May 7, 2023

How to change your culture

A simple reminder for us all… 

They are not obstacles.

They are what gives you the strength to succeed.

So, play the shot in front of you and trust the journey.

I know that it’s been a while since I last posted but there have been a ton of client engagements and projects that I have been working on. One of those has been to finish my 5-part series on “How to NOT Execute Your Revenue Strategy” as a guest author for Mereo LLC.  The last article was about how to change your organization’s culture – especially if it’s a culture that you didn’t create.

This article includes some my most powerful and effective leadership best practices. Here’s an excerpt:

To be a culture of execution, remember that being “strategic” is not about having a plan and driving everything against that plan. Great plan-making and project management skills are not the same as being strategic. That is 1900s thinking at best. Rather, because we live in a complex, agile, constantly evolving Information Age, leaders must be appointed for their ability to create an environment of great decision-making. They must be promoted for this. They must be recruited for this. And they must be held accountable for this.

Changing, and especially rewarding, the definition of leadership in this way will guarantee that the culture will shift to better execution.

Side note: If you want to get really good at this, categorize leaders who can (a) spur great decision-making that optimizes the business (thus minimizing disruption) and (b) spur great decision-making that transforms the business (thus creating disruption). This is critical when your revenue strategy is a shift from the previous motion. A revenue strategy that transforms how everyone works will need leaders who are comfortable generating disruption and have the skill to navigate it successfully. Conversely, when the last revenue strategy was transformative (i.e. disruptive), leaders who can optimize and stabilize everything become essential so that the previous change truly becomes the new “normal.”

Read the entire article here.

If you are interested, I will be giving a webinar on “How to NOT Execute Your Revenue Strategy” this Tuesday (May 9). Register in advance for this free webinar here.

Also, I am in the process of redesigning my web page. You will see changes over the next couple of months, but you can expect the following:

  • The home page will become a landing page for three main motions:
    • Kupu Solutions (my consulting and coaching services),
    • How to NOT Execute Your Strategy (my new podcast and soon-to-be-published YouTube channel),
    • And this blog
  • An update to the format of my newsletter where I will share a combination of key insights, inspirations, and updates for you on a weekly basis.

My goal is to increase the relevance and value of our relationship so that we can become the best version of ourselves together. I truly appreciate the connection that this platform has provided. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know now!

Finally, have you checked out the “How to NOT Execute Your Strategy” podcast yet? I encourage you to check out episode 2, where Martyn Lewis drops absolute gems on how to reframe the value of failure as part of how you lead. It’s a fascinating dialogue that I think you will love. Listen here, or look for it on Spotify, Apple podcasts, or Amazon Music.

I mua. Onward and upward.

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March 14, 2023

A MAJOR update…

I have some exciting news to share – and quite a few updates.

If you have wondered why I have not been posting as much, it’s because I have launched a new consulting practice and am now back to living the entrepreneur’s life in my homeland of Hawai’i (and LOVING it).

The company is called Kupu Solutions. Kupu is the Hawaiian word that means “to sprout or grow suddenly; to quickly rise to high position.” Kupu Solutions provides consulting and coaching solutions that drive greater effectiveness – both for the organization and the individual.

Already, the coaching practice is SURGING and the feedback from my clients is overwhelmingly positive. They love how they are tapping into their professional and personal potential. If you or someone you know would like to simply know more (I promise, no pressure at all), please use this Calendly link to set up a short call.

I have also been busy producing and launching a new podcast. If you are even remotely curious how CEOs can fail and recover from their mistakes, give the “How to NOT Execute Your Strategy” podcast a listen. I found the insights from these interviews incredibly powerful. I hope you will, too.

Here is the primary link to the main podcast page – but you can also find it on Spotify, Amazon Music, Samsung Podcasts, and now Apple Podcasts!

With that said, I have still been writing a ton of articles over the last few weeks – just on different platforms than my usual blog.

This is my recently completed LinkedIn series on how to drive (or limit) great decision-making in your organization.

Also, I have tweaked that same theme for marketing and sales leaders as a guest author for Mereo. You can find the first 2 article here:

As you can likely tell, strategic execution is a theme that I am building on. But all of it rests on this single idea: Am I being the best version of myself?

