Building Community Through Better Relationships

Rest In Peace Dr. Maya Angelou

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou

I have used Dr. Angelou’s quote countless times in college lectures and professional training. Whether the topic was Principles of Management, Leadership Development, or Business Development, her words rang true. More importantly, her life’s example rang true. From an obscure poet, to an author speaking to multiple generations of literature majors and summer readers, to an international authority of the human condition, Dr. Angelou’s voice never changed. Fortunately for the world, our ability to hear her did change.

In her passing, I am securing the following three lessons in my soul.

1. Live Boldly – In her poetry and literature, she taught the human race “why the caged bird sings”. She shouted about personal, ethnic, and gender injustice with vivid and shocking images. She accepted criticism and accolades with equal dignity. As multiple cultures embrace relativist beliefs and situational ethics, Dr. Angelou boldly proclaimed the truth that she saw. She then allowed time to be the final judge. Regardless of the ruling, her beliefs remained steadfast.

2. Live Unashamedly – Dr. Angelou’s seamlessly moved between academic, political, and social commentary. All three arenas are notoriously fickle. Yet, she stood with dignity and communicated with honor. Her position remained consistent regardless of her audience. Over the decades, times and opinions changed. Her vivid images and timeless verses stand for each subsequent generation to read, hear and interpret. She was unashamed because she was never uncloaked. Her truth always covered her. And, she wore it regally.

3. Live Honestly – As time continued to move forward her wisdom stayed in lockstep. Her voice remained relevant because her honesty never wavered. Whether speaking to kings or commoners, professors or students, the privileged or impoverished, Dr. Angelou told a consistent story. She demonstrated that regardless of conditions, “still I rise”. Whether discussing dignity in the human condition, pain in oppression, or illogic in differences, her images clearly revealed that we all have common characteristics. By example, she had to live honestly because she forced each of us to look at ourselves honestly and see others.

In her passing, people globally have the privilege of revisiting lessons, words, images and feelings that she has simultaneously evoked across generations, cultures, nationalities, and experiences. Dr. Angelou, I am that person that “will never forget how you made them feel”. I can live boldly, unashamedly, and honestly because of the example that you set. From the dirt roads of Arkansas to the chambers of Presidents, you lived “phenomenally”! I proudly accept your lessons to share in word and deed.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter and Beyond


May 29, 2014 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person, Better World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Go Jump Off a Cliff

Hunter & Beyond

Branson, Missouri is known for cheesy shows, vacation attractions, outdoor recreation and moments of individual breakthroughs. Actually, the moments of individual breakthroughs reflect a more personal experience. To be specific, at a corporate retreat in Branson I encountered a personal breakthrough. Someone suggested that I go jump off a cliff, and I did!

One afternoon’s strategic exercise involved the team taking a boat on the lake for swimming and sunning. Eventually, we came upon a sheer cliff overlooking the water. Some younger team members leaped out the boat and swam to the path that led to the top of the cliff. They promptly ascended to the top of the cliff where they jumped, squealed and splashed.

Additional team members seized the moment, climbed the cliff, then subsequently jumped, squealed and splashed. When they encouraged me to join them, I strategically analyzed the risk, factored in that I was a marginal…

View original post 317 more words

May 23, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Will I Ever Have to Use This?

Child and adult learners commonly ask, “Will I ever have to use this?” when presented with a challenging lesson. For kids the answer is always yes. Then, the teacher goes ahead with the lesson. But for grown-ups, the honest answer seems to be no.

Kids will have to use it because they can be taught to grow. Considering that learning is fundamentally acquiring and using new information, kids can often be convinced (or coerced) to accept the lesson. They are naturally inquisitive and are receptive to accept new information, as long as it is relevant. Unfortunately for grown-ups, they have been conditioned to accept the status quo and not grow. Their inquisitiveness has been beaten down by years of “don’t”, “stop”, and “no”. Beware of the child who grows up too fast and has had his inquisitiveness beaten out of him. On the other hand embrace adults who refuse to grow up. By maintaining their youthful curiosity, they will be more receptive to try, fail, and learn. These adults will find a way “to use this”!

