Three Days (our oldest son, organ)

Our oldest son subbed on the organ for Holy Hour tonight (the parish where I am assigned as deacon has Holy Hour every Sunday night with exposition & adoration, vespers, and benediction.) Afterwards, he showed off practicing one of our favorite Easter hymns. So many great Easter hymns, so little Easter season to enjoy them all!

How do you leave a job you love?

I’ve been extremely fortunate for the last few years to serve in a job that I’ve absolutely loved as the “Chief of Staff” and Business Manager of our Professional Services team. I’ve had a fantastic manager, a wonderful set of teammates who lead varying aspects of our business, and great opportunities to stretch in new ways as a leader and manager.

But!… A surprise in a Check-In

At first, it came as a bit of a surprise this summer when I was scheduled for a Check-In with my manager when we were both in New York City for meetings… I came prepared as usual with a clear story about what I’ve been focused on, what I’ve accomplished, what my goals are and how I’m heading in that direction, and how he and the team are supporting me.

But instead, at a sandwich shop in Midtown Manhattan, he said something like, (and I’m paraphrasing from my memory), “You’ve done an excellent job in this role. You do great work and receive great feedback from everyone around us in the company. But I kind of think that you’re at a point where you can do this job in your sleep. And in order for you to grow even more as a leader here, we need to find you a new role that gives you a new leadership challenge.”

He continued by noting that, based on my work, a lot of people would love to have me on their teams, so I had some space to suggest and create something that would be a good mutual fit. In the moment, off the top of my head, I threw out a few crazy ideas, none of which seemed quite right and all of which had big positives and negatives. We agreed to continue the conversation.

He was certainly right – I loved the job, but it was becoming less challenging with time, and I definitely saw that in order to continue my own career progression I needed a different challenge with my own direct leadership responsibility for a team and business of a larger scale. But it wasn’t an easy idea to let go of “my” current role. In my own pride, there was still a lot more that I envisioned doing with the role in order to serve him and the leaders and the broader team even better over the coming years.

“Grieving” and the feeling of loss

In the coming hours and days, I realized that I also needed some space to sort through the emotions of it all. Even though I was being set up for a whole new success that I could help to define, I still had the feeling of loss.

I’ve truly loved the challenge to help support our Sr. Directors and Directors (and our VP, my boss) in the day-to-day management of our business and with all of the special initiatives, communications, change management, collaboration with key business partners, and other Chief of Staff duties. It’s something to be able to say you’ve managed the day-to-day of a 600-person team and a $200 million business.

I was really going to miss doing the things I was doing. I was, in a sense, grieving the loss of the role that had started to be so connected to my work identity for the last few years.

In time, though, walking through the fog of that grief, and honestly supported by a meeting with my spiritual director (with whom monthly meetings are a requirement – and blessing – of being in deacon formation), I came to a sense of peace and excitement about what might be the next opportunity. I also came to a more important peace with the understanding that it wasn’t “my” role that I was sad to leave – it was what I had always tried to remember it to be: a role that I was shepherding for a period of time, in service to my boss, his other leaders, and our whole team.

Settling into some clarity

With that sense of peace of letting go of the role (even months before I was actually going to start to transition out of it) started to come some clarity on what could come next.

I remembered some advice from an old friend who was on my team a few years ago, who pointed out, “I’ve come to realize that you’re better off taking a job for the manager – the way you work together, the way they’ll support and nurture you and give you opportunities – than for the job itself.”

That helped me realize that I definitely wanted to stay in our professional services team, within the scope of my current manager’s overall team. Once I realized that, my next role became obvious…

One “smaller” but growing part of my Chief of Staff role had been overseeing the hiring and on-boarding of the new college graduates joining our team (and the leadership of our summer interns between their junior and senior years.) I LOVE the work with our new Associates and my team who were helping to support them. Knowing that we intended to continue to scale this effort around interns and new Associates and to keep them within the on-boarding program for a longer period of time meant that a leader was needed to oversee and grow that entire talent engine for our team.

Over the next few months, we started to discuss what the vision of a broader “Academy” for our interns, our new Associates, and even enhanced professional skill development for our entire professional services team might look like. The next opportunity to apply my passion and leadership started to become apparent.

For the last few months, while I’ve still been holding down my “day job” as Chief of Staff through the back half of our fiscal year, I’ve increasingly been “moonlighting” with my team members who currently oversee the college grad effort and spending more time driving the strategy of where it could head in the future.

