A Lakota Tribe’s Elder Schools a Harvard Professor

Authenticity Kindness Respect


Key Point: Do your employees just get a lecture or do they get your love? I recently read a great story in Forbes magazine. It was about Harvard’s renowned professor, author, philosopher, Clayton Christensen, and a time when he was struggling to really connect with his students. Let me share a fascinating segment from this article:

“On a plane flight to Minneapolis, Clayton sat next to an elderly man who belonged to the Lakota tribe. He was very wise. In their conversation he learned of Clayton’s profession and asked, ‘Is it fun to teach at Harvard?’ Clayton responded that it normally was, but this semester was very difficult and explained how his students didn’t enjoy his class. After listening patiently, the man said, ‘The reason this is happening is that you are not teaching with love. You always need to teach with love.’

This profound comment took Clayton completely by surprise. The concept of teaching with love and the Harvard Business School case method had never been put together prior to this. So the next day he tried it. Just before he entered the classroom, he knelt down in his office in meditation, self-reflection, and prayer. His desire was that his students would feel love emanating through the way he taught. Within a few days, the animosity left. It was replaced with a spirit of warmth, trust, and happiness. And many of those students have remained close to Clayton ever since. More interesting, many of them wondered what had happened. They asked Clayton, and he told them the story of the elderly man from the Lakota Indian Tribe on an airplane to Minnesota.”

Love is a challenging and complex word. And people resist using it in the work world. But the idea of separating work and life is ridiculous; kind of like waiting to retire to live your best life. Really? And yet if I think deeply, with honesty and courage, I understand that it really is the conveyance of love that makes a profound difference. If I “lecture” my kids, my words are much more accessible to them if they FEEL my sincere love and care for them. The same applies to my teammates. If my words and action comes from anger, arrogance, self-righteousness, and so on, it is likely to fall on very deaf ears. The authenticity associated with love is not there and others know it.

Ken Krogue, the author of this Forbes article and a thoughtful leader in his own right, goes on to say:

“Love is far more powerful than belief. Love takes work. It is a decision that leads to action that leads to feeling that leads to change… Do you truly love what you do? Do you love who you work with? Do you love who you work for? If not, you have two choices: Change your work, or work your change.”

Character Moves:

  1. Do you teach from a position of love in your daily life? All of it? We are obviously imperfect beings, but if we do not come from a position of love when we coach and teach, it is difficult for others to genuinely connect with us. Reflect on this.
  2. Think about what it means to teach, coach and share with love as the foundation. Our work then becomes about others much more than ourselves. The Lakota elder is very wise. Teach with love. It is the love not the lecture that profoundly conveys the content.

Teach with Love The Triangle,



Do You Want Your Story to Go Viral?

Abundance Authenticity Communication


Key Point: The title to this blog serves the purpose of getting your attention and sparking curiosity. I guess if you’ve read this far, it’s worked. So while the “headline” opens the page, and gets people interested, it’s the richness of the rest of the content that compels us to read on. We are all creating a story of who we are. And most of us want other people to be interested and share the “read.” We are both the medium and content of our story.

In 350 B.C., Aristotle argued that the three principles of ethos, pathos, and logos were fundamental to speech. He felt that good content should have an ethical, emotional and/or a logical appeal. Aristotle’s insights seem entirely modern: If it’s credible and worthy, it appeals to me. I’d also argue that today, as part of our personal story, it helps to create social currency – something that makes people feel that if they “hang with us,” they benefit as well. We also know that what people will remember most about each of us is how we make them feel. That’s one reason people are attracted to positive and authentic people. Who wants to roll with a “pickle face” or someone who never lets you get an inside view of who they are?

I believe each of us already IS a great story and totally worthy of being a “best seller” in our own unique way. However, we are also accountable for refreshing the headline and developing ever-rich content. Each day presents us with a “keyboard” to keep “writing” and while few of us will go viral, our story can still be inspirational, meaningful and memorable.

Character Moves:

  1. You are a story! Think of “story” as a verb rather than a noun. How does it help to think of yourself as rich content under constant development? What’s the headline? Why would others want to turn the page and get to know you better?
  2. How do you write the ethical part of your story? Your core beliefs, like self-accountability, respect and abundance frame up every chapter. Define and evolve your deeply held values.
  3. What is your emotional and logical appeal? What is your purpose? What interesting components of your life have created appealing chapters in your story so far? How do you make people feel when they’re with you? Be intentional about the positive value you want to bring to each interaction.

An Ever-rich Story in The Triangle,