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Is Work Making You Seasick?
Adventure Learning in BWCA
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Twitter Highlights
I send 15-20 tweets per week with links to useful links and research. Here are a few of my latest, including links:

More evidence that transparency, accountability and leadership carry the day -

"If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn't thinking." (George S. Patton) New quotes at

Bangladesh garment fire - Good stewardship will require keeping AlMart, IKEA and Carefour on your watch list -

"Good" companies are more innovative -

"Speaking with passion born of your own authentic experience and belief is always persuasive." - Charlotte Beers

The manufacturing skills gap is really an education and wage gap - Skills Don't Pay The Bills -

Schumpeter: "Museums of Mammon" - A brand story is an important part of its identity.

Transparency - a sound strategy for foundations too

Is yours a thankful culture?

"The best way out is always through." (Robert Frost)

"Confidence is 10 % hard work and 90% delusion" (Tina Fey)

Surprise! "Companies discover that workers experience less stress and are more productive with fresh air."

The neuroscience of listening - it's mainly about paying attention

Apparently the BP buck (literally) stops at the top, but accountability goes only half-way up -

Totally agree: "Having good conversations is 80% of being an effective manager."

Apparently not all coal is clean -

Pastor Travis takeaway today: It's not about being 'reborn,' but reborn again & again. Are we open to transformation each day?

"Neuromyths" - Another reminder: "Don't believe what you think!"

What to do when your employee is a social media celebrity?

Demise of Hostess Twinkies - what happens when management and labor are n denial -

Are there more "Is" or "Wes" in your organization? "The I's Have It" -

Yup, culture eats compliance for lunch too! How Wall Street turns people into criminals -

Recommend Forum for Ethical Leadership in Financial Services  Download 10 yrs of conference proceedings -

Joe Nocera, NYT columnist, addressing "From Fools' Gold to Market Integrity" at Center for Ethical Business Cultures -
Patreus and the Rise of Narcissistic Leadership -
@HarvardBiz Why self-awareness is foundational for integrity

The case for "corporate burlesque" (open-book management) -

50% of managers terrible at accountability -

The upside of psychopaths, and the Psychopathic Personality Inventory

A step in the right direction aligning pay with stated goals - Lloyd's to scrap sales incentives -

See how centered leaders deliver higher returns, and their 5 key capacities -

Unlimited vacation time contributes to, and a product of high-trust cultures -

We live in the Age of Abstraction, a natural deterrent of transparency -

Great advice from LIles: Mistakes are OK, but never lose your passion.

If you missed it, below is a copy of my last blog: Is Work Making You Seasick?. Since you may not have seen October's's article, Adventure Learning In The BWCA, its introduction follows; you can access the entire article by clicking the link at the end.  Be sure to enter the "Who Said This?" contest at the bottom of this newsletter to win an autographed copy of Navigating Integrity - Transforming Business As Usual Into Business At Its Best.
Is Work Making You Seasick?

Recently a colleague shared her distress with the turmoil, continuous change and what seemed like unrealistic expectations at her workplace. As she described the conditions and her reactions, I couldn't help thinking how similar they were to those of mates I've sailed with who suffered from seasickness. The more I thought about it, not only were the symptoms of what she described like seasickness, but some remedies apply to both as well:


We're better off above than below-deck. I'm not just talking about higher in the hierarchy here; although conditions up the organization chart may be better in some ways than in "steerage," that poses its own set of problems. The worst place to be when seasick is below-deck. It's close-quarters, the air isn't as fresh, one can get banged around and it's hard to stay balanced. It's amazing what simply "getting above it all" for a period can do to restore spirits and reset our "gyroscope." Every once in a while at work too we need to get above it all to gain some perspective and regain our balance. That might mean taking a break (outdoors preferably,) taking deep breaths and trying to connect with the bigger picture. In his book Leadership Without Easy Answers, Ronald Heifitz used a similar analogy about how leaders can gain better perspective by viewing the "dance" from a "balcony" above.