The “overlap” has been a huge blessing. It’s given me time to say “goodbye” to my former role and start to tie up loose ends that I thought I’d have more time to work through. It’s allowed me to transition big ideas to other leaders and places on our team. And it’s allowed me to slowly test out the new role and get more excited about moving towards it.

This time has also helped me continue to see how “right” this is for me. The work with our new Associates is some of the most invigorating and exciting of my entire career. The opportunity to help provide a good experience and foundation for them as they start their careers with our team, and to help mentor them as I was mentored by others for so many years, is one I treasure as my next career challenge.

And now it’s time! The announcements about the new role came out over the last few days, so the proverbial cat is out of the bag and there’s no going back. I’m excited.

Some tips: How I found I could make this move

First, I have to admit that I was exceedingly lucky to have the opportunity to shape the evolution of how I can continue to contribute to our team. I now don’t look at it as “leaving a job” as much as “moving on to the next obvious opportunity,” which is how I should have looked at it from the very start of the process.

I’ve learned that it’s important to remember that everything we have is a gift – including the role we play in an organization. If we have good leaders and do great work, we’ll almost always have the opportunity to help create what’s next for us.

I’ve also learned that early reactions are emotionally charged, and it’s important to take time to properly work through the emotions of a job change. In particular, some of my initial ideas and reactions were nowhere near where I ended up landing, or where I would have wanted to land. In my approach to life, the centeredness of God’s will is of the utmost importance to me, so part of working through this involved a lot of time in prayer, and the discussion with my spiritual director.

It was a blessing to be able to let the process take time. I realize that in some job changes – particularly when we’re forced out of a role quickly or unexpectedly – this isn’t as possible. But it’s still important to at least force enough time to step back and reason through the right steps forward, and get the advice and input of people you trust.

Overall, be open and honest with what you would like to do next and how you feel you can best contribute to an organization. Honestly, at first, when the idea for this new role came up, I didn’t think it would afford the scope or scale that would let me continue to grow in my own career as a leader here on our team. But as we continued to balance what the team needed with what I wanted to be able to bring to the table, we were all able to share ideas that helped the scale grow in smart ways and become a challenge that I was excited to undertake.

Finally, trust. Trust that other people out there are good people and looking out for you and your career. If you do great work, they’ll do just that. If you have areas of improvement to consider, those are important points of feedback that I believe a good manager has a moral obligation to share with you. After all, that’s your manager’s job – to help you continue to grow and be your very best. If you’re not in a situation with a manager like that, I truly suggest you try to find a role with a manager who will nurture and challenge you – one you trust with your career.

To what’s next…

So over the next few weeks as I continue to transition my Chief of Staff role to a new Business Manager on our team, I’m extremely excited to continue to dive into re-envisioning and scaling up our “Consulting Academy” as my next leadership challenge.

Now I get to turn my attention to even more of what I love – leading more people, and helping them grow and develop, each in their own unique ways. In 2020, our “Adobe Consulting Academy” will grow and take on a life of its own! I’m looking forward to working with my team members who I will carry into this new role with me, and the new ones I’ll be seeking to join my leadership team.

I’ve been blessed with a career path full of great jobs, great opportunities and challenges, and great managers. I leave one amazing manager for another amazing manager on his team, and I look forward to what the future holds. If and when you find yourself in a situation like this, I hope that maybe my learnings and tips can be of help to you.

“Growth is the only evidence of life.” – St. John Henry Newman

2018 After-Action Review

Happy new year! It’s time to kick off 2019 with an after-action review of 2018 and setting up some public accountability for my 2019 goals.  I’m extremely grateful for a fantastic and successful 2018, but am looking forward to building upon 2018 and doing even better in the new (secular) year.

