A message from Executive Leader Coach Dave Kinnear.
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January 2019

Dear Friends and Colleagues

Welcome to 2019! Assuming all went well, this issue of our newsletter was published while we are on year-end break. Hopefully, we're now in the Chicago area.

I have a long list of changes and/or improvements I want to make in the coming year. However, I don't make new year's resolutions, so I'm just going to think of it as a to-do-list! The good thing about thinking of these desires as a to-do is that I must prioritize them rather than list them. Also, they must be SMART — meaning Significant, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-constrained. The story I tell myself is that I have a much better chance of success if I put this in a to-do-list format. We’ll see.

Looking Back. I’m not one to dwell on the past. I’m also not a big history buff. I tend to be focused in the present, think about the future a bit, and I do try to learn lessons from past experiences. Moreover, as I look back on 2018, I am amazed at what has transpired. Some of the major highlights for me are:
  • A wonderful Vistage Chair World meeting with Chairs from all over the world
  • A fun visit with my sister who lives in Tennessee and loves wine tasting
  • Our first experience with the San Diego Zoo Safari Park “Roar & Snore” sleep-over
  • Running the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll ½ Marathon with my good friend from FL.
  • An inspiring Vistage Chair Group retreat at beautiful Rancho Bernardo Inn
  • Another incredible Keepers of the Flame (KOF) in Boulder, CO.
  • A wonderful ten days in Munich, Salzburg, Vienna, Prague — our 50th Anniversary.
  • Esophageal Diverticulum surgery (ugh!) And, minor dermatological surgery.
  • A great visit with our daughter, son-in-law, and grandson — SoCal is a great draw!
  • My own Vistage Group retreat — again at Rancho Bernardo Inn
  • A wonderful Thanksgiving with son, daughter-in-law, and “adopted” son in Wixom, MI
Of course, in between all these major event highlights was the everyday work. And, while that isn't as exciting, it is and was gratifying work. The bottom line, I'm feeling very blessed and lucky. 

Looking Forward. The cycle starts over again! If all went according to plan, we left on the 21st of December to fly to Boston and spend Christmas with our daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. We’ll leave here on the 29th to fly to Chicago and celebrate the New Year with our son and daughter-in-law. We look forward to these visits.

There will be another Chair World, ½ Marathon, KOF in Boulder, CO, and various other retreats. However, hopefully, no more surgeries. Life is good. With sincere gratitude, I start the new year.

What’s In This Issue? Sometimes, I luck out and have written articles that have a common theme. This time, the idea might be how our worldview creates our reality. The first article, What Is A True Patriot, was written on the 4th of July 2018. In it, I share my thoughts on how our pluralistic society is requiring us to be loyal to team USA, not any political party or ethnic group to which we may belong.

The second article, The Window Matter, explores how our belief systems affect our view of and our interpretation of the world. For business leaders, the point is to remember that our diverse workforce is what will give us unique, innovative ideas for solutions to our challenges.

In the third article, Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), I manage, somehow, to disagree with some very prominent thinkers. My thoughts are that our growing understanding of how the human mind works will be a big boost to our ability to change and adapt. That’s critical to our survival.

Finally, in the Nullius In Verba column, I opine about the critical role curiosity plays in leadership and organizational success. I have come to believe that without curiosity, you cannot be a true leader. So, I share my thoughts on that topic with you and would be curious about your response.

On to the Economy. It is a bit daunting to be writing this ahead of time and making comments about the economy. Never being one to shy away from a challenge, here are my thoughts. By piecing together the information from several sources, my view has evolved to be cautious confidence in the economy for 2019. I think the growth rate (GDP) will slow, but not go negative. About half of the business community I serve have invested in their employee salaries and benefits. They are finding it difficult to hire the right talent and so want to make sure they keep the talent they have.

About 15% of the companies see a slowdown in the top line. Others say things are flat growth rate and nearly half of the companies are contemplating raising their prices. Most do not want to raise prices, but their costs are going up (tariffs and regular supply and demand are cited most as the causes).

As I'm writing this, there is still considerable uncertainty about what will happen with the China trade war. For many businesses (and consumers), the trade war is the biggest unknown. Most of the business leaders I know have set strong expectations for reasonable revenues and profits. I hope they are right!

Let the Opportunities Begin! So, with that, I will leave you to read and enjoy. Penny and I wish you the happiest of New Years. May you and your loved ones be healthy, prosperous, and blessed with peace in 2019.

Warmest Regards,
Dave Kinnear
Executive Leader Coach
Vistage Chair

What Is a True Patriot?

As those who read my newsletter know, we are on vacation in Europe at the time of the publication of this blog post. And while I usually shy away from any political topics in this business blog, I think it is appropriate to pause and think about patriotism on this day. I believe that is especially appropriate when I am abroad. What then, is a patriot?

[Read the full post . . .]

