The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective


Archive for September, 2013

Principles of Power…

One of my colleagues, Chris Miller, coached a grouped of recent college graduates our company hired last quarter.  I thought his power sharing message was so empowering, I wanted to share it with you.

Speaking of power, I remember when leading my sales teams – I would trust their sales approach as long as they were above quota.  Chris would call that Reward Power.  However, when they were below quota I instructed them to do what I said; exactly the way I said; when I said; and my instructions were not open for discussion.  I suppose that was Position Power.  My team liked the former more than the latter so they tended to excel!

Speaking of leadership, earlier this year I toured the Gettysburg National Battlefield with my sons – a trip every American should make.  Gettysburg was the bloodiest, 3-day battle in American History; 53,000 casualties July 1-3, 1863.  It made me wonder what source of power the battlefield commanders had over their soldiers? I doubt it was Position Power.

How do you lead your teams; your relationships; and your life?

During Chris’ coaching session, he stated that there are many sources of power – some sources are more powerful than others.  Here’s his list:

  • Referent Power – The most powerful source of power.  It originates from Trust;
    • When Trust exists, you have access to every source of power available to the person trusting you.
  • Reward Power – The second most powerful source of power.  It involves catching someone in the act of doing something right.
  • Position Power – The least powerful source of power.  It leverages Coercive Power, but only for the short term.
  • Coercive Power – The 2nd least powerful source of power.  It offers leaders very few options;
    • Back-off and lose face.
    • Apply more coercion until completion.  This is a lose/lose approach and use of it cuts one off from Referent Power and Reward Power in the future.
  • Information Power – Being an expert brings us power.
  • Charisma; Wealth; and Love are all powerful.

Chris discussed dimensions of power:

  • Power is Historical – Protect our personal history; it can’t be rewritten.
  • Power is One Way – No one has more power than we choose to give them.
  • Power is Fragile – And can be easily abused.
  • Power is a Great Motivator.
  • Power Sharing is empowering – And creates even more power.
  • Admitting Mistakes increases power – Is it more important to be right or to have power?
  • Forgiveness is Empowering.

Chris described one, additional source of power and then concluded his remarks with the summary – Power, Value and Control are Interrelated.   The amount of power I am willing to give you depends on how much I value what you will control over me with it.

Speaking of this interrelation, that brings me back to Gettysburg.  The last power Chris included is his talk was Spiritual Power.  Spirituality is a powerful source of power.  I wonder if Spirituality was the power source for the soldiers during the battle of Gettysburg?  The extreme carnage would have been obvious to them. The likelihood that they would be killed had to have been on their mind.

Was it Spiritual Power, coupled with Value and Control that enabled their field commanders to command them?  Was it Spiritual Power that empowered them to sacrifice their lives for the Value of the United States of America remaining united?

Whatever their power source – it was definitely powerful!


Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website and book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.

Dates never forgotten…

September 11th comes back around this week; what dates are never forgotten for you? 

In the beginning of the novel, A Tale of Two Cities is the contrast, “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…” within the context of both occurring at the same time.  For Americans, 9/11/2001 seems like a demarcation point between the best of times before that morning and the worst of times after, true?  That’s when terrorism literally collided into freedom. 

Do you remember where you were when news of the planes crashing into the World Trade Centers in New York was broadcast?  I always will.  It’s amazing what we can accomplish during the best of times; and what we can endure during the worst of times, don’t you think?  The 9/11 attacks were the worst of times for many Americans. 

April 20, 1999 was the worst of times for my home town.  (Although truly, we are all Columbine.) 

At a personal level, how many bests and worsts have you had?  The bad times help us appreciate and enjoy the good times even more, yes?  Here’s what Ernest Hemingway said: 

Life breaks us.  And when we heal, we’re stronger on the broken parts. 

Our ability to gain strength from adversity should come as no surprise, though.  Our ancestry is made of up generations who had to overcome adversity.  Much of today’s adversity pales in comparison to theirs, doesn’t it? 

