Observations

Below is a collection of Dr. McGlaughlin's most recent observations (500+). Most of these observations are made throughout the course of everyday life, captured by dictation, and added to FlintsNotes.com. You can read more about the observation capture process here. The content here changes 5 days a week, so be sure to check back often. Also, feel free to leave a comment in the comments section of each observation.

Truth Revealed in the Lives of Extremists

Truth is not in the fuzzy middle, it’s hiding in the margins. It’s best discovered when studying the lives of extremists. Men like Niche, who empowered much of the thinking which produced the holocaust, took…

On Achievement and Physical Athleticism

In life, when it comes to achievement – but also in physical athleticism – one must prioritize the following: Being able to go where one intends (destination)Being able to go long enough to get there…

On the RFP as Beauty Pageant

Marketing leaders and agencies, in particular,  should be aware of RFPs. Ultimately, such competitions become a "beauty pageant" gone wrong, with each vendor trying to look more attractive than the other. The effective marketer does not…

On the Importance of Capability and Character

In the end the decision to trust someone to perform a service for you can be summarized into two questions: “Can they?” and “will they?”  Indeed, these questions thought of differently are the drivers of…

On the Danger of Rebranding

You can't fix a plumbing problem by repainting the house, and you can't fix a marketing problem by rebranding the product. Never confuse art with artifice.   From a Forbes interview with Flint McGlaughlin  …

On the Connection Between Brand and the Value Proposition

Brand is an impression on the mind. The value proposition is a reason in the mind (to purchase from X instead of Y). The right reason supported by the right impression increases the probability of the…

On Marketing as an Expedition into the Mind

Marketing should not be a battle of opinions between marketers, but rather an expedition into the mind of prospective customers. Salesmen make claims, but marketers shape conclusions.

On Conversion as the Apex Unit of Transformation

Transformation is a grand word used by everyone, but conversion is the humble precipitator of transformation. At the fundamental level, it is a stasis change "from-to," as in from prospect to customer, as in from…

On Marketing and Knowing What You Don’t Know

Good science can make anyone look foolish. If you are using your marketing to prove what you know, then you are consigning yourself to mediocrity. Brilliant marketers spend their time trying to discover what they…

On the Importance of Embarrassment

The problem with growth is that by its very nature, it creates sharp, painful contrast between "what was" and "what is"; the work/life of the past seems weak, even embarrassing. However, this embarrassment factor can…

A Deep Elemental Force: What (truly) is marketing?

A Deep Elemental ForceWhat (truly) is Marketing? The great words of our society have been destroyed by the power of connotation over denotation. The speed of this demise has accelerated with the advent of mass…

My Five Greatest Mistakes as A Leader

My Five Greatest Mistakes as A Leader36 Years of Painful Data (that might help you) In my field, we often speak of "data-driven decisions." But for the leader, sometimes the most important data is derived…

On the True Purpose of Leadership

Leaders must make an existential choice: they can either be the “perfect” leader or a real leader, but they cannot be both. The purpose of leadership is not to "be a great leader"; the purpose…

On the Connection Between Well-being and Enduring Success

The customer's well-being is the epicenter of the company's well-being. Winning at the expense of well-being is just losing at a deeper level. 

On the Difference Between Strategy, Purpose and Passion

Strategy consumes the attention of boardrooms around the world, but under certain conditions, passion fully aligned behind purpose will trump the carefully crafted strategy. Indeed, strategy should not set purpose; purpose (what) should lead strategy…

On the Difference Between Doing the Right Thing and Doing the Thing Right

Doing the right thing is more important than doing the thing right. The marketer must deliver the right message to the right prospect at the right time - or it is no longer the right…

On the Essential Triad of Relevance, Importance, and Nature

If the message is relevant, then it concerns them. If the message is important, then it concerns them deeply. If the message is urgent, then it concerns them deeply, now.

On the Importance of Clarity

The marketer’s art is not persuasion; it is clarity. Indeed, when the marketer represents an authentic value proposition, clarity is persuasion.

On the Difference between “How Many” and “How So”

We 'listen' to customer data in order to 'hear' customer insights. Metrics are not about 'how many'; metrics are about 'why so.

On Understanding the True Power of Marketing

Marketing is misunderstood on so many levels. Ultimately, it is a kind of "superpower". The world is ruled not by brute force, but rather by elegant force (marketing). Understanding how to get people to say…

On Coping with the Negative

The first law life is that the negative prevails (entropy). The art of living is expressed in the ability to emphasize the positive within the context of an ever degrading negative.

On Treating Each Day as an Gift

When we reflect upon the beauty and the terror of existence, we may consider each day as a unit of opportunity. A day should never "pass," so to speak, because we should treat each day…

On Leadership and Managing the Unknown

The artful leader is distinguished by a single nuanced attribute. The artful leader is not surprised by surprises. He engineers a system for anticipating the unexpected. Indeed, leadership requires one to manage the unknown.  

On the Relationship Between the Grand and the Grind

Sometimes the “grand” is disguised within the “grind.” Some leaders look for those dramatic movements that indicate progress, when in fact, it is the integrated arrangement of strategic details that produces true advantage.    

On the Key to Staying Focused

Someone asked me recently, “how do you stay focused and consistent when you have to do the same task over and over again?” My answer was this: “I never do the same task twice in a…

On Leadership and the Artful Use of the Three Tenses

The leader must manage the present tense in view of the past and the future. Never let the present tense distort your perspective. This is especially true of relationships. The only valid use of the…

On the Power of Seeming

Words matter. Small words seem to matter more. One word seems to matter most: hope. The will to live is inextricably intertwined with the power to hope (Camu aside). But the power to hope is…

On the Danger of Data without Context

Mistakes made with data rarely have to do with the math. Data plus data equals more data; data plus context (pattern recognition) equals wisdom. Data without context is like sex without love; it can feel good, but…

On Motivation and Doing what You Need to Do

Each leader has to do what they need to do, but people often fall into two categories: those who do what they need to do, in order to do what they want to do, and…

On Leadership and the Power of Will

Some leaders are bound to change the world, regardless of the tool they use. If you give this man a hammer, he will reshape the world with it; if you give him a wrench, he…

On the Pseudo-Certainty of Science

I find the bias in science to be even more disappointing than the bias in religion. More to the point, I find the sense of certainty with which some scientists speak to be more disappointing…

On Leadership and the Importance of Honest Dialogue

Leaders tend to use relationships to achieve meaningful KPIs, but relationships are not built around KPIs, they are built around honest dialogue. KPIs are useful for management, but they are insufficient for inspiration. The leader…

On the Balance between Craftsmanship and Genius

Great art is not made by the artist, it only escapes from the artist. The moment you try to construct the parts and the multi-layered magic that makes art, it becomes contrived. That is why…

On the Molecular Unit of Communication

The molecular unit of optimization is the sentence. Every single principle associated with optimizing any form of marketing can be understood, perhaps best understood, in the context of improving a sentence. A sentence represents the…

On Leadership and the Paradox of Excess

The leader must learn to appreciate beauty as the defining standard in the form and substance of the organization. Beauty is lavish, but never wasteful. Art often engages a paradox of excess and frugality. It…

On Leadership and the Four-Part Framework of Mentoring

The leader who embraces a teaching model focuses on building people, then, the people build the company. As you approach this mentoring activity, it is important to think through a four-part framework: beliefs, values, character…

On Leadership and the Scarcest Constraint of Time

Much has been written on the importance of time, but as time passes the leader become more cognizant that time is our scarcest constraint. The most important priorities for the leader are the factoring and…

On Developing a Personal View

As you structure a lens within which to survive the sea of uncertainty, it is good to remember that the ultimate context seems to be a paradoxical tension of (beyond) brilliant, pure chaos. It is…

On Leadership and the Difference Between View and Perspective

It is useful for a leader to understand or draw the distinction between the term “view” and the term “perspective.” When I was a young man, I had a (flawed) view on most of life’s…

On the Power of the Compass and Lens

Vision is overrated. Indeed, there is a place for this concept, but it is more important that the leader develop two essential tools: their “compass” and their “lens.” The compass helps us know; it gives…

On Leadership and the Danger of the “Almost” Tense

Leaders must beware of leading from the “almost” tense. Though you cannot measure this gap in cognitive inches or minutes, the “almost” tense is the furthest you can be from the present. Leaders in the…

On Leadership and the Three Elements of Impact

The artful leader must think of themselves as a construct of impact. In this construct, there is a pattern so fundamental that it may be related to physics, as much as it is to ethics.…

On Leadership and the Balance between Aggressive Reflection and Relentless Action

Too many organizations are either paralyzed by excessive discussion or rendered ineffectual through frantic activity. Aggressive reflection requires the leader’s team to think deeply and generate insights. Relentless action requires the team to translate those…

On Leadership and Three Elements of a Healthy Organization

The leader must be aware of three elements that contribute to an effective culture. I have noticed in literature various HR experts speak of these elements, but I rarely see all three in proper balance.…

On Leadership and the Danger of Math

The leader must be careful of making decisions via the comfort of math. Indeed, any leader can conclude that (3 – 4 = -1); calculating is not the hardest part. The hardest part is estimating,…

On Leadership and Becoming our “Yes-es”

Each time we say “yes,” we are engaged in the predication of our subject (being). “Yes” indicates something about our ontology, in that it actualizes a potential. The further we follow this logic, the easier…

On Leadership and the Agenda as Hypothesis

The artful leader approaches meetings with a unique construct. An agenda should not be “a list of things to talk about”; an agenda forms a hypothesis for how the leader will accomplish the objective of…

On the Difference between Reason and Excuse

The leader must understand the difference between a reason and an excuse. You can use a reason to explain why you behaved in a certain way without implying that this reason justifies the behavior. A…

On Leadership and the Practice of “Yes And”

One of the most important tools for the leader is the phrase “yes and.” It is natural for the leader to say “however” or “but”; yet, this pointer word should only be used when necessary,…

On Leadership and Assessing Risk in New Hires

When the leader places someone in a strategic position, the first question they should ask is not the standard question: is this the right hire? But rather a more nuanced question: will this new hire…

On Love and the Three-Word Promise that Preserves Relationships

The three-word promise, “I love you” can start a relationship, but only the three-word promise, “in spite of” preserves a relationship. Transcendent love moves from proclamation, through explanation, to a point where it can only…

On Leadership and the Essential Elements of a Good Strategy

The artful leader develops strategy with four key insights in mind: 1. A good strategy mitigates its downside. Great leaders don’t take enormous risks unless they must. They instinctually work with a cognitive heuristic: X/Y,…

On The Illusion of Optionality

The artful leader does not mistakenly equate the number of options with freedom. The inverse is true; the number of options can produce restrictions on freedom. Sometimes the limited quantity of time and the limited…

On Leadership and the Viscosity of Candor

As a leader, I am fascinated by the notion of viscosity. We create giant machines built of strong materials (steel, titanium), and yet, these machines for all their strength, will cease to function if not…

On the Beauty and the Horror of Life

Those who try to fathom life cannot truly understand until they have joined those who sing the song of grief. It is a chorus that all must one day join. When those whom you love…

On the Difference between being “Male” and “Man”

Never confuse being male with being a man. The former is a biological definition; the latter is a spiritual definition. The defining characteristic of a man is his willingness to bear responsibility. Integrity is important,…

On Leadership and the Art of Peaceful Paranoia

An artful leader embodies a contradiction of peace and paranoia. They are at peace because they maintain crystal clarity, not because they do not see problems coming. They are paranoid because they maintain aggressive vigilance,…

On Leadership and Difference Between Solving Problems and Building People

Some leaders use their team to solve problems, but artful leaders use problems to build their team. Solving a problem is event-focused; building is process-focused. The former achieves a one-off outcome; the latter develops a…

On Leadership and the Importance of “No”

One of the primary jobs of the leader is to say “no,” and mostly to themselves. We trap ourselves with seemingly harmless commitments. Beware of parallel energy streams; six parallel streams of energy will never…

On the Danger of Technology Outpacing Humanity’s Development

Technology is maturing at a rate faster than mankind. This leads to extreme danger. The phenomenon is like a six-year-old who discovers how to build a gun. We marvel at her ingenuity and forget the…

On Philosophy and Possibility

If my philosophy is grounded in the nature of uncertainty, then my spirituality is grounded in a doctrine of possibility. Hope by its very nature is the expression of possibility.

On Leadership and Mere Virtue

The artful leader must beware of trying to create a perfect set of organizational values. All calls to virtue are merely delineating lines of a greater (more beautiful) sketch. Indeed, there are no lines in…

On Leadership and Focusing on the Inside Edges of Technology’s Reach

It is a mistake for most leaders to focus their energy on the outer edge of technology’s reach. In a connected world, there is rarely a new thought. The spontaneous development at the edge of…

On Leadership and Moving from the Internal towards the External

The artful leader operates “From within,” not “For without.” In the midst of a challenge, some leaders draw their sense of peace, their center, from effective management of the external threat. This is dangerous and…

On Confusing Great Content with Great Writing

Never confuse a great writer with great content. Don’t confuse celebrity and sainthood. They’re not the same in any field.  

On the Difference Between Reasons and Causes

There’s a difference in the cognitive zone between the reason and the cause.  All causes are reasons, but not all reasons are causes. Now anyone can argue by changing my meaning and saying that all…

On the Difference Between Simplicity and Ease

The leader must be aware of the difference between simple and easy: Easy relates to a process with a low coefficient of friction. Simple means ‘easily understandable,’ yet it is not, by definition, necessarily easy…

On the Leader Providing an Empowering Framework

The leader has essential task that is often neglected in management literature. She does more than inspire a mission; she develops a model (framework). This model allows the team to conceptualize all the action steps…

On Leadership and the Ultimate Power of Beauty

The virtues of character are synonymous with the attributes of beauty. Art is most compelling when it is “authentic.” Poetry is most rich when it is “honest.” One speaks of great architecture by referring to…

On Leadership and the Connection between Ideals and Ideas

The leader must carefully understand the connection between ideas and ideals. Your richest ideas will be intrinsically motivated by your most important ideals. Indeed, your value proposition can typically be traced in a direct line…

On Leadership and Moving Out of The Center

Leaders must discipline the force of their influence. I’d like to influence lives in a good way, but I don’t want to be too central to anyone’s thinking. Life should be lived from one’s own…

On Art and the Transcendence of Meaning

The great musicians rise above the music; they transcend it. They transcend the meaning and they transcend the melody, but those technically proficient musicians, who are centered more in their head than they are in…

On Leadership and the Danger of Transition Zones

The leader must beware of “transition zones”. We are constantly transitioning from an intimate conversation to encouraging speech to investigative analysis, etc. It is difficult to swiftly shift one’s mind from one state to another.…

On the Nature of a True Apology

An apology without contrition is like a contract without a signature; it expresses an intent, but it doesn’t engage the necessary action. Apologies only work at the “heart level”; they are ineffectual at the “head…

On Leadership and Simplifying Greatness

Leaders don’t change an organization simply by doing the extraordinary, they change an organization by redefining the ordinary. Leaders simplify greatness.   

On Accepting the Limitations of Our Best Work

Did I do the best I can? Despite the pressures of project deadlines, it is important to have the most important “yes” you can achieve: did I do the best I can (considering the unavoidable…

On Justification vs. Actualization

We spend too much time trying to prove that our choices are grounded in some higher authority, be it logic, God, or some combination. We confuse a decision with a rule. It is perfectly acceptable for an autonomous being…

On Leadership and Looking the Dragon in the Eye

Leaders need to beware of reports that put a "happy face" on bad news. Bad news needs to be exactly what it is. Any interpretation that is unrealistic prevents the leader from seeing clearly enough to take the…

On Leadership and the “One Thing”

At the heart of organizational dysfunction is a problem of emphasis. Broken organizations major on minors and minor on majors.  The artful leader does the "one thing" so well, they don't need to do the "other things".

On the Balance Between Craftsmanship and Art

The artist must understand how to weight craftsmanship against art. Craftsmanship is necessary, but not sufficient. Art without craftsmanship is undisciplined, misshapen, and lacks impact. One the other hand, craftsmanship without art is sterile, technical,…

On Leadership and the Danger of “Doing it all”

The number one lie that talented young leaders tell themselves is this, “I can do it all.” This lie is insidious because, on face value, it seems so true and yet it is among the…

On Leadership and the Difference Between Form and Substance

The leader must beware of a person who confuses form with substance, such people reduce the world to “templates”, and in doing so they judge the contents by the container.    

On Philosophy and Satisfaction as the End

I wonder how many philosophers found satisfaction while pursuing their quest. Most of these, if not all of these, were grasping for something. Their writing had some purpose. Some embarked on a grand scheme to…

On Leadership and Expectations

The leader must beware of expectations. Expectation is a chain that you put around your neck. Be careful that you don’t let anyone else put it there without permission.  

On Leadership and Ultimate Motivation

Which one of these leader’s life aims is most powerful? 1) The one who finds pleasure in her own interests, then acknowledges so and pursues it. 2) The one who finds pleasure in her own…

On Leadership and the Appearance of Humility

Leaders sometimes reduce humility to a series of humble actions (“humble techniques”).  These efforts do not represent authentic humility. They often represent the appearance, the attempt to appear humble; one must discern the difference. True…

On the Complex Being of “I”

Elsewhere I have questioned the nature of “I” when predicated with “I am”. I have asked whether or not “I” is a plural, a compound, or a set. The reasons that motivate my questions are more empirical at their foundation then logical…

On Combining Simplicity with Complexity

The best strategy is a "complication" of simplicity and complexity. Simplicity of vision is different than complexity of execution. This calls for a shift in thinking. A simple vision often requires a (especially) complex execution.…

On Leadership and Cutting Through Self-deception

It may be possible to for one to cut through self-deception and understand themselves better, it may be easier for one to determine their life’s aim, by posing a series of simple questions structured in…

On the Power of Influence

The universe is a construct of influence. It is the influence of stars and planets that create a solar system. It is the influence of protons, neutrons, and electrons that create the atomic substructure of reality.  It is the…

On Leadership and Achieving the Extraordinary

In leadership, you get what you settle for… The leader must beware of settling for the "mere extraordinary". In today's rapidly evolving world, yesterday's extraordinary is the new norm. With all that we have at…

On Leadership and the Currency of Influence

Trust is the currency of influence. Too often, we try to achieve influence by impressing people, when in truth, authentic influence is achieved by building trust. The leader must decide whether they want to be…

On Leadership and the Artful Communicator

At the essence of leadership is communication. The artful communicator must be an artful translator. The most difficult work in translation is not translating the other person's words into yours, but rather translating yours into theirs. The best communicator is as conscious of the other person's meaning as…

On Leadership and the Danger of Reports

A leader must beware of reports. Reports can serve the same role as an Aspirin: they mask a problem, they provide a false sense of comfort, and they offer no cures. The leader may find…

On Leadership and the Danger of Balance

The leader must beware of balance. Balance itself must be balanced. One must balance the need for balance with the need for extremes. The artful leader does not balance weakness with strength, she minimizes weakness,…

On Leadership and the Difference between a Good Decision and a Right Decision

Every leader is required to make decisions, but in most cases, she will never have all of the data she desires. The art of making decisions isn’t about making the right decision, it is about making a good decision. A…

On Communication and Allowing The Audience To Optimize You

Presentations often begin by puzzling through a riddle. The speaker can often feel the presence of the riddle before she/he can articulate it. Sometimes it is in the articulation itself that the problem is solved.…

On Leadership and the Nuanced Decision

The success of your company turns on the slightest nuance in your decision process. There may be three ways forward that will work, a nearly infinite number that will not work, and of the three…

On the Difference between Life as “Good” and the Good Life

The good life is concept contemplated by philosophers around the world and across the centuries. What constitutes the good life? In most cases, philosophers think about this life against the context of its impact on…

On the Problem with Focusing on Your Brand

Too much emphasis on brand takes a company’s attention off its value proposition. Focusing on your company’s brand is like focusing on your reputation instead of your behavior. This is a grave mistake. The person…

On Marketing and Doing the Right Thing

Doing the right thing is more important than doing the thing right. The marketer must deliver the right message to the right prospect at the right time - or it is no longer the right…

On Metrics as the ‘Why So’

We 'listen' to customer data in order to 'hear' customer insights. Metrics are not about 'how many'; metrics are about 'why so'.

On Leadership and the Meeting as a Single Building Block

A leader should beware of the need to conduct a “make-or-break” meeting; this is particularly true of internal meetings. Indeed, the fact that the leader needs a remarkable meeting is sometimes an indication that the…

On Leadership and the Danger of “When”

The leaders job can be understood through the lens of two interrogatives; the “what” and the “when”. We have to get the “what” right, but we also have to the “when” right. It is the…

On Leadership and the Brilliant Fool

The leader must constantly learn, and this means learning from all of those around her, regardless of their status. Every brilliant man is a fool in some way, and (most) every foolish man is brilliant…

On Leadership and Managing Negative Space

Artful leadership does not begin with AN answer; it begins with THE question. Indeed, leadership is not so much about managing what you do know (positive space) as it is managing what you do not…

On Leadership and the Fallacy of a Balanced Life

Great leaders are deformed; we follow them not because they have a great weakness, but because they have great strengths. No one ever changed the world because they lived a balanced life.  

On Leadership and Losing to Win

A wise leader allows his enemy to win; he just makes sure that they are fully engaged in winning the wrong battle. Indeed, while they celebrate their victory over an attractive piece of ground, he…

On Leadership and the Distinction Between Vision and Purpose

The leader must understand the difference between vision and purpose. Vision is a picture; purpose is a reason.  

On Leadership and the Capable Team

A leader must be careful about how he solves a challenge. If he solves a problem for his team, the best he can hope for is that they are grateful. If he solves the problem…

On Becoming Too Busy to Slow Down and See

Leaders can become overwhelmed by all that must be done. However, the No. 1 reason we carry the burden is not because we have too much to do; it is because we have too much…

On Leadership and Ontology

What makes a great leader is not so much what she does, but rather who she is. Developing trustworthy character, unflinching courage, and a transcendent vision requires a move beyond systems and programs. By focusing…

On Leadership and the Management of Energy

Leaders are masters of energy. They master their own, and they shape the energy of those around them. Leaders have an ability to cultivate and extend positive energy within their organizations. This concept transcends, but…

On Self-heroic and Ordinary Moments

Be careful about judging a man by his self-heroic moments; you must judge him by is ordinary moments. Judge him by those things which to him are ordinary, but perhaps exceptional to others. Every man…

On How Structure Can Impose Confusion

As I seek to try and build a beautiful organization, I realize that structure is closely associated with one's concept of beauty. Structure is foundational to design. I find it difficult, however, to devise the…

On the Inability to Achieve Precision

Because we are finite beings, we cannot experience precision. What we consider precise, is only an illusion. The beauty of math is that it allows us to achieve precision in the abstract. The tragedy of math…

On Aggregating Activity

If you want it to rain you first have to fill the clouds with water. Sometimes activity produces an outcome, even when you can’t draw a direct cause and effect relationship. Working smart is better…

On Leadership and Self-deception

As a leader, our greatest danger is never the blatant crime that we commit, but rather the lie we tell ourselves first. Our greatest weakness is not our surrender to vice, but rather our enormous…

On the Song that Writes You

My best music is constrained so that I only compose what I cannot say in prose. The subtleties of sound with no meaning but inexplicable symmetry, and of words with indirect meaning but penetrating message,…

On Playing from the Song You Experience

When I play the piano I prefer to work with my own composition. It is not that I don’t value the work of others, it is that I do not believe that anyone can truly play…

On Leading From Weakness

I have observed that some leaders display flaws, significant weaknesses, yet somehow develop healthy, thriving organizations. On the other hand I have observed that some leaders display an almost invincibility, serious capabilities, yet somehow foster…

On Uncertainty and Possibility

 If my philosophy is grounded in the nature of uncertainty, then my spirituality is connected to a doctrine of possibility. Hope by its very nature is most connected to the concept of possibility. 

On Learning Wide and Deep

When leading a new organization, it is important that you first go wide and then go deep. If you don’t go wide first, you don’t know where to go deep. Perspective precedes insight.   