So, with that final thought, I leave you to have a personal mirror moment. Are you being the best version of yourself?

I mua. Onward and upward.

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December 9, 2022

Is indecision killing your execution?

In my last post, I brought up the idea that strategic execution is essentially a decision-making science. This week, I want to go down the rabbit hole a bit more.

And talk about the exact opposite of good decision-making: indecision.

Why isn’t bad decision-making the opposite of good decision-making? Let me (very briefly) offer three reasons.

  1. No decision is worse than making a bad decision because bad decisions can usually be corrected. Analysis paralysis is literally poison to our execution
  2. No decision delays the experience of impact. Without the feedback that impact provides, we cannot assess if the decision is helpful or not. (side note: even bad decisions can teach us…)
  3. Decision-making is a trainable skill that can be improved. Indecision is not a lack of skill; it’s usually the sign of something far more sinister.

Which leads me back to this particular diatribe.

When we are wracked with indecision, the root cause issue is more about fear than skill. We are trying to avoid failure/rejection/risk instead of getting the strategy executed.

I am a self-professed Type A personality. Correction – recovering Type A personality. I can make decisions on a dime. I can pick the restaurant/pick Option B/pick the root cause issue with relative comfort. And if I’m wrong, I am confident that I can figure out what to do to get things back on track.

Until I become afraid.

Usually, it’s the fear of failure that gets me in these moments, but the fear of rejection can be equally paralyzing.

I allow my fear of making the wrong decision hijack my overall decision-making capacity.

I freeze.

I procrastinate.

I research. And research. And research.

And justify my lack of decision-making the entire way.

Why the personal transparency?

I am seeing entire organizations becoming paralyzed with indecision. They won’t decide to prioritize. They won’t decide to re-allocate resources. They won’t decide if they need help.

It’s as if the entire organization is stuck in a collective inhale, holding everything in and waiting for permission to exhale – then do something.

Frankly, it’s getting to the point where indecision is affecting everything. From budget assignment to vendor spend to even determining next steps.

In other words, as my colleague Steve Thompson says, “The decisions that your people are making reveal your real strategy.” I would also include the decisions that people are NOT making.

If you are seeing the same thing(s) that I am, we do have a path forward.

First, make sure the indecision is not caused by a leadership gap (especially if YOU’RE the leader). While there are many solutions here, the first two suggestions I offer are relatively simple – and worthy of their own separate diatribes.

  • Increase clarity to the point where everyone knows what success looks like and what the associated roles are (and are not). Seriously, this act alone can massively improve decision-making.
  • Increase empowerment to the point where people have what they need to achieve success – and therefore make decisions that are aligned with the use of those assets. Adding empowerment on top of clarity is a one-two punch to indecision.

Leadership is about serving, yeah? So seek for ways to serve by injecting clarity and empowerment whenever possible so that indecision is getting the treatment that it deserves.

Second, make sure the indecision is not caused by an over-emphasis on the three most common hijackers of our effectiveness: success, significance, and control. As I have repeatedly said in this blog, they do not provide the power and fuel that we often think they do. Instead, invest in these three convictions in yourself and in your team.

  • Confidence… the conviction that I am doing my best and that my best is all that I can do. When I am confident, I won’t be afraid to make a decision because the decision is just a part of my overall effort. The decision is not the only definition of my effort.
  • Acceptance… the conviction that I am good enough and that I have inherent value. When I accept myself, I won’t be afraid to make a decision because the decision does not define who I am. I am much more valuable than a decision.
  • Trust… the conviction that the journey itself is full of highs and lows that will ultimately take me to a good place. When I trust the journey, I won’t be afraid to make a decision because the decision is not the journey itself. Good or bad, the journey will “work” and I will become a better version of myself in the process.

These convictions become the foundation for a mindset that we must all have. This mindset provides the true power and fuel we need as leaders, and the power and fuel that our people need to be the best versions of themselves. When this mindset is in place, I have seen indecision shrink to the point of virtual non-existence. And only reappear when confidence, acceptance, and trust are assaulted.

