Show Up On Time

Show up on time. Phillip Kane's blog.
Image credit: Jon Tyson |

Friday, February 25, 2022

This week, the leader of the free world was late, by more than an hour each, for two scheduled addresses to the nation on the topic of Russia and Ukraine. It’s a pattern. Of the man’s inability to show up for things on time, Politico has said, “President Joe Biden is not a punctual man.” adding, “20 minutes late is standard, but it is wise to allow for up to an hour.” In the month of August, last year, alone, the man was, on average, 34 minutes late for every single event he was expected at. Over a longer, four-month period, he was tardy, on average, 22 minutes for every scheduled appearance. The Washington Post commented that for Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr, “scheduled start times are notional at best.”

Certainly, he’s a busy man. But being late for every appearance is a choice. And it’s no small thing.

While it’s absolutely true that those who don’t get the little things right almost never get the big things right, being chronically late isn’t a little thing. It’s a matter of respect. And respect is a big thing – or should be anyway. Leaders who choose to never be where they are supposed be, when they are supposed to be there, have a fundamental lack of respect for others.

And that’s the point for the week.

Punctuality is a simple matter of keeping one’s word. If we tell someone we will be there at 12:30, it’s a commitment, no different from any other. When we tell someone we intend to do something, we ought to do it, purely as a matter of respect – for ourselves and for them. This isn’t a political observation. It’s a human one. See, almost nothing will destroy the trust-based contract that enables one person to lead another faster than disrespect, real or perceived.

The people we have the privilege to lead simply and fundamentally want to be valued and respected. They want little more than for their leaders to treat them the way they themselves would want to be treated. When those in charge show up on time, they tell others, without saying a word, that they matter, that their time matters, and that both are respected. They tell them that they are valued and important.

It doesn’t cost a thin dime more to be on time versus being late. But both are choices, each with remarkable consequences. One builds and adds to trust, furthers credibility, and accelerates productivity and the attainment of team goals. The other not only detracts from trust but it likewise suggests the presence of some other underlying defect, whether incompetence, malice, narcissism, or a simple inability to comprehend and manage the tiniest details. No one wants to follow people who refuse to show up on time – who say, by their actions, that they matter more than anyone else, or that they lack fundamental decency, dependability, or integrity. These are not people that others want to entrust anything to, let alone their livelihoods or their futures – or the fate of the free world for that matter.

Those who show up on time stand out, not just for being where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there but for the calm confidence that doing so affords them and for the masses of people who seek to follow them – people who would do anything for them because they know that he or she would do anything for them – starting with caring enough for their time to show up every time on time.

So, show respect for others. Show up on time.

And win.

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

To pre-order a copy of Phillip Kane’s new book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership, a book about winning while also showing kindness to others, please click HERE.

Image credit: Jon Tyson |


Meet Beyond the Conflict

Meet beyond the conflict. Phillip Kane's blog.
Image credit: Marta Esteban Fernando |

Friday, February 18, 2022

This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about a well-known quote from the 13th century Persian poet and Islamic scholar, Jalal-ad-Din-Muhammad Rumi, known more popularly as, Rumi. It’s actually the opening line from his poem, A Great Wagon, that goes like this, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

I’ve thought of this simple idea a lot lately, mostly as the division between human beings here in this country and elsewhere in the world deepen by the day. There is almost no issue upon which people can agree. And in that, the reflexive need to disagree has overtaken even the intent to actually solve the problem that is being disagreed about. We have arrived, it seems, at a place where the act or state of disagreement matters more than the issue itself – where the focus has shifted from fixing what is broken to fighting with those you have been programmed to disagree with.

It’s why I’ve been thinking of the Rumi quote so often.

See, I think what Rumi was trying to tell us is that beyond our conflicting ideas of what is right or wrong is someplace entirely apart from the fight – a place where neither combatant is correct – where a perfect solution to the problem can be found; if only they agree to meet there.

And that’s the point for the week. 

As toddlers, shortly after adults take care to teach us the concept of possession, we learn, likewise, to vigorously defend our own ideas. We’re taught that being right is more important than, well, almost anything else. It leads us to grow up and associate any idea with “them” as bad. We learn to focus more on the argument than the outcome. As a by-product of these arguments come ridiculous new additions to the lexicon, like “mostly peaceful.” We become so intent on being right that we lose sight of what or who we were even fighting for in the first place.

