Tag Archives: december2011

Organizational Development – Quote Bank 2


1.    Coming together is a beginning

      Keeping together is progress.

        Working together is success.
        — Henry Ford

The strength of the team is each individual member…the strength of each member is the team.   — Phil Jackson3.    Effective teamwork will not take the place of knowing how to do the job or how to manage the work. Poor teamwork, however, can prevent effective final performance. And it can also prevent team members from gaining satisfaction in being a member of a team and the organization.  – Robert F. Bales4.    The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.   – B. B. King5.    One key to successful leadership is continuous personal change. Personal change is a reflection of our inner growth and empowerment.—Robert E. Quinn6.    People don’t resist change.  They resist being changed.  – Peter Senge7.    Everybody has accepted by now that change is unavoidable. But that still implies that change is like death and taxes — it should be postponed as long as possible and no change would be vastly preferable. But in a period of upheaval, such as the one we are living in, change is the norm.  — Peter Drucker8.    A leader’s role is to raise people’s aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there.  — David Gergen9.    Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done.  — Harriet Beecher Stowe10.    If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.—Andrew Carnegie11.    Leaders who make it a practice to draw out the thoughts and ideas of their subordinates and who are receptive even to bad news will be properly informed. Communicate downward to subordinates with at least the same care and attention as you communicate upward to superiors.—L. B. Belker12.    You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.—Lee Iacocca13.    The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality; The last is to say thank you.  In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor.—Max De Pree


Reflecting on 2011 – Appreciative Inquiry was, and still is, on my mind!

For some time now and certainly for the past year, I have been convinced that individuals and groups of people can effectively bring about positive change by following the basic tenets of Appreciative Inquiry.  The basic approach of appreciating what is and then dreaming about what might followed by making a plan to fulfill the dream and then act in ways that can move you or the group closer to the dream makes a ton of sense to me.

Here are links to six of my posts from over the last year that are in some way related to Appreciative Inquiry. Hopefully,they may provide some food for thought an action. Enjoy!

One of the 5 Principals of Appreciative Inquiry is the Constructionist Principal

The Principal of Simultaneity is another basic principal of appreciative Inquiry 

Appreciation and Celebration – two activities when sincere, that are healthy positive forces

Are we facing our challenges or embracing our opportunities?

People and Groups Benefiting – or not – from Conversations

Getting Results with appreciative Inquiry and Positive Power


The Holidays – A Time for Conversations and Being Together

The holidays are times when families get together.  What a great time to share, reminisce and dream together. Here are some ideas to consider. 

Have a conversation with a family member or close friend to acknowledge the love and support your have received from him/her.

Have a conversation with family members reminiscing about past holidays, when they or you were young and/or about a family tradition and how it started.

Have conversations with a family member or an old friend to talk about the times you are grateful he/she was in your life.

Share with your family your hopes and dreams for the future and ask them to do the same.

Take turns remembering and sharing funny family (from vacations, working together, meals, projects, etc.)  stories. 

Holidays are a great time to just past time together with loved one working on a jigsaw puzzle, playing board games or cooking together.  

May you enjoy your holidays.


Cherry Christmas from Michigan


From my point of view, cherries are one of Michigan’s most extraordinary fruits.  Here are some Cherry Fun Facts:

  • Today, in Michigan, there are almost 4 million cherry trees which annually produce 150 to 200 pounds of tart cherries.
  • Michigan grows 75 percent of the US crop of tart cherries, and about 20 percent of sweet cherries
  • Cherries have no fat and are low in sodium and calories.
  • Eating about 20 tart cherries a day could reduce inflammatory pain and headache pain.
  • There are about 7,000 cherries on an average tart cherry tree (the number varies depending on the age of the tree, weather and growing conditions). It takes about 250 cherries to make a cherry pie, so each tree could produce enough cherries for 28 pies!
  • The World Record for spitting a cherry pit is now 100 feet 4 inches, held by “young gun” Krauss, son of 10 time record holder “pellet gun” Krause
  • It takes 100 cherries to produce an 8 oz. glass of cherry juice 
  • Michigan cherry wine is made primarily from Montmorency cherries
  • Peninsula Cellars in Traverse City produces a white cherry wine, made from the Emperor Francis cherry
  • The same chemicals that give tart cherries their color may relieve pain better than aspirin and ibuprofen in humans.
  • Cherries with the stems attached will stay fresh longer
  • Cherries were brought to America by early settlers in the 1600s. Cherry trees, in fact, were part of the gardens of French settlers when they established Detroit 

The last fact is: The average U.S. citizen consumes about one pound of tart cherries per year. That is more than 260 million pounds per year.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Homeless Students

Jeff Seidel, in Sunday’s (December 18, 2011) Detroit Free Press writes the first in a four part series on homeless students in Michigan.

Yes, homeless students!  I think it is much more likely that we think of of tattered, uneducated, maybe mentally ill men when we think of the homeless. Not children!

Seidel writes, “Like a silent epidemic, the number of homeless children in Michigan schools is growing.

In the 2010-11 school year, more than 31,000 homeless students attended school — 8,500 more than in the previous school year, a 37% spike attributed to the weak economy, loss of jobs and the foreclosure crisis. Overall, the number of homeless students in Michigan has jumped more than 300% in the last four years. Most experts say those numbers are low because many parents are embarrassed to admit they are homeless. And many school districts lack the resources to identify these kids, as required by federal law.”

This is a serious problem.  Michigan must address our economy, our safety net, and develop our willingness and ability to think together to tackle this problem of the homeless and poverty!

