Welcome to the AndWin Blog

Welcome to the AndWin blog from author, Phillip Kane

Welcome to Phillip Kane’s AndWin blog.


The purpose of this blog is to share the principles of true, caring leadership with others using stories that readers can relate to, remember and draw upon.

Here you will find insights that will help you become a more caring leader ANDWIN … to treat others the way you’d want to be treated ANDWIN … to love others ANDWIN … and to make others big ANDWIN.

Cover art, Phillip Kane's The Not So Subtle Art of caring: Letters on Leadership

“If you like the blog, you’ll love the book.”

The teachings behind the AndWin blog are available in Phillip’s new book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership – Real Stories From a Real Leader to Real People About What Really Matters, from John Hunt Publishing, London, UK. To pre-order Phillip’s book, please click HERE.

You can learn more about Phillip and the release of the book, which will start shipping 6/24/22, by visiting Phillip Kane, Author the official site for Phillip Kane.

The AndWin Leadership Philosophy

The AndWin leadership philosophy is based on Phillip’s 30+ years of successful experience leading others to win at some of the biggest companies on the planet. It’s rooted in The Not So Subtle Art of Caring. It’s about the ampersand. The “&”. It says you can treat other people the right way ANDWIN. It says that true leaders do not have to choose between delivering results and being respectful to others. It says that you can have both kindness and winning.

Here’s How the Blog Works:

Each week, Phillip posts one or more story-based leadership post for those focused on winning but who are looking for an alternative to the authoritarian, desk-pounding, fear-based style of leadership that is unfortunately far too prevalent in many organizations today.

The site currently includes more than 130 original pieces of content that can help you in your quest to do just that. So, please allow time to browse around. Simply scroll down to read through Phillip’s posts.

You can scroll at your leisure or search by subject, category or tag. Click on the comments bubble under the title for each post to leave your feedback, or click on a share button to forward content to your fave sosh site or to a friend or colleague.

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Welcome to the AndWin blog from Author, Phillip Kane
Phillip Kane

Welcome again to the blog. Thanks for visiting!

Remember, make it about others, not you, ANDWIN.

Cover, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership, by Phillip Kane, author
Phillip Kane’s book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership. Cover design by: David Donovan Evans

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Eat Right Twixes

Eat Right Twixes. Phillip Kane's blog
Image: Sebbi Strauch |

Friday, May 20, 2022

This week, while working with a client, one of them brought in a jumbo bag of assorted fun-size candy bars. Included were small Twix bars of both the Left and Right variety. This led to a discussion about Twix’ Left/Right campaign and their suggestion that their customers “pick a side.” I recall that in one TV spot, Left Twix factory workers were shown wondering what the opposite Twix might taste like; the dislike between the sides being so intense that they had never tried the Right Twix or even socialized with their factory’s workers. The whole point of it was the preposterousness of it all. That’s because inside the wrapper, the Left Twix and Right Twix are exactly the same.

It reminded me of a guy I worked with once who would eat nothing green. I’d ask him, from time to time, about specific green foods. I was curious, in each case whether he’d actually ever tried them. He never had. He just didn’t like green food, and so, refused, like the Twix factory workers, to eat it at all, believing every bit of it was bad.

In both cases, these people had made decisions, based on the appearance of something or on the urging or someone of some influence, I suppose, to have nothing at all to do with it. The more I thought about the absurdity of it all, the more it occurred to me that there’s a lot of that very sort of thing going on in the world right now. People are having nothing to do with people they’ve never even met before because they’ve decided in advance that they won’t like them. And it makes no more sense than not liking food because of its color or candy because of its hand dominance. Making decisions to not like people based on the color of their skin, their political leanings, religious beliefs or any other defining factor before you’ve even met them is ridiculous, abhorrent and wrong.

And that’s the point for the week.

The best leaders in the history of the world have been those who have displayed comfort and ease with every manner, sort, color, and creed of person they have had the privilege to encounter. These people don’t judge books by their covers or paint entire races, religions, or political parties with one brush. They know that to do so is not only intellectually lazy but it’s intellectually limiting as well.

By never eating green things or talking to green people, one misses out on the richness of learning and experience that comes from doing those things. By staying in one’s own little world one only ever learns about that narrow little space – an echo chamber where everyone looks the same, sounds the same, prays the same, loves the same, votes the same, and acts the same. Worse, their mind narrows with the constriction of that known world and their tolerance for difference along with it. As a result, their ability to lead anyone but lesser versions of themselves dwindles away.