The Window Matters

I slept late the other morning. When I rolled out of bed and looked out the window, I noticed it was gray, overcast and looked like it might rain. When I got to the kitchen, the view out that window was partly blue sky, high clouds and filtered sunshine. It didn't look like possible rain at all! Amazing. What a difference the outlook was from one window to the next.

[Read the full post . . .]

Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA)

It's in our DNA! How often have we heard that statement? Personally, I hear it quite frequently. Often, it’s used as a way of excusing a person’s actions: “I can’t help it, it’s in my DNA.” I also hear it used as an indictment of another person who is reluctant try something new.

Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), a self-replicating material present in nearly all living organisms as the main constituent of chromosomes. It is the carrier of genetic information. Often thought of as the fundamental and distinctive characteristics or qualities of someone or something, especially when regarded as unchangeable.

[Read the full post . . .]

Nullius In Verba


Not long ago, several colleagues and I were discussing our views on leadership. Soon the conversation turned to leadership attributes. After several rounds of the usual attributes — integrity, transparency, humility, vision, etc. —  curiosity emerged as perhaps the most important attribute of a great leader. Subsequent to that conversation, I came across this quote from Ozan Varol...

[Read the full post . . .]

Leaders are

Here's what's new in the reading stack!

As I mentioned last month, I sometimes read most of the books a particular author writes. Brene Brown is one of those authors for me. So this month, the book I've read and am suggesting for you is her latest book, Dare to Lead. I thought enough of her work that I chose this as the gift book for all my clients. I hope you find the time to read it, if you haven't already.


Local Events

ENP Institute

ENP Institute

2019 Strategic Partnering For
Sustained Innovation & Growth

Lite bites, Hosted wine reception with Strategic Connections

January 24, 2019
( UCI Applied Innovation 5141 California Ave Irvine, Ca 92697 )

Register Here

Tech & Employment

I'm sticking to my guns that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be capable of replacing any human endeavor — eventually. I agree that it is next to impossible to nail down the timing. I also agree that 1.) We humans may choose to voluntarily force a place for our own species and, 2.) Regardless of how things end, we are in for a long and painful transition to the brave new world of "full AI." By the way, here's a question — isn't all human intelligence artificial anyway? Enjoy this month's article on Technology and Employment.


Last month, news broadcasts announced that an artificial intelligence (AI) news anchor, said to be the world’s first ever, had gone live in China. The AI anchor was modeled after a real-life news presenter, and is said to be learning from live broadcasting videos. The news, as I watched it on television, was accompanied by somewhat anxious-sounding jokes about how, in the future, AI broadcasters might replace the very newscasters who were presenting this story.

While there are numerous concerns about advanced technologies like AI, the fear of job loss, sometimes guised in jokes about “robots taking our jobs,” seems to be the most widespread concern.


Some analysts who predict the effects of the current boom in automation offer a gloomy outlook for future jobs, while others take a more positive view and say that even though jobs will be lost, new jobs that require new skills will be created. Historically, the creation of new jobs after major technological advances, such as in agriculture and manufacturing, offer a precedent for this more positive line of thinking. Some advisors, such as Gartner (, are even more optimistic and say that technologies like AI will create more jobs than they eliminate. 

[Read the full article . . . ]


from the leadership and business gurus
via the
ELC_CA Twitterverse!
Instead of feeling disrespected because you’re seen as working with human emotions, perhaps it’s worth realizing that it’s a rare privilege, one with unlimited leverage and responsibility.
Through the years, our concept of leadership has evolved—even our ideas of what constitutes a successful leader have changed. But some core traits have withstood the test of time. . .
Data from Vistage research confirms that tariffs are taking a toll on many vertical markets like wholesale trade, manufacturing and construction. Strategically, CEOs need to reconsider their supply chain and pricing. . .
Harold Jarche believes that collectively we need to formulate better ways of looking at leadership in our increasingly networked world.
Simplicity, Synergy, and Scale: Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chair of Tata Sons, sets a strategic course for the 21st century.
Cyber Monday (inspired by its evil cousin, Black Friday) is a symptom of our obsession with convenience. (Seth is a bit self-serving, but still, a good read anyway.)
We look for professionals who can use effort and experience to be able to diagnose something without poking around, treating things in the dark. Are you providing that expertise?
Facebook has had a turbulent two years. But almost no one in tech thinks Mr. Zuckerberg, the social network’s chief executive, should step down from the company he built.
And here's a dissenting opinion from the above Facebook article. "But almost no one in tech thinks Mr. Zuckerberg, the social network’s chief executive, should step down from the company he built."
The beautiful thing about growth mindset is that just like everything else, it’s something you can learn. Mindsets can be remolded. If you do catch yourself using or stuck in a fixed mindset, here’s what to do.
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Dave Kinnear, Executive Leader Coach
Dave Kinnear
Vistage Chair, CCE-Board Certified Coach, Certified Veteran Development Coach, and
 Executive Leader Coach
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