How to Prevent Influence of an Election

As a citizen: go vote. Russia, and any other foreign influencer, cannot be influential if you’ll just go vote with an informed mind.

Don’t read a million newspaper headlines, read real articles. Don’t read Facebook rants, read real research. And vote. Every time. With information.


Every citizen who can legally vote, should. Then the meddling accusations go away because informed citizens are protecting their country through civic duty.


This year I’m turning 40. For some reason my mental and emotional energy has turned to legacy like it was the only thing that mattered. My daughters are both teenagers and my sense of concern for setting them up for success is at a level that I cannot describe other than desperately being concerned that they are prepared to leave the world behind with descendents (if they have children) that are prepared for life, too.

As a Christian man I want my daughters [and beyond] to know what they believe, why they believe it and what they can do to help carry this on to the next generation.

As a thinker I want my family (not just my daughters) to be able to reason through life and its events and interpret the world around them.

As an artist (musical or otherwise) I want to leave behind the proof of my existence and art.  What are the words? Do they mean something?  What are the melodies, harmonies and chords and rhythms? Do they bear the fingerprint of my soul?

I’m hoping to maybe dig a bit deeper into these things with future posts. I’ve been a bit lax on blogging, but I have a deep sense of need to commune and to leave a legacy, so here’s to some bits of me being shared here in 2017.

Sunday Plug: Michael Hyatt’s This is Your Life

Starting a new tradition is good. It’s part of habit forming.  So on Sundays, let’s do a plug of someone else that you should be taking insights, ideas, and personal or managerial growth from.  Today I want to celebrate Michael Hyatt and his This is Your Life Podcast.  It’s a great podcast with very practical discussions about personal growth, leadership growth, and general wisdom.  Some favorite earlier episodes (I am a bit behind) include:

How to Take Control of Your Email Inbox

How To Benefit from Setbacks and Failures

How Leaders Can Create Alignment

How to Create a Life Plan

I’m not going to suggest you skip around, most episodes are incredibly useful (unless you don’t blog or publish or want personal growth). The episodes after the earliest involve Michelle Cushatt as the co-host.  Definitely worth a regular listen.

If you listen to his podcast, what are your favorite episodes?

– the MGMT




Anger Management

This last weekend my family went up to our favorite BBQ joint ‘near’ us [45 minutes from my home] and my youngest daughter stood just inside the entrance and ‘uked all over the floor. I was simultaneously in shock and rage. She had car sickness that she got over relatively quickly. I pretty much didn’t enjoy my food, I didn’t talk to my family and I just stewed in my anger. It was not my brightest moment.

I tend to have a hard time with anger because I’m not generally an angry person and so when I do get angry resetting is hard because I don’t have a lot of practice resetting from that place. However, below above quote that Tim Ferriss shared on his 5-Bullet Friday newsletter really resonated with me.

“Anger is often what pain looks like when it shows itself in public.” – Krista Tippett

If I’m going to handle my emotional state intelligently (my EQ) then I need to recognize some root causes.  My family, my team, and the world would benefit from it.

Heck No!

No. No two letters, have more power.  To create, to destroy, to empower, or to enslave. When we ask or demand things of others we have the opportunity to commandeer their schedule. When others ask the same of us, we have to evaluate how much commandeering in we can handle.

And this is where no comes in. Saying no is hard for some. I love yes! I want to please others. I want you to like me and think of me as an ally. And we can be best friends forever. Except I’m going to tell you no. And disappoint you. And make you frustrated. At least that’s what I tell myself.

So instead I have to setup criteria for yes. From a principle I learned in Essentialism, by Greg McKeown, I try to employ Derek Sivers’, “Hell, Yeah!” rule. If I’m not compelled to engage with an event, a meeting, an opportunity, a chance to have my time commandeered I say no. Do I have a reason to be here? Will I contribute value? Can this meeting be replaced by a letter tied to the leg of a digital carrier pigeon?

What are your criteria for saying yes!? What about no?

– the MGMT


The Long, Long Line

In 9th grade I had a tremendous amount of apathy for time not spent with friends. On a scale from none to “kiln me now” I was pretty sure that working on anything for school was stupid as I was going to become a rock legend. Rock legends don’t need backup plans. Then Mr.H. happened to me and my history class. The first day of class he said and did a number of things with great intensity. He kicked our collective apathetic butts, and he made us think – even if it was with a little fear.