Mirror moment: How is indecision affecting you and your team? And what can you do about it?

I mua. Onward and upward.

(And a special nod to Angela Hughes for sparking this thought stream with her comment on LinkedIn. Thank you!)

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November 21, 2022

Are you a strategic leader?

Do you know the number one reason that businesses fail?

It’s poor decision-making.

Bad decisions, inconsistent decisions, late decisions, no decisions… they all have a way of literally mucking everything up.

And this isn’t just a “business” truth. It’s a Life truth.

And it is an idea that I have been pondering for weeks now. Actually, for months. Well, honestly I have been pondering it for years.

Except lately, I have been hyper-focused on a subtopic of this theme: the execution of strategy. And the idea that poor decision-making is the number one cause of poor strategic execution is still just as true as the original maxim about business failure.

Why am I highlighting this?

Because I believe that the number one reason that organizations are struggling – that maybe even your organization is struggling – is poor decision-making.

It’s not the war in Ukraine. It’s not disruptions to supply chains. It’s not the lack of access to the right people or resources.

It’s the decisions we are all making in the face of those factors.

Let me explain it another way. According to, a strategy is “a plan, method, or series of maneuvers … for obtaining a specific goal or result.”

This is wrong. Or, to be generous, it is incomplete.

I prefer Henry Mintzberg’s guidance instead: strategy is a pattern in a stream of decisions.

In other words, strategy is a real-time, moment-by-moment decision-making science to achieve results.

And therefore, the execution of that strategy is all about decision-making. It’s not about creating complex plans or memorizing tactics to execute according to an artificial schedule. It’s the decisions we  – and our teams – make as new information is learned or reality bends away from our expectations. Plans are only as good as the moment they were created. They can literally become obsolete within hours.

But here’s the interesting thing… a barely adequate strategy, executed really well, will produce amazing results. Conversely, an amazing strategy, executed poorly, will produce unacceptable results – and unintended consequences.

This means that we, as leaders, have a responsibility to change how we define strategy for our organizations. We must shift away from any sort of over-rotation on planning and shift toward providing the clarity and empowerment our teams need to make great decisions.

Yes, we still need to provide a desired result or outcome. And yes, we can provide guidance and input that the team will need to factor into their decision-making as they work toward the desired outcome (like insight on potential obstacles, clearly communicating required expectations, and so forth). But we have to ensure that we are looking into the future BEYOND the delivery of marching orders. 

We have to think about how to increase the speed of proactive thinking.

We have to think about our agility for re-prioritization and the re-allocation of assets.

We have to think about how we recover from mistakes instead of constantly trying to avoid mistakes entirely.

This is what it means to be a strategic leader.

Which is almost impossible to do if we are personally addicted to success, significance, and/or control.

You see, once we allow the intense desire for personal success, significance, and/or control to become attached to our strategy, we limit the capacity of our team to make decisions. Their decisions are no longer focused on the desired outcome or result. Their decisions become focused on something else. Their decisions become focused on stroking our addiction(s). 

Which often has the nasty effect of our teams injecting their own potential addictions to the desired outcome or result. And the strategy eventually becomes a house of cards, waiting to collapse.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can choose to execute strategy differently.

We can change the rules of the game from “following the plan” to empowering great decisions. To resourcing those decisions. To holding people accountable for their decisions in a robust and healthy way. To leading by example. To learning from mistakes and being transparent – even when we are the ones making the mistakes.

What kind of strategic leader do you want to be?

I mua. Onward and upward.

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October 17, 2022

Who are you becoming?

In my last blog, I dove into the idea that success is truly about one single idea: bringing our BEING and DOING into full alignment. It’s an ancient idea and one that deserves more than a philosophical overview.

Maybe it’s because I am at a major crossroads (having recently decided to go back to independent consulting and coaching). Maybe it’s because I am having multiple discussions with folks who want their businesses to have a genuine purpose. Maybe it’s simply because I have this macabre desire to maximize the time that have left in my life.  Regardless, I am genuinely intrigued by the power of living authentically, of giving everything that I have to only the essentials (and ignoring the non-essentials as much as possible).

