The End of the Line for Resilience

Unfortunately, resilience does not always work for some and the unfortunate result can be the devastating impact of suicide. I was meeting recently with the senior leaders of a health care organization and the topic of conversation came around to the stress that medical professionals, particularly physicians and nurses are experiencing. These two health caregivers possess the highest rates of any profession. As disheartening as this is, two additional articles I saw recently give me some hope that we may finally be coming to terms with the impact of depression and mental illness. One had to do with preventing depression and promoting mental health in the construction industry. It seems their stress level from strict timelines, often working far from Read More

What’s It All About!

Sheila and I were at a dinner party over the weekend with some friends including my favorite musician friend, Jett. Jett plays piano for our improv troupe and is a masterful singer whose range is from country to opera. Jett runs a studio where she teaches the art of singing to aspiring artists and musical wannabees and then arranges concert events where her students get to sing live in front of an audience. I’ve been the audience numerous times and have been thinking lately about taking some of her classes and working on my singing voice. Unfortunately, that old message that we all heard from when we were kids (and adults) pops into my head after I’ve sung some choruses Read More

The Seasonal Change

Over the weekend, Sheila and I went through one of our classic fall rituals. The turning of the closet. This is where I help her move her summer clothes up to the upper racks of her closet while moving the winter clothes down to street level. As for me, I take my sweaters out of the cedar lined chest and move my shorts and t-shirts into their new home where they will hibernate for 6 months. It is a ritual we’ve been doing for 40 years. The seasonal change is all around us. The leaves are beginning to turn and the cool air and mist coming off the Allegheny River every morning reminds me that we are entering the days Read More

The 21st Century Career Path

I’ve been talking to my grandson Ethan these past several weeks about his career path. He’s been working in the non-profit sector and is looking to make a change. He is looking at a for-profit role and is also considering education and teaching. He’s a communication major out of college and a stint with a professional sports team would be cool as well as exploring the hospitality industry. What is so great about Ethan and his opportunities is that he is considering a variety of choices, all of which would provide him diverse experiences that would fuel his next step in what will definitely be an interesting and successful career. What makes our careers successful is not the longevity in Read More

Destroying the Negativity Bias

One of the ways that our new book, Strategy Driven Leadership and my work in resilience have dovetailed together is in how we’ve worked to identify and destroy the Negativity Bias. You probably remember (or will experience today) our biological and cultural expectation to be overly critical and disapproving of any variety of behaviors we engage in, whether it be how we presented in a meeting or whether we listened with full attention to our daughter’s concerns about her soccer coach. It is easy for us to beat ourselves up instead of recognizing the successes we have on a daily basis and building our skills from there. In our new book (co-authored with Michael Couch), we discuss the importance of Read More

How to Relax on Resilient Wednesdays (and other days)

When I was 16, I broke my wrist playing quarterback in a sandlot football game. I did complete the pass for the touchdown but when I got up from being tackled, I noticed my wrist was bent in a most unusual way. My parents called our doctor who referred us to an orthopedic surgeon who told us to meet him at his office where he would set my wrist and place it in a cast. When we got to his office, he shot my wrist full of Novocain and told me in no uncertain terms to “RELAX MY WRIST.” Not having much sensation in my hand and feeling pretty anxious about the whole episode, I didn’t really know exactly how Read More

Where Will Your Work Be A Year from Today?

I had an advisory call with a senior leader who mentioned about one of his direct reports who was having difficulty in establishing the priorities of a key project. While this employee seemed to understand the overall goal, he kept focusing on multiple tasks at the same time and even worse, was often influenced by that last idea he heard about (the so-called recency effect). This leader hit upon a key concept of leadership development that we discuss in Strategy Driven Leadership which is that it is critical to focus on the “vital few” tasks that need to get done for success. Too often people want to work on 6 or 8 (or more) issues which usually lead to getting Read More

What did you learn at school (and in life) today?

In addition to my neighborhood kids waiting for the school bus when I’m out walking Cody, I can also tell that it is back to school time because of the myriad Facebook posts I’ve seen in the past few weeks showing preschoolers to college freshman proudly announcing their return to the halls of learning. Most look pretty excited or maybe a little nervous, like my great-nephew Jackson who went off to his first day just a few weeks ago. I know his parents are awfully proud of him. No doubt, over the next few months, there will be an occasion or two when his mom or dad will ask him “what did you learn in school today?” and Jackson will Read More

A Day to Remember

I’m in New York this week and today this City will go take some time at 8:46 AM to remember the fallen from that tragic day. The modern-day resilience movement began 18 years ago today. We all began to understand that we could not control highly unpredictable events from happening and so we somehow had to do our best to be ready for them. On one side of the equation, that meant cameras on every street corner in every major city in the country perhaps reducing our personal privacy. On the other hand, it provided new technology to help reduce crime and provide a new layer of personal security. Our resilience from this day took us in directions we could Read More

How’s Your Wife Doing?

It seemed like a simple enough question coming from a colleague over lunch last week. “Pretty good,” I told him and went on to share with him that I attended a program Sheila did last week where she spoke about her work in grief and loss. To a room full of participants, Sheila shared about how, in our most difficult times, we have to look for and find the gifts from the pain and anguish we experience when we lose a loved one or find ourselves in a life crisis and which is detailed in her award winning book, Warrior Mother. My lunch partner went onto tell me that for the past 20 years, ever since college, he has had Read More