Linda Henman, PhD.


No Five-Run Rules in Life

by Linda Henman, Ph.D.

In recent years, if I were to write the “How I spent my summer vacation” essay, it would mention repeated and profound journeys to watch my grandkids play baseball. Since they are still No Five-Run Rules in Lifeyoung, the rules limit the number of runs a team can score in a single inning. Obviously, the coaches and parents want to build a love of the game, level the playing field, accommodate different levels of skills, etc. The coaches also seem mindful of an unwritten good-sportsmanship rule not to run up the score by playing a star pitcher against a less developed team. All this civility makes sense and helps the kids.

The problems arise when people advance past fifth grade and assume Little League rules still apply. They don’t. When opponents criticized Patriots coach Bill Belichick for running up the score, Belichick replied, “If they want us to score less, they should play better and stop us.”

Successful people realize that Belichick’s rules rule. Sometimes Lady Luck plays a role, and certainly innate talent does, but beyond that, those who invest, take prudent risks, and work hard reap the rewards. Other’s don’t. Learn More »

Heed the Early Warnings

by Linda Henman, Ph.D.

Sunday I attended my grandson’s baseball game where my three-year-old granddaughter found the one and only mud puddle in the park, apparently put there for her Mud Puddleamusement.  Since her parents were coaching the game, I took on the responsibility of warning her to get away from it. She ignored me until the third warning: “Julie Diane, don’t make me come down there.” A father sitting nearby commented, “Wow! Middle name and the ‘don’t make me come down there threat.’”

Julie engendered the more pointed warning because she disregarded the early ones, as business leaders often do, especially when crises start small. By the time they figure things out, the crisis has grown to the point that containing it becomes impossible. The threats will take many forms, depending on the nature of your business, but if you’re alert to these, you will recognize problems before they become disasters:

  • Persistent customer complaints
  • Persistent employee complaints
  • A preponderance of rumors Learn More »

Want Stardom? Hug a Tree

by Linda Henman, Ph.D.

This week I had the opportunity to interview internationally renowned operatic soprano Christine Brewer, who lives in Lebanon Illinois, the small Southern Illinois town where I grew Want Stardom? Hug a Treeup. Since I’m writing a piece for my new book about understanding exceptional people, I could think of no better candidate to give me her insights. Christine does not disappoint, on the stage or off.

Successful people of all stripes have a similar story. They have a God-given talent that they hone continuously and religiously. They steadfastly commit to ongoing learning and hire the best coaches and teachers to help them along the way. Christine’s story didn’t differ. On the contrary, she offered a roadmap for those who want to stand out or be outstanding.

Christine began her operatic career with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis in the much-sought-after role of tree holder. Actually, the company hired her to sing in the chorus, but she realized she’d need to do more if she hoped to learn quickly from the best around. So, she volunteered for any and every job that let her be around the principal artists. Her debut literally involved standing on stage holding a tree. Learn More »

Common Sense Can’t Have a Vacation

by Linda Henman, Ph.D.

I had the privilege of hearing the new Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Mark Welsh, address the Air Force Association Conference. He outlined the challenges the Air Force will Common Sense Can’t Have a Vacationface, which I realized, are the same challenges facing private industry, education, consultants, and every other entity struggling to do more with less.

He recounted a situation—one that had never occurred before—that had taken place in Africa, one of the newer commands.

A leopard had wandered on to the runway to sun himself. Well, there are rules against that sort of thing, so the three young airman on duty decided to walk three-abreast to confront the cat.

A few steps into the mission, they decided they might want to drive to the cat in a fire truck.  They parked the truck near the cat and then discussed next steps. In the meantime, the leopard decided the shade of the truck looked pretty good, so he walked over and lay down under it.

Clearly, this entire situation had abandoned protocol, but the airmen did not desist. One took a pole from the truck and attempted to poke the cat. What do cats do when poked with a stick? First, they roll on their backs and play. Then they lose patience. Learn More »

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