Commit Me

Commit Me

When you wholly commit – to a course of action, to a strategy, to a purpose – your decision making power, authority, and focus amplifies, by definition. That’s because all the mental energy and head space that you were formerly devoting to indecision, may now be brought to bear in actually doing.

300 Words, 2 Minutes

It’s mind-boggling, how much energy we spend on unanswered questions… pending decisions… the uncertain future.

It’s the metaphorical equivalent of sitting in your driveway with the engine on, your foot stomped on the gas pedal, all the way to the floor; furiously burning through everything in the tank, but going absolutely nowhere.

Truly, many problems are entirely outside our span of control, perhaps leading us to believe all we can do, is offer up some semblance of the serenity prayer, and simply hope for the best.

Look at the people you know, who are successful. Who achieve. Who get things done.

What trait makes them so effective at what they do, while others seem to sputter and fall?

They are able to commit. And, to reap the immediate benefits that commitment brings along with it.


When you wholly commit  – to a course of action, to a strategy, to a purpose – your decision making power, authority, and focus amplifies, by definition. That’s…

View original post 131 more words

You Didn’t Respond… Are You Interested?

You Didn’t Respond… Are You Interested?

Exercise your agency. Take ownership of your vendor conversations. Don’t let misplaced obligation rob you of the drive and focus your employer demands and deserves.

300 Words, 2 Minutes


One thing’s for certain, when you’re in charge of an IT department:

If you don’t control your vendor relations, they will control you.

We get dozens of cold calls and pitches, each and every week, from vendors of every stripe and walk of life.

Most are professional. Many are not.

The communiques that get most under my skin go something like this:

“You Didn’t Respond to my previous x emails… can you let me know if you have any interest in my product or service?”

Asked, and answered.

If we haven’t responded by now, we’re not gonna.

It’s not a question of being a jerk to vendors, or potential vendors. It’s a simple matter of survival.

My job is to further the institutional mission of my employer. Anything that detracts from that mission is non-essential and extraneous.

That especially includes answering unsolicited pitches and cold calls.

Not every pitch requires, or deserves, a…

View original post 182 more words

Being There

Being There

Being there is often the difference between totally “getting it”, or missing understanding altogether.

300 Words, 2 Minutes

One of the major failings of learning geography or history, at least as experienced in classrooms, is the inability to get a genuine sense of place as an actor in the story.

If you’ve never been to Washington, D.C., it’s hard to get a sense of the scale of the place, and why the city is situated where it is. Or, if you’ve never travelled through the swamps of South Carolina, it’s hard to imagine the difficulties the armies faced in simple logistics, moving through this harsh and challenging terrain, during the American Revolutionary War.

This week, we’ve been reminded of the vast distances between where we live, and the far-flung reaches of the outer edge of our solar system. Even traveling 30,000 miles per hour, it took the New Horizons spacecraft ten years to reach Pluto… and it has been only in the past week that Pluto has become for us, for the…

View original post 150 more words



Taking Aim

by Ashley Tinstman

Everyone was talking about it.  There were ads on TV.  The buzz on social media was building.  Amazon Prime Day was coming, and it was going to be bigger than Black Friday—the sale to end all sales.  Consumers excitedly waited for July 15 to arrive, filling up their virtual shopping carts with all the items they expected to go on sale at midnight.  And then …

The deals never came.  Shoppers searched through Amazon’s website looking for the sales they had anticipated.  But as they were looking for tablets, phones and fashion accessories, what they found was much different.  Instead, they came across “exclusive” deals for duct tape, a VHS rewinder, a shoehorn and a bunion regulator.  (Seriously?  I don’t even know what a bunion regulator is.)

And as you can imagine, the social media world exploded.  People likened Prime Day to a giant…

View original post 215 more words

First Principles

First Principles

Feel free to disrupt and innovate, when you’ve proven that you’ve kept the main thing, the main thing.

300 Words, 2 Minutes

You have to crawl, before you walk… and walk, before you run.

This is only one of many examples in life, where one must master the fundamentals, before moving onto something more advanced.

But we are too often sidetracked by the new and the shiny, on our way to becoming disruptive innovators.

We forget that in order to be successful, we first have to remain true to our First Principles, our core mission, our raison d’etre, before attempting the fancy stuff.

Because if you can’t do the bare minimum of what defines you as a person, as an employee, or as a professional – you’ve failed before you’ve started.

Remember: before going out to conquer and change the world, make sure you’ve taken care of the basics at home, first.

Establish trust in doing the core things required of your position.

Then, feel free to disrupt and innovate, when you’ve proven that you’ve

View original post 12 more words

It’s Not You. It’s Us.

It’s Not You. It’s Us.

Life – and career – is too short to put up with poor service, neglect, and victimization.

300 Words, 2 Minutes

Relationships are tough.

There’s the understatement, of this, or any, century.

When they’re good, they’re great.

When they’re bad, they’re intolerable.

Yet – we seem to overwhelmingly tolerate bad relationships, even when it’s blatantly obvious that the relationship is uneven, or when it is unhealthy for us, or when we could do much better, by just getting up, and walking away.

Why is that?

