Runners to Your Marks….

His office looks like a coffee shop; the conference table is the cushy chairs on the stage.  He is the embodiment of the northwest culture; edgy, non-conformal, relevant.  The meeting starts and we discuss life, family, and recent events to get warmed up, and then the reasons we came together begin to emerge.  We are rarely limited to one topic, but it is usually based on the core of who we are, with a mix of future visions and goals.  Ironically, all of this goes against the stoic marble bureaucracy that I live in.  I am used to rigid agendas that produce corporate decisions, which initiate review committees, and then have resolution teams presenting to the final approval, which then requires a vote…. some call it government, others call it red tape.


Effectiveness, planning, and justifying our time are the topics that dominate our conversations.  What do you want to achieve? Who are you? What are your capabilities? What do you have? What do you need?  Simple questions until one understands that we have to put legs to the answers.

Realizing that I am not wanting to do the same thing I did yesterday, using the traditional methods to attain the same old results, I want to change.  I want improvement, to bring efficiency, to foster innovation, and build responsible leaders.  But then again, how does one change a culture that has been steeped in “that’s how we’ve always done it”?

Max Lucado says, “The heart of a matter, is a matter of the heart”


While the conversation is conceptual, the emotion it creates is real.  My heart says things can be different.  In fact, I feel a confidence rising because all my talents, skills, and abilities seem to point to the qualifications needed to influence the innovation to break past the perceived boundaries.

If amateurs speak of strategies, professionals speak of logistics, and historians speak of execution, what will be said of the pioneers?  The ones who knew there were answers over the next horizon. The ones who couldn’t settle for status quo?


Creating a vision requires a good foundation; a place that you know is solid., a firm place to start from.  Changing a culture will not begin without a change of heart.

Since we know we cannot do this alone, we need to build our team.  In order to build a good team, I must identify my own limitations and abilities.  What does it look like to lead a team?  How do I react in conflict?  How can I determine the cause versus the effects?  Can I filter past the symptoms and focus on the roots?

Once I am comfortable with my self, I can focus on building my team.  Who will get us from here to there? What are the obstacles we will or might face?  What paths are available to us?  Can we go around, over, or through the obstacles?  But ultimately, what is the culture that exists?  What are the strongholds?

This was no ordinary meeting; this was a monumental stride.  Strategies, Logistics, and Execution, just a few things to get the conversation started.  Just a few things to get the dream started.

Thank you Gunnar for your time, and for the copy of “Strategistics: How to Architect Your Message for Viral Success”. I believe this is a historical appointment.


One thought on “Runners to Your Marks….

  1. Reblogged this on GunnarSpeaks and commented:
    Mike is a dear friend whom I have been honored to know for quite some time. I first met him through his wife who managed a store for me when I was running a large regional retail chain. She later went to Rwanda with my wife and I have since become good friends with Mike. He is the real deal and frankly one of the greatest guys I know. This was a fun conversation we had over coffee recently. What an honor to sit with him.

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