Like Things For Every Good Reason

Like things for every good reason. Phillip Kane's blog
Photo credit: Eric Goodman |

Friday, January 28, 2022

This week, after seeing a sunset where I was working, I thought of two of my friends who often post pictures of magnificent sunsets. One’s show the Sun melting into the Ouachita mountains of western Arkansas. While the other’s capture views of the Sun sinking beneath an almost black Pacific Ocean off Huntington Beach, California. 

Image credit: Bryan Rogers

Typically, the California sunsets earn far more likes than the inland Arkansas shots. Both of my friends have similar numbers of followers; so, I don’t think it’s a follower thing. Both are super nice guys, so that’s not it either. I can only conclude that more traditional, Sun sliding into water shots are just more popular than Sun disappearing in some other place pics. After all, it was the very same Sun, engaged in the very same activity, at about the same exact time of day, shooting forth the same array of colors. There were no language barriers or other distinguishing features beyond the fact that one took place where we have been conditioned to see it and the other, well, not so much. 

And so, one was likable, and the other wasn’t. 

We can be funny like that. We routinely reject things for the only reason that we’ve been taught to. But often, most usually in fact, great value is found in that which we’ve been taught to dislike for no good reason. 

And that’s the point for the week. 

A friend of mine tells the story of a simple game being played among a group of leaders from all levels of a business. The goal is to solve a problem in the fastest time possible. He tells how a young, entry level manager shares an idea early on for solving the problem only to have his recommendation soundly disliked and rejected by the group. But when the CEO raises the same exact idea — which happens to be the solution — it is roundly loved, accepted, and implemented — solving the puzzle. 

People aren’t born this way. 

Prejudices are formed over time. They are mostly taught to us by others — often when we’re not paying attention and sometimes when we are. Here and there, these “teachers” trade in seemingly trivial biases — like against certain sunsets. More often, their obsession with difference is far more sinister. Like a company that believes that the colors of small candy covered pieces of chocolate should have even one thing to do with how we think about gender. Or a man who thinks that the color of one’s skin should have anything to do with whether or not they are chosen for a particular job. 

People who see differences where there should be none do so mostly because they are afraid, or insecure, or self-obsessed, or just plain filled with hate. 

Choosing the better part is a simple matter of acceptance and, moreover, of love. 

In prejudice, we are taught not to accept. We’re told that our world will somehow become less good by letting those not like us into it. We’re taught that somehow our sunset becomes less beautiful if we see the beauty in someone else’s. 

But those who choose to move beyond such pettiness — such sheer folly — have opened to them a wide new world of ideas, experiences and true wonder that never would have been available in a close-minded, head-of-a-pin universe that excludes others for their own protection or self-aggrandizement.

The most loving and accepting of leaders don’t see differences – in age, or gender or the skin color of tiny candies or that of human beings either. Instead, they see the wonder of human potential and the nearly unlimited possibilities that result when love is added to the mix. And for people like them, it matters not where the Sun is setting, because they’ve unlearned the part about not liking things for no good reason.

So, learn to like things for every good reason.

And win.

For more about the author, please click HERE.

To pre-order a copy of Phillip’s new book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership, from John Hunt Publishing, London, Please follow this LINK:

Photo credit: Eric Goodman |


Dream More

Dream more. Phillip Kane's blog.
Image credit: Pradeep Bhakar |

Friday, January 21, 2022

This week, as we prepared for the great blizzard of 2022, rather than join the rest of humanity in filling their SUVs to overflowing with milk, bread and bathroom tissue, I decided to watch the 2021 sleeper film, Dream Horse, instead.

A rare Rotten Tomatoes viewer and critic pick, Dream Horse, starring Toni Collette and Damian Lewis (yes, the Billions and Homeland guy) tells the true story of a barmaid from small town Wales (Collette) who, despite knowing nothing about horses, decides to start a racing collective at her kitchen table, then raise a colt in the backyard of her village allotment. She then convinces many of the townsfolk to join the alliance, including Lewis, who had nearly bankrupted his family on a prior racing fancy. For a tenner a week each, this gang of eccentrics finance the boarding, training and campaigning of the colt, named Dream Alliance, who, against all odds, goes on to win the Welsh National in the film’s final moments – restoring hope and happiness to the down and out little town. 

But things weren’t always without doubt. At one point, the dream, owing to a cut tendon, seemed lost. In that moment of near despair, with the town, and each person in it, facing the near certitude of returning to the only life they’d ever known – a life without – Collette’s husband, Daisy, played by Owen Teale, encourages his wife to risk everything, telling her, “We can’t stop ourselves from dreaming of bigger things.”

I spent most of the remainder of the film thinking about those nine words – what might have been, for many, a throwaway line. I did so because they so perfectly describe the human condition and our almost innate longing for more. Since Adam grabbed the Apple, human beings have displayed an intrinsic need to have more, know more, or be more. We can’t stop ourselves from dreaming of bigger things. 