It’s because all real relationships are composed of contact, experience, and time.

When a single occurrence of an interaction between two people (or two companies) occurs, it is just a transaction (contact). However, what begins to build relationship between the two parties, is a series of such transactions (experience) over a prolonged period (time).

It’s the way friendship works. It’s the way love works. It’s the way family works.

What makes bad relationships difficult to walk away from, is…

View original post 214 more words

Checking In

Checking In

Many of you have written kind words of encouragement, and well wishes, for my new position in Brooklyn. Thank you.

2015-06-30 16.04.41-12015-07-10 11.19.53

The gig is going well, has its own unique sets of challenges, and, like all endeavors – each new day brings something different to the table. It’s exciting, and scary, all at the same time.

In short – life’s good, personally and professionally.

2015-07-10 11.17.54-1

However, this week was less good than the others.

  • My ten year old celebrated his birthday – 1,500 miles away from me. That was the first birthday I’ve been away from any of my children.
    2015-07-08 18.10.25
  • The next day, our 19 year-old Kitty died.IMG_4035
  • I haven’t seen my family in weeks.

Fortunately, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

  • We’ve leased an amazing house, steps away from the train, in a beautiful town, with great schools. Our new landlord is also a great guy, which is a plus. We move in, in just over a week or so.2015-07-03 10.03.102015-06-28 09.52.18 HDR-12015-06-29 18.04.27 HDR-1
  • I’m flying back home, to pick up my boys and pets, and start our cross-country trek to New Jersey, to our new home. My wife will fly out to meet us, once the moving truck is loaded up.2015-07-11 02.42.02

Our lives are anything but conventional at the moment.

I hope to be close to approaching something normal again, soon.

Registering for school. Attending my kid’s sporting events. Meeting our new neighbors. Doing nothing on a Sunday, with my family around me, Going to the City with my wife for dinner.

I know to many, it’s inconceivable to move your family halfway across the country. Yet, we’ve done this four – or five? – times now.

You go where life leads you, and try to embrace Discovery. Reinvention. Experience.

2015-07-05 14.08.58

Admittedly, it is never easy. But, it is always rewarding.

It is how we have come to have so many amazing people in our lives.

I simply hope that I have done the best I could for my family, that we are together and happy, and that we love one another.

What else is there?

Until next time.

How not to write about college students: a lesson from Slate

How not to write about college students: a lesson from Slate

Bryan Alexander

A popular article on Slate this week offers a nearly perfect demonstration of how not to write about college students.  The lesson is on how to pretend a small fraction of students stand in for the entire undergraduate population.

Here’s how it* works.

"cope" photo by mindbubbleThe title (“Kids of Helicopter Parents Are Sputtering Out”) and thesis (“perfectly healthy but overparented kids get to college and [suffer from an] inability to cope”) proclaim a focus on students suffering from helicopter parents – a legitimate topic, one widely discussed in education circles.  The text as published by Slate hits a nice nexus between education and parenting, solidly popular topics today.

It’s also largely about rich families.

Check out the source with which Lythcott-Haims leads, William Deresiewicz ‘s Excellent Sheep.   This book is entirely about the socio-economic and academic elite, traditional-age students at the Yale/Harvard level.  That’s a small fraction of America’s undergraduate population.  I…

View original post 698 more words

Choking on an Elephant

Choking on an Elephant

What your project management success will ultimately boil down to, is mastering how to go about solving “intractable problems”, regardless of the fact-dependent and unique circumstances of each individual project – and applying those lessons learned from each engagement, toward the betterment of the next project you encounter.

300 Words, 2 Minutes


This morning, I was going to riff on some tired tripe about “eating an elephant… one bite at a time.”

And then realized: I would hate reading something like that.


Even so, tackling seemingly unassailable – and impossible-seeming – projects has been very much top of mind for me these days. And honestly, it is making me put my best problem solving, King Solomon decision making skillz to the test.

Without falling back into tired homilies, then – how does one begin managing the unmanageable?

Identify the “big problem.”First, you must understand the big problem needing to be solved. Surprisingly, many projects go off the rails at this very step. Correctly identifying what the big problem to be solved is, and keeping it at the center of every conversation in the project, is vital to having a successful outcome on the other end of the process.

Break the big…

View original post 465 more words

When to Be Strategic

When to Be Strategic

It is incumbent upon you as a leader, manager, and educator to keep strategy front and center – at the water cooler, in the board room, and in the classroom.

300 Words, 2 Minutes

Strategy 2

In due course of any given day, we are busy at work, knocking off the tasks on our to-do lists.

Yet, rarely do we stop and ask: Am I working on the right problem?

This is not meant to be a trivial or flippant observation. We may be very hard at work, and producing copious volumes of output.

But – are we actually doing the proper things that need to be done, or merely, those that are the most expedient? Are we cognizant of the Strategic, as well as the Tactical?

Why is this important?

Because everything you do in your organization begins – and ends – with your strategic initiatives. Every conversation. Every decision. Every assignment. Every project.

It is the superstructure that gives shape to your culture, to your management, and to your financial planning.

And yet – we are continually swamped with the immediate, with the needful now. We…

View original post 128 more words