Archive for June 6th, 2018

Thoughts: Meltdown Uncertainty

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

“They live up there, and slightly to one side.”

Sir Ken Robinson in his TED 2006 Talk “Do schools kill creativity?”


A lack of emotional intelligence can lead to a meltdown – which includes irrationality, insecurity and isolation. At the social awareness level, people will notice defensiveness (“I” language) punctuated by jabs of aggression, and impatience. Truth in negotiation and compromise are impossible as trust has shrunk. This is typically found in adult behavior and signals an absence of self-awareness and self-management. It is likely rooted in an imaginary fear and lack of true confidence where the senses are numb and non-functional.

When you run into such a person, it can be horrifyingly puzzling. You wonder whether it is a reflection of their true unguarded personality or a circumstance of recent events leading up to the melting point (then you don’t know if it will get worse or better).

This is the kind of situation our YCISL program endeavors to train young people to gird themselves against in their own behavior, and to be able to recognize this problematic “pothole” behavior in others. When encountering such behavior in adults, our YCISL position is to step aside or put yourself into reverse. There’s no value in trying to save the other person or offering help; they are in adulthood where behaviors are unlikely to change and biased mindsets are entrenched. Adults who learn leadership later in life mostly learn to put on a facade – a modified interface layer on top of a complex and messy structure.

In YCISL, we train teams to ensure group positivity before launching into creativity. We encourage teams to have quick techniques to lift up the positivity, but what should you do when each has been used?

WSJ: Why LeBron Trusts His Teammates

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Not a big NBA fan. Been to just one pre-season GSW game when I first went to college and a WNBA game 15 years later. I do like basketball though. “Played” it (benchwarmer), coached it (youth leagues) and I include shooting baskets at the park court as an option in my exercise routine. As a spectator, I prefer NCAA.

Anyway, this article “Why LeBron Trusts His Teammates) by Ben Cohen and published in the Sports section of the June 6, 2018 edition of the WSJ caught my interest because I did watch much of Game 2 of the current NBA Finals. There was commentary about the “incident” in Game 1 and an analysis of LeBron’s body language. It’s worth noting because LeBron is clearly in a leadership position.

The article is also notable because it’s much about a story of LeBron’s past when he first played youth league basketball. I feel a connection because of my coaching youth basketball for nine years; and I learned a lot from this experience – some of it is used to build the YCISL program.

“But what happened that night is something that James has never forgotten” Perfect fit for the Message to My Past Self exercise in the YCISL Your Personal Story activity. Leaders are driven by life lessons that affect the growth mindset.

“Right then I knew that this was a team game” Teamwork and team-building are two leadership activities which we include in the YCISL program. The main challenge is to make good teamwork automatic and instinctively positive.

“At 9 years old…he knew how to pass to 7-year-olds without knocking them down.” Sign of emotional intelligence. Self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and social management.

“We both was good at what we did.” There has to be respect as well as trust in order to maintain a team’s positive mindset. How many leaders today can sit out and spectate one half of a “game” without getting in the way?

“It’s what he’s been trained to do since the moment he started playing this sport” The YCISL is a training program. It is structurally modeled like a basketball practice with a scrimmage thrown in. The life lessons that we provide to our YCISL youth will hopefully lead to future quality leaders who can readily apply EQ.


*This article is online at However, it’s title includes “(Still)” which is not in the print edition.


WSJ: Employers Find ‘Soft Skills’ Like Critical Thinking in Short Supply

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

In actuality, I am writing this entry in reaction to an article titled “The CEO of LinkedIn shares the No. 1 job skill American employees are lacking” that is posted on written by Ruth Umoh dated April 26, 2018. However, I feel that particular article is too limited in scope because it refers to “research” reported by LinkedIn which is limited in context. So I looked up a WSJ article (by Kate Davidson, August 30, 2016) with a similar idea – it does also refer to LinkedIn, but on a slightly broader scale.

From my YCISL perspective, EQ is lacking in a general way and that is being picked upon as a failing when trying to hire new employees. The ironic part though is that EQ is just as likely to be missing within a company as it is among those looking to join.

One could feel that there is ample critical thinking available, but it is easy to miss because of (1) a fear of sharing that critical thinking in a one-to-one or small group setting, (2) a lack of active listening where critical thoughts go un-heard because of cognitive filters, and (3) a socio-cultural norm where critical thinking should be kept to one self. After all, I see plenty of criticism (a representation of critical thinking) on Yelp! and YouTube. And in education, critical thinking still means that you have to converge to the same conclusion as the examiner.

With these constraints, one could also consider whether leaders are asking the right questions to generate the critical thinking they desire. Asking questions is a general weakness too in leadership and closely tied to teambuilding. We have thus come back full circle in the cause-effect analysis and suggest that the solution starts with LEADERS becoming more skilled at starting the cycle with (a) good questions, (b) keener active listening, and (c) creating a trusted environment where critical thinking is expected and valued.