CA Wedding

Some time ago one of xxxxxxxxx’s co-workers approached him in an emotional state. After a long, dramatic story, the co-worker ended with:

“Can you believe our boss said that to me?”

First consider that the co-worker probably did deserve the reprimand from the boss.

Then consider that there was some obvious advice that could be given to help the co-worker best proceed.

xxxxxxxxx’s response?

“Man, that sounds tough.”



Do you know one of your great powers? If I have a thought on something and learn that you possess an opposite thought, I first consider how I’m wrong – getting it right – instead of hunkering down in a defensive position. I strive to be like this with everyone, since I truly can learn from anyone, but it’s harder with some than others. You are in the elite group that makes me being the person I want to be easy. But that’s not the power I came here to discuss. What makes you truly special, the elite of the elite if you will, is that I feel I can learn something about myself when I’m talking with you. I cherish this.


Everyone wants to be wanted. I shall waste no more time explaining this principle for it is so obviously true.

What is not nearly as obvious, however, is the unconventional way to help others quench this endless thirst. You have, as you might have guessed given the existence of this letter addressed to one xxxxxxxxx, perfected this uncommon way: be vulnerable about your own wants. (more…)

It’s one thing to go from complete strangers to friends – people do that every day. But to go from strangers to spending two holidays together in nine months? That right there is an accomplishment worthy of celebration.

Which, speaking of celebration, how about that wonderful Fourth of July weekend? I dare say it was my favorite version of the holiday since FDR’s epic bash in 1938. [Redact] offered the perfect mix of structure and freedom, of catching-up and exploration on one’s own. Those balances are oh so challenging to pull off well. Not so for the [Redact]. Or, I guess I got a little ahead of myself in the excitement of recollection, for the [Redact] may be a glorious group of people, but they aren’t gods. So, executing [Redact] had to have been challenging (damn mortality), it was just that they made it look easy.


Good Works, Not Faith

There are many things that have always bothered me about, as you called them, “bumper sticker Christians.” Near the top of that list was a notion, demonstrated through their behavior, that faith alone was all that mattered; just believe in Christ, ask for forgiveness (when it’s convenient) and all was good. Now, perhaps this is all that’s truly required for salvation, but it strikes me as a terrible waste of our time on Earth.


Oh, how easy it is to be negative, to derive meaning through complaint and pessimism. Perhaps even easier is responding to such behavior with ever more negativity. You think that’s stupid?!? Well, you are the one who’s stupid!!! And on and on it goes: an endless cycle where positions harden in confrontation with contrary perspectives.

But of course this makes sense. For who would actually change his/her mind while being called “stupid”? Even if that word is never uttered, it’s the undercurrent of all the negativity. Only an idiot would see it differently.


It’s clear to me

that there is tension between account management and network.

Account management (AM) probably thinks network should be better. And network probably thinks the same about AM.

What interests me most, though, are the opportunities for AM to participate in the network process that are essentially ignored.

Now, I have no doubt that you and AM are busy. Still, given the legitimate complaints about being left out of past network decisions, I’m surprised when new attempts to involve AM reach such unsatisfying (for all parties) conclusions.

I’d like to know what I can do to fix it.


Freedom is Best

This is my bias.

If you want to create a high-performing anything, freedom needs to be built into the foundation. (Those who disagree have (a) hired poorly  (b) can only ever hope for solid employees (SE) and (c) their businesses will die.)

Top-down management doesn’t work well in solving the biggest problems. It can minimize errors, it can get stuff done in the short-run, but it can never fully maximize employee ability. Which, considering employees are a company’s most valuable resource, is an outcome to avoid.

Furthermore, top-down management sucks innovation out of an organization. Innovation is the ONLY medicine when markets change. And markets will change. And if the organization doesn’t also change, ideally before the external shift occurs, the organization will die. Simple, but true.


Do I Offend?

I would not give this gift to just any baby. I wouldn’t because you happen to be born into a world where people have turned “taking offense” into a sport.

If playing this perverse game, you could score points by being appalled that anyone would gift a book containing ideas some people find loathsome. Depending on your competitive spirit, you’d push back on my consideration that a girl (you) might have a higher affinity for a book written by a fellow girl (Ayn Rand). Or one could take the other side and complain that Ayn Rand isn’t girly enough. To which a third person would shriek that there’s no such thing as “girly.”

Final score: we all lose.


Smiling Through Pain


“I’ll race you and win by throwing sweet potatoes on the side of the track.”

I’ve returned back to that joke several times since learning of your departure. To think that in your last moments at Brighton you were still able to laugh. To then think that basically everyone is going through something, and that only the best among us can keep smiling in spite the pain.

Yes, I saw you as the “best among us.” Never has my ambition been lower than the moment I first comprehended the insanity of your schedule. Up early. Up late. Meeting to meeting with no time to prepare, yet audiences always expecting that you would be “on.”