Archive for the ‘Always Tell The Truth’ Category

What Dad Doesn’t Say

Thanks to all who contributed to my last post “Dad Says: Best Advice from Your Dads.” For those who read closely, you may have noticed that I did not share any advice from my father. Why? Because he swears he doesn’t give it.

I have huge respect for his approach. He believes that “It’s hard enough to live your own life…and you never know the full context…”

The truth is all of my siblings and all of his siblings know… if you need advice, just tell your story to Dad, and look at what his face says. He can’t really hide his pride or lack of enthusiasm.  My brother Brad explains:

“The silence reads… be thoughtful.  Always.  Consider the options, the implications, the people involved. the answer is somewhere in the middle.”

So for Fathers Day, Dad… I share the top 10 things I learned from you… 10 things I took away from advice not given.

10. Be patient

Oh yeah… still trying to learn that one.   My sister, Jill, is a quicker study.

 “I learned about exercising patience in teaching and finding new and creative ways to show others something that seems obvious.  For him, it included hours of algebra and geometry on the coach.  For me it comes in hand in speech therapy and with my own children.

9.  Go to church

Thanks so much for not caring about which church.  A huge part of who I am came from growing up in a fantastic church community.  And an important part of who I am becoming is influenced by the church I now attend.

8.  Wear a wig

Mom was wary about me including this one, so let me explain.  The fact that every year you would dress up at work for Halloween as whatever project you were working on (even after you were a senior leader) taught me a lot.   Have fun at work.  Take risks.  Making people laugh builds teams.  I now have a closet full of wigs that I happily wear and never regret.

7. Support people’s passions

You become genuinely interested in anything others are doing  and support it full steam.  Thank you for being the first subscriber to my blog.

6. Document the family story

I am amazed at the work you have put in to research and track the lineage, pictures and stories.  Thanks for always being there with a camera to capture just what needs to be remembered.

5. Show up

Thanks for being REALLY available when we need you the most.  Thanks for always digging in and helping at just the right time.  I know hundreds of people would say this about you.

4. Try the less obvious next step

I learned that a career path can be complex… that if you can lead people, take some risks and try things you know nothing about.  How else does someone  go from studying the mating habits of striped bass, to making power plants safer, to building space telescopes?

3. Fight for the underdog

You always fight like crazy with your words and actions.  You make real sacrifices and invest in others.   And mostly,  in a subtle and elegant way.  Never looking for credit for your contributions.

2. Have an opinion

You always have one… and it is always passionate.  And you are very careful about how you share it.


1. Do it well

Everything.  Always.

Thanks Dad.  I learn from you every day. 

Felons, Leopards, Spots and Feedback

Last night I accidentally had dinner with an old college friend. It was one of those fun chance meetings which quickly leads to a run down of every mutual acquaintance and what they are up to.

“… and Joe (not his real name) is a convicted felon.”

“What! Story please.”

Joe is a bright, talented guy who quickly became a successful businessman. My interpretation of the story is that his white-collar crime was not an oversight or an accident, but a substantial breach of integrity motivated by greed and vengeance.

I looked at my friend, “I am embarrassed and sad to say, that I’m not shocked.”

So why wasn’t I startled by this news? In my interactions with Joe there were times when things just didn’t feel right… in the way he treated his relationships… or stories that just didn’t stick together. At this point, the details are fuzzy… but I do remember thinking, “I should give him some feedback.”

I never did.

What if I had?

What if others had in the 20 years between then and now?

What if friends and colleagues had called this leopard’s’ spots as they saw them emerge-when the stakes were low. What if he had more ticked off people  calling his bluff along the way?  Would he have failed sooner and softer? Or, perhaps they did… I will never know.

What is our responsibility to hold up mirrors for our friends early in the game?

Do you think leopard’s can change their spots?