ARNIE: WHAT THE KING LEFT BEHIND  He had no peer.  With the exception of Jackie Robinson & baseball and Muhammad Ali & boxing, no other 20th century sports figure created such an extraordinary tapestry of life influence…with that Something Special…so simple, so mysteriously wonderful, so healing, so encouraging, so mesmerizing and, yes, so easy to accomplish.

Arnie touched people.  literally.   Yes,  Arnie’s prowess on the Fairways and Greens made him an idol of the golf world.  Arnie’s Army loved his energy, passion, go-for-it play.   He was a slick, riverboat gambler with a Driver or a putter in his hands. When He slammed a Drive down the fairway at Augusta National, cinched his pants, gave a wink to a fan and boldly charged the fairway,  everybody knew Arnie was charging!

Beyond all we came to vicariously know, feel or read about Arnie, there was something so deeply humane and good about the man, that was present everywhere he went.  He simply loved to give a touch to people!   Arnie would grab and hold a fan’s hand.  He’d collar his Caddie.  When he walked the gauntlet from a Green to the next Tee through a corridor of adoring fans, Arnie’s hands wiggled frantically on both side…touching…touching…touching!

We loved Arnie because he touched us.  The warmth of his humanity  transcended his athletic skills.  And, yes, a small, but well-known measure of his contribution to 20th century American culture can be identified in his simple concoction for the common man, The Arnold Palmer.

No, I never walked a fairway with Arnie, but he walked into my heart long ago.   17 years my senior, Arnie shaped his personal life’s Back Nine into a masterpiece of Goodness…loving people with a touch.

I believe good men dig deep on their Back Nine to find ways to touch the lives of those they love.   Yes, a man’s best Back 9, in my opinion, is meant to be rich with care,  appreciation, hugs, handshakes, smiles and gratitude. It CAN happen if we learn to carry  an inner compass, a True North position, to move through the Back Nine of life.  And what is that True North?  Arnie found it.  As a matter of fact, I am confident Arnie played his entire 18 holes knowing…it takes a simple touch… your life in mine… to experience the mysterious magic that binds the human spirit .

Arnie, The King, came our way!  We who loved him know we are better people because he did.

Robby’s Touchdown Tale: Pass It On!

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Robby’s Touchdown Tale: Pass It On!  This is wonderful community story of the many making joy for a special youth and his mother.  It’s Robby’s Tale as captured following a September 16th football game in the Detroit area at Novi High School.  Spend 2 meaningful minutes watching this video. I promise you it will brighten your day and lighten your step as you consider the story of how WE can find our way ,together, to be influencers for good.

NOTE:  Click on Post Title, as needed.    See my “after-video’ comment below.

A wonderful young man has been loved by his teammates for four years.  Now, it’s time for a community-gift-to-be-given to this outstanding football Hydration Specialist who has been on the sidelines at Novi High.  But, it’s so much more than a gift for Robby Heil.  His ill mother receives an overwhelming joyous moment of celebration of her life with her loved son as he takes the pigskin and runs to glory!  Wow!

Do you know just how much you and I crave to experience such stories?  They are Hope-Givers stories for WE, who seek to experience the Noble Music sung by  the many.   Is it true for you, as it is for me,  that we want to experience the good news of good people to confront and push aside the the jarring, miserable noise of our daily media dump communicating all that is wrong,broken, and painfully suffering, while just as often is the clamoring of  hateful voices seeking vengeance on someone, somewhere.

Robby’s Touchdown Tale is not a sedative story.  I do believe It offers us far more than a happy emotional moment  to engage our mind in  a “Feel Good”  Robby’s Tale means far more than that!  You and I are built and clothed with a mind that can respond and aspire to live out our noble purpose of serving as agents of good.  It is the calling of WE.  These are my words to describe what Robby’s Tale is all about.   The calling is q perennial joyous message of lifting ourselves up to see through and see beyond the gut-wrenching instincts that claw at the human spirit 24-7.

The spirit of WE, as shared in Robby’s tale, is the noble good that offers you and me this message: I, too, can give voice in my actions and words this day to hold high the story of The Noble WE


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Trouble Maker #2, fault-finding,troublemaker-clipart-284_ico has a global following of highly skilled practitioners.  You may be one of them.  Fred Van Amburgh offered this sage observation about fault-finding:  “It requires no thought, no consideration, no character, and no talent to be a fault-finder.  It is much easier to find fault than to find ways to help.  How easy to be critical and how hard to be correct.  How easy to find fault with others and how hard to mend our own ways.”

in, the author, an English teacher writes, “When we find fault in something that someone else has done, we’re very often adding a negative element to our relationship with that person.  We’re defining limits of trust and sharing.  If I know that someone is going to find fault with everything that I do, I will not share with that person unless I’m truly seeking criticism.  As fewer people are willing to share with us, we lose much of the richness that comes from and through that sharing, and we become more isolated, less integrated.  The loss of the sharing of others is one of the greatest losses we can cause ourselves, and it may even reach a point at which people just don’t want to be around us at all.”

