Paper Couch


With our kids out of the house, we are moving from Pennsylvania to be closer to family in the Midwest.

One of the many challenges of this move is to make sure we will be able to fit into the new place.  We are shrinking from a single-family house to a town home.  In the process we’ll lose about 50% […]

How to Find Creative Solutions: The Case of the Falling Egg

Got a problem and having trouble finding a solution?
Not long ago I was invited to work with a local youth group on leadership skills.  But though I was the “teacher,” the students managed to remind me of something very important about leadership and problem solving.

Today we’ll look at three ways you can approach a challenge that will help you find creative solutions, and boost your chances of success.


When the Plan Fails: 5 Things to Do When it All Falls Through

There’s the plan, and then there’s what actually happens.  Sometimes one resembles the other, but many times not.  What do you do when you find an enormous gap between the two and everything seems to be falling apart?

Today we’ll look at a high-risk plan that failed badly,  see what the people involved did about it, and come up with five things we can do when it inevitably happens to us.


11 Key Rehearsal Techniques to Keep Your Plan From Getting Torpedoed

In 1914, a German U-boat off the coast of England fired a torpedo that sunk the British passenger liner Lusitania.  Even though there were plenty of life vests for every passenger and more than enough seats in the available life boats, most passengers did not survive the encounter.

One key reason was that they did not know what to do, they weren’t prepared:  they hadn’t rehearsed.  To make sure you are ready for your critical moment, here are 11 rehearsal techniques you can use so that thing go right when it really matters.


The Abilene Paradox: When Agreement is Bad

Not sure where your team is heading?  Wonder what will be waiting for you when you get there?  Sounds like you might just be on the Bus to Abilene.  Here’s how to recognize if you’re on that Bus and how to get it turned in the right direction.


How to Confirm Your Plan with a Recon

Today we’re going the extra mile.  Quite literally.  Next weekend our Scout troop is going winter camping in the hills of Pennsylvania.  I think we have a pretty good plan for the trip, but I always like to confirm my ideas by walking the ground ahead of time whenever possible.  It’s a reconnaissance.  Join me, and I’ll show you how to do a little recon that will help make sure your plans turn out the way you expect.


How Backwards Planning Can Move You Forward

The first time I heard the term “backwards planning” I thought it was a mistake.  The last thing I wanted was to be backwards about my planning.  But that’s not what they meant at all.  Today we’ll talk about what backwards planning is and how you can use this technique to develop a successful plan every time.


Get it Right with a Pre-Execution Checklist

Have you ever been getting ready to do something important, then forgot to take care of one critical thing?  That almost happened to me a couple weeks ago.  Fortunately, there was a technique we used that saved us some embarrassment and helped make sure things went smoothly.  It’s called the Pre-execution Checklist, and today we’re going to talk about what it is and how you can use it to make sure your event goes well too.


The Leadership Secret of Captain Ahab

Captain Ahab is famous in modern fiction for his maniacal pursuit of the Great White Whale, Moby-Dick.  He gets a lot of bad press for his poor leadership style, and things didn’t end up going very well for most of the crew by the end of the book.  But there is one thing that the good Captain did right – organizing his crew.  We’ll talk about the way he set things up, and how you can apply the same approach to lead your teams effectively, even if you don’t happen to be Captain of a Whaler.


The Brilliant Planning Trick Lewis and Clark Used that Nobody Noticed

At 3:30 in the afternoon on May 21st, 1804 the Lewis and Clark expedition set off from St Louis on their famous journey to explore the unknown territory west of the Mississippi.  On that first day they made it three and a quarter miles, and stopped.  Doesn’t seem like a very auspicious start if the plan is to get to the Pacific.  Here’s why they did it this way, and how you can put this same technique to use as a leader.