Illustrated Blog


A drawing of a marble column partially crumbled

The mistake we make living our values

My grandmother, Iginia Alamo, once befriended a woman intent on ousting my grandfather, Antonio Alamo, from the Venezuelan government. My grandfather didn’t object to the friendship. In fact, he instigated it. The family foe and friend, Maria Josefa Aristeguieta, had recently co-led a nearly successful insurrection that had killed a governor, among many others. My grandfather was the newly appointed replacement for the deceased governor and, thus, a target for Maria Josefa’s activism. How did my grandparents end up cozying up to a dangerous antagonist? Soon after my grandfather assumed his governorship, the police chief boasted that his men were humiliating Maria Josefa with intrusive surveillance while she was under house arrest. Instead of being thankful, my grandfather ordered the police overreach to stop immediately. After completing her sentence, Maria

Image of an individual on a large bench by themselves.

Whether you’re afflicted by loneliness or not, you’re affected by it

The United States is entering 2024 under a pall of loneliness. Many citizens feel that no one cares enough about them to properly see who they are. While the percentage of Americans suffering from loneliness has dropped since the lockdown-era spike, the long-term trend is an upward creep. As a result, loneliness appears to have more than tripled since the 1970’s and now affects a majority of us. Maybe you’re among the connected minority. You might have someone to call for advice or a supportive spouse to dine with. I hope you do. But if you think other people’s loneliness isn’t your problem, you’ve underestimated your interdependence and vulnerability. The level of loneliness afflicting society ought to concern you. If you’re a manager, more so. People who feel invisible, ignored

A figure looking at a river from its bank.

Racial justice will prevail despite current events

A summary of America’s 2023 racial-justice developments might read like this: – Hate crime increased. – Topics related to racism were censored out of K-12 and college classrooms. – Politicians attacked corporate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. – Federal courts and state governments struck down or crippled long-time programs that support disadvantaged individuals and businesses. – CEO’s who once decried racial transgressions turned mum. No wonder a client lamented that the United States is hopelessly racist and heading toward institutionalized injustice (again). I have hopeful news for her and others distraught by the above developments. On its way out of Hickman, Kentucky, the Mississippi river flows northwest. If we made inferences from viewing that stretch, we’d conclude it was headed to Oregon. To understand that the forces driving the Mississippi toward Louisiana will prevail,

Man peering into a void in a hole in the ground.

Are you dancing around the void?

I recently noticed that the word avoidance is a mishmash of three words: A void dance. It’s an apt metaphor for the clumsy way many of us cope with the purpose void that sullies our work. We ignore this gaping deficiency and focus on performing the choreographed steps in our job description: attend staff meetings, respond to emails, smile at customers. We awkwardly waltz around what we sorely miss. We perform a void dance or avoidance. Imagine if instead of sidestepping it, we stood at the precipice of meaninglessness and peered into its darkness. Why? Because by charting the contours of the emptiness that ails us, we discover the terrain of our own heart. We learn to navigate our way to wholeness. Interested? The simple exercise that follows will get

A gauge with np on left and yes on right

Your business is unlikely to suffer the fate of Anheuser-Busch

You’re likely aware that U.S. boycotts recently depressed Anheuser-Busch’s US sales by an estimated 14% and Target’s by about 5%. If you’re a business leader, whether for a small or large company, this might alarm you. After all, the boycott-inciting offense is so commonplace that your business most likely practices it: supporting the LGBTQ+ community and cause. Should you be concerned that your company’s LGBTQ+ Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) practices pose a financial risk? Probably not. It turns out that boycotts over an issue that evenly divides the population, or close to it, rarely work. This is the case with the LGBTQ+ cause. A slight majority (55%) of Americans morally oppose the transgender cause, which the above boycotts focused on, but a comfortable majority (64%) morally support the broader LGBTQ+ cause.

Drawing of a boot squashing a heart.

Are you slipping into calloused obstructionism?

Two sales representatives, Lynn and Jane, go out to lunch. Jane remarks that the young server’s scowl is frightening and customer service is poor. Lynn suggests that maybe he’s exhausted from working several jobs, afflicted by back pain or grieving the death of a pet. Jane responds, “Possibly, but he still should have noticed I dropped my napkin.” When Lynn leaves a large tip, Jane objects, “He deserves what I’m leaving: zero! I don’t get a bonus when I don’t sell.” Lynn merely shrugs. She’s pleased she can offer the glum young man a little financial, and moral, support. At a team meeting later that afternoon, Jane hands Lynn two $20 bills and says, “Your tip was unnecessary, so I ran back to the table and rescued it.” Jane, no

Image of business man blowing a New Year's noise maker.

Five meaning-making New Year’s resolutions

If like most workers you pine for more purpose in your job, consider the five New Year’s resolutions that follow. Don’t be fooled by how simple they seem. We humans are so sensitized to meaningful acts that even small acts of contribution ignite a sense of purpose in us – as well as positively impact beneficiaries. So, go ahead and consider a 2023 New Year’s resolution of: 1 – Deep listening. In our hectic modern world, many people feel ignored, misunderstood or invisible. What if you entered every workplace conversation committed to truly listening? This means that while another is speaking, you don’t interrupt, multi-task or plan what you are going to say next. Instead, you focus only on listening and understanding. This might not seem like much of a contribution, but research

Image of many question marks with this text: ESG

What ESG is and why it’s trending

I’m honored that David Hessekiel interviewed me for Forbes about ESG and purpose. He asked the hard questions many executives ask: What the heck is ESG? What’s the difference between ESG and purpose? Will the anti-ESG forces prevail? Why or why not? I hope it helps bring clarity and calm to the heated debate. Read the interview now.