Focus on the horizon. When sailing in rough conditions, focusing on the horizon or distant shore is immensely helpful countering seasickness. The horizon provides a more peaceful looking focal point, distraction from much of the immediate commotion, and a steadier platform for stomachs. It's also much easier steering to a distant point or by a star in rough seas than by any wildly swinging compass needle. When things get rough at work, it's also important to focus on the horizon - our vision or big picture. We can "check our bearings," remind ourselves of our larger purpose and why we're doing what we're doing. Perhaps we need to look up from some of the details to refocus on larger goals.


Do something! There is usually much to do when sailing in rough weather - if nothing else, keeping one's balance and staying in the boat! Seasickness is often not as likely with wild waves as with swells in calmer weather - high, gentle rollers that rhythmically raise and lower the boat all day. Many times then it's helpful just finding something to do - trimming sails, coiling loose lines, stowing gear or practicing knots. Doing something, anything, at least shifts our attention away from getting sick (aboard or at work.) For me, I know that when there's a long list of "to-dos" getting me down at work - especially if not my favorite activities, just starting on one can get me back in the game.


Take care of yourself. The best preventer of seasickness is taking care of one's self. That means resting, eating, hydrating and staying fit as best one can; for some it also means taking medication (for actual seasickness, Bonine works well.) That goes for "motion sickness" at work too; when body, mind or spirit is off, one usually affects the others as well as the journey. (And remember, "hydrating" means water!)


Take care of each other. It's important for crew members to take care of each other as well as themselves, and to accept help when it's offered; as Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "No crew members should be praised for the rugged individuality of their rowing." Aboard or at work, check in with each other from time to time. Offer advice or assistance, or just give someone space who needs it. Remember that our own and others' reactions will be different when fearful or stressed, and compensate accordingly.


Know when its time to change course or haul anchor. As the saying goes: "If we keep doing what we're doing, we'll keep getting what we're getting." Actually, at sea or at work, if we doggedly hold an untenable course, things will likely get worse; we might capsize or end up on the rocks. We need to know our own limits, the limits of our vessel (organization) and the limits of our crew. A change in course, sail trim, anchorage or even destination can make for a much happier crew and far better outcomes.


Remember, it's temporary. Rough weather subsides, we can alter course, change our destination, or even return to port. Sometimes, conditions don't get better but we do by riding them out. It takes a while for new crew to get "sea legs." On one cruise off Central America, one crew member had a rough time of it for two or three days, displaying various shades of green. Some of the above helped, but mainly it just took him and his "internal gyroscope" time adjusting to the new realty at sea; after crossing that threshold he was the best crew mate one could hope for.



When do you feel "motion sick" at work? Can you try some of these tactics?

  • Get "above deck" or on the "balcony."
  • Focus on the "horizon."
  • Do something - anything! 
  • Take care of yourself.
  • Ask for help and respond to it.
  • Change course or haul anchor.

What else do you recommend for those feeling "seasick" at work?


"No one would have crossed the ocean if able to get off the ship in a storm."

Charles F. Kettering


"A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for."

William Shedd


Adventure Learning In The BWCA

As summer transitioned to fall not long ago, it was time for our annual adventure in the BWCA. (For those farther afield, Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area is over a million acres of waterways and forest on the Canadian border, virtually as it was when the glaciers retreated 10,000 years ago.) I've been fortunate to make the BWCA trek almost every year for nearly 30 years with the same men. This year I wanted to view the experience through the lens that I often adopt for sailing adventures: what leadership and teamwork lessons are there to be learned? Here are a few:

  • "An adventure is an inconvenience rightly understood; an inconvenience is an adventure wrongly understood." (Gilbert K. Chesterton) We have two ways of looking at most uncomfortable situations: an inconvenience to merely tolerate, or an adventure to make the best of - whether a rain storm in the BWCA or a momentary setback at work.  Are we making the most of our challenges - to learn and build our capabilities?
  • "Failing to plan is planning to fail." (General Dwight Eisenhower) The odds of a rewarding and safe BWCA adventure are much higher with careful planning, including permits to gather, routes to plan, provisions needed and what to pack. Likewise, the chances of succeeding competitively are higher with careful planning. Reality intervenes, however; just as we needed to alter our BWCA plans because of fires in the area, strategic and 
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All the best,

Al Watts
inTEgro, Inc.
ph: (612) 827-2363