This blog assumes that blind spots of power come with the CEO role no matter how good or true or well-intended you are. You can't afford to have them. So I give reminders of what I have seen in my experience to help you see. Or try to see. Monday morning practical tips will help you sharpen up and see what tweaks you and your blind spot. A little whack on the side of the head with your Monday morning coffee.

Monday, August 21, 2017



I have a new website that has all of my writing in one place. Those of you who read more than one of my blogs have asked for that.  

And as a CEO reminder—even this small change has me feeling awkward with new things to learn that are uncomfortable. Incompetence always is. And I chose this change. And I still balk a little and wonder (was this a good move, only old fogies have websites. I was doing fine before. Blah blah blah. Noa magnify that by, oh say, at least one hundred, and that is how your associates feel much of the time in a world of constant change. Maybe you too. Just saying.

Here is the link to my CEO: Note To Self blog. Once you are there, I hope you will nose around the other pages and check out my other projects:

CEO: Note To Self

Take a look please
Follow your curiosity

Monday, August 14, 2017


And I could.
I have had a wonderful Summery Summer
I almost take for granted that I live in beauty, that I have ease, that my family people are all healthy, that I can buy food when I need it, and I can be frivolous. And I am a white woman second from the top of white males, thinking of the unfairness of that white man at the top and ignoring all the other rungs of the ladder below that of privilege.

It's so fake humble to say I am privileged as a way to manage the the truth that I am over privileged. 

I wrote an inane comment to my black pastor about people learning to love in order to survive.
He wrote back, "maybe". I wrote my comment as an over privileged person who watches  awful hate from a somewhat safe distance. Of course nuclear missiles carry long range hate, so I am closer than I think.

I did watch news last night and was amused and very discouraged to see four guests erupt into furious shouting their opinion at one another. It was out of control. They were re-enacting the Charlottesville riot. Thank goodness for a break for ads. Maybe we need a world wide break to cool our fevered opinions of rightness.

So another beautiful Summer day. I will enjoy it. I will have fun. I will have coffee with a friend. I  am too far along in life not to savor what is good. But I have a pebble in my soul as I ponder my 
privilege and what to do with it.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


 I am a former Executive Vice President for the Delhaize Group.
I loved my work and it's not often that my backgroud of Organizational Development gets 
recognized as a value adding function that sits at the top table of the company.
So I'm proud of Delhaize for seeing the contribution and proud of my work.
Great. I say this to show I have some expertise and experience in business.

AND I have also written a book on prayer and my ambivalence about organized religion and the tendency for all religions to think they are 'right'. The title is I PRAY ANYWAY: Devotions for the Ambivalent. I am well read in religions and theology. I read it for fun. And I pray my way, anyway, 

I have not formally released the book but soon I will. It is available on Amazon and got a good review by Kirkus.  I have a website soon ready to go live. It will carry my three blogs and other fun writing. They have separate themes but one voice. Mine

I am now coming to the point.
I have been told by many marketers (some excellent) that I can't write on both topics. (Make that three topics and more to come.) I have to have clear market channels.I shouldn't water down my authority. Keep the two separate. Well, I can't. I won't. I hate to be fenced in.

And I smile at this past week and my business meetings. I met with a man wanting to
begin to do corporate OD and T work with companies. We met for 90 minutes. We talked business for 30. The rest of the time was spent on The Quran and how it is numerically constructed in a highly complex way that indicates its authentic. He is a submitted Muslim. We had a subset conversation about my interent in learning how to discuss when there is no wiggle room (no learning no listening) because all parties have absolute certitude. 

I met with an HR executive and we did spend most of the time on the work I was going to do with his team but we also talked about heaven and hell. He had a goofy and brilliant and interesting theory that they both exist. It had to do with time and the experience of the brain.

I rest my case. People are multi-faceted. Connections are where new thought come through that can cause change and creativity and production and profit. Don't make your marketing channel so strict that new ideas can't get in. Allow for some blurring to allow for the unexpected opportunity.

Sunday, August 6, 2017


I promised I'd follow-up the flaws I saw with the signature strengths of 
actual CEO's I worked with closely.  No theory. Just experience. Another day we'll talk about the specific impact of both the flaws and strengths

10 Signature strengths--the right one at the right time for the company

—Crazy love for the business that was contagious. This CEO couldn't stay out of the stores and loved being with customers. New products and marketing ideas 
sparked the company. Passion, passion passion.

—Strong moral ethics of a person that followed several ousted top executives and the company needed the ballast and trustworthiness of a leader to hold things steady as a new clean leaf was turned,

—Steady and innovative, two often incompatible traits that were used to ride the wave of change with impeccable business insight was this CEO's signature strength

—Charisma, energy and vision were the signature strengths needed to wake=up
a tired beaten down company and rebuild optimism.

—Easy going affability to enjoy people at all levels of the company and the 
ability to be ingratiating personally kept many challenges during a time of acquisition less dramatic and traumatic then would have been.

