How We Behave: Lasting Impacts

We inherit from our parents. Not just goods and property, but genes.

We carry the bloodlines of our ancestors and all that accompanies them as physical attributes, medical conditions and even elemental mental tendencies.

Some characteristics are prominent, some fade and others might re-emerge in downstream generations.

We pass such things from generation to generation as we evolve.

But that is not all that passes forwards.

I believe the IMPACT of our Behaviors transfers from generation to generation, too. And it is also capable of crossing blood-lines to non-familial contacts.

We do and say things that strongly influence others. And often more profoundly than we realize; frequently we are completely unaware of our impact.

Behaviors and attitudes surround us as we live out our chosen lives under the overwhelming influences of cultures and societies in which we are immersed.

As children we are influenced and affected by events, strong impressions and surroundings. This will occur whether-or-not a parent is present or even exists.

And, this Resultant is not about bloodlines.

Exactly how strongly any new effect takes hold on an individual is influenced by genetic make-up and predisposition. Engulfing or dramatic events can have overwhelming impacts.

The net result is our Behavior being affected by experiences.

The more insidious prospect is that we then carry forward our own resulting behaviors which can influence others.

Inevitably, everyone we contact will be exposed: colleagues, workers, spouses, children, relatives, friends etc.

When we closely associate with others over prolonged periods their exposure to and likelihood of adopting (or being influenced by) a Transferred Behavior, increases.

Long-term working relationships have us swimming in one another’s Behavior Pools. Inevitably, children are subjected to major immersion within the home.

Where such exposure is positive and advantageous, perhaps all is well. It is almost Darwinian in nature and helps the most fit (best suited) prosper and survive.

But what if the observable behavior is inherently negative or harmful? Some behaviors are useful if experienced in moderation yet prove damaging when consumed in excess.

Imagine (say) a child having suffered some harm from a stranger. He/she may either develop (say) a healthy wariness of new acquaintances until validated or acquire a dysfunctional and visible distrust of others, as a consequence.

Eventually this same child grows up closely interacting with others and in time (say), his/her own offspring. This (now adult) person will strongly (or weakly) imprint their own learned resultant behavior on others. Why would they not.

Again, everything is fine if the behavior is positive and helpful. But if it is not?

We all have strongly imprinted behaviors. Many we have learned or absorbed from parental or other significant influences in our lives.

Not all our behaviors (or Beliefs, too) are sound, appropriate and constructive in our lives. Many may be so, but certainly NOT ALL. So, it’s important we can recognize our behaviors (or, opinions, too) for what they are and preferably understand or decipher their origins.

What of the influences that pre-date our conscious memory?

Many people are unfortunately traumatized when very young. Memories are then not always formed or might even be suppressed in such cases.

And yet it is likely we will begin to demonstrate related behaviors and traits in our personalities as a direct result of these significant events.

More troubling is our legacy.

If our behavior is affected these same behaviors and their consequences can be transposed onto others.

This might be a positive advantage or be equivalent to passing contagion; like spreading a disease forward and outward to others.

Let’s consider this effect with a positive example

Imagine a small child out with parents during Summer holiday on a sunny beach. Child wanders off roaming carelessly and unafraid for an hour or more. Parent has been following quietly at a distance making sure all is well, safe and child is not distressed or concerned.

Eventually parent quietly and re-assuringly approaches child without rapprochement and caringly asks how they’re doing, what they saw, etc. Risks and dangers of wandering off alone are covered calmly and rationally at another time.

The result: Child grows to adulthood always open to exploring the world and new places. He/she then passes same mentality along to own children who also explore and travel.

So here we have it. The behavior (and attitude) is passed along; through generations and to others indirectly exposed or influenced… almost like a gene when within the familial group.

We can similarly envisage a negative outcome to the same events… screaming, panicked parent grabs-up wandering child, scolds them relentlessly, inflicting fear of getting lost or being carried off.

Imagine how that child will likely (not certainly, perhaps) grow regarding adventure, travel and exploration of the new and unknown.

More troublingly, consider the likely future influence they then might unwittingly exert upon the development of others, downstream.

Behaviors (and Attitudes) can be sticky, persisting over time and through generations.

Realistically, can we completely shut down irrational or unwarranted behaviors in our self? Perhaps not, but if they are detrimental or limiting to us or others we should try.

