Sunday, February 25, 2018

Books, Balconies, Best Practices

I came across these useful resources last spring and thought they were worth reposting. Contact me at if you have comments or questions. Enjoy.

8 Ways to Read a Lot More Books This Year While it would be stretching the truth to pretend that I have not posted in 4 months because I've been too busy reading books, I will say that this article got me motivated to get more strategic in my plans to read. I've read four books so far in 2018 and am currently working through two other books. I won't ask for a show of hands for those whose ambitions to read outpace their actual accomplishments in this regard (guilty as charged!) but I did find that applying even a couple of pointers from this article was helpful... and I'll add another one he didn't mention: seek out friends who are equally motivated to read and keep each other posted on how things are going. Sure, this can get weirdly competitive if you're not careful, but so far I find myself motivated by my friends who tell me about what they're reading, and I do the same. Let's do this and prevent our brains from turning into mush!

(PS Those books I have read so far have been The Complete Enneagram by Beatrice Chestnut, Accidental Saints by Nadia Bolz-Weber, Gen Z by Barna Research Group, and Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63 by Taylor Branch ... which took me over a year to read.)

How to Establish a Meeting-Free Day Each Week Maybe your work life is like mine: a strange balance of focused deskwork, endless (ENDLESS) emails, and face-to-face meetings. The emails are always screaming at me, the meetings come and go, but I sometimes stumble in really carving out that ever-elusive "balcony time" for big-picture, strategic thinking. This article helps jump start that process if you feel stuck.

5 Questions Leaders Should Be Asking All the Time I also heard this guy interviewed on this topic, and I liked the simplicity and clarity of his approach. Leadership is not always about leading the charge -- often it's the mundane but utterly necessary task of getting everyone on the same page and working together. To be a good leader is to be a good listener... These questions help to take the conversation in that regard.

6 Things Every Mentor Should Do Last numbered list for today, I promise! One of my main gigs is directing intern programs. I have had interns since 1986 (gulp!) and have formally run intern programs since the mid-nineties. In all of that time, one thing has become very clear for me: the internship experience is only as good as the excellence of the MENTOR who trains the intern. All too often I have had supervisors who treat their interns as indentured servants, or merely want them around to observe rather than actually do anything. Though a little simplistic, this article helps clarify priorities and puts the responsibility where it should be. I plan on using this to set expectations with my next round of intern mentors.

Final thoughts...
I'm slowly working through a book of quotes by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr as a way to maintain a long-term vision for justice and healing of the deep divisions in our world. This quote really hit me the other day:

“The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage they did not know they had.” 

(Martin Luther King, Jr)

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