If you have been a chronic fault-finder, you have lost friends without understanding why.  When you have offered  well-intended criticism, void of  respect for the efforts of another, your fault-finding has been like pouring salt on an open wound.

In her book, Taming the Mind, Thubten Chodron writes: “In order to stop pointing out others’ faults, we have to work on our underlying mental habit of judging others. The opposite of judging and criticizing is training our mind to practice positive qualities.  What are these qualities? They are the ability to listen, to smile, to forgive, to help out.

Cultivating  these positive qualities allows us to see differently as we notice, in another, what is vulnerable, brave, struggling, and hopeful.  These qualities, gifts of kindness, are ones you can offer to dis-assemble a well-worn, fault-finding mind.

In a nutshell what is Mission Impossible for the one who wants to abandon Trouble-Maker #2, Fault-Finding?  Here is the mission: 1st, you encourage; 2nd, you critique. The former demands your heart while the latter demands your mind.   If you can’t communicate your heart, your fault-finding critique will rarely be useful or heard.

Inspirational author, Og Mandino, said this about stopping the Fault-Finder: “My days complaining about others have come to an end. Nothing is easier than fault-finding.  All it does is discolor my personality so that no one wants to associate with me.  That was my old life.  No more.”

SUMMER’S SUNSET: Nature’s Grandeur

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SUMMER’S SUNSET: Nature’s Grandeur  Summer 2016 likely offered each of us a bit of nature’s beauty.  I certainly captured many moments during  a 3-week road trip in six states.  Feast your eyes on this image. Imagine you are with my daughter, Kira, and son-in-law, Brett,  capturing this panorama as sunset approached in Zion National Park.


Pretty amazing, huh!  I’m sure most of us had a few moments this summer when our mind moved from Short-Term Time into Deep Time.  You might have been at the beach in the late afternoon watching the afternoon light dance on the water.   You may have been sitting on a porch listening to a river’s joyous journey over, under and around many boulders.  Perhaps you were adventuring on a once-in-a lifetime  trip and unexpectedly, were stopped in your tracks with a moment when you knew your life is part of something seemingly timeless.

We need Deep Time.  It re-frames us. The poet, William Wordsworth, states in the opening  words of his famous poem, The World Is Too Much With Us composed in 1802 how Short-Term Time can steal Deep Time…The world is too much with us, late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.

Deep Time re-frames  for the purpose of renewal.  It reminds us to experience and feel life beyond the ever-so-familiar-boundaries of planning, doing, striving that defines the energy of all Short-Term Time.

Is it possible to re-discover maturing insight about Deep Time?   Can Deep Time  really inform and transform Short- Term Time?    Wisdom literature suggests that Deep Time is not an event; it is Knowing that places your life energy into Life’s constantly flowing River…where there is learning to be experienced.

One of my fondest wisdom  teachers, Eknath Easwaran, who I got to know quite well in the 1980’s, wrote these words of interpretation to an ancient prayer about how Deep Time can transform us: God makes the rivers to flow, They tire not, nor do they cease from flowing. May the river of my life flow into the sea of love.

This Tuesday after Labor Day…let’s explore a new Deep Time habit as we move into Fall’s Short-Term  frenzy of activity.  Traveling  to work, recall a  Deep Time Remembrance from your summer.  Place your upcoming busy day into Deep Time’s river of life.  As you do, anticipate being led with today’s nurturing discovery.


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CONFLICT: Five Ingredient Recipe.  It’s Day #2 of this week’s mini-blog Brush-up Seminar on Conflict.   What are the ingredients you need to bake your Conflict Cake?   The cake mixes  five ingredients to create a unique taste called Disagreement.

It would be easy to say there is only 1 ingredient in the cake,  Feelings and Emotions.  You’d be absolutely right in your assessment that feelings and emotions…dealt with or stuffed…are a major ingredient in every person’s Conflict Cake.  A Purdue University article explored  how collaborative partnerships are often sabotaged when misplaced feelings and emotions are mixed into four other major ingredients comprising the Conflict Cake.

Here are the 4:  Needs, Perceptions, Values and Power

  • Needs: “Needs are things that are essential to our well-being. Conflicts arise when we ignore others’ needs, our own needs, or the group’s needs.  Be careful not to confuse needs with desires ( things we would like, but are not essential)
  • Perceptions: “People interpret reality differently.  They perceive differences in the severity, causes and consequences of problems.  Misperceptions or differing perceptions come from self-perceptions, others’ perceptions, differing perceptions of situations and perceptions of threat.
  • Values:  “Values are beliefs we consider to be very important.   Serious conflicts arise when people hold incompatible values or when values are not clear.  Conflicts also arise when one party refuses to accept the fact that the other party holds something as a value rather than a preference.
  • Power:  “How people define and use power is an important influence on the number and types of conflicts that occur.  This also influences how conflict is managed. Conflicts can arise when people try to make others change their actions or to gain an unfair advantage.”