 Strong influencers in our behavior may be difficult to mitigate. Realizing we have such traits and trying to dial them back can help, but if overall behavior is significantly ingrained a complete fix is difficult.

We can advise and instruct others against following us too closely on affected matters. This has greater impact if underlaying reasons for our traits and propensities can be explained; sometimes social norms and relationships can make this approach difficult or simply not viable.

In the end it is hard to fully prevent the carry-forward impacts of our actions and behaviors.

But, we must try.

Are you passing along attitudes that others would be better without? Are your behaviors an unhelpful legacy? Review the most basic interactions you have with people. Are there unfortunate elements that may have undesirable, lasting effects?

As a minimum, take actions with yourself to best help and guide the people that matter to you most.

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh

Consider Your Appearance: Asset or Liability?

I did some travelling over the recent seasonal holidays; lots of airports, train stations in several cities and different countries.

At one point I was struck by the overwhelming similarities between people, effected simply by their dress. There is surprising conformity. Suddenly I realized…

Everyone is in one uniform or another. And, all the time.

What do I mean by uniform? Well, in this instance it’s our clothing, which also serves as a personal statement.

People dress for either

Practical Purposes, or   


We put on the clothes we believe suitable for our activity, or those that help us portray who we are/ wish to be. And dress choices speak volumes about our lives.

In the Western world (and indeed most other places) personalized clothing selection is squarely embedded in each culture and micro-culture, providing people possess the resources (i.e. they are sufficiently affluent) to warrant the investment and are so enabled to buy and wear what they choose.

Although we might believe we dress to uniquely identify and express ourselves the majority effect is still surprisingly great conformity as defined by what we are doing with our lives.

And there is also great uniformity in the various regions of the world as to what clothing types and styles are available; a result of low-cost, mass production and widespread distribution.

Military and service professionals dress in specific and like clothing to identify themselves and make them obvious members of defined groups. Armed Services, Police, Nursing, Judiciary, Fire Department etc. professions all support this classification.

But there is also the less specific and unregimented dress of those such as house painters, mechanics, medical practitioners, attorneys, office workers, engineers and scientists, etc. Yet they still dress uniformly enough that we usually know when we see one. There is a general expectation and understanding of how they might be dressed.

In practice the preponderance of people strongly align their attire (and even manner) to the prevailing and dominant image typically already well-defined and accepted within their culture.

Why would we do this? Why should we do this? There can many reasons, but they generally revolve around our needs to:

Be Identified

Receive Recognition   


And most people will readily accept and trust an individual when their appearance more closely conforms with and aligns to established cultural norms.

In addition, most humans have a strong inherent desire to fit in; young children are notoriously mortified if they look different or draw unwanted attention related to any differentiations.

There are also those who wish to stand out. They dress differently, sometimes even flamboyantly; whatever it takes for them to separate from the herd.

Actively making yourself prominent and differentiated by affecting the way you dress is in its’ own way also, wearing a uniform. In effect you are donning the unconventional clothing style (or uniform) of the group that seeks (or needs) self-identification.

It’s long been accepted that people are pegged or evaluated by others during the first seven (7) seconds of an encounter. More recently, respected researchers have claimed these assessments are probably made even more quickly (I have seen 3 or 4 seconds quoted and even “in the blink of an eye”).

And Trustworthiness is now believed to be a primary in these first, rapidly-formed opinions; likely as an inherent survival mechanism.

However quickly we make judgements it will be founded upon snap views of an individuals discernable Facial Expression, Stature, Gestures, Gait, Apparent Confidence and Dress/ Appearance.

Clothing throws out loud and clear messages within all cultures. It is a large part of the image captured in a glance.

And following initial contact the human mind works feverishly to confirm and re-enforce first impressions at almost any cost (often regardless of subsequent observations and data).

So, our Dress can be useful to initially sell ourselves favorably and promote an image.

Hence the dress for success movement to which so many professionals and workers adhere.

It is uncommon to see people entirely ignore trends or even discount unwritten conventions for attire. If individuals want to be perceived a certain way they will dress according to prevailing cultural expectations.

It is extremely difficult to modify someone’s opinion once they have locked into their perception of who you are. So, most individuals should think twice about diverging strongly from accepted norms.

