Archive for June, 2011

I live in the house of sparkling hearts, painted rocks that glitter scattered about. my sweetheart paints them. Most times I do not notice. My mind harried and my senses dulled, I am swept up in the daily rush to complete all the exigencies on my ‘to do’ list.

Then something happens. A friend sends a video clip of the earth as a pale blue dot from somewhere in the neighborhood of Saturn. Another, in a matter of minutes, traces the history of humankind traces from the dawn of time. Awed, I stop in my tracks. My existence seems so unimaginably miniscule. Delusions of self importance drain away and I find myself content once more to wonder at the smallest of miracles, miracles I overlook when hurried: the sudden cold touch of my dog’s nose against my leg and the boundless warmth in those dark eyes staring up at me, the perpetual motion and variation of the song issued so fearlessly and unrelenting by the mockingbird just out my door.


And the heart rocks. Which lead me back to the heart of the amazing woman who paints them. An amazing heart, full of dreams and hope and love as unrelenting as the mockingbird’s song.

Energized by gratitude, I push back from my desk and breathe. Suddenly my life has been up-leveled. Heart open now, the inspiration I have sought is mine.

The secret? When we contemplate the immensity of life, we reawaken to the magnificence of its smallest instances. When we glimpse the infinite, we appreciate the priceless nature of the moment. The entryway to the creativity and imagination we need to thrive in these challenging time is ours when we invoke the power of the Highest Common Denominator.

For the last two decades while creating and presenting events world-wide for some of today’s largest, most innovative (yes, I’m bragging here just a bit!) organizations, I have had the opportunity to observe the key differentiator between those continuing to gain market share and those in decline. It is startlingly simple: ascendant organizations have High Common Denominator (HCD) cultures – while those in decline have low.

An HCD culture is a high energy/low entropy environment where creativity and communication flourish and flow easily. Friction and apathy vanish and are replaced by authentic camaraderie and engagement. At the core of HCD practice is the ‘story’. Individuals have them. So do organizations. Success comes from having a good one…. and telling it well. In a time of massive and abrupt globalization nothing matches the transcendent power of the authentic human story, truthfully told, to unify partnership, team or organization – regardless of politics, geography, faith or culture.


The story is to work what poetry is to prose. It conveys meaning beyond words.

It provides truth beyond fact. It carries the human spirit in the palm of its hand, gently. Explicit or implicit, it is what we live for and what we die for. Our story is what ignites or extinguishes our passion.

Unusual times call for business ‘unusual’. They call for lives lived large. Lives less myopic and more mytho-poetic.  It is no longer enough to simply contemplate the work before us. We must now also contemplate the distant stars and glimpse ourselves afresh from that vantage point.  Increasingly, success comes not come to those who do see the work in front of them, but to those who experience the world around. To them go the gifts of creativity, sustainability and passion.

They have harnessed the power of the Highest Common Denominator.


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