On the Priority of Velocity over Speed

We need to look ahead at our writing output to determine if our processing velocity is in sync with our producing velocity. If there is a wide differential, then we have to adjust the entire…

On Discerning the Difference between Simple and Easy

There is a manifold difference between simple and easy. Some things are simple to explain, simple to plan, but not easy to execute. A good leader is sensitive to the difference between that which is…

On Communicating with Entrepreneurs

Communicating to entrepreneurs is different than communicating with academics. This is a point that doesn't need much elucidation. Still, it is important to understand a critical distinction: The entrepreneur operates from a set of common…

On Balancing the Long-Term with the Short-Term

My whole life has been a combination of short-term and long-term investments. In a sense, I am very sensitive to the cash conversion cycle of my own production. Twenty years ago I made investments in…

On the Force of Persuasion

Throughout history, power is amassed in two ways: by force or by persuasion.  Force itself when multiplied across a social dynamic is still ultimately dependent upon persuasion. Behind every great army, there is a deal.…

On the Natural Selfishness of Leaders

Leaders are inherently selfish. Their first reaction is almost always self-centered. I believe it is difficult to prevent this problem. I do not judge a leader by his first reaction, but rather by his second. The second…

On the Danger of Writing Only for the Critics

Most of the self-important literature in the market is hard to read. Some of the best and most important literature is so readable that it is overlooked by the critics. It is hard for a…

On the Sterilization of Philosophy

I think there is solid philosophical reason to consider the implications of intelligent evil. We spend too much time on the abstract; we do our philosophy from within a comfort bubble – oftentimes without fully accounting for…

On Leaders and the Danger of Focusing on the Particular

Effective leaders have a distinct ability to view the panorama and not just the particular. Indeed, they use the particular to better understand the panorama. People in authority, who are not true leaders, are always…

On the Futility of Attempting Pure Expression

I'm struggling, yet again, as I try to express concepts in linguistic form. As a child, I developed a language that allowed me to think more efficiently. It was based on a zero plus tri/binary…

On the Tension between Rules, Principles and the Fundamentals

Rules and principles in business are important. Nevertheless, every great business is an exception. Indeed, the greater the exception, the greater the business. While one must not forget this point, one must also balance it…

On the Impact of Relationships Building instead of Lead Building

When one understands the significant difference between lead generation and relationship building, they position themselves in such a way as to take “the addition impacts of lead generation and amplify them with the multiplication impacts”.…

On Leading from Behind

There is much talk about leading from the front, this observation is valuable when one considers that a leader must be in the trenches with his team. But one should consider the importance of leading…

On Life as a Cycle

Life is a cycle of cycles. We seem to prefer to freeze our self in the most desirable phase of such cycles. We attach our true identity to this desirable phase; we say, “I am.”…

On Dyads to Triads

In a triad of concepts, the major leg can typically be folded into a dyad. I use the triad form of conceptual thinking only when it’s necessary to achieve the greater clarity. I think we…

On Hammurabi’s Strengthening of the Center

In 1792 BC the Amorite chief of Babylon died. He was replaced by a son, Hammurabi. This new leader was trapped between two major kingdoms: Rim-sin and Shamashi-adad. Hammurabi was not strong enough to fight…

On the Medium as Grafted into the Message

The medium changes the message. We may wish it were not so but that does not help. One must be sensitive to how the medium necessarily contextualizes the message. This is why, for instance, trying…

On Marketing as a Key Responsibility of the CEO

When you disconnect the CEO from the marketer, you have two different operations taking place. This is why thinkers like Drucker realized that marketing is a responsibility of the CEO (Drucker rightly connected innovation and…

On the Great Man and Multiplicity of Perspective

At the heart of understanding is multiplicity of perspective. To understand a great man, one must see the world through his eyes, see him through his peer's eyes, and see his work through history's eyes.

On Leadership and the X/Y Axis of More and Better

When one is trying to improve results, they should keep in mind a sort of geometrical relationship. In my mind I visualize two dimensions at an angle. They represent the concept of “more” or of “better”. In…

On the Means to the Right Answer

To build a great organization, the leader must develop an effective team that knows how to engage in a "thorough process." This is a strength that could become a weakness. This thorough process can be…

On Listening While Talking

Most people stop listening when they start talking, but the greatest communicators listen even more as they talk.  

On Considering the Extremities of the Human Condition

The human condition must be considered along with its extremities. It has poles. On one hand, you have extreme ecstasy, and on the other, you have extreme agony. However, we work out most of our theology…

On Transcending the Ordinary Understanding of Productivity

We need to transcend the ordinary understanding of what it means to be productive. We need to transcend our mind with fiction - even “comic book” heroics. I sometimes imagine my life and work unfolding while…

On the Danger of Leadership Literature

I think much of the literature on leadership has done more damage than good. The great leader is not focused on leadership; the great leader is focused on mission. A great leader achieves a mission with the…

On the Purest Philosophy

People at their moments of greatest joy, and especially at their moments of deepest grief, break spontaneously into the most profound of philosophies. It is after a great loss that you hear a person, who…

On Balancing Creativity and Craft in Writing

When writing, one must allow for both creativity and craft. However, you cannot think simultaneously about both. If you think about craft, it mitigates creativity, so you must give creativity precedence. In essence, creativity initiates the…

On the Things You Cannot Learn from a Teacher

There are some things you can learn from a teacher; and there are some things you can only learn from life itself. Intelligence is no substitute for experience, and there are kinds of knowledge you can…

On Leadership and Escaping Intellectual Corners

Sometimes a leader needs to appear to be unreasonable in order to become truly reasonable. We are often presented with false dichotomies, or we are pushed into intellectual corners and asked to make a decision.…

On Marketing and the Priority of Conclusions Over Claims

Marketers are too concerned with claims. The work of the marketer is more subtle. We should be more concerned with fostering conclusions than forcing claims. Our work is to create a special mental condition. Indeed we arrange…

On the Infinite Value of Existence

The older I get, the more I appreciate the value of existence. The more I appreciate the value of existence, the more I realize that it can only be fathomed in small doses. I have…

On the Proper Allocation of Simplicity and Complexity in One’s Life

One must understand the difference between simplicity and complexity as it relates to the individual and their life. There are a lot of simple people who live complex lives. This creates stress and difficulty. I…

On Leadership and The Need to Separate the “What” from the “When”

The leader knows “what” before he knows “how,” but he knows “how” before he knows “when.” It is the “when” element which makes fools out of wise men. We often know what will happen, but…

On the Problem with Biographers

Beware of biographies written by biographers. The problem is some people cannot be truly understood except by someone who is like them. Biographers are not like CEOs, poets, or inventors. The good biographers bring a…

On the Simultaneous Experience of Joy and Agony

I do not understand how joy and agony can co-exist within the same person, even within the same instant. Life is an inversion of paradoxes. One can be full of joy and, yet, full of…

On My Work as an Expression of Experimental Philosophy

I need to consider the impact of rational choice theory as it relates to my research on the value proposition. I think I hold to a subjective theory of value, at least on a practical…

On Conflating the Two Concepts of Convergence Theory and Enterprise Locus

I am conflating two concepts: convergence theory and enterprise locus. Transformation assumes an external force working against an entity. In the event that force is being applied to an entity in a given dimension, the…

On Existence as the Unification of Subject and Predicate

Reality may be interpreted as vertical and horizontal. Vertical reality manifests itself in levels; horizontal reality manifests itself in parts. My vertical reality is experienced in layers (they form my subject). My horizontal reality is…

On How a Leader Galvanizes Action

A leader galvanizes action. He spends his solitude in determining and discerning his way through decision processes. It does not mean he makes those decisions on his own, but he does come to a certain…

On the Marketer as Both Scientist and Mystic

The marketer must be part scientist and part mystic. While many would agree with the science aspect, others would challenge the mysticism. But the marketer is dealing with the complexities of the human being. The…

On Negation as the Determination of Possibilities

A movement in the space-time continuum represents (ultimately) a negation. The positive cancels other possibilities. The positive is the concrete that fills the void of the possible. If I move my hand to select an…

On Age as an Increasing Acuteness of Angle

[Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from one of Dr. McGlaughlin's short stories. Read the full story here.] It took Kierkegaard nine pseudonyms and a lifetime of artful indirection laced with riffs (parables, even Socratic…

On Leadership and the Question Beneath the Questions

When making a decision of significant consequence, the first question that a leader should ask is this: Have I asked the right questions? In particular, the leader needs to go down to the level beneath…

On Communication as a Means of Actualizing Perception

It would seem to me that there is more to communication than imparting information. The best communicator articulates what his audience has already intuitively perceived. Often the audience recognizes the truth, though they have never…

On Shifts in our Paradigm and Future Action Sets

At the foundation of our thinking is an essential philosophy, a self-paradigm (a view of ourselves as we relate to the world). When we process from this perspective it is difficult for us to imagine…

On the Danger of Mistaking Activity for Productivity

While I have stressed in other observations, the importance of being able to develop a proper list and check it off, it is a mistake to substitute list-checking for productive thinking. Our processes need creative…

On the Leader’s Energy and Clarity

The leader is constantly faced with the inertia of reality. Every initiative drags.  Every deadline is challenged. Every idea is undermined. Books on leadership do not go far enough. The leader must generate "inertia-overcoming" herculean…

On the Importance of Oscillating between Planning and Writing

The author needs to know how to oscillate between planning and writing. In my case, I can plan so far (but in great detail), then I need to write my way forward. This calls for…

On the Illusion of the Past

The older I grow, the less certain I am in the reality of the past. It is difficult to comprehend what it means to be non-existent. The past does not seem to exist. To say…

On Being Productive and Indulging in Self-Importance

Sometimes it's difficult to detect the difference between an extreme focus on productivity and an extreme focus on luxury. In both cases, the leader may invest in support systems that appear lavish. One man has a…

On Leadership and the Danger of the “Promising” Opportunity

When presented a "promising" opportunity, eight out of 10 times I run for my life. The number one difference between a seemingly effective leader and a truly effective leader is the manner in which they…

On Leadership and the Essential Nature of Communication

The leader may better understand the importance of communication if he understands that communication is not just essential; it is essence. All that I have in this world is the projection of my consciousness. I…

On Philosophy and Preventing the “Pathway” from Becoming a “Trench”

The leader or writer must never let the pathway become a trench. When you start with existing material, you start with a natural bias. This bias can turn the edges of the path into barriers.…

On Learning from a Flash of Pain

Sometimes, in a flash of pain, I am able to experience life with some form of direct insight. It is (thankfully) a fleeting glimpse of reality. The stark truth, my plight as incipient, becomes unbearable,…

On Passing Style vs. Timeless Style

One needs to discern the difference between passing style and timeless style - whether it's choosing clothes or writing prose. There may be a reason to consider passing style, but there is always reason to honor…

On Building into Your Leaders the Capacity to See

Leadership consists of far more than the series of techniques and tactics that contemporary leadership literature often teaches. You build a great leader by helping him expand his capacity to see and thus his capacity…

On Influence and the Cultural Wave

The men and women in history who had the greatest influence are often those that caught a “cultural wave” at just the right time. There are probably a hundred others just as capable, but the…

On the Danger of Living Every Day as if It Was Your Last

How can one focus their life? I’ve often heard this advice: “Live as though today is your last day”. On one level, I find it helpful, on another I find it lacking. If today were…

On the Nuanced Capacity to See the Present through the Lens of the Future

The leader must live with two horizons in view. We need to think in the short-term and the long-term. One who thinks only in the short-term never wins strategic advantage, and one who thinks only…

On the Danger of an Attractive Opportunity

We are all in danger of becoming the products of the attractive opportunities that present themselves in our lives. It is difficult to say “no” to an attractive opportunity. The most important part of knowing…

On Leadership and the Danger of Internal Drift

 The enemy of intention is drift. Drift marks the movement from the place one intends to the place one did not intend. The leader must guard against this threat. More often than not, our plans are…

On Developing a Throughput Line in Sophisticated Literature

I have written about the need for an attractant in sophisticated literature, such as poetry. Sometimes I have called it a “throughput line”. I realize that there have been great narrative poems which have incorporated…

On Honesty as the Ultimate Virtue of Being

The familiarity of the word “honesty” interferes with its remarkable meaning, and more, its remarkable implications. Honesty is the ultimate virtue of being. To "be" fully is to be honest. Honesty, in this sense, must first be…

On the Dangers of Living in a Time of Sustained Peace

The great danger of living in a sustained period of peace is that it creates a mental fog. One begins to operate within an artificial world. Typically, a period of sustained peace is relative to…

On Leadership and the Importance of Knowing what Needs to be Done

Sometimes the leader must focus his entire energy on what must be done, not how can it be done and not when can it be done. The second two questions are so pragmatic that they…

On the Danger of Floundering between Perception and Reality

The challenge for many companies is misunderstood - It is not finding prospects that need what it has to offer, but rather finding prospects who know that they need what it has to offer. Managers flounder…

On the Different Meanings of “Yes”

For many years, my research has focused on why people say “yes.” But I think it is important to note the variance in the meanings of the word yes.  When someone says, “do you love…

On the Connection Between Honesty and Performance

What is the relationship between honesty and excellence? As I reflect on the question, it seems to me that the periodic surges in performance capacity that are characteristic of the long term pursuit of excellence…

On Leadership and the Danger of the Lie

Behind every leadership problem is the “lie.” There is always the lie that we have told ourselves and have bought into. We do not think of it as a lie, but it is a piece of self-deception…

On Why a Great Artist Must Hate as Much as He Loves

The artist or writer who tries to create art that everyone likes can never transcend. The writer writes because he must write, even if he cannot persuade a large enough audience to achieve widespread appreciation…

On Beauty as the Antidote

The darkness kills us. Many great men have suffered for the sake of the darkness. As the French philosopher Camus has said, “Suicide is the problem.” The darkness eventually suffocates any one of us who…

On Life as Best When the Best is Lived Over and Over Again

In the early years of life, time stretches forward in linear fashion. You look forward to what will come. You look forward to what you will become. In the latter years of life, time (perception)…

On the Danger of Using Anecdotes

The leader often expresses himself by anecdote. In doing so, he is representing a false picture of who he is. This may win the admiration of his followers, but it imposes an inaccurate model –…

On Words as the Expression of an Illusion

I am fascinated by the subtleties of conversation. The more words, the less meaning. I have observed that conversation sets down a sort of outline, with each subsequent word shading in the details. At the end, there…

On Being Convinced in the Face of Uncertainty

What does it mean to say that I am convinced of something? What does it mean that anyone says that they are convinced? I suspect that the limitation of words makes this particular declaration dangerous.…

On the Presence of Beauty

The presence of beauty does not guarantee the absence of ugliness. But the absence of beauty guarantees the pervasiveness of ugliness.   

On Leadership and the Priority of Wisdom Over Intelligence

Men often substitute intelligence for wisdom. This is a grave mistake. One may be born with intelligence (it is a gift), but wisdom must be purchased over time (it is a reward). Men are often…

On Art Speaking More from the Background than the Foreground

I think there is a place in art for the background to say more than the foreground. Indeed this inverse approach bears experimentation. In some ways, Henry James achieved this in the dialogue of his…

On Achieving a False Equilibrium

As human beings we are by nature challenged with internal conflict. This conflict manifests itself in multiple forms, but perhaps the most essential is our struggle between right and wrong - at least as we…

On the Dilemma of Knowing What You Cannot Say

There is a dilemma in life that comes not from what you do not know, but from knowing that you cannot say what you do know – it defies articulation. How does one say the…

On Leadership and the 60/40 rule

Leaders need to understand the 60/40 rule as it applies to certain types of communication. In articulating his values, the leader also reinforces them personally. We err when we think that such communication is just…

On the Difference Between “What Is” and “What the Prospect Believes Is”

The challenge for many companies is misunderstood - it is not finding prospects that need what it has to offer, but rather finding prospects who know that they need what it has to offer. Managers flounder…

On Impact and the Shadow Beyond the Grave

We often find ourselves awed by the great intellects of the past. Plato, for instance, has cast his shadow on all the millenniums that followed his brief life. We look to these men as icons…

On Leadership and Decision Making

We often misconstrue the leader’s task; we think that he must make decisions and that these decisions must be right.  We categorize his decisions into right or wrong.  In fact, sometimes the leader’s decisions are…

On Leadership and Knowing What You Do Not Know

The most important thing to know is what you do not know.  This is a statement that applies to the role of leadership. But actually, as is often the case, it applies at the most…

ON Leadership and Providing an Empowering Framework

The leader has essential task that is often neglected in management literature. He does more than inspire a mission; he develops a model (framework). This model allows the team to conceptualize all the action steps…

On Leadership and Carefully Choosing the Field of Engagement

Leaders must choose the field of engagement.  Sometimes you have to win the conceptual war before you win the detail war.  The conceptual war involves getting the right people to buy into the most important…

On Identity in the Absence of an Internal Compass

A man is defined by the choices he makes when he loses his internal compass. It is one thing to conduct yourself with “virtue”, when you are safely ensconced within a systemic set of moral…

On Leadership and the Difference Between Knowing Information and Knowing People

It is bad when the leader does not, but needs to know something important to his organization. It is worse when the leader does not, but needs to know something somebody else already knows within…

On Marketing Translating Science to Art

The discoveries of science can never fully bridge the mystery of the human mind. We need art to discern the difference. The effective marketer converts experiments and metrics into elegant forms of communication. For the…

On the Essence of Wisdom

At the essence of wisdom is pattern recognition, this phenomena occurs across a sequence. Wisdom is costly; it is typically achieved through experience, the ecosystem of pattern recognition. Experience is closely connected to the passing…

On Discovering What You Want the Most

Discover what you want the most. It is the only way you will have the power to achieve internal alignment. We live the first part of our lives kidding ourselves about what we want the…

On Moving Away So One Can Move Towards

Some leaders move away from threats while others move towards opportunities. There is a time for both actions, but at certain levels in the organization, the leader may achieve success by concentrating on the former.…

On Story as Pharmacia

The mind responds to the construct of story. Certain authors, especially in Europe, and now in much of contemporary America, reject the beginning, middle, and end approach to story. They rightfully perceive that many stories…

On the Quest for Wholeness

I think the internal quest to be fully human is a quest for wholeness. Our divided selves reflect our distance from the ideal. As we pursue full integration; an undivided heart, we are in fact moving towards…

On the Priority of Momentum over Scale

Be more concerned with momentum than you are with scale. It is not the size that matters it is the velocity. 

On Communication and the Distinction between the Logical and Perceptual

There are two kinds of patterns in our conversation. The first is essentially logical. The second is essentially perceptual. It reminds me of the difference between English and Hebrew poetry. The former rhymes and contrast…

On Leadership and Reading as Dialogue

For most people, reading is a monologue. But, the leader must make reading a dialogue. As we read certain content (hopefully not just business content), we should be asking, “How does this impact me?” We…

On the Paradox of “Focus”

Focus is a necessary activity for all leaders, yet focus involves an apparent paradox. It requires two activities at the same time: the action of doing something and the (continual) choosing of not doing something.…

On Self-Optimizing Systems

The tendency of a process is to leak efficiencies (it is related to The Second Law of Thermodynamics). This applies to any activity. It is in writing. It is in manufacturing. And you don't fix…

On Leadership and the Value of Complexity

There is a competitive advantage in simplicity but there may be greater advantage in complexity. Simplicity of vision is different than complexity of execution. One way to secure an enterprise is with a careful mix…

On the Use of Symmetry in Writing

There is no such thing as pure symmetry. The writer must decide what elements he is going to emphasize as a matter of symmetry.Then he must be careful to break symmetry with what remains, so that…

On Elegance as an Indicator of Coherence

Elegance is an indicator of coherence. The danger is being seduced by an artificial elegance which then constrains the chaos of truth seeking. In this case elegance, or the attempt to achieve an artificial elegance,…

On Being Honestly Evil vs. Dishonestly Good

I would rather be honestly “evil” than dishonestly “good”. Transparent wickedness is safer than feigned goodness. And of all vices, dishonesty is the most dangerous. 

The Difference Between Category Definers and Category Conformers

In product driven market places, like publishing, the breakaway successes are category “definers” not category “conformers.” Once the category has been defined, all of the experts come along to make you conform to one of…

On Removing Obstacles to Growth

In most cases, for an organization (read organism), growth is not so much the result of something you do, rather growth is the result of something you stop doing. A healthy enterprise will grow naturally…

On the Problem with Systemizing the Un-systemizable

By nature, I am a systemizer. It has taken every fiber of my will to keep from systemizing, what I fear, is unsystemizable; I suspect even the system of “self.” I spent, at least twenty…

On the Difference between Sacrifice and Compromise

A man needs to know the difference between compromise and sacrifice. The same activity may be construed as one or the other. When I make a change to an important priority in my schedule I…

On Leadership and the Wisdom that Only Comes from Carrying its Weight

Part of being a leader is bearing the weight of your decisions. Wisdom, true wisdom, does not come from those who merely observe the leader carrying the weight; it comes from those who have truly…

On Recognizing Artificial Arrangement of Facts

We must beware of “story-ized” facts. It is our nature to take a series of facts, or data points, and arrange them into a story fashion. This can be useful, but it can also lead…

On Philosophy without Rigorous Argument

I find it fascinating that Hegel, Heidegger, and even Sartre could gain so much respect in the world of philosophy, while ignoring the most sacred (and there are very few) rules. It’s hard for me…

On Life in the Abstract

I like triangles in the abstract. There is no such thing as a triangle in the actual world. The perfect angles expressed in mathematics cannot be expressed in actuality. For this very reason, I am…

On Leadership and the Danger of Overplaying Your Strengths

If the leader wishes to discover his blind spot, he must first ask a revealing question: What is it about my greatest strength that naturally blinds me to its necessary weaknesses? Some of our greatest…

On Communication and My Acceptance of Misunderstanding

I am used to being misunderstood. My profession is communication and you might think that being misunderstood would vex me. It does not. I have come to a point in my understanding of communication where…

On the Arrow of Time

I am fascinated by Eddington's reference to the Arrow of Time. Moreover, I am fascinated by translating its application from physics, (particle, quantum, radioactivity, etc.) to philosophy. I am reminded of Augustine's view of the…

On Achieving Discipline from the Whole

Many of us struggle with self-discipline, and these struggles are characterized by attempts to achieve consistency in a number of different areas. We try to achieve discipline in our eating habits. We try to achieve…

On the Misery of the Right Person in the Wrong Job

Never underestimate the degree of misery that a conscientious, self-aware person experiences when they are underperforming. Lavish encouragement will not compensate for putting the right person in the wrong job.  

On the Making of Great Art

Great art isn’t made by the artist, it only escapes from the artist. The moment you try to construct the parts and the multi-layered magic that makes art, it becomes contrived. That’s why creative writer…

On Loving with Wholeness

Honesty empowers love. One may counter that we are honest because we love. I think this could be true. But one must acknowledge that I can only love out of an honest place. What does it…

On the Priority of Energy Management over Time Management

Remember that when you are managing time, you are actually managing energy. The true unit of capacity cannot be measured in minutes. It is burned across a period, but it is not the fuel that…

On Leadership and the Art of “Making Yourself Small”

One of the most important (and overlooked) skills of a leader is this: to get out of the way. Sometimes, we are the obstacle. Many times, our presence or voice hinders the growth and the…

On Divine Mercy and the Prayer of the Agnostic

It seems to me, that atheism is a form of religion, and ultimately dogmatic.  I could lay out the propositions behind my reasoning, but I care not to… Atheism and theism both require a form…

On Messaging as Intention Actualized

Messaging is intention actualized. One might argue that messaging may disguise a true intuition; however, the intention to disguise is a part of the message formation. The marketer needs to understand the essential nature of their…

On the Difference between Hope and Possibility

The essence of hope is possibility. Hope does not exist where there is no possibility. But hope is not identical with possibility. Hope is a condition within me that exists because of a possibility beyond…

On Selecting the Best Option

Too often the “new” is selected over the “old” only because it is new. We need a bias for the “old” that can be cogently, even quickly, overcome by the “new,” but only when the…

On Leadership and the Difference between a Good Decision and a Right Decision

Every leader is required to make decisions, but in most cases, she will never have all of the data she desires. The art of making decisions isn’t about making the right decision; it is about making…

On the Poet’s Need to Determine a Precise Receiver

Can poetry ever become a popular venue for communication? It seems as though poetry is the rarified form for an elite group who have either an innate or acquired taste for it. Indeed, in most…

On Crafting an Argument and Determining the Desired Cognitive Outcome of an Opponent

When arguing for a point, one has to determine what the aim is. If the aim is to simply win on points, then argue and build strong reasons. If the aim is to change someone’s behavior, you…

On the Danger of Pattern Recognition and the Perception of Truth

Truth often defies the patterns we expect. We miss the truth because we expect it to come in a familiar form. The problem with pattern recognition, despite its usefulness, is that it blurs realities with…

On the Difference Between the Grand Act and the Grand Man

Beware of the leader whose style is typified by grand moves. There is a difference between being humble and preforming a great act of humility. There is difference between being generous and performing a great…

On Writing as Mere Performance

It is easy to confuse writing with performance. For many writers, the written piece is a piece of performance. The writer must determine whether or not he is saying something worth saying or whether he…

On Viewing Your Life Across the Horizontal and Vertical Planes

To get proper perspective, I think you need to reflect on life from the horizontal and vertical planes. When I refer to the horizontal plane I am speaking of other lives from around the world.…

On Making Peace With the Unknowable

There is great danger in contemplating infinity. The great mathematicians that have gone down this path have not been able to return. Many of them have been declared insane. The problem lies in seeking an…

On a Leadership and Mental Topography

Upon entering a room, the leader must be aware of both the physical topography and the mental topography. He must consider his message a journey. While he may have a map or plan to get…

On Aligning your “Wants” with your “Oughts”

The secret to a life of wholeness is this: getting things “lined up inside of you” so that your “wants” match your “oughts.” This condition is a spiritual-architectural state of integrity. One must align what they…

On Messaging as Intention Actualized

Messaging is intention actualized. One might argue that messaging may disguise a true intuition; however, the intention to disguise is a part of the message formation. The marketer needs to understand the essential nature of their…

A Leader’s Ability to Sustain an Organization

Many leaders cover their ineptitude by shifting jobs just before the consequences are visible. Beware of the leader who is a career builder rather than a company builder.    

On Leadership and the Improbable

There is a fine line between the improbable and the impossible. Great leaders know where that line is, but the greatest of leaders move the line.  