When people have opportunity to dress differently than the expected manner they seldom do. Again, human wisdom is to align and generally support established expectations; why create unnecessary downstream battles where unwanted first impressions must be undone?

Personal image and branding is crucial to the psyche of most all individuals. Being unique can be rewarding but not if it be at the expense of unintentionally appearing strange or too different.

In business, even the most minor divergences from or updates to Corporate Image are heavily scrutinized and reviewed. This attention to detail is gleaned from understanding the basic human desire for things to appear as consistent, expected or preferred.

Each of us can easily update our image by tampering with our established Dress Code. But do we want to do this? Should we? What are the ramifications?

Many changes we might make to ourselves can be for the better, but when making appearance modifications we’d be wise to align intended upgrades appropriately. Care is required to avoid jarring inconsistencies in new renditions of ourselves.

For example: A white-coated GP might not want to suddenly change to a Tie-dye T-shirt and blue jeans workclothing arrangement; he/she would run the risk of making existing patients nervous if appearing less professional, newly erratic or even unpredictable.

Consistent and steady change is often a wiser migration unless a shock factor is intended or required.

So, following these thoughts and discussions do you recognize your uniform? Does it match the image and value(s) you want to convey? Do you conform too much or indeed too little to the image you desire?

Take a close look at that uniform. Consider what it says to both new and established colleagues, friends and family. Perhaps it’s time you made a change.

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@

So, You Thought I Said THAT? You Meant to say WHAT?

Ever get your wires unfortunately crossed in a 1on1 communication?

This can occur in the briefest F2F, Voice-message, Email, Text, Meeting Aside, Phone Call, On-line Posting or even with a conventional Letter.

No matter what we do…people just hear what they want to hear. But why?

Any individual will Understand Inputs while being affected by:

     – Their Personality (as defined by, “Culture to Personality: Curse & Blessing,dated 03/15/17)

     – The Situation

     – Their Mood

     – Timing

     – History with the corresponding Communicator

     – Their Intentions and Needs

     – Medium Employed

     – And, past Personal Experience

When people Communicate Outwardly they are influenced by much the same things.

So, there are numerous dynamics affecting messaging.

And we can face daunting resulting challenges with individuals in the way they both Interpret and Send their signals.

In distant human origins we had simple grunts and gestures to facilitate communications. Constantly evolving speech, language, vocabulary, tools, time-sensitivity and media applications have dramatically modified even the simplest interchanges.

One would intuitively believe this array of options would greatly enhance our ability to communicate more flawlessly; in many ways this is true in others, not.

Some vehicles just don’t lend themselves as well as others for any given application…

For Example: You would not Mail an SOS Alert to the Coast Guard; few People would propose Marriage via a Text message, or execute a Firing by Email, and so on.

And at the heart of the communication challenge is that Human Element: The ability to flawlessly communicate in the most suitable manner and the skill to appropriately interpret on the receiving side; this skill is by no means universal nor even common.

It’s clear that people can often make poor choices in sending messages.

It’s equally clear many folks just don’t make good reads of what they receive.

Humans are profoundly affected by their mental Pathology. They believe what they choose to believe and can seemingly rationalize quite wild opinion.  

Even communications with familiars may be subject to startling misunderstandings. So, a swing-and-a-miss with a more casual acquaintance is often a likelihood.

Such misinterpretations are often fueled by underlying, obscure Personal Insecurities.

How can we know what sensitivities and neurosis lurk just below the surface in newer relationships? It can sometimes be daunting to speculate what personality traits might emerge in seemingly everyday situations, let alone during stressful times.

When communications become confused or perhaps volatile relationships are either forged or bridges burned.

And in practice we often learn more quickly about the peccadillos, neurosis and pathology of others by rapid exposure and tribulation.

As a result, we choose fight or flight. Do we digest and persevere with problem situations or just walk away and avoid?

There is no one solution; the choice is situationally dependent. What is the value and/or risk?

In all our communications we must necessarily remain sensitive to opportunities and liabilities of human, situational and channel implications.

Have you come unglued with anyone, recently? Was it truly warranted, or a likely product of your own vantage point or insecurity?

Anyone derailed on you? Been initially lost as to what in their pathology triggered an outburst?

