Tablet PC – Is BlackBerry CEO predicting or manipulating the future?

Bloomberg reports that BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins doubts the future of Tablet PCs. Obviously Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, Google, etc thing differently. So what’s going on here. Is this the proverbial fox saying the grapes are sour simply because they are out of his reach? Does Heins genuinely believe that Tables really are not going to be profitable or a significant portion of the computing market? Is Heins wishing this to be so because his company has failed to get in on the action? Or is he trying to manipulate the game by speaking as an industry thought leader, in the hope that others will say, “Oh, well if that’s the case, we better shift our focus.” This would be an example of trying to reframe the conversation so you can say what puts your message in the best possible light. Nothing new or novel there.

Which is it? How do we tell? Perhaps there is a more important question:

What does Heins’ action say to you about your own behavior? How do you “spin” the story in an effort to manage the present and guide the future? What, if any, are the limits to such behavior?

The now deposed JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson spoke with certainty about the coming success of his “new” approach for the retail giant. Sadly for JCP employees and investors, he was wrong. May the new guy have better luck. Either way, Johnson was clearly, it seems to be, attempting to use the power of The Secret and the time honored “laws of attraction” to generate the energy to draw success toward his company.

Of course we all want and need to believe we will succeed. Psychological research suggests that the majority of people believe they are above average – a statistical impossibility. Even so, researchers go on to argue that if we did not have this exhuberance, if we were more realistic about our chances of success, we might not get out of bed in the morning. Imagine the sales person who started every call by saying, “I doubt you will want to buy from me – only 1 out of a 100 do – but let me tell you….” That approach equals failure.

Back to the original questions:
What is Heins doing here, and
How do we think about our own similar behavior
What are the moral boundaries or limits, if any, to such prognosticating?

What do you think?


Can you cast vision, chart direction, and provide energy, while also being the one keeping the wheels from falling off?

Linchpin. That’s a funny word. To my ear it sounds dark and sinister – like something from a mafia movie or a tortured legal battle. I expect to see a long black sedan pull up with impenetrable windows. The chauffeur opens the rear door and out steps a man with slicked back hair – his suit more expensive than my car. That’s not what I have in mind here.
LinchpinNo, I am imagining the term linchpin being used to describe a leadership role in an organization or project, whether secular or sacred, commercial or faith based. Whether you’re a business or ministry leader, how does the idea of a linchpin apply to you?

I’m asking these questions because someone used it to refer to my potential role in a project. That got me thinking the above, and then I decided I’d look it up and see what I could find. So, Wiki had this to say: “a fastener used to prevent a wheel or other part from sliding off the axle upon which it is riding. The word is first attested in the 14th century and derives from Middle English elements meaning “axletree pin”.” Webster online says: “1. a locking pin inserted crosswise (as through the end of an axle or shaft); 2. one that serves to hold together parts or elements that exist or function as a unit <the linchpin in the defense’s case>” Setting aside for another post the ME “axletree pin” and the immediate question – “Hmm, “linch”….”tree”…. I wonder….” I want to focus on this idea of a wheel on an axle. This is an important role. These pins keep the wheels on your wheelbarrow or dolly from coming off. Years ago they would have kept the wheels on a tractor or car attached. So, the linchpin is an essential component, without which, literally, “the wheels come off!” And yet, it is also a very humble position. The pin has no creative power. The wheel does not influence the force, speed, or direction of travel. Without it the travel won’t happen, or at least not safely. But it has to humbly stay in place while others create and manage the movement.

So what is the role of leader as linchpin? Seth Godin discusses this idea is his recent book by the same title. Linchpin bookThe idea of organizational indispensability is interesting. Is it real, or a myth. Are any of us truly indispensable? What does this say about they notion that “every is replaceable”? When we are working on boundaries and balance, we need to affirm that people can manage without us – sometimes even MUST, or they won’t continue to grow and mature. How would you reconcile these ideas? We want to believe that we are indispensable, and yet when each one moves on, the organizations (families, congregations, communities, corporations) adjust, reorient their leadership, and move forward under a “new normal.”

Is the leader the linchpin, or need those be separate roles? Can you cast vision, chart direction, and provide energy, while also being the one keeping the wheels from falling off? That sounds like a lot of responsibility for one individual. I wonder. What do you think?

Arizona surprises…

GrandCanyon4In one 12 hour period I got more surprises than I could have imagined. What do you think of when you hear “Arizona”? Yeah, me too. Little did I know that things aren’t always what you expect. Come hear my story at Union on Friday, 4/26, 9pmish on the Naked Stage (scary, I know!) It should be fun. Easy to get to, just across 75 from SMU on Dyer between Greenville and 75. Tell your friends.


Considering healthy boundaries

“You can always count on her.” “He’ll do anything you ask.” “Call any time, day or night, 24/7/365.” “Overworked, over worried, underappreciated, always taken advantage of.” Does this describe you or someone you know? These statements indicate a lack of clear boundaries. People tend to behave consistently across the different relationship systems in their lives, meaning that a lack of boundaries in one area (at work, for instance) will likely also manifest in other areas (family, friends, and personal health).

Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend have an entire series of resources drawing on their landmark 1992 book from Zondervan: Boundaries: When to say yes, How to say no, to take control of your life. We learn most of what we believe and practice about relationship boundaries early in life in the context of our primary relationships. Our parents and siblings, other adults and peers teach us whether it is ok to attend to our own wants and needs, and if so how. Some of us learned that to ever think about self is equal to selfishness. To ever say no is equal to meanness. Others learned that you should always put self first, because no one else will. Selfish and selfless are two ends of a spectrum that show an unhealthy relationship with boundaries – too rigid on one end and completely absent on the other. Having a healthy sense of self and healthy boundaries is a middle way between these extremes.

One of the most powerful chapters in this text is #4 “How Boundaries Are Developed”. The fact that boundaries develop over time, through a process, is an important insight. It means that we can change our understanding and practice of boundaries and develop new ones through the implementation of a new process. Healthy boundaries enable us to say yes to the good/beneficial and no to the bad/harmful ideas, things, relationships and experiences in our lives.

Symptoms – such as addictive behaviors and unhealthy relationships with things like food – express poor boundaries in that particular area. They also often demonstrate a lack of healthy boundaries in a more significant, deeper, and more difficult area. For instance, when someone lacks good and healthy emotional boundaries in their intimate relationships, they will often self medicate to alleviate the pain. People with addictive behaviors surround themselves with codependents who make their addictions possible, and codependents are drawn to addicts because they “need” someone to care for. These behaviors feed off each other, perpetuate the system, and ingrain these attitudes, beliefs and habits in the lives of others.

Me and You – Boundaries are about knowing where I begin and end, what is mine to own and what is not. People with healthy boundaries do not take on others’ emotional issues and struggles, nor do they project their own onto them. Imagine a medical professional, attorney, or therapist who personally (mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically) took on the struggles of their clients! We would say their boundaries are too porous. Alternately, when they seem indifferent, we say they are unrelatable, cold and aloof, and have not bedside manner. Either extreme is undesirable. We want professionals who express interest, care and even concern, while not getting down into our hole with us. We need them to stay above, where they can assess the situation and help us move toward wholeness.

Next steps – Ask yourself where you experience emotional stress in your life. There may well be room for developing healthier boundaries. Where do you wish you could do something different, but can’t find a way forward? Again, this may be a boundary issue. The Boundaries series includes workbooks that can be very helpful. A professional coach can help you identify, strategize, and work toward healthier boundaries.

Download pdf here:
Training – Boundaries Introduction