2018 – Top Wins:

  • Faith & Formation:
    • Consistency in my morning & evening prayer & contemplation, and in meeting with my spiritual director
    • Successfully passing all of my academic coursework for formation, wrapping up my first pastoral assignment and getting into my new pastoral assignment
  • Personal:
    • Truly disconnecting from work and taking my sabbatical, focusing time on the family and our activities together
    • Better balance and boundaries between work time and personal/family time
    • Designed, financed, purchased land for, and started the process of building our new family home
  • Professional: A hugely successful year at work, tackling some major initiatives successfully, and meeting all my organizational goals

2018 – Top Failures:

  • Not accomplishing my “publishing/platform” goal for 2018
  • Falling away from diet & exercise – hitting a peak 2-year weight
  • Still being too distracted by my phone & social media when I’m with the family

2018 – Goal Review:

  • Goal: Publish consistently and turn it into sustainable cash flow – by end of Q3
    • Grade: F – Didn’t accomplish; probably wasn’t well-written or the right approach to the goal, and I didn’t focus my time in the right ways to make it happen.
  • Goal: Clarify, nurture, develop Adobe Consulting org culture and communications
    • Grade: B – Accomplished what we could well in 2018. Definitely helped start to improve the culture & communications of our group, but more than anything set us up for success in 2019 through some of the changes we’re going through here at the bridge of 2018 to 2019.
  • Goal: Be a better husband and dad, through conserving and maintaining what is important in our home
    • Grade: C – Wasn’t specific enough, but I’m always going to be tough on myself on this one.  It should come first, and I should be able to go to bed each night at peace with how I’m doing as a husband and father, knowing I’m giving more than my best.

2019 – Goals:

  • Be a better husband and dad. Focus on quality time with Suzanne and the boys. Majority of time with them isn’t on my phone; focus on quality conversation each day with Suzanne.
  • Work down to 165 pounds by July 4, maintain and build muscle through the back half of 2019. Run a 5K in the fall or before.
  • Maintain daily prayer: Morning & Evening Prayer, Contemplative Prayer, Rosary, Chaplet of St. Michael
  • Writing & publishing:  Develop consistent publishing platform by July 4; develop it into self-sustaining revenue source by end of 2019.
  • Journaling: Journal at least once a week


The Powerball of Daily Life

Powerball balls. ABC News.

Powerball balls. ABC News.

Last week, I took a little bit of flack on Twitter for asking, “Am I the only person who isn’t so sure I’d quit my job if I were to win the Powerball jackpot? (Not that I play…)”

One person replied, “Holding out for a billion? ;)”

Another, “Job might be more fun if you also had a seat on the board.”

Yet another, “Most likely.”


[pey-tree-ahrk] n. noun 1. the male head of a family or tribal line.


My Grandpa Halbrook passed away this morning at 10:53. He was 85.

He was facing three necessary surgeries, each more risky and complicated than the last. His body didn’t carry him to the first. He was ready.

Roses are a special memory from times at grandma and grandpa’s when I was young. They kept a row of rose bushes along one side of their house, and I often went out and cut some to bring in to grandma.

The day of my grandma’s funeral 8 years ago this November, a single white November rose bloomed on the pink rose bush in front of our house. I knew that that meant something very special because of all that had led up to grandma’s passing.

This morning, there were two beautiful pink roses together on the bush. A patriarch is no such thing without a matriarch. They are together again…

Grandpa & Grandma Halbrook, together again.

Grandpa & Grandma Halbrook, together again.

grandpahGrandpa was a great man. True, brave, loyal, hard-working, knowledgeable, strict but fair. He had the right priorities, starting with family. He taught us all well, by word and by example.

He met grandma when he had a medical leave on the Japanese mainland while he was serving as a Marine in the Korean War. He fell in love. He faced resistance and friends that turned their backs when he brought her to the States. But that mattered not to them. Love wins.

Since their house was always blocks from mine growing up, I spent a lot of time there. I went there after preschool, and that’s when grandma and my Aunt Becky taught me to read (reading the St. Louis Post Dispatch newspaper). As I grew older, when I needed a break from my parents’ house, I could always ride my bike to visit grandma & grandpa’s house.

I’m sure my family will share a lot of memories in the coming days, weeks, and years, but here’s a short list of some of the random memories from grandma & grandpa’s:

  • Caramels
  • Jawbreakers
  • Grape soda
  • Pancakes & orange drink
  • Hamburgers & french fries
  • Computer paper and pencils
  • Imagination
  • Shopping lists in Japanese
  • The sliding door in the back bathroom
  • The American flag and Japanese flag
  • Lionel Richie
  • Dare I say singalongs right after Lionel Richie?
  • Electric blanket
  • Old cable boxes with dial tuners
  • Pachinko
  • Cousins
  • The hideaway bed
  • The big TV
  • Staying up late watching MASH with grandpa
  • The beer can collection
  • Pool & pinball
  • Dinners out
  • Jerry’s – fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, coconut creme pie.
  • …and they let me have root beer 🙂
  • Buffets
  • Grandpa constantly reminding grandma that she’s really the boss
  • Grandma’s chair
  • Grandpa’s chair
  • Family

We’ll miss him terribly. In your kindness, please pray for our family, especially my dad, my Aunt Becky, and my Uncle Jerry.

