A Lot Into A Little: Your Likely Experience In The First Wave

2 years into 2 months. 12 months into 2 weeks. The fear of being "too unknown to try" becomes the challenge of "too much of a crisis not to try." These are the realities of millions of leaders and followers dealing with change thus far in the pandemic of 2020. For a long time—months or quarters or years—they had argued and debated over changes that were important and controversial. Stalemate, … [Read more...]

Change Brought A Clash

2020 has brought you confusion and dissension from the pandemic, the social unrest, and the ongoing political whirlwinds. The year has also brought to the forefront some of the features of change you might not have expected as we stand here in mid-summer. I wonder if any of these four features—four subtle clashes, if you will—are familiar to you in this moment. First. People want to get back … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 77

San Francisco family, before and after the siren A siren has a sound all its own. It fills, pierces, and overwhelms all at once. The sound enters your ears and holds in place beside your brain. Open your mouth and it will enter there, too. Your nose is next. Hear it? A siren cannot be escaped until the sound starts its steady winding-down. Less. Fading. Stopped. Silent. Now … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 57

Dr. Roy Flannagan, shown right An eight-year old girl with dark, round eyes thought she heard some good news. Finally. Her parents seem excited. They are very political, active and full of opinions. That's OK in peacetime but here...sometimes politics can kill you. The young girl stares at her parents and brother and sister. She's searching for any sign that today's news will, in fact, prove … [Read more...]

Learning From the 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 53

The French Lick Hotel, 1918 Blurred, mixed, and ragged. Most of the time you're dealing with lesser evils and shifting boundaries. Sound familiar? Then you're right at home with influenza on Day 53, October 30, 1918. There are places where things are getting worse. The leading newspaper in Idaho informs readers that "stricter rules may be needed to curb influenza." Nearby, the health … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 35

Young influenza patients in an Oklahoma City Hospital, 1918 Is it normal? Hell no. Is it abnormal? Way beyond that. Well, then, what is it? I don't really know other than to say it's massive. Truer words were never spoken, written, thought, or felt. Day 35, October 12, 1918. You can't really know. That's the reality in Philadelphia when 837 people die today. Or when the city of … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 28

Seattle Mayor Ole Hanson, 1918 Change is a constant but not all constants change overnight. Only some surge, or plunge, to that level. Today, on Day 28, overnight is now and lasts for a full twenty-four hours on October 5, 1918. Overnight, a ban on all indoor public gatherings begins in Seattle, Washington. Mayor Ole Hanson declares that the only public gatherings allowed will be those … [Read more...]

The Bridge From 2000

In the place where I live, out of nowhere, about a million of these little guys showed up this weekend. They are the 17-year locusts and as I write, they are humming their presence in the trees. They went into the ground in the year 2000. So how much has changed between their burial and their birth? You tell me. In 2000 a divisive presidential election split the nation into hostile … [Read more...]

TTP: The String-Cutter Escapes Through The Window

TTP: THE STRING CUTTER ESCAPES THROUGH THE WINDOW He was a President unlike any other, his long hair, wispy and unruly, waving in the wind, brushing the collar of his coat. It was after his inauguration-day speech, in the afternoon before the music and dancing of the inaugural balls later in the evening. Andrew Jackson—the first Donald Trump—dismounted from his horse and stepped into the White … [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...]

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...]