On Leadership and the Importance Maintaining Perspective

Never let the present tense experience distort your perspective on the entire timeline. This is particularly true in relationships. One of the traits that distinguishes a leader is their ability to live in the present…

On the Two Prerequisites to an Existential Transformation

There are a series of conditions that are a prerequisite to an existential transformation. The first is awareness. One must become aware of the differential gap. The second is dissatisfaction. The term “dissatisfaction” is mild,…

On the Danger of the Understanding That Is “Almost There”

The worst place to be in your understanding is “almost there.” It is at this particular point when we are most likely to make our most dangerous decisions. Judgment that is almost right is judgment that…

On the Multiplication of Complexity in Literary Criticism

One of the problems with some critics, particularly when it comes to works of poetry and fiction, is that they introduce into the text more nuance than the author intended. Critics multiply complexity and obscure the…

On Leadership and the Difference Between “Seizing” and “Chasing”

The leader must be able to understand the difference between those opportunities which must be seized and those which must be chased. Some opportunities need merely to be seized as they slip by. Others must…

On the Difference Between Pleasure and Satisfaction

I think utilitarians sometimes confuse the notion of pleasure with the notion of satisfaction. In fact, the word “pleasure,” I fear, interferes with a deep understanding of utilitarian aims. Men seek satisfaction, not pleasure. Pleasure…

On the Danger of Living Life Solely in Pursuit

One must be careful not to spend their life solely in pursuit. Achievers are wired to pursue. We pursue knowledge, success, wealth and so on. The feeling that we are drawing close to that which…

On the Difference Between Churning and Evolving in the Creative Process

In the creative process, we must recognize the difference between churning and evolving. Churning is a painful process of trying to discover the way forward. It can become an endless loop of second guesses. Evolving is…

On Leadership and the Seduction of What We Do Well

The greatest danger for the leader is not what we do poorly, but rather what we do well. We recognize what we do poorly and most often seek help. "What we do well" seduces us; it…

On the Illusion of Future Tense

I am perplexed by a question of tense. Suppose we live our life in a carefully constructed plan. The objective is to maximize our reputation for the sake of history. What tense are we really…

On Unfolding Story and the Experience of the Moment

Life is a series of present-tense instances which become past-tense the moment we perceive them. For this very reason, it is easy to lose context. I think there is a way to live which brings…

On Decisions and How One “Yes” Equals Many “No’s”

Every time a person says “yes,” they are saying no “10,000 times.” Indeed they are saying “no” to the full universe of options. One “yes” equals many “no’s.” The power of “yes” is not in…

On Leadership and the Importance of Passion

The leader must cultivate his passions. If you take away a man’s passion, all he has left is the grinding of gears in his soul. Eventually the “gears” will seize. Passion lubricates the soul.  

On the Essential Questions That Define the Direction of Life

As I ponder those essential questions that each human being might want to consider, I find I have to express my way into the answer. The irony is that the answer itself can take the form…

On the Difference Between Breathing and Living

Any man who does not live as though he could be gone at any moment is hardly living. There is a difference between breathing and living. Truly living is contingent on an appreciation of dying.  

On the Disproportionate Amount of Effort Required to Achieve Quality

Sometimes with art, writing for example, it takes ten times as much effort to achieve the last ten percent of quality, but it is the last ten percent that often makes the difference. 

On Leadership and Leading from Consensus

The leader should operate from consensus rather than for consensus. One of the first jobs a leader must do, when implementing a new initiative, is to get all of the right people at the table. Inexperienced leaders get…

On the Invisible Form of Self-Sacrifice

What may look like self-aggradation is actually a form of ultimate self-sacrifice. If you allow yourself to be lifted up, you are allowing yourself to be set up. As Robert Knowles observed, what goes up…

On The Danger of Misplaced Courage

Some men brag that they have changed while others brag that they have not. There is no virtue in either condition. We confuse the means with the end. The point is not the change, or…

On Communicating with Entrepreneurs

Communicating with entrepreneurs is different than communicating with academics. This is a point that doesn't need much elucidation. Still, it is important to understand a critical distinction: The entrepreneur operates from a set of common…

On Leadership and Permeation

Despite my emphasis on management as shaping the efforts of people, I think there may be room for the understanding of a new concept: permeation. It seems to me that the greatest leaders somehow permeate their…

On Trying on Decisions

Sometimes making decisions is like trying on a pair of shoes. I can tell if they look good by the way they appear on the rack, but I cannot tell whether or not they wear well…

On Capital as Idea Actualized

I want to deal in the capital of ideas. I remind myself every morning that it is the ideas that have preeminence, that capital follows ideas, that capital is only an idea actualized. I must resist the…

On the Leadership and the Importance of Matching Work Type to Mindset

The leader knows that, to do the job properly, there are a series of mindsets within which he or she must enter. It is essential to match work type to mindset. It is also essential…

On the Paradox of the Learner-Teacher

It is in helping others to understand that we increase our own understanding. Perhaps 40 percent of my teaching benefits the student. At least 60 percent benefits me. The paradox of the learner-teacher is this: one…

On Leadership as Sacrifice

A prerequisite for leadership is to be willing to sacrifice. Many of us are willing to sacrifice time and energy. Most of us are not prepared to make the sacrifice of honor. If one seeks leadership…

On Philosophy as the Software that Runs Your Life

Philosophy is the software that you run your life with; theology is just the higher elements of that philosophy. Men who attempt to find some form of peace in the midst of a chaotic world have…

On the Two Levels of Thinking

I think while I am thinking. I've been told you can only concentrate on one thought at a time, but there is a way to articulate in your mind while at the same time there…

On Brand Promises vs. Brand Expectations

The problem with the notion of "brand promise" is that it places the origin on the sender rather than the receiver. The fact that you tell me that I can trust you (i.e., a promise)…

On the Need to Transfer a Leader’s Spiritual DNA

The source of the value proposition is typically derived from the spiritual DNA of the founder. An essential mission for the founder/leader is to impart his DNA to the organization. This means transferring the distilled essence…

On Wisdom as the Aggregate Experience of Choice

Wisdom is derived from choosing and then perceiving the resulting pattern. Wisdom is not a past tense quantity that accumulates; it is a present tense experience that only aggregates as you choose.   

On Feeling Ungrateful and the Poetry of Edward Doyle

If for a moment I am feeling ungrateful, I need only to reflect my way into a tiny sliver of reality. It is with this gradual glimpse that I can escape the foolishness of my…

On the Challenge of Understanding the Composite Customer

Unfortunately, marketers work with approximations. Underneath our stochastic sampling, and even embedded within our conversion heuristics, is an understanding that while the model seems rational, it is not. The cognitive calculus being conducted by the customer…

On Substituting Clarity for Action

Never substitute clarity for action. Moving forward does not matter if you are not moving in the right direction. Some leaders substitute “reflecting” with “charging.” But the action should be born out of the reflection.…

On the Danger of Reading a Philosopher Without Reading His Biography

Do not read a philosopher without reading his biography. Some biographers claim that Marx let four of his children starve to death while he was writing a theory about how to make the world better.…

On the Difference between Being Loud and Being Heard

Some men, when they enter the room look big but the more you listen, the smaller they become. Some men, when they enter the room, look small but the more you listen, the larger they…

On the Ultimate Form of Communication

The ultimate form of communication is not sales or public speaking; it is “discipleship” -- and not simply in the religious sense of the term, but rather the idea of giving yourself to the development…

On Leadership and the Value of Process

Process sets you free. Value it, but never let it shackle you. It will either empower you or hinder you. The leader's job is to achieve the former while guarding against the latter. Good process…

On Existence as a Form of Projection

In some ways it seems that existence is a form of projection. I'm not certain if it is a projection from the static state; I'm not certain if there is a static state. To be is…

On the Danger of Defining Your Life by the Exceptional Moment

Beware of defining your life by the exceptional moment. One needs to consider their norms, their regular patterns. We often live within a repeating pattern, but we pick particular moments of that pattern and try…

On the Medium as Grafted Into the Message

The medium changes the message. We may wish it were not so but that does not help. One must be sensitive to how the medium necessarily contextualizes the message. This is why, for instance, trying…

On History’s Tendency to Distort Human Strengths and Weaknesses

History tends to distort both the strengths and the weaknesses of its greatest contributors. If you succeed, it will certify you. In fact, it will make your weaknesses enduring. If you fail, it will bequeath…

On Rousseau’s Difference between Man and Beast

Rousseau argued that the difference between man and beast is man’s “perfectibility” — roughly, that is man’s ability to improve “self.” I find this a fascinating distinction. Whether it is right or not depends upon how you…

On The Problem With Nice Men

A nice man is slightly worse than a bad man. I like good men but I am suspect of nice men — too often they are hampered by their desire to please. The problem with the words…

On My Work as Art

All of my work needs to be approached, not as academic, not as an entrepreneur, but rather as an artist. I am creating beauty and I must find my satisfaction from the same. Anything else…

On Leadership and Mental Topography

Upon entering a room, the leader must be aware of both the physical topography and the mental topography. He must consider his message a journey. While he may have a map or plan to get…

On Leadership and Knowing When Not to Compromise

One of the key insights a leader must have is in the area of compromise. A good leader compromises all day long, but there are some issues on which he should never compromise — knowing…

On Story and Converting Curiosity Into Suspense

Curiosity is when the audience wants to know, "What does this mean?" Suspense is when the audience wants to know, "What is going to happen?" The intensity of the second question is related to the…

On the Difference Between Finding an Answer and Making a Decision

There is a difference between finding an answer and making a decision. A decision may recognize a probable answer, but do so with full knowledge of the potential error. We spend too much time on…

On Work as More Than a Protest Against Nonexistence

Work needs to be viewed differently. Work can be viewed as a protest against nonexistence but, even more, it can be viewed as an act of worship in the face of the possibility of the…

On Art as the Overlap of Mechanistic and Spiritual Spheres

I wonder if we might think of life systems as existing within three spheres. I imagine these three spheres in the form of a Venn diagram. In the first is the mechanistic; in the second…

On Wisdom and Weighing a Particular Piece of Advice

Beware of thinking that a wise man (as evidenced by achievement, not attested to by claim) is wrong; he is probably right. If you cannot see how he is right, then you are still probably wrong.…

On the Clarity that Stems from Knowing What I Do Not Know

I spent years trying to understand why people say yes — why they select one option over another. I have tried to understand why I have said yes and, in doing so, I have endured…

On the True Danger of Entrepreneurship

America has made celebrities of entrepreneurs, but in doing so it hypes the exception and not the norm. In reality, the road the entrepreneur takes is so dangerous, so fraught with risk, and ends so…

On Seeming and the Motive of My Writing

What is the motive of my writing? I fear that the wrong motive will distort the outcomes. What, then, should be the motive of my writing? Can I impact the thinking of others? If so,…

On Truth Actualized

I think the value of the future tense (i.e., thinking about the future) is derived only from its impact on my present tense activity. I think that thinking about the future in a negative way…

On the Efficient Dispersion of Energy

Dispersion of energy is the enemy of excellence. This is particularly true when you are looking at the products offered in a given commercial opportunity. We multiply products because the core product is insufficient. But adding is never…

On Leadership and Creating an Organization Brick by Brick

Leadership, in many ways, can be better grasped if we understand it in the form of building, not achieving. The leader who is creating an organization is building. You do not create a building one wall…

On Making Decisions Before Discoveries

We often try to discover a truth when, in actuality, all that we can do is try to make a decision. Decisions do not always wait on discoveries.  

On Story as the Contextual Framework for Offer Response Optimization

For some time now, I have been considering how the worldview/paradigm/story model within theology and hermeneutics could provide the contextual framework for the new offer response optimization science. Essentially, I think optimization can be understood within…

On the Predication of My Existence as Value Proposition

Existence is subject-predicate. When Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am (Je pensé, donc je suis),” “think” was predicate. Predicate is evidence of existence. Predicate is more than evidence; it is existence in time. In…

On Balancing Focus With Balance

I have observed that men who do exploits are sometimes unreasonably focused. They are so focused that they often neglect many other vital areas in their lives. Balance is important, but it can serve to…

On the Role of Empathy in Any Kind of Relationship

Empathy is the essential element of any relationship, be it with a friend or a foe. With a friend, it is the key to communicating your heart. With a foe, it is the key to…

On Presentations and Allowing the Audience To Optimize You

Presentations often begin by puzzling through a riddle. The speaker can often feel the presence of the riddle before she/he can articulate it. Sometimes it is in the articulation itself that the problem is solved.…

On Our Inability to Help Truth

The truth is where you find it. We should invest more in discovering rather than defending. We work too hard trying to prove our truth. What we are doing, in fact, is trying to prove ourselves…

On Leadership, Decisions and the Emotional Audit

Every time a leader makes a decision, he needs to do an audit of its impact on the hearts of his team. Simple, quick decisions are often undertaken without any sense of their emotional consequences. The leader…

On the Danger of Lying to Yourself

When you get good at lying to others, you get especially good at lying to yourself. The former will hurt you; the latter will kill you. We don't lie to ourselves without fooling ourselves about the…

On the Impact of Climax on Perspective

A story is, essentially, character plus action. Its atomic unit is the sentence — subject plus predicate. Predication brings the story into time. It powers the forward motion or, more accurately, it characterizes the forward…

On Pursuing Dynamic Wisdom More than Static Truth

It may be better to pursue wisdom before truth. Without wisdom, one could not recognize the Truth (capitalization intended) even if one encountered it. One may argue that wisdom is a form of truth, yet…

On Leadership and the Improbable

There is a fine line between the improbable and the impossible. Great leaders know where that line is, but the greatest of leaders move the line.   

On the Need for Leaders, Not Holders

The day a leader stops the relentless progression towards the new and the better is the day the leader stops leading and starts holding. Companies need leaders not holders.

On the Illusion of Original Thought

Often in my life I have developed series of propositions that seemed original. On some of these, now, I look back and smile. As a child, I worked out a theory that I thought was…

On Avenging a Fool

Avenging a fool is a waste of time. You don’t have to worry; you don’t have to get even. Life does it for you.  

On Art and the Extraction of “Becoming”

In discussing art, I have said to my daughter “Every story is a song, every song is a painting, and every painting is a story.” When you distill the essence of any one of these…

On the Danger of Taking Art Lightly

Do not take a person’s art lightly. Either do not take it at all, or take it seriously. Taking it seriously does not mean liking it, but you must respect the effort. It is better to…

On the Difference Between Proper Basic Understanding and More Advanced Understanding

It would seem that there is a kind of proper basic truth that is readily grasped by ordinary thinkers. On the other hand, there seems to be a much more complex understanding of truth that…

On the Priority of Achievement over Brilliance

The men remembered for their genius are not necessarily the most brilliant. Rather, the most brilliant men are remembered for their achievements. Their intelligence serves a greater end. The leader should not draw attention to…

On Becoming Present Within

I fear that my unity could fracture. Was Hume correct? Is my consciousness only a collection of phenomena received as one? Do I exist before I predicate? I think so. But on the other hand, existing is predication.…

On the Post Modern Consumer’s Predisposition to Doubt

The Post Modern Consumer just doesn’t believe us anymore. They have endured too many empty promises, too many exaggerated benefits and too many artful disclaimers. The predisposition now is to doubt every claim. That’s true whether…

On the Margin Between What I Say and What I Live

I have noticed a margin between values professed and values actualized. Clearly each of us lays claim to essential values. But often a void exists between the profession of the value and the actualization of…

On Seeing Beneath the Problem and Into the Process

When something goes wrong around a leader, even if it is a simple scheduling problem, or confusion about a speaking engagement etc., the leader must ask penetrating questions. If the leader is not careful, this…

On Honesty as a Missing Element in the Construct of Faith

Sometimes I envision a construct of faith that involves totality, a unity of the parts. This concept unites one's intellectual, spiritual, and physical components. While all three terms are inadequate and even artificial, they serve…

On the Long Cycle and Epic Patience

I need to accept the fact that my life's work is a long cycle. It has taken me decades to set the foundation, and it will take decades more to see the full impact of…

On Music as a Right and Proper Drug

Music is, in my estimation, what a drug is supposed to be. It is a right and “proper” drug. Music produces an altered consciousness. Everything I do can be related to an understanding of music.…

On Transcending Organizational Archetypes

When thinking conceptually about new creations in the world, particularly organizations, we often gravitate towards archetypes. These archetypes can pull us in the wrong direction. We become one or the other, or a hybrid of…

On Achieving Predication Within Limitations

My life is a predicated "I am", which is to say, "My I is ising (I hate the sound of this word, but I need the sense of its meaning)." My "aming" is "ising". My…

On the Propensity for Crises to Interrupt the Ordinary

Crises are by definition aberrations. They are an offense to normalcy. As one studies various personal and/or corporate catastrophes, it becomes apparent that they strike in the midst of the ordinary. For me this brings…

On the Broader Implications of Marketing

Because of the broader implications of marketing, I often speak of it in ways that are more encompassing. I could be accused of allowing my interest in the field to color my own judgment. One…

On Leadership and the Difference Between Momentum and the Momentous

The leader must beware of confusing momentum with momentous opportunity. A little momentum can distract you; it can take you down the wrong course. It looks like success, but it is a tactical gain without a strategic…

On Age as Friend or Foe

I determined long ago that age would take from me much of what I value. But it occurred to me that I could force an exchange. For instance, I might give up physical capabilities yet,…

On Theology as Wishful Thinking

Theology should be done in the face of suffering. I think every theologian should spend some time in a children's hospital, or someplace where we can see the combination of innocence and horrific suffering. Theology in the…

On the Disillusionment over “Synonyms”

Great writers hate thesauruses. At the start of my career I was open to this promising reference, but I grew to despise it over time. It began with disappointment, but then disappointment after disappointment lead…

On the Difference Between Growing Old and Growing Up

Some people grow old, and some people grow up. Some people stop growing up and just age. I want to be growing up for the rest of my days.  

On Leadership and Failure

One of the key roles of the leader is to model failure. If the leader models failure properly, he leads the way for his own people to fail successfully. The leader who models failure can demonstrate…

On Carefully Choosing Your Obsessions

Some insights are too practical to be genius, but their practicality is their genius. They ground the highest thoughts. Virtually every mathematician who has studied infinity has lost their sanity. As I have pondered infinity,…

On Influence as the Product of Proximity

Some of the most important teaching occurs when we are not trying to teach. The teacher should be more motivated by genuine concern than by the content of a curriculum. The object of the teacher's…

On Coping With Uncertainty

What Shall It Profit? By William Dean Howells If I lay waste and wither up with doubt The blessed fields of heaven where once my faith Possessed itself serenely safe from death; If I deny…

On the Existential Importance of Considering the Means as an End

The world talks of ends and means, of telos. But if existence is confined to this side of death, then one may consider their end as the end and their means as an end. Every moment…

On the Danger of Refining Plans

We can spend too long trying to refine a plan. A plan is (just) a way. It describes how to achieve a specific aim. It is almost never right, yet it can establish direction. Plans are…

On Differing Opinions and the Multiplication of Uncertainty

Among the multiplicity of differing opinions about ultimate truth, there should be at least general agreement that there is a multiplicity of differing opinions. Everyone does not agree. Furthermore, most would agree with this proposition:…

On Organizing Through the Concept of Domains

It may be useful for the one who creates organizations to organize their world with the concept of domains. In the age of the Internet, the word "domain" has taken on new meanings. But I'm…

On the Momentum of Mediocrity

Mediocrity tends to perpetuate while excellence tends to diminish. Momentum favors mediocrity; inertia resists excellence. Great work requires a dead run uphill.    

On Wisdom That Arrives Too Late

I am generally able to discern the wisest course of action, but all too often it is after I have already made the decision. Wisdom comes even to the fool; it just comes too late.  

On Social Media and the Value of Portables

We must transcend the concept of a "quotation" with a "portable." In the age of social media, a “portable” captures the essence of a thought and makes it easy to transport. A thought that is easy…

On Not Being Central to Anyone’s Thinking

I’d like to influence lives in a good way, but I don’t want to be central to anyone’s thinking. Life should be lived from one’s own center. The world is full of leaders who want…

On Learning to See Through the Darkness

If we do not learn to see through the darkness, all we will ever see is the darkness. Around us, there is so much death. Life can be grim. But there is something else beautiful…

On Superior Strategic Positioning

Strategy is better than skill. This is true in combat, but it is also true in business. Management ineptitude is not a guarantee of failure. Some businesses have a strategic position so superior that they can…

On the Test of a Man’s Character and How “We Do What We Are”

The test of a man’s character goes beyond how well he behaves in public, or even in private.  If you want to know who someone is, then watch how he conducts himself when he has lost…

On the Value Proposition as a Tool for Literary Critique

The value proposition is typically understood as a marketing tool. However, the framework represented in my work may be used in a variety of ways, one of which is literary critique. For reflecting on fictional…

On the Difference between a Copied and a Competing Value Proposition

When it comes to value propositions, do not be as concerned about the company that attempts to copy yours. It is difficult to copy an authentic value proposition. An empty, mimicked value proposition will not ring…

On Leading with People vs. Leading with Ideas

A leader cannot lead with ideas; a leader must lead with people. Ideas are valuable in so much as they shape and motivate the actions of people. The ideas disconnected from people have all the…

On the Difficulty of Grasping the Concept of Non-Existence

Is death a form of existence? If the opposite of existence is non-existence, then the opposite of to exist is not to exist. Even for the scientist who does not believe in the afterlife, there…

On the Danger of the Indispensable Leader

The better a leader appears, the more likely it is that he is underperforming. You judge a leader not by his own prowess, but by the prowess (and particularly the achievements) of his team. The…

On Editing with your Ears

Beware of editing with your eyes. The proofreader works with his eyes; the editor works with his ears.  

On My Work as Art

All of my work needs to be approached, not as academic, not as an entrepreneur, but rather as an artist. I am creating beauty and I must find my satisfaction from the same. Anything else…

On the Role of Authority in Answering Questions

An answer necessarily proceeds from authority. Therefore an answer is constrained by that authority. Philosophy endeavors to answer the question. I need to draw the connections between question and answer in the role of philosophy.…

On the True Nature of Consciousness

It is interesting how we use the phrase “I feel”, and “I think”. While one seems to suggest the emotional and the other suggests the rational, we often use them interchangeably. This may seem like…

On the Difference Between Definition and Explanation

A definition is more than an explanation. An explanation is descriptive, but a definition is essential. Definitions are the working units of explanations. Never be deceived by a definition that is merely an explanation.  

On the Priority of People over Process

Management does not make you money — people do. I operate with three reports: the SAR (Sales Action Report), the MAR (Management Action Report) and the CAR (Content Action Report). The reports inform our process, but…

On Utilizing the Subconscious Mind to Solve Problems

In creative thinking, the best approach is not always the direct approach. Sometimes the way you solve a problem is to put your conscious mind somewhere else, while giving your subconscious mind ample space to…

On the Predicate as Existence in Time

Existence is subject-predicate. When Descartes said, "I think therefore I exist (Je pense donc je suis)", "think" was predicate. Predicate is evidence of existence. Predicate is more than evidence; it is existence in time. In the structure…

On the Strength to Make Tough Decisions

When you know what you stand for and what you do not, you can make the tough decisions. Every right action strengthens you.  