See, it’s impossible to manage that which you’ve never seen before. It’s equally impossible to lead people you’ve never fully and completely known – or worse, that you’ve presupposed about, particularly when in a wrong-headed and bigoted way.

No one wants to listen to a bigot – of any color, creed, or religion – let alone follow one. That’s because most people want to get along with each other. People want to be around those who lift others up not those who tear people down. Too, most reasonable people don’t believe that all people of a certain race, creed or color are all a certain way. They know better. They’ve lived better. They know that’s as preposterous as believing that a Left Twix tastes worse than a Right one or that all green food is bad. It’s lazy. It’s hateful. And it should have no place in a world where meeting and talking to someone different than you is as easy as walking across the street, down the hall, or to the other side of a classroom.

So, reject the notion that all of anything is bad. Eat Right Twixes, try green food, and occasionally even talk to someone who believes different things than you.

And win.

For more like this, visit

To buy a copy of my new book, please follow this LINK.

Image: Sebbi Strauch |

Diversity Love

Practice Radical Hospitality

Practice radical hospitality. Phillip Kane's blog.
Image: Phillip Kane

Saturday, May 14, 2022

This week, my daughter graduated from The University of Dayton again. She first graduated in May of 2020, in the midst of the pandemic. At the time, in an abundance of caution, the school canceled all commencement exercises and simply mailed diplomas to graduating students.

But with fears of COVID-19 now dissipating, UD’s administration decided to do right by these kids and hold their own make-up ceremony this weekend. It was typically Dayton. Run by the Marionist Fathers, community is a big deal there. They preach about, and actually practice radical hospitality – a term attributed to Doris Day, who, along with Peter Maurin, founded the Catholic Worker Movement, known for its social justice campaigns in defense of the poor, forsaken, hungry and homeless. 

Radical hospitality is simply love by another name. It’s about welcoming, embracing and including others unconditionally. And the fact that The University of Dayton lives it is why The University of Dayton is a leader factory. See, true leaders are those who love others without stopping to question whether they deserve it. 

And that’s the point for the week. 

True, caring leaders don’t pay attention to things like race, creed, color, age, gender, hair color, hair length, height, weight, nationality, orientation, body art, or other identifiers because they recognize how little they matter to anything related to winning in life or in business. Because color of anything makes no difference, they are indifferent to more or less of it. The same goes for any other label. These leaders don’t care. Leaders who practice radical hospitality accomplish greater things and win more often because they focus more on the quality of the output than the complexion of the people who produce it. 

They will behave radically hospitable to all comers, because they play by a different set of rules in a game with a significantly longer timeframe than this month, this quarter, this year, or this planning horizon. And because they aim for something of value beyond the here and now, they wind up winning more often here as a simple matter of course – mostly because they attract more people to their cause.

See, people seek to follow these leaders because they make them feel welcome and like they truly matter. These leaders don’t turn people away because they are different or seek to collect up quotas of them because they are either. People flock to be part of what these people are building because they are made to feel individually special by one special individual, not part of some wider, faceless, corporate initiative.

These people have no favorites and they don’t play sides. They believe that true diversity is that which comes from different thoughts, ideas and experiences – not differences in appearance. No voice has more weight, no voice has less. There’s no call for guilt, shame or reparation. Only forgiveness, redemption and love – founded on trust, which bonds their teams together and fuels them forward to win year in and year out – a blurred patchwork juggernaut. 

So be like the gang at UD. Practice radical hospitality. 

And win. 

For more about Phillip Kane, click HERE.

To buy a copy of my new book, please follow this LINK.

Image: Phillip Kane

Make Others Big

Light a Candle Instead

Light a candle instead. Phillip Kane's blog
Image credit: Ben Lambert |

Saturday, May 7, 2022

As a way to spend time together and to get away from normal life for a bit, my wife, Annie, and I enjoy watching British crime dramas such as you’d find on Acorn, Masterpiece, and BritBox. This past week, we invested three nights of our life in a NetFlix Originals offering called, The Anatomy of a Scandal. It was engaging enough … until the end, when it became apparent why NetFlix is struggling.

