How well do you (and yours) metabolize change

If you saw me, you would say, “Dave is skinny and can probably eat whatever he wants.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. I’ve weighed 50 pounds more than I do right now (yikes). I work hard and have to be enormously careful to keep my girlish figure.

My problem is my metabolism. It’s got to be the slowest natural metabolism on the planet. It crawls. So, I have to do all the things we all know to do to get it moving. Simply, I don’t metabolize well (without a lot of help).


I’ve discovered over the course of my work with leaders and organizations, that there is a kind of “change metabolism” that is found in people and on teams. Some people metabolize change well. They handle nicely, don’t freak out, and seem to adapt their way to a better place. Others, well… don’t. I’m convinced that metabolizing change is similar to metabolizing food. You have a “set point” that you can change with work. But, it takes work. Leaders want their teams to metabolize change faster and better, but often do very little to help them develop a better “change metabolism.”


So, how well do you think you metabolize change? How about your team/organization? And more importantly, how are you intentionally developing a better set point on your team. The next few posts will consider ways to increase personal and team (change) metabolism.

How well do you (and yours) metabolize change2009-07-28T14:52:47-04:00

Take time to be grateful



I’ve been sick–the sickest I’ve been in a long time. The flu is no fun and I’m glad it’s over. One thing having the flu reminded me is how I take my “normal” everyday life for granted. The ability to function, get out of bed, chart a course for the day and do it, is a gift. No doubt. When we lose sight of our days as gifts, we take those days and the people around us for granted. Take some time today to be grateful for what you have and the energy you posses to make your way in the world. Appreciating it, and the moments you’ve been given will make them more productive and, more importantly, richer.

Take time to be grateful2009-07-27T16:38:52-04:00

Friendly Fire…Fragging…

I recently heard that some inept Lieutenants were actually and literally fired on in Vietnam because they sent  troops out into the battle, but never went with them (or were generally inept). Apparently, the practice was known as “fragging.”  In other words, the inept officers were killed by their soldiers because they didn’t go into battle, just sent the troops out alone.

Um… I think the applications to leadership on this one need little (OK, no) commentary from me.

Friendly Fire…Fragging…2009-07-09T13:47:10-04:00

An Einstein Equation for Life

Here’s a quote from Einstein on the equation of life:


If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.



x and y in the equation are givens. We tend to fall off the edge of the world because we lose sight of either x or y. Some people don’t have enough x and some don’t have enough y. Too much of either can hurt you as well. But it’s z that I’m really interested in. Is success always keeping your mouth shut?


I’m sure that Einstein would immediately say “no,” because it’s all in the context of moment. So, if the context is right, practicing z is a good thing. But, if it’s time to speak, z will cause you more grief and unhealthy stress than you can imagine (or maybe you can). Fear can easily push us toward z–as can overbearing people or difficult situations.

To me, z is the most unstable element in the equation. It’s just not that simple.


OK, I will now practice z.


An Einstein Equation for Life2009-07-08T13:13:15-04:00

Strategic honesty (more on Sarah Palin’s announcement)

OK, so “strategic honesty” could easily sound like a phrase that means, a carefully and well constructed plan aimed at verbal deception. That is not what I mean. As a leader, sometimes you have to share difficult news and /or decisions that will affect people and cause emotional angst. When that’s the case, strategic honesty is always best. When you are strategically honesty you are both helping people understand the decision AND as many of the behind the scenes “why’s” as you can.

I understand that people can’t know everything about certain decisions you have to make. But, the more people walk away from the announcement confused and bewildered, the more repair time you will need on the other side. This is what was wrong with Sarah Palin’s announcement last week. As leaders, we can learn from it as a case study of sorts.

No one really “got” Palin’s announcement, because she meandered (using metaphors that left too much to the imagination, (e.g. “lame duck,” “hit the road,” “keeping my eye on the ball”). If you listen to her announcement, these metaphors don’t help create clarity, but make you think, “huh?”

Andrea Mitchell (NBC) interviewed Governor Ed Rendell today, and he explained in the first minute or so of the interview, what Palin should have said to be strategically honest. Take a listen…

When you have to announce tough decisions, 1) be clear, 2) use language that creates “ah I get it” moments, and 3) help people understand as many of the “behind the scenes why’s” as you can.

Strategic honesty (more on Sarah Palin’s announcement)2009-07-06T20:24:31-04:00

Sarah Palin…I’m sorry, could you run that by me again?

So, here’s the story on Palin stepping down from Govenor of Alaska. She said she doesn’t want to be a lame duck. “I know when it’s time to pass the ball…” What? You wanna run that by me again. OK, if there is a family reason for this, then no problem. But, the reason given is that she doesn’t want to waste the money of Alaska and instead wants to focus on changing politics from the outside.


Who is advising Sarah Palin? Even if she is fed up with politics, why abaondon her post with 2 1/2 years to go? What does that suggest?

I’m not sure we’re actually done with Palin and politics. I hope there’s nothing wrong with her family. And I hope she gets some new advisors.


Sarah Palin…I’m sorry, could you run that by me again?2009-07-04T01:09:02-04:00

Stop this Train (John Mayer)

Every so often a song really hits us. Stop this Train by John Mayer is one for me. Mayer is certainly a poet and not a bad musician either (understatement intended). This song has both simple and elegant musical lines and all that marries amazingly well with the pensive and poignant words. The percussion even moves along like a train. Nice. So, if you’ve ever felt the sting of time passing, and you’re not as young as you once were, this song might be for you. It might help you live well within the gift of time that you’ve been given.


Download it. Sit alone. Get the lyrics if you need them. And let the song speak to you. It will.

Stop this Train (John Mayer)2009-07-02T20:24:19-04:00