Memorializing 100 years of Norman Rockwell

Perhaps my favorite artist is Norman Rockwell. I saw last week was the 100th year anniversary of his first cover illustration for the Saturday Evening Post. As I think about Memorial Day when we honor the brave men and women who died serving our country, I can see many Norman Rockwell illustrations flash across my memory screen. I first really became aware of Norman Rockwell when I was in the Boy Scouts because many of his illustrations involved Scouts, which caught my eye. One of his early professional jobs was as an illustrator for Boys Life magazine where his first [...]

By | May 26th, 2016|Just Plain Interesting|

The Power of a Kind Word

Ellen and James "Jim" Labrie Last week I went to the memorial service for a friend and fellow Rotarian, James “Jim” Labrie. Over Jim’s lifetime he became a very successful businessman and quiet, community philanthropist. Jim was one of those special people who had a way of making you feel like you were his close friend in the moment he was talking with you, even though you were not. He cared about you as a person. During the memorial service his son, Mike, shared with us how a single act of kindness early in Jim’s life changed him [...]

By | May 19th, 2016|Leadership Lessons|

No More Tips for You

The Modern restaurant at the Modern Museum of Art in NYC The first night Patti and I were in Friedrichshafen, Germany last fall I noticed there was no place on the credit card slip to give a tip. When I asked the waiter about this, in broken English he said something like “no tip on receipt.” So we left him a tip in Euros on the table. Little did we know then that Germany was pretty much a “no tip” country. We proceeded to give tips even though none of the credit card machines let us. While we [...]

By | May 17th, 2016|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Warby Parker Makes Eyeglasses Cool to Wear

When I was nine or ten years old I got my first set of glasses. Like many kids at the time, I was embarrassed to wear them and was often referred to as “four eyes”. In fact, one of my very first and few fights was when someone picked on me for wearing glasses. Today, thanks largely to the upstart billion dollar business Warby Parker, wearing glasses is cool. Heck, there are people wearing glasses with only clear glass (plastic) in them – what a world! Warby Parker. In 2008 four MBA students at the Wharton School in Philadelphia were [...]

By | May 5th, 2016|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Working Moms are Good Role Models

Over the past 40 years one of the most dramatic changes in society has been the increase in working mothers. When I was a child in the late 1950s and early 1960s a working mother was the exception, not the rule. When I went over to a friend’s house after school the mom was there and vice versa - my mother was at home, too. Today for a variety of reasons, including the high cost of living, many women work. For many women and couples they wrestle with this is very difficult decision – stay home with my children or [...]

By | April 28th, 2016|Women Leaders|

The Leader as Gardener

One of my favorite movies is Being There. It is a story about a mildly disabled man named Chance, played by Peter Sellers, and is set in Washington, D.C. The movie opens with Chance all alone in a lovely Georgetown townhouse. We quickly learn that he had been living there his whole life and his benefactor had just died and Chance has to leave. He packs a suitcase and walks out onto the streets of D.C. Uneducated, all Chance knows is what he learned from television and taking care of his benefactor’s small garden. Within minutes of leaving, he is [...]

By | April 22nd, 2016|Organizational Culture|

Switchtracking Derails Receiving Feedback

Feedback is tricky business. For it to work effectively both the receiver and the giver have to be fully engaged. And we have to watch out for how our unconscious self can derail the process. Last week I was introduced to a feedback term called switchtracking on a fairly new podcast called the Hidden Brain (Episode 1, September 2015 ) hosted by Shankar Vedantam. Vedantam is a science correspondant on NPR and usually reports on human behavior and the social sciences. Switchtracking. The term switchtracking is described by author Sheila Heen as the process most receivers of feedback begin when [...]

By | April 14th, 2016|Conflict Resolution, Human Behavior|

Leave the Driving to Your Car

Within ten years your car (or truck) is going to be put out to pasture. And, while it is there, your new car will drop you off at your restaurant and then go find the cheapest parking space to wait for your text to come pick you up. The automobile and its related industries are about to go through the largest inflection point in its history, which goes back 120 years. For you and me, it’s going to be fun and it is starting now. Inflection Point. I first wrote about inflection points in my article about universities and Massive [...]

By | April 1st, 2016|Entrepreneurship / Innovation|

Let it Go

On Sunday night I settled down to do some reading. I picked-up my i-Phone to shut it down and there were three e-mails showing. I usually hit delete-delete-delete and deal with them in the morning. Unfortunately, though, I could see the first few words of one of the e-mails and I thought “urghhhh.” Have you ever had that happen to you? The next day I was talking with someone else who was wrestling with a similar situation, although it was a voice mail. This person asked me how I deal with these types of situations. And this is what I [...]

By | March 23rd, 2016|Conflict Resolution, Human Behavior|

Dyslexia – The Upside of Being Outside

Claude Monet, Soleil Levant, 1872 Last week in my article When Disadvantage Gives You Advantage I wrote about how writer Malcolm Gladwell in his book David and Goliath explored how sometimes dyslexia can be a “desirable difficulty” - a major challenge that requires a person to adapt and learn new behavior in order to survive and thrive. In several sections of his book Gladwell writes about how often successful people come from “outside” the establishment of a particular industry. He told of how Impressionist artists finally emerged on the art scene in the 1870s only after they broke-off [...]

By | March 15th, 2016|Business, Entrepreneurship / Innovation|