Take some time to consider recent fraught communications. Often you can readily mitigate problems, sometimes you should not even try.

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@

What Are You Trying to Say?

CommunicationEver embarrassed yourself by giving imprecise or carelessly ambiguous information? I have.

My major gaffe was as a young graduate in my first professional role. The reaction I received to my waffling was severe and thankfully proved a valuable epiphany.

Fortunately, I was in an after-work situation, but talking loosely about what was a complex, job-related technical issue.

I was corrected, admonished and appropriately lectured by an older, more seasoned peer. It turned out to be one of the best lessons I’ve ever learned; never resented the chiding even as it occurred.

At the time I was coming newly from academia, enamored with glib word usage and style, characteristic of a less demanding, largely non-critical and more forgiving environment.

My new work outside of this needed a more disciplined and precise style of communication. I was fortunate to have learned this early on. It was a rapid and effective cultural adjustment.

Now, business usually demands greater rigor, orientated around rapid problem-solving.

Yet even today, most people I meet tend towards imprecise conversation and communication. It’s just easier and less demanding.

Also, many cultures seem to revere a more relaxed delivery and statement. Demonstrating an unhurried, manana (Spanish lang.) approach is often considered more polished, even sophisticated.

But there are times when precision and accuracy are important; indeed, they are essential.

For Example: Ever been burned by someone who’ll see you by noon. What does this even mean? This is not helpful if you then need to hang around wondering if the term implies a 9-12 window, or maybe not long after 12 o’clock (?). It’s virtually impossible to know what is intended.

Now perhaps it does not matter so much if this person’s (say) arriving at your house for an afternoon or evening social event, but if it’s to an office meeting where folks must be on-call, juggling lunch… well, it’s a mess. It’s inconsiderate.

Similarly, consider any situation where someone is trying to solve an important and urgent problem. They don’t want to hear your feelings and suspicions about an event, they need to know WHAT happened, WHEN, WHERE and to what EXTENT.

When you routinely fail to provide appropriate (aka essential and/or required) details you are likely to appear either foolish, unconcerned, indifferent, uncalibrated, inconsiderate or even unintelligent. Such behavior just seems flakey.

It is wise to communicate with the clarity and precision the situation demands.

It is unwise to fail to recognize such situations in BOTH business and personal settings.

Circumstances are worsened further when people are reasonably pressed for clarification and their apparent prevarications continue. This is easily taken as insensitivity or aloofness.

Being sensitive to the informational needs of others is often just common courtesy.

The burden on those requiring facts and accuracy can be profound, too. They typically press for details

out of necessity, not some misguided need to control (though this can occur).

Demanding clear communication from others can be exhausting. It is often essential.

Relationships, businesses and friendships are built on trust, which requires clear communication.

Sometimes it IS appropriate to relate matters in terms of feelings and opinions. But when specific problems must be resolved hard facts need to emerge.

Encouraging others to communicate more clearly can be done in a several ways. These revolve around either gently and systematically routinely questioning inputs to seek such clarity, or outright demanding such delivery.

The former approach conditions behavior and grows awareness, whereas the latter seeks immediate compliance.

Training a behavior though awareness is the most congenial approach.

Demanding accurate, concise communication is sometimes essential. It may however require later follow-up, social repairs or explanation.

In most cultures, business, time pressure and the requirement to get results will not allow participants to wander about with waffling communication styles.

In truth, precision for its’ own sake is seldom required. Yet when accuracy really IS REQUIRED, do NOT be the person offering vagaries.

Do you need to seriously improve the way you communicate with others? Are you frustrating relationships with your lack of clarity?

Should you speak to a worker or colleague about their frustrating imprecision? Is there specific guidance you might provide to improve such weaknesses in others?

Carefully consider how these issues affect your professional and personal lives. Perhaps now is the time to address the problems before frustration and resentments compound.

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh


Being All You Can Be: Your Best Version

goal settingA couple of months ago I ran into a top professional athlete at a social event.

We spoke for some time. He is a father of two and was particularly steamed up about a couple of child development issues.

Primarily, he strongly resents (his and all) children being told you can be anything you want to be. Basically, he believes this is just not true.

I’m not arguing if he is right or wrong, but shouldn’t we wonder why such a high achiever would feel so strongly on this point? And, this same concern applies equally to anyone setting lofty goals.