If you are equally drawn into this idea, let me ask you a question: Who do you want to become, and what do you need to do to move in that direction?

Like I said, it’s an old question. But do you have a ready answer?

I know that just a few months ago, I didn’t have a clear answer. To be honest, my answer is still being worked out, but it is much less vague.

Pause. I feel like I need to offer a simple framework for anchoring our discussion. Let’s use ikigai, the Japanese word for your own personal sense of purpose. And at risk of translating a complex concept into social media-friendly talking points, let’s use the four main questions that are associated with defining ikigai today:

  • What do you love?
  • What are you good at?
  • What does the world need?
  • What can you be paid for?

Look at the first question: What do you love? Let me start by quickly calling out one very important idea – the question does not add “doing” at the end. That is significant. Because what we may love could easily be an ideal like beauty, faith, or even truth. And what we love could easily be translated into who we love – which would suggest that we love relationships, community, and/or even intimacy.

But I caution against answering this question with a verb. I have found that it leads to feeding the success addiction. It leads to that driven state so many of us know, where we pursue one achievement after another, constantly “doing” yet never fully satisfied.

So, what do you love? What makes you feel both intense satisfaction and also the desire to pursue and protect it more? Stop now and write it down. Seriously. Write it down before we continue.

Now, let’s look at the second question: What are you good at? And by good, I mean better than average. Maybe even far beyond better than average – as in exceptional (or you have the potential to be exceptional). These are your gifts and abilities that you can easily make even stronger. And to be fair, many of these things can be developed more through dedicated practice than through genetic blessing. We just have to commit to doing the work. Hint: include the things that you do exceptionally that might not show up in your work life. Again, write it down.

Look at the third question now: What does the world need? And by world, let me simply offer that you can define “the world” as the one you can interact with. Is it your community? Your nation? Or beyond? What needs do you see in that world? What unfulfilled opportunities exist there? Your answer could be small (like a better way to plan the use of time at work) or huge (addressing poverty in developing countries). If I may, gently limit your scope to the things that tug at your heart. Write your answer down.

Finally, let’s tackle the last question: What can you be paid for? I personally struggle with this last question, especially as I look at approaching the age where I simply want to work without the need for compensation so that my time is truly focused on only the essentials – but we all have obligations to cover, yeah?

So, how can you turn your efforts into revenue? And don’t lock yourself into just what pays a paycheck from an employer. There are many ways to make money that don’t involve a boss (self-employment, seasonal contract work, fund-raising, managing your financial assets, etc.). But if you were to find a way to monetize your contributions so that you could be paid to do what you love to do, what could you be paid for? Write it down.


Mirror moment: How hard is it for you to quickly write down answers? Do they rush forward from your subconscious, or does your brain go silent as you struggle to make something up that at least sounds like a decent answer? Have you already given thought to reflect on these ideas, or is this the first time in a long while (perhaps the first time ever) that you have tried to wrestle with your truly authentic purpose?

THIS is the reason I am writing this post. If you are finding this exercise hard to do, I strongly encourage you to let the next sentence you read sink into the depths of your soul…

Your life has purpose.

You exist for a reason. Do not let your current situation define you. It is simply part of your life story. Just like your past does not define you. What defines you is who you are on the inside – and the beautiful potential that it holds. What defines YOU is who you choose to become.

And I hope that knowing your passion (what you love), your talents (what you are good at), your opportunity (what the world needs from you), and your assets (what you can be paid for) inspires you to dream even bigger about who you can become. Because once you know who you want to become, you can take the steps to make it happen.

Or as Epictetus once said, “First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.”

I mua. Onward and upward.

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September 29, 2022

Is your definition of success generating failure?

Success is a deceptive word.

On one hand, there is the exhilaration of working at something – especially something that is extremely hard – and achieving success as the final outcome.

On the other hand, there is the moment that comes afterward. One month later. One year later.

You see, the exhilaration of success fades over time.

Last week’s personal high loses its glow.

Last year’s career achievement becomes a story we mention in passing.

And so forth…

Yet we still pursue success, don’t we? We still look for that next mountain to climb, that next milestone to achieve, that next outcome to deliver. One more achievement to come after the last one. Success upon success, over and over and over again. Which creates the kind of stress that we actually don’t want.