The mini-series follows the prosecution of a British MP who has been accused of a heinous crime by a former subordinate. The viewer learns that the crown prosecutor, who seems far too invested in the case, is, in fact, far too invested in the case – having both a story of her own to tell about the man, and an unhealthy obsession with making him pay. Eventually, though, the man is acquitted as the prosecutor fails to make a case. But in an almost unfathomable turn of events, the man’s wife recounts to the prosecutor knowledge of her husband’s and the Prime Minister’s involvement in an even more horrific scandal, bringing down all of (yes, Tory) British government. The film ends with scenes of the man’s (ex?) spouse enjoying life with the couple’s children outside new, posh, but magically affordable, seaside digs near Dover, and of the prosecutor, who had, just before, looked sadly beaten and worn, now shown back at it in court, bright, happy, and confident-looking, shoulders back, with a gleam of satisfaction in her eye, as if riding on a cloud – number 9, no doubt.

While there were near-countless reasons to dislike this mess and to have regretted pouring three nights into it (that I won’t ever get back, mind you), the biggest issue I had with The Anatomy of a Scandal is the moral of its story: that it’s possible to lift yourself up by tearing someone else down. See, it doesn’t work that way. No one ever got taller by cutting the legs out from under anyone else. 

And that’s the point for the week.

It’s not possible to make one candle burn brighter by blowing another one out. Doubt it? Try it sometime. For fun, light three, then blow two out. The one remaining will not provide any more light. Those who go through life believing that it is possible to improve their position at the expense of someone else are the same sort of people that compete with people they work with and the same kind of folks who make films like The Anatomy of a Scandal. It’s the same mentality that fuels cancel culture; the thought that by destroying someone else, I can make myself look better, feel better, do better, or somehow be better. But the only thing that gets better is the likelihood that decent human beings will want almost nothing to do with me.

See, people don’t want to be around negative people, or people who seek to move ahead by tearing others apart. Instead, people want to spend time with, and be led by, people with something positive to say – by people who lift others up and who by their words and actions seek to make others bigger, not smaller. People want to spend time with people who have something to give, not people whose entire persona is built around taking things away from other people.

Most often, despite the fact that these people believe the problem they are having is with someone else, the problem they are having is solely with themselves. It might be some insecurity or grudge that they’ve ascribed to someone else, but the issue they are having exists only in their own mind. They’ve given control over their life to some offending party for some real or imagined slight –  or simply because that person reminds them that they aren’t good enough, smart enough, kind enough, or whatever enough. But that person is going merrily along living their life while the brutish candle-snuffer makes their own life and the lives of every person they touch a living nightmare because of it. Because they become obsessed with the notion that it is possible to make their life better by making someone else’s worse.

But it’s not possible. Not even once. Not ever.

But the good news is, it does not have to be that way. There is a better way to live and to lead.

The alternative to living this life of hate and resentment isn’t hard. Like almost everything else in life, it’s a choice. It’s a simple choice to reject the notion that your life can somehow improve when someone else’s life gets worse. It’s a choice to lift up rather than put down. It’s a choice to build up rather than tear apart. It’s a choice to make others feel big, not small. It’s a choice to give more than you take. It’s a choice to light candles instead of blowing them out. And it’s a choice to start forgiving others for everything. For until we stop giving other people control over our lives, we are not in a position to lead the lives of anyone. It’s no more complicated than that.

So, make the right, better choice. Light a candle instead.

And win. 

PS. It’s apparently also a choice to stop watching NetFlix originals.

For more about me, please follow this LINK.

To purchase a copy of my new book, please click, HERE.

Image credit: Ben Lambert |


Tell Them

Tell them. Phillip Kane's blog
Image credit: Marc Shaeffer |

Friday, April 29, 2022

In my work with clients, at the end of each engagement, we conduct an exercise among the members of a firm’s leadership team wherein each member of the team takes a moment or two to tell each individual in the room what they mean to them personally. It is not uncommon for these sessions to become emotional. One I was a part of this week, in Hot Springs, AR, was particularly so. At one point, a member of the team shared with the business leader that the things he was told had so profoundly moved him that he felt like a new person, ready to take on anything, adding that there was not one thing he wouldn’t do for his boss.

See, the thing about this little exercise is that in it, people say things that they never have and maybe never would have to people that they’ve worked alongside for years – decades in some cases. It puts people in a position to let others know that they care about them, that they are valued, and that they matter; and for many people this is knowledge enough to run through a wall or walk over broken glass for the person who said it. See, people don’t do things for others because they have to; they do things for others because they want to, and almost always because somebody made them feel like they were loved and had value in the world. But people won’t always know these things if their leaders don’t say it out loud. To be certain that people know that we care, we need to tell them.