It’s particularly poignant when you consider his resume and background:

     –  Child of immigrants with well-defined genetic background from a notably assertive culture.

     –  An impressive array of top amateur personal and team-level accomplishments as a teenager at national, international and world level.

     –  Prominent winner of the most prestigious world-wide team event in his sport; accomplished with a storied franchise at a professional level.

     –  Someone who overcame extraordinary and unusual physical setbacks.

     –  Currently still a top professional and a well-respected household name in his sport.

Clearly, these are impressive credentials for any (predictably) high achiever.

He is also a doting and thoughtful father who truly wants the best for his children and yet definitely resents them being misled or potentially set up for disappointment.

During discussion it became clear his primary concern is that High Expectations should be (R A A):

      – Realistic (for the individual concerned), R

     –  Achievable (by hard work, practice and skill development), A

     –  Available (in viable enough numbers to make the goal practical), A

For Example: There would be no point EITHER (say) being a 6’ 5” wannabe Olympic Gymnast, OR (say) needing to pursue a PhD. for any advancement in a required field when struggling with grades in High School, OR (say) being one in 1 million individuals maniacally desiring a single Presidency. In all such cases there will be probably be disappointment; and they all fail the respective R, A, A criteria.

Additionally, recent studies have shown that high achievers do all have one thing in common: In the right PLACE at the right TIME. Some even call this an element of chance or luck.

Now all this doesn’t mean people can’t have lofty goals or reach for high achievement. Nor should anyone settle for less than they might accomplish.

This particular athlete’s fundamental issue revolves around fear (for his children) of them dedicating their life-time to a goal, achieving much yet still falling short of what ultimately proves to be an overly ambitious objective. This could easily doom almost anybody to an undeserved and lasting sense of failure.

It’s true that many great achievements would not have been accomplished without great outreach. I agree. Great things are often fueled by someone shooting for the stars.

Also, one person’s over-reach is an essential incentive and fundamental motivator for another.

But if your goal is to ultimately instill a sense of self-worth, accomplishment and meaning in others, then maybe tempering people’s goals with Realism, Achievability and Availability should be considered?

Sometimes enlarging and evolving objectives as you proceed keeps the momentum, desire and struggle in better perspective. Yet in some cases you really must just aim for the horizon and beyond or have little chance of ultimate success, even at the outset.

Certainly, everyone deserves to accomplish all they might and can.

But occasionally a guiding hand helps people realize their potential while avoiding any unnecessary sense of failure.

Do you have colleagues, friends or workers who maybe even need to set their targets higher? Then help them aspire to more.

Have children who might go far? Then set their targets appropriately high; plan for great achievement, but make certain those interim results are routinely celebrated, valued and acknowledged all along the way.

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh



That Which Does Not Kill Me, Can Still Do Harm

fredMost of us have likely ruminated over Nietzsche’s maxim, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

The insight holds much merit. But I believe it to be inherently flawed.

It is true for example that trauma survivors have reported positive changes and enhanced personal development. This phenomenon has even been named: Post Traumatic Growth (PTG).

I have been fortunate to reap benefits myself of some positive behaviors and personality traits from bad experience. But cannot say I’ve seen others routinely advantaged by their traumas; quite the contrary.

So, let’s consider an Example (*) of Trauma:

Son cannot swim, Father wants him to learn. Boy is thrown into deep water to struggle and survive without assistance.

Disturbingly, this has been a literal and metaphorical event many times.

Now if the boy doesn’t sink, he may be stronger as a survivor and embrace a broad philosophy and fearlessness of diving-into new things.

In practice, many may learn to swim this way, yet still experience a life-long discomfort around bodies of water and lose trust for the person who threw them in. This psychological trauma could be both profound and enduring.

And correspondingly, the child that swam, seemingly survived and thrived may develop unhealthy tendencies resulting from their experience. Perhaps they will evolve to recklessly dive-into new situations without sufficient thought?

After all, an individual’s profound strength in any area is often accompanied by its corresponding weakness, as a flaw. Great strengths are also often our weaknesses.

As a Metaphor, this Example (*) provides many potent insights.