He told us that the next class we’d take the hardest test we’d ever take (it was), and that if we promised to study he wouldn’t give us another one that hard. So we came into class and ran out knuckles over the cheese grater of his test and realized in brokenness that we weren’t as smart as we thought we were. But then something really cool happened: we realized he actually cared about us.

Mr. H. drew a long line across two chalk boards and used his thumb nail to scratch a tiny line out of the chalk. He turned to the class and said “This side of the line represents the infinite of the past. And this side of the line represents the infinite of the future. And this scratch represents your life. Can you see how short it is? You can’t change the past, but you can have a massive impact on the future, and it’s my job to help you do that.”

And my life has never been the same since.

– the MGMT

The Wheel of Life: Mentoring Others

There’s nothing like hope to take the edge off of risk. There’s a naivete, hope, optimism, and then the negative rest of the list going on down towards, “I am a member of a late 80’s boyband.” Thats bad. Hope is awesome, though, because it cross beyond just being optimistic towards having a goal to execute towards. Change means risk to what is comfortable, to what has been safe, but also to what has been the default. The default, as we’ve said before, is high risk for long term atrophy.

As a manager of people you have to help them connect the dots between where they are and where they’re going to be. You need to help them see how they’re going to get there and what value that presents. I am of the opinion that the super-manager has a hard time when they’re promoted because he has a team of best choices to choose from for his own replacement. That’s because he or she has buried growth and quality so far into the psyche of their team that they all – no matter their core competencies and personality types – are prepared to take on the challenges of leading a team.  The reality is that some people don’t want to be managers, and not all people grow at th same pace. But we’re not here for that discussion, we’re here to discuss how to mentor your direct reports.

Your direct reports are going to need to be presented with the Law of the Lid from the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and understand that they’re part of their problem in growth, but also the part of the solution. You want to have already covered their personality profile so they get their strengths and weaknesses from that end. You want them to understand their core competency. And then you want to help them uncover a growth plan that helps them grow as a whole person so that they have specific results they’re after. Growth with purpose. Growth they can celebrate.

This is personal growth, right? So you’re going to give them the list, but you’re also going to give them a framework for the rest of their lives. This is the foundation for Key Result Areas (KRA) that will come later for work related metrics.

The value for the manager in mentoring through these things is to help establish a personal investment and bond. A path of hope, and establishing a baseline for future development. KRA’s will be a logical next step for growing people vs. The standard to work down to for those who don’t care and just see a meaningless metric.

Some tips to consider: make this a personal exercise for your direct report. Don’t force them to share their list, but let them know you’re going to ask how things are progressing and that they’re welcome to share as much or as little as they like.

Ask your direct report if there are any specifics that you can help with personally. Tell them – and mean it – that you want them to grow and you want to celebrate with them as they do that.

What do you wish your managers of the past had mentored you on?

– the MGMT




The Impact of Management

I have had a large number of weird and excellent experiences with management throughout my career. I’ve embarrassed myself in front of owners, C-level executives, VP’s and of course flung myself off of the cliffs onto the rocks of first line managers. Somehow I’m still employed. I’ve complained about leaders who have “jokingly” called me a racist [my friends would disagree], leaders who asked for a 360 feedback and then attacked me for being honest, and had leaders who decided personal growth was for the birds.

Managers can deliver culture, purpose, career growth, and opportunity. I’ve worked for leaders that made me want to fight in the trenches next to them and lay all of my energy and skills on the line. I’ve had leaders who made me feel like one of God’s gifts to the software field. They made their team their family – and I was a special part of that.

So philosophy of management should be cared for and taken in as a personal mission for those who lead. Something to be done deliberately because the default is entropy.

I want to be a manager because of what the best of what management can bring, and to help stop the spread of bad management.

– the MGMT

I Suck at Management

Saying you suck at something is a great way to get attention. Self deprecation means that people give you a lot of room for mistakes. But what if you’re an inexperienced student of a thing such as management? Well, then you start a blog to chew on the issues and topics for the development, growth, and mastery of said things.

This is that blog. Let’s learn together, grow together, and challenge one another’s assumptions. Then down the road we’ll stop sucking, we’ll start changing the cultures, bottom lines, and futures of those around us.


– The MGMT