And that’s the point for the week.

Assuming that others know how we feel is one of the gravest errors we as leaders can make – right behind believing that love has no place at work. Most leaders routinely make both mistakes, and as a result, they sub-optimize in almost everything they do.

Too often, whether at home, at work, or in our communities, we fall prey to the notion that those closest to us, those we spend the most time with, and those we see every day must know how we feel about them, for no other reasons than they are closest to us, spend the most time with us, or see us every day. Surely, we think, they must know how we feel. And besides, we go on, we’re not comfortable with all of this lovey-dovey, soft-skill stuff. We’ll just slip them an Amazon gift card one day next week, we tell ourselves.

But people don’t want Amazon gift cards. They want gifts from the heart – words that say you matter to me, I care for you, and I couldn’t imagine doing this without you. More than anything they want to know that they are loved, and they long to actually hear it said out loud.

Our engagement-ending exercise is so powerful because it is the closest thing most of these organizations will ever get to experiencing love in their workplace. And once experienced, it becomes transformational. People will do almost anything for those they love and will likewise do anything to avoid hurting them or letting them down. Such is the result of simply opening one’s mouth and telling people that they count for something – that they are loved.

Organizations that trade on love are able to accomplish extraordinary things because those in them want extraordinary things for the other human beings that work there. It is no more complicated than that. 

And the key to unlocking the extraordinary power of it all is no more difficult than telling people what they mean to you, that you love them, and that you never want them to leave. Because if you do, they won’t.

So, tell them.

And win.

For more about the author, please follow this LINK.

To pre-order my new book, please click, HERE.

Image credit: Marc Shaefer |

General Leadership

Choose the Light

Choose the light. Phillip Kane's blog.
Image credit Bruno van der Kraan |

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Today is Easter Sunday. For the more than 2 billion Christians on the planet it’s the day we commemorate Christ’s resurrection from the dead – God’s triumph over darkness. It is for those of us who believe, the proof of salvation and the evidence that good will prevail over evil. For just as Jesus Christ was condemned by the wicked to suffer and die a horrible death upon a cross, he did rise again on the third day, exactly as he said. And just as the tomb in which he had laid was flooded with light the moment the stone was rolled away, so too was the world, the instant he stepped back into it. But that’s the thing about light. No amount of darkness can ever overcome it; the light will always prevail. 

And that’s the point for the week. 

Don’t believe it?  Bring a dark shoebox into a light room and open it. The room won’t become one bit darker. But the box will be flooded with light. Try a bigger box. Then a bigger box. No amount of darkness will ever prevail. But walk into the pitchest of black with the tiniest of flames and watch what happens. The light will always win. 

Leaders who bring light prevail similarly. Because people willingly follow light. People want to be uplifted, to be fed, to be part of something bigger than themselves. Leaders who recognize these things collect more followers. And they win more, for the simple reason that people are attracted to the light.  

It’s the reason that 2,000 years after he walked this earth, 2 billion people still believe … in the light. 

People who follow blackness do so because they have to, because they are forced to, or are under some control or addiction to the dark. No one grows up wishing they could be an addict, or a thief, or a horrible boss. They do so because there is no light in their life. Because the thing they worship is black. And it’s why when they’re gone no one remembers them. Because light quickly swallows the darkness – as if it never even existed. 

So, make today a choice. Make it about more often bringing light into a room or a home or a business or a community. Live your life as a bright, shining reminder of He who conquered sin and death for us, who deserve naught, so that we might have life and light everlasting. 

So, choose the light. 

And win. 

To learn more about the author, please follow the LINK.

To order Phillip’s new book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership, please click HERE.

Image credit Bruno van der Kraan |

General Leadership

Be the One Others Want to Follow

Be the one others want to follow. Phillip Kane's blog.
Image credit: Todd Greene | 

Friday, April 8, 2022

This week, the North Carolina men’s basketball team very nearly beat Kansas to win the 2022 National Championship game in Boston. I say nearly because the Tar Heels lost by just 3 points, 72 – 69, after having led for much of the contest. UNC was not even supposed to be in this game, let alone be in a position to win it. They were an 8-seed. The last and only time an 8 seed ever won the tournament was 1985 (with no team lower than an 8 having ever reached the final game.)

