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Title: variations on a theme | Author: Leanda Xavian | Source: lxavaian on Flickr | License: CC BY-NC 2.0

Style and Substance

I just finished plowing through all 959 pages of Ron Chernow’s biography of Ulysses S. Grant. The New York Times reviewed the book as vast, panoramic, and essential with an eerie resemblance to our current times. For me, it was like a guided tour through the Civil War and three Presidencies: Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, and Grant. This book not only made the top five non-fiction list for 2017, but also the top ten for Read More

Left: Wassily Kandinsky | Right: Radomil

Measuring Meaning in the New Year

“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” —Thomas Merton OK, here’s the problem. When I searched the internet for “how to measure meaning,” the first item that popped up (the most popular Yahoo answer) was how to measure your penis. Apparently, a lot of men are still finding the greatest source of meaning in their life to be the size Read More

Tribes and Teams

“Before the rise of the nation-state, the world was mostly tribal. Tribes were united by language, religion, blood, and belief. They feared other tribes and often warred against them.” —Robert Reich When I conduct teambuilding sessions, I often start by administering a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) so that I can understand the different personality styles on the team. The idea is to identify and leverage differences to achieve optimal performance. The MBTI has a continuum Read More

Parenting as Helping

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” —Frederick Douglass
To be effective helpers, parents need to create the conditions and develop the skills required to make a positive difference in a child’s life. Based on my analysis of research conducted over the past 50 years, there are four conditions and four skills at the foundation of effective parenting.

Different Differences

“We have to continue to learn. We have to be open. And we have to be ready to release our knowledge in order to come to a higher understanding of reality.” —Thich-Nhat-Hahn I recently attended a Buddhist family sangha in which the discussion revolved around child raising practices. It was a lovely service consisting of young parents who were seeking ways to develop more peace in their families and in the world. After a 15-minute Read More

Title: Maya Angelou | Photographer: Susan Mullaly Well | Source: Burns LIbrary | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Missions and Missionaries

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” —Maya Angelou On a recent biking trip on the Creeper Trail in Abington, VA with the Road Scholars, I learned that Barbara Kingsolver lived in the area and owned a restaurant there. Serendipitously, our group had dinner in her restaurant, and I was delighted to see all of her Read More

Title: Gymnosperm Stem: Periderm and Cortex in Three Year Pinus | Source: BCC Bioscience Image Library

I-It, I-Thou, I-THIS

“We cannot avoid using power, cannot escape the compulsion to afflict the world, so let us, cautious in diction and mighty in contradiction, love powerfully.” —Martin Buber I first came across Martin Buber when I was in college. I had had no exposure to spiritual thinkers at the time. Buber, a Jewish philosopher best known for his philosophy of dialogue, was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature ten times and the Nobel Peace Prize Read More

Title: New York City's daily carbon dioxide emissions as one-tonne spheres. | Author: Carbon Visuals | Source: carbonquilt | License: CC BY 2.0

The Constitution as Culture Audit

One of my favorite tasks as an organizational psychologist is to design, administer, and evaluate culture audits. The design process is the most important part because it entails asking the people in an organization to create norms and values of their own choosing. In focus groups, I ask people to share what they believe are the desired and required norms for their organizations, i.e. what kind of work environment would they find most exciting and Read More

Title: Illusion / Liu Yushan | Credit: Tsinghua University | Source: Ars Electronica | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Telling it Like it Isn’t

“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.” —Leonardo da Vinci We recently drove from Asheville, North Carolina to San Diego, California—about 36 hours of driving time. I was pleasantly surprised not to hit a single pothole. The roads were in excellent shape from coast to coast. Thank you, President Obama, for your stimulus package.  The bump-less ride made me think of the broad assault Trump has made on the Obama legacy by Read More

Title: Hydro-Acoustic Study at Sphæræ/ Paul Prudence (UK) | Credit: tom mesic | Source: Ars Electronica | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Facing Fears

She turned toward her purpose. She wanted to have children, a family, a career. She was full of joy as twin fetuses grew in her womb. They decided to come early at 26 weeks. The girl weighed a pound and a half with sepsis. The boy was a fragile two pounds. She feared her dream and her babies would die. She fiercely faced the terrifying probabilities. She turned toward what she needed to do. She Read More

Google Zurich’s offices | Author: Stefan Camenzind (Camenzind Evolution) | Source: Office Snapshots | Used with permission of Office Snapshots

No Dancing in These Halls

“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.” —Nietzsche On a big gig with big Pharma, I brought my older daughter to help with collecting data and gathering impressions. After a week of intensive focus groups and walking through the corporate headquarters, she dryly commented, “Hmmm, there’s no dancing in these halls!” By that time in my career, I had worked with hundreds of organizations around the world, Read More

Mindful Walking with Energy’s Way

I love to walk. My wife and I have trekked hundreds of miles on gorgeous trails in New Zealand, Patagonia, Iceland, our National Parks and many more. For the last 10 years, we have started out almost every day with a three mile walk with our dog. It was a matter of necessity at first—no walk, no peace from the dog. Now he just sleeps all day waiting for the next walk. Over the past Read More

Title: Ghost Cell / Antoine Delacharlery (FR) | Author: Antoine Delacharlery | Source: Ars Electronica | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Care, Connect, Contribute

