organicsA recent news program reported that U.S. organic farmers are having a “row,” as the Brits say, over the organic label.

One side, we’ll call Purists, want the label to apply only to foods strictly raised without synthetic substances.

The other side, we’ll call Pragmatists, want broader availability of organics in the market and are willing to accept the use of some synthetic substances.

It makes you wonder what do organic farmers throw at each other in a food fight? “Who threw this un-certified organic banana at me?”

While I am not one to pick sides in the organic-label war, I do understand the nature of the tension.

Many organizations feel this type of tension between purists and pragmatists around all sorts of issues.

Theology, gender, economics, parenting, politics, policy, standards of dress, on and on organizations wrestle in areas that seem to demand a stance. Should an idea be held to its purest form or should the desire to reach the masses lead to a compromise?

I often find fear at the core of both the purist and the pragmatist positions. Two very different kinds of fear but fear just the same.

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Lincoln SelfieWhen I watched the movie Lincoln I wondered how do we know what we know about his decision making, his mannerisms, his relationship with his wife?

Data, of course. Data in the form of government documents, personal letters, travel itineraries, transcribed debates, photographs, and speeches.

All of which was ravenously collected in the shadow of Lincoln’s assassination. It seems that every minuscule data point of Lincoln’s life was snatched up and preserved by someone.

In the future, you won’t have to be famous or die an infamous death for researchers to have enormous amounts of data about your life.

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Lazy feet up FacebookIf you haven’t noticed lately, then take a look at the organic reach of your organization’s FB page. It’s going down.

Several studies have shown the organic reach of Facebook is around 6%. That means you can expect 6 out of 100 people to see each of your Facebook posts. It was 49 out of 100 just last October. That’s a big change, but why?

FB has gone public.

As a publicly traded company Facebook’s primary responsibility is to shareholders not users with free accounts. The current Facebook algorithm gives preference to those who pay for ads or to boost posts. Some think that FB is slowly turning into more of a paid advertising company.

Whatever Facebook might become the fact is it’s getting harder to be lazy with your Facebook content if you still want to reach people.

Jay Baer calls it the Reachpocolypse and he created this graph to show the coinciding decline of Facebook’s reach as their stock price has gone up.

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Freedom RidersImages of the American Civil Rights movement both terrify me and make me proud.

They terrify me because of the brutality shown to people of color. They make me proud because the images are so distant from my children’s America that they require explanation.

Not long ago I watched the Freedom Riders documentary with my children. The Freedom Riders were a group of blacks and whites who set out to ride commercial buses across the South in order “to challenge local laws…that enforced segregation in seating.”

In the documentary it is sobering to watch a modern-day interview with John Patterson, the governor of Alabama during the Freedom Riders demonstration. In the interview Patterson admits that he was wrong to have labeled the Freedom Riders rebels, and if he had it to do over again he would support the Riders.

History is full of people who were first labeled rebellious but were later called pioneers. (click to tweet)

It’s easy to see now that leaders like Governor Patterson were on the wrong side of history, but what about in your organization or community?

How can you tell if a non-conformist is being rebellious or pioneering?

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When you exceed promises, the need to self-promote evaporates.

Bruce Kasanoff #leadwell

Odd CoupleIt’s funny how strengths can foster weaknesses.

I had a roommate in college who was off the charts on intelligence. He could grasp an engineering concept in one lecture and do every practice problem without cracking a book. The down side to his gift was it enabled him to wait until the last minute to complete an assignment.

Meanwhile the below average student in our room, that’s me, had to work nightly to even hope of completing an assignment on time.

Since college I’ve continued to notice when it comes to handling time there are two kinds of people: managers and planners.

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Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.

Josh Shipp #leadwell

Messy bedI had a boss one time who felt that his desk should be cleaned off at the end of each day. The only problem was “cleaned off” for him meant shoving everything into a catch-all drawer. He often forgot where he had “filed” things.

Most days either my wife or I will make the bed, but some days the bed goes unmade. Is that a sign of laziness?

Do productive people end each day with a clean desk? Do they always make the bed?

I tend to work with Type “A” leaders who treat productivity as a daily box to be checked. The truth is when it comes to being productive there are no boxes just different personalities and schedules.

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Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. Click to Tweet

Cyril Connolly

babies happy cryingThis week is the 1 year anniversary of the Second Chair Leadership blog. I recently saw the statistic that 80% of blogs go silent within the first year, so I am happy SCL is in the surviving 20%. Thank you to the 1,000 unique visitors who stop-by to read, share and comment each month.

At a pace of more than two posts per week, I have written 60,000 words in the form of 120 blog posts over the past year. During that time I have ridden the roller coaster of writer’s emotions. Here are the emotional stages I have experienced as a first year blogger plus a little take-away I’ve learned from each one.

Stage 1: I have something to say…

For two years, before I published my first blog post, I used a system of note taking that allowed me to capture fleeting thoughts for potential posts. Because of this “note taking incubator” I felt I had something to say beyond momentary thoughts of inspiration.

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