Be Still

Be Still

Be Still
Image credit: Gilbert Parada |

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Today, after having a houseful of family home for the holiday, everyone departed. Besides immediately missing them, I was struck by the sudden stillness of the place. After five days of near-constant activity, there was utter silence in a home that even on non-holidays is a beehive of motion. No slamming doors. No advisements from Alexa alerting us to detected motion. No clanging of pots and pans. No whirring appliances, barking dogs, or girls barking orders. Not a creature was stirring. And for once in as long as I could remember, I had nothing to do and nowhere to go. So, I sat. Still.

It felt strange. Like writing with my wrong hand. As leaders, we’re taught that inactivity is waste, that a lack of motion yields a lack of progress, that only the lazy sit still. But as I sat in my empty kitchen this morning, in utter silence, I found myself thinking more and differently about the things that needed thinking about. And the more I thought, the more it occurred to me that modern management has simply forgotten what centuries of scholars have taught us: that stillness leads to mindfulness and to more effective leadership.

And that’s the point for the week.

The most effective leaders are those who bring the most of themselves to the task – the most of their hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits. The most mindful are those who regularly practice stillness – those who take the time to stop, to be fully aware of the world around them and of their own presence in it as well. It’s a critical practice that is becoming increasingly rare.

Instead of learning from our own selves, and our own internal voices, most have come to rely on external stimulus – social media, the influence of increasingly controlling superiors, a 24/7 news cycle, and instant access to “data” from the palms of our hands. As leaders, we go through life in a constant state of distraction. We have convinced ourselves that there is no time for reflection and, worse, no place for it in a work culture that has sought to systematically drive soft-skills out of the C-suite despite a growing compendium of research which proves that more empathic leaders outperform their hard-driving, narcissistic and emotionless counterparts time and time again.

It’s because in increasing numbers, workers are tiring of working for people who devalue them as human beings. They want to work for people who spend less time talking and more time recognizing their unique voices and contributions. They want to work for people who have the self-confidence to stop, shut their mouths, and pay attention to their employees and to the world around them.

Those who do so, who take the time to stop and reflect, have a greater capacity for insight – into their own behavior, that of markets and that of other people. Paradoxically, those who spend more time doing nothing are also more able to focus than those who never take time to breathe, to de-clutter, to see forests for trees. Furthering the paradox, still leaders are better equipped to deal with what’s next than those who spend all their time worrying about what’s next; because in stillness is found perspective, the ability to focus, and the wisdom to understand that only that which we have control over deserves our attention. 

Those who practice stillness remain calmer in a crisis. They are far less apt to lose their tempers. And they are far more likely to treat others the way they’d want to be treated. That’s because the still are more mindful – about the impact of behavior – of that of others on them and of theirs on those they have the privilege to lead. Mindfulness leads to greater selflessness and empathy. Leaders who demonstrate these traits and the extraordinary emotional intelligence that accompanies them become, likewise, extraordinary leaders; for no other reason than they take the time to put themselves in the place of others, by being still.

Like most else in life, the decision to be still is a choice – it’s a beautiful, wonderful choice between silence and the urge to fill it with the sound of our own voice. Try saying nothing for a change. Silence really does speak volumes – all we have to do is listen.

So, be still.

And win.

To learn more about the author, please click HERE.

To pre-order Phillip Kane’s new book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership, please follow this LINK.


Diagnose Before You Prognose

Diagnose before you prognose. Phillip Kane's blog.
Image credit: Hannes Johnson |

Saturday, November 20, 2021

This week, like most other weeks, accompanying many of the LinkedIn connection requests I received were unsolicited sales pitches for everything from lead generation services to promises to outsource my supply chain (regardless of the fact that I don’t have a supply chain). Typically, these offers come in the form of boilerplate letters addressed to my first name, promising to fix problems I never knew I had. And that’s what makes them unwelcome spam. Almost no one is interested in being told they need something by someone who has no idea whether it’s actually true. 

And that’s the point for the week.

The worst part about all this kipple isn’t the unwelcome nature of it. Nor is it the liberties the senders of it tend to take with established etiquette covering formal greetings. It is, more than anything, the annoying and presumptive prognosis that accompanies an uninformed diagnosis. It is bad enough that these suggestions are uninvited. It is far worse that they are rarely ever correct. The loss of credibility that comes with either is significant. But to commit both unforced errors at once is, for most, a bridge too far, and what makes these messages so offensive.