Seidel reports. “Poverty among the state’s children has already grown from 19.4% in 2007, when the economic downturn began, to 23.5% in 2010.”

That is one in four of Michigan’s youth living in poverty.  Poverty is an obvious driver in the issue of homelessness.

It is time to become involved and work toward a day in the very near future that Michigan dramtically reduces poverty and homelessness.  


Organizational Development – Quote Bank

1. Today many of us need to define, and redefine the meaning of community. When I ask the question: What is community? Most people answer by immediately recalling a geographical location, a place where they once lived. However, as I have come to understand over the years and through listening to others, the full concept of community is much bigger, with consequences far beyond the place where we first experienced the touch of others in our lives.—Clifton Taulbert Eight Habits of the Heart

2. Fail to honor people, They fail to honor you; But of a good leader, who talks little, When his work is done, his aims fulfilled, They will all say, “We did this ourselves.”—Lao Tzu

3. My responsibility, our responsibility as lucky Americans, is to try to give back to this country as much as it has given us, as we continue our American journey together.”—Colin Powell

4. I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.—Ralph Nader

5. As a net is made up of a series of ties, so everything in this world is connected by a series of ties. If anyone thinks that the mesh of a net is an independent, isolated thing, he is mistaken. It is called a net because it is made up of a series of interconnected meshes, and each mesh has its place and responsibility in relation to other meshes.—Buddha

6. It is amazing how much people can get done if they do not worry about who gets the credit.—Sandra Swinney

7. It is better to have one person working with you, than three working for you.—Unknown

8. Leadership has a harder job to do than just choose sides. It must bring sides together.—Jesse Jackson

9. Leadership is getting people to work for you when they are not obligated.—Fred Smith

10. Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.—Tom Landry

11. Listening leaders make listeners. Leaders are most known by the questions they consistently ask.—Terry Paulson

12. Look at a man the way that he is, he only becomes worse. But look at him as if he were what he could be, and then he becomes what he should be.—Goethe

13. No executive has ever suffered because his subordinates were strong and effective.—Peter Drucker

14. No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or to get all the credit for doing it.—Andrew Carnegie

15. When one builds people, a good community will emerge, one that will leave its imprint beyond the classroom, beyond the gym, beyond our offices, and, in some cases, beyond geographical boundaries.—Clifton Taulbert Eight Habits of the Heart


America – We Have a Problem: Smart people acting like squirrels!

What follows is a section of Levinson and Grieder’s book: Following Through:A Revolutionary New Model for Finishing Whatever You Start p. 35 & 36 (2007).  I am fascinated by their example of how a squirrel’s brain is ‘hard wired’ to accomplish certain very specific tasks.  

Mr. Squirrel collects acorns for the winter because he’s pre-programmed to react automatically to certain environmental conditions by gathering and sorting nuts. The mere presence of these conditions triggers the right behavior.

An instinct-based guidance system is simple and reliable.  Expose Mr. Squirrel to the right conditions, and he’ll start gathering nuts.  It will happen every time because he was programmed at the factory to function this way.  The knowledge that gathering nuts for the winter is the right thing to do is hard-wired into his guidance system.

Having hard-wired knowledge means there’s no need for Mr. Squirrel to watch a video on how to prepare for the winter.  No need for him to check with the Squirrel FDA before planning his menu.  No need for him to send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Pueblo, Colorado, to request a pamphlet on the best way to store acorns.  Mr. Squirrel doesn’t have to figure out what to do. The knowledge he needs was installed at the factory.

Automatically knowing what to do is not the only feature of instinct-based guidance system that distinguishes it from ours.  Besides automatically knowing what to do, Mr. Squirrel is automatically motivated to do it.  If he should collect nuts for the winter, he will collect nuts for the won’t. 

Being hard-wired to act means that there’s no need for Mr.  Squirrel to listen to a motivational speaker on a lecture from his mother-in-law about being a good provider.  He doesn’t need any inspiring.  He’s always psyched up to do the right thing.

There’s only one drawback to having a guidance system that operates largely on the basis of built-in knowledge and preprogrammed responses: It’s not very flexible.  It doesn’t allow it’s owners to tailor their behavior precisely to the circumstances they face.  And this can sometimes be a real problem.

For example, I once watched Mr. Squirrel’s cousin make the mistake of storing nuts in a tree that the power company was about to cut down.  I watched. The power company survey the area and then paint a yellow stripe on each of the trees in a long row.  As soon as workers started to cut down the first of the marked trees, I knew exactly what was up.  The squirrel didn’t have a clue. Operating on automatic pilot, he continued to fill a pantry that would be gone before winter.

Living things that are guided primarily by instinct pay a price for the convenience of always knowing what to do and always being motivated to do it.  They follow through even when they shouldn’t!  Yes, the price of hard-wired absolute confidence is sometimes automatically doing the wrong thing.

As I reflect on this “hard-wired squirrel” story I am thinking about how some humans act like they are “hard-wired” related to decision making.  Even though they could think critically about a topic or issue they don’t.  They respond with a point of view that they see as being absolute, so “why consider any options?”

Sadly, many of of elected leaders are acting a little like squirrels.  They are acting like they are “hard wired” wired to “put the nuts in a tree even knowing there is a yellow stripe on the tree”.  In other words these individuals are willing to ‘loose their nuts’ – so to speak – rather than listen to and seriously consider other options.  As I think back to the Super Committee that congress formed this summer and how it failed to work together in the interest of the common good this fall – I think about smart people acting like they were squirrels.


Image from http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2094742