I will always cherish the last hour I had alone with him last night, and the smile on his face when he saw his four great grandsons – my sons – visiting him for the last time last Saturday.

We’ll always remember…

Thanksgiving 2015. The Halbrook, Johnson, & Ahlvers guys. My 2 cousins had already left. 4 generations: My grandpa, his sons (my dad & uncle Jerry), my uncle Kerry, my brother, my brother-in-law Mike Ahlvers, and my 4 boys.

Thanksgiving 2015. The Halbrook, Johnson, & Ahlvers guys. My 2 cousins had already left. 4 generations: My grandpa, his sons (my dad & uncle Jerry), my uncle Kerry, my brother, my brother-in-law Mike Ahlvers, and my 4 boys.

Grandpa’s obituary is yet to be written, but for when it’s ready, I’ll re-post grandma’s, from November 11, 2007.

In the end, the two are inseparable…

Judy (Kimura) Halbrook, 79, of Granite City, died at 7:40 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007, at the University Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Edwardsville.

She was born on Feb. 10, 1928, in Nagoya, Japan. Mrs. Halbrook was a homemaker; she was sworn in as a United States citizen on Jan. 26, 1960.

She married Ross Halbrook on Aug. 13, 1952, in Kyoto, Japan. He survives after 55 years of marriage.

Other survivors include two sons, Woody (Rita) Halbrook and Jerry (Shelly) Halbrook, both of Granite City; one daughter, Becky (Kerry) Johnson of Granite City; eight grandchildren, Michael (Suzanne), Sara (Michael), Sean, Kyle, Kelsey, Christopher, Kimura, Brett; and two great-grandchildren, Thomas and Matthew.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Toji and Kohagi Kimura; and one brother.

Funeral services were Saturday, Nov. 10, at Irwin Chapel, 3960 Maryville Road in Granite City, with the Rev. Larry Burnette officiating.

The body was cremated.

Memorials may be made to Holy Family Church Learning Center or Holy Family School, and will be accepted at the funeral home.

Epic Order of the Arrow #TBT

Today, I’m sharing a massive Throwback Thursday (#TBT): A stockpile of thoughts and memories that have come to me in recent weeks as I’ve been pondering the 100th Anniversary of the Order of the Arrow. I’m also sharing audio of two great men who had a huge impact on my life: my old mentor & lodge adviser Jim Dedera, and the founder of the OA Dr. E. Urner Goodman.

Last Thursday was the true 100th Anniversary of the first callout and Ordeal in the Order of the Arrow, the founding of Scouting’s National Honor Society. I Facebooked:

100 years ago today, the Order of the Arrow, scouting’s national honor society and the bedrock of the formation of servant leaders among scouting’s best, was founded. Apart from my family and church, the Order within scouting provided the most opportunities to grow in leadership and service, and to practice skills of management, organization, marketing, writing, communication, leadership, and more that I use in my day-to-day life. The Order of the Arrow helped make me who I am, and I’m honored to still be active and playing an active role in the celebration of the 100th Anniversary this year.

I’ve been meaning to dig up a little Throwback Thursday (#TBT) in honor of the 100th Anniversary, but first I needed some time to digitize an old tape that’s been sitting on my desk for a few months since I ran across it. Now I’ve had time, so it’s time to share. So here’s a random assembly of memories of my time in the Order of the Arrow, sandwiched between the 100th Anniversary date last week and me leaving to help on the staff of the 100th Anniversary National OA Conference (NOAC) at Michigan State University next week.

First, some memories of my own Ordeal, when I became a member of the Order of the Arrow after being elected by my fellow scouts in my own troop. My Ordeal (per my copious childhood notes) was on June 20, 1990. I give you 25 years ago:

Notes from the inside of my first OA Handbook

Notes from the inside of my first OA Handbook

These two pictures are scans from a framed collage that the Hewlett family gave me the day I was presented my Eagle Scout rank. In these pictures, I’m wearing the red scout hat, my dad is wearing the boonie hat, my friend and troopmate Mark Hewlett is in the red shorts, and our Elangomat John Peery is in the white shirt with green bands. Mark, my dad, and I served our Ordeal together. Mark and I went on to become the first two Eagle Scouts in our troop, with our boards of review on the same night (November 14, 1991).