But true leaders are those who care little for being right and more about being correct, for there is a vast difference. They maintain focus on the problem they set out to solve originally and care little about whose ideas help move them closer to the ultimate and perfect solution. It’s not that they don’t have belief systems; they just don’t let them get in the way of doing the right thing.

Like Rumi, these people understand that only beyond conflict can meaningful solutions be found. They will tell you that “healthy tension” is a fancy phrase for failure, a term coined by someone who tried and failed to lead others to a productive conclusion. These leaders are trusted by others because they don’t show up with an axe to grind, or an ego to feed, or an agenda to advance. They arrive hands outstretched, palms up, prepared to get to work – together, as one team, on one, more perfect outcome. As a result, those they lead would follow them anywhere. It’s because these leaders put the best interest of others before their own.

When they do things to offend others or to create disagreement, their response is not to do even more of the things that caused others to become distrustful in the first place. To them that would be the same as moving further away from Rumi’s field, not closer to it. And that’s something they’d never do. Because for them, that field, or the idea of it, the vision of it, is ever present. It’s always beckoning, calling us … to a more perfect place, where the best versions of ourselves meet – somewhere out there, beyond the conflict, where imperfect situations meet more perfect ideas and the lives of those we meant to help actually get a little bit better because of it all.

So, stop caring who’s right. Meet out there … beyond the conflict. 

And win.

To learn 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, New Alresford, UK, please follow this LINK

Image credit: Marta Esteban Fernando |


Go Among Them

Go among them. Phillip Kane's blog

Friday, February 11, 2021

Above I490 in Rochester, NY a spray-painted banner screams out for someone to care enough to actually do something about the raging epidemic. But it’s not the epidemic you’re thinking of. It is an epidemic that has been, though, responsible for the death of exactly 100,306 Americans in the 12-month period ended April 2021 – a 28.5% increase from the 78,056 overdoses one year before.

65%, or about 65,000 of these deaths, were attributable to synthetic opioids, primarily Fentanyl. By comparison, a decade ago, in 2011, just 2,666 people died of Fentanyl overdoses. That’s a nearly 2,500% increase. And the people closest to the problem are screaming for help. But those in charge of things – those furthest from the problem – don’t seem to be listening. Those who live with the impact of this horror have an acute understanding of the issue. Those who’ve never seen it before have not one notion about it. See, it’s almost impossible to manage what you’ve never seen before.

And that’s the point for the week.

The amount of knowledge associated with anything is inversely proportional to the distance from that thing’s epicenter. Want to know less about something? Move farther away from it.

Those on the front lines of things know what matters most about those things. If you ask them about these things, they will gladly tell you. If you refuse to ask them, they will find other ways to be heard – they hang banners over interstates, or quit their jobs, or act out inappropriately. But whether asked or not, two things will always be true: one, these people know what they are talking about, and two, these people speak up because they care.

And they will tell you that people who have never spent a single minute in their reality have exactly no chance of solving their problems.

The drug crisis in this country is getting worse because the people in charge of this country have spent almost no time at the leading edge of the problem. Pick a chronic issue and you can be assured that whoever is in charge has never seen it before.

The worst leaders are those who pretend to know things about anything they’ve never seen before. The right answer is easy enough to come by – if they’d only just ask, if they’d only just go look, if they’d only accept that the possibility exists that they might not have all the answers.

True, caring leaders don’t need desperate pleas scrawled on bedsheets to alert them to the fact that problems exist. They know these things because they spend time in every province of their responsibility, with people at every level. For them, these visits are “get to dos” not “have to dos.” It’s because these people genuinely love every single person they have the privilege to care for, regardless of where they are from, who they love, what they look like, what they believe, or who they might have voted for. They do things not because they are popular or because they are easy, but because they make the lives of other people better. They believe in the notion that the first will be last and that their purpose in life is to serve others.

And because they do, people will follow them anywhere. They will do so because they trust these leaders completely – to do right by them, to attend to what matters to them, and to make life better for them. This trust is earned by spending time with those who follow them – where they live and work, by shaking their hands and looking them in the eye while thanking them and assuring them that they matter, and by following through on promises made.

Fixing even badly broken things can be done. But no more are these things possible to do with one’s eyes closed than when what needs fixed has never been seen before. Those who believe they can are the same narcissists who look down upon those closest to the work and who likewise reject the poor in spirit; who have no empathy for those who mourn; who prey on the meek; who cast out those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; who ridicule the merciful, the pure of heart and the peacemakers; and who ignore those who are persecuted and who hang banners on interstate overpasses.

