The Favorite 2013 Blogs on ‘RESPECT’

Growth mindset Respect


Key Point: Thank you for the wonderful response to the many blogs related to RESPECT this year. Here are five that touched many people and hopefully inspired valuable thought and action.

1. The “Do You Upsell or Upserve?” blog was built off of Dan Pink’s 2013 bestseller, “To Sell is Human.” The essence of this blog reminds us that regardless of position, we are all in sales. And the great aspect of sales in this context is to bring value to every relationship.

2. A “Bucket Full of Golden Moments” reminds us to consciously capture the wonderful moments that are remarkable milestones (big and small) in our lives. Allowing ourselves to constructively playback 2013 is a wonderful time to reflect on Golden Moments over the last year.

3. “Men Kissing and Holding Hands at Work” startled some readers and was the kick off to a number of blogs over the year on the topic of inclusion and diversity at work. There is a defined continuum of personal development regarding one’s real state of inclusiveness. Where are you on that continuum?

4. The “Fruit Loops Feedback” blog reinforced the importance of meaningful, intentional feedback in our lives. Sugar coating feedback is not helpful. It is also not being “nice.” Being kind and nice is having the skill to give people we care about useful feedback.

5. Perhaps the blog and phrase of 2013 is “The Conversation is the Relationship.” When one reflects on the importance of this phrase for our personal and business lives, the impact is astounding.

Character Moves:

  1. Read one or more of the above “favorites” or go to and tour the 2013 “Be Respectful” section. You may find others that are more meaningful to you.
  2. If you haven’t had the opportunity, please read my gift to you blog published Dec. 24. It puts a nice wrap to the blogs over the year.

RESPECT Favorites in The Triangle,



Top ‘Be Accountable’ Blogs of 2013

Accountability Gratitude


Key Point: Thank you for the wonderful response to the many self-accountability blogs this year. Here are five that touched many people in somewhat unique ways.

1. My blog entitled “Cancer Has Changed Me… How About You?” hit a tender spot in many. It is based on the profound insights shared by a friend who prematurely left this earth.

2. My “Eat That Frog Today” blog connected with people based on the concept of ” doing it now” and avoiding procrastination.

3. The “Are You Growing Your Personal Equity?” blog is a break through concept that I genuinely believe will become the new normal for organizations and people over this next decade.

4. “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” is a wonderful quote by Mary Oliver. The “Can You Answer a ‘Beautiful, Haunting’ Question?” blog helps us reply to this self-reflection.

5. The “Person Writing on the Whiteboard Has the Eraser” metaphor captured people’s attention to the fact that our roles are under constant evaluation.

Character Moves:

  1. Read one or more of the above “favorites” or go to and tour the 2013 Be Accountable section. You may find others that are more meaningful to you.
  2. If you haven’t had the opportunity, please read my gift to you blog published December, 24. It puts a nice wrap to the blogs over the year.

Accountability Favorites in The Triangle,



My Personal Gift to You This Christmas Season

Accountability Growth mindset


Key Point: I have been searching my “brain shelves” to find and wrap up the best Christmas gift I could for you; my wonderful readers. My fondest wish is that this blog becomes very meaningful for YOU through 2014 and beyond. I also hope that this message really connects at a deeper level… Maybe it resonates during a quiet walk or sitting in front of a warm fire? You are so deserving of it. It does however require increased self-awareness and daily ratio self-leadership. Will you unwrap it and find it valuable?

Dr. Richard Boyatzis, a professor at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, has used brain imaging to analyze how coaching affects the brain differently when you focus on DREAMS instead of FAILURES. Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina, finds that POSITIVE FEELINGS enlarge the aperture of our attention to embrace a wider range of possibility and motivates us to work toward a better future. She finds that people who do well in their private and work lives alike, generally have a higher ratio of positivity during their day. Being in the positive mood range activates brain circuits that remind us of how good we will feel when we reach a goal, according to research by Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin. That’s the circuit that keeps us working away at the small steps we need to take toward a larger goal – whether finishing a major project or a change in our own behavior. Daniel Goleman’s research reinforces that emotional intelligence begins with self-awareness—getting in touch with your inner voice. This is a matter of paying careful attention to internal physiological signals. These subtle cues are monitored by the insula, which is tucked behind the frontal lobes of the brain. Wharton’s Adam Grant and other scientists have documented the benefits of giving and research shows that we can see the brain acting differently when we are generous in spirit and action.

This science and research noted above is the backdrop to my gift to you and fully resonates with my experience.