Ordeal, June 1990

Ordeal, June 1990

Ordeal, June 1990

Ordeal, June 1990

We put in a lot of work that weekend in moving and re-building the camp’s monument to the donor of the land to its new location. Our troop had moved the monument as a service project during our week at camp – on our Ordeal, we built a stone walkway up to the monument.

For context, here’s a picture of me with 3 of my boys and my dad at the same monument, just 2 years ago:

At the Sunnen monument with dad, Thomas, Matthew, & Joseph in 2013.

At the Sunnen monument with dad, Thomas, Matthew, & Joseph in 2013.

After my Ordeal, I attended NOAC in 1990 at Indiana University for two days (dad, Mark, and I drove out and “walked in” – we even made it into the Theme Show! I was hooked). I got active in the newly-merged Kishkakon lodge in 1991 as camp promotions chairman, then served as lodge secretary from 1992-1994. I served on staff at the 1992 NOAC on the publications staff, writing for the NOAC Today newspaper. I covered the ’92 Summer Olympics and all things happening in the arena with OA Shows.

Working NOAC publications staff in '92. Reading an advance copy of a show script and pre-writing the article on an antique computer.

Working NOAC publications staff in ’92. Reading an advance copy of a show script and pre-writing the article on an antique computer.

At the ’94 NOAC, I was in the Theme Show cast as part of the shows staff. Here’s a picture of me with a bunch of my lodge brothers (and fellow cast members) before we left for NOAC in ’94:

NOAC 1994 Theme Show cast, before leaving home for NOAC.

NOAC 1994 Theme Show cast, before leaving home for NOAC.

Just prior to leaving for NOAC, I was honored to be called out to keep the Vigil:

Vigil callout, Camp Warren Levis, July 1994.

Vigil callout, Camp Warren Levis, July 1994.

I served as lodge chief in 1995-1996, blessed to work with our lodge adviser Jim Dedera, who by then had become a close friend, adviser, and mentor. Jim passed away a couple of years ago, but not without leaving an indelible mark on hundreds of young men, including me and the close friends that I made while sharing in the leadership of the lodge in our service to our council and communities.

With Jim (our adviser) and my fellow officers, Winter Banquet 1994.

With Jim (our adviser) and my fellow officers, Winter Banquet 1994.

A few years back, Jim gave me a cassette tape that I tucked away until finding it a few months ago.

Cassette tape from Jim.

Cassette tape from Jim.

The cassette tape had a recording of Dr. E. Urner Goodman’s (the OA founder’s) recorded message to Arrowman on the occassion of the OA’s 50th anniversary in 1965, and a short reflection recorded by Jim himself. I’ve finally digitized it and can share it here:

Here’s “Vision Check”, in Jim Dedera’s own voice:

Here’s the text of the Jim’s “Vision Check” recording:

When was the last time that you had your vision checked? No, I don’t mean a physical eye check, but a vision check of the spirit. Each one of us needs to check the vision of the spirit within us often, and to reflect. The vision of brotherhood, cheerfulness, and service is important to each of us as individual Arrowmen. Brotherhood is not self-serving or lacking in love for one another, but Brotherhood is love, and Brotherhood is trust. Brotherhood is friendly. Brotherhood is kind. Brotherhood is caring. Brotherhood is accepting each other for who we are. Is that a reflection of our vision of Brotherhood? Cheerfulness is also a thing of the spirit. It comes from within. The inner vision of Cheerfulness is reflected in our attitude toward life and those with whom we come into contact. Cheerfulness is a reflection of our individual being. Is this a vision that we might have of Cheerfulness? Service, also, is of the internal spirit. Service is caring for each other and a willingness to share ourself. Yes, Service is a thing of the individual and of the team. Think of that word Team, and the letters in it. Together Everyone Achieves More in service to fellow man. Good vision is important for every Arrowman. Vision gives focus, expectation, motivation, and it sustains us for the long haul, to keep the spirit alive. Good vision of the spirit truly shapes who we are. A regular vision check of the WWW is always worthwhile. Be sure to remember that a vision check without a task is only a dream. May we together in the lodge continue to seek the higher vision and to find the greater beauty.