And it’s off-putting behavior under any circumstance. It matters little whether the practice of volunteering unwelcome and off-the-mark opinions comes in the form of bumf mail, or unsolicited remarks in a staff meeting, or shouts from the neighbor across the street. Those who volunteer solutions without taking the time to determine whether they’re actually needed are unwelcome everywhere – because they waste time and irritate those who truly understand what is happening and are meanwhile endeavoring to move things forward. Almost no one likes a know it all; fewer still like those who claim to know things they actually don’t.

On the other hand, those who bother to learn whether what they are “selling” actually has a place before selling it are typically welcomed. Offers to diagnose before offering a prognosis are seen by most as reasonable and thoughtful. Most people welcome help in evaluating whether different, better ways forward exist, and likewise welcome those who offer such assistance. Those who humbly and helpfully approach any situation are far more likely to succeed than those who profess to be the smartest person in the room or who claim to have found the answer without turning over the first rock.

Doing so requires time and investment – to build relationships, to learn, and to establish the trust that accrues from never selling things that aren’t required. Those who choose to invest such time are far more successful that those who don’t. They are because they develop relationships that last a lifetime and which are founded on value, never on price. Unlike their know-it-all counterparts, they become valued, strategic partners to the firms they trade with, not here today, gone tomorrow transactional players easily lost in a daily tspamnami of crap mail that no one wants and no one ever remembers.

So, take the time to diagnose before you prognose.

And win.

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

To learn more about Phillip, please click HERE.


November Newsletter from Phillip Kane Published

November newsletter from Phillip Kane published

The November 2021 newsletter from author, Phillip Kane and has been published.

This month, there’s news about a breaking endorsement for Phillip’s book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership. There’s also updates on another new affiliate site where readers can now find the book.

Cover, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership, by Phillip Kane, author

Readers interested in pre-ordering Phillip’s book may now do so at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Foyles, !Indigo (*NEW*), Waterstones and at

In this issue, we also toss in a blog post and a meme or two from, Phillip’s blog site. You’ll also find a few leadership ideas and tips designed to help make you a better, more caring leader.

To subscribe to the newsletter, please click HERE.

If you know someone who could benefit from the newsletter or from The Not So Subtle Art of Caring style of leadership, please forward the link to them with your encouragement to sign up themselves. Thanks in advance for spreading the word!

To learn more about Phillip, please click HERE.

We’d like to wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving. Please know that we are especially grateful for you and your personal support of Phillip and his writing.

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


AndWin Blog Hits 10K

AndWin blog hits 10K unique visitors
Image Credit: Alamy | License paid

Phillip Kane’s AndWin blog hits 10K. On November 14, 2021, barely 10 months after its founding, welcomed its 10,000th unique visitor. was established as a resource for those looking for a kinder, better way to lead other human beings than the worn-out autocratic, command-and-control style which dominated the last century and remains prevalent today.

At least once per week, Phillip posts to the site, offering important advice to those seeking to improve their leadership skills. Beginning in early January 202, the blog now contains over 120 of Phillip’s signature stories as well as other helpful materials for leaders of all ages.

For 30 years, author and successful businessman, Phillip Kane proved that leaders no longer needed to choose between delivering results and treating those they lead with dignity and respect. In assignment after assignment, he did both, delivering hundreds of millions of dollars in value for brands like Goodyear, Pirelli, and NAPA and developing a new generation of more caring leaders.

Phillip is also the author of The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership, available here and wherever great books are sold. “Letters” is an outstanding resource for those who wish to commit to becoming the sort of leader that people WANT to follow.

You can follow Phillip on Twitter here at @ThePhillipKane.

Thank you for visiting, for your part in this important milestone and for adding to the success of the AndWin style of leadership.


Past Performance is Indicative of Future Results

Past performance is indicative of future results
Image credit: Chiranjeeb Mitra|

Friday, November 12, 2021

For the past several weeks, a number of trusts have been launching Bitcoin-backed exchange traded funds (ETFs) which enable investors to more conveniently and cost-effectively invest in crypto-currency. As flashy, attention-grabbing ads and announcements for these new funds have hit the markets, along with them have come the standard Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) Rule 156 advisement which warns potential investors that past performance is not indicative of future results. It’s one of many SEC advisements meant to alert investors to the fact that there are no sure things in life and that the possibility of losing everything is quite real. The funny thing is though, that despite all of the fantastic packaging and bold advertising, most investors still consider past performance when predicting future results.