Character Gifts/Moves:

  1. Allow yourself to spend more time dreaming about what you will do and become, than self-criticizing and being so hard on yourself for what you are not. While I’m a fan of continuous improvement to get better, my personal experience (and the science) reinforces our need to aspire to really THRIVE. Dream and aspire more than criticize every day.
  2. Be aware of the degree of positive feelings you have and impart to others. It is not a matter of being positive all the time, but having the right balance of positive to negative. There is strong evidence that the minimum positive to negative ratio to keep us moving forward is four to one.
  3. Think of giving of yourself as adding value in all your daily interactions with others. Give yourself an opportunity to reflect each day on who you brought positive value to and in what way. It may be a simple door opening for a stranger, cleaning up your coffee cup after a meeting, or something more impactful like providing thoughtful feedback, or contributing during a meeting. Give more than you take every day.
  4. So my gift to YOU is increased self-awareness and attention to your personal ratio leadership every day through 2014: The ASPIRATION DREAMS versus SELF-CRITICISM ratio; the POSITIVE PERSONAL THINKING versus NEGATIVE THINKING ratio, and finally the GIVING versus TAKING ratio.

Positive Ratio Leadership in The Triangle,



The Three P’s: The Meeting is the Message

Accountability Growth mindset Teamwork


Key Point: The way you conduct and/or participate at a meeting says a lot about who you are as a leader. So this blog’s title is a play on the words of one of the world’s most famous contemporary philosophers, Canada’s Marshall McLuhan. He famously quipped, “The medium is the message.

I normally run a pretty darn good meeting. However, I recently chaired a team meeting and it wasn’t up to the standard of excellence I expect. Why? Frankly I hadn’t properly prepared and my teammates deserved better. First of all the video technology we applied failed and we wasted a lot time trying to get it right. The room was insufficient to seat the additional people joining us for the afternoon. The catering was late and poor quality. The meeting content was meaningful but I did not have the best plan to facilitate a fully productive outcome. I am not sure everyone in attendance added or received the value they and I desired and deserved. We ran late. Overall, it kind of sucked.

What does that say about me as a leader? To me, it says that on that day I could have been much better and need to be mindful that I can’t take my monthly team meetings for granted. If I’m the chair of a meeting I need to execute on the “Three P’s:” Payoff (expected results and outcome), Participants (who really needs to be in attendance) and Process (the facilitation method to get to the desired payoff). To ensure an effective meeting the leader needs to pay exceptional attention to this Three P detail.

At another meeting where I was a participant, I watched a colleague spend at least 75 percent of his/ her time at the meeting on a mobile device (and it wasn’t to take notes). It was not only rude, but disrespectful to all other participants. The rest of us did not get this person’s presence and attention. As a result, this person was not fully engaged and essentially taking up space. How can you garner the respect of your colleagues when you don’t give them your full consideration? What if it was this person’s turn to present and everyone hit their smart phones? Being a participant also requires planning the Three P’s: What Payoff do you want from each subject on the agenda? As a Participant leader, be clear about why you’re at the meeting and the value you’re expected to bring. When you review that agenda in advance, determine what Process role you need to contribute to add personal value to the meeting. Be a participant leader. Have the accountability to make the meeting great too.

(Btw if you’re a meeting organizer, you have a responsibility to be sure the logistics support the desired outcomes. I can’t tell you how many meetings have been sub-optimized by poor logistical support).

Character Moves:

  1. Commit to making meetings you lead and attend more effective next year. Be a better Three P planner and executor.
  2. How many meetings will you attend next year? Can you imagine the productivity increase if everyone was self-accountable enough to execute better on the Three P’s? You can’t fix everyone else, so focus on yourselves first. Apply the Three P checklist.
  3. Remember that the “meeting is the message.” Raise the bar very high and make it so.

Three P’s in the Triangle,



Don’t Be a ‘Pickle Face’ This Holiday Season

Abundance Gratitude Growth mindset


Key Point: I will always remember a senior executive, who was a sponsor and mentor, telling me that I looked “sour.” Those were his exact words… Ouch. They stick with me because that is not my normal disposition. Not too long after, I left the company. Clearly, the joy had left me at work and I didn’t even realize how much I was a carrier of gloom. It can come over the best of us like a fog, getting thicker as time goes on. As leaders we cannot afford to be unaware of the mood we transmit.

Pope Francis is Time magazine’s 2013 Person of The Year. Recently polls undertaken both by NBC  News/Wall Street Journal and ABC/Washington Post, reported that the general public, regardless of religious view or affiliation, gave Pope Francis very positive approval ratings. Maybe the following is one example of why?