Pre-Vigil Callout, mid-'90s. Dan Reid, me, Matt Reid, Kris Klaustermeier.

Pre-Vigil Callout, mid-’90s. Dan Reid, me, Matt Reid, Kris Klaustermeier.

It means the world to hear Jim’s voice talking to us, challenging us, again. Talk about a “Throwback”!

With these brothers and friends, I learned to serve and to lead.

In 1996, I assisted in the direction of the NOAC Theme Show; in 1998 and 2000, I served as assistant and then Technical Director for NOAC Shows; in 2002, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to write the NOAC Theme Show; in 2004 & 2006, I led the communication operations for NOAC shows and in ’06 was lucky to be able to walk my first-born son Thomas across the NOAC stage in a stroller (the setting was a mall, and we were a “young family” of extras – I maintain that he’s now the youngest cast member in the history of the NOAC Theme Show). I also helped produce and lead the OA’s thematic theatrical productions at the ’97, ’01, and ’05 National Scout Jamborees.

Without a doubt, the Order of the Arrow “provided the most opportunities to grow in leadership and service, and to practice skills of management, organization, marketing, writing, communication, leadership, and more that I use in my day-to-day life. The Order of the Arrow helped make me who I am, and I’m honored to still be active and playing an active role in the celebration of the 100th Anniversary this year.”

Most importantly, it gave me skills AND FRIENDSHIPS for life. All around the country, but especially here at home.

My groomsmen, 2004. All brothers in the Order.

My groomsmen, 2004. All brothers in the Order.

So I’ll close this Throwback Thursday with words from the founder of the Order, E. Urner Goodman, from his recording for Arrowmen on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Order in 1965. Here’s the audio:

And here’s the transcription:

My fellow Arrowmen, during this our Golden Jubilee year, I just wish I might fly on some magic carpet to attend the celebrations in each area and in each local lodge of the Order of the Arrow. What a time we could have together. Well, for lack of that magic carpet, I do want to use the modern magic of the tape recording to bring my greetings and best wishes to you on this happy occasion. So here I am in my living room up in Vermont. My technician this morning is none other than the moderator of our town meetings here in the town of Winhall, Vermont. As I speak, I shall try to picture you in my mind’s eye, gathered about me, and imagine myself looking at each of you, face to face.

Well, Golden Jubilees are rare events, aren’t they? And we do well to make merry. I remember the golden wedding of my grandparents, in whose home I was raised. Grandpa Goodman was a very dignified old gentleman, but on that festive occasion, he even did a dance – after fashion. And he and grandma lived to celebrate many more wedding anniversaries after that one. So as the Order observes its 50th Anniversary, it is natural that we should have some big doings. As I speak, I am looking forward to the weekend celebration at Treasure Island in June. What a time that should be. God-willing, we should have a notable reunion, too, of the pioneers of the Order. My associate director of Treasure Island Camp in 1915, whom I like to call the co-founder, Carroll Edson; and then the very first chief of the very first lodge, George Chapman; and the young fellow who went with me into the woods to select and to prepare the first ceremonial grounds, Harry Yoder. Interestingly enough, George and Harry are still very active and interested in the Order, 50 years later.

Then, of course, my heart is set on the 50th Anniversary National Conference in August, at Indiana University, August 27-31, you remember. This fine campus has been the scene of many a national conference through the years, and in a very real sense, the Order has left its imprint on the grounds. Look for it when you get there. What a time it will be on our 50th. Plans are going forward to make this the biggest and best national conference ever. Meanwhile, in the Boy Scouts of America Report to the Nation during boy scout week, we are presenting a special report on our 50th anniversary to the President and to the governors of our 50 states. And besides such spectacular events, I am sure that in area conferences – yes, in local lodge celebrations, we shall make merry during our 50th anniversary year. I’m so glad that a special ceremony for such anniversary pow-wows in local lodges has been published. 1965 should be our big year in the Order of the Arrow – full of dramatic events. Now, my brothers, this you would expect me to say too: Our 50th anniversary year should be marked not only by festivities, but also by some notable achievements in service. I’m delighted that this begins with each individual arrowman.

