Two Hunters

Our recent snowfall reminded me of the following story.

As recently happened, there was a very heavy snowfall. Since it was deer-hunting season, two human service CEOs decided to take the day off and test their skills in a farm field in Northern Illinois. The snow was over six inches deep, so the two hunters were able to track a very large deer deep into the surrounding woods.

After several hours of tracking and trudging through the snow, they finally spotted a very large buck. With an accuracy that surprised them, the younger provider brought the animal down with one shot from his rifle. Because it weighed several hundred pounds, it took the strength of both men to drag it to the vehicle. Grabbing the deer by the tail, they began the long journey back. The depth of the snow made it a very difficult task.

After dragging it in the snow for almost two hours, they came upon another hunter who happened to be a well-known management consultant. Noticing how hard the hunters were working and hearing their panting, he made a modest suggestion. “Why not drag the deer by the antlers?” he asked. “It will probably be easier on you guys.”

After a brief chat and rest, the hunters resumed their trek back to their vehicle, only this time they each held an antler as they dragged the buck back through the snow.

About an hour or so later, one of the hunters turned to the other and remarked, “Boy, that consultant was right. We’re making a lot better time, and it’s a heck of a lot easier, but does it seem to you that we’re getting farther away from the car?”

Going in the right direction is crucial. Who we are with—our colleagues and teammates—also makes a difference. Staying true to the organization’s values and vision is the surest way to stay on the right course. It may not be easier, but it is essential.

In positions of leadership, it does make a difference to whom we listen, what their advice or counsel is and, just as importantly, whether or not we understand it.



Proverbs 17:17 (NLT)

A friend is always loyal and a
brother is born to help in times of need.


Can't Not Do

Restore Yourself: The Antidote to Professional Exhaustion

Edy Greenblatt, PhD (Execu-Care Books, 2009)


Many people today are talking about exhaustion and are, in fact, experiencing its symptoms. Edy Greenblatt, PhD, a Harvard graduate in Organizational Behavior, addresses the issue in her brief and readable book, Restore Yourself, which serves as a pragmatic handbook for personal restoration. In it, she focuses primarily on career or professional exhaustion.

Presented in a very interesting and engaging way, the book unfolds the basic tenets of personal resource management in the context of a conversation between Edy and David, a fellow traveler on a flight from Rome to New York. What follows are some selected insights that resonated with me. I trust you will find them interesting and helpful as well.

The first issue confronted is identified as the Work/Life Balance Myth. It is not uncommon, according to the myth, for many people to view work and non-work on a continuum. Work is seen as depleting our personal resources while non-work is seen as the means by which we restore those resources—our vitality, our personal fuel.

Research actually reveals that for most people, there are aspects of their jobs that are restorative, so we should strive to maximize those experiences. You might, for example, be energized when you see your colleagues or subordinates grow. In similar fashion, there are aspects of our non-work life that can be depleting as well as restorative. Think, for instance, about the birthday party for Uncle Joe that you had to attend and how painful it was.

This then leads to an understanding of personal resource management and a discussion of the four energies that fuel everything we do. Consider for a moment the notion of how much fuel we have in our tank each morning when we go to work, and how we can go about keeping our tank full.

The four fuel reserves or energy sources are:

  • Physical – your physical and psychophysical real time capacities, the factors of health, strength and endurance.
  • Cognitive – your intellectual capacities, including planning and decision-making.
  • Social – your social capital, interpersonal connections and behavior networks. This also encompasses your religious beliefs or faith.
  • Psychological-emotional – your affective and psychological capabilities. Included in this category would be behaviors, such as patience and tolerance. An obvious corollary to consider would be your frustration levels.

Later chapters in the book identify many typical restorers and sneaky depletors. Dr. Greenblatt encourages the reader to identify their unique restorers and depletors across the four energy sources, captured by completing a Personal Resource Management Assessment. I found it to be a useful exercise.

One final thought: the author notes that we as individuals generally operate within one of four resource operating ranges or levels—optimal, normal, reserve or burnout. It is obviously important to know and understand the operational range of those with whom we work and perhaps supervise, as well as our own.

If you are curious about curiosity this book is for you.

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