—Charm, clarity and quick strategic instincts that led to quick decision and action with no regret was a needed signature strength to this CEO

—Restless curiosity, promoter of innovation, willingness to risk and determination to reach the goal through will power which helped move 
reluctant projects and initiatives through quite a bit of resistance

—Operational expertise and focus to cut through barriers to efficiency and 
logistical blockage combined with high personal work ethic and standards
needed to bring order from chaos

—Strategic and political brilliance and polish to move among various stockholders along with enjoyment of the industry that endeared this CEO to
most people in the company

—Marketing and Sales expertise with a natural leadership embedded not learned 
with likeability and skill in collaboration

Every one of these leaders wanted to be CEO, had a strong ego, a good sense of humor and willingness to adapt to demands of all kinds. And their signature strengtht was what was needed for that particular company at that particular time. There is no once size fits all CEO and there is no CEO without plenty of flaws. The signature strengths simple outweigh the flaws.

PS--I WILL BE CHANGING TO WORDPRESS TO GO WITH MY NEW WEBSITE THAT CAN'T GO LIVE UNTIL I MASTER IT.  SO, WISH ME LUCK AND BE AWARE I JUST MIGHT MISS A WEEK OR TWO!!  Talk about flaws! Let's home I dig up some strengths to do this!! As my dear 4 year old granddaughter says, "I can do this!!"

Monday, July 31, 2017


I have had experience working closely with over twenty-five CEO's--working from inside the company, not from outside as a consultant. I certainly could have gone the consulting route but I like being 'in' the day to day moments of great achievement and huge messes.
Thinking of the CEO's here are ten flaws I saw:

—not telling the strategic message over and over again using the same language to all levels of the organization

—not being clear enough soon enough with poor performance so that improvement might happen

—not realizing every word and gesture of theirs is watched and put into the company grapevine

—being susceptible to flattery that blinds the ability to see clearly--self and others

—talking prudence and acting with indulgence

—not staying in touch with the grit of the business

—being impulsive about changes and then bored with them so they dwindle and confuse

—managing the Board and Wall St and not the business

—being too protective of people and not demanding enough

—not realizing the need for a trusted confidante--just one or two 

I wrote each one of these with a specific CEO in mind
Next time, I'll share  what they did very right
A competent CEO has flaws and big strengths

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


We are 'upta camp' as they say in Maine when you go off into the wood to a cottage.
We usually are able to power Internet from a neighbor. Not this time.
So I am on the porch of a nearby Inn and need to look invisible.
My camouflage is pink and live green pj's!!  All the Deer wear them.

Anyway, I have to be quick.
I want to thank those of you CEO's who run a decent company with good policies and fairness and opportunity. You are the best place to find it. Much of government and formal religion are struggling to embody that.

So thanks. 
I know you know that it is good for your company, but it is also good for the world

Monday, July 17, 2017


A few weeks back I wrote about a couple of companies I said I loved--as in felt a fondness toward them. One was LL Bean and one was Delhaize, Belgium. Both were family originated with a core set of values that were still alive. In fact it's odd how values permeate a company and won't let go even during times of change and challenge. Often you know the values are active and alive by the pain of the change. They may go underground, but in my experience the values are in the DNA and will stay alive to be prominent again. (That's a topic to explore more.)

But now I want to pledge my troth to the company I grew up in professionally--Hannaford Bros. Co. from 1985-2006 joining with the Delhaize Group in 2000.
How do I love it? Let me count the ways:

—From my first day, the company crackled with competence. It was striking to me after some of my other work experiences. People knew what they were doing, they got it done and expected others to do the same. One characteristic was that people walked fast. I promise. Visiting vendors or consultants were left in the dust trailing behind the Hannaford person. Urgency personified

—It had steady Eddy talent development systems in place. Good talent was brought in with a disciplined (and fun) approach.  Work was actually reviewed. Bonus' were given. A performance problem was addressed. Fairly.

—Innovation happened. There were far reaching experiments and pilots from self-managed
warehouses to home delivery to re-structures of functions to leadership retreats that were
bold in how they were designed.  And all innovation had the HBC approach of prudence and
tight relationship to the consumer i.e.the business

—We laughed. We had energy. We had confidence we could meet the challenge. We were
proud without honking about it.

—People were not fenced in. Talent was put to good use above and beyond formal roles.
As a new OD professional in the HR department I was immediately put to use with a group designing a new warehouse and another that was creating a new store format--while I did all the other parts of my formal role as well. 

—I was never bored. Right, when I might have been, I would be promoted or assigned to something challenging--a downsizing done right, a major strategy retreat, a Board presentation on Diversity. 

—I liked the leaders when they were my bosses and when they became my colleagues. 
We all had flaws, some huge, most laughable, but I liked them as people. I liked going to work.

—All people at all levels were real. We talked about the grit of our lives, the pain of our lives,
funny funny stuff that happened to us, stories at our own expense. No one put on airs, least of all the CEO's. 

—It was a decent company. Analysts joked about HBC being boring--well managed, good profits,
great talent, high integrity (code for boring). I believe they may have said we were like a Scout troop in being wholesome.  

I think I'll stop on that last statement. Wouldn't you like to hear people say that about where they work or about the government?  It is so far from boring. It is extraordinary.

So, for those of you who asked--Hannaford Bros. Co. is my favorite company.