“We’re Too Busy to…” (Quest story)


Jayne told me the story of a team she once facilitated to help communicate more effectively. The leader of the team told her and his team a laundry list of things this team was too busy to do:

•    We’re too busy to have meetings with agendas
•    We’re too busy to touch base with people how projects are going
•    We’re too busy to think about communication preferences

This leader was also swamped: “I get 200 emails a day from the team telling me status updates.”

What about his team? Here’s what they had to say:

•    He sends emails barking orders that repeatedly say ‘get it done, get it done, get it done’.
•    We’re successful but we hate each other.

This was a team with swagger. All millenials (including the leader), they said to Jayne at the beginning, “You better have extra things for us to do because we’re going to be better and faster than any team you’ve ever worked with.” And they meant it.

The first team building activity they tried they leaped into action…or more specifically the leader leaped into action. “Here’s what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it.” And off they went, implementing his plan…at least at the start.

The result? Jayne said it was amazing to see a team get something so wrong, so early in the game and stick with it. The plan pretty quickly got thrown out the window – not consciously, it just kind of happened that way – and they rushed headlong down a dead end, getting more and more frustrated. Then they looked at Jayne as if she had betrayed them somehow by giving them a challenge that they were terrible at.

This story is sad and it’s funny in a schadenfreude kind of way. “Hey, at least we’re not that team!”

And it may hit a little too close to home. Does this sound like a leader you know? Are you this leader? Are you on this team? We all share some of these characteristics when we’re under stress.

Bad teams and bad leaders don’t lack energy or personal investment. What they lack is a way to work smarter, not harder. They get the job done operating in a pretty constant emotional state of “We’re successful but we hate one another.”

You’re busy, too busy really. I know, I am too.

But if you’re reading this – busy as you are – you’re at least open to answering three questions:

1.    What kind of team will you be on today?
2.    How will you lead?
3.    What will you do today…that you’re too busy to do?

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Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned By Watching Commercials


If you’ve ever watched a car or a beer commercial and wondered, “what the heck do these dancers/guys in bear suits/soccer moms/young gorgeous people having a great time at the beach have to do with the actual product?” the advertisers are probably aiming at your feeling function. They’re addressing the emotional side of buying a product and try to attach positive ‘feeling’ experiences to their product.

If you see a commercial with technical advantages listed or an actor playing a medical doctor telling you that in medical tests two out of three people preferred pink medicated tissues over blue non-medicated ones, the advertisers are appealing to your thinking function.

This is reflected in politics, especially on the national level. While the actual debates and political commentary news shows appeal to the thinking function, the overall image of a candidate is tailored to appeal to the feeling function of the average voter. Statistically, more people will be swayed by appeals to the feeling function.

You need to address both MBTI functions – thinking and feeling – but spend more time on the feeling. The most persuasive arguments are ones that appeal to both the heart and the head – they appeal to the feeling side first but also have the data to back it up.

Learn more: MBTI Team Quest - Discover and leverage the various ways your people make decisions, strategize and access information, using this organizational standard. Team members begin to recognize the strengths that other types bring to the team, and the power that comes from multiple types working together.

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Every Journey Is a Hero’s Journey


I recently returned from two weeks ‘out of the office’ in the Dominican Republic. It was…really out of the office – a real journey and a real break. My computer stayed home and my phone went into airplane mode until I was back in the states.

Every journey can be a hero’s journey. You move into the unknown, get something, bring it back home to your tribe. Carl Jung said, “I feel it is the duty of one who goes his own way to inform society of what he finds on his journey of discovery.”

You’re the tribe I’m part of. You’re my society. By telling you my insights my little trip becomes a hero’s journey. Here are three gifts I’d like to share with you.

Perspective: When I moved away from the jittery speed of daily email, news, social media, public controversies, much of what we think as important looked pretty meaningless to me. Few things matter in the world, but they really matter. And the daily grind can obscure the important stuff.