But the Tar Heels were, in fact, there, and almost won.

Along the way, they beat a 1-seed, a 2-seed and a 4-seed. They got there the hard way. They won their way there.

And they did so with almost the same group of players that had lost in the first round to Wisconsin just one year ago. UNC returned 4 starters from the 2020 – 2021 season. So, with the exception of newcomer, Brady Manek, the team wasn’t much different.

What changed was the coach.

Hubert Davis was different. Hubert Davis was someone these kids wanted to play for. See, teams perform at a significantly higher level when they do what they do for someone they want to follow.

And that’s the point for the week.

In the semi-final game, UNC played Duke in a rubber match it was not supposed to win. Duke, a 2-seed was favored to win by 2 baskets. But it became clear relatively quickly that Carolina would be only the fourth 8-seed to ever play in an NCAA final. It was clear because it became plain to see that the Tar Heel players love playing for Hubert Davis. These kids would follow him anywhere. Duke’s players, on the other hand, were listless. Even in Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final game ever, the Blue Devil players didn’t rise to the occasion. There was no apparent love of Coach K. There was no one going over a cliff for him that night.

Those who unwillingly follow someone will bolt, curl up or mail it in at the very first sign of trouble, pain, or difficulty. Even in the best of circumstances, they will rarely give their all. That’s because in the human markets of give and take, the worst leaders take way more than they give. So, when it comes time to ask for more, they find only empty hearts. Those they lean into walk away, leaving them to fight alone.

But those whom others willingly follow are those who put in more than they ever take out. They invest in others with no expectation of return. They seek to make others really, really big, by making themselves really, really small. That’s because they understand the cardinal rule of leadership – that it’s not about them.

It’s the paradoxical truth of all of this: that the more we put others ahead of ourselves, the more they will stand behind us … willingly, without reservation, without fear, and without anyone ever having to throw a dry erase marker in the direction of another human being.

So, be like Coach Davis. Be the one others want to follow. 

And win.

To learn about booking Phillip to speak at your event, please contact us.

To order Phillip’s new book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership, please click HERE.

Image credit: Todd Greene | 


With Everything You Want Will Come Something You Don’t

With Everything You Want Will Come Something You Don't. Phillip Kane's blog
Photo credit: L. Ann Kane

Friday, April 1, 2022

This week, my wife, Annie, who almost never complains about anything, reached the end of her rope with our dogs. We have four of them – three English Bulldogs and a stowaway Boston Terrier. For those of you who have ever had English Bulldogs, you know that they are much like having toddlers. They are only about that bright, are always needing something, and forever requiring this or that to be wiped … all on top of their routine indoor “accidents.” And if you’ve ever had a Boston, you know that they are pot stirrers. So whatever problems the Bulldogs are creating become near infinitely worse when you add a Boston to the mix. Normally, Annie is their chief cheerleader and life chronicler. She has 738,000 photos of them on her phone and texts at least 19 life updates of each dog every day. So, for her to have had it with them took quite a lot. Naturally, she came to me for help. I say naturally because whenever the dogs misbehave their ownership status reverts to me; they become my dogs again. My advice for Annie in that moment was simple: to have anything you want in life, you’re always going to get something you don’t.

And that’s the point for the week.

It’s also true.

Don’t believe it? Think back to anything you’ve ever wished for and subsequently received. I’ll bet you that it came with something you didn’t want as well. It’s a simple fact of life. Everything comes at a price.

Rainbows come with rain. The down part of a rollercoaster ride comes with the boring click-clack up part. Spring always follows Winter. Higher income comes with a higher tax bracket. You get the idea. It’s always the case. With everything you want will come something you don’t.

The best leaders understand this intuitively. And they plan accordingly. They don’t draw up plans with lines that move only in an upward trajectory, because they recognize that ups come with downs and that highs come with consequential lows. They hire great people knowing they will have developmental areas. They recognize that any two steps forward will likely come with one taken back. They know that humans never get everything right; so, they don’t expect them to. 

As a result, they hold people to realistic standards. They factor in the inevitable back-ups. They rarely lose their patience or their minds when bad things happen – mostly because they expect them, but also because they recognize the futility of temper tantrums. They know that no good ever comes from dwelling on the bad. So, they don’t do it. Instead, they celebrate progress and those who achieve it. They happily endure rain, the click-clack parts, and the backward steps. Because they know that they bring with them progress, beauty and joy.