For many of us who did not suffer a direct loss of loved ones from these tragic events, our hardships now come in the form of inconvenience and economics.  We work harder today to keep up than we did before; travel has become more difficult; guns are all too prevalent in our society; in our schools (and at our theaters!). 

Things we once dreamed of seem further from our reach.  We have extended our resources close to the breaking point in defense of our country and our way of life.   But for America, that’s nothing new.  Our country has been on the brink; had parts broken; and healed back stronger for as long as we have been a country.  Were the hardships of the Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression, the Viet Nam War, the Civil Rights Movement, or any other national, local, personal, or family crisis less hard? 

We are up to facing today’s challenges.  We are strong because we come from generations of strength – families who struggled to make for this country, for their families, and for themselves the best of times.  Like past generations, Americans today have the opportunity to earn and enjoy the better things in life.  And we know why they are the better things: 

To really enjoy the better things in life, one must first have experienced the things they are better than.

Oscar Holmolka 

So this week we reflect on that never forgotten, life-changing event now known as 9/11.  Like the day an American walked on the moon, or the night the USA Olympic hockey team won the gold medal to Al Michaels’ famous words broadcast around the world, “Do you believe in miracles?”,  let’s turn to our favorite, Unknown Sage once again for this reminder: 

            The First Rule of Life: 

The best things in life aren’t things.                   

My local community is stronger following the 4/20 Columbine killings; and I believe America is stronger following the 9/11 attacks.  Both dates will never be forgotten!


Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©

Who’s at fault?

My wife just endured one of those “clients-from-hell” experiences.  After investing hours and hours coordinating a cruise for a new client; the client cancelled at the last minute.  Nine months of effort cancelled – no cruise; no commission; no long-term client relationship.  Who was at fault?

It started out innocent enough; a pastor wanting to coordinate a church retreat.  Timing was fine; the sail date was a year out.  A man of God and his flock – how bad could it get?  My wife even secured approval from the cruise line to qualify his trip for fund raising; the cruise line would contribute $50 per cabin; my wife pledged another $10.  Seemed like a win all the way around.

Then reality set in – missed deposit deadlines; delayed paperwork; lost credit card; last minute changes; demands for upgrades; the works.  And no matter what was provided, “more” was demanded.  And when “more” was no longer available; “cancel” was called on.  But who was at fault?

Well obviously it was Murphy’s fault:

Murphy’s Law: 

If anything can go wrong, it will. 

Unknown Sage

In fact, our favorite Unknown Sage offers us a lot about this person Murphy and what he does to our client service experiences:

Murphy’s Law gives rise to Murphy’s Philosophy:    

Smile… tomorrow will be worse.

Murphy’s Eighth Corollary:

It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

Addendum to Murphy’s Law:

In precise mathematical terms, 1+1 = 2, where “=” is a symbol meaning seldom if ever.

Gattuso’s Extension of Murphy’s Law:

Nothing is ever so bad that it can’t get worse.

Yep – it got worse.  My wife earned a masters degree about Murphy with this client!

If we’ve been in business long enough, we’ve all faced the, “Who’s at fault” moment, true?  Who gets the blame?  Does it matter?  Sometimes, we just get “run over” by one of those disingenuous, impossible-to-satisfy clients, determined to totally waster our time; and then say it was our fault.

A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

The woman below replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You’re between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude.”

“You must be an engineer”, said the balloonist.  “I am”, replied the woman, “How did you know”?

“Well”, answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is, technically correct, but I’ve no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help at all. If anything, you’ve delayed my trip.”

The woman below responded, “You must be in Management.”  “I am”, replied the balloonist, “but how did you know”?

“Well”, said the woman, you don’t know where you are or where you’re going.   You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air.  You made a promise, which you’ve no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my fault.”

Unknown Sage

I wonder if his name was Murphy.


Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website and book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.