Appreciation: On getting back to the states I noticed how wonderful it was to run the tap and drink the water without purifying it with a backpacker’s water pump. Visiting a supermarket with ample fresh vegetables and fruit made my heart sing. The English language, the organization, the familiarity all were appreciated. Things that were unnoticed or that annoyed me were seen in a fresh way

Return to the core: I don’t need much to make me happy and fulfilled. And those things have remained the same for almost 50 years. A lot of the daily grind I choose has nothing to do with my core delights. When I do return to the core, I’m at peace in a way that is both familiar and too rare.

You can make your work day, your weekend, anything a hero’s journey. You don’t even need an articulated quest. All it takes is to step into the unknown for even a moment. And then tell us about what you learned.

Here’s to your hero’s journey this month, this week, this hour, this life.

Posted in Passion, Purpose | Comments closed

Squirrels don’t do daylight savings time


I set the clocks forward.

And I looked out the window at a squirrel chasing another squirrel in the snow. And the birds at the feeder. And the chipmunks that just came out of hibernation, also running over the snow.

They are on the same clock they were yesterday, and the same clock that they will be on tomorrow and the next day, and the day after that.

They don’t do clock time. They do energy time. And ‘earth around the sun’ time.

So do we, really. Clock time allows us to be in agreement with each other about things that we deem important. But we are animals too.

And our primary time is measured in energy, not with the clock.

Live by your ‘energy time’. Do the most important things that you are most passionate about during the time of day where you have the most energy.

And don’t make any important decisions or try to do anything important in your ebb tide of energy in your day.

Long before we humans had clocks, we had energy. If you want to live your passion today follow your daylight energy time.

Posted in Passion, Resiliency | Comments closed

Influence Using Feeling


The big news: More people prefer the MBTI function of feeling than thinking when making decisions. So purely ‘rational’ arguments are going to be effective less than half the time.

Focus more on influencing decisions by appealing to people’s feeling function. Answer these questions to include the feeling function:

  • How will this benefit people and their needs?
  • How will this lead to more harmony, cooperation and collaboration?
  • Does this take into account people’s values?
  • What are the positives of this for the people involved?
  • Will this make the work environment more supportive and nurturing?
  • Will anyone be hurt?

Also important: Do your homework and have the facts to back up your appeal. But remember, the facts are your backup, not your first option. The exception to this is when you know that your audience primarily prefers the thinking function. Then you can just go with the facts.

Learn more: MBTI Team Quest - Discover and leverage the various ways your people make decisions, strategize and access information, using this organizational standard. Team members begin to recognize the strengths that other types bring to the team, and the power that comes from multiple types working together.

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Quest Story: Skipping in Time by Rufus Collinson


I live on a busy city street corner in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Every evening, I like to sit on my stoop and watch the stream of humanity pass by – pedestrians, drivers and passengers. One cold night, I was nestled into my usual perch, watching and dreaming.

Across the street, a teenaged boy suddenly grabbed the hand of his giggling girlfriend and began skipping down the sidewalk. They were in perfect skipping synchronization.

Within two minutes, I felt as though I was watching a scene from a movie, probably a foreign film. A mother and daughter behind the skipping couple reached for one another’s hands and began skipping too. Two small boys on my side of the street, giggled and imitated the skippers across the way. Soon enough, every configuration of twos imaginable were holding hands and skipping toward the boulevard around the corner. A few feet from me, an elderly man skipped in place as his wife lifted her walker up and down in time with the rhythm of the crowd.

I leapt up from the stoop and joined the throng, amazed by the transformative power of one exuberant action. We skipped together until we reached the boulevard above the harbor. There was a tiny moment of silence and then, each by each, we took one another into our arms and hugged. I walked home slowly, immersed in the blessing. I still am.

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“I’d Like To Dedicate This To…” (Quix Tip)

Imagine how different your work day would be if at the beginning you dedicated your day to someone, in their honor, or for their benefit. How would that change how you move through your day? How would that change your tasks, your interactions?

This spirit of giving is a link, a connection to get us out of our own shoes. Perhaps you’d like to imagine the customer that will enjoy the final product that you have a hand in creating, even if what you do seems removed from that final user experience.

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Influencing in the dark

Cueva Del Puente dark

I returned to the Cueva Del Puente (in the Parque Nacional Del Este in the Dominican Republic) on my own later in the week after the owl encounter. This time I went dark, no flashlight, just moving slowly, staying still when needed, feeling my way and being patient with my slowly adjusting eyes.