Is conflict always negative?  Said differently, is harm the necessary outcome of all conflicts? I don’t believe so, even though I, like you, know that conflict often brings harm to someone.  Is there a more meaningful message to find in conflict? I believe so.

When we bake a Conflict Cake with someone or a group ,should everyone involved take a taste of the cake rather than look at it and proclaim with clinched fists, “I know I don’t like this cake.”   The healthy response is, “No, we all need to take a taste of the Cake we have created.”  Managing conflict happens when we dine together to find shared understanding about competing needs, perceptions, values and power.

Tasting the conflict cake requires  experiencing the ingredient(s)  creating dissonance, displeasure, disgust. When couples, small groups, business teams, or policy boards dine on a Conflict Cake, they invite an opportunity for mutual discovery that can  uncover agreement found deep within the dissonance of competing Needs, Perceptions, Values and Power.    Yes, It takes courage…your willful clarity to seek influence for good… to dine on The Conflict Cake.

if you think today’s Post might be useful to someone in your sphere of influence, pass it along.


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YOUR COMMUNICATIONS “A” GAME.   Do you know when you’re on your Communications A Game?  That’s a question I asked myself recently when I attended an event and had a particularly special time.  On my way home I noticed  having a conversation with myself, asking why these interactions were unusually satisfying.

I noticed a couple of things immediately:  First, I was interested in learning. Secondly, I had a low level of need to have my story be the center of conversations.  Another way to describe these two observations was: I was “other” centered rather than “me” centered.

There was a reason I was “other'” centered.  Often in group settings, I carry a perceived leadership role.  Called by another name, it’s positional authority.  I am known for a role I carry when I am in group settings.

At this particular event, I carried no role.  I was simply Russ.  Most people did not know me, nor did I know them.   I found fun interactions…getting engaged to simply discover something about Someone new to me.  It was quite enjoyable. I was the one asking questions.

In the aftermath of my experience, I decided to take a look at some on-line articles about communications.  One particular article spoke to my deeper understanding to explain The Why of my recent experience.  A  2010 article, 10 Keys To Becoming a Better Communicator, appeared online at   Four of the 10 points underscored my communications enjoyment.

Be Positive: “It means to be generous with your emotions, such as love and kindness.  Being an emotionally generous person makes you more endearing to be around.  Show genuine care and concern for the person’s well-being. Give praise where it’s deserved.

Respect the person: Acknowledge the person’s background, expertise, capabilities.  Acknowledge the person’s position as the owner of his/her life.   Give praise where it’s deserved.  People look forward to interact with others who make them feel happy and uplifted.”

When In doubt, ask: “ Erase pre-conceived beliefs and start off your communications on a whole new slate. A good habit is to ask a clarifying question every time the person finishes talking so you know you got the right message.”

Connect with genuinity. “It’s all about a genuine connections.  As long as you are communicating with the best intentions, and a sincere desire to know the person better, nothing can go wrong.

The  Communications A Game thrives on finding authentic interest in another, the 1st time, the 10th time, or the 100th time.  Authentic…means finding the original.    Look  for the Original in your communications.  It’s there to be discovered..always.  Doing so , will reveal many A Game Communications.

Do you have A Game Communications insights?  I’d love to hear from you.


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What creates customer loyalty?  I have something interesting to share with you…an upcoming event  that goes deep into my professional wheelhouse related to optimized business driven by values.   This event coming up in Irvine on Aug. 23-24 offers  you an opportunity to get up to speed with the evolution of the values story  in worldwide business…exploring best business practices targeting the values equation with you KNOW who: The Customer.

So, let me introduce you to Chris Brown Chris Brown,former marketing director for Hewlett-Packard for the South Pacific Region. Over the past 10 years Chris has consulted leadership teams of Fortune 500 companies including IBM, 3M and Chevron.  His specialty is helping leaders to create customer-centered organizations that win in competitive marketplaces.

Chris is now the CEO of Market Culture logo   “Chris has been invited to present his MarketCulture Partner Accreditation Event – Orange County August 23-24, 2016 to be hosted at the ENP-Nextworks Headquarters on the UCI campus at the Innovation Center.

“This two day accreditation event will share the background on research that led to the development of the Market Responsive Index (MRI).  Chris will provide a detailed review of each of the 8 MRI Dimensions that help to create a customer-centric culture, which drives outstanding customer experience, loyalty and profitability.

“More importantly, this certification event will share case studies and experience related to the implementation of the MRI tool with clients and how to leverage the results for maximum impact.

Joining Chris in the 2-day presentation is Scott Hamilton, President, CEO of Executive Next Practices Institute. Scott is a globally noted business leader in the area of executive and organizational performance and the co-founder of NEXTWORKS, a unique advisory/research team.

My friend, Chris, who I have gotten to know the last couple of years, is a down-to-earth wonderful human being with a mind and heart that communicates workplace excellence with authentic clarity and passion.

Here is a link to the program details

And the registration page is here:
If you’d like to register for the August 23-24 event… it’s not too late!