The Things that are Cesar’s

November 4, 2010 at 5:48 AM | Posted in Dogs | 2 Comments
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It is such a great feeling to learn something new – something you do – try it and have it work.

Becoming a Pack Leader

I  recently watched Cesar Millan’s “Becoming a Pack Leader” show on DVD. I had read about him in Gladwell’s What the Dog Saw and was intrigued by him. The world of dogs is all new to me but still, I thought that, while not a dog whisperer like Millan, not yet, I had a certain touch, at least with a certain Granddog.

Cesar sets us straight right from the start. When we think of a dog, this is the correct order of thought:

  1. Animal
  2. Species (dog)
  3. Breed
  4. Name or personality.

Many people get this backwards, as I have.

In the same way that I was ripping my rotator cuff further apart by my supposedly medicinal stretching, I was walking Dolly like a wimpy ‘follower’. So, Mr. Millan instructed me to hold the leash closely but not tightly. I was to lead my dog and not let her in front of me. This was the exact opposite of what I was doing – or should I say, what I was letting happen. Just the day before this 14 lb dog dragged me under trees and bushes at her whim.

Granddog in Halloween finery

So, I tried it and it worked. Yes, unused to my newfound manliness, she pulled and then strained harder but I was determined. By the time we finished our 45 minute walk, the time Cesar suggested, she was just behind me, contentedly following me, the newly crowned Pack Leader.

Checklists Part 3

May 31, 2010 at 4:58 AM | Posted in Books, Business, Sales | 3 Comments
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The Checklist Manifesto begins, in Chapter One,  with a great hook: a 3-year-old girl in rural Austria is walking with her parents and wanders away for just a moment and, after a half hour, they find her at the bottom of an icy pond. Three years later she is completely back to normal.       

No, it was not just a to-do list that did the trick. It was a coordinated effort from scores of people of different disciplines operating with a fluid efficiency both immediately and over time. It turns out, the Austrian medical teams were prepared for just such an eventuality. They had created checklists after failing to bring others back to life .      

the good Doc


Atul Gawande, author of The Checklist Manifesto, is both a noted surgeon and published author of several books. He shares some similarities with his fellow New Yorker author, Malcom Gladwell. This connection was intuitively picked up by my friend from England, Graham Page.       

And so, my prep for my workshop has begun. I’m glad that the necessity of the workshop has driven me to read the book. The nature of checklists, I’ve learned, when done well is far deeper than I thought when I had not read the book but felt as if I had. I had not, for example, grasped the difference between To-Do  lists and checklists.  For example, a To-Do list might have all the things that I have to do today: make coffee, blog, stretch, be at the golf course by 8, leave for the airport at 1:45. A Checklist is designed to be used over and over and can be relied on, as in packing for a trip to Europe: passport – check; plug adapter – check; itinerary – check; taxi scheduled –  check; decent food packed – check.    

I am excited by what I am learning but I wonder if it is enough to justify a workshop. Plex software actually has checklists in the form of “checksheets” built into it and I’ve seen us demo it many times and I admit that, though the software looks good, the checklist concept has never brought me to the edge of my seat. All that checking was for other people!     

But now I am excited and I must think of examples of how the concept applies to my audience. That is something to muse on as I walk from shot to shot during my medicinal 9 holes on this Memorial Day.    

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