By this time, I’m sure you’re all familiar with the special emblem that is to be awarded to each member of our Order who does five things related to our usefulness to scouting this year. I want to challenge every one of you to win this individual award, and shall be looking for it, ultimately, on your Order of the Arrow sashes. Earning this award means many more boys in troops in our camps, many worthwhile camp improvement projects, better scouting, better advancement, and most important of all, many new boys will have an opportunity to join in on the fun and adventure of scouting as cub scouts, boy scouts, and explorers.

One further admonition do I have for you as individual brothers: That you will in this anniversary year do your level best to set the very finest personal example as a true scout and a real brother. I have found, as you have, that others look upon us and expect to see a quality above the ordinary. The arrow is a hallmark of distinction. By the same token, it will be a wonderful thing if each lodge in the nation undertakes some special service project of worth during the year: One that will make your local scout council glad that 50 years ago the Order was brought into existence. Here we have a challenge and an opportunity to do some really big things. Let’s do them cheerfully.

Our chief area of service, of course, is in camping, for the Order has its roots in the camp. One thing that had delighted me in the past few years has been the way in which a number of our lodges have produced booklets on where to go camping for the use of all scouts and explorer units in their territory. Recently, I received another such booklet from the adviser of lodge #468 of the Mount Diabalo Council in California. It was one of the more complete jobs I have ever laid eyes on. It gives guidance not only to local council camping centers, but also to regional parks, state parks, and recreation areas, national monuments and parks, national scout camps, and historic trails. Now I must confess that this particular booklet had a sentimental appeal to me, my brothers, because the adviser who sent it to me is Gilson M. Talmadge, whom I have sometimes called “My very first scout.” You see, it was he, who as a boy led a handful of other boys to my front door in April 1911 and asked me to take them on a hike, eventually to become their Scoutmaster. Well, anyway, let’s make a great record for scout camping in our jubilee year.

I have another specific project which has been on my heart as a feature of our jubilee program: It relates to our preservation of the lore and the culture of our aborigines, the American Indian. My hope is that in each lodge, there will be a special report during 1965 on its study of the particular tribe or tribes which occupied its council territory. Yes, more than that, a report on what it has done to make the costumes and learn the dances and ceremonies of these early people come to life again. When we assemble all of these reports at the end of our anniversary year, it should make one of the most noteworthy reports ever compiled in this field. It would be a great birthday present to the nation.

There’s one more thing I want to say: The Order is not, and indeed never was, one man’s doing. From the very beginning, there were those, young and old, who helped lay the foundation. Men like Dr. Hinkle, a Philadelphia Scoutmaster, for instance, who did much of the early work on our ceremonies. As the Order grew, many men gave superb leadership to its growth in local lodges, and in our various areas and regions, and above all in our national committee. What a wonderful succession of chairmen we have had for that body. What a great step forward it was when we began selecting outstanding young men to be our national secretary and had area chiefs take over our national conferences. So here we are today, a great host of over 200,000 brothers in cheerful service, that covers every state in the Union. I shall never cease to be grateful to those who have helped bring us to this day.

My brothers, I remember how I felt when I became 50 years of age. I was ready to conquer the world for righteousness, figuratively speaking. I was a man full-grown, with a lot of experience behind me. And so, bring on your problems and give me a chance at them! That was my frame of mind. So may it be with us as we celebrate our golden jubilee. With the help and guidance of Almighty God, may we be willing to tackle any appropriate task of cheerful service that will contribute to the brotherhood of man. Amid all the voices of pessimism and discouragement in the world today, we offer out of our 50 years’ experience with dedicated youth, hope for brighter, better days ahead. May God guide each one of you to make the most of his life in this great crusade.

Well now, as I close this little talk, let me lead you in the traditional birthday song, using the words “My brothers” at the end… Happy birthday to you…

To brotherhood, cheerfulness, and service! To the next 100 years!