They are people that others willingly follow, mostly because they are people who hold others accountable without destroying their dignity. Because they know they will live through minor setbacks and simple mistakes. And because they know that they will be encouraged and consoled when they fall, not berated, embarrassed or belittled. Most of all, it’s because they know that they will be accepted for who they are – taking any bad with all of the good and all that they want with everything they don’t.

So, recognize that anything you want always comes with something you don’t.

And win.

To learn more about Phillip Kane, please click HERE.

To purchase a copy of Phillip’s new book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership, please follow this LINK.

Photo credit: L. Ann Kane


Pressure is Good

Pressure is good. Phillip Kane's blog.
Image credit: Katherine Chase |

Saturday, March 26, 2022

This week, I read an article about the upcoming Axiom-1 mission to the International Space Station scheduled for early next month. The piece featured renowned chef, José Andrés, who is providing a meal for the crew of Axiom-1 and the NASA, Russian, and European astronauts aboard the ISS. Cooking a gourmet meal for consumption in low-Earth orbit is quite a lot different than preparing small plates for diners in places like South Beach, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York. Ultimately, Andrés and his team solved the issue by applying pressure. By utilizing high-pressure cooking methods, he was able to solve for the atmospheric and other challenges to produce a winning outcome – a chicken and mushroom paella he was proud to put his name on. 

As I considered the situation for a bit, it occurred to me that life and leadership are typically like Chef Andrés’ paella dilemma. Not much happens without pressure.

And that’s the point for the week.

The best leaders understand that the level of output in any organization is almost always directly proportional to the amount of pressure applied to it; subject, of course, to the law of diminishing returns.

I recently saw a piece about a leader advocating for dead calm in the workplace. She posited that the path to prosperity could be found in a magical state of zero stress, zero pressure and zero heat or weight. In these heaven-like places, workers could be free to work when they want, how they want and at their own pace, to deliver results for the organizations that employ them. The only problem with such utopias is that they don’t exist – except in magazine stories. When tried, they don’t work. That’s because human beings work best when subjected to some amount of pressure.

Pressure is good. Pressure clarifies. Pressure brings needed focus. Pressure forces learning. It leads to growth. It engenders trust and strengthens bonds between people. Pressure highlights areas of opportunity and causes us to let go of things that matter less. Pressure brings with it maturity and separates those with integrity from those without it. Pressure shines lights on posers, pulls back curtains on frauds, and elevates those who tell the truth. Mostly, pressure separates the kind from the unkind.

See, pressure and unkindness are not synonymous. There is a vast difference between effectively using pressure to clarify deadlines and to ensure accountability, and being a jerk. Those who effectively use pressure know that there is a point at which too much pressure is just as bad as too little. In forming wood, apply too little pressure and the wood will never take shape; apply too much and it will break, likely hurting someone in the process. Leading people is no different, and the kindhearted know it. They know that the key is being aware of when to stop bending. People will tell you where that limit is; all you need to do is listen. True leaders do. And they win because of it.

But nothing happens without pressure. If you’ve ever tried to boil an egg in the mountains you know this. Leading people is no different. Without pressure, everything takes longer and things seem to matter less.

Those who win do so because they engage more fully, more urgently, more passionately, and with more care than the other person – because they accept the privilege to toil under the weight of pressure – which is, after all, just another way to say the weight of responsibility to improve the lives of others – nothing more, in fact, than any of us were called to do in the first place.

So, be like Chef Andrés. Apply pressure.

And win.

For more about the author please click HERE.

To purchase a copy of Phillip’s book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership, please follow this LINK.

Image credit: Katherine Chase |


Don’t Squander Your Fuse

Don't squander your fuse. Phillip Kane's blog.
Image credit: Bill Jelen |

Friday, March 18, 2022

This week, I attended a memorial service slash rodeo.

They say that if you live long enough, you will see everything. It’s an expression that is used to convey hyperbolic astonishment. And it may well be true. Had you asked me a month ago if I’d ever expected to attend a rodeo funeral, I’m certain that I’d have said, “no.” But if you live long enough, you’ll see everything.

My Uncle RS, my dad’s only brother, whose service it was, was one of those everythings. I’m glad I lived long enough to see him.

Some called him “Rocket Man,” a song that, fittingly, played as fireworks lit up the dusky blue South Texas sky at the close of the Funeo (see what I did there?). They called him this because he was forever sending others off on some opportunity or other of a lifetime. That’s how he was. He never gave anyone a thing. But if you earned his trust, he’d offer you an opportunity. He’d light a fuse under you.

