Do you…

Yesterday, I talked with around a hundred women from Lockton. We spoke and listened for just under an hour. We could have gone on for days. The topic was conflict.


There was no need for preparation yesterday. You see, friend, the BTL playbooks are in me now. The 10,000 hour rule (not a real rule, btw) of deliberate practice has been far exceeded. Now what comes out of me, has been marinating inside through years of domain specific skill building. So, yesterday, I trusted my gut and told new stories in old ways.

Today, six men joined me for some chosen suffering in the 3PP. We set the ipad time for 49:49 and simply did what it told us to do. We did old stuff in new ways. We moved away from the anchor point on the TRX and felt a whole new hit on our aging cores. We talked smack and gave courage. We enjoyed the comradarie of suffering. We’ve been doing this, together, since Littlest fricker and I started this routine on August 1, 2010. Three days a week we gather in the 3PP and build strength within. My lower back pain is completely gone and has been for over six years. It helps to have comrades who make you do what you can, friend. It helps to have an opus that ignites you and propels you to practice your craft to the point of mastery and then keep reaching for more. It helps to build bolted on disciplines so your brain doesn’t have to burn bright on the mundane moments of your day.

What kinda disciplines are you building? Who is helping you bolt them on? How do you know you’re becoming a master in your domain? The best feedback, friend, is from the work itself. The best feedback is from your opus. Of course, this requires that you know your opus deep within your very soul.

Do you?

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The right moment for conflict…

Today, during practice 42 with a team of leaders, we turned to the culture essential in the playbook. We read and wrote after covering only a few pages of content. We then heard from each of the four teams and got curious. Of course, some healthy conflict bubbled to the surface. A couple of years ago, one shared, this kinda “productive fight” would not have happened. Progress.

Problems are not self healing. Unlike good wine, conflict with another does not get better with age. The reason some of our conflict comes out as harsh and hard to hear is because it’s been sitting in our craw for way too long. Stuff in your craw gets kinda crummy and more critical as it sits there waiting for the right moment to come clean. Funny, the right moment rarely appears before something wrong comes out of our mouth.

So, friend, stop waiting. Initiate a hard conversation that you know needs to happen. Start it out by humbling admitting that you know you’re part of the problem. Nothing takes the edge off like a soft setup to a hard truth. Nothing is softer than a humble human who is willing to hear both sides around any tough topic. And, remember, most of our conflict is a conversation with ourselves. Kinda like me learning how to click into my new cycling pedals this weekend, it’s not the bike or the other person that needs to change – it’s me.

So, friend, what is the right moment for dealing with your conflict? Should you let it out in the open air or hold it in and let it accumulate more crud in your craw? You choose. Your choices have consequences.

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Every team, to perform at it’s peak, requires a clear vision of where they’re going, honest, immediate feedback, and deep focus in the moment. Everybody’s got to own how they fit in, embrace their role, and move in the same direction. And, every team on this journey toward becoming elite will have an abundance of “tension.” The vision will be clear to one – hazy to another. Our roles will change, responsibilities will overlap, and sometimes we’ll feel like round pegs in square holes. Some BTL team practices will produce magic and some will simply be stale. Some team members will be on when others are off. We will assume too much – understand each other too little.  Some members will shut down in these moments of tension and some will explode with anger.  Some will tend toward thinking their way forward at the exclusion of their emotions and some will tend toward feeling and finding their way.  The result will be an abundance of…


Transformational teams have the same amount of conflict as normal, dysfunctional, and transactional ones.  The difference lies in how they see it.  Transformational teams understand that conflict is not the problem.  They embrace it, mine for it, and allow the individuals involved to experience it in different, even conflicting ways. Transformational teams don’t bury it. They deal with it in often clumsy, messy ways. The key is they deal with it.  They learn to honor differences and fight to improve performance, not simply to prove a point.  They do all this with a strong sense of purpose because they know where they’re going. The clarity of their vision guides them and gives a passionate purpose to dealing with their stuff.

