The Gap Made By A Pen

Doing the right thing can mean doing the fair thing. I want to do the right and fair thing in pointing to today's column by conservative commentator, George Will. Earlier in 2018, I wrote a post criticizing Will. He had just penned an article about the death of Billy Graham, the famous Christian evangelist. The article was scathing. I expressed disagreement with the writing and disapppointment … [Read more...]

A Good Three

All in all, a pretty good few days for me. That's how I judge it when I can honestly tell you that since the weekend, three clear insights have settled into my life. Three good things. One was from a book review written by Daniel Richter, published in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal. Richter reviewed two books written about war in seventeen century colonial America. Those books … [Read more...]

The Virtue Of The Desk Drawer

Flat-out angry and boiling mad. That was Abraham Lincoln as he sat behind his desk. He wielded the pen in his hand like a knife, writing words and sentences that sliced into the person meant to receive this harshly-drawn letter. It was mid-July, 1863. Lincoln was furious at US General George Meade. Lincoln believed Meade had allowed the enemy of the United States, the rebel army led by … [Read more...]

Words Under The Ocean

They were deep under water for less than a minute. 8000 words, broken down into roughly 32 pages. Into a cable like the one shown above. Tap. Tap-tap-tap. Tap-tap.... Today, February 22, 1946, an American diplomat in Moscow, George Kennan, finished this extraordinary document. Having written it over the course of several days, Kennan used the document to report his views on the Soviet Union … [Read more...]

The River: The First Weekend In February

Seven days ago I waited for a busy weekend, the first weekend in February. On Friday we hosted a neighboring family for dinner at our house. On Sunday we hosted a group of friends for a Super Bowl party. Seven days later and all of it is in the past. Now, in writing of it to you, I'm turning last weekend into a piece of history. I'm remembering it intentionally. Both events were wonderfully … [Read more...]

The Union Of The Tablecloth

"The tablecloth between them has been cut." This was the comment by business analyst Roger Entner, quoted in an article ran in today's edition of the Wall Street Journal. Entner's remark pertained to the previously warm and longstanding relationship between two top CEOs in the wireless phone industry. Like a quote from Warren Buffett the day prior, this statement included an image of great … [Read more...]

Tapeworms And Leadership

Yep, gross as it is, there's a connection. Let's turn to Warren Buffett and an announcement he made this morning: "The booming costs of healthcare act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy." This vivid statement was part of Buffett's unveiling of a three-partner effort (Chase, Berkshire Hathaway, and Amazon) to respond to healthcare costs. The connection I want to make between the … [Read more...]

TTP: Steve Bannon As Duff Green

I've spoken and written often about the connection between Donald Trump and his leadership forebear, Andrew Jackson. Jackson, in my view, is the first Donald Trump. I don't say that to go on a tangent that is specifically pro-Trump or anti-Trump, pro-Jackson or anti-Jackson. I simply maintain this position because I think it works, it helps illuminate the present and future. The new break … [Read more...]

The First Thing You Say

George Marshall, US Army Chief of Staff, walked into the War Department (shown in the photo) on December 7, 1941 and said this: "We are now in the fog of war."  That was his chosen first statement to his immediate followers at the War Department after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Take a moment and let that 8-word statement sink in. Try to imagine sitting in a nondescript office … [Read more...]

The Builder-Leader

Say hello to another type of leader and leadership--the Builder-Leader. I'm working with a private client in my Creative Conversations service. The client came to me with a particular situation. They were in charge of an organization with an impending physical expansion. It would be a major new physical space. My client asked me to think of a historical leader we could follow "Down River", as I … [Read more...]