And that’s the point for the week. 

No one wakes up each morning with a deep burning desire to be less. No person looks in the mirror on any day and tells their reflection, “I can’t wait to go be something less today!” As a species, we have a built-in yearning to accomplish things and to be part of something bigger than we are. 

Those who accomplish more start by dreaming about more. It’s that simple. They imagine the possibility of something different, something better, something more – something that improves the lives of themselves and those around them. Then they go do it. 

Best of all, like Daisy, they encourage the dreams of others. Doubt it? Think about those you’d describe as the “best teacher” or the “greatest leader” you’ve ever had. Now try to recall whether they were dreamers and encouragers of dreams. I bet they were. 

That’s because true leaders understand that no great thing was ever achieved that wasn’t first dreamed up. They don’t discourage “idle daydreaming.” They understand that long before doing comes dreaming, and that without dreamers, we’d all be stuck, miserably in place – in down and out lives, living a sort of Groundhog Day existence, where every day seems the same: no hope, no joy, no light … fully believing that there is no “more.”

But because we dream, we believe more. Because we dream, we achieve more. Because we dream, we are more. Because we dream, we live more. 

So, dream more. 

And win. 

For more about the author, please follow this LINK.

To pre-order a copy of Phillip Kane’s new book, please click HERE.

Image credit: Pradeep Bhakar |


Learn Something From Trails

Learn something from trails. Phillip Kane's blog
Image credit: © Pavel Kalouš |

Friday, January 14, 2022

This Week, I observed a version of a conversation that had likely occurred thousands of times before in the history of business, one that, for all I knew, very well could have been happening, at exactly that same moment, in more than one conference room, not unlike the one I was sitting in, in more than one country around the world. But human nature dictates that each occasion of the same issue is often made to feel, by those going through it, as if it’s the first incidence of it in recorded history. See, human beings don’t learn much from those who traveled difficult terrain first. Well worn paths mean nothing to those who insist on learning everything the hard way. 

And that’s the point for the week. 

It’s my contention that virtually every business issue was encountered and solved shortly after the first caveman carved a wheel out of stone and put a price tag on it. Only the scale of the problems have intensified. The keys to understanding virtually all of them have been written down, in some form or fashion – in textbooks, memoirs, case studies and other repositories of knowledge. But whether read or not, they seem rarely learned from.

Humans, particularly those in positions of power and influence, are too-often intent on finding things out on their own. Even when right answers are plainly illuminated, so many feel compelled to deny plain truths in favor of finding answers for themselves. But for the more enlightened, there is both literally and figuratively, a far better way. 

Like repeated footfalls eventually wear away even at stone, revealing a bright path for others to follow, the knowledge and experience of many grinds away at mountains of ignorance, showing a line of travel for those with the sense to continue along it. 

Those who learn something from these trails accomplish more, for the simple reason that they waste less time on wild goose chases. For the same reason, they earn the trust of those who follow them. And with it they earn loyalty, bought with the proof that they have more respect for others than to needlessly send them about on fool’s errands.

As a result, they win more – all because they would never allow their own pride to prevent them either from seeing the line weaving down the side of a mountain, or from following it to the top.

So, learn from trails. 

And win. 

To learn more about the author, please cliché HERE.

To pre-order a copy of Phillip Kane’s new book, please click HERE.

Image credit: © Pavel Kalouš |


Give Now

Give now. Phillip Kane's blog.
Photo credit: Mishary Alafasy |

Friday January 7, 2022

This week, I received a pitch from an agency whose client was pushing a “groundbreaking” notion about a five-phase life where maximum fulfilment is found by first dreaming up, finding and building one’s own, individual career and life journey then, after that first 54 years or so of self-centered focus, turning their attention to mentoring others then, ultimately, to a final phase of charity and giving.

As I considered this notion for several moments, it occurred to me that it wasn’t exactly groundbreaking at all. In fact, it seemed very commonplace to me and quite possibly the root of much of what is wrong with our world today. Waiting ‘til the end of our lives to teach then give back to others seems to me to be a silly idea. Sharing whatever gifts we are fortunate enough to accumulate in our lives should be something we should do for our entire lives, not just at the end of them.

And that’s the point for the week.

Withholding that which we can teach or give for the first half century of our lives is not fulfilment, it’s selfishness. It’s the equivalent of hiding a light under a bushel basket. It’s saying to others, “You can’t have any of what I have or what I know.” It’s no way to live and it’s certainly no way to lead.

Leadership is fundamentally rooted in the concept of giving. That’s why it’s so hard. That’s why on many days, the best leaders you’ll ever meet will describe what they feel as an emptiness; it’s because they’ve given all they have to give. And they’re glad to do it.

Because giving – of one’s time, treasure, and talent – is borne first of a sense of gratitude, a thankfulness for whatever we have in whatever amount, great or small, and a desire for others to feel that same way. See, giving is a choice, one learned early on.