In 1938, Sir Nicholas Winton started rescuing children from certain death in the Nazi concentration camps. He singlehandedly brought 669 children from Czechoslovakia to Britain and connected them with families there. Most of their families perished in Auschwitz. He never told a soul about his efforts and kept it a secret for 50 years until his wife found a notebook with the names and pictures of all the children he had saved. Sir Winton cared Read More

Title: Codex for the 21st Century | Author: Ruben Trejo | Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum

Identity and Unity

I was listening to a Krista Tippett podcast on a recent 8-hour car ride. Krista was interviewing Nikki Giovanni, a world-renowned, African-American poet, activist and educator. Ms. Giovanni was discussing the poem she delivered at Virginia Tech after the horrible shooting tragedy there in which 32 innocent people were killed by a troubled loner. I was struck by the power of her words and their relevance to where we are today – particularly after Orlando Read More

(Left: Title: Shoes taken off of the Jews-Holocaust Museum | Author: rpavich | Source: rpavich | License: CC BY 2.0) (Right: Berlin Holocaust Memorial)

The Menace of Mendacity

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters. —Albert Einstein There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting. —Buddha Truth is not a trivial thing. Words matter. Being accurate requires curiosity, diligence, and rigor. I know that everyone has a different idea about what is truth. Much of the debate started when Pontius Pilate asked Read More

Hand carrying a piece of paper of the world

Marketing and Leadership

“When you are made a leader, you aren’t given a crown; you are given the responsibility to bring out the best in others.” —Jack Welch, Former CEO of General Electric There is an old adage that leaders are born not made. That myth became popular as people observed that most leaders had personality traits such as intelligence, charisma, attractive appearance, and confidence. I believe the truth is that effective leaders are typically born AND made, Read More

Photos by Mike Wilson and Ky0n Cheng

Inspiration and Aspiration

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.”  —Khalil Gibran, The Madman I once worked for a company that aspired to be a $10B corporation. I said to the executives at that time, “That may be a good goal but it surely isn’t a compelling vision, and it does nothing to inspire me.” I left the company after two years. Part Read More

Artwork by Do-Ho Suh | Photographer: Carol M. Highsmith | Source: Library of Congress

The Masses and the Margins

“And the soul is like the eye: when resting upon that on which truth and being shine, the soul perceives and understands and is radiant with intelligence; but when turned towards the twilight of becoming and perishing, then she has opinion only, and goes blinking about, and is first of one opinion and then of another, and seems to have no intelligence.” —Plato, Republic, VI, 508 I worked in inmate rehabilitation for eight years in Read More

Title: photographer silhouette | Author: Benjamin Balázs

The Hard Truth of Mental Illness

Crawl into this experience. Feel it. You have a mentally ill brother who has been tormented by his disease for over 50 years. He has suffered from delusions and voices his whole life.
He claims he knows Deep Throat. He is convinced that the FBI has implanted listening devices in his brain and in his teeth. He believes his parents are clones, and he is not sure who is real and who isn’t.

Title: Blackbird on Mount Sinai, South Sinai, Egypt | Author: David Stanek | Source: Flickr | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Prophets and Their Purposes

The world has been blessed with powerful messages from prophets of the past. Five of these prophets have a present-day influence on billions of people: Moses, Laozi, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. These five men were the impetus for Judaism, Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. Those religions represent almost 6 billion of the 7.6 billion people on the planet. Given those numbers, it seems appropriate to discuss who they were and what they were about. Read More

Featured Author: George Yancy

On June 19th in the New York Times, George Yancy published a Stone article entitled “Is Your God Dead?” I was so inspired by the power and prose of his piece that I am turning the microphone over today to this brilliant scholar will not only give you a break from my endless ranting, but will hopefully rekindle your outrage and stoke your passion for justice. After I read this piece for the third time (yes, Read More

Title: Nulle chose ne peut être détruite | Author: Bruno Malfondet | License: CC0

Disruption, Destruction, and Distraction

Independence Day 2017 “Power can be very addictive, and it can be corrosive. And it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power, whether it be here or elsewhere.” —George W. Bush, 2017 Disruption can be for better for worse. Luckily for me, the two major disruptions in my life turned out for the better. In 1968, at age 23, I was sent to Vietnam as a soldier in Military Read More

"A Humument p190: Silence & Stars" | Artist: Tom Phillips| Source: www.humument.com | License: © Tom Phillips

Nouns and Norms

I have always loved new ideas and embraced them enthusiastically. I have read an enormous amount about a ton of concepts, and I have accumulated a large repertoire of nouns in my vocabulary. But nouns require action verbs to make them real.

As Bucky Fuller said, God is a verb.

Title: travels by ley line | Author: yumikrum | Source: Flickr | License: CC BY 2.0

A Prayer for the Future

Oh Infinite Possibility We give thanks to the spiritual role models of the ancient past: Laozi, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna and more Who taught us That transcending the ego is more important than feeding the ego That love conquers hate That, in the stillness of silence, we develop our souls We give thanks for the towering giants of the recent past: Martin, Bobby, Nelson, Teddy, Franklin, Eleanor, Jane, Mahatma, and more Who taught us The principles Read More

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