might not win customers with a one week delivery schedule and no other compelling value. All things being equal, we tend to buy from people or brands we like or trust. >

Set your rheostat for 85

Col. Nicole Malachowski USAF (retired) spoke to the Vistage Women in Leadership national conference on Friday. A fighter pilot and the first women to fly in the Air Force Thunderbirds, Col Malachowski later commanded the 333rd Fighter Squadron with over 1600 personnel. And more. Talk about an impressive career!

While there were many, many take-aways from her talk, particularly pertinent to our Covid time was this: we can not give more than 100%. That is all we have. And, we cannot have our throttles set to 100% all the time or we will burn out. She asked her team to set their rheostats for 85….so when they surged, which they had to do more when needed, they would have enough in reserve to fight full out for short bursts of time.

Is this what we ask of our team? Is this what we do ourselves?

I don’t think so. I don’t do it well, and the folks I coach don’t do it well. That can-do attitude and extreme positivity many of us share leads to regular bouts of total burn out. Add the pandemic, the unpredictability and fear of economic survival and running on fumes is a constant refrain.

Let’s get a grip. What reserves do you have right now?

Let’s do a little recalibration here. What would that look like?

  1. Only do what you should be doing, not the work of people who report to you. Track how many hours that is, and address the root cause.
  2. Set boundaries on your time. Get private work time on your calendar and hold it sacred.
  3. Watch your energy level. When you are “hangry”, tired, or grouchy, you are not being inspiring or even very efficient.
  4. Plan rejuvenation time into your calendar. It could be exercise, time with a friend who makes you laugh or video games. Pick something that recharges you. My new puppy makes me laugh – totally distracting me from everything else.

Remember we are in this for the long haul. Set your rheostat accordingly.

Honor, Duty and Sacrifice

Thursday was the 75th anniversary of the Allies victory over Japan  – VJ day as many vets called it, including my Navy Dad. Most Californians went to the Pacific and so many died as they fought the Japanese island by island all the way to Japan. So few WWII vets are still alive to tell their individual stories but the legacy of “The Greatest Generation” is worth considering in our current crisis.

Yes, there are quirks. Because of the bank failures in the early ’30’s, my Father was afraid of debt. He paid cash for everything. Many families paid in installments BEFORE they got their purchases. Have you heard of, or do you remember “Lay-Away Plans”? Can you imagine waiting 2 month to get that sweater you were drooling over?

Or did you have a Grandma who would stuff her purse with the rolls and butter when you took her out to dinner? (So embarrassing, right?) Too many nights going to bed hungry as a child can be pretty formative.

Everyone in that generation sacrificed. First during the depression, then in the war and for the war. The war effort came first. Any physically-able man volunteered or was drafted. Metal was collected, food was rationed, people were asked to buy war bonds. Women, and older men stepped in to keep the country going.

And honor. – not a word we talk about much these days. “On my honor”, what does that mean? We don’t even say that anymore, unless we are quoting a scout’s pledge. We might describe it as a combination of personal responsibility and integrity.

What would be the translation of Honor, Duty and Sacrifice be for our world today? Perhaps:  Do the right thing and take care of others even if it means you do less for yourself. You would not have to explain that to the greatest generation, so curious that we have to explain it today. We do use the word honor with phrases like “in honor of…”.

So let’s try one:

In honor of those who fought for our freedom, with honor, duty and sacrifice, I suggest you pick one thing, or one thing more you can do in this moment of crisis to make them –the greatest generation– proud of us. Let me know what you did and I’ll share it next week.



Covid-19 versus well, everything

We are in the process of rethinking almost everything about how we lived up to March, 2020. Since the pandemic started, all our daily practices have been challenged. Here are a few:

Work: How we work and where we work.

Family – Who we see and who we don’t see, except electronically

Travel: So taken for granted before, and now, only if really required.

Entertainment: All those live concerts, movie releases, even dinner out with friends gone or changed to zoom events

Exercise: Trails open, trails closed, gyms opened, gyms closed.

Education- where schooling takes place if it takes place >