Category Archives: leadership

Buried Deep

Paula Haffley is a Physician’s Assistant at Clarian Bariatrics. She writes about patients who come to her after their bariatric surgery to complain about hard masses showing up on their bodies that didn’t used to be there. They typically are very worried about their health. Cancer? Deformity?

Paula then explains to them that what they are feeling is a clavicle, or a sternum, or a patella. The patients have lived for so long with these anatomical landmarks covered in layers of flesh that they forgot about them.

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We all have a mental model of what the future holds. This model is based on our experiences, our assumptions, and our expectations. Depending on our personality and circumstances, we may be more or less conscious of this model.

Change introduces uncertainty about the future. It disrupts our mental model, like a careless child bumping a chessboard.

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Disorganized Running

I run one or two half-marathons a year together with my buddy Dan Valliere from Chicago. In May, we ran the anti-Mini in Zionsville. This run is 90% dirt trails, 1% wood ramp, and 9% packed gravel. There are roots, uneven terrain, and creeks to navigate. Towards the end of the race, I asked Dan how he was doing, and he said he was getting “disorganized” in his running. I had never heard that phrase before, but I instantly knew what he meant.

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Know Thy Enemy

It has been fashionable especially in the past decade to use military metaphors to describe business situations. Students of Sun Tzu or Clausewitz (famous Chinese and Prussian military theorists) have taken their philosophies and derived business principles from them, teaching us how to crush our competitor, to “render him incapable of further resistance.” (Clausewitz)

I think Sun Tzu and Clausewitz got it right. But I think those well-intentioned folks who write the business books got it wrong— they haven’t figured out who is the real enemy.

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Professional soldiers have their own vocabulary, and it is frequently inscrutable to outsiders. “Winchester” means out of ammunition, or almost out of ammunition. The term comes from the single-shot lever action of a Winchester firearm. When down to the last rounds of ammo, soldiers may fire single shots to conserve what little they have.

Have you had a struggle when you thought you were winchester? With your endurance flagging and with nothing left to contribute to the fight, have you felt like you were out of options?

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