Celebrate Freedom with the World's Largest Democracy

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With all my thinking about democracy and its underpinnings, it totally slipped my mind that the 60th Republic Day was approaching. It is worth celebrating any democracy’s robust survival. This Republic Day is especially important, following as it does terrorist attacks of last November. India, like its friend the United States, has many problems. Fortunately, many of the worst problems …

One of the pastors of the Free-Will Baptist Church preaches to his congregation. Wheelwright Junction, Floyd County, Kentucky. 1946. By Russell Lee. NARA

The Rise of the Great Leader in Evangelicalism Threatens American Democracy

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It was Wilfred Brown’s understanding of power and authority that made me consider again one of the things that I find most frightening about current trends in American Protestantism. American religious life differs in many ways from that in other Western countries. For one, while attendance is in decline, it’s not nearly as precipitous as in Europe. Religion still matters, …

Tools: Express Scribe Transcription Playback Software

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NCH’s Express Scribe Transcription Playback Software is digital transcription software that plays the audio file back while you type, at varying speeds. The speed thing is the trick: I’ve not seen a lot of software that does this. This is barebones software but it is available free for Windows, Mac and Linux. Even though there are problems on Mac (I …

An Ancient Story About the Value of Hidden High Potentials

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This is a followup to my earlier post (“Transitions Are Like Being Lost In The Pacific“) on high potentials and the number of transitions they go through in life, and how that increases their risk for massive failures. Here’s a story about a high potential who screwed up and failed completely.

Ah, yes. We come to your typical remark from a pragmatist CEO of a mid-sized firm. Although this cigar-chomping associate is a caricature in walking flesh, the opinion is shared by others. Lots of others. I can go into the psycho-sociological explanation for these opinions but instead, let me tell you a story from another land (I live in the U.S.) that I first heard years ago. It shows why I believe in hidden high potentials (HHPs), and although the story is somewhat dated, it shows what happens to HHPs even today.

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there were two types of people living in the same country. One dominated the economic, social and political life. It’s fair to say that they ran everything. The other type of people were a different ethnicity. Like many minorities before and since, during hard times they found themselves getting the shaft from the ruling ethnic group. But they persevered. Let’s call the ruling ethnic group “Greens” and the oppressed minority, “Blues”.

Now the Greens ran a country that was the envy of the entire world. All the nations acknowledged their power. Indeed, the land of the Greens was mighty and all their neighbors feared their great might and learning. This great wealth and learning did not trickle down to the Blues, however,

One of these Blues, a young man we can call “Fred” — old names from far away are hard to pronounce, don’t you think? — who by a stroke of good fortune found himself adopted by a rich and powerful Green family. His face and color was not quite as blue as other Blues, and he could successfully pass as a bluish Green.

"Black Dog being chased from the Admiral Benbow Inn by Captain Billy Bones" by N.C. Wyeth. From Treasure Island, 1911 (cropped)

Top Reasons Why High Potentials Have To Do Things Different For Job Security

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If you are a Hidden High Potential (HHP) and you never hear anything else from me, memorize this statement: What is safe for other people is dangerous for you; what is guaranteed to fail for most people is what’s most likely to succeed for you. Or, as Pippin in the Two Towers movie put it: The closer we are to …

Leaving Yongsan Station. (c) Danleo (CC BY 2.5). Via Wikimedia Commons.

Becoming the Enablement Vehicle for Others’ Unarticulated Desires

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Back when I was working on the GO Society’s book, Organization Design, Levels of Work and Human Capability: Executive Guide, I had the opportunity to spend an Sunday afternoon talking to Julian Fairfield in his early Monday morning. (I love talking to Australia!) He’s an amazing thinker with a wide ranging interest that started years ago on the shopfloor, moved …

Studs Terkel Takes His Bow

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I was sitting here typing up a new post on Sociopaths in business (it’s going to end up being an e-book and a new Secret Rule) when I heard news that Studs Terkel, the Chicago radio commentator and general social commentator, passed on. I read his Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About …

What Are You Reading?

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As I sit here working late at night, with a couple of new posts looking like they will become books in themselves, I started wandering YouTube and found some recent interviews of Francis Fukuyama and Fareed Zakaria. I’ve read too much of Fukuyama’s output over the past seven years, finding The Great Disruption and Trust pretty compelling. But that has …

Chickens resting on a hot day. (c) normanack (CC BY 2.0). Via flickr.

Crises Are Times of Opportunity

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The chickens have come to roost, as my grandfather used to say. The insane practices around bundling loans that never should have been made, along with our own greed, have led to a massive crisis internationally. I was first warned of this a year ago by some Australian investors but it’s still shocking to see how much damage can be …