And I felt again and again the rush of air and heard fluttering near my head in the darkness as bats flew by. I met these little creatures where they were, in the environment they are most comfortable, in the way they were most comfortable – in the dark.

I, however, wasn’t comfortable. I was scared, facing a dark unknown.

But I was also thrilled.

This is what it’s like when you honestly try to connect with someone. It’s the ‘hero’s journey’ of communicating and influencing. You leave your known world behind and get curious about where the person you’re trying to influence lives, what is comfortable for them.

It’s unsettling. It’s often scary. It’s not easy to see. A plan got you here, but a plan can’t get you any further. As David Whyte said, “What you can plan is too small for you to live.”

And you emerge changed yourself. The influencing isn’t just a push. It’s a pull as well. The influencing quest is a journey into the unknown, an adventure – scary, thrilling and definitely memorable.


“To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.

To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,

and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,

and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.”

-Wendell Berry

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Owls, Caves, Curiosity and Delight

Parque Nacional Del Este

The trail is two miles in, starting from the ocean. It’s a mix of limestone and old coral reef under foot with dense, dry coastal forest crowding in. It’s our first day exploring Parque Nacional Del Este in the Dominican Republic.

We reach the hole in the ground that marks Cueva Del Puente (cave of the bridge). We’re the only people we’ve seen so far in the park and it’s just us and the darkness in the cave. It’s bigger than either of us think it was going to be, and rooms open up into larger rooms until we hit the end of the line – a large room with enormous trees growing up from the cave floor and down from the forest floor above, bright sunlight and birdsong mixing with the cool, quiet cave.

We see a movement come from a dark corner and then an ashy-faced owl lands on one of the tree branches in the cave. For the next 20 minutes we sit watching each other, its curiosity and our delight meeting each other, moving me deeply.

Curiosity, delight. No curiosity, no delight.

Who doesn’t want delight? And who doesn’t love curiosity? Delight + curiosity = play.

Our old lizard brain, the amygdala, doesn’t want curiosity. It wants certainty. Certainty allows for decisive action. When faced with immediate physical threats, it helps to not be too curious and take action instead. Does the saber-tooth tiger want to be friends or eat me?

The problem is that the amygdala can’t discern between literal and emotional threats. So, that nasty email you just received triggers your amygdala the same way a car heading straight at you in an intersection triggers it. Both move you away from curiosity and into certainty. Certainty is where modern political discourse lives, where comments on online articles live – delight-free wastelands.

But if we want to connect, to be thrilled and delighted, curiosity is the path. If we want to connect to our work, to our co-workers, to our loved ones, if we want to experience delight, first we calm the amygdala – pause, breath, appreciate something – and allow for the unknown.

Posted in EI, Nature, Play | Comments closed

Quix MBTI Tip: Your Senses Support Your Intuition


When trying to come up with innovative ideas, new possibilities or ways to connect different themes, use an activity that engages your five senses to ground you, either in the beginning as a preparation or as a break to renew yourself when you’re tired or burned out.

1 – Pick and perform a sensing activity you like. (Some examples: gardening, going for a walk, cooking a meal, painting, sculpting, raking leaves, chopping wood, exercise, yoga)

2 – Make sure it’s simple, somewhat physical, grounding, mildly repetitive and able to be completed in one session.

3 – While you’re engaged in the activity, focus on letting go of any future cares, concerns, worries and let yourself sink into a relaxed work state.

4 – Once the worries and tensions have dropped away and you’re more grounded in reality (hint: If life doesn’t look quite as dire and dour, you’re probably getting there), allow your mind to playfully wander where it wants to.  These light leaps from thought to thought are often the seeds of a richly functioning intuition.

Gandhi used a spinning wheel. Carl Jung built miniature stone. They found that engaging their sense renewed the intuition function.

Learn more: MBTI Team Quest - Discover and leverage the various ways your people make decisions, strategize and access information, using this organizational standard. Team members begin to recognize the strengths that other types bring to the team, and the power that comes from multiple types working together.

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