“Adobe is a rocket ship”

It was cool to read what Blair Reeves had to write about Adobe in his Bullish Data Newsletter… pretty much in line with what we’ve been telling the market we’re trying to do, and have been heads-down working on for the last few years. Wonderful to be in the company of other great, smart, passionate professionals in our #AdobeLife who are working together and becoming “a cast study candidate”…

Adobe is a rocket ship

Adobe’s Q2 report came out on Monday, and I updated my running chart of financial performance for the company and Marketing Cloud specifically. The company is on a tear. While their P/E multiple is still at eye-watering levels, in 2015 they’ve nearly doubled their operating margin from where it was in 2013/2014 and begun to ramp up net income in a big way. The fruits of their pivot to a cloud model are beginning to show.
One day, Adobe should be a case study candidate for a company that has successfully done two extremely difficult things well – simultaneously. First, they pivoted from an on–prem software model to mostly cloud. The transition to Creative Cloud, while ceasing the sale of their on-prem creative products, involved swapping out one source of revenue for another (recurring) one, which distorted the optics of their revenue growth for several years. It’s a tribute to their strong leadership and clear communication that they were able to do it as a public company.
Second, they built an industry-leading digital marketing line of business from virtually nothing. Starting with the Omniture acquisition in 2009, Adobe has deftly managed its marketing tech acquisitions in such a way as to build enormous value around the portfolio as a whole, and not just through the sum of its parts. (Can you tell I’m trying to avoid saying “synergy?”) Very, very few companies have done this nearly as successfully.

A Jarful of Prayers

Tonight I walked into Kool Beanz Cafe, the coffee shop a few blocks from home, for an end-of-day coffee. Victoria, the owner, pointed out a jar on the cabinets behind the front counter. Lemon drops. I smiled as she explained that someone had brought them in a few days ago, asked whether I still frequented there, and then left them for me to find.

So I explained the lemon drop story to her…

Focus for the week? Love.

Often on a Monday morning (or over a weekend), I’ll spend some time considering the “Biggest Rock” I want to focus on in my work week – the biggest thing I want to accomplish, or the biggest theme or effort I want to focus on for the week.

This week, with a bunch of tactical “Big Rocks” out of the way for a week or two, I have resolved on a different type of focus for my leadership of my team this week: LOVE.


It does remind me of the moment I moved from the role of consultant to the role of manager, when I realized that my work would (or should) no longer be as much about my own accomplishments than it was about those of my team members. This is a leap for me, as I had taken great pride & joy in my work as a consultant, had handled some major accounts, and received more than my fair share of awards, accolades, and rewards for that work.

As a manager, though, I have to look through an entirely different lens. My whole work life has to stay focused on my team – helping them to see the reward in their work, get better at what they do, and do the very best that they can for our clients and our greater business.

My whole life and upbringing tell me that the best way to do this is to focus, first, on the heart of my relationship with each of them: To love them as individuals and then focus, from that foundation, on what I can do to help and nurture them as the professionals that they are.

Sometimes that means getting down in the trenches and helping with some client work – easing a burden or giving some ideas or an example. Sometimes it’s going to mean jumping onto a call to help present or defend their work with a difficult client. Sometimes it’ll mean enjoying seeing them receive well-deserved praise or rewards for what they’re doing.

The hallmark is my love for each of them as a person – the dignity and worth that they each bring to our team as individuals.

That’s my focus for the week. No big project checkboxes to check off my list this week – just one over-arching goal to get better at my love as a foundation for my relationship with my whole team.

“Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” – John Maxwell

The Order of the Arrow: Centuries of Service

In 1915, at a scout camp near Philadelphia, a young camp director founded an honor society of honor campers and leaders in boy scouting. For years, from that first simple induction on that first night in a scout camp, the program called the Order of the Arrow (OA) grew and expanded.

(From the OA’s website:) “It became an official program experiment in 1922 and was approved as part of the Scouting program in 1934. In 1948 the OA, recognized as the BSA’s national brotherhood of honor campers, became an official part of the Boy Scouts of America. In 1998, the Order of the Arrow became recognized as Scouting’s National Honor Society when it expanded its reach beyond camping to include broader service to Scouting and the community.”

Today, the OA has more than 170,000 active members located in lodges affiliated with over 295 BSA local councils. One interesting hallmark to the Order is that, contrasted against many organizations in which members elect or select new members, in the Order of the Arrow, the members of a scout’s own troop (many non-OA-members, in fact) elect the new members to the Order of the Arrow.

I spent much of my young life growing in leadership and service in the Order of the Arrow. In 1990, I was elected by the members of my troop and served my ‘Ordeal’ (my induction weekend.) My dad and I also drove, with two other members of our troop, to Indiana University to explore a day of the 75th Anniversary “National Order of the Arrow Conference” (NOAC), at which over 7,000 Arrowmen from around the country gathered to learn, network, have fun, and be inspired. I was hooked!