On Writing and the Danger of “Mind-Candy”

In the creative process, a writer must be careful not to allow any writing that sounds good to get in the way of any writing that is good. The writer reaches down deep, yet her work is…

On the Difference Between Specialized Knowledge and High Intelligence

One must be careful not to confuse specialized knowledge with high intelligence. It's easy to be impressed with a dense document, detailed with specialized language and concepts (particularly if they are mathematical). One might read this…

On the Importance of Knowing What Not to Do

Sometimes it’s more important for the leader to know what he won’t do than what he will. In the decision process, one may consider multiple options. Three may be viable, while another may be lethal.…

On Vulnerability as the Key Attribute of the Effective Teacher

The teacher is often most effective when relating to his audience through the experiences of his own life. Typically, it is not his victories that achieve the greatest impact on his audiences’ hearts; it is…

On Leadership and the Importance of Infusing Organizational “DNA”

There is a difference between the work of the first generation (founding) leader and the work of the next generation leader. Both carry the supreme responsibility of guarding the value proposition. The former has the…

On Personal Peace as a Function of Our Choosing

Personal peace is a result of our (present tense act of) choosing; it is the result of how we allow ourselves to interpret (see) the phenomena that effects our person. The way we choose to…

On Leadership and the Difference Between Hard Work and Intense Obsession

The leader should understand the difference between hard work and intense obsession. You are not a hard worker if you are only good at working hard on tasks with which you are obsessed. Obsessive people…

On the Leader’s Solemn Obligation to Panic

The leader has a solemn obligation to "panic" before the rest of the team. Panic, in its most accurate sense, does not reflect my meaning. I'm using intense language to try to express an important…

On the Difference Between Observation and Inference

The classical understanding of the difference between observation and inference is difficult to maintain. One may be able to make some type of general distinction by using loose, emphasis-based categorization. The difference between observation and…

On Avoiding the Semantic Tug-of-War between Truth and Word Choice

When crafting theoretical statements, you need to know the difference between an elegant choice of words (that is something you select) and a properly accurate (and hopefully true) statement (that is something you discover). If…

On the Danger of Attempting to Answer a Futile Question

You need to recognize when your mental gears are "grinding" and you need to stop and ask why. Most of the time just "pushing through" yields an unsatisfactory result. It is essential to understand why…

On the Difference between a Leader and a Winner

Many large companies are run by men who can be more aptly described as winners than leaders. They have obtained the position by winning over their peers. They have built their career on a series…

On Choosing as Existing

The hallmark of the rational agent is choice. How can reason be separate from choice? Even the acceptance of a proposition represents choice. We need to delve deeper into the nature of choice. Indeed, for the…

On the Problem with Trying to Fit Into Cultural Stereotypes

As I grow older, I grow wary of adopting life-shaped stereotypes. Our culture has a series of forms and we try to fit people into those forms. It's a kind of mental shorthand. It allows…

On Speaking and Allowing the Audience to Optimize You

Artful speaking is a combination of careful planning and purposeful abandonment. The speaker plans, makes notes and outlines their remarks. When it comes time to step onto the platform, the speaker subjects all of this…

On the Danger of Confusing a Reason With a Belief

We must beware of conflating our reasons with our beliefs. When asked to support a position, we often offer a reason. However, what we view as a reason is likely just another belief. One might…

On the Danger of Reducing the Decision Process to the Rational

We must be careful about trying to reduce the decision processes to the rational. A person may use a reasoned framework, while employing reasons that are unfounded. In the same way you cannot negate the…

On Humility and the Unevenness of Virtue

Humility, for most of us, comes in pieces. We don’t fully achieve it, but we illustrate it in glimpses. If we’re not careful, we confuse the parts with the whole. We view ourselves as humble…

On Family as a Patchwork Quilt

A family is not a fine silk tapestry. It is more like a patchwork quilt: scraps of material, bits of cloth, “this-and-that” — all stitched together. At first, it may not appear as beautiful as…

On the Immortality Bestowed by the Written Word

Socrates would have gone unknown were it not for the work of Plato. Seneca might have been a footnote in history had it not been for his work. The same could be said of Epictetus.…

On Empathy as the Essence of Communication

Empathy is at the essence of communication. The gifted communicator is not talking to an audience; he is listening from the audience. He hears himself with the ears of those to whom he is speaking.

On the Artificial Distinction Between Work Life and Personal Life

Work performance is a composite of the employee’s entire life. Never view their work life and their personal life as totally separate. These categories are mere expressions of time, not absolute internal delineations. Problems in our…

On the Implied Commitment Accompanying “I Love You”

Young people and some adults (age is not the determinant factor) are often confused on the subject of love. The words "I love you" spoken between a couple are not simple expressions of a deep…

On Music as the Means of Experiencing the Texture of My Life

How can I be more intentional about the use of music in my life? Music is a drug. I feel its capacity to alter my conscious state. I suspect it has the capacity to alter my subconscious…

On the Beauty Resident within the Flaws of Existence

I wish I were a triangle. Not the triangle that exists on the writing pad of the mathematician. It is imperfect — no one can create a perfect line. Rather, I wish to be the…

On Teaching and the Need to Sequence Truth

Sometimes all you need to understand about a truth is enough to enable you to fully understand it later. Teachers sometimes try to teach too much. We seek to cram into the minds of our…

On the Need for Leaders to Incarnate “What Matters Most”

Leadership does not just set priorities; it sets the priority. The leader communicates “what matters most.” Indeed, the leader must incarnate this communication. It forms the axis around which the entire organization rotates. This priority is the epicenter…

On Mistaking Talent for Truth

Do not mistake appealing writing for truthful content, and do not mistake a great intellect for a great theologian/philosopher. There is a difference between being skillful and being right.  

On the Battle That Cannot Be Won

In a battle that cannot be won, the question changes from “How can I win?” to “How do I cope?” At this point, the combatant becomes a philosopher.  

On Trusting the Process More Than the Decision

We need to trust the process more than we trust the decision. At the micro level, it is important to achieve the right decision. At the macro-level, it is important to develop the right process. The…

On Leadership and Understanding the Difference between Direction and Directions

As the leader progresses towards a long-term objective, he unintentionally may create an illusion which distorts the vision for those who look from the outside-in. To those around you, it may appear as if you…

On Writing and the Danger of the Ornate

The writer must be careful not to confuse movement with adornment. Often, we put too much furniture in the hallway, but the point of the hallway is to get to a point — to transition…

On the Philosopher as Merely the Man Who Tries

When reading the works of a philosopher, it is a mistake to think of the writer as a philosopher. The word "philosophy" can distort our understanding of the human being. Every philosopher should be considered…

On the Difference between Vision and Clarity

The leader needs to develop a forward-looking clarity. Most of us fail not because we did not have the right opportunity, but because we did not seize it when it came. As leaders, we must develop a…

On the Difference Between Total Rationale and Incidental Rationale

I think the marketer — or even the individual in general — must determine the difference between total rationale and incidental rationale. A person may do something that seems illogical when considered against and within…

On the Value of Passion and Polarity

Sometimes you don’t know what you are for until you know what you are against. In public, it is wise to withhold criticism, to guard your tongue. In private, as part of the creative process,…

On Leadership and Choosing Joy Over Survival

The leader should be mindful of his mindset when facing a true crisis. It’s important to do more than prevail; it’s important to enjoy (a lovely, underestimated word). Sociologists have long recognized that, in the…

On Poetry as a Polaroid of the Heart

Poetry is a means of expressing the inexpressible. But I have found another use — sometimes I author poetry to capture the emotive state of a particular moment. In this way, a poem serves as…

Leadership and the Danger of the Social Wall

The leader needs to beware of the “us and them” mentality of teams. A team forms an ethnos — a people group. It necessarily runs on a social dynamic that is intrinsic to the nature…

On Philosophy and the Importance of Hatred

Beware of becoming too “good” in the moral sense. To be a great lover, one must become a great hater. The absence of either makes you less than half a human being. Love, by its…

On Living within the Terror and Beauty of the Unfinished Sentence

All of life is subject to predicate. My essence is "among." My life is a sentence. When I die, someone finishes it with a period. I live within the terror and the beauty of the unfinished…

On Philosophy and Influence as Force

Everything awesome or awful in the universe derives its “awe factor” by virtue of its capacity to influence. Influence is a function of force meets object. Structure is a static description of force in action.…

On Philosophy and Knowing Enough to Hope

Uncertainty is the definitive characteristic of the incipient. However, not to know for certain does not mean not to know (en totum) at all. I survive by arbitraging the difference. Slivers of light cannot help…

On Leadership and Having a Balanced Perspective on Process

The leader needs to have a balanced perspective on process. Entrepreneurial leaders tend to undervalue process, but process allows you to institutionalize quality. For this reason it is essential. On the other hand, process can…

On the Biggest Problem with Marketing

The biggest problem with marketing is the word “marketing.” It has a connotation that interferes with its denotation. I have no interest in “marketing,” but I have an abiding interest in marketing – if it concerns…

On Leadership and the Good Leader vs. the Effective Leader

The leader must beware of focusing on "leadership" rather than mission. I don’t know that one can always be perceived as a good leader and also be an effective leader. There is a difference between…

On My Life as the Sum of the Source of My Output

Am I the sum of my output, or am I the source of my output? The latter seems obvious, but there is reason to consider the former. It is difficult to be the source if I am…

On Leadership and the Danger of Being Well Liked

An effective leader is rarely judged to be a great leader by his immediate team. That is a judgment passed by a much wider audience and in the light of history. The leader must focus on…

On the Essence of Entrepreneurship

The essence of entrepreneurship is marketing. The fundamental instinct of the entrepreneur arises from his or her capacity to discern a market. Capital is important and management is important, but the leverage between these two factors is…

On Cataloguing Great Thinkers by Their Life-Course

It might be helpful to catalogue all of the great thinkers/philosophers, not by their theory but by their life course… One might categorize them by how their life was lived. I have never seen this…

On the Pursuit of Goals

One must be careful not to spend life solely in pursuit. Achievers are wired to pursue. We pursue knowledge, success, holiness and so on. The feeling that we are drawing close to that which we…

On Choosing as Existing

The hallmark of the rational agent is choice. How can reason be separate from choice? Even the acceptance of a proposition represents choice. We need to delve deeper into the nature of choice. Indeed, for the…

On Leadership and Appreciation of Your Organization

One of the most important ways that people learn to appreciate your organization is to experience someone else’s.  We do not know how good it is until we have to remember how good it was.…

On Marketing and the Importance of Fostering Claims

Too many marketers focus on claims. A claim is an offensive move that puts the prospect in a defensive posture. Excellent marketing does not put the prospect on the defense. It recruits the prospect to…

On Communication and True Profundity

It’s important that your profundity (or your seeming profundity) isn’t derived from your obscurity. Some thinkers are just obscure enough to impress the thinkers who can barely understand. Other thinkers are just brilliant enough to…

On Communication and the Test of a Story

The test of a story is not whether it conforms to some critic’s opinion of the rules but, rather, how it impacts those for whom the story was written.   

On Leadership and the Sword vs. the Shovel

The leader needs to know how to balance his work between the sword and the shovel. With the sword, he is driving revenue, making deals. With the shovel, he is building an organization that institutionalizes revenue…

On Compass-Setting Decisions

The leader makes many decisions, but he needs to have an awareness of the categorical difference between an ordinary decision and a compass-setting decision. Compass-setting decisions align the leader with true north. The thing to…

On Leadership and Subtle Breakthroughs with Profound Implications

Many of the most important things you do as a leader are subtle. These subtle changes have profound implications but, in the beginning, their impact is difficult to detect. A slight shift in someone's responsibility, a…

On Using the Objective to Shape the Writing

When you are writing, the objective is more than an end. It is the sharp tool by which you carve away everything that does not belong in the text.

On Moderating Balance with Extremes

Exaggeration is at the heart of artful choices. There are some decisions you cannot make until you have gone too far (at least conceptually). It occurs in design. We try to be precise with our imaginings.…

On Leadership and the Speed of Fluidity

Never move faster than you can move fluidly. The fastest speed at which one may move sometimes looks deceptively slow. This illusion is caused by its fluidity. The "herkimer jerkimer" motions of the frantic may appear…

On the Illusion of the Past Tense and the Fierce Pursuit of the “Knowing”

Is the present tense a blank canvas? If the past, as we conceive it, is a present tense experience (and it is), then one may conclude that the present is separate from the past. But…

On the True Measure of a Writer

I wonder how one should judge a writer. When one has written as many books as Trollope, there is no doubt (as Trollope conceives himself) there will be a wide variance in the quality of…

On Leading with Ideas vs. Leading with People

A leader cannot lead with ideas; a leader must lead with people. Ideas are valuable in so much as they shape and motivate the actions of people. Ideas disconnected from people have all the power of the…

On Creative Energy and Idea Generation

I've noticed that the creative process, as it results in idea generation, can fill one's mind with a difficult-to-describe-but-ecstatic-to-experience "creative energy." When this occurs, we often stop and relish the new idea. This can be…

On the Sterilization of Philosophy

I think there is solid philosophical reason to consider the implications of intelligent evil. We spend too much time on the abstract; we do our philosophy from within a comfort bubble — oftentimes without fully accounting for the…

On a Fundamental Difference Between Sales and Marketing

Sales is focused on the individual, and marketing is focused on a unity of individuals. Sales can quickly bridge "the customer gap." In sales, you are talking to a single individual, synchronizing the thought sequence.…

On the Uselessness of the Plan That Cannot Be Executed

Plans can be an illusion. They represent an ideal, and they are built on the warrant that we can predict behavior, even if it is only our own (this is more difficult than it seems).…

On Life and the Sweet Bitter

When one has lived long enough and yet somehow maintained a grateful heart in the midst of the human condition, life itself may be thought of as bittersweet. There is the bitter, the horrific pain.…

On Communication as Playful Existence

I am intrigued by the notion of "communication play." I somehow sense that communication itself represents essence in existence, that communication is a form of predication. I also sense that there is a need for…

On Oscillating Between Creativity and Intention

The more intentional you are about what you need to say, the harder it is to say it well. Creativity is often stifled by intention. To maintain craftsmanship and the creative spirit, one must learn how…

On Moderating Balance with Extremes

Exaggeration is at the heart of artful choice. There are some decisions you cannot make until you have gone too far (at least conceptually). It occurs in design. We try to be precise with our imaginings.…

On Influence as a Means

I have often said that a leader should lead with influence as opposed to authority. However, it is important to remember that the ultimate goal is not to build influence; influence is just a means to…

On Consciousness as the Knowing of My “Knowing”

Somehow my (self)consciousness seems as though it is more than a unity of subject and object. When I dream (or when I am on the edge of sleep), my thoughts are projected in images. Some…

On Mistaking Patent Inability for Profound Expression

Do not mistake arrogance for confidence. This leads to a plethora of horrific artistic expression. A person without confidence tends to be one of two extremes: They are either too tentative, or they are too…

On Achieving a False Equilibrium

As human beings we are by nature challenged with internal conflict. This conflict manifests itself in multiple forms, but perhaps the most essential is our struggle between right and wrong - at least as we…

On the Ability to Transcend Selflessly

Consciousness of transcendence often keeps one from transcending. The conscious focus on the effort keeps one from transcending the effort. I have noticed that when I meet someone who is transcending the "norm," it might…

On Selfishness as the Primary Driver of Sales Velocity

The primary value proposition is necessary but not sufficient. Beginning with the primary expression, the marketer must craft a particular expression around the "private aims" of the prospect. Selfishness, if a benign version, is the primary…

On the Need for Strategy to Be Embodied in a Person

I don’t want my team to focus on strategy; I want them to focus on becoming strategists. Strategy is stilted. The field has been relegated to a specialist’s discipline. In doing so, leaders have come to…

On Learning from a Flash of Pain

Sometimes, in a flash of pain, I am able to experience life with some form of direct insight. It is (thankfully) a fleeting glimpse of reality. The stark truth, my plight as incipient, becomes unbearable,…

On Confusing a Decision with an Answer

Some of us are seekers. Our passion, our hunger for truth, is intense. But, we must be careful or we will create an intellectual trap we cannot escape. One of our problems is oversimplifying the…

On the Two Dyads at the Heart of Value Exchange

When expressed as a noun, the offer feels too static. The offer is action, and the action is communication. The efficacy of this speech act is determined by two essential dyads. The first is grounded…

On the Problem of That Particular Moment

What is "that particular moment?" The phrase captures my attention, not the least of which is because each word tends to deny the other. "What" is answered by "that" if we remove the "is." A "moment"…

On Leadership and the Courage to Be Misunderstood

Courage is an important asset to the leader. However, there is a rare form of courage, more subtle and less obvious than the typical expression. It is not necessarily the courage to stand against external threats. It is…

On Life Being Characterized by Your Decisions

Life will be more characterized by your decisions than by your answers. The best answers motivate decisions.   

On Equating Age with Experience

One of the few benefits of growing old is the opportunity to develop best-in-class teams. If we equate age with experience, it does not, necessarily, become a complete negative. Indeed, a man that has surrounded…

On the Strategist’s Ability to Enter the Mind of Another

Strategy is more about the "strategist" than it is about the "strategy." The strategist employs a fundamental ability to predict behavior. This ability is grounded in a deeper gift: the ability to enter the mind…

On Clean Pain vs. Dirty Pain

There are two kinds of pain: clean and dirty pain. Here is an example of clean pain: someone you love dies. It is like a sharp knife cut; it heals evenly, with less scarring. Then…

On Identity and The Difference Between Our Fluid and Static Self

The irony of life comes from answering three questions: “who I am,” “who I thought I was,” and “who I want to be.” The contemplation of these questions can cause one to feel like three…

On Leadership and Determining the Scope of Focus

One of the greatest decisions a team leader will make is the scope of their focus. How wide? How narrow? You must be narrow enough to achieve concentrated excellence. You must be wide enough to maintain…

On Courage in the Absence of Ultimate Answers

Elsewhere I have written of the dyad, questions and answers, as it relates to the triad, questions, possibilities and decisions. The point of this observation is simple: When we embrace the implications of this triad…

On Craftsmanship as Directional, Not Definitive

I love to see symmetry in the presentation of words and terms. However, I am painfully aware of the fact that the symmetry is never truly symmetrical, that the aesthetic quality of my craftsmanship is…

On Leadership and Transcendent Knowing

There is a difference between pattern recognition and revelatory knowledge. A leader must realize when their perception is connected to the extension of a familiar pattern because such patterns can be disrupted, leading to a surprise…

On Stress-testing Our Philosophy

Philosophy should be tested across multiple conditions. This is particularly true of philosophical "life-systems." We need to ask, "How do these principles work under conditions (x)"? Let the variable (x) represent a set of diverse…

On Delicious Prose and Structural Draw

Brilliant writing, the work of artists like Wordsworth and Elizabeth Smart, can awe me with its sense of sheer beauty. Nevertheless, it feels to me as though these remarkable writers rely primarily on their delicious…

On a Leader’s Performance

The performance problems in a leader are magnified by his organization. A leader’s mistakes are amplified by virtue of his influence. So, a leader must be careful. The best way to correct an organization is to…

On Loving Someone “In Spite Of”

The foundation of the deepest relationships is not a discovery of a perfect person; it might not even be a discovery of the right person. It is more of a mutual decision between two people,…

On a Leader’s Ability to Make Decisions

A leader has to genuinely know the difference between what can be done now and what cannot be. He cannot demand what cannot be, but he can’t sacrifice what can be. Most leaders dwell in the middle…

On the Danger of Presenting the Solution before the Problem

Our “truth” only matters when it matters to the customer. You cannot solve a problem that does not exist, and existence in this case is a matter of perception. The value of the value proposition…

On the Difference between Searching for an Ideal and Working for Satisfaction

In John Stewart Mill’s autobiography, he said, “Suppose that all your objects in life are realized; that all the changes, institutions and opinions, which we are looking forward to, could be completely effective at this…

On the Value of Contingent Decisions

Leaders need to understand the value of a contingent decision. This is a decision based upon assumptions/warrants that can be later validated. The contingent decision is a precursor to the definitive decision. Its value is…

On Craftsmanship as Directional, Not Definitive

I love to see symmetry in the presentation of words and terms. However, I am painfully aware of the fact that the symmetry is never truly symmetrical, that the aesthetic quality of my craftsmanship is…

On Art and the Priority of Relentless Thinking over Generous Criticism

Likeness indicates essence. Art is an extreme universe populated by rare achievements of genius nearly smothered by bland, mundane, “me-too” frauds. You cannot be a generous critic; you must be a relentless thinker. But criticism begins with the…

On the Importance of the Connection between The Mission, The Work, and The Person

It is important for every person who works for you to know that they are important. If you treat them like they are important, they will treat their work like it is important. The effective…

On the Practice of Marketing as Science and Art

Stephen Brown, from the University of Ulster, in 2001, wrote a paper now considered a classic: Art or Science? 50 years of marketing debate.[1] Brown is an exceptional thinker, but an even better writer. The purpose…

On the Importance of the Decision Process over the Decision Outcome

Our purpose minded programming predisposes us to focus on outcome instead of process. This is particularly true of the decision cycle. Decision-makers need tools. Too much focus on the decision itself can keep you from developing…

On Leadership and the Need to See through Three Sets of Eyes

The leader must develop a rare ability to see through three sets of eyes. He must see himself, his team, and his customers through his own eyes, but he must be able to see these…

On Marketing and the Power of Specificity

Specificity converts. In marketing there should be no such thing as a general message. The marketer communicates with an aim. This aim should dictate everything else we say. This aim should influence, even constrain, every word…

On Art as Light Yielding Perspective

All of art is a form of poetry. Art cannot be judged by the criterion of the efficient, nor is it’s inherit inefficiency a form of subtle glorification. Art is recognized by its ricochet effect. It…

On Speaking with the Background

Often, I occupy the foreground of my mind in order to ruminate with the "background." I have little confidence in the accepted classification of conscious and sub-conscious phenomena. Nevertheless, I am aware of levels within…

On the Three-Question Path that Defines My Becoming

The question, “Why do people say yes?” is different than the question, “Why does a (particular) person say yes?” While the two questions seem similar, the difference is in the movement from the general to…

On Frustration as a Corrective

Frustration is seen as a negative, but frustration, like pain, serves as an important corrective. When we experience pain, we alter our actions (if we touch the hot coal, we withdraw our hand). However, when…

On Leadership and the Need to Harness Fear

A good leader will create some fear. Popular literature has made us afraid of fear. But a team that does not experience some fear is not dealing with reality. There are many things in the…

On Intensification as Variance in Literature

How can one bring more craftsmanship to short reflective passages? One of the key moves within quality literature is to introduce disharmony into a seemingly harmonious structure. Parallelism, which is essential to many of the modern…

On the Power of Ideas over Money and Bullets

There are two ways to conquer. History teaches us that the Greeks were conquered by the Romans, but who conquered who? Greek art, Greek culture and Greek philosophy dominated Roman life a thousand years later;…

On Divine Mercy

It seems to me that atheism is a form of religion and, ultimately, dogmatic. I could lay out the propositions behind my reasoning, but I do not care not to. Atheism and theism both require a…

On the Power of the Wave

Never underestimate the power of the “social wave.” Catching the right wave at the right time can make an ordinary man seem like an absolute genius. We often look back at extraordinary men and try to…

On Dwelling in Possibility

A leader may envision the ideal so clearly that it becomes present tense in his own mind before it is actually present tense in the world around him. In some cases, this tense differential will…

On the Term ‘Particular’

What is particular? Now, I know that there is a long-standing exploration amongst philosophers between the universal and the particular. I cannot engage in this debate for multiple reasons. First, I am completely unprepared. Leibnitz…

On Marketing and the Importance of the Offer

The marketer says many things so they can say one thing: the offer. Without this main thing, all the rest is of no importance.

On The Difference between the General and the Particular

This is the key to understanding the difference between the general and the particular: The man speaking of the general talks about guns and bullets; the man speaking of the particular aims a gun and…

On Limitation as the Way to Ultimate Performance

Specialization is almost always forced by limitation. Restriction (enforced from the inside) rarely works. Limitation (imposed from the outside) is the only force powerful enough to ensure true specialization. Without specialization, we do not find extremes,…

On the Priority of the Immediate over the Important

Strategy yields to the immediate. A general can carefully plan his strategy for winning the war, but put him in a firefight, and he will drop his pen and start shooting back at whoever is…

On Content That Does Not Fit within a Container

When my mind is engaged in layers of introspection, the structure I embed my thoughts within can sometimes prove inadequate. This can catch me by surprise. I am focused on the content, not the container,…

On the Difference between a Good Decision and the Right Decision

The leader does not lead with internal certainty; a leader leads from internal peace. Certainty and peace are not the same. I have often experienced peace with a decision, even though I am uncertain as to…

On Transcending Value with Satisfaction

Commerce can be understood through the lens of the subject-predicate concept. The entity predicates. The essential predication can be described by two sets of activities: 1) They create satisfaction and 2) They offer satisfaction. I use…

On Thinking Fast vs. Thinking Deep

I need to let the passion for my organization’s value proposition to drive us forward, but I cannot let this same passion “break” us either... The leader must play the long game. We should work…

On Leadership and the Danger of Lavish Praise

Lavish praise loses its luster (as does everything else in which we lavishly indulge). Dale Carnegie is often quoted for advising his readers to be “lavish in your praise,” but I think the leader should…

On the Need for a Meta-Theory of Optimization

Is there a general underlying theory of optimization that will allow you to improve results regardless of the medium or the business category? Isn't there more to optimization than learning a set of rules? How…

On Great Organizations Being Built by Broken Men

Great organizations are built by broken men. It takes extreme strength to overcome the organic resistance of the perfect. Balanced men make solid managers, but they do not always make great entrepreneurs.

On Reviving the Appreciation of Management

For some time I have been sensing and stating that the real key to accomplishing the most is valued in today's leadership culture. It is the concept, "management." I have fallen in love with this…

On Communication the Danger of Gimmicks

Most speakers confuse techniques with gimmicks. They regale their audience with a series of practiced gimmicks. In doing so, the man and the method get in the way of the message. A proper technique disappears;…

On Communication and the Bilateral Promise

In the craftsmanship of the classic presentation, the writer or speaker is taught to develop a problem and a proposition. I have modified the proposition to a promise, but I do not believe in a…

On the Leader’s Ability to Lead from Failure

The best way to give your team permission to fail, is to fail in front of your team. Your vulnerability attracts theirs.   

On Choosing As Existing

The hallmark of the rational agent is choice. How can reason be separate from choice? Even the acceptance of a proposition represents choice. We need to delve deeper into the nature of choice. Indeed for the…

On Sustaining Velocity in the Purchase Process

The value proposition begins as an abstract concept, but the moment it is engaged by the prospect it enters the time-space continuum. It moves from "thing" to predicate. At this moment (pun intended), time becomes…

On the Leader’s Responsibility to Diminish Himself

Sometimes a leader must diminish himself. His goal is not to raise his visibility, and thus his capability in the perception of his team, but rather it is the inverse. As he diminishes himself, team…

On Leadership and The Need to Separate the “What” from the “When”

The leader knows “where” before he knows “how,” but he knows “how” before he knows “when.” It is the “when” element which makes fools out of wise men. We often know what will happen, but…

On Content as Marketing and Marketing as Content

We are in a new advertising era. We are moving from advertising as interruption to advertising as utility. Advertising should not be served; it should serve – it should be useful. And we should be…

On Leadership and the “Humble-device”

The leader should never confuse a state of humility with a “humble-device.” True humility is often feigned by the employment of such devices: self-depreciating humor, a moment of vulnerability, a calculated self-criticism. The problem is…

On Leadership and Disagreeing Agreeably

When a leader makes a decision contrary to the council of his top advisors, he needs to be careful that he does not misunderstand his task. He can agree with them, or he can agree…

On Leadership and the Effective Message

Every leader delivers an offer — marketing is not limited to a division. The leader’s messaging must be guided by three maxims: Explanation precedes declaration; value precedes cost, and clarity precedes persuasion.   

