Who Are You? Who? Who?

So begins the opening to the popular television show CSI. This questions seems to be asked in every generation as people seek to discover who we are. In school we take IQ, ACT, SAT, or other tests to tell us about who we are intellectually. Daniel Goleman popularized EQ to help us better understand our emotional intelligence. In the work place we may take MBTI or DISC personality profiles to gain insights into our behaviors and the behaviors of those around us. Spiritually we take various spiritual gifts tests or analyses so we know our part to play in the work of the church and kingdom of God. Each of these tests and inventories has merit, but too often they tend to lock us into a box which then becomes a prison or an excuse as to why we act as we do.

Steve Cockram and Jeremy Kubieck recently published  5 Voices: How to Communicate with Everyone You Lead on the premise that we have one primary voice and generally two-three secondary voices. However, the authors tell us that most of us do not understand our primary voice and how it can best be used with the people with whom we work. Thus their book is designed to help readers assess their primary voice among the five, then develop that voice. The five voices are: Nurturer, Creative, Guardian,  Connector, and Pioneer.

Here are the authors brief descriptions of each voice:

Nurturer: champion of people – concerned with the relational health and harmony of the group; are committed to protecting values and principles; and understand how actions and words will affect others

Creative: champion of innovation – think outside the box; believe things can always be better; ask why people never quite understand your ideas

Guardian: champion of responsibility and stewardship – value and respect logic, order, procedure, process; seek clarity and proven decision-making criteria; want to see successful track record in order to make changes

Connector: champion of relationships and strategic partnerships – rally people to causes and things they believe in; good at building networks of people and can usually find the right people for the right situation

Pioneer: champion of results and progress – possess an anything is possible attitude; visioning a new future is always priority; always looking for quickest, most efficient way to win

After reading the book, filled with details on each voice, including strengths, weaknesses, and how to use not only your primary voice but the other voices as well, I believe those who read and apply the principles of the book will better communicate with team members, family, and friends.  I recommend taking time to read this practical book.

Who are you? Who? Who? will never be completely answered by personality profiles, inventories, tests, or voices. We are far more complicated than can ever be assessed. If we follow Christ our ultimate identity is found in him.




Friend & Foe

I just finished reading a really good book on knowing when to compete and when to cooperate, in your work place, in your family, and among your friends.

Here’s what Amazon says on their site about the book.

“In FRIEND AND FOE, researchers Galinsky and Schweitzer explain why this debate misses the mark. Rather than being hardwired to compete or cooperate, we have evolved to do both. In every relationship, from co-workers to friends to spouses to siblings we are both friends and foes. It is only by learning how to strike the right balance between these two forces that we can improve our long-term relationships and get more of what we want.

Here, Galinsky and Schweitzer draw on original, cutting edge research from their own labs and from across the social sciences as well as vivid real-world examples to show how to maximize success in work and in life by deftly navigating the tension between cooperation and competition. They offer insights and advice ranging from: how to gain power and keep it, how to build trust and repair trust once it’s broken, how to diffuse workplace conflict and bias, how to find the right comparisons to motivate us and make us happier, and how to succeed in negotiations – ensuring that we achieve our own goals and satisfy those of our counterparts.

Along the way, they pose and offer surprising answers to a number of perplexing puzzles: when does too much talent undermine success; why can acting less competently gain you status and authority, where do many gender differences in the workplace really come from, how can you use deception to build trust, and why do you want to go last on American Idol and in many interview situations, but make the first offer when negotiating the sale of a new car.

We perform at our very best when we hold cooperation and competition in the right balance. This book is a guide for navigating our social and professional worlds by learning when to cooperate as a friend and when to compete as a foe—and how to be better at both.”

If you find yourself seeking to better understand how to work with people on a daily basis this book will challenge you to consider competition and cooperation as both valid.


Watching our grandchildren in their first year of life reminded me that people learn because they are curious. Everything is new to young children, so they explore whatever they see. They touch, taste, smell, and play with, trying to figure out what the object is all about.

As we grow older we continue to learn as we explore, until we get to school. Then we are told we can only explore those items and subjects which our teachers tell us we can explore. Natural curiosity is slowly discouraged and conformity becomes the norm in life. But as soon as we get out of the classroom we continue exploring our world. Bugs, magnifying glasses, forests, streams, caves, and books become places where our curiosity can be satisfied.

I remember going to our branch library, called Maple Valley Library, and exploring various topics, reading every book in that section. I read of gangsters in New York and Chicago. Jazz music interested me so I read about the various musicians and styles from various cities. Some days I just wandered through the card catalog (yes, the old-fashioned wooden box with many small drawers filled with cards) looking for something else to explore.

On some Sunday afternoons we went hiking with Dick and Larry and their dad. We wandered city parks, especially The Gorge, pretending we were early pioneers looking for places to settle our families. In one section Chuck, Dick and Larry’s dad, would tell us about Moses and Israel crossing the Red Sea as we walked through a narrow gap with high walls on each side. We looked for animal tracks, investigated various bugs and worms we found under rocks.

As an adult I’m still curious. I read widely – mystery’s, biographies, current events, politics – all seeking to learn what I do not know much about. I remember years ago a teacher at Michigan State telling us that when we graduated 90% of our reading needed to be outside our field of expertise. At the time we did not understand, but upon graduation slowly began to realize she was right. After gaining an advanced degree you are a supposed expert, but your expertise is narrowed so that you sometimes can’t see anything else. She reminded us there was a wide world to explore, and I’m on that journey.

The old saw says curiosity killed the cat, but I find that without curiosity I’ll stagnate, stuck in problem-solving techniques which may no longer work, and bored looking at the same things day after day. Walt Disney said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” I enjoy the paths.