Further Thoughts on the Four Humble Items

FURTHER THOUGHTS ON HARRY TRUMAN AND THE FOUR HUMBLE ITEMS       Yes, I know the video was eight minutes, not five. My fault. Still, I hope you enjoyed it.       Have you come up with your four items yet? Mine: a copy of Huck Finn, photo of family and friends (preferably while camping, hiking, fishing, or at the Chicago Art Institute), my baptismal verse scratched in my handwriting, and a … [Read more...]

Further Thoughts on the Big Little Book

·         The 110 maxims on personal conduct conjure two images in my mind. One is the Book of Proverbs in the Bible’s Old Testament. Like the verses in Proverbs, the 110 points are direct, pithy, and eminently practical (at least in the setting for which they’re written). There is a stern aroma of morality and judgment. The 110 points are often quite specific and directive. And along the way you … [Read more...]

A Foundational Belief

You have foundational beliefs. So do I. A foundational belief is dearly and certainly held in your heart, mind, and soul. It shapes your view of the world and everything in it. We know it is part of truth, a thing above and beneath time and place and circumstance. You build your life upon foundational beliefs. And they power your leadership. You arrive at foundational beliefs through your … [Read more...]

Big Chief Elizabeth by Giles Milton

“Run out and buy a copy.” “Couldn’t put it down.” “Wish they’d make it into a movie but in the end a great book never does well on film.” These are just a few of the many superlative remarks I offer to you about Milton’s book. And yes, this is straight-shooting. I’m not being glib or sarcastic. Don’t stop reading this review, however, because I think you’ll want to learn a little more about my … [Read more...]

The Levels of Leaders on the Ground

One night in the early spring I received a call at home. It was not long after supper, my wife Kelly and daughter Haley and me were cleaning up the table, washing dishes, getting ready for the rest of what we knew would be a nice evening at home. The call was unexpected and the voice on the other end was even more so. For me, and hopefully for the person to whom the voice belonged, it was an … [Read more...]

The Self-Perception of Innovation

One of my recent sessions at a hospital produced a discussion of innovation. When I asked about the state of innovation at this hospital, the participants agreed that it was next to impossible to innovate in the organization. They proceeded to list a variety of reasons why that was, ranging from fear of failure to stale attitudes toward change. The strength of their consensus was surprising to … [Read more...]

Delegation into united or divided teams

Not long ago a group of promising leaders at a hospital explored the role of delegation in leadership. In the discussion they encountered the issue of whether they preferred to delegate tasks on a major project into a team that was united in its pursuit of that project or into one that had evident divisions over it. Such a project might be a building expansion, the development of a significant new … [Read more...]

What if Jeremiah Greenman’s leader had behaved differently?

Benedict Arnold was the leader of the Quebec march. He was Greenman’s leader. Surprised? Get ready for more surprises. Before we go to the “what-if”, permit me to provide some background. Benedict Arnold is the most infamous traitor in American history. His name has become a synonym for betrayal and has remained thus for more than 200 years. That’s a legacy. Arnold was 34 years old at the … [Read more...]

Cell Phones, YouTube, and the Constitutional Convention of 1787

What if one of the delegates at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 had used their cell phone to record debate and then posted it on YouTube? Wow, that takes a minute to grasp. In case you aren't aware, you can buy a cell phone that has the capability to record "moving pictures", like a camcorder. You can then post the film on the internet. For many people, especially those under thirty years … [Read more...]

What if…John Wilkes Booth had not assassinated Abraham Lincoln?

What if Booth had not killed Lincoln? Put another way, what if Lincoln had lived through two complete presidential terms? In my view, had Lincoln lived and died of natural causes his reputation would reach us today in lessened form. We would not have the near Christ-like admiration that most people express for Lincoln. Conversely, we would probably still have the current minority (which is … [Read more...]