A Curious Document

In the midst of a deep, sweeping, and sizzling change, small things will appear. It's hard to know in the moment how to make sense of them. As a leader you will have to decide whether they are worth pursuing, whether they are an opportunity that needs your attention. Not every small thing rises to this level but every once in a while, one will. Here is stunning example from this past … [Read more...]

Narrow The Time

Narrow your use of the past to find a good guide to political turmoil in 2016. I point you to a period of 25 months--from spring 1854 to summer 1856. That's the interval between the passage of an explosively controversial law (the Kansas-Nebraska Act) and the birth of a political party that grows so quickly it nominates a presidential candidate two years later (John Fremont in the 1856 … [Read more...]

My Number 33

We have a long way to go until November 2016. Countless things can and will happen, some of which will be unexpected and with deep impact. Having offered the proper qualifiers, permit me to suggest that the Number 33 could prove of major importance to Donald Trump if he wins the Republican presidential nomination. 33 or more specifically, one-third. I suspect that if Trump alters one-third … [Read more...]

A View Of Our Heart

I ask you to consider an analogy based on this photo of open-heart surgery. I'm not trying to shock or sensationalize. Let's think about a political event last week that will quickly fade from the scene. We had a moment when we looked into the beating heart of the American experience. For the equivalent of a few seconds, we saw one of the most powerful impulses that make us who we are as … [Read more...]

An Echo You Must Hear

I'm getting lots of reactions to my post from yesterday--on the present and the dying thing. A dear friend of mine commented on Facebook, stirring me to address a key point. Before I do so, I'm listening to a song as I write this. It's a song of great moment. I'll put it on my website in the coming week. Look for it under You And This Song. Now, on to today's post. The wonderful image above … [Read more...]

A History Of The Present And The Dying Thing

I've never hidden the fact that some historians dislike my approach. They say I'm too quick to link the past to the present, the present to the past. I won't rehash my view on that now. I do, however, want to continue to apply my view. The chips can and will fall where they may. We are seeing a thing die in front of us. We see it on television, the internet, in our living rooms and on our … [Read more...]

From Then To Now: George Washington and 18 Days

I think you'll like this from my individual leadership consulting earlier this morning. A client and I are going down George Washington River together. This morning, I asked a question about 18 days. That was the span of time in 1775 from June 15 to July 3. At the start, on Day 1, Washington accepted the offered position of "General and Commander-in-Chief" of American military forces outside … [Read more...]

Colts Again: What Should Be True Now

A few weeks back I shared my thoughts about the succession decision of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay to retain both General Manager Ryan Grigson and Head Coach Chuck Pagano. For me, the most interesting leadership point for succession was the need to do something different after the decision was made. By all accounts, relations between Grigson and Pagano were some degree of strained--whether … [Read more...]

An Open Letter To My New Harmony Friends

Last fall, my wife and I spent a weekend in New Harmony, Indiana. I address this Open Letter, respectfully, to the good people of that charming place (and to those folks in other historically based towns and villages). We understood from conversations with merchants and residents that this little town in southwestern Indiana was in the midst of some rather severe change and challenges. It was … [Read more...]

The Strangest Feeling

I was at lunch, my table next to a window overlooking a busy city street. I had ordered my meal, I was sipping hot tea, I was spending time with a new client who wants to use history to improve his leadership. Then, close to us, I heard the sound of cannon firing, another, and another. Looking out the window, I see the sight you see in the photo above (which I took on my phone). Look closely at … [Read more...]