February 23rd, 2013 — 10:53pm
What does it take for a family to move from poverty to independence and security? Why does well-intentioned aide often do more harm than good? How can those of us with the means and desire to help be most effective?
I’ve been seeking answers to questions like these from study, conversations, and travel over the last few years. There are no easy answers. Economics, entrepreneurialism, and capital – things I know about – are involved. Things I know a lot less about like mindsets, family systems, even corruption, are involved too.
As I’ve learned more I’ve increased my intentionality about getting involved. I believe our generation has great opportunity for impact in this area. I see momentum building in awareness, generosity, and desire to be informed and effective.
In about a week I’ll be in Haiti to continue learning. I’ll be interacting with the leaders of Paulos Group and seeing their work firsthand. Not only are they innovative thinkers in this area, they are putting thought to action in a research-oriented, non-charity housing project.
I’m privileged to have connections and conversations with some amazing people working in this field. I’m looking forward to much more.
February 19th, 2013 — 6:00am
I just read “See me as a person…”, a book about the importance of authentic human connection in effective medical care. I’m convinced human connection is of great value in all areas of life and business, not just caregiving professions.
Connection comes from being present and intentionally attentive to another person — wondering, listening, valuing. I know a few people who are exceptional at this. It makes them remarkable, memorable and in-demand. Their rare level of connection forms the core of their success and influence. People are drawn to them. People are changed by those moments of connection.
I think most of us know how to tune in to another person and connect well. Sometimes we do connect well with the people around us, often we don’t. Why?
Filtering: We are interested in connecting with certain types of people more than others, and miss the opportunities for meaningful connection with many who don’t fit our favorite, most appealing, categories.
Hurry: We focus on the next task and don’t pause to make eye contact and ask a genuine question.
Fear: If we stop to connect we might be rejected, criticized, or ignored. This is the big one.
A leader who embraces opportunities for meaningful connection gains information, influence, and fulfillment of his/her own human needs. This shouldn’t be a rare thing. I want a lot more of it.
December 31st, 2012 — 5:30am
A lottery ticket can provide it’s owner with a fantasy of becoming rich. A story can provide it’s reader with a fantasy of becoming powerful, or important, or loved. A real-life hero can provide her admirers with a fantasy of becoming what she is.
Fantasies can be a useful source of motivation, planning, and advance decision-making. A vision is a fantasy with a plausible plan for getting there.
Action-less focus on a fantasy diverts time and energy away from productive action. Such escapism appeals to us because it avoids the conflicts, especially our own deep fears, we must face to make our fantasies come true.
Leaders of organizations, and leaders of their own lives, are those who abandon escapist fantasies and engage in a process of confronting those conflicts.
Given enough time, anyone willing to face conflict can make real any fantasy that doesn’t violate the laws of physics or the laws of the land.
Because time is our strictest limitation, it makes sense to start right away.
November 26th, 2012 — 1:01pm
Give your customers an attentive conversation before you ask them to do anything for you.
Give your followers hundreds of quality blog posts before you ask them to buy your book.
Give your enemy a message of good will, don’t wait for him to make the first move.
Give your customers a truly valuable product before you expect them to make you successful.
Give your co-workers respect before you expect it from them.
Give your spouse the caring he or she needs before you ask for what you want.
Give your employees a great place to work before you ask them to treat your customers like royalty.
The world is eager to give back to those who are generous and trusting enough to be the first giver.
October 3rd, 2012 — 12:29pm
Near my home there’s a beautiful mansion and formal gardens called Allerton Park. It’s the former estate of Samuel Allerton who made his fortune in the livestock trade in Chicago. He wrote this letter in 1878 to his children. I always pay attention to the distilled wisdom of a person’s life.
To my dear beloved children, Kate and Robert,
Now it is one thing to make money and another to keep it. For every man that has it, there are men laying for fools who have it, to cheat and to get it from him.
When you go in business, go slow until you fully understand it and make yourself a master of it. Speculators are smart men who will make plenty of money on paper and pretend to be a great friend, but you must act on your own judgement or your money will be gone. Never go into anything you can’t get out of and have money left.
Capital constantly increases if properly invested. A man must always live on his income, never spend all his income; never enter into a new enterprise to the full extent of your capital. Keep a certain amount safely invested to ensure an income at all times.
Money is a necessity and a great blessing when properly used, but if spent in dissipation and to the detriment of the world it is the greatest curse that a man can have. Most fathers are afraid to give their sons money unti they have grown to manhood for fear they might lead a thoughtless and dissipated life, but I have confidence in my son that he will lead a thoughtful life remembering that the only true course of happiness is to shun evil. Keep the truth (which is everlasting) and manly courage on your side to do the right. Never wrong man or woman intentionally and lead a life that will fear nothing or no one.