At least that is how it goes for those of us addicted to success.

Which begs the question… why?

Why do success addicts climb the difficult mountains? Why do success addicts push so hard? Is it simply for the rush, the moment of peak emotion that we know will come once we succeed? Are we simply looking for a new experience to feel good?

I’d like to offer 2 thoughts that I’ve been pondering.

The first thought is this: the success addict is not pursuing success. Rather, we are trying to please our past.

In other words, we have convinced ourselves that every success is somehow a salve for whatever sense of loss or failure that we experienced in the past, often buried deeply within our mind. That somehow the success of tomorrow will satisfy yesterday’s gap. The bigger the loss/failure, the bigger the success that is needed to feel “good.” And it gets more complicated when no single success can be big enough to heal the past.

Here’s the main problem with that approach: the past no longer exists. Shucks, the person that we once were no longer exists. We are constantly changing, evolving, and (hopefully) growing. Why should we expect the future to somehow fulfill the past?  It is an illogical belief – but one that success addicts grip tightly like a syringe full of hope.

If this is describing you, let me offer the advice that I am learning/applying to the narrative inside my own head. Make peace with yourself. Make peace with your past. Whatever pain or loss that you have experienced, accept it as part of the journey and accept that you have the power to give it purpose. Make it part of a grander lesson. Part of a better story. A story that has tremendous meaning and depth.

If you (and I) do this, we weaken our addiction to success. We release the expectations that we have placed on ourselves and we release the expectations that we have placed on others. And in turn, we throw open the doors to the kind of soul-feeding freedom that we have been craving.

The second thought (and this will likely require a second blog post to go further) is this: define “success” differently. Success is not about achieving anything else but one thing – bringing our BEING and DOING into full alignment. In that order. Decide who we want to be, and do what takes us in that direction.

Here is where it gets tricky.

Deciding who we want to be requires deep thought and self-awareness. We should not become anything other than the best version of ourselves (as opposed to becoming a clone of someone else or becoming a false ideal). However, how many of us even have a clue of what that person looks like?

Candidly, we all know the worst version of ourselves. And we likely shudder to even think of those flaws. But can we remember the best version of ourselves, when we behaved in a way that reflected our true potential? Now, take it one step further. Can we imagine taking that picture and making it even better? This is who we want to be.

With that clarity, we then must put it into action. We must bring it to life. How do we do that? We must find the short-term and medium-term achievements that will reflect the journey we are committed to. In other words, we need to ask ourselves the two-pronged question of what do we need to achieve this week/month (short-term) to deliver this year’s goal (medium-term)? Then, we must exercise the discipline of now. The discipline of this immediate moment. And take that single step toward the direction of our desired doing. And, ultimately, the direction of our desired being.

So, let me ask you again… Who are your trying to become? And what are you doing about it? I propose that these answers are your true definition of success. Everything else is at best a distraction. At worst, everything else is an effort that generates waste – and eventually generates failure.

Ponder that for a moment…

As always, if this post resonated with you, please reach out to me directly. We are in this together.

I mua. Onward and upward.

PS Note that I have changed my email for contact (it is now If you keep track of such things, please update your information accordingly. Mahalo.

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August 17, 2022

Information is control. Or so the myth says…

A couple of months ago, I received a “positive” test result for cancer. I was referred by my doctor to a specialist who would need to do further tests and offer a proper diagnosis. “Don’t be worried,” I was told. “This could be nothing.”

Now, after going through the cancer journey with my wife, you can imagine what my initial head/heart response was. It was genuine panic. And a rush of questions.

  • What does this mean?
  • What will I do if this gets confirmed?
  • How will I take care of my kids if I have cancer?

And on and on and on…

But I was able to stop myself and practice the principles that I’ve been learning. 

Breathe. Focus on the present. The only reality is now. Get neutral. Maximize the moment I have.

Did it make the situation better? Nope. But it certainly made my response better.

And it did a funny/unexpected thing.

I found myself releasing the need for information. I didn’t “need” the answers. This was especially significant because I couldn’t get to the specialist until early August any way. 

