Looking in the peripheral? You’ll lose your center focus…

This past weekend, Breana and I installed a Ring security device on her apartment. Nothing major, just another level of security. As a dad, that’s important… 40854404

The Ring security device… it’s pretty cool how it works. If Ring asks, I’ll do commercials for them. The security measure I am most impressed with is its panoramic range. It can cover a good bit. I stood in the same spot and could not see what the device could see. I’m like, “How can that work?”

Anyway… as usual, it got me thinking.

Let’s change out the word panoramic to peripheral. How much of our leadership vision is so focused on stuff on the side that we do not see what is going on right in front of us? How many leaders do you know whose vision is so focused on the nuances of the side that they miss what is right in front of them that they do not see or maybe do not want to see?

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I would dare say that most leaders I know focused on the side stuff are micro-managers. Focused so much on the trivial, they believe impactful results can happen here. Small things on the side can help a leader create mini successes. They get caught there because it’s an area where they can flex their leadership the most; be seen and heard. Let’s say passive-aggressive also. However, if most of their effort is placed on the peripheral, what action is being taken on matters that mean the most at the core?

Eventually, our peripheral vision will max out. We have all followed the pen to the side of our head at the eye doctor. But that still does not excuse us for not knowing what is happening. Great leaders know how to move in and out of the peripherals. Be a leader that understands the things on the side while knowing the important things are in front of us. If a matter on the peripheral becomes important enough, it will move to the center area.

I equate peripheral vision to a side for a meal. I don’t go to a restaurant to order a side dish only; it’s just what I want to eat while I’m focused on what I want to order to begin with.

I’m glad the Ring security device has great peripheral/panoramic vision. It catches every movement within its range, helping solve a security issue. It would be nice if leadership could be the same way. I guess that’s why they say many cannot see the trees because of the forest.

Let’s go fight the good fight of leadership. Someone has to…

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2022 J Clay Norton

Want more Leadership Thoughts? Follow me on… Twitter @thebookchamber or follow the blog directly.

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Two Important Dates On My Calendar… Charlie Brown and Andy Griffith

This past week held two days on my calendar of significance. October 2 and 3. I am somewhat amazed at the calendar dates now. It seems every day is now a national day of whatever… I believe it is a conspiracy theory for Hallmark to make more money for cards that someone in your family will eventually throw away.

Anyway, October 2, 1950, and October 3, 1960. Both dates are significant for the value they not only bring me but also to our family and many others, I would hope.

October 2, 1950, the Peanuts (Charlie Brown) comic strip ran for the first time.

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So, here are a few tidbits you might not know about Peanuts, created by Charles Schulz…

  • Peanuts started out as Li’l Folks by Schulz, but that name was sold even though it featured the forerunners of the Peanuts characters. The United Feature Syndicate decided on Peanuts, although Schulz did not like it. He wanted the name to be Good Old Charlie Brown.
  • Snoopy is named after a black and white dog Schulz had growing up named Spike (who became Snoopy’s brother). Snoopy became Snoopy after Schulz’s mom said they should name their next dog Snoopy.
  • Charlie Brown’s crush on the Little Red-Haired Girl is based on a lady Schulz had a crush on who worked in the accounting department of the school where Schulz taught drawing lessons. The relationship did not work out, leaving both Schulz and the future Charlie Brown crushed. The Little Red-Haired Girl never appears in the comic strip. Also, while working at the school, Schulz befriended a gentleman named… Charlie Brown.
  • In 1968, Schulz introduced his comic strip’s first black character, Franklin, whose father was a soldier in the Vietnam War. Another character, a yellow bird called Woodstock, was named for the 1969 landmark music festival.

October 3, 1960, a day that will live in television history, The Andy Griffith Show first aired.

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When all else fails, and you have to just watch TV, and there is nothing on, you can always watch Andy. Our family loves Andy. Outside of Heather and Breana, my parents, my brother, I have three friends (Allen, Mark, and Norm) on speed dial for Andy Griffith trivia.

So, here are a few tidbits you might not know about The Andy Griffith Show

  • Barney, Don Knotts, only had a contract for one episode. He was not supposed to be a regular. I sure am glad he worked out.
  • Aunt Bee and Andy did not like each other nor get along while filming the show. Not until very late in life did Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier) apologize.
  • Andy was supposed to be the funny one on the show, not Barney.
  • Andy’s real-life wife, Barbara, had a small role in the episode “Barney and the Choir.”
  • The barber, Floyd Lawson (Howard McNear), suffered a severe stroke after the first season. That’s why we see Floyd sitting most of the time in all the other episodes.
  • The maps behind Andy’s desk are upside-down maps of Idaho and Nevada.
  • Ron Howard’s (Opie) dad was the governor’s chauffeur in the episode “Barney and the Governor.”
  • Two of Andy’s girlfriends, Helen Crump and Peggy McMillan, lived in the same little house with the white picket fence marked “323” on the show.

Anyway… Peanuts and The Andy Griffith Show, October 2 and 3, back-to-back write-ins on my calendar. Peanuts and The Andy Griffith Show have brought everything from a balance of humor and melancholy of life to leadership lessons. Both give stories of characters offering lessons about happiness, friendship, setbacks, perseverance, and life itself. In some ways, a moral compass. It’s amazing how we can identify with so many characters of both or know of people who definitely can. I see a lot of Lucys and way too many Barneys in the world. I wish more people in leadership positions led like Charlie Brown and Andy, by just doing what is right by people. We need more friends like Linus, and the slow-down of Mayberry would be a nice feeling to experience.

