Here, Lead this Established Team

The Red Sox are again wearing me down. I was at the game on Monday when they got the bases loaded in the ninth inning at home in a tie game with no outs. They did not score and they lost the game. They then lost the next two games in painful ways. I am beginning to wonder if they need to replace the manager, John Farrell. Torey Lovullo, the bench coach, is the logical choice. He filled-in for Farrell last year when Farrell had to step away for medical treatment. So I wondered if I was Lovullo, what would [...]

By | June 23rd, 2016|Hiring & Team Composition|

When Today is History

What if most everything we are writing now in this information age is lost, forever? What will peoples centuries from now know about us? Those are the questions raised by Vint Cerf in a Newsweek article by Grant Burningham this week. Vint Cerf is considered one of the fathers of the Internet and was a manager with the United States' Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the late 1970s that developed the foundation for the Internet. Today he works at Google as its “chief internet evangelist” and is really a futurist, using his wide experience to help frame the [...]

By | June 17th, 2016|Vision & Mission Statements|

Lessons Learned from a Motorcycle Skills Test

Owning and riding a motorcycle has been on my bucket list for several years. I had been hesitant to move forward because of the obvious safety hazards. No doubt this hesitancy was helped along by both my cousin, an emergency room physician in Boston, who calls them “donorcycles,” and Patti, who reminded me of my family responsibilities. Last month with the encouragement of Patti, who apparently is now less worried about family responsibilities and more worried about me sitting around the house after I retire in a few years, I bought a Honda PCX 150. Okay, technically it is a [...]

By | June 8th, 2016|Learning Styles & Skills|

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|