Monthly Archives: October 2011

Occupy Wall Street, Symphony Space and the Beat Goes On

Pete Seeger is no stranger to protest, and neither is his grandson, Tao, nor Arlo Guthrie, nor Toshi Reagon, nor any of the other artists at the Power of Song Award Concert.

Here are a few pictures from October 21, 2011, a day that started with catching the Columbia University Marching Band at Zucotti Park and ended with marching to Columbus Circle with many of those who were at the concert.

Blazing a Trail in Leadership and Life Part 5

From WikiHow:

4. Cut down or flatten all trees and bushes to make the path. Leave some plants growing at the entrances if you want to make it a hidden trail.
5. Clean up the dead bushes. Remove and rocks that could trip people.

This is where you make your trail attractive to whomever might follow it. You’ve done all your research. You know the environment. You know what will and will not work in this space. You know your desired endpoint and you are prepared for every obstacle. The path is wide enough to accommodate those who will use it.

Change, like a new trail, should be attractive to those who choose it. The foliage needs to be out of the way in the main part of the trail, but you may want to surround your trail with attractive shrubs or even flowers. The view along the way might serve as an incentive.

In the workplace, a change – a new trail – is most successful if it appears to be attractive. If all anyone can see are obstacles or if the path is full of dead branches or rocks, it’s likely that many will turn away.

Similarly, in life, if the trail seems to rough many of us just won’t try. Are you ready to climb a mountain or are you looking for a lovely walk in the park? Is your weight loss plan several months at The Biggest Loser boot camp or cutting carbs and adding yoga classes? Create a path that is attractive to you.

Reflections on a Friday Morning

Autumn is always a time for reflection and new beginnings for me, and, in the midst of the Jewish High Holy Days, it is all the more appropriate to think about the past year and set new goals.

One thing that has become increasingly clear to me is the importance of faith, so I’m sharing part of a poem by Daiseko Ikeda:

Faith is
to fear nothing
to stand unswayed
the power to surmount any obstacle

Faith is
the source from which all solutions flow

Faith is
the engine that propels us in the thrilling voyage of life, a life victorious and transcendent.

Wishing everyone productive reflection, happiness, great plans and faith.

Blazing a Trail in Life and Leadership Part 4

From WikiHow:

3. Plan the direction of the trail. Check to see if any unmovable obstacles, such as fences, boulders, large trees, or streams will disrupt things.

Where are you going? The Cheshire Cat said, “If you don’t care where you’re going, any path will get you there.” As you plan for change in your business or in your life, it just makes sense to think about the direction as you begin to blaze the trail.

This relates to the environmental scan. Know what is going on in your organization or in your own life. Know who supports you; know whose support you will need to enlist; know who might be an obstacle. If you know the obstacles, you can plan how to remove them or work around them.

Are there objects you simply can’t get around? When I assess my own life, I find a number of immovable objects. Some, I can navigate around; others cause me to reconsider my path. I’m just not built for runway modeling. The obstacles are not ones that I can realistically overcome, so it’s a good thing that this isn’t my chosen path. I want to be able to coach disenfranchised women who can’t afford – and may not even know about – coaching. I can build any number of paths around this rock or use leverage like independent funding to get around this and continue on this path.

In organizations, I often coach managers who want to get financial rewards for their staff. In hard times and in the face of bureaucratic restrictions, this might seem like an enormous wall. Further inspection might suggest alternate paths, like reclassifying the job, that will achieve the goal. Where will you simply ford a stream? Where will you build a bridge?

How can your plan be disrupted? Are there negative people who seem to be obstacles? Regulations? Unions? Force of tradition (we’ve always done it this way)? Plan your direction. Assess the landscape. Identify the obstacles and make a plan to deal with each of them to blaze a successful trail.