It is accepted that Adaptable Individuals can grow from traumatic events. Less intuitively it’s found that highly adaptable people do not grow as much; affects are less profound, likely because they already evolve well and learn from experience.

But not everyone is very adaptable.

And not all significant events appear obviously traumatic; the difference is in the eye of the experiencer.

In practice, our personalities and psyche are molded by experience. We are the result of our genes, culture, environment and experiences.

From birth, we are bombarded with events and our environment.

There are both philosophical beliefs and (even) religious doctrines that argue our Acceptance of trauma through and passed suffering is what moves us forward to Personal Growth.

In reality, we do not all move forward positively, building upon and benefitting from exposure(s) to traumatic events.

I would wager every person on the planet is morphed or inhibited in some adverse fashion as a direct result of negative experience.

Life brings challenges to us all

We routinely see or hear of Abuse (mental and physical), Cultural Pressures, Neglect and more.

Divorce, Bullying, Prejudice, Molestation, Crime, Violence and even War are commonly visible in most societies. If we are not directly involved we are exposed to such occurrences.

Events such as these are not water off our backs. They are formative and influential. They sculpt our personalities, opinions and psyches.

As a result, everyone carries baggage from one experience or more.

Many of us are indeed highly adaptable humans; we do learn and become stronger. But it is improbable all people are sufficiently able to adapt and be unaffected by every event in their past.

It is possible for those more suited (or, fit) to recognize detrimental impressions made upon them and act to often mitigate many harms. But its improbable anyone can extract from their buried memories every single formative barb that subtracts from their complete well-being.

Certainly, there is always outside counsel (be it personal, friendly and/or professional) available to address serious concerns about feelings or behavior. Need help? Then seek it out.

Do you really understand your reactions to all events and encounters? Are there comments circulating wondering why you behave or react in some manner? Are there undigested occurrences in your background?

Closely consider your past and current reactions. There will be definitive events that predict your strengths and weaknesses. Give them sufficient thought and when armed with greater insight, direct your own personal growth.

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh


Fundamental Trust Keys Relationships

Trust fallTrust is foundational in a relationship whether between Colleagues, Friends, Spouses, Significant Others or even Animals.

What it is and means can be stated succinctly:

The NOUN, Trust

firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something.

Trusting someone

believing in their reliability, truthfulness, abilities or strength.

Many people fear to trust. Sometimes this is burned into their personalities as the result of their life experiences. Perhaps it is tied directly to interactions with a specific person.

In the end, being able to trust (and wisely) will prove fundamental to our personal happiness.

Throughout life all relationships have ups and downs. But there remain actions we can take to help others trust us.

The mantle of being Trustworthy is commonly assumed by:

Keeping routines, being Predictable (as opposed to boring, fickle and random etc.)

Being Reliable

Meaning What We Say

Telling the Truth

Sharing How We Feel

Saying No, Sometimes (as/if/when appropriate)

These traits and behaviors are self-explanatory.

Building Trust in relationships is generally believed achieved by:     trust 2

Shared Values

Providing SpaceConsideration and Kindness

Acting Without Alternative Motives

Making the Relationship a Real Priority

Seeing Things Through

Again, the meanings here are self-evident.

The downside to underperforming in these areasLack of Trust: a slippery slope typically leading to lies and deception.

And since people have a propensity to treat others as they are treated, there is an inevitable likelihood they will reciprocate and respond with the same or equivalent behavior. The innate human desire to retaliate can cause us to enter the descending slope.

Relationships are easily overtaken by Deception when Trust is weakened.

These pointers and guidelines are assumed, general and common knowledge. They summarize long-standing principals and belief.

Yet how many people really adhere to such maxims in their relationships? Who is truly aware of the pitfalls and routinely acts to mitigate the liabilities?

How are you doing in your relationships? Any of these simple pointers need your improved application with those you care about?

At work, home and in everyday life, these same Principals of Trust apply. So, take a close look at how you are doing, and why.


Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh


How Arrangements Get Blown

close the loopIt seemed like the simplest thing to coordinate, but something critical to the event’s success went wrong.

A key person didn’t show, there was a misunderstanding of intent or an important item was overlooked. Sound familiar?

The underlying cause is always the same: SOMEONE didn’t close the loop.

Even simple arrangements can go adrift, so if there’s real complexity involved you’re almost asking for trouble.

