Grown-up relationships

The difference between relationships between kids, young adults, and grown-ups lies in the ability of the folks involved to resolve conflict with conversation.

Kids tend to resolve conflict with tears, tantrum, and manipulation. Young adults tend to avoid conflict where possible and prefer to avoid face to face conversations (hence break ups over text). It takes grown-ups to sit across each other, listen, and reason.

The nature of any given relationship isn’t a function of age – age and maturity aren’t correlated. It is instead defined by the maturity of the parties involved.

As a result, a very small percentage of relationships between adults fall into the “grown-up” category.

On the ball and off the ball

When we watch at a high performing soccer/football team, our eyes naturally follow the work done on the ball. Intricate passes, skillful ball control, and powerful shots.

But a lot of top level football players and teams are capable of skill once they have the ball. Great teams become so because of the work they do off the ball.

Great teams work hard to press their opponents into giving away control of the ball, they get into great positions to receive passes from their teammates, and they keep pace with their opponents during a counter attack.

The work done off the ball – a result of tremendous effort on the training ground – make all the heroics in the spotlight possible.

Much like in our careers and life.


I didn’t know what this word was until I read this morning’s edition of “The Daily Difference.” It gave voice to something I felt strongly about without fully appreciating why.

You may not recognize the spelling, but they likely fill your cabinets and your trash too.

Tchotchkes (CHOTCH-kee) sneak into our lives in the forms of:

  • Trade show swag
  • Birthday party goodie bags
  • Corporate bric-a-brac
  • Fast food toys

So while it may seem harmless to accept them, it’s not.

“Plastic is made from fossil fuels, which release carbon dioxide that warms our Earth. And, believe it or not, most plastic cannot be recycled even when you put it in a recycling bin.” (Excerpt from our free kids’ book Generation Carbon: It’s time to start, page 31)

So, think sustainable if you’re in charge of the office gifts (or any gifts) this holiday season.  And if someone offers you some junk, say no. If enough gets turned back in, companies will stop giving them away.

Books (including The Carbon Almanac), gift cards, and food are all better choices than pens, drink cozies, and mouse pads.

H/T: The Daily Difference – by the Carbon Almanac team.

Delegation is not management

An easy mistake to make as a manager is to assume delegation is management.

Finding a great candidate to run a portion of your portfolio isn’t the job. You need to then be able to influence this candidate to shape their thought process, improve their skills and ability to have an impact, and, where possible, provide wisdom and insight that helps them become more effective.

Learning to hire good people and then to delegate is an important step in the process of becoming a manager. But it is just one of many.

In service of the future

An easy mistake to make – live as if the present exists in service of the future.

That may be true from time to time – but we’re in trouble if this is the only existence we know.

For if we’re unable to make the best of the present, what are the chances we’ll be able to do so in the future?

As the saying goes, today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.

Hoped for 3 things

A colleague of mine always shows up with a smile on his face. In a recent conversation, I asked him how he manages that. He shared that he realized early in life that he hoped for 3 things –

(1) Good health

(2) Someone who’d love him as much as he loved them

(3) The ability to afford life’s “small pleasures” – a nice holiday, a lovely meal, a memory with family or friends

All 3 of these are part of his life now – so he has no excuses to not have a big smile on his face every day.

Hearing his story reminded me of two ideas.

First, happiness is reality over expectations. It helps to keep those expectations simple/low as it is much easier to shape our expectations vs. our reality.

And next, it isn’t happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy.

Happy thanksgiving!

85 per cent

One of my favorite “Our World in Data” charts is the one that shows the massive shift in the cost of solar. It is already a no brainer to build a solar power plant in most parts of the world and we’re likely to see this get much cheaper as we make more investments (thanks to “learning curves“).

And it was nice to see this chart showing new electricity capacity additions. 15 years ago, ~70% of new capacity was fossil fuel based. In 2021, that number was 15%.

85% of the electricity capacity added globally came from renewable sources. That’s a mind-blowing shift in just 15 years. And solar’s share has grown a whopping 13x.

As global carbon emissions continue to be at record levels (have they begun to peak?), this shift can’t happen fast enough.

The key, as is always the case with the adoption of disruptive technology, will be cost. And it’ll be fascinating to see how much lower costs will go.

Regardless, 85% renewables is a big deal – it gives me hope we’ll get to 100% in the next 2-3 years. That’ll be an incredible milestone and a great reminder of the idea that we regularly underestimate the progress we can make over a decade.

A metric for our mental health

A metric that serves as a good proxy for our mental health – the median time it takes for us to get over a negative interaction.

The smaller the number, the better our mental health is likely to be.

In the immortal words of Princess Elsa – “Let it go.”

More often. And quicker.

The biggest execution challenge organizations face

I think the biggest execution challenge organizations face is a miscalibration across the organization on the sense of urgency required on a particular thing/topic.

Communication helps – the clearer leadership is about priorities, the better the situation will be. But it only solves 20% of the problem because priorities are dynamic.

It is why good leadership disproportionately impacts execution. Good leadership brings good judgment – and good judgment enables high quality decisions/responses to changes in the situation to ensure the right things have the right sense of urgency.

This is also why bad leadership is disastrous for execution. Not only does this mean teams don’t have the right sense of urgency on particular item, they’re often wasting energy by urgently moving on the wrong things.