Think about the best teachers you ever had, the most generous people you’ve ever known, the best leaders you’ve ever worked for. I promise you they didn’t become that way on the dawn of their 54th birthday. They started out that way around 5 or 6 years old, and never looked back. But it’s never too late to join them.

Don’t wait until you’re too old to start giving away what you know or what you own. Make every day of your life about teaching and giving. When you do, you’ll become a leader whether someone gives you a title or not. That’s because people want to follow those who make their lives better, people who care more about others than their own selves, people who give even when it hurts to do so, and people who give away time they don’t have enough of.

These people do these things not because they believe tomorrow may not come, but because they know that tomorrow will be a whole lot better because they gave a little more of themselves today.

So, don’t wait a lifetime to give. Give now.

And win.

To learn more about the author, please click HERE.

To pre-order Phillip’s new book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership, a book about winning while still treating others with kindness and respect, please click HERE.

Photo credit: Mishary Alafasy |

Look Forward

For New Times Sake

For new times sake. Phillip Kane's blog
Image credit: Luo Lei |

Friday, December 31, 2021

Today is New Year’s Eve. Tonight, nearly every human being everywhere, regardless of nationality will celebrate the beginning of a new year. In many English-speaking parts of the world, it is customary, as the clock strikes midnight, to immediately and collectively start singing the standard, “Auld Lang Syne”. The song dates back over 200 years, to 1780’s Scotland. Originally a poem, widely credited to Robert Burns who wrote it down in 1788, Burn’s own historian though actually credits the work to Scottish poet Allan Ramsey. The song was made a staple of American New Year’s celebrations by band leader Guy Lombardo, who began playing it on his New Year’s variety show at midnight in 1929 and continued to play it each year at 12:00 a.m. for 48 straight years, until his death in 1977. Few of us are unfamiliar with the swaying crescendo of the final lines of the song’s refrain:

“For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

Auld Lang Syne, literally translates to “Old Long Since” and, because we don’t ordinarily go around saying things like “old long since,” in the truest context of the lyrics, Auld Lang Syne, would today, be a bit like saying, “for old times sake.” In either sense, the song is more a celebration or remembrance of things past than things to come which, as I contemplated the flashing 2022 which followed the just descended crystal, Waterford ball, seemed immediately odd to me. At the very moment our eyes should be fixed on the future, here we are singing a melancholy tune about the past. But isn’t that a lot like us? As a species, we don’t much care for change. As the Earth spins headlong in orbit around the Sun, most would seemingly be content for it to stop and spin in place. 

But there is no winning in that. The winning is instead found by those who see each ball drop as an opportunity to, as the traditional companion tune goes, to, “make a brand-new start of it.”

And that’s the point for the week. 

Those who achieve most in life are those who look forward most in life. There is almost nothing to be gained from looking backwards. Nothing that happened even one moment before can be undone. All that remains under our influence is that which lies in front of us. Spending time pining for what came before is waste; especially so in moments when we are standing on the doorstep of anything of great significance. 

Imagine receiving an invite to a life altering event, only to pause at its entrance to reminisce about the good old days … before life was, well, about to be good. That seems preposterous on its face. Not because reminiscing is a bad thing necessarily, but because to do so in that moment would be so inappropriate and unthinkable. Because those who are remembered for grabbing the golden ring are those who actually grab it, not those who wish they were someplace in their past when the moment of grabbing arrives. 

True leaders are forward-thinking ring grabbers and diem carpers. They don’t dilly dally hours and hours away each month in business operations meetings, backward looking P&L reviews and other utter misuses of time spent reviewing history for the purpose of making decisions which impact the lives of others one month or one quarter at a time. Instead, they spend a significant portion of each day engaged in thinking alone and with others about the future, about a destination where, once achieved, the lives of every person in the business is improved. To them, the past is not something to long for, but something to be moved on from and never repeated again.

People willingly follow forward thinking leaders. It’s a trait that’s nearly as important as trust. See, people want to follow men and women who they believe have both the vision and competency to transform … to create something better than what exists today. That’s what people want to be a part of. And it’s why they flock to forward-thinking leaders. No one wants to sit around all day talking amongst themselves about things that have already happened – especially when those sessions include heaping helpings of desk-pounding, negativity, and unconstructive criticism. They do, on the other hand, want to be involved in efforts to imagine and build, together with others, a future bigger than themselves, a brand new start of it, where things are better for them, their customers and their stakeholders. And they want to work for people who do things for new times sake and for the betterment of those who follow them.

So, sing a new song when the ball drops.

And win.

Happy New Year!

To learn more about AndWin, please click HERE.

For over two decades, in big companies you’ve surely heard of, Phillip Kane proved that you don’t have to choose between winning and treating others with kindness. He wrote a book about it, soon to be released by John Hunt Publishing, London. To pre-order your very own copy, from, please click HERE.