And, the solution is always the same: Discussions and preparations need to end with a timely, final and complete summary in everyone’s hands.

There’s many ways to close that loop; hit all key participants (and cc’s) in a GROUP with identical email, text, voicemail or other suitable shared applications.

In reality, there is also often last-minute coordination and changes. In many cases these can be critical adjustments required for success.

So, someone needs to OWN the coordination. One person must close the loop, get everyone in-sync.

close loop 2

If there is room for error, there often will be. It’s usually required a coordinator /arranger is designated, agreed and acknowledged, up-front or at least early-on. So, make sure to step up when it’s clearly your job, or help ensure someone is clearly designated and empowered.

Every participant and supporter of the event (meeting, gathering, conference, show etc., etc.) must know who is orchestrating and coordinating matters and to advise them clearly of important updates and critical changes.

It’s all seemingly obvious. But so often arrangements go wrong. Someone fails to pass along key information or changes.

One of the biggest liabilities is the failure of participants to recognize the significance of new information or plans. Coordinators can make calls/approaches for last minute issues to identify such liabilities.

When it comes down to it, groups and teams working together to pull-off important events are as strong as their weakest members. One sloppy player, rushed, not thinking things through can wreak havoc.

We’ve all seen examples of blown communications: People show up for meetings unaware of need to bring crucial information, food arrangements are misunderstood for catering and sometimes even critical attendees aren’t properly advised of their role in attendance.

Those persons failing to provide important updates can be rushed, disorganized or plain lazy. Be sure folks prone to such behaviors are prompted to revisit their contributions BEFORE that Loop is finally closed.

Hopefully, this causerie is familiar to you? Perhaps it serves to complete your thoughts or act as a reminder. But beware, for in many cases what we humans readily grasp intellectually is poorly represented in our behavior.

Have you ever shown up to a meeting where a key person wasn’t even invited? Been booked to the wrong room at the wrong time?

Worse still, ever witnessed something otherwise well-managed only to appear in disarray because of such blown arrangements? This damages reputations.

Perhaps you should review how you coordinate with others. There’s usually plenty of room to sharpen communications and better secure your important events.


Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh



Great EXECUTION is NOT Everything

Creativity and ExecutionJust a few days ago I read A.N.Other article about the supreme importance of Execution. It was well-written, pertinent with many valid points.

But, it missed the mark.

Naturally, Execution is extremely important. If you cannot bring Ideas (and Products) to fruition, they might as well have never been conceived.

Imperfect or failed execution is lost opportunity and wasted investment. All this is true.

I first had the related debate 10’s of years ago; then we were discussing the relative importance of Ideas versus Execution.

As a young, start-up VP-of-Engineering debating a seasoned (well-known and highly respected) Silicon Valley Executive (my boss, the CEO) we both leaned with inevitable biases.

My colleague held that “ONLY Execution mattered.” I felt his position egregiously undervalued the creative process.

As in many arguments, in different ways we were BOTH right. We were similarly both wrong.

Clearly, without Execution there is no result. Ideas without viable results or consequences are of little value or import; particularly so in business. Not a totally unreasonable argument.

 Yet the reverse is true: If you have no Ideas to implement, then execution prowess is meaningless.

In reality, we need BOTH Ideas AND Execution equally. This seems an obvious conclusion.


And yet, as in every argument your opinion might differ greatly depending upon your perspective.

My colleague was in an advantaged, senior position. Seemingly every day prospective entrepreneurs would bring product and business ideas to the table. He had seen many products proposed and pushed before occasionally being taken up and implemented, sometimes many years later in modified forms.

Delays in realization can be affected by Resources, Opportunity and Timing. You need the right stuff at the right time and in the right place.

It is easy to understand that when you are surrounded by Ideas and Suggestions, they seem almost free and of lesser value. Put another way, until Execution occurs and an Idea is realized it might easily seem no more than dust blowing in the wind.

But conversely, without the Idea (and Creative Process) there is simply nothing to realize.

Ideas within themselves are inherently important, even if not realized. Creative new thoughts emerge from older ones; precedence can be common. Even dead-ends will suggest direction and provide guidance.

All this applies equally to Personal Life. Without the ability to take action (Execute) our plans (Ideas) are just thoughts; they can become unfulfilled dreams.