Owing only to the way my mind works, I began considering the investments we make in human assets, as opposed to financial ones – where the stakes are no less high. The fact is that a great number of HR leaders and hiring managers pick people differently than they might pick a security, by placing more importance on the presentation than previous performance. It’s probably why nearly 50% of all new hires fail within their first 18 months. When the cover matters more than the book, bad things happen. That’s because when it comes to people, past performance is assuredly indicative of future results.

And that’s the point for the week.

The expectation that people will succeed on the basis of appearance and projected confidence alone is among the single largest mistakes made day in and day out by organizations of all kinds. Because hand in hand with it comes a belief that people can successfully accomplish that which they have no successful track record for achieving. And it’s wrong. 

In the world of investing, risk and price have an inverse relationship. Mostly in retrospect, it’s true with people also. That’s why those who know better know that talk is cheap. Doing and having done are other things altogether. A history of performance brings with it reduced risk and the implicit assurance that if one did it before they will do it again. It’s why people tie flags at the top of mountain peaks. They’re a way of saying, “I did this and I can do it again.”

Appearance and effusive self-confidence are not leadership traits Alternatively, experience and demonstrated capability are. These are things worth investing in. Words matter far less than deeds. What one might do matters less than what they’ve actually done. Past performance almost always predicts future results. If you want something done, find someone who’s done it before.

Those who do win more often. They do so because they build teams with true capability. They don’t suffer the waste of time that comes with the inevitable turnover that results from bad hires. Moreover, they avoid the inevitable and immediate loss of credibility that comes with hiring inauthentic posers. Most importantly, trust improves, because trust and credibility are highly correlated. Just like doing and having done.

So, pass on the clever packaging. Remember, past performance is indicative of future results.

And win. 

To purchase Phillip’s book, please follow this LINK.


Choose Honesty Over Toxic Positivity

Choose honesty over toxic positivity. Phillip Kane's blog
Photo credit: Nathan Dumlao |

Saturday, November 6, 2021

As part of my second-life career as an author and journalist, I participate in a service which provides help to reporters seeking input to their stories. This week, I came across a writer seeking sources who could speak about the requirements of building a positive work culture. The more I considered the prompt, the more odd it seemed to me, or at best out of touch. Certainly, if given a choice between a positive culture or a negative one, virtually everyone will choose the former. However, to pose such a question excludes from consideration that which would be the preferred choice by most workers. See, few people are looking for employers who overwhelm them with positivity. What employees want instead is to be constantly confronted with honesty.

And that’s the point for the week.

There’s such a thing as toxic positivity. Likely, we’ve all experienced it at one time or another. It occurs when the extent of positive emotion applied to any situation exceeds that which is called for. It’s being told everything will be OK, when, in fact, it won’t be. It’s hearing, “That’s alright,” when it’s quite clearly not. This sort of leadership is inappropriate. It’s annoying. And It’s dishonest. People don’t want to work for people who tell them things that aren’t true. They want to be led by those who are 100% honest with them – no matter how ugly the truth.

It doesn’t mean that true leaders don’t also trade in hope. The best of them do. But the best of them, likewise, deal with each situation factually and transparently, ensuring that those who follow them have every bit of information they need in order to move forward, not only with hope, but with an honest appraisal of where they stand.

While it may seem a subtle difference, it could not be any less so. Dealing always with honesty requires courage, strength and determination. Papering over the truth with pleasantries requires none of those things. Serious people want to follow serious leaders. They won’t line up behind people who try to convince them of things they can plainly see aren’t so, because they recognize the obvious flaws that lead these people to do so: whether an intellectual shortcoming, an aversion to conflict, a lack of empathy, or an inflated sense of self.

When we deal with those we lead truthfully, we build trust, which in the currency of human commerce is second only to love. As trust increases, the likelihood that people will follow us anywhere rises proportionally. That’s because people willingly follow those they trust and believe in. Conversely, without trust, people will follow those they have disdain for only when they are forced to do so – including those who engage in the well-meaning but soul robbing practice of putting happy faces on disasters.

But trust is not the only positive benefit of leading with honesty. Teams led with honesty are more resilient, more emotionally agile and more accepting of change than their “don’t worry, be happy” counterparts. As a result, they win more often, stay together longer, have improved mental health and, in fact, boast far more positive cultures than those who pretend that nothing bad ever happens. 

So, choose honesty over toxic positivity.

And win.

The author’s new book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership, is now available for pre-order. Please click HERE.