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Dandelions and Orchids

compassionate May 10, 2022

by Aubrey Patterson


Most accept that we are a product of both nature and nurture.

In 2005, Dr. Tom Boyce and Dr. Bruce Ellis introduced the flower metaphor of orchids and dandelions in an influential academic paper.

They concluded that children who are less sensitive and more resilient are like dandelions, which tend to thrive in any circumstances. Very sensitive children, conversely, are more like orchids that need a nurturing environment in order to flourish.

So what about you?

Of course, we'd all love to be more like the dandelion.

Why doesn’t constant trampling defeat the dandelion? The key to its strength is its long and sturdy root, which extends deep into the earth. The same principle applies to people. The true victors in life are those who, enduring repeated challenges and setbacks, have sent the roots of their being to such a depth that nothing can shake them. - Daisaku Ikeda

Most of us are somewhere...

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Leaders Walk the Talk

by Aubrey Patterson


We all have good ideas.

And we should share them and hope our teammates elevate them into something remarkable.

When we have an idea but don’t act upon it, at best it’s just a good intention.

Some people think generous sharing can help a relationship, but vision without action creates disappointment in those we've excited with a new idea.

Someone who frequently offers ideas and rarely acts is communicating, “I have the ideas, you need to do the work.”

Good intentions only count when accompanied by good effort.

Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.

- Peter Drucker

When we offer a new thought that is received enthusiastically, the actions of each team member should immediately be entered into some form of a shared task document.

Dreams are turned into action when we know who will do what by when, including the commitments of the leader who just motivated the...

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On the Dot!

meetings time blocking Apr 26, 2022

by Aubrey Patterson


Do you find yourself in meetings that are chronically late to begin? 

To the punctual majority who are often pressed for time, being late is like saying, "This work is important, but, hey, it's not that important."

Arriving late was a way of saying that your own time was more valuable than the time of the person who waited for you. - Karen Joy Fowler

A Typical Late Start

We've all been part of this common scenario:

Some arrive a little early and start chatting. Most of the people arrive just in time to begin. A few have yet to arrive. Often one or two key members, who are usually the leaders, keep chatting until eventually one of them declares, "OK, let's get started."

Unfortunately, far too many meetings organically stumble to a late start, and then stagger to a slow end. Time, enthusiasm, motivation, and focus are the casualties of this pattern.

All of this makes...

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Habits vs. Willpower

by Aubrey Patterson


Many of us rely on willpower to actualize our biggest goals.

When we want to lose weight, we access willpower to prevent us from eating a piece of cake. 

If we want to save money, we use willpower to not click buy now on Amazon.

And when we want to wake up early, we use willpower to quickly get out of bed.

This common approach certainly seems to make sense. However, consistently relying on willpower is an exhausting, demoralizing, and failing strategy for most.

Willpower vs. Systems

Willpower is like a muscle. It needs to be consistently exercised or it can get weak.

Habits don’t require additional energy. They happen automatically.

If this, then that habits are most desirable because they require neither a lot of thought nor willpower. 

Powerful habits work together with beautiful synergy and beget excellent...

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The Bee Hive Mentality

constructive Apr 12, 2022

by Aubrey Patterson


In 1965, the founder of Intel, Gordon Moore, predicted that computer chips would exponentially increase in power while decreasing in size. This became known as Moore's Law and has been proven correct over the past 50 years. 

It isn't much of a stretch to extrapolate that an increase in the speed and convenience of computing has led to a corresponding escalation in the amount of information coming at us each day. 

So how can we keep up with the dizzying growth of information received and the multitude of channels that deliver new inputs seemingly by the minute? 

Predictability is desirable, but being overwhelmed certainly is not.

There's no app for this

We all know someone who adopts every new productivity app and very convincingly attempts to gain fellow converts.

Though well-intentioned, these efforts rarely amount to much because increasing productivity and peace of mind doesn't happen...

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Is Your Email a Progress Trap?

communication impact tips Apr 05, 2022

by Aubrey Patterson


Has technology really made day-to-day communication easier? 

Most would never choose a return to the days of the fax machine or expensive phone calls in favor of the wonderful ability to instantly FaceTime a daughter across the country or text congratulations to a friend in another country.

But what about the vast amount of undesirable and expectation-laden messages you receive every day?

We create a progress trap when our ingenuity is used to solve one large problem that inadvertently causes new problems that affect our quality of life.

The taming of fire, creation of cities, and industrial revolution all led to lurches forward, while each improvement also brought with it progress traps.


Imagine a week without receiving an email. It's certainly an attractive thought, right? 

However, anyone who can recall sending multiple faxes or waiting weeks for a signed form to...

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I Can Count on You!

by Aubrey Patterson


People expressing they can count on us is one of the best compliments we can ever receive.

Being dependable, reliable, and consistent are qualities that speak to our level of dedication.

When we are dedicated to anything or anyone, we become a credible person. 

Commitment, Consistency, and Credibility

It's certainly frustrating to deal with people who say they are making a commitment but refuse to offer a time frame. When there is no clarity regarding what will be done and when, there really is no commitment or reliability. 

Much more damaging is when team members consistently don't meet agreed upon deadlines and trust becomes an issue. 

Trust is the highest form of human motivation. - Dr. Stephen Covey

One Commitment at a Time

Credibility takes time. There aren't any shortcuts to developing it.

How we do one thing Is most often how we do everything. 


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Someday Isn't on a Calendar

by Aubrey Patterson


When scheduling your priorities into your calendar, how often do you place a time block on Someday?

It's a silly question, right?

Someday doesn't exist on the calendar.

We've heard the expression, there are seven days in a week and Someday isn’t one of them.

Planning to do something someday is saying that what we want is just a pipe dream.  A lack of risk and effort makes someday a frequently used excuse that doesn't allow us to take advantage of a sudden opportunity.

Procrastination is opportunity’s natural assassin. - Victor Kiam

Someday doesn't exist on any calendar and never will. If we keep loading everything into this phantom day, nothing will come of our dreams and we'll look back one day upon a devastating pile of regrets. 

You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute. - Tina Fey

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Doing a Puzzle Without the Box

constructive courageous Mar 15, 2022

by Aubrey Patterson


Let's try this metaphor on for size:

Imagine putting together a large puzzle, filled with different images and colors, without the benefit of the picture on the box. Of course it’s confusing to know where to place all the pieces without knowing what we're creating.

Leadership doesn’t come with a box. The picture might only become clear as we put the pieces together. 

If we don’t know the kind of leader we are meant to be, it can be difficult to put the pieces together in a meaningful way. 

Often new and aspiring leaders try putting pieces together based on the images passed down to them by previous leaders and inspirational role models. Sadly, they might get mired in imposter syndrome before they even begin. We can become unfairly disappointed in ourselves because we lack the pieces others so eloquently display. 

We can try forcing the...

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Timing Matters

by Aubrey Patterson


Not all moments are equal.

By preparing ourselves and truly tuning in to what the world is saying, we can take advantage of timing.

Many don’t account for time; they believe they will always have the opportunity to achieve their goals. 

This simply isn't true.

Our people, environment, and team cultures are forever evolving.

Our goals don’t wait around until we can find a more convenient time. They are available only for a small snapshot of time before disappearing in an abyss of I should have’s.

Chapter Breaks

A slight delay in the timing of our actions could be the difference between an overwhelming success or an unremarkable result.

Such lessons are perhaps best illustrated by social media. As a new platform gains traction, there is a much greater opportunity to carve out space before others even create a profile.

Similar opportunities that are much less obvious are always available if we are attuned to our...

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