This week I'm engaged and enlightened at the Consultants' Retreat and Network, held in Newport, Oregon, on the beautiful central Oregon coast. An impressive cast of consultants and brilliant significant others have gathered to discuss consulting in all its aspects. We use an Open Space format so that every session on our agenda holds compelling and current interest for a subset of us. So far our sessions have ranged from writing books to meditation to Agile artifacts to understanding the consulting context and more, with more to come. We're having a lot of fun. Wish you were here.



“I don’t want her/him/them to make the same mistakes I made!” “I hope you learn from my experience!” “See what happened to him/them?!” “If you knew what I’ve been through, you wouldn’t do that!” “We tried that once and it didn’t work.” Sound familiar?

When this sage advice is unappreciated or ignored, it’s followed closely by, “I guess everyone has to make his/her own mistakes.” Or the dreaded rebuke,“I told you so!”

Trying to save others from the discomfort we’ve experienced is a worthy impulse. When the pain we are trying to help them avoid is embarrassment, physical harm, disappointment or...



Lately, I've been thinking about the importance of striking a balance--finding a way to accommodate seemingly contradictory conditions--and how frequently that can make or break an interaction or relationship. High performing individuals, leaders and teams constantly acknowledge and embrace the paradoxes that come from successful balance.

When in balance, we show our strengths and disclose our vulnerabilities. Teams in balance enjoy the sweetness of harmony, yet work through conflict to achieve creativity and innovation. Most of us appreciate the opportunity to give support to others, and, in order for support to occur, someone has to be willing to ask for...


Teams and Shared Goals

The word “team” gets tossed about with startling abandon. I’ve heard upper level managers refer to a division or department as a “team.” (An even more egregious error occurs when the same group is referred to as a “family.” But I digress.) What is a team really? In my last posting, I asserted six conditions for “team-ness.” They are a good jumping off point for more blog posts, so I intend to work my way through the list. ( Click here for the complete list. )

The first condition: Shared Goals for results/outcomes/deliverables

I’m going to state it as bald...