If This Then That … If This Then Maybe That

I’m going to talk about work and, in particular, that aspect of work that has become fashionable to refer to ‒ especially in the consulting business – as “deliverables.” George Bernard Shaw said that there are two kinds of people in the world — those who say there two kinds of people in the world and… Read More »

After the Rhetoric What?

I’ve been thinking about community and the metaphors conjured up by the thought of it. Two that come immediately to mind are “melting pot” and “mosaic.” Both take it that diversity is the challenging reality of the matter and creating something out of that diversity the community-building task that emerges. The implications of choosing one… Read More »

Homo Ludens

In the last few Random Riffs I’ve been trying to get a handle on something elusive. A couple of blogs ago I grandly formulated it as cultivating an aesthetic of leadership. Too grand an ambition methinks! (I should say that the elusive “something” I’m after here is not limited to leadership. It’s just that leaders… Read More »

Leaders, Needles and Haystacks

I just got through reading Robin Sloan’s delightfully quirky “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.” At a point in the story, Clay Jannon, the protagonist, is trying to find his way through a vexing puzzle which is, as he puts it, like trying to find a needle in a haystack. He’s making enquiries at a museum where… Read More »

Cultivating an Aesthetics of Leadership

While engaged in mulling over what blog-worthy musings about leadership might consist of, I was reading The Music Instinct by Philip Ball and came to the chapter, Misterioso: All in the Mind where he talks about what neuroscientists, with the aid of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), are able to see what the brain is up… Read More »

Listening Can Be Hazardous For Your Message!

When I can’t hear anyone else, that’s a danger sign … when my attention is on myself, I know I’m in trouble. Lee Konitz The most important thing I look for in a musician is whether he knows how to listen. Duke Ellington Stubbornness does have its helpful features. You always know what you are… Read More »

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus

It’s been said that metaphors come limping but this one needs crutches … both planets, after all, are uninhabitable. I count neither Martians nor Venusians among my friends and acquaintances … I know only Earthlings. You may well ask what got me here. Here’s how it happened. A few days ago, the musicians of Getting… Read More »

Obsessive Perspective Disorder

A few days ago I was nudged by a Random Riff reader gently reminding me that I’d produced nothing since October. I know I have readers because we chat from time to time, but discovering that some might have expectations I found to be somewhat unnerving. The fact that no one had exercised their “unsubscribe”… Read More »

A Serendipitous Kind of Day

I ordered The Rise and Fall of Great Powers from our local library. I thought it would be about … well, you know … the rise and fall of great powers. I love stories about grand-scale hubris. I picked it up yesterday and, having it in hand, noticed that the full title was, The Rise… Read More »