Why do I call this out this detail? Because there is a saying out there that says information is control. And I’m calling that a complete and utter myth.

Information may give us a sense of control, but it’s artificial at best.

The information may be wrong and the outcome will be nothing we expect. The information may be right, and the outcome can still be unpredictable. The information may be evolving (unbeknownst to us), and the outcome will very likely change.

There is no “control” created by the information. The only thing the information creates is a smaller sense of helplessness. We confuse that sense of lesser stress with the idea that we are somehow “now in control.” Somehow, we train ourselves to feel/think that acquiring information will provide the control we seek.

In other words, we seek information to either (a) shrink our sense of helplessness to a level that we can accept or (b) validate the helplessness we are feeling so that we can justify the fear-based decision that our amygdala is screaming for us to make.

Now, I’m not saying that information is bad or unnecessary. Information is incredibly helpful – and even desirable – to a point.

But what if we could untether our response from the information that is/is not available to us?

What if we could shrink our sense of helplessness without access to the information we are scrambling to collect?

What if we could slow down our stress response (maybe even eliminate it) and trust the journey to play itself out?

What if we could use information as just a snapshot through a soda straw (a tiny glimpse of only one portion of the bigger picture) and not the actual story?

What if indeed…

I mua. Onward and upward.

PS I completed the follow-up exam and got the results this past week. I was told “pre-cancerous growth” and I will have it removed next month.

PPS Mirror moment: Did you need that last bit of information? Did it somehow make you feel calmer knowing that I don’t have a cancer diagnosis? If you are saying yes, what does that tell you?

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July 13, 2022

What trauma teaches us about stress…

Sorry for the silence. I’ve been traveling like crazy (which incudes literally going around the world for business) and… I’ve also been doing some work on myself. Maybe it was subconsciously inspired by the concept of vulnerabilities that I explored in my last post, but I found myself digging into the extreme forms of stress that make me feel most vulnerable… namely, grief and trauma.

What is possibly one of the most powerful concepts I discovered was that the core feeling driving trauma (and I would offer both grief and stress are equally included) is the feeling of helplessness.

This is profound on so many levels (ping me if you want to spend some time going down that rabbit hole), but in order to provide a reasonable focus to this post, let me get to a very fine point: the root cause of our stress-inducing fears is when we feel helpless

More specifically, when we feel helpless to achieve success (or to avoid failure), we feel stress.

When we feel helpless to achieve significance (or to avoid rejection), we feel stress.

When we feel helpless to achieve control (or to avoid the unknown), we feel stress.

Good stress doesn’t leave us feeling helpless. Bad stress certainly does. And to make matters worse, stress (and grief) becomes traumatic when it passes the tipping point of our personal tolerance level of helplessness.

Here is where it gets really fascinating for me: the strength of that helplessness is going to be driven by what Martin Seligman called the 3 P’s:

  • Personalization: The belief that we are at fault
  • Permanence: The belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever
  • Pervasiveness: The belief that an event will affect all areas of our life

In other words, our chosen beliefs drive our sense of helplessness. Which means that our greatest vulnerability to stress – and our greatest source of incredible resilience – is our learned mindset regarding helplessness.

If/when we believe that helplessness is “my fault” or will “last forever” or will “affect everything” – well… nothing good will come of it. We will become stressed and stay there. Reliving the stress/grief/trauma as long as we feel helpless about how personal/permanent/pervasive the experience is.

But if/when we believe that helplessness is simply a part of everyone’s Life experience, that it will regularly show up (and disappear), and that there are still positive, powerful elements to our lives beyond the junk we have to deal with – well… we become resilient as hell.

We rise above the situation.

Stress becomes a short-term experience, if we experience that kind of stress at all.

And we then have the ability to be the best version of ourselves.

Which is what the Journey is all about, isn’t it?

I mua. Onward and upward.

PS If this post triggered some deeper thoughts and/or feelings for you, please reach out to me directly. I genuinely care – and I would be honored to walk part of your journey with you.

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April 26, 2022

Aren’t you afraid of the risk?

I bought a car this past weekend. A brand new one. And the experience was almost perfect.

