Monthly Archives: November 2009

Good, Better, or Best

Our company recently finished the teaching of The Speed of Trust written by Stephen M.R. Covey and are inculcating it as our third foundational pillar.  All employees were required to take this course through the USR College of Excellence.  I can tell you that this study has already made a great improvement to our organization, and I believe clients are also having an improved experience with us as we apply these principles.

This entry is really about separating the kernels from the chaff.  In farming, the chaff is removed from the outside kernel (wheat for example), and deposited in the field with the straw.  The kernel has the most value.  There are so many voices and so much noise in the world; what shall we spend our time doing?  My opinion is that we could waste a lifetime pursuing good things but not find or do the best things.  What makes the difference and how can we know?

I once learned from a prominent leader that we must recognize the reality that just because something is good is not sufficient reason for doing it.  The number of things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them.  The challenge is to determine between good, better, or best, and strive to select the best.  For instance, the challenge applies to classes we hold.  Good to hold them, better to teach a principle, but best to actually improve lives as a result.  Therefore, in the case of classes taught at USR College of Excellence, wheat1unless we determine that the teaching or class to be taught will change behavior to benefit the person and the company, it becomes just another good story and not worthy of including in our curriculum.

 Now the other end of this spectrum would be to over analyze if the practice or teaching falls into good, better, or best, and then do nothing because so much time was wasted trying to determine this.  Let me offer this advice; carefully and expeditiously select how time is to be spent in these matters, then make a decision and just do it.  Sometimes the selection may not end up being the best, but something good was done in the mean time.  With these thoughts in mind, I hope this helps as you strive to make best decisions not just good ones. 

 Finally, I do recommend The Speed of Trust as a truly BEST way to spend some time.

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Posted by on November 30, 2009 in Uncategorized


Give Life a Try

I remember very clearly an occasion about 25 years ago.   My boss who was visiting from out of state took Ginger and I to a nice dinner, at a very high end restaurant in San Diego.  Before I go further, you need to know that my children buy me Denny’s Gift cards for Christmas because I like simple and cheap food.  Back to San Diego; I ordered a steak, and asked the waiter for ketchup.  Go ahead and start the abuse, I’ve taken it all my life.  I like Ketchup on my steak.  I’ll tell you why shortly.  The waiter looked at me like I just mooned his wife, and eventually brought back a ketchup bottle, laying down on the tray, with a napkin over it.  You would have thought I was asking for a cup for my dentures or something; but I proudly took the bottle off of the platter, looked over at my boss who was trying to determine if I was sophisticated enough to ‘promote’, and saw his accepting expression that said something like “I can make something out of this raw piece of clay”.

I grew up in a cabin home, very small, and we didn’t have a propane BBQ, just an old “Roper” stove and oven.  Mom was a great cook, and made the most of that kitchen.  Steak was never broiled or BBQ’d, it was fried.  My Dad insisted on meat being well done, so that is how we all had to eat it.  Most of my family still prefers hockey pucks to medium rare.  In any event, ketchup was our way of adding flavor to a piece of meat that otherwise tasted like charcoal. 

Tsushi4urns out, that even though I don’t like my steak as well done as I used to, I still LOVE ketchup on my steak.  Let me suggest to those who are scoffing, to give it a try.  Why not?  Why let the norms others lives chart the course of how we experience our own lives?

 Last week I tried sushi for the first time and loved it.  I was very anxious but it was my decision to try it—-what did I have to lose?  If I didn’t throw up in my mouth (or worse) I could judge for myself what this sushi rage is all about.

 Here is to giving new experiences in life a chance.  Others may scoff, or ridicule, or try to cover up our ventured quests; but changing the mold is part of what life is all about!

Here’s a great idea; let’s try some ketchup on sushi!

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Posted by on November 18, 2009 in Uncategorized


“Lift” Where We Stand

As I write this entry we are on the island of Hawaii for a conference of champions; where business plans are created and judged and young entrepreneurs are preparing to make their mark in life.  Here at the Willes School of Entrepreneurial Leadership, we are always very humbled as we watch college students sacrifice their very last nickel to “make it happen.”    Many of these students are from Asia and the Pacific Rim, and will go back to their homeland with an idea ready to put into action.  Involved in this project are also some of the world’s greatest business minds (mine excluded) who are literally giving of their time to train and teach and motivate- living in one room apartments rather than large estates, and putting their own business dreams on hold to focus on others success and not their own.

As we observe this scene, we are reminded of a story told by Dieter F. Uchtdorf, an ecclesiastical leader who shared the following:

“Some years ago in our meetinghouse in Darmstadt, Germany, a group of brethren was asked to move a grand piano from the chapel to the adjoining cultural hall, where it was needed for a musical event. None were professional movers, and the task of getting that gravity-friendly instrument through the chapel and into the cultural hall seemed nearly impossible. Everybody knew that this task required not only physical strength but also careful coordination. There were plenty of ideas, but not one could keep the piano balanced correctly. They repositioned the brethren by strength, height, and age over and over again-nothing worked.

As they stood around the piano, uncertain of what to do next, a good friend of mine, Brother Hanno Luschin, spoke up. He said, ‘Brethren, stand close together and lift where you stand.’piano-moving

It seemed too simple. Nevertheless, each lifted where he stood, and the piano rose from the ground and moved into the cultural hall as if on its own power. That was the answer to the challenge. They merely needed to stand close together and lift where they stood.”

This great story has many business and personal applications, which you may discern as you will, however we were very impressed of this idea of “lifting where you stand” as relates to service to others.  Of giving up of time and means to serve wherever the “lift” is needed, and to be willing to adjust personal circumstances to get that piano where it needs to be.

Here is to the safe and successful moving of all those emerging piano’s out there.  May they be properly placed and create beautiful music, and may those who did the heavy lifting without fanfare, be rewarded where it counts.

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Posted by on November 2, 2009 in Uncategorized