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What are you TRULY thankful for? 

Thanksgiving is next week. Most people will use the holiday (and the season) to reflect more deeply on what they are thankful for. 

I’ve spoken about this in numerous posts over the last two years. In short, I am: 

  • Grateful to be alive (I’m now 8 ½ years with cancerous tumor wrapped around the Aorta) 
  • Grateful for my wife and family (not just caretakers, but love and comfort) 
  • Grateful to have a job I love (my own business). Note: some clients are better than others. 
  • Grateful to be safe   
  • Grateful to have co-workers/business partners who I really like and trust 
  • Grateful for the environment and its beauty (especially during this fall season) 
  • Grateful to be fully immersed in two different cultures (white and Latino) 
  • Any many more 

How about you? 

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Have you ever had a great mentor? 

We don’t get through life alone. 

We have parents, teachers, bosses, (for me) the military, and others that play a more formal role. 

But we also have those that “take us under their wing”. 

Sometimes we seek it; other times they find us. 

I’m not going to debate the terms mentor (longer-term, less outcome-based) vs. coach here. 

It used to be that we could point to one person as our mentor. 

Over the past 20 – 30 years it’s become common to have multiple mentors that help us in different ways. The concept of reverse mentoring is now pretty commonplace. 

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My Passion and Gift:  Helping Local Governments Achieve Excellence

My last posting was about “Who am I inspired to serve?” This article is my personal answer.

I have been a member of the Federal Government workforce (20 year Coast Guard career) and a consultant to them (first-ever Executive Capstone Program for the Department of Homeland Security;  FY 2024-28 Strategic Plan for the US Marshals Service) for many years.

My heart, though, is with local governments. With exceptions, their work is more often the direct delivery of services rather than policy creation and implementation. A City or County Manager is responsible for everything in that jurisdiction (Public Safety; Economic Development; Parks and Recreation; Public Works; Family Services; Courts; Permitting; and more). Interestingly, I feel that they are more easily accountable as you may run into them at the grocery store.

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Why are So many leaders … So bad?

This “issue” has intrigued me for a long time. I’ll bet that we’ve all had at least one … or maybe more than our share.

I’ve seen them across all sectors of the workplace – Federal government, local government, commercial/private sector, not-for-profits, and academia.

We know what they look like. We know what it feels like to work for them. We know the damage that they cause/inflict – on individuals, teams, and organizations.

So, why are they that way? Several reasons:

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So … Mr./Ms. Leader, How do you Measure Yourself?

There are tons of leadership (and management) inventories and assessments.

I prefer to use questions that reflect the everyday work life.

Your Reputation:

  • Do people smile when you enter the room? Or smile when you leave the room?
  • What five adjectives would you use to describe your leadership style?
  • What three adjectives would people use to describe your leadership style?
  • Do high performers want to join your team?
  • Do you collaborate well with others … or are you “Mr./Ms. Silo”?

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Who Cares About Graduations?

May and June are the months for graduations. Do you remember yours? Those of your children? Who was the graduation speaker? I had one of the worst – Spiro Agnew. My daughter had one of the best –  John Stewart.

Many universities, colleges, and high schools have rituals and traditions that are ingrained in their commencement ceremonies. These make the ceremony special and more memorable. It also increases your emotional bond with that institution. Those graduating from military academies throw their caps in the air. We (Coast Guard Academy graduates) had to give a silver dollar to the first person saluting us after becoming an officer. Not sure where you would find those now.

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Flowers = Caring = Engagement

May is the month for flowers. Washington D.C. is particularly beautiful in the late April/May timeframe.

I recently got up super early to go see the cherry blossoms (and get a parking spot) before sunrise. It was cold and windy, but was one of those special events. There’s a whole hillside of the National Arboretum that’s really spectacular during the height of the azaleas. And the area around the U. S. Capitol and Union Station is particularly pretty (both trees and flowers) during this time of year.

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We all know the saying that the only things certain in life are Death and Taxes.  Well, my March blog article was on Cancer. This April one is on Taxes.

The word “taxes” spurs all kinds of emotions. Most of us have experienced the whole range of them (what would happen if we take out the “n”)?

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