Wandering Into Wisdom

This blog chronicles the knowledge, insight and wisdom I encounter every day as a leadership consultant, executive coach, educator, father, friend and citizen. This site is dedicated to my father, Louis (Jack) Laughlin, who passed on to me an appreciation for wisdom. A special thanks to my friend Isaac Cheifetz, a businessman and journalist, who helped me understand the value of blogs and encouraged me to write one.


In the intercultural training I recently attended, the trainer made the distinction between transformational and developmental change. Transformational change happens immediately and spontaneously while developmental change happens over time and requires effort. Many times we give up on our development too early because we expect an immediate transformation.
From October 2008 Caravela Update

Why Quit

Many of my clients get to the point where they’re ready to quit their current position because of conflict with their boss or dissatisfaction with the organization. Before they leave, I advise them to face their issues explicitly and directly. The consequences of such a bold approach are inconsequential since they have already decided to leave. Many of them resolve their situation and avoid the risks inherent to changing jobs.
From June 2008 Caravela Update

Doctor Doctor

A client once told me the process doctors and other medical professionals use to learn new procedures.

Watch one
Do one
Teach one

From January 2006 Caravela Update

Speak With Fire

A client was considering the question of whether to retain or fire one of his underperforming subordinates. With a great deal of frustration and anger he suddenly shouted, "FIRE." After composing himself, he thought it better to give the subordinate another chance. He decided to calmly talk to the subordinate about his lack of performance and poor behavior. I asked him to rethink his delivery. Even if a calm explanation could make the subordinate understand, an emotional message would get him moving.
From January 2005 Caravela Update

Vendor Relations*

As many of you know there has been a shortage of steel, and manufacturers who use a lot of steel have suffered supply issues. I asked one of my clients how they managed the situation and they said, “We have always treated our suppliers as well as we treat our customers so they put us at the top of the waiting list. We have never run out of steel.”
From November 2004 Caravela Update

Listen to Your Gut*

I was having coffee with a former colleague who said a very wise thing in a moment of honest reflection. “I had a visceral reaction to the situation but didn’t act on it quickly enough. The situation dragged out for two years. I wish I had listened to my gut and acted on it earlier.”

Bold Obvious Move*

A client asked me to attended a sales meeting to help figure out how to jumpstart sales. After I suggested a couple of options to break things loose the client sighed, looked at me, and said, “Well, it’s time for the bold, obvious move.” I’m not sure if they used any of my suggestions but sales improved significantly after that meeting.


I was talking with the division president of a company that had just been acquired. He told me that he had finally discovered the basic principle that rules all organizational change...WHAM. I raced through my memory looking for any recollection of the acronym but came up blank. When I asked what it stood for he said "WHat About Me"...everyone wants to know how the change will impact them before they worry about anything else.
From June 2003 Caravela Update