On the Priority of Clarity Over Persuasion

Start with clarity, then and add persuasion. An attempt to be compelling that does not involve clarity is neither clear nor compelling.   

On How a Temporary “Yes” Can Buy a Permanent “No”

Sometimes one painful, yet temporary, "yes" buys you an opportunity for a smart "no."  By saying "yes" once to something unpleasant, you create the opportunity for you to think through how you would (graciously) give…

On Writing the Song That Cannot Be Said

Music must come from the part of you that cannot say, or be said. Try to write the songs you cannot put into words. If you can put it into words, it is probably not worthy…

On Research Method as a Means to an End

As I have said in the past, “the truth is where you find it.” Sometimes a poor research method leads to a “true” result. Sometimes a rich research method leads to a “false” result. We…

On the Concept of “I”

The metaphor by which we understand ourselves stimulates both enlightenment and confusion. If we think in terms of multi-plexity, we think in terms of aggregate parts, which implies multiple units. If we think in terms…

On Mistaking Talent for Truth

Do not mistake appealing writing for truthful content, and do not mistake a great intellect for a great theologian/philosopher. There is a difference between being skillful and being right.

On the Value of Insights over Results

What we call "customer theory" might better be conceived as "customer wisdom". Too often, marketers pursue quick results rather than rich insights. However, profound understanding of the customer can be translated into profound advantage over the…

On the Decline of the Well Written Letter

It occurs to me that letter writing, which achieved rare form in recent centuries, has been on a steady decline. The advent of technology has increased our output, but not our quality. It has also…

On Urgency and the Growing Organization

Over the years, I have avoided developing a frantic work environment. I have found that frantic activity produces stress and errors -- so much so, that the increase in work produces only limited results. Nevertheless,…

On the Balance of Passion and Responsibility

The leader must be careful not to let their passion for future opportunities eclipse their present tense responsibilities. Exciting visions and challenges are no substitute for doing what we have to do every single day. …

On the Danger of Apprehending Beauty

Beauty is not apprehended; it is appreciated. It is the apprehension of beauty that costs us beauty itself. The harder we grasp for it, the more damage we inflict upon it. That which is most…

On Leadership and the Importance of Unreasonable Demands

The leader must be careful of accepting good reasons for bad outcomes. When good people do good work, they may still experience a bad outcome. Thus because they are good, and because their work is…

On the Quest for Wholeness

I think the internal quest to be fully human is a quest for wholeness. Our divided selves reflect our distance from the ideal. As we pursue full integration; an undivided heart, we are in fact moving towards…

On Leadership and Giving Your Team Ownership

Sometimes the leader knows the answer, or perhaps he knows the most efficient way to get to the answer. Still, it may be best to allow his people to overcomplicate the answer, to overcomplicate the…

On the Difference between Clarity and Simplicity

Leaders must grow comfortable with paradox and nuance. Clarity does not equate with simplicity.  Simplicity does not equate with easy.    

On the Myth of Ends

The danger of most projects, particularly when they are involved in creative production, is that we allow ourselves to strive for a condition of "stasis." The hope for a stasis makes us feel that we…

On Leadership and the Balance between Strength and Humility

There are two kinds of leaders: Those who are arrogant in a clumsy, overt way and those who are arrogant in a subtle and nuanced way (some are just better at hiding it). I have…

On Breaking Through the Last Great Breakthrough

The greatest resistance to the next great thought breakthrough is the last great thought breakthrough. Einstein, despite his genius, resisted new quantum physics theories until the very end. At MECLABS we cannot let the last great breakthrough…

On the Writer’s Genius Getting in the Way of His Pen

I am suspect of systems, yet I find some of those writers who are revered may, in fact, be revered because of the lack of clarity in their work. There is no doubt that Kant…

On Differing Opinions and the Search for Truth

Among the multiplicity of differing opinions, there should be at least a general agreement that there is a multiplicity of differing opinions. Everyone does not agree. Furthermore, most would agree with the proposition that, in…

On Balancing Humility with Good Judgement

A leader cannot afford to let his humility get in the way of his good judgment. Sometimes a leader takes the blame because he is attempting to make peace, but we must clearly discern fault…

On Uncertainty as the Absence of Power

Darkness is not a color; it is the absence of light. Uncertainty is not a characteristic; it is the absence of power.  

On Growing a Leader beyond Your Own Needs

The more I train a person to become a leader, the more discontent they become in their current role. I do not own anyone, but it hurts to see them go. Yet, for some reason I…

On Conflating Parts with Layers

People sometimes conflate levels with parts. At times, I seem to be operating from different parts — parts of my person. Because these parts display an independent intelligence (even if this is an illusion), it may…

On Attempts to Resolve the Uncertainty Condition

Elsewhere I have written on the uncertainty condition. Attempts to resolve the problem produce only more "flailings" in the sea of uncertainty. In reality, the problem is not external, and the problem is not internal.…

On the Illusion Created by Looking Backward

The currents bear me forward, onward, toward the endless end. The drift is deceptive ... it feels like a direction, but is it really? I see the path, but only when I look away; away…

On Leadership and Simplicity without Oversimplification

People don't let you occupy too many categories in their mind. You are either this type or that type. It is hard for people to imagine that you can be both types. It is harder…

On Self-Defined Output

I fear that most of our lives are self-defined by what happens on the surface, when in fact they are truly defined by how we interpret what is happening on the surface.  It may be…

On the Implications of a Stimulated Response

One must be aware of the implications of a stimulated response. This seems self-apparent; indeed, it is necessary for a response to have a stimulus. However, I am referring to stimulus in the form of…

On the Measure of a Man

The test of a man is what it takes to stop him. You measure a leader by the size of his problems. You cannot measure a leader by his last achievement; his last achievement is…

On the Website as Experience Set

To achieve the most with our e-commerce website we must go beyond the mundane concept of a catalog which displays products. There are two philosophical down-shifts:   The first is the categorical shift from website…

On the Two “Me’s”

It takes real courage not to need to demonstrate that you have courage. It takes authenticity not to need to demonstrate that you are authentic. There is me, and there is my image of me.…

On the Danger of Numerical Sequencing

One must be careful of numbering systems. They often indicate sequence where there is none. They enforce linear perspective where lateral or even multi-dimensional perspective is necessary. This is yet another example of how our…

On the Danger of “Vision-Casting”

“Vision-casting” is a dangerous undertaking. Once a vision is declared, it can be refined; but if it is changed too frequently and/or too radically, the leader loses his credibility and the organization loses its velocity.…

On the Absolute Character of Honesty

Somehow I know that absolute honesty is the path. The problem with understanding its significance is wrapped up in a conflation of terms. Honesty, while important, seems only a virtue. It is much more than…

On Taking Humor Seriously

Humor defuses intensities: 1) It keeps people from taking themselves too seriously 2) it keeps people from taking situations too seriously. The irony is this: humor is rarely taken seriously, and yet it is a serious tool in…

On the Planning Process in Management

The more I study management practice, the more I question its planning methodology. Leaders do not seem to understand the difference between an objective and a goal. They do not know how to bring absolute…

On Leadership and the Value of Reflection

The Leader must have a bias for action, but this action should flow out of reflection. Never confuse activity with progress. Vigorous execution needs to be grounded in rigorous contemplation.  

On the Transferability of Management Expertise

Some managers transcend a given company or industry. They are able to move from one organization to another and still effect significant growth. What is different about these leaders? I have pondered this issue and…

On the Web as a Living Laboratory

Senior leaders make the grave mistake of underestimating the true value of their organization's website. It is not just another channel through which to pipe their message. It is a living laboratory for testing the…

On the Role of a Customer Theory

At the apex of the inverted funnel is the customer theory. One must understand the customer theory before they can map the yes-path. The customer theory represents the sum of what the organization knows about…

On Human Beings as Plural

I think that human beings are to be considered in the plural, even when referring to them as single individuals. This is indeed a paradox. At times I feel like I am human being(s) - plural intended.…

On the Value of Insights over Results

What we call "customer theory" might better be conceived as "customer wisdom". Too often, marketers pursue quick results rather than rich insights. However, profound understanding of the customer can be translated into profound advantage over the…

On the True Nature of Empathy

There is a difference between listening and hearing. For instance, some of us listen, but we do not truly hear. Empathy, perhaps the most important attribute of the marketer/entrepreneur, is actually a form of listening…

On Leadership and Achieving the Most with the Least

A leader should never be satisfied in accomplishing one thing with one thing. Every single accomplishment should have multiple applications, multiple implications, and thus aggregate success probabilities. For instance, the leader should never achieve a…

On the Connection between Soul-Searching Questions and Spirit-Wrenching Decisions

It is tragic (I think) when you have changed so much (hopefully evolved) that you are painfully embarrassed by your earliest work. I fear that if someone were to take my recorded presentations, comparing them…

On Uncertainty and the Faith in Faith

In some ways the foundation of the Christian experience is not faith but rather faith in faith. In a world that is uncertain, one only has two potential choices. One of these is the path…

On Leadership and Productive Organic Meetings

Sometimes the leader’s role in the meeting is only to set the direction and the perimeters. Once the direction is set, the momentum of the dialogue will carry it further. One must be careful to…

On the I Which is Writing this Observation

I am this which is “is-ing.” And I cannot be captured by the cartoon of conceptualized existence. I am both more and less. And it is this “I” which is writing, but not this “I” which…

On Leadership and the Importance of Healthy Tension

Some leaders think that when you set up a healthy atmosphere, you eliminate tension. The business that eliminates tension will soon go under. The enemy is not tension, the enemy is negative tension. Healthy tension…

On the Metaphor With Which We Perceive Our Consciousness

So I am writing, about our “I”. The metaphor by which we understand ourselves stimulates either our enlightenment or our confusion. If we transcend the western normative sense of “I”, and think in terms of…

On Leadership and the Power of Management

Jesus said if we have faith like the grain of a mustard seed, we could move a mountain. Most of us do not seem to have even a mustard seed’s worth of faith, but we…

On Leadership and the Importance of Managing Intention

It is just as important NOT to see the things that I should not, as it is to see the things that I should. Leaders manage attention, but their toughest challenge is managing their own…

On the Development of One’s Operating System for Life

Life needs an operating system and this system begins with three essential questions: If one does not begin with the right questions, then the conclusions that follow, regardless of how cogent they seem, may be…

On Criticism and the Leader’s Self-Worth

Some people are attracted to the notion of "being a leader". It seems like a way to become important in the eyes of others. These are the same people attracted to the job of the…

On Pretense as Art

We must beware of pretense as art. If you cannot draw or paint, do not call what you produce “contemporary” or some other packaged expression. You are not special; you do not know something we…

On Entering Your Child’s World

It seems that I often bring my children into my world. They accompany me to work and they go with me on trips to India and London. But I feel that I am not entering…

On the Slow Death of a Brand

A brand’s life can be resilient. It is possible to kill a brand with one well-placed arrow (think Arthur Andersen or Lehman Brothers), but in most cases, even with a mortal wound, it can take a…

On Dealing with CEO’s and their Credibility

When you are dealing with a CEO (at that level) there is zero margin for error. When you begin to lose him credibility, it is over.  

On the Danger of Conflating the Best with the Better

There is a danger in declaring your solution to a problem as best. Sometimes there is not a best org structure, there may be three better org structures, as in better than the other possibilities.…

On Leadership and the Importance of Dotted Line Relationships

We need to bring “dotted line” relationships to a whole new level in our management philosophy.  If we are going to build a truly innovative organization, then the dotted line relationships become essential. In most…

On Rhythm and Insight

I wonder if poetry can be blended with aphorism. Perhaps there is a way to use rhythm with insight. I recognize that some poetry suggests without necessarily saying, but this does not preclude the nuance…

On the Immediate Benefits of Training

The notion of training fascinates me. It somehow denotes that I have an activity that I am engaged in, in order to get better at that activity for the day when it truly counts. But…

On the Product Value Proposition and Identifying the Primary Value Proposition

Sometimes it is easier to see the top from below, then it is to see the bottom from above. It is easier to detect the primary value proposition of a company by working on its…

On Testing as a Means to an End

Testing is a means to an end. The need for testing is driven by a particular problem. It is driven by the gap between what I “know” and what I should “know.” At MECLABS we…

On Pluralism and Obscurity

In a pluralistic society, where truth becomes subjective, clarity is obscured. We lose the ability to see right and the courage to say right.

On Teaching Only Enough

Some people think the role of the teacher is to impart what they know. Most of my life is spent trying to protect people from what I know. The teacher does not have to teach…

On Testing Warrants and Listening to the Counsel of Employees

The leader must be especially careful regarding the counsel he gets from his best team members. We tend to trust the judgment of our best team members. And herein lies the danger: a man’s counsel…

On the Caricature of Philosophers

Most philosophers and theologians are presented as mere caricatures. The commentators don't understand the men, and thus the commentators do not understand their thinking. We then take these caricatures, build summaries and foist them upon…

On How to Balance the Tensions of Life

Most of life is maintained with tensions. It is setting the proper tensions that actually allow someone to balance generosity with savings, to balance investing with expending. In so many areas one must seek to…

On the Two Skills Required of a Great Leader

Every good leader must manage, and every good manager must lead. Still there is a difference in the concepts as a matter emphasis, and some executives become effective at management (i.e. executing on projects through…

On the Personification and Possibility of Commonality Between the Inanimate and the Animate

Ancient literature, even the scripture, perhaps especially the scripture, seems to personify the inanimate. It speaks of the rocks crying out. It speaks of the stars that sing. Of course, there are many other examples.…

On Living with My Whole Body

Children play using their whole body. They live with their whole body. If you watch them for a few moments only, you will notice that their entire physiology is animated. It seems the older we…

On the Danger of the “Design-by-Committee”

There are no expert marketers, only experienced marketers and expert “testers.” Speculation must be replaced with experimentation. Too often our campaigns and their messaging are dominated by a social dynamic rather than a science dynamic. Our…

On the Important Distinction between an Answer and a Solution

There is an important distinction between an answer and a solution. Some people ask for an answer, when what they need is a solution. An answer is communicated in the form of information, but a…

On Communication and the Importance of Implied Contracts

The communicator, particularly the writer and the speaker, must be aware and constantly utilize implied contracts. Implied contracts are “deals” that you make with your audience. If you do this I will do that. For…

On Leadership and the Danger of Effectiveness

When a leader operates in a social dynamic, the better they are at execution, the more likely they are to be in error. Their focus on achievment gets in their way of thinking. I am…

On the Power of a Well-Timed Gift

Never underestimate the power of a well-timed gift.  Sometimes we rely on reasons that connect with the mind when we should rely on emotions that connect with the “heart.”  The well-timed gift has a way…

On Justice as Possibly the Most Fundamental Human Instinct

Justice is a term that has lost its essential force in modern vocabulary. It refers, all too often, to the dull but necessary process of the legal system. But justice is essentially about adjustment. It…

On Choosing between “The Best” and “The Most”

There seems to be a relationship, yet to be defined, between “the best” and “the most.” I am often offered “the most,” but find myself deferring in favor of “the best.” This requires me to…

On Reason and the Possibility of Its Final Apex

Is there a place where reason reaches its apex, a summit of contradictions that lead to a new placeless place? We attempt to tame our notion of the Ultimate by the constraints of reason. Finding…

On Darkness and Intellectual Life

Darkness fascinates me. Darkness is not something I see; it is a description of my not-seeing. I fear I have this same problem in many areas of my intellectual life, confusing what I think I…

On Physicality and the Potential for Delight

I think there is much to be derived about the potential of the ultimate and the condition of human kind by imagining the human being's full potential for delight. At times I catch glimpses of…

On the Essential Task of the Leader as Leading

In an organization where a leader must lead other strong leaders, I question as to whether or not his best judgment produces the right way forward. In many cases, I believe that his best efforts…

On the Combination of Poetry with Aphorism

I wonder if poetry can be combined with aphorism. Perhaps there is a way to use rhythm with insight. I recognize that some poetry suggests without necessarily saying, but this doesn’t preclude the nuance from…

On the Danger of the Blur and the Advantage of Clarity

Mediocrity tends to blur and excellence tends to sharpen. Mediocre people tend to blur situations, but excellent people tend to sharpen situations. Beware of the blur. Mediocrity hides in the blur, clarity is the advantage…

On the Real Purpose of a Financial Reserve

Every leader agrees that a financial reserve is necessary, but most think of it as (just) an important form of security. This misses the point. A financial reserve is reminiscent of the stance adopted by…

On the Incipient and the Pragmatist

As I continue to reflect on the nature of the incipient, other considerations come to mind. Anyone who accepts the reality of their limitation must learn to deal with provisional measures. One may want to…

On “Humility-Devices” and the Danger of Confusing Humble Actions with Humble Men

The attempt at achieving humility is often characterized by the use of “humility-devices.”  Sometimes one employs self-deprecating humor, sometimes one displays a moment of vulnerability, sometimes one compares one’s skills with another, etc.  The problem…

On the Centrality of Epistemology

For me, epistemology is at the foundation. Whatever I perceive, regarding metaphysics or ontology is itself an epistemic exercise. One may argue that the priority of metaphysics is higher, but one cannot deny that the…

On Humility as the Result of Bitter Self-Honesty

Arrogant men do humble things every day. Never confuse a “humble” act with a humble man. Humility is not putting yourself down; humility is putting yourself in your rightful place. The path to humility arises directly out…

On Art as a Way to Transcend

As time passes I become more conscious of the fact that art, in its many forms, offers a way to transcend the gap between my unanswered questions and my uncertain decisions. Art takes me beyond…

On the Necessary Connection Between Leadership and Management

William the Conqueror, though voracious in war, recognized the need to promote stability in times of peace. Henry I and especially Henry II spent themselves in developing a solid governmental structure. I think, in most…

On Money as Stored Energy

Slow is fast. Managing energy is more important than managing money. Money is made first with an energy investment. Money is value resulting from energy, and in some sense, money is stored energy. I want…

On the Connection Between Trustworthiness and Effectiveness

Trustworthiness is not just a matter of honesty. It is closely connected with effectiveness. A man esteemed for his honesty may find his genuine intentions completely undermined by his own lack of effectiveness. The problem can…

On the Importance of Balancing your Output and your Capacity for Output

You must tame your time between the output and building the capacity for output. You will find that the urgent will supersede the important everyday. You have to treat the important. The urgent looms its…

On the Epistemic Difficulties with Epistemology

I find it fascinating that Descartes, Pascal, and Leibniz all criticized what they perceived to be the laziness of Aristotle’s empirical epistemology. They knew that one could not grasp fundamental principles from a simple understanding…

On Pattern Recognition as the Core of Wisdom

I suspect that pattern recognition is at the core of wisdom. The man who is wise discerns patterns and thus sees eventualities and thus adjusts his behavior accordingly. Pattern recognition allows one to discern causes/effects…

On the Value of Action over Acquiescence

I fear that too much is lost in abstract debate. I place a higher value on friendship than I do on creed, on action than I do on acquiescence. I am less afraid of what…

On Iris Murdock and Her Writing Strategy

I found myself stimulated again by Iris' strategy to write the novel instead of the philosophy tome. Could it be that she has experienced the same depth of frustration that I have with the inability…

On Content Without Distribution

Content without distribution is like one hand clapping. It makes no sound in the marketplace.  

On the Impossible Void Between What is Conceived and What is Achieved

I find a distinct difference between what I can conceive and what I can achieve. The difference is at the heart of human futility. Indeed, one might posit an evil God (and I do this…

On the Importance of Consistency in the Leader’s Scorecard

Every time a business starts to grow, there is a natural danger that comes with it: the lust for scale. It is precisely these times that the leader must remind himself of his values. For…

On Certainty and the Role of Faith

Christians could live more meaningful lives if they understood the difference between what they believe and what they know. There is no guarantee when you close your eyes for the last time that there is…

On the Underutilization of My Imagination

I do not understand my imagination. It baffles me. At times, I will hold an object in my mind, seeing parts of it with great detail, while other parts are rounded, flat, even vague. What…

On Decentralizing Dependency on the Leader’s Expertise

In small organizations the team is built around the competency of the founder. This gives the founder a decided advantage in most strategic discussions. The danger is that he may overestimate his acumen. For proper growth…

On the Danger of Social Media and the Negative Conversation

Social media is all the rage, but one must be very careful. Negative conversation has a greater impact than positive conversation. Indeed, there is probably a negative ratio of 10 to 1. In effect, the stench…

On Living the Truth Rather than Giving the Truth

We help the truth too much. Our help does not make it truer. And it has its own subversive way of penetrating our defenses. It is more important to live the truth than to give the…

On Controlling the Organic Tension at the End of a Relationship

Often in your association with a group of people or team there is a lifecycle. Working relationships come to an end. I think I have learned that in many cases the relationship only ends well…

On the Danger of Moving Faster Than Your Team

If a leader moves too fast, he will leave his team behind. You cannot move faster than you can move your team. A leader can demand an action, but each time he operates in this way, he…

On the Condition of Peaceful Urgency

Elsewhere, I have written about the need to infuse an organization with a healthy spirit of urgency. While one must avoid frantic activity, one must also avoid a passive mindset. As I continue to explore the need…

On the Painful Kind of Help

The greatest pain in a relationship is not caused by a "bad person" who means us harm, but rather from a "good person" who means us well. The wrong kind of "help" is most painful.

On the Danger of Imitating Great Men

The history of the church is littered with copycats. We rightfully raise up examples, they inspire us, and then we duplicate their externals. This duplication, this imitation, gets in the way of us understanding their…

On Leadership and the CEO as Collective

MECLABS is run by a CEO, but I envision the CEO as a collective. The CEO is myself and my team, my personal team, combined. As a unit we are able to achieve far more…

On Convergence and Spiritual Health

Elsewhere I have written about the principle of unity. I have also written about convergence. I want to suggest that health in the fullest sense is often identified with convergence. That is a unity or…

On Gerard Manley Hopkins and His Narrative Prose

I have been studying Hopkins in depth. As I reflect on the way he uses meter and sound, it occurs to me, yet again, that my endless project to enfold narrative with poetic rhythms and…

On the B2B Relational Continuum

B2B marketing involves a relationship continuum. In this continuum, we move from the (1) relational, to the (2) transactional, to the (3) contractual. Each of these points represents increasing levels of commitment. An organization can use this three-part…

On Striving for Honesty of Humility

Honesty precedes humility. Striving for humility focuses your attention on yourself – the entire process becomes a self-defeating contradiction. However, the one who strives for honesty will necessarily have reason for being “humble” (the term…

On the Difference between a Reply and an Answer

Just because you do not have an answer, does not mean you do not have a reply. When a customer asks, you always respond, even if it is only to let them know that you…

On the Difference between External Conception and Internal Perception

I have a growing conviction that philosophers use their mind, but often towards the wrong end. Many of us reach for an abstract truth that cannot be obtained. It is beyond our grasp, yet our…

On Achieving Maximum Impact with My Communication Skills

Over time, I've realized that I can leverage my communication gifts either directly or indirectly. If I leverage them directly, I am developing a value proposition, and core products around this capacity. If I leverage…

On Marketing’s Built-in Integrity

At MECLABS, we are trying to transcend the connotation of marketing to understand its essence. In doing so we have begun to realize that if you keep the value proposition at the core of your…

On the Value of Insights over Results

What we call "customer theory" might better be conceived as "customer wisdom". Too often, marketers pursue quick results rather than rich insights. However, profound understanding of the customer can be translated into profound advantage over the…

On Ruthlessly Protecting Your Writing Time

You must ruthlessly protect your writing time. All the world will conspire to steal it. The tyranny of the urgent will overwhelm the important. In the end, you will leave behind a legacy of accomplished…

On Entrepreneurship and Extremes

Entrepreneurs are their own worst enemy; in virtually every case, their extreme strengths beget their extreme weaknesses. Their greatest obstacle lies within themselves.

On the Movement from Advertising as Interruption to Advertising as Utility

The customer-company relationship is in transition. We are moving from advertising as interruption to advertising as utility. And we should be moving from the notion of content marketing to the notion of "content as marketing" and "marketing as…

On Nietzsche, Amor Fati, and the Necessity of Gratitude

Nietzsche spoke of “Amor fati” – the love of reality for itself. While I have many questions about the cogency of Nietzsche’s position, I find his concept rich. For me, coming to appreciate the value of…

On the Dichotomy between Religious Ideas and Religious Leaders

Typical religious social structures can create an untenable dichotomy. They posit an ideal personality and then call for a leader-type, a pioneering entrepreneurial leader-type, to build organizations around the ideal. The problem is this: the…

On the Value of Experience

Stupid men with experience are often wiser than smart men with none.

