Every new venture is centered around a good BIG idea. We plant it and bam! Something grows.  Then we make that BIG idea self-sustaining by propping it up with a system of smaller ideas: about inventory management, production efficiencies, marketing and sales.  And it works!  We get healthy, and profitable, by enforcing absolute compliance on those lesser ideas. 

Then the world changes … and we need to come up with a SECOND big idea. But we’ve put so much emphasis on enforcing compliance on the small ideas that our ability to generate a BIG idea has atrophied. That is precisely why we need to re-grow a culture of creativity.



Blackberry abdicated, and gave it’s throne to iPhone by making a series of lousy strategic decisions. It is a story repeated constantly in business, politics and every human endeavor.  When you muddle your strategy, you snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  It happens every time. 

But strategy has to keep changing because the world keeps changing.  So here’s the challenge: how do you keep changing without getting muddled?  The secret lies in learning to perceive, and think, at 30,000 feet … and still keep your eye on the ball.  To do that, you’ve got to think like a world-class strategist. The secret is Big Picture Thinking.



Democracy depends on a predictable internal environment, or our fears take it quickly to tyranny. And we know that a predictable environment depends on a universally held set of common values.  And there’s the rub.  Our first response is to base cultural norms on “god-given” moral principles, which works just fine –-- as long as we all have the same god … the same personal history, the same gender and race. But we are a polyglot society; so morals lead us to imitate the Taliban in defense of our ultimate truth. 

That’s where ethics come in.  They make no pretense of being the will of god.  They are simply the rules of the road hammered out among men, and that gives us a shot at making it work.



Managers keep the ship of state running smoothly.  But leaders decide where to sail it, how to rig it and how to use it once we get there.  Leaders, in fact, are the ones who invented the idea of a ship in the first place.  Let’s not kid ourselves here.  Leadership IS rocket science.  So we need the best and brightest in those positions, not the most compliant or smarmiest.  To get there we each need to ask ourselves 3 questions.

  • How does leadership happen?
  • Where do leaders get their power
  • What do I need to start doing – today?



If you’re in a position of authority, stress - and its resultant anxiety - is going to get you.  Most executives just suck it up, as though it were the price of success.  And they spend years in misery, often with serious health issues, working below their capabilities --- and end up self-medicating themselves right over the edge. 

It doesn’t have to be that way.  Once you understand what causes it, you can harness stress and anxiety, and have a mammoth impact on your organization, and your own life.  It comes down to a little piece of tribal wisdom – “If you can name it, you can tame it”.  That, plus a few specific suggestions on how to do it.