A Moment of Truth …Just Before the EMTs Arrive!

Kindness Organizational culture Respect


Key Point: great organizations are built on a strong cultural foundation that involves people at all levels showing care for each other daily. Yes, people and companies usually are extraordinary in being caring and responsive when emergencies happen. But the ability to endure and have super hero strength under crisis comes from the practice of daily care and support. Daily practice is the stamina, beyond the adrenalin for handling “the big one,” whatever that may be.

I was at a restaurant in England the other night with my European executive team. We were dining with execs from another company and it was a very important “get to know each other” meeting. Just as the main course was about to arrive, one of my team members passed out. As we jumped out of our chairs to get to his side, he came to. But before we could determine his status, he passed out again …his eyes rolling to the back of his head, his dress shirt soaked with sweat. In that moment, it was scary but easy to know what to do. We immediately called the ambulance, and in the meantime did what we could to keep him conscious and upright; including being at the ready with CPR. We wiped his brow, and physically held on to him until the emergency medical technicians arrived. Of course we stayed with him until he was given medical clearance, got him safely home, and then followed up to be sure. Thank goodness he was (and is) alright.

When emergencies happen to team mates, we usually come through for each other. I am always heartened by how generous and loving people are with each other under these crises circumstances at the company where I’m the CEO. The stories and examples of generosity are truly remarkable. My challenge is to have people demonstrate that level of care to each other without an emergency being the motivator.

Character Move:

  1. Do not wait for a crisis to show your care for fellow workers. Do one thing to show care and encouragement for each other daily. Lead with acts of support wherever you can, including sincere encouragement and acknowledgment.
  2. The way to have faith in team work is to demonstrate it daily, then the team work and care as a cultural norm arrives. It doesn’t happen the other way around. Most spiritual scholars believe that mercy precludes faith; not the other way around. I believe the same principle applies in the work place.
  3. Avoid thinking that “it is only work” so why give of oneself? Doesn’t caring take energy? Yes it does. Work is life and life includes work. They are inseparable.
  4. Do not worry if people are competing and those jobs and promotions are “scarce.” Compete against yourself and the right things happen in the long run. Be an ECP (Everyday Caring Person).

ECP before EMT’s in The Triangle,



Practice IS Life …Enjoy and Embrace It

Abundance Growth mindset Purpose


Key Point: Pablo Casals, the renowned cellist, practiced his cello three hours every day. One day when the revered Casals was near the end of his life (at age 93), and well after he had achieved world wide acclaim, a neighbor asked him why he still practiced so much. Casals responded, “I believe I’m beginning to notice some improvement.”

Julius Barnes in his beautifully written 2011 Man Booker Prize-winning book, The Sense of an Ending, captures the feelings of the retired protagonist who laments, “Later in life, you think you expect a bit of a rest don’t you? You think you deserve it. Anyway, I did. But then you begin to understand the reward of merit is not life’s business.”

Character Move:

  1. Resolve to purposefully practice the elements of the Character Triangle every day: consciously practice being a better listener, practice using STP, do one kind act with intention every day, and take on one thing you’re avoiding each week (build your own practice plan).
  2. Recognize that “sharpening the saw” never ends. It also means that to go forward one has to sometimes make a mistake. It feels like going backward but often is the foundation for new growth. Persevere; accept and go forward, one step every day.
  3. Make practice part of your life, not a part in your life.

Starting to notice improvement in The Triangle,




Imagine Your Plane is About to CRASH…



Key Point: our ego sometimes works counterproductively when we try to be “right”, when we get into win/lose situations. The best choice is to understand that relationships with the people we love and care about matters the most. Choosing to love, forgive, and be happy is more important than fighting to “be right.”

Ric Elias had a front-row seat on Flight 1549, the plane that crash-landed in the Hudson River in New York in January 2009. What went through his mind as the doomed plane went down? At TED, he tells his story publicly for the first time. I encourage you to watch his five minute inspirational talk.