On Improving the Conversion Sequence

The conversion sequence is actually a function of understanding the offer. We are not optimizing the product, we are optimizing the offer. As such, we are focused on two aspects: the content and the presentation.…

On Being Careful to Invest in Younger Leaders

A leader should be careful about his energy investments. He should spend more time with younger leaders than with his senior leaders. The senior leaders need less time; a younger leaders need more time. The…

On the Ultimate and Ultimate Fulfillment

I want to believe that there is ultimate. The very possibility of the ultimate is life changing in its potential, but my pursuit of the ultimate should not prevent ultimate fulfillment. One must factor in…

On the Validity of God as Ultimate

I may say that God is ultimate and I may hold this ground for the simplest of reasons: my subject is identical to my predicate. You cannot argue with me, unless you employ a different…

On Re-conceiving Education

I understand there is a need to develop a new approach to education. This is a conversation taking place all over the world. Still, people somehow think that re-conceiving education is just a matter of…

On the Writing Strategies of Anthony Trollope

Many have written about Anthony Trollope's work production. He began his workday at 5:30am. He thought that in three hours, a man can do all the writing that he should do in a full day.…

On Deliberate Mediocrity

In some cases, in the relationship between a father and a son, it is better for the father to achieve no more than mediocrity in certain fields. His unparalleled excellence in a single field could…

On Leading by Discovery Rather than Decision

As a leader, most of the time I am not making decisions; I am making discoveries. And the difference between my leadership style and others is that I am prepared to look foolish in discovering…

On Raising the Stakes when Building the Problem

I have written in previous observations about the necessity of building a problem before presenting a solution, but I have not taught about raising the stakes for that problem. In certain situations, where the perceived…

On Writing Living Books

The most important books I help to write are living books. They are not the books on my shelf. They are the people on my team. Their lives are a testament.

On Truth and the Danger of Confusing the Process with the Conclusion

Never confuse the process with the conclusion. Some people arrive at a right conclusion even though they employ a poor process. The truth is where you find it, and I have found it in the…

On the Various Arguments that Can Be Defined out of Existence

Many arguments can be defined out of existence. The moment a true definition is achieved is the moment when the contradictory propositions evaporate. Definition must precede explanation.

On the Danger of Christianizing God

God is not a Christian. God was not before, God will not be after. Christians spend too much time trying to Christianize God. This diminishes the ultimate. And it’s particularly important to understand that you…

On the Difference between “Genius” and “Transcendent Genius”

The concept “genius” must be separated from the concept “transcendent genius”. There is a genius associated with the brilliant mind that manifests itself in eclectic ways so that people find the person to be eccentric.…

On the Ultimate End of the Incipient

The ultimate end of the insipient is futility. Without interaction from the ultimate, futility is a given. I cannot discover ultimate explanations; I cannot even understand ultimate explanations. Honesty and philosophy will lead to futility.…

On the Danger of Mistaking Talent for Truth

Do not mistake appealing writing for truthful content, and do not mistake a great intellect for a great theologian. We are too quick to confuse talent with truth.

On Personal Honesty as the Prerequisite of Ultimate Truth

I’m developing an understanding that personal honesty is more obtainable that ultimate truth, and yet it seems to me, for reasons I cannot say in this brief observation, that if I could ever know the…

On Actual vs. Potential Value Proposition Force

We need to draw a distinction between the actual force of the VP and the potential force of the VP. This distinction enables the leader to determine what to invest in and what to abandon.…

On the Danger of Conflating Our Core Gifting with Our General Ability

Do not mistake your core gift for a conclusion about your general ability. Sometimes we are too enamored with our best talents. This infatuation can distort our understanding of our limitations. The man who overestimates…

On Leadership and the Opportunity Presented by Failure

Great successes are typically built upon the foundation of great failures. Great failures are very important in the life of a leader. Had Apple done reasonably well under Skully and his successors, Steve Jobs would…

On Seeking the Truth

I am not seeking absolute truth (it is beyond my reach). I am trying to become absolutely truthful (it is barely within my reach). Self-deception is my greatest enemy.  

On the Decline of the Well Written Letter

It occurs to me that letter writing, which achieved rare form in recent centuries, has been on a steady decline. The advent of technology has increased our output, but not our quality. It has also…

On the Danger of Delusion within the Pseudo-Safety of Routine

In order to codify a certain set of actions, in order to achieve a certain result, one may develop a routine. At first this routine is a discipline that ensures that result. But then later,…

On Leadership and the Importance of Readiness

Every business is only one bad decision away from calamity. Security does not come from cash reserves. Cash reserves buy you reaction time. One poor decision can demolish all advantage. The leader must work and…

On Pascal and The Notion of Value Proposition

It may be that my theory of the value proposition and its exchange sum is rooted in the work of Pascal. In 1670, Pascal postulated the concept of "expected value". In essence, Pascal said that…

On the Two Skills Required of a Great Leader

Every good leader must manage, and every good manager must lead. Still there is a difference in the concepts as a matter emphasis, and some executives become effective at management (i.e. executing on projects through…

On the Necessity of Being Selective When Correcting Your Son

A father must pick his battles very carefully. Sometimes we think our job is to correct every weakness. This is fallacious thinking. Wisdom demands that a father be selective in his corrections - selective about the…

On Sustaining Velocity in the Purchase Process

The value proposition begins as an abstract concept, but the moment it is engaged by the prospect it enters the time-space continuum. It moves from "thing" to predicate. At this moment (pun intended), time becomes…

On Leadership and the Choice between Pervasive Popularity and Meaningful Results

Sometimes, the leader deliberately pushes “the organization” in a way that makes his people feel he is being either unfair or unrealistic. In some cases it is neither. The leader is merely testing the system…

On the Difference between the Process and the Conclusion

Some people can arrive at a proper conclusion through a poor research process. Never confuse the process with the conclusion. A poor process is an indicator that a conclusion might be wrong, but a poor…

On The Difference Between Inserting Yourself and Replacing Yourself

The leader needs to know the difference between inserting themselves and replacing themselves. Leaders often rush around the organization inserting themselves to increase quality or quantity. This may be necessary to uncover a weakness in…

On the Only Way to Optimize Your Effectiveness as a Leader

With MECLABS, I have run a series of leadership experiments. They have been very intentional, and very personal. When I have erred, I have done so on the side of grace. I do not regret…

On The Price of Organic Growth

There is a price and a payoff for allowing an organization (organism) to grow in an organic way. The growth is slower but the organism is healthier. In such cases one does not have to…

On Leadership and the Danger of Being Trapped in a False Dichotomy

As a leader you must beware of being trapped in a false dichotomy. Your team will tell you that “it is either this or that”, and then ask you to choose. Sometimes this choice is…

On the Father and the Importance of Allowing your Son to Brag

An essential job of the father is to be available so that his son can brag to him. One of the high and sacred roles of the father is to listen attentively over and over…

On the Insufficiency of Good Intentions

A leader can easily be confused by good intentions. It is necessary to have good intentions but it is not sufficient. Sufficiency is achieved when the right results are produced at the right time. 

On Ideas that Drive Business

Sometimes in 5 minutes you say something that will drive the business for the next 10 years. But you must always ask, "Is this the best way?"  

On the Poem, “The Waste Lands” and Connecting the Nothing with Nothing

T.S. Elliott’s Ophelia pines or complains, “I cannot connect nothing with nothing.” I find the phrase troubling. On the one level, it speaks of nothing and nothing. The two, of course, can be connected by…

On the Difference between Truth and Inspiration

One must be careful to distinguish between truth and inspiration. What many, especially those with an attraction to spirituality, do is read an anecdote, find it inspiring, but confuse it with evidence. An anecdote does…

On the Necessity of Virtue in the Face of Uncertainty

In the absence of certainty, when one embraces the possibility of randomness as a rule of life, the necessity of virtue does not diminish, indeed, it only increases. To live in the face of absolute…

On Leadership and the Priority of Being Too Gracious

I prefer to err on the side of being too gracious rather than too ruthless. Either way, I am wrong; and either way, there is a price to pay (there is always a price to…

On Leadership and the Danger of Keeping Someone in the Wrong Job

As painful as firing an employee may be, one of the worst things you can do TO A MAN is to keep him in the wrong job. Leaders sometimes think they are helping someone by…

On Leadership and Becoming Intentionally Casual

The leader must be fierce in protecting their time, but he must balance this with the needs of his team. He must create margin in his schedule. Sometimes, he must affect a casual unhurried pace,…

On Urgency and the Growing Organization

Over the years, I have avoided developing a frantic work environment. I have found that frantic activity produces stress and errors -- so much so, that the increase in work produces only limited results. Nevertheless,…

On Approximating Truth

Spiritual truth is often approximated before it is experienced. A sincere question from the contemplative seeker may lead to a surface understanding - to an approximated truth. But until certain truths are truly lived, they…

On the Leader’s Desire for Rest as an Indicator of Illusion

There are times in the leader's job, when it feels appropriate to take prolonged rest. The organization seems to be doing well. You have the right people in the right places, and the numbers are…

On Testing and the Pragmatic Resolve

There is room in our understanding of philosophical challenges for a pragmatic resolve. This is especially true of our work within MECLABS, as it relates to Offer-Response Optimization. At the conclusion of any test, its…

On Leadership and Determining the Scope of Focus

One of the greatest decisions a team leader will make is the scope of their focus. How wide? How narrow? You must be narrow enough to achieve concentrated excellence; you must be wide enough to…

On Self-Deception as Vulnerability

All of the dark arts associated with the alchemy of negative manipulation (those employed by politicians, cult leaders, womanizers, etc.) foster a seductive self-deception. At their heart is a lie, but it is not a…

On the Danger of Displaying Spiritual Patterns

I grow quieter, as the years pass, regarding my own spiritual patterns. People can become enamored with pattern, with your cycle of prayer, with your spiritual disciplines, and as they do they begin to imitate…

On Substituting Over-Specialization for Original Thinking

Some people substitute truly original thinking with over-specialization. If your focus is narrow enough, you may appear original, but the scope of your work is so narrow it mitigates the usefulness of your findings.

On Leadership and the Interlacing of Promise Keeping

A job is not delegated if it is not deadlined. A deadline turns an intention into a promise. Without the promise, a leader cannot measure ultimate progress. Beautiful organizations experience cohesion from the interlacing of promise…

On the Difference between a “Good” Decision and a “Right” Decision

Ultimate truth is beyond our grasp. We may not be able to discover absolute answers, but this does not stop or prevent us from making important decisions. We all must stake our life. Thus, understanding…

On the Danger of Equating Skill with Truth

We must beware of being influenced by the powerful communicator or the brilliant thinker. A superior argument does not necessarily equate with an absolute truth. In historic society, the church has been more influenced by…

On the Special Season when the Imperative is Action

Sometimes we need to adopt a new mindset. There is a time to forget the checklist, and instead focus on the charge. Ferocity replaces order. Closing becomes more important than tracking. Doing becomes more important…

On Leadership and the Utility of Anger

A leader needs to pay attention to what generates “organic anger” within. The leader who doesn’t experience anger is not alive. But the leader who does not carefully channel his anger is a fool. Step…

On Remaining at the Epicenter of the Customer’s Focus

In the service business, the service team must remain in the epicenter of the client-leader’s focus. When a leader first hires you, you may be top of mind, but soon enough the demands of the…

On Gratitude as the Foundation of Well-Being

Gratitude is the foundation of mental health. I have never seen a depressed person who was properly grateful. This is not to say there are not legitimate reasons for depression, but depression tends to skew…

On Discovering a New Source of Delight

I have made a glorious discovery: By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept is one of the most artful books I have ever had the privilege of reading. It is embarrassing to admit,…

On Uncertainty and the Possibility of the Ultimate

[Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from Embracing Uncertainty, one of Flint's previous writings.] I have taken my uncertainty as the basis for the only notion that I could fully embrace: There seems to be…

On the Limitations of Heuristics

At MECLABS we often emphasize various heuristics that help in the optimization process. As an example, consider the conversion sequence: C= 4m + 3v + 2(i-f) – 2a. Even though we emphasize this heuristic as…

On the Impact of Digital Imagery on History

In our understanding of history we must fast forward to the future. Only by projecting forward and looking backward can we imagine how the history of today will look compared to the history of the…

On the Connection Between Theology and “I-ness”

How essential is the notion of “I” to the work of theology? Does theology have any meaning apart from the word “I”? Someone must do (I do) theology or know (I know) theology. Is there…

On the Leader’s Need to Guard Against the Almost-Good Employee

It is not the bad employees who hurt you; it is the "almost-good" employees. You recognize the poor performing employees and you make steps to correct them. It is hard to see the other class…

On Being Direct About Your Artistic Opinions

Do not have a “Christianized” opinion about art. Don’t be too nice, either to the artist or with yourself. You will never transcend the limitations of mediocrity if you are too afraid to be direct.…

On Correlation as Illusion

Correlation confuses me. I do not know how independent phenomena correlate. Is correlation at the level of appearance? Or is it something deeper? Is it something located in the essence of the phenomenon? Perhaps it…

On the Danger of Harvesting Influence Too Soon

Be careful that you do not harvest your influence too soon. One must balance the short-term against the long-term. It is like a crop. If you pick it too soon, you cash in sooner, but…

On the Limitations of Religious Survival Kits

Some of us have adopted a truth package. Religion merchandises a variety of these packages. They are convenient and thus attractive. Like any package, they provide a whole answer in exchange for a single action.…

On the Absolute Existing Within Space-Time

[Editor's Note: This is an excerpt of a longer, lyrical essay by Flint.] Can being be absolute outside of space-time, and yet remain absolute within space-time? An answer in the negative yields a series of…

On the Danger of the Almost-Good Employee

Leader beware. One of the most dangerous employees in the organization is that person that is almost good enough for the job. The problem is exacerbated if this person is likable and especially loyal. This…

On Faith Being Strengthened by Doubt

You will never experience deep faith until you’ve experienced (and survived) deep doubt. Faith is strengthened, not weakened by doubt. Faith is weakened by certainty. Where there is genuine certainty, there is no need for…

On the Freedom to Say Something Important Without Saying It Well

When we write observations, we have the freedom to say something important without saying something very well. When we write a book, poem, or story, there is intentionality to produce quality, but if I bring…

On the Danger of Focusing on Your Title

Do not be focused on your title, but rather on your capacity. The leader who is focused on a title is more concerned about how he is perceived than what it is he achieves. As…

On the Leader’s Capacity to Discern and Align with the Philosophy of Her Team

The leader must attempt to discern the nature of each team member’s operating system – their working philosophy. This philosophy entails the essential propositions, conscious or unconscious, that guide their decisions. The leader’s personal force…

On Being the First to Push the Panic Button

In any relationship, you should strive to push the panic button before the other party does. It is always better to go to someone and tell them you are underperforming before they find out on…

On Refining the Value Proposition Heuristic

The value proposition heuristic unfolds in iterations. It is itself a self-optimizing entity. What follows is a further set of observations and refinements. Much of this will be detailed in my forthcoming book: 1. The…

On Transcending Instruction with Impartation

The effective leader does not just train a replacement; the effective leader instills his own DNA within the replacement. This is more than instruction; it is impartation. Proximity is key; there is no substitute for…

On the Need for a Formless Form

The fundamental rule of my observation system is this: the observation can be whatever it wants to be. I needed one medium that transcended craftsmanship, structure, and homiletics. Its formlessness is its form. These observations,…

On Using Particulars to Discover the Universal

Particulars pull us into reality. We use the particular to discover the universal. Management focuses on particulars, leadership focuses on universals.  

On Electing Men vs. Electing Issues

Most people are not electing a man, they are electing an issue.  

On Your Core Gifting

It is important to work within the essence of your core gifting. Be broad and allow yourself to be interested in many things, but live at the center.  

On Utilizing Internal Deadlines Based on Internal Motivation

I believe in the importance of setting deadlines; I teach it to all of my managers. But I prefer a more subtle method where possible. I like to see the team member operating from an…

On the Necessary Choice Created by the Offer

The offer by its very nature reflects a choice among options. This choice, and these options impact the way the marketer must frame their message. In effect, there is a philosophic foundation: “Why should I…

On My Attempt to Apprehend the Ultimate

Somewhere along the way I have lost my ability to do theology with any of the normative approaches (at least as I understand them). I mean to impugn no one else in their approach as…

On the Writer’s Courage to Kill His Own Work

Nothing you write is precious. Do not be afraid to kill it.  

On Uncertainty in Pascal and Montaigne

At the age of 46, I find that much of the struggles I have had over the last 40 years are represented in the tension between the work of Pascal and Montaigne. On the one…

On Plans and the Necessity of Both Parts and Steps

A plan consists of parts and steps. It is about subject and predicate. If all we have are parts, then we don’t have a plan, we have a schematic. When you add steps and then…

On Honesty as the Ultimate Virtue of Being

The familiarity of the word “honesty” interferes with its remarkable meaning, and more, its remarkable implications. Honesty is the ultimate virtue of being. To be fully is to be honest. Honesty, in this sense, must…

On Naming the 4 Stages of the Inverted Funnel

I think the four stages of the inverted funnel can be best represented with these concepts:   To Listen To Attract To Converse To Nurture   It is important that these are stated as actions.…

On Speaking with Portable Precision

In times past, I spoke as if using a paint brush - stroke after stroke bringing an image to life. Now I speak in the style of pointillism. I use concision; I use portables. In…

On Avoiding the Semantic Tug-of-War between Truth and Word Choice

When crafting theoretical statements, you need to know the difference between an elegant choice of words (that is something you select), and a properly accurate (and hopefully true) statement (that is something you discover). If…

On the Priority of Achievement over Brilliance

The men remembered for their genius are not necessarily the most brilliant. Rather, the most brilliant men are remembered for their achievements. Their intelligence serves a greater end. The leader should not draw focus to…

On Focusing on the “Single” Rather Than the “Many”

The one that represents the many is more powerful. Do not focus on the "many", focus on the "single". Statistics need to be interpreted by the story of the "one". Case studies are not about…

On Being Entitled to Make Observations at Any Age

At any age you are entitled to make an observation, but be careful about drawing important conclusions before you are fifty years old. I determined long ago that I would not write any significant theological…

On the Problem of Evil as it Relates to Survival

Those who doubt the existence of God may want to spend more time considering the existence of intelligent “evil”. If there is no God, then I am “on my own”. But if there is an…

On Writing the Song That Cannot Be Said

Music must come from the part of you that cannot say, or be said. Try to write the songs you cannot put into words. If you can put it into words, it is probably not…

On Leadership and Archimedes’ Lever

Archimedes said, "Give me a long enough lever, and I'll move the earth”.  Archimedes was speaking about engineering, but when it comes to building organizations, that lever is management. Management is the leader’s lever.

On Content as Marketing and Marketing as Content

We are in a new advertising era. We are moving from advertising as interruption to advertising as utility. Advertising should not be served; it should serve – it should be useful. And we should be…

On Solomon’s Attempt to Escape the Self-Attesting Authority Claim

Solomon wanted to understand wisdom, so he pursued folly. He did not understand obedience until he pursued sin. It was not simply an intellectual quest; it was a “whole person” quest – with thoughts and…

On Extending Previous Victories into Future Ones

Leaders need to encourage their team. Most often we do so by persuading them to achieve new victories. But the best way to motivate your team is to thank them for the victories they have…

On Leadership and The Need to See “Prime Movers”

When a leader evaluates a plan, they must seek to discover its “prime movers”. In every plan there are two to three key levers. If you pull on those levers, you will achieve the most.…

On the Reflective Leader and 10,000 Implications of a Tiny Breakthrough

The reflective leader is always weighing the implications of every insight. One seemingly tiny breakthrough can set into motion 10,000 supporting activities. This is only possible if the term "reflective leader" represents an organizational reality.…

On Parenting and Hearing the Conversation beneath the Conversation

With a 17 year-old there is always a conversation beneath the conversation. Pay careful attention, or else you will answer the wrong question. Part of being a father is hearing what isn't being said.

On the Connection between Marketing Method and Personal Philosophy

I have used my fundamental investigations into the nature of "existence as expression" (logos) to afford further investigation. This has been achieved by taking a selective application of my work and extending it into the…

On Leadership and Drawing out the Strengths of Others

Sometimes a leader is tempted to invest his time where he can produce as opposed to where he can produce the most. The former enables him to demonstrate his manifold competencies, but it hinders him…

On the Curse of a Short Attention Span

What is the true definition of a Renaissance man (or polymath)? A gifted man cursed with a short attention span. But there is a problem; this sad little definition could also apply to the ordinary…

On Web Navigation as an Indicator of Internal Coherence

You don't understand who your company is or what your company does until you can create a proper navigation system for your website. The navigation system seems like some minor feature, but it is much…

On the High Art of Raising Sons

It's important to let your son excel against you in certain activities. A young man needs to be "certified". He needs to be "certified" as a man. This certification should come from his father. There…

On Leadership and the Balance between the External Push and Internal Pull

Leaders must achieve a peculiar balance in the way they manage their team. On the one hand, they must motivate/drive them to achieve an objective - timing, deadlines, the "external push" can be important. On…

On Seeing Inwardly in Order to See Outwardly

All my life I spent these morning sessions achieving clarity. I will not operate when I cannot see any more. I don't have to see with my physical eyes, but I have to see with…

On Distilling Data to Its Predictive Power

Customer research can yield an intimidating mound of data, more than we can truly assimilate. We need a way to discipline the process. The key element is predictive power: all that I need to know…

On Using an Organization to get “People Done” rather than to get “Work Done”

Elsewhere I've written, "Every leader should be a manager, and every manager should be a leader." Sometimes, however, you can draw a distinction (at least as a matter of emphasis). A manager can sometimes be…

On the Artificial Distinction between “Men of Action” and “Men of Reflection”

There is a popular, if artificial distinction between "men of action" and "men of reflection". But if one accepts the two terms as a matter of emphasis, then it is fair to say that there…

On Simplifying the Work of Marketing with Four Key Elements

In marketing there are only four components: the marketer, the market, the message, and the means. I arrived at the four years ago in my own research, but I have noticed that other marketing materials…

On the Painful Paradox of Pragmatic Creativity

The beautiful thoughts come when you feel your way along; the organizing thoughts come when you think your way along. Pragmatic creativity is a painful paradox.

On Faith as the Expression of the Whole Person

Faith is the expression of the entire person. It is a unity of the body, soul and spirit; it is a unity of the whole. If you have faith in your mind, but not in…

On the Futility of the Futile Question

You need to recognize when your mental gears are "grinding" and you need to stop and ask why. Most of the time just "pushing through" yields an unsatisfactory result. It is essential to understand why…

On the Limits of Prose

The irony in all of this detailed academic writing is that what I want to say most cannot be said in direct prose. It cannot be expressed in classic argument. It has to be perceived…

On the Danger of Eras in Academic Writing

Beware of eras in academic writing. When an academic proposes that a particular field has gone through a series of eras, she is potentially rewriting history. Indeed, she is at very least using a form…

On Technology and the Automated Mess

In the world of technology we have forgotten the significance of a simple tool. A simple tool like a written list - if it is the right list - can be more valuable than all…

On the Epistemology Beneath our “Epistemology”

Epistemology is a nefarious concept. You necessarily start with an implied epistemology in order to reflect on a potentially "truer" epistemology - in this way your epistemology is informing (perhaps shaping) your epistemology. I read…

On Faith as the Charge of the Whole Person

The church (quite naturally) encourages faith on the part of its constituents. But faith is not the absence of doubt. Indeed, doubt is not the opposite of faith; the opposite of doubt is certainty. And…

On the Danger of Borrowing Your Faith from Another

Beware of the man whose theology was discovered on another man's journey. Everyone does not have to be an original thinker, but everyone has to be an honest thinker. You have to "own" what you…

On the Team as the Leader’s Mirror

The leader may consider his team as a mirror. Your team will become who you are, not simply who you tell them to be. Genuine self-awareness is difficult to achieve. I can tell more about…

On the Misconception of Social Media as a Recent Phenomenon

For some reason we think social media is a relatively recent phenomenon. However, social media has existed from the beginning. The internet itself is grounded in its nature as a social medium. Email has had…

On Writing and the Importance of Meaning over Melody

Because of my aesthetic nature, I must constantly remind myself of an essential principle: never let the melody interfere with the meaning. In writing, the meaning is more important than the sound.

On Discerning the Difference between Inactivity and Rest

We sometimes mistake rest for the absence of activity. But I find that my deepest rest comes from those times when I intensify my activity. I can do this by becoming completely engrossed in a…

On Managing the Perceived Value of an Offer

When increasing the force of a value proposition, one cannot stretch "appeal" and "exclusivity" beyond their intrinsic substance. We can strive to maximize appeal; we can strive to emphasize exclusivity, but we cannot take perceived…

On the Leader’s Ability to See Around the Corner

At one level of leadership, you are able to lift up your head and see beyond what you are currently managing. You can perceive what is coming. You can see farther than those around you.…

On Conceptualizing Quotes as “Portables” in the Digital Age

I think that writers and speakers should think of quotes in a different way. In the digital age, I think we should conceptualize the quote as a "portable."