In Business, we need channels to produce the Ideas (or Product Concepts, or Approaches) that fuel our growth. These may be R&D, Marketing, Customer Input or other Forums and Mechanisms.

Similarly, we ultimately succeed or fail depending on the excellence of our Execution. This typically involves Development, Manufacturing, Pricing, Sales & Marketing and our Delivery.

So, there we have it. It is NOT one versus the other (Execution v. Ideas), it is BOTH.

And excellence requires at least real competence across their spectrums.

Do you have all the great Ideas necessary to succeed? Need to upgrade your sources?

Look at your own Execution. Does it get you where you want to be, when you need to get there?

Make sure YOUR Business and Life are filled with great Ideas AND the ability to make things happen.


Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter @ianrmackintosh


Adapt & Flex: The Winning Recipe for Everyone

flexMany of us have been exposed to the Personality Profiling and Human Behavior Characterizations long common in industry. Professionals often undertake their new responsibilities on the coattails of such testing. Management teams relentlessly search for excellence by better understanding the natures and differences of their colleagues; and this, all based upon

such characterization.

Yet regardless of the specific Personality-Type we find ourselves to be, there remain key BEHAVIORS from which we can all profoundly benefit. These are our abilities to Adapt and be Flexible.

Perhaps you have heard of the well-known and generally still highly regarded Briggs Meyer testing scheme? It pigeon-holes participants in one of sixteen (16) Personality-types (Types).

If interested you can easily find free testing questionnaires on-line that quickly determine your personal characteristics and hence classify you as a specific Type.

If we briefly indulge a Summary of the principals involved, this classification is achieved by considering (per Carl G. Jung’s characterization) your

General Attitude and direction of Energy Expression:

Extroversion (E) versus Introversion (I)

Preference for form of Perception:

Sensing (S) versus Intuition (N)

Preference for processing Information:

Thinking (T) versus Feeling (F)

This was added to (circa 1980) by Isabel Briggs Meyer (presumably a Jungian disciple) who espoused the principle of judging-perceiving influencing personality-type.

How a person Implements Processed Information:

Judging (J) versus Perceiving (P)

So, there we have it. By the nature of the testing we are ALL fitted into ONE of 16 Boxes. These Personality-types are defined by us being biased predominantly to one element in each of the 4 pairs (above); we are all characterized as either: E or I, S or N, T or F, J or P.

Intriguingly, in four (4) versions of these tests administered over 30 years my own characterization has remained essentially unchanged. Very interesting and consistent.

The associated detailed Personality Descriptions spell-out insightful and quite extensive character outlines for each of these resulting 16 Types: ESTJ, ESTP, ESFJ, ESFP, ISTJ, ISTP, ISFJ, ISFP, ENTJ, ENTP, ENFJ, ENFP, INTJ, INTP, INFJ and INFP.

If you embark on the testing process, once you’ve been pigeon-holed you’ll find the corresponding Personality-Type Description strikingly relevant and appropriate. These outlines alone offer insightful reading, even without a test.

But inevitably, this illumination also highlights the obvious and inevitable flaws for each personality-type. Every pigeon-hole showcases great strengths alongside (often understated) accompanying deficiencies.

Happy is the individual whose life is largely aligned with the strengths of their Personality-Type.

Yet none of us exist in a vacuum and our life experiences are broad, so inevitably those flaws (see above) can and usually will make some form of appearance. They are the chinks in our armor.

Here now is exactly why both Adaptability & Flexibility are of great import.

We can readily compensate for our Personality-type deficiencies by ADAPTING. Adaptability mitigates any weakness and enhances our ability to prevail.

Likewise, FLEXIBILITY is equally valuable. It is our ability to bend pliably with circumstance as we ADAPT to challenges.

So, Adaptability and Flexibility are great Behavioral Skills to possess. They protect and aid us when we’re most exposed by our deficiencies and yet can also enhance our performance when we are at our best.

We are exercised and stressed by challenges we face at work, home and in our personal lives. Adaptability and Flexibility are assets on every front.

Now think a while about your own circumstances.

Review both the new and familiar challenges you face. Are you ADAPTING sufficiently and FLEXING in your own best interests? Perhaps you need to improve? Think it through.

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter @ianrmackintosh