The Little Secret That No One Wants to Admit

Everyone feels overwhelmed and when I meet with teams and leaders I have to admit to them that their perception is correct. They are overwhelmed and if something is not done about it, the next step is burnout or worse. While much of the blame has to do with the volume of work that we all are managing, there is another little secret that its time to begin discussing. Much of the cause may be self-inflicted. We are conflicted between our desire to stay focused on our world and how we can influence it and the bigger world (the global stage) and how we want to be a part of it. A few weeks ago I posted a video from Read More

Enjoying the Ride

I did a workshop a few weeks ago on resilience and we discussed the 4 key ways that resilience can improve your workplace: Improving personal resilience and how you address stress. How the team manages workplace overload? How the organization addresses change in the workplace? How successes and failures are addressed? This team wanted to discuss workplace overload which they all agreed they were experiencing. What was interesting about this group was that they stated that while everyone in the room felt overwhelmed, they were also excited about the work they were doing. We talked about some early resilience research around the “3Cs” that suggests that employees who (1) have a sense of control in the work, (2) are challenged Read More


Later today, I’ll have the honor of introducing Bruce Kraus, the City of Pittsburgh Council President as the recipient of the 2017 STANDING FIRM Champion award. It was just a year ago that I received that honor for my work on behalf of STANDING FIRM, a non-profit organization that works with busineses to addresses the issue of partner violence and it’s impact in the workplace. Twenty-five percent of all the violence in the workplace stems from a domestic or partner violence situation. These events not only impact the victim of the violence being perpetrated but also co-workers who are concerned about the victim as well as the danger that is in place when a perpetrator may show up on-site and Read More

Are You Living Your Name?

When we picked out our new puppy a couple of years ago, we started searching for a name. As we researched, we came across Cody, which means “helper.” We both though that we could always use an assistant in our lives so our little white bundle became Cody. He’s been a pretty good at it and brings smiles to our faces. It got me thinking about my name, what it means and whether I am living the value that my parents ascribed to me. The name Richard refers to a leader who is courageous in his actions. I mentioned to a friend that while I’d like to think of myself as courageous, I’m not really sure that I can ascribe Read More

This Week’s Resilient Learning…For Me

I conducted a new program this week for a group of professionals. Afterwards I gave myself a solid “B.” Not bad but not great. On the plus side, the program immediately engaged the audience through some good story telling, some small group participation activities, and some large group sharing. Everybody, including me, was having a good time. As I started to drill down into my content, I began to realize that I was succumbing to one of my greatest speaking faults…trying to give people too much information in too short period of time. I was intentional about my outline for the program but as I proceeded towards the end, I realized I had erred in my approach, but after sitting Read More

The Root Causes of Success

After the Viet Nam war, the children of that country’s poorer regions were suffering from malnutrition, a lack of clean water, and little health care. In a project undertaken by the Save the Children Foundation and discussed in the book, “Surfing the Edge of Chaos” Monique and Jerry Sternin moved to Hanoi to understand how this problem could be remedied. Their approach was to study families of both healthy and sick children. However, they did a root cause analysis of why some children were well nourished and discerned that those families supplemented the primary rice diet with freely available fresh water seafood along with vitamin rich vegetables. They also fed their children more frequently than the undernourished children. They called Read More

Creating Your Own Happiness

Later this week, I’ll be meeting, along with a small group of fellow consultants, with Dan Gilbert, a Harvard psychology professor who has written extensively about happiness. You may know Dan from the Prudential Insurance commercials on TV where he talks about planning for retirement. Gilbert’s early research was in the area of synthetic happiness. His research suggests that “Natural happiness is what we get when we get what we wanted, and synthetic happiness is what we make when we don’t get what we wanted”. You’ve heard people describe their own synthetic happiness when they’ve had some kind of setback but then report being happier then ever. Pete Best, who was the original drummer for the Beatles, was replaced when Read More

The Unrelenting Season of Catastrophes

A few weeks ago we heralded the Helpers of Houston and pointed out how helpers benefit from assisting those in crisis through the release of the stress hormones that bring a sense of connection and reduces the body’s anti-inflammatory response helping to bring a sense of semblance to even the most difficult situation. Since then, the crises have continued in Florida and just this past week across Puerto Rico. First responders and neighbors are pitching in and doing everything they can to get their communities back up and running. My friend, Jon Brillman, a neurologist in Fort Meyers stayed behind during Irma and among his other work helped move patient beds away from windows during the hurricane. For those of Read More

Back to School…for Everyone

I pulled a colorful leaf off of one my neighborhood trees and have it by my computer to remind me of the changing season. As if the fall colors aren’t enough, the early arriving school buses welcoming yawning students is a fail proof assurance that summer is over and we’re off to a new school year. Like January 1, I like to use this back to school month to reflect on my accomplishments and consider what I want to push through to the end of the year. I’m working on a new book with my colleague Michael Couch on Leadership Development. I’m also preparing for several speeches and conferences where I’ll be talking on resilience and other topics. Of course, Read More

Be Quick But Don’t Hurry

John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach for UCLA would begin each of his training camps instilling this (and other messages) into the minds of his young players. He must have been doing something right as the UCLA Bruins of the 1960s and 70 won 10 NCAA basketball championships and an amazing 7 in a row! We are generally familiar with the idea of moving quickly. We see an emergency or an issue that needs resolving and we want to take action to make it better. This sense of urgency, that is a natural bias, works well and is an action of our reactive brain. Practicing “not hurrying” puts a mindful moment between our perceptions and actions and gives us an Read More