Thursday, June 19, 2008


I love this cartoon! It reminds me that in most cases the "headliner" has a partner that is doing the same hard work, but with added burdens. Sure, Fred Astaire was the big star; he got to "lead" and get the biggest share of the credit, but Ginger was right there with every step... but doing it backwards and in high heels.

We who get to be out front have to be sure to remember that there are usually others around us who are doing the same heavy lifting. In many cases it might even be easier to be out leading. We get to "lead," calling the shots, and benefiting from the titles and such... while those around us are doing the work a harder way, without the privilege we often enjoy.

I hope I can do better to appreciate those around that are doing the work "backwards and in high heels." And, when I'm the one doing the work "backwards and in high heels" I'll remember to take some pleasure in getting things handled well in my role.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I am generally very happy to serve… but detest being treated like a servant.

It seems that there is a certain category of people who are born with a smile; they only have one kind of attitude… a really good attitude. They don’t seem to have to work at it, or even think about it much; they just seem to be naturally optimistic and positive.

Sadly, I’m not in that category. My attitude is a constant project.

Nothing seems to more easily wreck my day than when I feel like I’m being treated like a servant. And then that realization, itself, makes matters even worse for me. First I feel bad about being treated like a servant, then I’m even more bummed out that I care how I’m being treated. The self talk goes something like, “really Dan, aren’t you happy to serve? Don’t you want to serve? Aren’t you at your best when you are serving? Then why all the angst about being treated like a servant?”

Hopefully, as I grow older, I’m learning to get over myself, and overlook these kinds of attitudes from others.

The more important lesson, for me, is assessing how I treat others along these lines.

I wish it was more rare when I realize that I have perpetrated the same sin on others. There are times when I can tell that there is something broken in a relationship and, after thinking about it, realize that I have treated that other person as a servant. Rather than ask, I’ve demanded. Rather than respect, I’ve offered contempt. Rather than appreciating the privilege of the service, I’ve communicated that it would be a privilege to be my servant.

The answer, of course, is not to stop asking for help, but to be sure to look for that help with respect and appreciation. I can always do a better job of making those “tasking” moments an opportunity to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

MFA the New MBA

I podcast the Harvard Business IdeaCast. Episode 92 was titled "The MFA is the New MBA." It was an espescially interesting interview; you can listen to it by accessing the MP3 file here. It was drawn from a blog post that you can access here.

A couple of ideas that caught my interest:
  • The importance of story telling in leadership
  • Learning how to value criticism as it relates to our work
  • Learning how to give really good advice and criticism