One of Pope Francis’ most recent writings implored Christians not to be such “sour pusses.” The literal translation from the Italian worded document I believe was “pickle face.” I’m guessing that Francis has a reasonable amount of scripture and spiritual insight to back up this appeal. So why not take a little inspiration from this invitation to self-examine where each of us lays on the “pickle face scale,” including of course, while at work? (For those of you who appreciate a more secular view, there is plenty of science that connects with the benefits of seeking and finding joy).

Have an honest look around you. Do you see and hear people laughing a lot? Now laughter is not the only measure of joy, or antidote to being a “pickle face,” but it’s a pretty darn good indicator. Peter Bregman, a psychologist who regularly publishes Harvard Business Review blogs, notes the following: “We aren’t laughing anymore because we aren’t fully present anymore. Physically we’re in one place but mentally, we’re all over the place. Think about some recent phone conversations you’ve had — and then consider what else you were doing at the same time. Were you surfing the web? Reading and deleting emails? Shooting off a text? Sorting through mail? Or maybe you were thinking about any number of problems — a renovation, a recent argument, a never-ending to-do list — unrelated to the topic at hand. Unfortunately, being fully present in the moment has become a casualty of our too full and harried lives.”

I have blogged about the importance of having fun at work before. But self-examining conscious “pickle face status,” is a little different.

Character Moves:

  1. Give yourself a “pickle face rating.” Self-examine how much joy is in your life at work. Do you flow through the day genuinely communicating joy? Smiling when you greet others? Laughing a lot? If yes, keep doing it! If not, seriously ask yourself why not?
  2. Use improved presence to connect with others and also to find the laughter waiting for you in the moment. It’s there for your discovery. Meetings and other business transactions are of course serious investments and they require discipline to ensure results are achieved. However, unless the situation is life threatening, there has got to be a reason to have a laugh. Do you during daily encounters at work? How often?
  3. Do people seem attracted to you? Do people at all levels like to be around you, even in tough situations? If so, it is likely that one reason, in addition to having confidence in your abilities, is because you give out a positive joy vibe. If they distance themselves, it might be because of “Three P’s,” “PICKLE,” “(Sour) PUSSES” and “PRICKLY.” Don’t be “that guy.”

Pickle Face Free in The Triangle,



A FREE Gift that Lasts Forever!

Accountability Gratitude


Key Point: Each one of us has the “funds” to give the very best gift of all. It takes a little thought and care, but it is everlasting. So, what is it?

This week I met with middle school (junior high) students I taught more than 40 years ago and we reminisced on the “magical” culture the students and faculty built. 

We shared stories and the positive influences we have had on each other’s lives. Coincidently that same evening, I spent time catching up with a person I’ve known and worked with for more than 20 years. We talked about family, friends and business strategy. We also thanked each other for the positive influences we’ve had on one another.

For most of my work life I’ve sent DWD (Darn Well Done) messages to people I’ve worked with, thanking them with specificity for their contribution. I am dumbfounded by the number of times people have positively referred to that DWD I sent them, (often, many years after the incident).

Back to my students from 40 years ago… Some of them were in the gymnasium the last day of school, June 1975, and my final day at St. Nicks. Those of you who have read my book The Character Triangle know the story… Several hundred kids stood on their chairs and cheered wildly for what seemed like eternity, as a tribute to what WE collectively built. Now 40 plus years later, here were some of the “kids” who stood on those chairs, telling me and each other again how much caring for each other made an everlasting difference. The simple gift of an intentional “thank you” because we deeply care keeps on giving… And it appreciates over time.

Character Moves:

  1. This holiday season; connect with someone at work (past or present) who has made a positive difference to you. The free gift is to intentionally thank them in some way. If given sincerely, specifically with intent, it will never be repurposed or recycled by the receiver. In fact, I bet the receiver finds the gift priceless.
  2. One of the students I reconnected with remembers that she was one of the first of the kids to stand on a chair that June day in 1975. If she hadn’t, I likely would be without one of the most wonderful gifts in my life. If you think someone or some situation is worth it, don’t be hesitant to “stand on a chair” and cheer in some memorable way.
  3. The free gift I noted above, is telling someone with clear, direct, intent, that you appreciate the positive influence they have had on your life/work. You certainly don’t need to “stand on a chair.” Just stand up and tell them how much they mean to you. It is free, yet priceless and everlasting.

A priceless “thank you” in The Triangle,