And, they are comfortable with the fact they will never be on the same page, never share the exact same vision, never take the journey toward their aim on the exact same highway, never be completely understood by those around them, and never be recognized for all they’ve done. In spite of these differences elite teammates keep showing up. They do not play it safe. Chemistry breaks into these teams in much the same way that buried conflict breaks up most others –In an unexpected moment.  The truth is that both have been building for a long time.  A very long time…

Everyday in this work we call BTL team practice, we invest a few good hours with ONE such team.  They embrace the tension together.  They are on the road to peak performance and they are struggling. Conflict is here and chemistry is coming. Chemistry comes mostly through the struggle, when you least expect it. Embrace this, friend. Get your stuff up above board. Deal with it. Stop hiding and hoping it will go away on it’s own. Good..

Are you getting comfortable living in the tension? Are you choosing to deal with your conflict instead of settling for false harmony? Conflict is here, friend. Is chemistry coming? Chemistry comes through conflict. Chemistry comes on the other side of conflict. Good…

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Fatigue to full…

Life is an energy management problem.

Recently, I challenged a team that’s feeling some battle fatigue to write out their top five drains. You know the things that when you see them on your schedule, you suddenly feel sick to your stomach or at a minimum feel some sense of dread. It did not take the team very long to fill the page with five fatigues. Next I asked them to write out five things that make them feel like the Energizer bunny. You know that feeling when you see something or someone on your schedule and you say to yourself that you can’t wait, can’t do it enough, and can’t believe your good fortune. These are, in BTL parlance, your love to’s. Love is pure energy.

As the team shared their top fives it was amazing that at least four out of five were things in their control. I mean come on man, do you really have to go to big parties that drain you like a tiny reservoir in Death Valley? I used to dread doing stuff like that until I discovered that big parties could be energizing if I did ‘em my way and deeply connected with a few instead of mindlessly mingled with many. I had more control than I thought. You do as well, friend.

Life is an energy management problem and it’s your problem to solve. Do not blame your being overwhelmed on others. Take responsibility for yourself. Stand up straight, shoulders slightly back. Decide that when you gotta do a drain, you’re gonna give yourself some sunshine and a short walk in the park (if that’s one of your love to’s). Do not allow circumstances and other people to deplete you. You choose with whom you mingle, where you work, and whether you’re getting better or growing bitter.

You choose. Your choices have consequences. Choose to feed the Energizer bunny more than the things that fatigue. More opus than labor. More alignment within your strong BTL core than with what others think, what’s popular, or what once defined you. Life is an energy management problem. Move from fatigue to full.

Problem solved…

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Skipping along..

We all know the stories around the catch phrases – “The elephant in the room,” or “Just sweep it under the rug.” Both of these represent thoughts around how most chaos creeps in to every system. Instead of shining a bright light on whatever may be the subject matter that’s tearing us apart, we choose instead to simply whistle in the dark. Moment by moment, we choose the easier alternative of keeping the peace by keeping our mouths shut or at a minimum mumbling under our breath.

These are sins of omission and they are deadly to teams.

Most humans underestimate the deadly deeds that are NOT done. We tend to focus on sins of commission, but most of our destructive conflict comes from sins of omission. We can’t put our finger on it, but we know somethings not right. As parents/leaders/lovers, we feel the separation growing but instead of starting something real and raw, we sweep. The messiness, the fight, the deep desires for intimacy/belonging are buried under the rug. The accumulation begins and kinda like a volcano, the pressure builds.

One day, however, the rug reaches it’s limit. We trip in the dark and everything buried within comes rushing out. Chaos. Just like the quiet, beautiful, Hawaiian volcano, we erupt violently and explosively. We say nasty shit and hear way nastier. We do nasty things and observe nastier. We come undone and can’t see how Humpty Dumpty can ever be whole.

Everyday, in this work of BTL team practice, we see teams committing sins of omission. They don’t know how to start the conversation or they keep remembering how horribly it went when they did so in their last company. They don’t trust their leader and they don’t trust us. So, they sweep, they ignore the elephant. We, however, don’t sweep and don’t ignore. We, the BTL builder, stir the pot. It’s the builders job to shine a bright light on stuff that’s been hiding in the dark. This makes teammates uncomfortable and builders unpopular.