We spend much of our time quoting the greats of history, the philosophers, the theologians, the poets, etc. Well, I do as well. But the funny thing is, I find myself quoting the characters of Peanuts and The Andy Griffith Show a lot of the time as well. Especially when I or someone around me unintentionally find ourselves living out a memory moment from a frame of the comic strip or a scene from the show. I have written enough for you to read today, so I will Nip it in the bud

Let’s go fight the good fight of leadership. Someone has to…

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2022 J Clay Norton

Want more Leadership Thoughts? Follow me on… Twitter @thebookchamber or follow the blog directly.

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“I” Can Hear “Me” Now… Leading in an Echo Chamber

A few weeks ago, in our Sunday School class at church, a friend, Greg Duke, commented, “Many people seek their own echo chambers.” When he said that, I thought, wow, what a strong leadership thought, and figured I could get a blog out of it… So, here goes…

When I think of an echo, I hear the Ricola cough drops commercial. I also think about someone standing on a cliff over a canyon and shouting, hearing their voice reverberate over the distance. 

But what about people in general? Have you ever been around that person that all they said was I and me and my? Self-inflating their status or so-called value to meet a conversation head-on and make it all about them? Well, that echo chamber sounds great to them. However, it makes me quickly throw up a deaf ear and sometimes just throw up. 

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People, and I would say leaders mostly here, who create their own echo chambers seem to distrust everybody on the outside. The chamber wall they made is so thick they will not allow anyone with an opposing idea in. If all a person hears is their own thoughts, their trust of and in others becomes a negative value and, most likely, nonexistent. Especially when the truth they perceive is not the real truth with supporting evidence.  

An echo chamber isolates, protecting only the self-interest of a person. All lines of defense are cut off because that chamber wall cannot be penetrated. It seems that the only lines of communication that can break through are the “yes” people. Those who usually bow down and cower, so afraid that they will not be in the fold that all they do is go around agreeing. The only information an echo chamber person hears are the words that support prior or preconceived notions.

It seems to me that an echo chamber is nothing more than a trap. Sir Walter Scott wrote, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!” That’s the person in an echo chamber. Deception of others and eventually themselves; creating a bias that only affirms their ideology with narrow-mindedness wearing horse blinders.

I’ll close with this statement from Enrique Dans, Senior Advisor for Innovation and Digital Transformation at IE University, “Echo chambers are a complex phenomenon, the result of many factors. But as a society, we have a duty to fight them: personally, analyzing how we inform ourselves and what our level of risk is; and collectively, who we talk to, who we work with or which groups we belong to. Understanding and internalizing the concept of the echo chamber and how it may affect us is a fundamental part of living in society.”

Let’s go fight the good fight of leadership. Someone has to… 

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2022 J Clay Norton

Want more Leadership Thoughts? Follow me on… Twitter @thebookchamber or follow the blog directly.

Want to share this leadership thought with others? Click on one of the social media sharing buttons below and help spread the good…

To Read or Not to Read is better than To Ban or Not to Ban…

Ok… Banned books time…

I’ve had this on my mind for some time now, and I feel it is a good time to discuss it. First, let me say that I do not agree with every book written. Some promote an ideology that I do not agree with, and that’s ok. I have my values and beliefs, and they are mine, not yours. I’m sure I read some books that others do not agree with. But, when we start talking about and actually banning books for people (students), what are we saying?

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I’m a believer that times do not change; people do. Let’s go back to the banning of Dr. Suess’ books; that’s when I first got my hair messed up. Are we serious? For how long have those books been circulating, sitting on shelves at schools and homes? Then, one day, out of the blue, we are told they contain sensitive material. Why, at one point, did they not, and now, they do? You can read my blog about that here Dr. Seuss, Oh the places you will continue to go…

One of my favorite books is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. To me, the best sentence in the book is the last sentence of chapter 21, “Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passin.” spoken by Reverend Sykes (The film does this scene in the book great justice also). I’m not sure what your take is on the book, but the way I see it, this statement, knowing the context (which is always important), brings the respect of two groups of people together. Yet, many schools and community libraries ban To Kill a Mockingbird. 

You can read in a Washington Post article what types of book themes are now the most frequently challenged. To let you know the ten most famous books that are banned, you can go to Writers-House.com. On that list are many classics that I’m sure, like me, you have read. Society will quickly ban a book, but we are not banning TV shows, movies, and music that promote the same overtones and ideologies found in pages of books that have been read over the course of time.

Here’s a final question for thought… does book banning affect our First Amendment rights? While I like the idea of parental oversight regarding reading books in school, flat-out banning books bothers me. I believe it creates a negative effect and divides. We hear all the time that society needs to “get along.” Yes, I agree. However, book banning creates an emotional divide and is another area that separates people. It is almost an idea of the intolerance of tolerance?

Anyway, thanks again for reading my rant. I especially like Marshall Ramsey’s latest picture for the Mississippi Today. I believe he does a great job of showing how we are on the right road, just headed in the wrong direction.

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If I don’t want to read what you read, great. If you don’t want to read what I read, great. In the end, you are 100% entitled to your opinion, but you are 0% entitled to tell me what mine should be. As a free-thinking society, we should be able to read what we want to and when we want to.

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2022 J Clay Norton

Want more Leadership Thoughts? Follow me on… Twitter @thebookchamber or follow the blog directly.

Want to share this leadership thought with others? Click on one of the social media sharing buttons below and help spread the good…