So, go among them. Get close to the problem.

And win.

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

To pre-order Phillip Kane’s new book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership, from John Hunt Publishing, London, please click HERE.


Be Happy

Be happy. Phillip Kane's blog

Saturday, February 5, 2022

This week, one of my heroes left. 

After simply telling people for years that I can count my heroes on less than both hands, I decided to do so more definitively today. I have exactly 7 heroes. 2 of them I’ve never met. Of the other 5, only 2 are still here. 

Quite a long time ago, I decided that grief is a rather selfish emotion – especially for those of us who believe what HE came here selling. 

If we truly believe what HE taught us, then the departure of a hero should be something to celebrate, something to be happy about, not something to grieve over.

And that’s the point I need to be reminded of today.

The man who left this week became a father to me when I lost mine. It was a relationship that only my Aunt T and my own wife fully comprehended. When my world was about to wobble off its axis, he grabbed it, put it back and never let go of it – for almost 23 years. He held on with his whole self because he felt a whole self holding back. He was like that. He gave what he got. 

I’ve missed him for a while. His illness stole his beautiful mind. In a way, he was gone before he was gone.

But in that he taught me to live knowing that he was there, but knowing that he wasn’t holding on to the axis of my world as tightly as before.

He taught me that I could live without him – mostly.

So, today, my world spins on, only a little bit wobbly. 

Mostly I’m happy – like HE taught us to be.

I’m happy that my Uncle RS is happy again. 

And I’m happy that two of my heroes are together again – holding onto each other, with their whole selves.


Talk Less. Do More.

Talk less. Do more. Phillip Kane's blog.
Image credit: Adrian Swancar |

Friday, February 4, 2022

Last week, I tried to watch the film Dear Evan Hansen, the adaptation of the popular Broadway play of the same name. I say tried, because I couldn’t get through it. The film tells the story of fictional character, Evan Hansen, an odd, anxiety-ridden high-schooler who, due to confusion over the true origin of a note he’d actually written to himself, is mistakenly believed to have been the lone, caring friend of a deeply troubled boy who’d taken his own life. Rather than correct the error, Hansen allows the ruse to continue, leveraging his false care and concern for the dead boy for his own personal gain. It was painful to watch. So, I simply chose not to.

See it’s easy to talk about doing something. It’s easy, like Evan Hansen, to pretend to care – especially when our make-believe concern leads to some personal benefit. Virtue signaling requires almost no effort. But actually caring, then doing something, well, that’s a different thing altogether; one that takes courage, and commitment, and love.

And that’s the point for the week.

Talk, as they say, is cheap. Simply telling people that you care is very nice, but when it’s not confirmed by action, people lose faith, trust dwindles, and their willingness to follow the talker falls to near zero. 

That’s because pretending to care is not caring. Telling someone that they matter without showing them that it’s true is an empty gesture. Even the big book is clear about the important difference between word and deed. Those we have the privilege to lead are not fools; they can quite easily detect the not fine line that exists between empty platitudes and unbroken promises. Almost nowhere has this been more true than in regard to mental health at work.

Almost as soon as employers started reluctantly admitting that there is more driving the 37 some-odd million departures of the “Great Resignation” than too much Covid money, a new dot-com boom, or mythical lazy and entitled Millennials, certain truths about the “Big Quit” became plainly evident to them, including that a lack of concern for employee mental health has fueled many of these exits. So, many HR departments began scrambling to talk more about the mental health of their associates. Like so many Evan Hansens, these folks are doing all they can to show those concerned about mental health in the workplace that they care … by talking about it.

But true, caring leaders do more than just talk. They actually commit to doing things that matter to those whom they lead. They do so, not for their own good, but for the good of those whose care has been entrusted to them. Their motivation for doing these things is not rooted in self-promotion but in love for others, and a deep, intrinsic motivation to improve their lives. They act, because it is the right thing to do – even when it means letting go of long clung to business practices that have historically prevented their organizations from doing so.

Because they do, they win more often. They attract and retain great people instead of pushing them away. They build trust and great faith in themselves as leaders and in the initiatives they put forth. They create legions of loyal disciples who would follow them anywhere. All because they do more than just talk; because they actually do things. And not just on issues related to mental health, but on any issue that stands between those they lead and the better life each one of them hopes for.

So, talk less. Do more.

And win.

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

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

Image Credit: Adrian Swancar |