On Humilty as the Absolute Product of Self-Honesty

Arrogance is proportionate to self-deception. Do not focus on being humble (this is just another way to focus on yourself). Instead, focus on being honest. Being honest with your self will naturally produce (humiliating) humility.…

On Focusing on Creating Customers Rather than Defeating Competitors

The purpose of business is not to defeat a competitor; the purpose of business is to create a customer. When I sit in a meeting and the primary topic is the competitive threat, I know…

On the Painful Kind of Help

The greatest pain in a relationship is not caused by a "bad person" who means us harm, but rather from a "good person" who means us well. The wrong kind of "help" is most painful.

On Encouraging Criticism from Your Team

Criticism from members of your team does not undermine your leadership; it undermines your stupidity. Encourage it.

On the Difference between a Great Book and a Book Written by a Great Man

There is a difference between great writing and great living. And there is a difference between a great book and a book written by a great man. I have found that I can learn more…

On Two Reasons Why Even a Flagship Product Might Decline in Profit Over Time

Declining profit on a flagship product can usually be attributed to one of two problems: weak management or a weak (ening) value proposition. The latter can arise from problems outside of the leader's control, but…

On Money as Value

I think ministries everywhere are facing financial difficulties, and in some ways I think it is good for them. It's really not about money; it's about value. The ministry must have its own value proposition,…

On Sustaining Vision within an Organization

Bill Hybels said that vision leaks. He is correct, but vision doesn't just leak; it becomes cloudy, and that cloudiness is the enemy of progress within the organization. Vision is threatened by more than a memory…

On the Connection between Entrepreneurship, Marketing, and the Nature of God (a correspondence)

The following is an email exchange between Dr. Crispin Fletcher-Louis and Dr. Flint McGlaughlin. I have included it here because of its intriguing content. Please keep in mind that the content below represents provisional thinking…

On the Inverted Decision Funnel

The traditional funnel diagram is wrong. People don't fall into the funnel; they fall out. Gravity does not work for the marketer. It works against the marketer.   The funnel diagram should be inverted. In…

On Fear as a Motivator in the Purchase Process

Exchange Sum: BPY=Pc[Cl+Cr](VF[Ap+Ex]>CF[Rc+Ef]) One may criticize the exchange sum, claiming that it fails to address how fear motivates people to purchase. After all, some people are prone to move (psychologically) away from a threat as…

On the Essence of Enterpreneurship/Marketing

Here is the latest iteration of my reflections regarding the essence of marketing: ESSENTIAL PROPOSITIONS m1. the essence of entrepreneurship is marketingm2. the essence of marketing is the messagem3. the essence of the message is…

On the Difference Between Honesty and Truth

Elsewhere I have written that ultimate truth is unobtainable by the incipient. I am incipient. I am limited. I am not suggesting that ultimate truth cannot, in some form, be manifested to me. I am…

On Approximating Spiritual Truth

Spiritual truth is often approximated before it is experienced. A sincere question from the contemplative seeker may lead to a surface understanding - to an approximated truth. But until certain truths are truly lived, they…

On Mastering My Time Allocation

I think that there is much more I can do to master my time allocation. I am measuring in five minute intervals, and have done so for years. But I am not capturing all of…

On Energy Management and the Entrepreneur

The more one develops an organization, the more one realizes the significance of their personal energy investment. Every productive moment counts. Every productive moment influences the ultimate outcome. But the operative word in the previous…

On the Weariness Which Brings Internal Rest

I am weary, but there are different types of weariness. The English language does not do justice to the notion of weariness. There is a kind of weariness that is good for the soul. Most…

On Breaking Through My Conscious Walls

I find some of my most significant breakthroughs occur while I am occupying the totality of my person. Thus, I like to involve myself in physical exertion, such as a long run, while listening to…

On the Personification of the Inanimate

Ancient literature, even the scripture, perhaps especially the scripture, seems to personify the inanimate. It speaks of the rocks crying out. It speaks of the stars that sing. Of course, there are many other examples.…

On the “Hiddeness” Of The Accomplished Theologian

The more I understand the role of the theologian, the more convinced I become that the work of the theologian is best interpreted in light of his other work. Here I am distinguishing other work…

On Porter’s Concept of Tradeoffs

For some years I have noted the importance of tradeoffs. Only recently have I read Porter's work on strategy. I find its emphasis on tradeoffs to be critical. I have also noticed that his distinction…

On Contextualization as Incarnation

If the fundamental loci of scripture are within the context of mission, then the mission itself requires contextualization. All theology is contextualized. The ultimate act of contextualization is incarnation.

On My Utmost for His Highest

Oswald Chamber says "God does not give us overcoming life; he gives us life as we overcome. The strain is the strength" (Chambers, 1935). This is a profound, if painful truth. I see leaders everywhere,…

On Doubt as the Expression of Counter Faith

I have often said that the enemy's goal is not to get you to sin, but to get you to doubt. It is not sin that stops us, it is doubt. Faith can bring remedy…

On Missiological Imperative as Root for Contextual Theology

Contextualization in theology is rooted in a missiological imperative. My question is whether or not the scripture can be understood apart from a missiological center. I feel that the theologian who does not understand theology…

On the Essence of Goodness and Well-Being

It may be possible to determine the good business by considering it as a being. In this way we might draw certain implications as what is the essence of goodness in a person or being.…

On Sociological Structures and Opposing Trends

There is a phenomenon I sometimes notice in sociological structures. I will try to describe it in four points: 1. A group in society recognizes a negative trend. 2. They attempt to counter that trend…

On Learning To Recognize the Danger of the Abstract

I have observed that some people love an abstract concept, and thus experience an abstract love. They employ the language of love when they speak of God, but the more they employ it the more…

On Understanding the Difference between Training and Punishment

My son is 15. He is at the age where it is natural to make many mistakes every day. Some of these are errors based on ignorance. Some of these are errors based on character.…

On Integrating the Extraordinary Into Ordinary

Sometimes God does the extraordinary in order to make it a part of our ordinary. Once the extraordinary has been integrated into the ordinary life, it is important that we accept this new whole in…

On the Incipient and Ultimate Holistic Approach

As I consider my research regarding the incipient and the ultimate, and as I trace its implications on theology, I realize that in a sense, what I am arguing for is a state of mind.…

On Missing My Family

It is 5:11am and I am on my way to the airport again. I have been crying all the way. I miss my family more than I can express with words. It is not just…

On My Inability to Live with Certain Assumptions and Complete My Writing Project

I realize now that I am in full crisis mode. It is impossible, or at least it seems impossible for me to complete my book. This is not writer's block. This is not just a…

On My Work with the XEL-Defense Team

Thus far, I have kept all of my observations regarding my work in XEL-Defense separate. I have posted nothing on the blog, and I'm not certain what I should do at this point. I'm still…

On Inference to the Best Explanation as the Ultimate Theological Standard

I applaud the work of scientists like Arthur Peacocke, who are attempting to reconcile their faith with their profession (pardon the pun). Peacocke argues for an approach to theology that rest upon IBE (inference to…

On Balancing My Concentration

As I drive, I often dictate. I have my phone mounted on the windshield so I can keep my eyes on the road. This requires an audio operation, so that my hands remain free. Still,…

On Dialogue and Meaningful Discovery

It seems important to understand the nuance between definition and argument. Too often we argue over definition. It seems better to explain definition and then employ those definitions to argue one's position. In most cases…

On Withdrawing from My Core Ministry Activities

For some time I have been withdrawing from my core ministry activities. I believe this was the right thing to do. I sensed it in my spirit and I also believed it was the right…

On the Development of a Philosopher

The more I read, the more I realize that my formative years of philosophy occurred between the ages of 6 and 14. Much of what I discover now harkens back to my struggles in those…

On Expressing the Totality of My Being

As I continue to explore the differential between a life with purpose and a life as purpose, it grows increasingly clear that the latter is essential. It seems that a physical expression of life is…

On the Kingdoms of Light and Darkness

While there is a danger in overstating the activity of evil in the world, the greater danger lies in underestimating it. Indeed, it is difficult to maintain credibility, and yet consider the possibility of the…

On the Ultimate Prayer

I think, experentially, and inferentially, perhaps logically, that the ultimate prayer is this: Oh God, rescue me from myself.

On Internal Integrity and Seeing Through our Predisposition

One needs a way to escape the integrated nature of their acceptance of faith claims. When a person fully embraces a faith claim, it tends to (as it should) provide a framework for their relationships…

On Maggie’s Prayer

This is Maggie's (she is six years old) prayer today, "Dear Jesus, thank you for not making me fat, and help me to make enough money from my lemonade stand to buy one of those…

On the Cognizance of my Limitations as Worship

As the years pass, I am painfully aware that all of my lamenting about the pain of uncertainty and the inadequacy of language represents an immature mind. Life in its fullest begins on the other…

On the Ultimate as Revitalized Soma

Elsewhere I have written on the difference between the conditions of the incipient and the ultimate. This condition reflects my extreme limits. Once one recognizes that uncertainty is the hallmark of the incipient, then one…

On Extending Theology beyond the Written Revelation

It seems to me that a missiological theology must do more than provide paradigm for its recipient. It must do more than provide model or method. I had argued for this approach elsewhere. I think…

On Choosing between “Growth by the People” and “Growth by the Numbers”

It is clear that every venture I've been involved with involved the discipleship/pastoring process. I'm not sure that taking the business out of that context is healthy for me. This has impact on how I…

On Goldman Sachs’ Model for Refining Sales Focus

Goldman Sachs had a simple philosophy that drove their approach to sales organizations. Prune losers; feed winners. This is an interesting concept. This follows on philosophically with Peter Drucker's notion of focusing on results. Drucker…

On John Bunyan’s Fear as a Young Person

I think it's fascinating that Bunyan, in his spiritual autobiography, details the perceived depravity of his childhood, but also inadvertently, points out the difference, perhaps between him and his peers. Even as a child he…

On Capacity and the Organization

As the leadership model in my life unfolds, I understand more pointedly why I focus on capacity. I typically view an organization in three parts: health, capacity, and production. An organization must increase its health,…

On Running a Company under the Current Economic Conditions

As I contemplate the future of the economy I am wondering how to position our organization within this unfolding crisis (a phrase I am deliberating using amidst the claims that 'the worst is over'). Moreover,…

On Whiteheadian Thought as a Basis for a Philosophy of Religion

A far better view is found in Hartshorne's suggestion: "Worship is the integrating of all one's thoughts and purposes, all valuations and meanings, all perceptions and conceptions."3 Worship is a consciously unitary response to life.…

On Grace and My Understanding of Reality

The longer I live, the more I depend upon grace in order to continue. The word grace, for me, has become a philosophical/theological concept that powers my understanding of reality. Once one recognizes their vulnerable…

On the Apprehension Process in the Definition of Theology

At some point one must lift up their head and seek "the answers". This seeking is the apprehension process described in my definition of theology (see earlier writings). Whenever one begins is connected to wherever…

On Drucker and the Job of the Manager

Peter Drucker divides the job of the manager into five basic tasks: 1) He sets objectives. The manager sets goals for the group, and decides what work needs to be done to meet those goals.…

On Theology as a Subjective Experience in its Written Form

In order to complete my book on theology, I may have to model the theological method. This is a method which does not so much engage argument, but rather embraces the subjective experience of apprehending…

On the Nexus between Business and Beauty

If I am to think of business as worship, then I must think further than the notions reflected in works like: Business for the Gory of God (Grudem). Business as worship is not limited to…

On Weariness Mixed with Loneliness

Something is developing in me that is difficult to convey. It is a kind of weariness mixed with loneliness - the loneliness comes from realizing that the culture (even the religious culture), is moving far…

On Serving not Studying the Entrepreneur

In the work I am doing for London and Cambridge, I am reflecting on a theology for the entrepreneur. The preposition "for" is critical in that it focuses the work. I am not seeking to…

On the Necessity of Contextualizing Theology

Regardless of the arguments, all theology is necessarily contextualized. It is contextualized the minute it enters human conception. Contextualization is part of the encoding necessary for the receiver to receive. It is incumbent on the…

On the Debate Over Dualism

It has become fashionable among philosophers to eschew almost any form of dualism. Descartes, in this regard, has been discredited. Some theologians, like Arthur Peacocke, claim that the only legitimate dualism is that which exists…

On Embracing an Opposing Imbalance

There are times in the history of the church when a needed corrective takes place. This is achieved with a certain emphasis. It is an artificial imbalance and it is designed to bring the church…

On the Difficulty of Grasping the Concept of Non-Existence

Is death a form of existence? If the opposite of existence is non-existence, then the opposite of to exist is not to exist. Even for the scientist who does not believe in the afterlife, there…

On Working on Business and Entrepreneurship While Questing on a Different Level

It is difficult to work on the level of business and entrepreneurship while I'm questing on the inside. I think I work outward in concentric circles from the tension in my core. Somehow, someway I…

On Reconciling My Vulnerability with My Faith

For one to read my various observations on uncertainty and on philosophy, they might seem a contradiction to my life of faith, and to my work in the pulpit. I understand this seeming contradiction. For…

On Grasping the Concept of Wholly Other

I feel the need to meditate deeply on the full implications of what it means that God is wholly other. For once one has grasped the infinite void between us and God, then one must…

On Faith Amidst Uncertainty

Elsewhere, I have written about living within a framework even while you investigate its tenets. I appropriate a universe, and then while adopting its rules, I challenge them all. This may leave the impression that…

On the Utter Dependency of the Incipient

It's possible to become trapped by the knowledge of imperfection. A true awareness of our incipient nature leads to a feeling of absolute helplessness. For many, life is endured by embracing a series of delusions.…

On the Nature of Spiritual Ambition

I just finished reading the biography of Saint Ignatius. I find it interesting that Saint Ignatius started out with such significant ambition. It was the same with Saint Francis. It causes me to wonder. Do…

On Mary Augusta Arnold, and the Novel as a Theological Impartation

Most people are not familiar with the name Mary Augusta Arnold, but she was a successful novelist in the early 19th century. One of her books, Robert Elsmere, 1888, was a bestselling book for ten…

On the Notion that Theology Informs Philosophy

It would seem that theology has lost its appeal to the average person, but it also seems that philosophy has not. Books on philosophy proliferate today. Eastern philosophy has experienced a revival in the U.S.…

On How My Home Has Rescued Me

I think we underestimate the importance of home and family. I think it's particularly important for the man who lives a life of reflection. After hours of intense thinking and days of intense work, stepping…

On Theology “For” rather than “Of”

What does it mean to develop a "theology for the entrepreneur"? While the term "theology" itself needs defining, we might accept some of the more standard uses. This allows us to consider the impact of…

On the Church’s Failure to Provide a Theological Informed Conception of Good Business

We live mainly by forms and patterns and if the forms are bad, we live badly' . So warns Wallace Stegner, the Pulitzer Prize winning storyteller whose comments might well be reprised for a critique…

On the Danger of Unifying the Physical and the Spiritual

In the connection between the physical and the spiritual, I have said that the two must be unified. They should be synonymous, but it is important here to know the danger. I have been living…

On Reconciling Simplicity with Depth in My Writing

It seems, in this continual battle to understand proper form that I err on the side of two extremes: by writing in the fashion that is too simple, or writing in a fashion that is…

On the Connection between Physicality and Spirituality

I'm writing again on the connection between the physicality and my theology. I cannot seem to escape reflection on this topic. The deeper I pursue my understanding of God, the more I appreciate the gift…

On God and Self-existence

God is sometimes described as self-existent (If the via negativa is right, one can't even make this statement). However, I find the notion of self-existence to be so powerful that I can hardly fathom its…

On Theology’s Move Upward from Incipient to Ultimate

Theology is a move upward from the incipient to the Ultimate. If it remains in a move upward, it will produce nothing of consequence. It is a move upward, which must attract a move downward…

On Capturing Greater Efficiencies from My Teaching

Could I combine my speaking with writing? Could I get content out of every speaking presentation in written form? In this way, I might be able to capture more long term impact from my teaching.…

On the Reality of One’s Own Existence

At times one grasps more fully the reality of one's own existence. It is almost ironic that for this to occur, one must disengage from the present tense of pure existence. More often than not,…

On Syntax Delineated Coding

In my ever present dissatisfaction with the way argument is set down on paper, I've been experimenting with coding the syntax of arguments in a superscript, symbolic form. This requires you to consider how each…

On Reflection as the Edge of Sanity

To adapt another's proverb, I must confess that in "making many observations there is much weariness". It is painful to think, but it's more painful not to think. If I can at first avoid reflection,…

On Perceiving a Change in One’s Destiny

In science fiction, whole stories have been based upon the notion of altering the future by changing its past. And while I cannot add to such speculation, I do know that there are times when…

On the Shape of My University Project in London and Cambridge

I have just finished reading Treier on theological interpretation of Scripture. It is a useful summary of the topic. Somehow, I wonder now that it might be that MECLABS could be considered a theological experiment.…

On Applying the Concept of Life as Worship to the Ordinary

It's not enough to foster abstract reasoning regarding the role of worship and life. One must continue to ask this: how does one work itself out in the present tense? For instance, how can one…

On Perseverance in the Development of a Categorical Shift in Business Operations

It is interesting for me to note that John Whitehead of Goldman Sachs persevered for years in implementing his new model in the institution. In the words of Charles D. Ellis, "It would take ten…

On Seeking Equilibrium with Sin

One must be careful about seeking a form of equilibrium with sin. If a person is devoted to Christ, then they acknowledge that sin has no comfortable place in their life. Still, we often struggle…

On Management as Reflected in the Administration of the Biblical King David

There are lessons to be learned from David's management of Israel. One might immediately disqualify him as a standard, as a model, because he was a king and thus carried a kind of supreme authority…

On Caution when Using Biblical Narrative to Contemplate the Principles of Management

I have written an earlier observation about lessons that can be learned from the administrations of King David and King Solomon. While such accounts are useful, one must be careful not to approach them in…

On Existing Within the Basic

There is a way for an individual to revert to the most basic of functions. For one who is used to complicated, abstract thinking, this is a shocking turn. I think there is something to…

On the Confusion Element of the Value Exchange Fulcrum

When we teach in the third section of the Landing Page Optimization Clinic, we need to convey certain key principles: To guide the sequence of thought in the conversion process, you must start where the…

On Christ as Object

There is a pattern throughout scripture that intrigues me. Christ is often presented as more than an entity. In my philosophical grid, I have noticed a system wherein existence can be expressed as entity acting…

On Maximizing the Productivity of My Thinking Time

Yet again I am writing on productivity. I realize that I am still only capturing a fraction of my core thoughts. I think in most cases most thought leaders have codified their primary thinking in…

On My Multiplicity of Research Interests

As I have written earlier, I hold a high value for the concept of focus. I believe that concentrating ones energies is essential. Nevertheless, I have discovered that there is a need to balance this…

On Bringing More Intentionality into Our Purpose of Glorifying God

If glorifying God is a way to express the prime of justice of humanity, then it seems there should be more written work on actualizing that pain. In the 20th century there was much focus…

On the Leader’s Responsibility to Impart Value

In other writings, I have suggested that the leader has two primary responsibilities: One is to determine direction and the other is to shape efforts toward that direction. But the more I contemplate the matter,…

On Genesis 1:28

The phrase "be fruitful and multiply" in Genesis 1:28 is often seen as a Great Commission verse. I believe this is a proper interpretation in as far as it goes, but I also believe that…

On the Internal Source of My Observations

As I reflect on the process of which my observations are developed, certain points become clear. First of all, some observations are stimulated by an external circumstance. Something I receive with the five senses generates…

On the Works of John Donne

I am moved by the works of John Donne. There is a profound depth in his works, and he ministers to my soul. "Batter my heart, three person'd God; for, you" BATTER my heart, three…

On Revival

The formula for revival I have used thus far is: rv = cdr2 It might better be restated as this: rv = cd(r2) We need a clear way to illustrate that "r" squares the entire…

On Theological Method and Theoretical Physics

As time passes it grows clear for me how I should pursue my theological reflection. While some scholars focus on historical and linguistic exegesis, I prefer to approach the text differently (though preliminary exegesis is…

On Genesis 1

As I meditate on Genesis Chapter 1, it appears as though I don't really need many more management books than this one. I see, immediately, some insights. But I sense much more – a depth…

On the Physical Expression of God’s Glory

In keeping with my recent reflections upon Genesis 1, I continue to see the importance of the physical expression of God's glory. In some way, my deepening understanding of this point makes my work in…

On Teaching as a Driver of Philosophical/Theological Breakthroughs

Some of the greatest of philosophical/theological breakthroughs occurred in the service of teaching. Consider the Puritans, whose pastoral orientation influenced their theological works, and Kahane, whose pedagogical motives inspired his formal work. Teaching, while seeming…

On the Incarnation Model and the Scriptures

If we assume that the Incarnation model and the scriptures are reliable, then we must assume that despite the many challenges there is a form of communication that is sufficient for expressing the inexpressible. The…

On Knowing Little

When I walk through the halls of the great libraries, I am impressed with how little I know. Part of me strains to be able to know more, to be able to claim I know…

On Affirming Truths that I Have Learnt from My Study of the Puritans

In my recent study of the Puritan pastors and their theology, I have noted a number of truths that resonate with my own practice. Some have spurred me to intensify what I am doing, some…

On the Conjunction of Vectors

If we think of basic quantities like N1, N2, N3 as representing or delineating a line element or vector, rather than a hyperplane or vection, we can begin to trace out how Grassmann's algebra helps…

On Beauty

If beauty is related to proportion as Aquinas and others would say, then it necessarily involves priority. For proportion is only possible through priority of dimensions. If we then take the concept of priority, and…

On Jonathan Edwards and the Concept of Beauty

Edwards, I think, tapped into this concept of beauty that is driving my theology of delight: The first instance that I remember of that sort of inward, sweet delight in God and divine things that…

On Abiding in Christ

I sense there is a way to achieve a more profound serenity. This serenity requires a deeper understanding of the meaning, "To abide in Christ." In my own experience, I have discovered a pervasive peace.…

On Deep Connections to My Church’s Past

As I work back through the various streams of Church History, it's fascinating to discover the deep connections between my present and the church's past. I am experiencing a deeper awareness of my puritan roots.…

On Using N.T. Wright’s Theological Approach to Help Define Offer Response Optimization

Could I apply Tom Wright's approach to theology as story, his perspective on Worldview, and use it to define my approach to Offer Response Optimization (O/R=Oz)? I think there is significant possibility with this concept.…

On Engaging in a Deeper Level of Prayer

It occurs to me, on the continuation of the intensity of my prayer life, that despite the hours I am currently spending in prayer, I am not engaging at the level I could be. I…

On the Edwardian Vision for the Glory of God

As I am contemplating the various aesthetic systems, it grows increasingly clear that Jonathan Edwards, in his much overlooked work on beauty, offers a nuanced and profound understanding. His work linking the Glory of God…

On the Nature of Worship from a Whiteheadian Perspective

Bibliography: Whiteheadian Thought as a Basis for a Philosophy of Religion by Forest Wood, Jr. http://www.religion-online.org/showchapter.asp?title=2736&C=2475 A far better view is found in Hartshorne's suggestion: "Worship is the integrating of all one's thoughts and purposes, all…

On Baye’s Theorem

My micro-testing research indicates an opportunity to maximize the testing potential in those cases where one has some probability established for the test results of a given variable. In this regard, the Bayesian Theorem may…

On the Principle of Financial Management applied to Energy Management

As I struggle to allocate my energy resources, it occurs to me that the primary principals of financial allocation could be relevant. I need to allocate my time/energy in accord with certain of these principles.…

On Being Called into the Depths

What does it mean to be called into the depths? Perhaps it involves pursing the truth that can hardly be expressed to those around you. Perhaps it involves living deeply within the profoundest moments of…

On Revisions to my Thinking on Categorization

In previous observations, I have considered how one might approach a planning issue. I have suggested that there are principles and applications. The applications can be divided into entities, actions, and emphasis. I have suggested…

On Living within the Partial

There are times when the multiplicity of thoughts, the problems with living within the partial, the incomplete, and the flawed is too much. I feel as though I will burst or burn. God, give me…

On Disraeli on Commitment

Amidst the challenges of the 2008 economy, a leader cannot afford to attack cost structures with tentative measures. Hesitation is lethal. "The most dangerous strategy is to jump a chasm in two leaps." - Benjamin Disraeli…

On Joy as the Ultimate Antidote

It occurred to me, today, as I was worshiping in a small church in the mountains in North Carolina, that the ultimate antidote for this deep futility I experience is in joy itself. Joy is…

On the Possibility of the Unlimited

Consider this: there are many things I cannot know. And because I cannot know them, I conclude that I am a limited being. The knowledge of my limitations motivates me to consider the possibility of…

On Investing Selflessly in Other People Yet Receiving a Return

I have noticed over the years that my greatest returns have come from selfless investment in other people. Sometimes when you find someone you can help and you extend yourself to do so, never really…

On the Value of Approximation

We know that Pi is an approximation. But by the 19th century it had been extended to 500 decimal points. How valuable is an approximation? Two Canadian mathematicians calculated that by using Pi to the…

On Method Hindering Results

What is one to do when able to demonstrate accurate results without being able to demonstrate meaningful method? To some extent, the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan illustrates this enigma. Ramanujan could solve the most complex…

On the Nuance between Management and Mentoring

I need to draw a distinction between those I manage who need to be mentored/discipled and those who need to be directed and empowered per my formula as outlined in management model 19b. It is…

