Equipoise, or The Art of Acceptance

In a time when incivility, rudeness, extremism, intolerance, and self-righteousness dominate in the media and on the street, David Brooks pleas for equipoise (“In Praise of Equipoise,” The New York Times, September 1, 2017). Huh? Equipoise? What’s that? Equal poise across situations. The concept appears to have originated in the East. Something like Buddhist non-attachment.... Continue Reading →

Tyranny Prevention

Yale University’s Levin Professor of History Timothy Snyder has written a manifesto for democracy titled On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (New York: Tim Duggan Books, 2017). This little volume (128 pages, 6” x 4.5”) packs a wallop. Although he never names anyone as his focal tyrant wannabe, the reader knows that this... Continue Reading →

Politics is a Team Sport

All politicians have weaknesses, but having a strong team compensates for them. German-born political scientist Hans Morgenthau (1904-1980), advisor to U. S. presidents and professor at the University of Chicago and City University of New York, is known for his theory of political realism. Something he wrote back in the 1970s offers insight into the... Continue Reading →

Managing Micromanagers

“Get off my back—I can’t fly when you are weighing me down!” Such is the lament of the underling suffering from micromanagement—the uninvited incursion by a manager into the how to’s and wherefores of a subordinate’s day. Just last week a client asked me, “How do I get her off my back? I’ve about had... Continue Reading →

Leaders Can Be Made, If Not Born

One can be born to be a 7-foot NBA center, but one cannot be made into one. Or? Look at the Dutch, who have an unusually tall population and who also are known for their unusually heavy consumption of calcium (milk, cheese, and their kin). Clearly most human behavior has a largely genetic component, but... Continue Reading →

How Do Religion and Politics Mix?

An Imam, a Rabbi, and a Ronin were sitting on the bimah. Their host asked each to comment on this question: What is the line between religion and politics? In a country that officially embraces the separation of church and state, the audience of mostly Jews and Christians at Temple Beth El in Charlotte, North... Continue Reading →

A Modest Proposal

In 1729, Jonathan Swift brought attention to the plight of Ireland’s starving poor by ironically suggesting the children be fattened and served up to the rich. My modest proposal today employs no irony. Rather, I address a serious issue by suggesting a small, effortless, non-resource-consuming, incremental change. The serious issue: Carbon emissions. The suggestion: Cut... Continue Reading →

Perform, or Else!

That is intended to sound like a threat! I have just finished reading an important book by Santa Monica psychologist Hendrie Weisinger and performance expert J. P. Pawliw-Fry titled Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When It Matters Most (Crown Business, 2015). Critical to understanding their work is distinguishing between stress and... Continue Reading →

Communication Practices of Great Teams

At the Human Dynamics Laboratory of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, researchers pinned electronic badges on 2,500 team members from diverse industries. These badges collected a wide range of team-relevant data such as tone of voice, length of talking episodes, who was addressed, body language, standing versus sitting, and so forth. Lab director Alex “Sandy” Pentland... Continue Reading →

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