The rest was up to you. You got one match … one flame. Then it was your turn, your choice, your opportunity … to fly, or not.

And as I looked up at the brilliant explosions of pink and blue and white that rose then drifted back toward the earth I craned my neck and strove to see past them, to find him in the ether above, fearing, as the song said, that it would “be a long, long time” until we’d ever see him again or anything like him again; and promising, under my breath, that I’d continue to make good on the fuse he’d lit under me some 23 years ago.

Because when given an opportunity without string or expectation, the least we can do is to make good on it.

And that’s the point for the week.

Those who lead are those who choose to take what is freely given to them and then make the most of it. It matters little to them whether what was supplied is perfect, or ideal or given at the right time. All that matters is the opportunity itself and the chance it represents.

I am ever amazed at those who fail in such situations who ultimately blame the lighter of the fuse … for lighting the wrong fuse, at the wrong time, or for not doing enough after they light the fuse, or for forcing them to fly in the first place. The profound misunderstanding by these folks that life is a choice, and that whether they think they are winners or think they are losers they are correct, is mind-boggling. Blaming the fuse lighter for a subsequent crash is like blaming the god-awful soup on whoever made the steel pot it boils in. What each of us does with opportunity has nothing to do with who handed the opportunity to us but everything to do with whoever stares back at us in a mirror.

My Uncle RS understood this completely. He was a lighter of fuses, a maker of leaders, a father to me when mine left too soon.

And I think if he were here still, he’d tell us to take what we get and do something great with it, lift someone up with it, stare at the face of the Sun with it, and touch the hand of God with it.

So, don’t squander your fuse. Fly like a rocket.

And win.

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Image credit: Bill Jelen |


Choose Joy

Choose joy. Phillip Kane's blog.
Image credit: The Daily Mail

Saturday, March 12, 2022

This week, I saw a video of a group of Ukrainian children joyfully playing just outside a train station in Poland. They had just arrived there from their war-torn home, having fled, leaving everything behind, except what they could carry. The camera panned to their mothers, who looked beaten down, suffering, in angst – some audibly sobbing. But the children played on. 

One might suggest that they had yet to figure out what was happening to them. I prefer to think they simply hadn’t yet figured out how to feel sorry for themselves. 

See, feeling sorry for ourselves isn’t something we’re born knowing how to do. We learn it from adults. And from the moment that self-pity enters our lives, joy starts seeping out of it. 

And that’s the point for the week. 

There is a distinct lack of joy in the world. 

More than partly because there’s far too much self-pity in it. 

We learn, then teach our children that regret for what we don’t have should overtake joy for what we do. 

Those Ukrainian children weren’t thinking about what was lost. They weren’t thinking about anything it seemed – except the joy of being alive and playing with one another. 

Leaders that unlearn how to feel sorry for themselves have more followers. It’s simply because joy and gratitude are more attractive than dread and regret. 

It’s also because those who approach life and their work with joy and gratitude rarely forget to show appreciation to others. They also focus more on what people deliver than what they don’t. They praise effort, celebrate progress and encourage improvement. 

They don’t tear people down for the 4% they didn’t do; they build them up for the 96% they did. They don’t demean the 99 they have by longing for one that got away. They see falls as opportunities to pick someone up, not to put them down. 

As a result, people seek opportunities to join teams that these people lead. 

Better people attract better people and together they win more often. It’s just a fact. Doubt it? Just look around you. 

These people aren’t Pollyannas. They don’t practice false or toxic optimism.  They recognize that life includes downside, hardship and loss. They don’t pretend that these things aren’t real or that they don’t hurt. They know that they are and that they do. But they don’t dwell on them or allow them to consume their lives. They know that everything in this life is temporary and that even on the darkest of days, there is something to be grateful for and to be joyful about. 

Mostly it’s the souls of those they are responsible for, who watch them and learn from what they do, and who emulate the example they set. 

Like anything else in life, it’s a choice. To wallow around in self pity or to choose to be grateful for that which we have. To celebrate the piercing ray of light in the darkness, however small, or to curse the dim. To shake a fist at the sky in anger and self-sorrow or to open our palms toward heaven, arms outstretched in joyful praise for every good thing in our life. 

Choose joy. 

And win.

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Image credit: The Daily Mail