On the Spiritual Development of My Children in 2008 and 2009

I see two new practices that I need to start with my children for the sake of their spiritual formation: I am going to add to their reading list a whole series of devotional classics.…

On Proverbs 28:23

I am struck by a principle that I have recently taught on, but which I see within this passage again. The verse says that, "if you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out…

On Facing My Inadequacy

Despite my earlier writings, I still feel as though at times I am working out of an inaccurate sense of adequacy. At times I realize how inadequate I am for what God has called me…

On the Path Set in Jeremiah 6:16

I absolutely love this passage: Jeremiah 6:16 says, "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for…

On the Opposite of Certainty

What is the antonym for certainty? Is it uncertainty? I do not think so, because certainty represents an absolute state, but uncertainty represents a measured (perhaps fluctuating) state. Is the opposite of certainty not being…

On Servanthood as a Reformation of Essence (Philippians 2:7)

I have read this passage many times, and it has been a constant source of encouragement or correction to me. But as I studied it, yet again, this afternoon, I was impacted by the phrase,…

On the Transcendence of Worship as Enabler of Sanity

Throughout the mental meanderings that characterize my soul search, and throughout my interest in everything from XEL Defense to Offer Response Optimization, I find my soul returning over and over again to the notion of…

On Proverbs 1:20-33

I have written elsewhere on other verses within this passage but I notice a pattern, here, that is worth attention. First wisdom calls. If there is no response on the part of the person wisdom…

On Calvin on Self-Denial

I am moved by Calvin's thoughts on the life of self-denial: The great point, then, is, that we are consecrated and dedicated to God and, therefore, should not henceforth think, speak, design, or act without…

On Inadequate Ministry (Jeremiah 6:14)

Jeremiah 6:14 says: "They dress the wounds of my people as though they were not serious, 'peace, peace' they would say when there is no peace." As I study this passage, I feel my own…

On Discerning What God Wants in Your Life

I suspect that there is a point in time when your seeking for what God wants is superseded by something that you desperately want for God. I suspect that this is the point in which…

On Planning and Decision Making From Proverbs 11:3

Scripture says, "The integrity of the upright guides them. . ." The older I get the more this maxim helps me. Most of the decisions we struggle with may be resolved by turning to the…

On Starting a Fire With No Matches

Over the years I have looked for many sources of tinder. Here in Florida the palmetto or cabbage palm are superb. I find that I can get to a soft fiber by peeling back the…

On Genesis 22

Yet again I have been studying Genesis 22. It seems to me that most of the philosophical investigations of this story miss the mark. If this is not used as a test, it is not…

On the Close Connection between Fear and Worship

There is a close, if counter-intuitive relationship between fear and worship. The possibility of the ultimate inspires a kind of awe. How can it be less? If the ultimate is perceived as against us, the…

On Isaiah 61:1

Matthew sees three primary works of Christ or offices of Christ from this passage (Isaiah 61:1): preacher, healer, and deliverer. He mentions a fourth and fifth, but these seem to be the result of the…

On Certain Irreducible Minimums

I realize as time passes that ultimate certification will likely never yield its secrets to me. For 38 years I've been trying to break down existence into essence. Long before I knew of Aristotle, I…

On Proverbs 1:7

Proverbs 1:7 says "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline." I find it fascinating that the concepts "wisdom" and "discipline" are combined. If we look at…

On Jeremiah 29:13

In Jeremiah 29:13, God says, "You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart." As I read that passage, I wonder if I have truly sought for God…

On the 21 Principles of Leadership practiced by ServiceMaster

I think I can learn from Bill Pollard's work. His company's four primary objectives are these: To honor God in all we do To help people develop To pursue excellence To grow profitably The 21…

On Exodus 33

In verse 11, Joshua, Moses' young apprentice, remained in the tent. I find it fascinating that Moses included Joshua in this activity. It is instructional for me. I need to make certain that any work…

On the Importance of the Element of Randomness in my Observations

It occurs to me that the power of my observations is their flexibility. I need to preserve their core element: randomness. I think the effort to shape the work with too much structure will only…

On Contemplating the Ultimate

Consider this: There are many things I cannot know. And because I cannot know them, I conclude that I am a limited being. The knowledge of my limitations motivates me to consider the possibility of…

On Applying Popper’s Philosophy of Science to the Problems with Usability Testing

Popper's emphasis on deduction over induction may well be the way to question human computer interaction, more specifically Web usability as an acceptable discipline for offer response optimization. We are pioneering this new science. Popper…

On Offer Response Optimization as an Exercise in Hermeneutics

It may be possible to draw from theology its primary hermeneutic as a means of understanding offer response optimization. In particular, the role/the notion of the two horizons within hermeneutics could help us understand the…

On My Recent Breakthrough in Understanding the Nexus Between Worship and Philosophy

I have been quiet about my recent breakthrough on the nexus between worship and philosophy. Nevertheless it is impacting my whole life. It brings such a clarity and focus. I can trace all of the…

On Worship and Surfing (from My Son’s Journal)

Quin's (My 13-Year Old Son's) Journal Note "I realize now why I like to surf. It's in those few moments of pure adrenaline and the sheerest intensity that we find, fleeting as it may be,…

On Conducting Research by Moving from the Particular to the General

It seems to me that most research is carried on by moving from the general to the particular. However, I am interested in conducting research in the opposite direction. I think this could be especially…

On the Philosophic Profundity of Worship Music

The more I listen to the songs associated with the contemporary revival in worship music, the more I realize how profound their lyrics are. I think that much of what I have come to understand…

On Achieving Greater Clarity

I suspect that clarity is stimulated by proper motive. Case in point: when determining the scope of my research project for London, I find that clarity comes only as I am able to actualize a…

On the Fundamental Work of Business

Business must be considered as a community of communities. It may be expressed in the following formulation: RL (CM+VL) → CM As we can see, community is a construct of three elements: Relating Entities Value…

On the Metaphysics of Worship

I find it difficult to articulate the concept that has been growing within me for many years. Nevertheless, I will at least try to suggest it. Perhaps this will help me articulate it at a…

On the Most Delicate Mission on Earth

As I have stated before, the work of Oswald Chambers is highly underrated. There is a profundity in his writing that should not be overlooked. This morning, as I read yet again, through his devotional…

On Enterprise Proper as Creator of Social Value

The heart of business is transaction. Transaction is a consequence of value proposition. An understanding of value proposition could yield the deepest dividend.

On Philosophy as Worship

Philosophy as Worship Ultimate Incipient Incipient perceives the possibility of the Ultimate Response: Helplessness. Fear/Awe. Incipient perceives goodness Response: Worship Any other response reflects a failure to consider the nature of Incipient and the nature…

On Popper’s View of Critical Rationalism

In Knowledge Without Authority Popper argues for Kant's position regarding the principle of autonomy. Popper argues that "there are no ultimate sources of knowledge." In rejecting ultimate authority, he positions himself as ultimate authority. Moreover,…

On Facing Organizational Realities

Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan have reminded me to focus on the external environment of an organization so I can determine direction. I like their planning model. External Realities Financial History of Your Industry Overall…

On Exodus 15:26

I find a pattern in Exodus 15:26, which is repeated throughout the scripture: "If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes..." This is…

On the Book of Ephesians as a Blueprint for Business

It occurs to me that the book of Ephesians might offer a very cogent plan for building a healthy company. I suspect that a detailed exegesis could yield significant dividends for anyone attempting to develop…

On Relational Proximity

Schluter and Lee maintain that relational proximity... is a description not of the personalities or geographical position of two individuals but of the interaction between them. It has at least five dimensions:   1.  Directness:…

On Joy as a Supreme Cause

Before now I have seen Joy as an effect. It is only this day [Christmas Eve] that I have come to see Joy as a supreme cause.

On the Focus of my Energies

What is the most effective way to focus my energies? Sometimes I struggle with the tension between general management and personal contribution. It is very difficult for me to determine whether I should focus all…

On Augustine and the Sacraments

Augustine had a lovely way of describing sacraments. He said that they were the "visible form of an invisible grace." This is a description worth reflecting upon. Today, I think that many of my protestant…

On Calvin’s Approach to Theological Writing

John T. McNeill in his essay on the Institutes speaks of Calvin as a God-possessed soul. He says, "Theology was no concern to him as a study in itself; he devoted himself to it as…

On the Unfolding of My Main Research/Reflection Project

It feels as though there is culmination coming. I pray to God that this is true. It provides a divine kind of ultimate simplicity. It seems as though an understanding of worship itself is at…

On Mark 10:52

In Mark 10 and in Luke 18 are stories of the healing of a blind man. In Mark 10:52, a man is healed and is told, "Your faith has healed you." I have often heard…

On 1 Corinthians 1 and the Limits of Rational Thinking

The authenticity of the epistle of 1 Corinthians is attested to by: Clement of Rome in his work First Epistle to the Corinthians, 47, Polycarp in his Epistle to the Philippians, 11, and Irenaeus in…

On the Temporal Nature of Life

These words were written by Shelley in his poem Ozymandias. He wrote them after seeing the famous head of Ramseys. My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings, Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!…

On Exodus 19:4

The Scripture says, "You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagle's wings and brought you to myself." This is a profound insight into the heart of God.…

On the Terror of Truth

It seems to me that as the years pass, the commitment I have to a certain understanding of truth naturally solidifies. In part this solidification occurs because of the growing web of relationships and responsibilities.…

On Business as Community

We need to consider business as a community of communities. At the outset of this discussion let's consider the nature of community, beginning with a simple model. RL (EN+VL) → Cm Wherein: RL = relating…

On Watchfulness

Philokalia, Hesychios Hesychios, the priest in the Philokalia, writes extensively on watchfulness and holiness. Like the other Fathers, he places great emphasis on nepsis. Some years ago, when I did my research on James I,…

On the Call of God and the Condition of the Heart

Oswald Chambers said, "If a man or woman is called to God, it does not matter how untoward circumstances are, every force that has been at work will tell for God's purpose in the end"…

On George Washington and Teddy Roosevelt

I have just completed a study of George Washington's life and I am now in the midst of a study of Theodore Roosevelt. I find Roosevelt's story encouraging. It is helpful for me to read…

On Using Personal Recreation to Accomplish Multiple Objectives

Recreation is valuable in its own right. If it is used properly, it often provides a kind of sourcing – a refreshing. Is it possible to preserve this core aspect of recreation while at the…

On an Act of Will as Foreclosure against Negative Opportunity

I have noticed when making a decision about how long to fast or when to fast that there are two factors of influence. The first is my desire. I contemplate what meals I will miss…

On the Mixed Scanning Model for Strategic Thinking

Adopted by Physicians They know what they want to achieve and which parts of the organism to focus on...unlike rationalists they do not commit all their resources on the basis of preliminary diagnosis; they do…

On Content, Distribution and Energy

I want to contemplate the further implications of my work on content, distribution, and energy. I have suggested that Pst is the result of the convergence of these elements. If I define spiritual as a…

On John 6:28-66

In John 6:28, the disciples ask, "Jesus, what must we do to perform the works of God?" Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God: that you believe in him whom he has sent."…

On Adding a Fifth Element to the PST Formulation

I am not sure if Pervasive Spiritual Transformation (PST), with its current formulation involving content, distribution, energy and reception, needs to address the issue of context or environment. Where does the notion of politics figure…

On i58 and the Dispersed Community

How to Use the Daily Office As I read through the Celtic Daily Prayer for the Northumbria Community, I am struck by the parallels with the development of the i58 group. The concept that impacted…

On Discipleship in the Home

These are some thoughts regarding our primary discipleship effort. First of all, discipleship begins in the home. We cannot easily pass our responsibilities there on our way to working with others. Moreover, we need to…

On Learning to Extract the Maximum Value from Material Goods

How does one measure the value of a particular material good (which I shall call a thing)? In most cases, these things are mere instruments for a measure of satisfaction. This point implies the possibility…

On the Notion of Doing Your Best

I have been told that one must focus so that one can do the best. In general, I agree with this proposition. All of my life I have sought to focus, but I have found…

On Reading Fast in Order to Read Slow

I read fast so I can read slow. By reading fast, I can determine what I do not need to read, in turn helping me determine what I do need to read. This gives me…

On the Trap between Simplicity and Paradox

I have noticed that faith necessarily involves certain tensions. We live with paradoxes between grace and works, between the visible and the invisible worlds, etc. I think that some people live on the simple side.…

On the Danger on Viewing Grace as Entitlement

There are some times when God lavishes grace on a person. We should be grateful for such times, but we should also be alert against a certain risk. The risk is this: that we translate…

On the Delusion in Stability and Achievement

It seems that we can strive for a certain level of stability and achievement in our life. And finally, when we approach this level, we settle in to a certain degree of psychological comfort. But…

On Wordsworth and the Brevity of Life

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar: Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter…

On Prayer as Living

As years pass, I have noted increasing changes in my prayer life. Often, I am filled with a deep sense of passion. Sometimes, it occurs while I am driving down the road and I hear…

On Moment by Moment Motive Analysis

I am learning as time passes that rest comes only when I am in the present tense. So many conflicts of perception and reality make planning painful. Later, I will write more of this conflict.…

On Time and Illusion

I think there is a great danger in living in a sustained period of peace. It creates a mental fog. One begins to operate within an artificial world. Typically, a period of sustained peace is…

On The Layers of the Call

As I have read again this morning Jeremiah 1, certain truth grows clearer. It seems as though God's call on a life, his deepest call, may not be expressed externally in a clear recognizable form.…

On Success and the Language of Dependency

Oswald Chambers says, "The great dominant need is not the needs of men but the command of Jesus. The source of inspiration for the work of God is behind not before. The tendency today is…

On 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22

This morning as I read through The Lectionary, I encountered these verses. I am familiar with each particular sentence, but I have not thought of them together. When I do contemplate them as a set…

On Winston Churchill’s History of the English Speaking Peoples and Ill-Rewarded Mercy

Churchill's tour de force of early English history is remarkable. I find the account of the Viking onslaught on the monasteries challenging. Were these monasteries being judged or was this just the natural result of…

On Iterations and Expressions of the Prime Missiological Formula

Elsewhere I have written several versions of the prime formula. Here are some of the iterations: Expression: (CDE)s → !PVT Wherein:     C = Content     D = Distribution     E = Energy     R…

On Riches and Francis Bacon

"Therefore, measure not thine advancements by quantity, but frame them by measure, and defer not charities until thy death; for certainly, if a man weighs it rightly, he that doeth so is rather liberal of…

On Devising a New Way to “Foundationalize” my Thinking

Because of the limitations in language, and because I cannot make paper multidimensional, it is so difficult to accurately place on paper what I perceive. It is a source of endless angst. I must constantly…

On How to Ground the Missiological Piece for Cambridge

I am looking for a way to ground the missiological piece I would like to do on strategy for business. I suppose I could begin in John 1. I could speak of the Logos. From…

On Patience in a Crisis

As the persecution increases in India, I find myself driven to engage the conflict. It is natural for me to move into the struggle, as I want to protect the children and I want to…

On Johannes Scotus Eriugena and the Keen Reply

Scotus was an Irish philosopher – reputed to be the first major Christian philosopher since Augustine. According to Thomas Cahill, Scotus was at a dinner with the King of France when he was asked this…

On Kant’s Parerga

Kant's recognition of certain limitations within his project called for a new concept: Parerga. This non-rational element of non-religious life bears more investigation

On the Methodology for Evaluating a Philosophic Authority Position

If one establishes a self-attesting nature of authority, one may then establish the methodology for evaluating the way various philosophers argue for their position. I confess that I am using reason to express the limitations…

On The Necessity of Tension within Present Tense Theology

A certain kind of tension is essential to the Christian faith. This tension exists between counter forces such as the work of faith and the work of grace. It is our nature to seek relief…

On Fitzgerald and the Test of First-Rate Intelligence

F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still maintain the ability to function." I should like…

On Augustine and Introspection, Syncretism, Language, and Conversion

Introspection: Having read The Confessions, and having read a recent biographer's work on St. Augustine, I still did not realize the significance of Augustine's introspective writings. Only recently have I realized the great contribution that…

On Maintaining a Spiritual Center in the Midst of Activity

It seems important to move through the business day ensconced in some form of spiritual cocoon. Now at first this may sound surreal, but if one has centered oneself properly in the morning, then one…

On Simplifying the Task of Planning

I wonder if a Christian walk may be simplified to the simple act of hearing and obeying. It seems as though the complexities of my journey arise out of my adding to what God is…

On the Focus of My Work at Transforming Business

The more and more I contemplate the work that needs to be done, the more convinced I am that there is a certain alignment of business "city-states" that must take place. I find that my…

On the Preponderance of Words

Too many words. Too many words. Far too many words. I just returned, again, from the local book store where, for once, I went determined not to buy a book. I simply toured the entire…

On Living with My Whole Body

Children play using their whole body. They live with their whole body. If you watch them for a few moments only, you will notice that their entire physiology is animated. It seems the older we…

On Holding on to a Truth while You Search to Validate the Same

I am not sure that I have ever hungered for the truth. Because of the culture I have grown up with, a Christian culture, I have started with something assumed to be truth. I have…

On Pure, Uninterrupted Blocks of Productive Thinking

For years, I have set aside specific blocks of time in which to focus my activities. But I think I can accomplish still more if I can concentrate deeper during these blocks. The key will…

On Romans 1: 1-7

I love the way Paul contrasts the two words: Kurios and Doulos. It reminds me distinctly of my obligation to the King. I resonate when Paul speaks of things to set apart to serve the…

On Augustine’s View of Time

Augustine was particularly enamored with the concepts of memory and time. A poem stored up in a man's memory has no temporal extension; it moves dimensionally into the present as syllables are sounded out. And…

On Isaac Newton and the Life of Discovery

I think Newton serves as an inspiration for what I am trying to accomplish in God's Kingdom. He's an unlikely prototype, but I find his life inspiring. His incredible passion for the intellectual quest translates…

On Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions and the Life of Virtue

Jonathan Edwards forged 70 resolutions. I fear that I could not remember 70 resolutions, much less purposely keep them. It seems more important to distill this list into essential principles. Some have argued that all…

On Martin Luther’s Life

It is fascinating that Martin Luther would spend 30 years delivering his twice-weekly lectures on the Bible and that as Collinson notes, "The reformation happened between lectures." Luther wrote one book per fortnight for forty…

On Operating with a Provisional Philosophy

All of us, to some degree or another, are operating with a provisional philosophy. Many, like Kierkegaard's drunken peasants, never think through any of their internal operating systems. But those of us who think through…

On Staying Power

I am searching for the long rhythm. That is, I am searching for the sustainable pace that will allow me to maintain maximum output for the duration of years. I do not want to cycle…

On Philippians 4:13

In Philippians 4:13, Paul says, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." The passage is often quoted as an indication that he can accomplish some impossible or nearly impossible task. But I…

On the Greek Concepts of 2 Timothy 2

I am fascinated by certain Greek concepts in 2 Timothy 2. One is Strateuo, which means to launch a military expedition or to be in active service or to be engaged in warfare. So this…

On Evaluating a Person Through the Full Life Cycle

I wonder if our perspective on the downside of the cycle is accurate. We tend to think of the upside as the "norm" and the downside as an "aberration." But is the downside an actual…

On The Nature of God

The difference between God and man is described as an "absolute otherness." This is critical to Aquinas' concept of God, and it is stressed in much of modern theology. In actuality, the difference may need…

On the Categorization of Elements for Planning and Analysis

I need to understand, yet again, an essential categorization that will permit me to break all elements down so as to organize my efforts. For thirty years, I have anguished over this issue. Still, at…

On the Concept of Simplicity

On the complexity of integrating multiple systems, I must consider the concept of simplicity. To what extent does simplicity signify optimal efficiency? However, oversimplification is dangerous on two levels: It offers a certain sense of…

On Applying a Metric to Ethical Questions

If Philip Quinn's arguments that Abraham behaved in a rational way are correct, then Kierkegaard's whole concept of tension and paradox is in jeopardy. Quinn laid out this argument in response to accusations regarding God…

On Encouraging Behavior for its Own Sake or for its Benefits

It is fascinating to note that right behavior can be encouraged for its own sake and also for its benefits. I think those who stress one at the exclusion of the other are unrealistic. Confucius…

On Process, Materials and the Futility of the Philosophy Project

I should like to suggest a set of "likelies." If I were to endow them with the title of propositions, I should spend the balance of this paper trying to defend every unlikely possibility. Life…

On the Relationship between Missiology and Theology

I have written lately about management. I recognize its supreme significance in executing on the formula. Nevertheless, I cannot neglect the creative search/expression. As I pray and imagineer, I find my soul breaking into spontaneous…

On the General and the Particular

When attempting to understand God's direction, one must be cognizant of the general and the particular. It is sometimes frustrating to attempt to understand and outline the general. But it is not nearly as difficult…

On the Present Tense Imperative and Memories of My Wife

During my trip to New York this week I went to the Helmsley palace. Today it is called the New York Palace. More than 18 years ago, I celebrated my honeymoon at this very place.…

On Horace and the Concept of Influence

Here's a fascinating quote from Horace (Epistles 2.1.156) "Captive Greece took her savage victor captive and brought the arts into rustic Latium." It is a penetrating insight into the concept of influence. Position is not…

On Death and Detachment

Of late I have been contemplating my death. This is not because I am expressing a premonition but because I am evaluating my work. I know the fathers teach that detachment is a key. I…

On the Pastoral Use of Spiritual Gifts

I have come to the conclusion that the gifts are best used when we think pastorally rather that prophetically. Pastoral use of the gifts requires one to invest in the person he is helping. It…

On the Fear of God

The fear of God, not the understanding of God, is the beginning of wisdom. See Proverbs 1.

On a Seemingly Inconsequential Life

I suspect and fear that the journey inward will take me to a place of authentic spiritual death. I am familiar with the common teachings on spiritual death. But I keep learning anew that there…

On How to Build Community

This was directly copied from a poster on the wall on the 2nd floor of St. Stephen University Title: How to Build Community Turn off your TV Leave your house Know your neighbors Look up…

On Living in the Process

Oswald Chambers said that "We have an idea that God is leading us to a particular end, a desired goal; He is not. The question of getting to a particular end is a mere incident.…

On the Collective Weight of Actions

More research and more thinking need to be done on the concept of collective weight. In any relationship, there are actions, both positive and negative, impacting the overall status of the relationship. One is likely…

On the Danger of Striving to Be the Best

This morning, in prayer, I recognized the danger of striving to "be the best." It has been in my thinking for as long as I can recall. I have thought that in key areas I…

On the Death of Josh White

Everyone of course is quick to point out that we did all that we could do for Josh. And it is true that his ministry in India impacted his life. And it is true that he accepted…

On Collective Power

It occurs to me that the most potent power is collective. This is true because in our world no single person can have absolute power. God is other. God can have such power. We cannot.…

On Categorizing Philosophical Questions

I am seeking some means of categorizing those most important philosophical questions. In this way, I can at least work through some form of priority. This raises a question in my mind: why do we…

On the Use of Metaphor in Spiritual Teaching

I think we need to be careful about our use of metaphor in spiritual teaching. Metaphors are so repeated in scripture and so bandied about by contemporary teachers that our listeners begin to think of…

On the Overwhelming Amount of Knowledge

The more I study the scripture, the more I recognize the limitation of words to express what scripture is expressing. It seems impossible to say what I know. Every ounce of my mind seeks to…

On the Danger of Separating One’s Philosophy from One’s Life

Wittgenstein wrote in his journal regarding Kierkegaard: "He saw life as a task; moreover he looked upon all the features of life as an essential condition of that task, just as a person presented with…

On Theodore Roosevelt and Living in the Moment

Roosevelt engaged in multiple activities and in a myriad of accomplishments. I cannot tell through his biographers whether he engaged in these activities for their sake or for the sake of how it made him…

On Capturing the Spontaneous and the Incidental in Conversation

It occurs to me that much of the best thought occurs in the natural setting of conversation. From this I draw certain observations: The knife edge of philosophy is sharpened against the hard stone of…

On Reading to My Children

I find reading to my children is more effective if I allow them to read over my shoulder.At periodic times I stop and they have to say the next word.If they don't say the next…

On Pitting Authority Against Authority

Suppose I abandoned my faith on the pretense of personal honesty. In other words I come to the conclusion that I cannot fully support the idea of or belief in God. Suppose I say that…

On Determining Your Ultimate Authority

On the question of authority, consider this argument for my essential thesis: authority can only be challenged by another authority. If this is a statement of open authority, it cannot be challenged on the basis…

On the Reverential Rebel

Einstein spent the first 30 years of his career as a revolutionary and his subsequent 30 years as a resistor. I find the whole cycle ironic. Clearly, he embodied the whole of a thought-cycle. This…

On Finding Your Own Way in the Knowledge of God

The more I study Augustine, the more I realize that more of my rock solid theological assumptions are derived from Augustine's spiritual musings. This concerns me. His theories on original sin have been embraced by…

On Ancient Egypt and Cycles of Renewal

In the late dynastic period of Ancient Egypt there was a return to the old war ways. The ancient kingdom text was re-inscribed on the sacred tomb walls. The ancient rituals were renewed. Apparently, the…

On Building My House

The scripture says, "Unless the Lord builds the house, its builder labors in vain; unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain." I pray that God will 1) build my…
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