Monthly Archives: August 2009

It Is What It Is!

Early in my career and our married life, we met and became dear friends with a couple in California.  I won’t reveal their names, but my nick name for him is “Lewie.”   He has become a very talented and successful first assistant director in Hollywood, in movies everyone would recognize.  More importantly, he has remained a good man in spite of the world he works in- but that’s another blog.

Since “Lewie” was in the industry, a young actor we knew who had just performed in the production of a “B” movie wanted his (Lewie’s) opinion on the movie and his acting performance.  So we were invited with Lewie to attend a private screening with a group of the actor’s friends.  For those of us attending, the quality of the movie and his acting were perhaps as high on the list of “worst” we had seen up to that point of our young lives.  We tried very hard to show support with a straight face.

We had some good laughs and enjoyed some treats together after the screening, while our actor friend was glowing in the possibilities of his fame upon the movie release.  As we made our way to the door, our actor friend blazed a path to “Lewie” and asked “What did you think?” (smiling with anticipation).  Lewie said, in a way that only a calm Samoan could (clearly and without emotion though spoken thoughtfully as a wise man), “It is what it is.”  And with that pearl of wisdom left hanging over the actors befuddled head, we left.

Over the years, when ever we have had occasion to comment on something honestly that would require awkward negativity, we have used that line very effectively, “It is what it is.”

While I was studying in “The Speed of Trust” by Stephen M.R. Covey, I read what organizational design expert Arthur W. Jones said “All organizations are perfectly aligned to get the results they get.”  Or as Lewie would say, “It is what it is.”

I think this is a simple business truth.  If your organization is not getting the results desired, it is because it is aligned to get the results it gets.  I know this is not extremely deep, but it is extremely true.  The exciting part of this analogy is that we can actually align our intent with our behaviors to achieve the best results.

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 20, 2009 in Uncategorized



Wow, that was fast.  This weekend, Ginger and I will take our youngest daughter off to college.  Next year at this time we will have all five of our children in college at the same time- but that’s a future blog entry.  When we get home, it will be like it was 30 years ago- just the two of us.  This entry is a continuation of sorts of “The Empty Bench” blog entry; just a bit more personal.  As I pen this, I know many of you have lived through this process.  I need your figurative hug to get through it.

shoesThis week, I walked past the back porch door and looked out the window.  Out on the deck table was two pair of Vans shoes.  Our youngest daughter has some unique and wonderful passions, one is Vans shoes.  So when I saw these shoes, I just had to pause to gain my composure.  Okay, so I didn’t gain my composure.  My baby girl has grown up and she and her Van’s are going off to blaze her own path of glory.  Wow, that was fast!

As the five children grew up, I used to keep all of their little shoes as they outgrew them and put them on the bookshelf.  It was fun to see the progression.  It’s NO fun however when the last pair of shoes doesn’t go on the shelf, but rather, goes out the door with them on their feet.

I don’t know why, but this seems like the toughest transition of all.  I remember looking around the dinner table when our oldest son left for Mexico, and as I counted the heads it was clear there was an empty chair… but just one.  We always set a place for him on Holidays when he was gone; like the Jews set a place for the return of Elijah.  Now there are five empty chairs.

I will never be able to see a pair of Vans without thinking of Lexie.  I know she is never far away in this transit friendly and instantaneous world… her room will remain her very own for when she returns for Holiday’s and summers.  But I’m not kidding myself either; things keep changing.  I will miss a thousand things about her being gone, just as I have the others.  I used to have her promise me she would never grow up.  I’m glad she didn’t keep that promise as she grew into a beautiful young woman inside and out; but I will always miss my little Lexie Lou and her Vans.  If you see a pair of Vans walking around with the most beautiful girl in the world in them, it’s probably Lexie making her mark in the world.

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 14, 2009 in Uncategorized


There is No “I” in “Team”

I remember playing football in high school.  When the Byron Eagles took the field, the outcome of victory was inevitable.  Coach Denny Brown (may he rest in peace) told me I couldn’t play my freshman year if I didn’t break 100 pounds.  He was a great coach; he would foam at the mouth with enthusiasm and actually looked a bit like Vince Lombardi.  I couldn’t crack 100 pounds and he would wince as I was flattened in drill after drill.  Out of compassion he allowed me to stay on the team… the water boy; a capacity I had not envisioned but would help the team.  He probably saved my life that year.

I remember also playing high school basketball.   Coach Bob Door, who was a mentor like unto a John Wooden, told the team that whoever worked the hardest that week would start the game.  I was a junior and NO ONE worked harder that week than I did.  Just before game time, he gathered the team and named the starting five.  After five others were named, he looked at me with eyes of compassion and said “Hitz, you worked harder than anyone this week, but you just make too many mistakes.”  So I nodded with support for his decision, and sat next to him on the bench.

I was really disappointed in both of these instances as I imagined a more glorious outcome.  My sporting days in high school turned out to be very gratifying in my senior year, but I was never a “star.”  We had state championship teams in football, basketball and track, and I’m in those team pictures.  I was proud to see my kids squeeze into my size small letterman’s jacket, and for a while I had them conned into thinking I was an athlete-a while meaning until they could walk and understand English. letterman-jacket1 I even have a 6 inch scar on my knee from a football injury to prove it!  But just as my other sports stories, I sustained this injury in practice with absolutely no fan fare.

I’m so grateful for the lessons I learned through those experiences.  If you are on the team, in whatever capacity, your contribution matters.  If you are not the star, your contribution still matters.  If you accept your role as determined by your coach or leader, you may not get your name in the paper, but you will be a part of a championship team.  I learned that everything matters and that everyone counts.

In this world of “What about ME” we can all remember the one important phrase we have heard; there is no “I” in TEAM.  GO EAGLES!

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 6, 2009 in Uncategorized