In the video Mr. Elias is reflective, “I was given the gift of a miracle, of not dying that day. I was given another gift; I was able to see into the future and come back and live differently. I challenge you guys that are flying today, imagine the same thing happens on your plane — and please don’t — but imagine, and how would you change? What would you get done that you’re waiting to get done because you think you’ll be here forever? How would you change your relationships and the negative energy in them?”

As the flight (just barely) cleared the George Washington Bridge, the following went through Ric’s mind, “I thought about, wow, I really feel one real regret. I’ve lived a good life. In my own humanity and mistakes, I’ve tried to get better at everything I tried. But in my humanity, I also allow my ego to get in. And I regretted the time I wasted on things that did not matter with people that matter. And I thought about my relationship with my wife, with my friends, with people. And after, as I reflected on that, I decided to eliminate negative energy from my life. It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot better. I’ve not had a fight with my wife in two years. It feels great. I no longer try to be right; I choose to be happy.”

Character Move:

  1. Give thanks this Thanksgiving holiday by reflecting on where you might be wasting time with people who matter the most. What are the areas in your life where you waste time trying to be right rather than accepting and letting go? It really isn’t that important.
  2. In the spirit of being self accountable, identify what you can do to change that waste of negative energy. Where can you choose to be happy more than fighting to be right?
  3. Give yourself the miracle of not crashing on that plane and attending to what matters most.

The gift of living in the Triangle,



Are You Improving Your PERMA Score?

Abundance Books Well-being


Key Point: “Habits of thinking need not be forever. One of the most significant findings in psychology in the last twenty years is that individuals can choose the way they think.” ~ Martin Seligman

As I blog and discuss the Character Triangle, I emphasize the importance of being able to establish a habit system to reinforce Accountability, Respect, and Abundance as a way of life. Establishing a “thinking and doing process” that becomes habitual is critical for emotional and physical advancement, and this leads to greater happiness. Two things happen when you feel happier in your life. First, you catch on to the fact you have a choice in how you see the world. Second, you let go of what doesn’t work.

The persistent, challenging and immensely broad work emanating from Martin Seligman has offered the most illuminating light regarding habitual thinking. (Seligman, 1992, 2002, 2011; Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi, 2001; Seligman, Ernst, Gillham, Reivich, and Linkins, 2009.) Such history has (recently) yielded a new chant for those seeking to flourish (read more). PERMA is the acronym for well-being reflected in our Positive emotion, Engagement (being aware of feelings as they happen), Relationships (relating to others well), Meaning (purpose), and Achievement (PERMA).

In an interview last summer Martin Seligman said, “Well being (happiness) is not just the absence of misery; it is the presence of real things.” Doing something for someone else is the single biggest, most mood-lifting boost you can give yourself. For another way, before you go to sleep at night write down three things that went well today, and why they went well. “It is addicting. Six months later in random assignment placebo-controlled tests, people who do this are happier, with higher life satisfaction and lower depression.” For a higher PERMA score – be conscious of the things that go well in your life.

Character Move: take action, one small manageable step at a time, to improve your PERMA and habit thinking score. Doing so will reinforce the Character Triangle becoming a habit and better enriching your life on a daily basis.

PERMA is the Character Triangle,




Taking It and Giving It!

Accountability Management Teamwork


Key Point: strong leaders take the heat when things are bad, and share the praise when things are good.

“…For the 36 companies we studied, …higher-ambition CEOs assume personal responsibility when things are bad and they give collective credit when things are good. These companies exemplify elements of both strong collective and individual leadership. Both — when used in the right situations — are essential for creating economic as well as social value.”

The above quote is from a recent Harvard Business blog which captured learning from research conducted by Tobias Fredberg and Flemming Norrgren. Most of us know from personal experience how demotivating it is when you work for someone who tries to squash your head in a vice when things go wrong. And then when the reverse happens there is no collective acknowledgment or recognition; the boss takes prime responsibility for the great result. In the long run this often builds simmering resentment amongst team members. Over time they leave and bring their talents elsewhere.

Character Move:

  • Don’t be that “guy.” Have the courage to take the heat and protect your team when things go wrong (attack the process and fix things …develop the person).
  • Be generous in praise when things go well. Share it. It will come back in many ways.


Taking and giving in the Triangle,