Lead anything, friend, and you’re gonna have to learn how to poke people to get the stuff they’ve been hiding to see the light of day. We cannot build oneness without dealing with junk, mess, and lots of stuff buried deep in the craw. Leaders have to start hard conversations and learn to do so without anger, spinning stuff with too many words, or passively placating and hoping it just goes away. Problems are not self healing. Problems are solvable, at least most are. Conflict does not have to be avoided. Conflict is mostly a conversation to be had.

Next week, one of my clients has asked me to enlighten some teammates on the realities of resolving conflict. Here’s what they’re gonna learn. Most conflict between parties is not the real problem. Most conflict between people isn’t going away. That’s not the real problem either. Most conflict is within. Most conflict is within ourselves. Start cleaning up the stuff you know keeps tripping you up, friend. Get real/raw with yourself. Work on you. Hard on you without getting down on you. Here’s what will happen as you come clean and replace nasty junk in your craw with real strength in your BTL core. You will become more distinctly you, the way God intended you. As you make peace within, you’ll more deeply connect with others. The next time something comes up between you and another, your second nature will kick in. Instead of sweeping like a banchee, you’ll shine the light. Here’s another fun fact. You won’t see the other persons stuff so clearly but you will see your own. The log in your eye has been given some kinda Lasic laser treatment that brings clarity within; with others, not so much.

The little mess won’t gain traction. You’ll clean it up and in no time be laughing about what you once loathed. My root problems are not with you, or you, or you know who. Step one, friend, is realizing our root problem is the conflict within, not with another. Most humans skip step one. They skip the look within and start sweeping instead. Start here, friend. Commit to building a better you. Real. Hard. Work. Before you know it, you and your messed up teammate will be skipping along in the light, instead of whistling alone in the dark.

Skipping along. See, that wasn’t so hard, huh…

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Practice 40…

Today, during practice 40, we heard a few teammates share the O&P of their opus. It was really cool to hear how many are dreaming and doing in this place of commerce. It’s not about being a top place to work, the fastest growing system in this city, or any other metric from the media. This place is lit because a few of these individuals are lit. Always works this way in any system.

Today, one teammate lit another teammate up with some ccd magic. When giving his teammate feedback on his big dream, he told him, “It’s not a big enough dream if you’ve got to be invited into it.” He wanted his teammate to hear that he needs to initiate and stop waiting for the invitation. So good. Delivered so well.

Today, friend, stop waiting for the invitation to live out your dream. Initiate. If you’re waiting for the invitation, the dream isn’t big enough. Leaders are believers and connectors too. Leaders keep singing their song. They know they’re standing on solid rock, so they belt it out for all to hear. They initiate the effort. Leaders write the song, sing the song, and lead the audience in singing along. Today, during practice 40, we listened to U2 sing their song and a few of us kept singing long after the band left the stage. I think a not so young Jim got the message. We’ll know he did when he stops waiting to be invited into his opus and just starts belting it out.

What’s stopping you, friend, from singing your song? Why? Do you think the world’s a better place when you play small? Slow down. Sit with this for awhile. Sing your song. Good…

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Like a lobster…

Today, after listening to my client describe his situation in detail, I coached him up very ccd. I told him to be more like a lobster. You see, friend, lobsters have been around for something like 350 million years. They survived whatever it was that took out the dino’s, who’ve been gone for 60 some million years. Lobsters live on the ocean floor and protect their turf without often going to war. When they encounter another lobster, they mostly shadow box and shoot hormones to establish their position. They’ve got a live and let live mindset and don’t really want to get into a pinch off. So, they stand up straight, shoulders back and rarely fight to the death. If you want to know more, read Jordan Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life.

So, friend, be more like a lobster. Stand up straight, shoulders back. Like a lobster, you’ll know what to do next time you get in a pinch. Good…

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