Today was officially hot. I mean, hot like the Midwest in the heart of summer hot. Scientists estimated the humidity to be 2000%. Even under the umbrella on my patio, everything about the day screamed hot and miserable. In the distance, through the shimmering air, I could see my wife, Martha. Despite the heat, despite the humidity, she was diligently weeding. As I glanced at her, I could see her wipe the sweat from her brow, take a deep breath, and bend down again to what was clearly an arduous task. Nothing is harder than keeping your garden going when it’s this hot. Without further ado, like any good husband, I rose from my chair and went inside to enjoy a cool drink and the air conditioning and write this blog. Today’s topic? The death (again) of association meetings through long, drawn-out, excruciating boredom. Consider the following from association
Last week, surrounded by cigarette smoke and sipping a luncheon Manhattan, I thought, maybe it’s time to write about a healthy lifestyle. The smoke, BTW, comes from eating lunch in, literally, the only bar in America where I think you can smoke, compliments of a grandfather law and a clientele in my town that doesn’t care. The Manhattan, of course, came in a glass. With that in mind, and while writing this in the Kansas City Airport (slogan? It’s all about the Plains) I want to share some lighthearted tips on staying healthy while on the road. As someone who’s been blessed with a talented and accomplished wife (who denies ever calling me fat, by the way), I’ve learned a thing or two about maintaining my well-being. So, let’s dive in and discover how to embrace health on the road (or just health). So, without further ado, some tips,
Creativity has been an essential component of my life for as long as I can remember. From early expense accounts to the lies I tell my wife about exercise; creativity is fundamental to my success. The most basic use of creativity is to solve a problem or take advantage of an opportunity. As a result, all of us are creative in our own way. The rewards for creativity are obvious. The most creative among us become wealthy and successful or are sentenced to prison. Recently, though I began thinking about sources of creativity. Creativity as the Big Idea The official definition of creativity, according to the Oxford dictionary, is “The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.” Well that’s boring. For many of us in business, we think of creativity as the Big Idea. The Big Idea is the flash of
Earlier this month I was engaged in a classic conflict with my wife, Martha. A conflict familiar to any spouse or roommate. With a broken “mechanical” dishwasher, both of us were gradually adding our dirty dishes to a pile in the sink – implicitly determining who the human dishwasher was going to be. Now, dear reader, we all know how this resolves itself. Whomever places a dish that causes the pile to collapse, does the dishes. For 2 days we engaged in a battle of wills, physics, and dare I say it resilience. Amid this marital contest, I finally asked myself, Mr. West (it was a formal conversation), “Are you resilient or are you just too stupid to quit”. Over the last few months, I’ve been impressed by peoples’ abilities to keep moving forward regardless of all the obstacles they face. They refuse to stop – kinda like the
Last month was my celebration of “Rantmas” in Death by Unanimous Decision – decrying the slow decision-making that will mark the end of so many associations. This month let’s pretend that everything will be awesome, Awesome, AWESOME!! despite the evidence and talk about Inspiration. See I can be positive and hopeful. 😊 Make sure to read to the end (promise you won’t skip) for insightful, impactful, hard charging bonus content. Oh, to be inspired. As the great actor Audrey Hepburn once said,  “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible!’” Every year at some point, all of us must reenergize, forget the past, and find the inspiration to keep pursing personal, professional, or organizational goals. But inspiration finding doesn’t come easy. The search for inspiration is a long, arduous road filled with inspirational speakers. I hate inspirational speakers. Here is a summary of every inspirational speaker ever. “I
This June, I sat outside on the patio, enjoying the results of my good decisions. Everything looked fine. The flowers were flowering. The birds were singing. The deer were deering. You would never have thought, that in a few short months, much of what I was enjoying would be dead. Today, in November, that same ground is brown. The leaves have turned and dopped. The flowers withered and dried. The deer stand fat and happy after eating at my delicious deer buffet. Stupid fat deer. Think they’re so big. As I grow contemplative towards the year’s end, I am afraid that today, we sit happily running our associations and organizations, enjoying the flowers and birds, but with withering death just around the corner. The reason? Association governance, decision-making, and decision-makers are not adapting to the harsh realities of our new world. Let me explain. No, we don’t have time.
I’m not lazy, I’m providing opportunities for others to share their voice. LOL This month’s blog takeover is by Nikki Haton Shanks. While she’s one of our strategists and an acknowledged industry leader in the association sector, more importantly, she and her husband run Troubled Waters Brewery near Tampa, FL. Unlike me, she doesn’t learn lessons from drinking booze, but from making it. Here’s some lessons learned and some takeaways for our association (and other) colleagues. Take it away, Nikki. My husband owns a brewery (Troubled Waters Brewing in Safety Harbor, FL) and is a Certified Cicerone (kind of like the Sommelier of the beer world). Being married to a brewer is fun and interesting. There have been days I’ve walked into the house and he’s toasting trays full of coconut in the oven for a new chocolate stout recipe or jalapeños for a new IPA with mango. His
Welcome one and welcome all. Like many of you, I often want to work less, do less, be less. This month, two of our awesome strategists Nikki Golden and Nikki Haton Shanks approached me with an idea. “What if we wrote a guest blog from My Seat at the Bar, would that be OK?”. Being a kind and generous blogger, I jumped at the chance to not do any work. You see, unlike me, Nikki and Nikki, or the Nikkis, as they’re affectionately known, have been thinking about the lessons learned (or forgotten?) on how to bring people together. We call this a convening strategy and the people, of course, conveners. Enjoy this month’s guest Blog and 5 great lessons on how to bring people together more effectively. From The Nikkis I (Nikki G) think about gathering a lot. And not just because I just had my kitchen remodeled
The other day, while enjoying the sweet, juicy fruit of success, I had an epiphany. Perhaps, just maybe, something other than my unique combination of skills had contributed to my success. Wait, stay with me. Take a deep breath. Was it possible, I had been helped along the way? Had unseen mechanisms supported me all along? The great good consultant in me looked at this notion in more detail. What was the nature of this unseen support? What I saw was my leadership infrastructure. Leadership infrastructure is the Spanx that supports you and allows you to accomplish whatever it is you think you need to accomplish. Like Spanx, it is an invisible professional undergarment that makes you look and perform better. Building and maintaining your personal leadership Spanx is critical to your success. You don’t want to experience the unsightly sagginess of failure. When I stopped thinking about underwear
Recently, I was taking a break from thought leadering when I remembered a recent conversation at a client gig in Napa. A person I had just met, asked me if I traveled a lot. My response began with, “Well I used to travel all the time but then, ya know, the spicy cough, but now I’m nearly back to pre-pandemic travel.” I realized in virtually every conversation, there was a time gap that needed to be explained. Kinda like a lost time period on your resume when you didn’t have a job and were too embarrassed to put prison gap year. It dawned on me that every conversation with a new person included a pre-pandemic, pandemic, and post pandemic narrative. The post pandemic story always described how I and my life were different. When I listened to others, commoner, and equal alike, I heard the same thing. “I used