Too many grown-ups assert their adolescent right to individuality. They proclaim the right to do what they want; and not do what they don’t want! That grown-up is quick to ask, “Will I ever have to use this?” As an instructor, my answer is “no”. Furthermore, I am thinking… I accept that the student is grown and is making it through life just fine without this skill. Be confident and defiant in your mediocrity. You’re tough, so you don’t need to be smart. Wow, you told me; I guess I can’t make you learn. By the way, why are you even here?

On the other hand, what about the adult who possesses a genuine curiosity to acquiring new information and learning additional skills, who bangs on the piano keys and calls it music, who goes to a Mexican restaurant and orders by speaking bad Spanish? That adult will learn more, grow more and live more. Not just in class, but in life! The grown-up who refuses to learn and defies anyone who tries to make her is gradually turning into dry bones.

I choose to teach adults who want to accept the child-like, life giving force of learning. I tell the students courageous enough to embrace the thrill of learning, “Yes, you will have to use it.” Then, hope like hell they do. I choose to teach my students as if they are children, because children have more fun! Laughter is in my classroom. Effective learning is like unwrapping a surprise with a big red bow. Furthermore, I challenge every learner regardless of age to accept and use the gift that anyone who teaches anything positive is presenting.

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” ~ George Bernard Show

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter & Beyond

May 14, 2014 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community, Better World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Smoking Organization

Organizations have human characteristics. They have a sense of humor. Sometimes, they have bad days. They can come down with illnesses. In fact, some organizations experience illnesses identical to people who smoke. Just like a cigarette ignites the brain’s pleasure centers and simultaneously destroys the heart. Organizations can have contributing members that also bring toxicity into the environment and cripple performance.

Smoking organizations are not seeking to be destructive. Often, they want to fit in. Their bad habits are not as bad as other organizational habits. It is not like someone is embezzling. However, a smoking organization can infect its members in multiple ways. One member may become infected by always being near another member. No harm was intended. Simply, a healthy employee acquired a toxic attitude after being near another employees who has always been toxic. And the sickness spreads. Or a simple cough in corporate behavior is the first symptom of too much toxicity in the environment. Regardless of the reason, the organizational illness spreads and no cure is in sight. Fortunately, an ounce of prevention can be worth a pound of cure.

Breathe the Fresh Air
Remember that an organization is a congregation of individuals. Just like a sickness can invade the organization and weaken it, a breath of fresh air can rescue the group. All members need to exercise their ability to breathe intentionally. If a sick member is positioned to spread their disease in a certain area, then everyone else needs to go breathe elsewhere. Essentially, isolate the toxicity, let it die alone and let the healthy members continue their healthy ways.

Be the Fragrance
Likewise, each individual has the authority, if not the obligation, to contribute their own fragrance against the stench of illness. Deny negative influences in the environment. At some point, denying negative influences require purposefully positive actions. Bring a pleasant aroma of behavior, teamwork, camaraderie, and productivity so that it permeates the area where the work is done. Pleasant aromas are contagious. And, they are much more conducive to organizational health.

Choices Have Consequences
Just because a bouquet emerges in the environment, the smoke does not necessarily retreat. Members who choose to contribute to a healthier environment need to prioritize maintaining a healthier environment. The organization’s health is paramount, so removing the stench is best for all. Reinforcing this decision is the consequence that complacency leads to decay and death. Organizations die all the time; sometimes it is strategic problems, or competitive forces. But upon closer inspection these management shortfalls begin with cultural decay. Good organizations make healthy choices.

Once an organization chooses death and toxicity, its path is established and its fate is sealed. It’s just a matter of time. Without corrective action the organization will perish. Give the organization the chance to choose life by exercising the option to change and improve. Insert employees that lead by culture in addition to leading by skill in key assignments. Identify the decaying pockets of the organization and take action now to be the fragrance that improves its health and establishes a fresh, vibrant environment. To fix a smoking environment, put out the butts and focus on improving the air.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter and Beyond

May 10, 2014 Posted by | Better Business, Better Community | , , , , | Leave a comment