Except for one thing.

And I knew it was coming… the high pressure sales attempt at the end when the Finance Manager (aka the final sales person) pushes to sell a host of extra “protections.”

So, I listened politely to all of his explanations, then simply said, “no.”

And then the pressure kicked in. I stopped counting his manipulation techniques after 5 and simply said, “Thanks, but I decline. Do I need to sign anything to confirm that?”

He then said to me these classic words, “Aren’t you afraid of the risk?”

Okay. Hit the pause button of this story – because there is soooooo much to unpack here.

First of all, let’s define “risk.”

I recently heard an absolute gem of a definition on The Knowledge Project podcast from an interview with General Stanley McChrystal. He laid out this beautiful equation: Threats x Vulnerabilities = Risk.

You see, I had always considered threats to be the SAME as risks. But they are NOT!

The key to a threat being a risk is the vulnerability. Without the vulnerability, there is no risk.

So while a Siberian tiger may be a massive threat, if it is contained behind fortified plexiglass it becomes a zoo attraction. Not a risk. 

Conversely, a little honey bee can be something to watch with childlike wonder as it explores a blossom, unless the observer is allergic to the bee’s sting. The little bee suddenly becomes a serious risk.

Which then got me thinking about stress.

Threats to our success, significance, and control can only stress us out when we are vulnerable to failure, rejection, and the unknown.

If we take away the vulnerability, we take away the stress.

Which is what the Finance Manager was clearly hoping I would not do.

But I was buying a brand of car that is very well-known for its reliability. And I was buying a model that is very well-known for its ruggedness. The very idea of needing extra protection (in addition to the warranty that comes with a brand new car) was purely based on the idea that I was vulnerable – not the car.

Read that again. The key vulnerability is… me.

And that, my friends, is what I leave you with. What vulnerabilities exist simply because of… you?

I mua. Onward and upward.

PS I didn’t buy any extras. And when we got past that, the Finance Manager changed the conversation to talk about how great the car is. And then we started talking about how proud we both are of our kids…

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April 10, 2022

Something for leaders…

Leaders, I need to talk with you for a moment.

In the podcast that I shared previously, I brought up the idea that – as leaders – we are responsible to create an environment of peak performance, to build a space where our people can flourish and be their best and ultimately produce their best outcomes.

We destroy that mission when we push success, significance, and/or control.

Let me explain.

Success is a word we casually throw around. Is it desirable? Of course it is. Is it guaranteed? Not at all.

How often have we seen the goal posts move, the situation change, the stakeholders change their minds?

All we can genuinely promise is to do our best, right?

And yet, time and again, how often do we stress about the risk of failure? How often do we allow the fear of anything remotely off-target cause us to double down on better-than-perfect execution?

The same could be said about the significance/rejection trap and the control/risk trap. We eventually become so attached to the outcomes of success/significance/control that we – and our teams – stress as soon as they POTENTIALLY move out of our grasp. Sadly, this creates the temptation for us to lead out of fear – which is never good (and generates even more unwanted stress).

As leaders, we have to be different.

We have to drive confidence, acceptance, and trust into our teams. We have to make those three things the foundation of our culture. Because when we establish the primacy of doing our best, accepting ourselves, and trusting the journey, we minimize the fear that so often infects the most important decisions.


This is a MAJOR point, so I’ll say it again. When we push success/significance/control into our teams, we allow the fears of failure/rejection/risk to have undesirable access to every decision we make. Especially when we are not in the room.

In this state, we teach our players that it’s better to make “safe” decisions, not the best decisions. We teach them that it’s better to avoid blame, than to accept opportunity. And ultimately, we teach them it’s okay to drag others down whenever others seek to do something “different.”

Now, hear me again, I am not saying that achieving success, being recognized for the effort, and having things go as planned are wrong or undesirable. What I am saying is that those things need to be the outcome of confidence, acceptance, and trust – not the other way around.

In other words, when we use confidence/acceptance/trust to make our foundation strong and level, we can build on it. But when we build without this proper foundation, we are only building something that will eventually fall over.

(PS – the exact same thing applies to us as parents…)

I mua. Onward and upward.

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