Stepping into the Breach

Ford Motor Company announced the acquisition of the 105 year old Michigan Central Railway station in the heart of downtown Detroit last month. The train depot and its 18 story office building were abandoned in 1988 and while undergoing some renovations it was far from being occupancy ready. Ford plans to turn the building into their headquarters for autonomous vehicle development but more importantly they want it to be seen as their commitment to restoration of that dilapidated part of Detroit. Establishing it as a centerpiece for what will be a new automobile technology hub, they are hoping to attract young professionals committed to 21st century emerging industries. The takeaway from Ford’s initiatives is that while difficult and even painful Read More

Resilience Overdone

When I opened my door to walk Cody the other morning, there was the annual surprise that I don’t ask for waiting on my porch…the 2018 edition of the Yellow Pages or as they refer to themselves, “The Original Search Engine.” This year’s soft covered, thin-paged edition is loaded with ads by attorney looking for medical malpractice cases, home repair companies looking to fix roofs, and restaurants with B ratings from the health department offering discount coupons. Oh and did I mention that the attorneys are looking for medical malpractice cases? Obviously there must some economic value to the Yellow Pages for Verizon who is selling all those ads and hopefully for those few folks who reference those pages and Read More

How Change Happens

It’s got to be something special when the Wall Street Journal and NBC News agree on something and that happened this weekend. Courtesy WSJ, 2018 On Saturday, the WSJ headlined a story about The Overprotected American Child. On Sunday, NBC News ran a story about making playgrounds for children more adventurous as a way of encouraging creativity and resilience. Resilience teaches us that facing up to our challenges is the surest way to strengthen our capacity for success. It’s not just about the creative part of the exercise but the opportunity to experience failure. Just the other day, I was talking to a client who manages quality care functions for a health care company. He mentioned that their focus is Read More

That Trip to Mars

NASA is planning a human trip to Mars in less than 20 years. Robotic missions to the Red Planet (orbiters, landers and rovers) have provided good data on the technological challenges and NASA has a three-phase plan that will build the skills and science that will allow a surface landing. A still significant issue is in developing the psychological hardware that will be required of the space travelers. Research being done right now is attempting to mimic the elements of the journey that will entail a small crew being placed in a vehicle about the size of a 6 bedroom house for over 3 years. Scientists point out that it is difficult to mimic the same kinds of circumstances associated Read More

Making Meetings Meaningful

One of my clients had to laugh last week when I pointed out I knew his schedule for the day so I was only going to meet with him for 45 minutes so that he had enough time to hit the restroom before his next meeting started up. He agreed and with a chagrined look, thanked me for the extra time and told me he would use it to check emails! There is just not enough time to get everything done but if would could do some things more efficiently, that would be a good start. Ineffective meetings are big drainers of time and lost energy. Starting late, lacking structure, not making meetings relevant are all low hanging fruit in Read More

Happy Birthday to Me

I have a birthday this weekend on May 19th. I have a bit of a tradition in that I like to celebrate my birthday during the whole week leading up to that day. Each day this week, I’ve been doing something special to help me appreciate my world a bit more. For example, on Monday I posted on my Facebook page that I’ve recently joined the Board of the Women’s Center and Shelter here in Pittsburgh and so to acknowledge their great effort, I’ve created a birthday fundraiser. Today, I thought I would share a bit of my gratitude list for my birthday. I always think that moms should be celebrated on their children’s birthday since they did all the Read More

The Kissing Cousins of Resilience and Adaptability

I just presented to a group of senior staff members on being adaptable and resilient. Their organization is going through a number of significant changes including new leadership, high demand for their products, and needing to bring in new staff to help grow the business. They told me that coming to work every day not knowing what new demands might be put on them, hearing from colleagues that work is “crazy”, and finding the responsibility for growing the business has been unbelievably challenging. As we explored ways to strengthen their leadership, we came back to the idea of mindset as a key aspect for adaptability and resilience. As we discussed these, we agreed on the following 5 mindsets as being Read More

Whose Reality Is It?

One popular phrase I disdain is when people tell me… “the reality is…” It’s as if the speaker wants me to know that there is just one explanation for an event or phenomenon and not surprisingly, the speakers’ perspective is the correct one. I always think to myself, “No, that is not the reality, it is your reality” Anna Devere-Smith, the acclaimed actress and McArthur “genius” was in town last week bringing her unique approach to dealing with multiple realities, to the August Wilson Center. Her performances, which have created a new genre in American theater, are based on interviews she conducts with people who have experienced an event from various different points of view; a prisoner, a guard, a Read More

The Sling Shot

An exercise I did during a Resilience Advantage presentation at the Million Dollar Consulting® Conference in Boston last week led to an observation by the audience that they generally just don’t bounce back from adversity or even bounce forward but that for many of them, the change had a sling-shot effect propelling them out of trouble and into something exponentially better. Our discussion was around their careers and they found that when they had a downturn (loss of job, failed success on a project, or working for the wrong company) that negative situation focused their energy, motivated their intentions, and gave them a quick kick in their butt for action. As we discussed the successes they had in their careers, Read More

Accountant Resilience

I received my income tax returns from my accountant, Michele, over the weekend and am getting a small refund. Whew. As a practical joke this year, I came to her office to deliver my well organized material but instead of sharing that with her, I told her I did not have time to categorize material and was instead just dropping off a legal box of papers hoping she would have time to go through everything…Not funny I’m sure she thought! Accountants report a high degree of stress in their work with over 50% reporting increasingly higher levels over the past 5 years. Predictably these relate to workload volume, time deadlines, and changing rules and requirements from the IRS, not to Read More