Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Sweet or Savory, Round or Long – Food to Bring Luck to Your New Year.



A friend of mine reminded me that I should eat lucky foods to start the New Year.  Lucky food for a new year?  Really?  Turns out yes, there are many traditional foods thought to bring prosperity, good health, good luck to a new year.  When I saw donuts on the list, I was excited and decided to rethink my shopping plans.  Here’s the list she sent me:




1.  Black eye peas

2.  Cabbage - kimchi

3.  Cake  (something about round foods being especially lucky)

4.  Fish

5.  Grapes  (not just one, eat 12 of them)

6.  Greens: collard greens, kale, spinach, mesclun salad

7.  Lentils

8.  Noodles  (preferable long ones)

9.   Pomegranates (the Greeks smash them rather than eating them)

10. Pork (for prosperity)

11. Ring shaped foods – donuts  (the sweet unbroken circle of life)


To learn more about these lucky foods (and to find out about three more) read Katlyn Moncada’s article “14 Foods to eat for a Prosperous New Year”


Wishing you a Happy, Prosperous, Lucky New Year.



Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Which Country is Most Innovative?


The Global Innovation Index 2021, the 14th edition of the index ,was recently released by the World Intellectual Property Organization. (  It’s  unique because it covers the time when Covid-19 impacted all economies.  Daren Tang, the Director General, noted that in his introductory remarks:  This year’s edition is being released in the middle of a continuing COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken a grim toll on lives and livelihoods, but also given us many examples of human ingenuity, resilience and adaptability. Indeed, the GII 2021 finds that the innovative sectors of the global economy have remained strong, despite severe disruptions.


Global Innovation Index 2021:


Check out the report to find out more about innovation in the countries where you do business, where you visit, where you live. There’s much to be discovered in this report – and here are three bits of information to get your started: 


Top 15, most innovative, of all 132 countries included in the index: 

1 Switzerland
2 Sweden
3 United States of America
4 United Kingdom
5 Republic of Korea
6 Netherlands
7 Finland
8 Singapore
9 Denmark
10 Germany
11 France
12 China
13 Japan
14 Hong Kong, China

15 Israel


#1 Country by Region:

North America – United States of America

Latin America & Caribbean – Chile

Sub Saharan Africa – South Africa

North Africa and Western Asia – Israel

SE Asia, East Asia & Oceana – Republic of Korea

Central & South Asia – India


#1 Where countries are grouped by income: 

High income group:   Switzerland

Upper middle income:  China

Lower middle income:  Vietnam

Lower income:  Rwanda


Monday, November 15, 2021

Calling Tokyo, San Jose, Phoenix, Atlanta


Four cities.  Four time zones. How to find a time to call that works for people in all four places??

It’s easy to figure out to call when considering just two cities.  A simple question to our friends at Google:  What time is it in Tokyo if it’s 10 am Monday in San Jose, California? will give you an idea if that’s a good time for a call.  The answer:  Probably not.10 am Monday in California is 3 am Tuesday in Tokyo.

However if you want a more complete answer, or if you are trying to set up a call between multiple cities in multiple time zones check out the Meeting Planner function at the site:   


In an instant you discover that 2 pm  Monday in California will be 3 pm in Phoenix, 5 pm in Atlanta and 9 am Tuesday in Tokyo.  That might work.  

 Don’t miss a meeting because the day and time are too confusing to figure out. Or annoy someone by suggesting a time that is midnight where they are.  Meeting times made easy.


Monday, September 20, 2021

Dramatic Visions Can Become Realities

If you doubt that your special vision for your life, for a project, may be too big, too unusual, too challenging to come true – I ask you to look at the realization of the vision of the artist known simply as Christo.   His vision that began over 60 years ago was to wrap the Arc de Triomphe, one of the most important monuments in Paris in fabric.   Today, the Arc is wrapped.


“Now, a little over a year after Christo's death at the age of 84, “L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped” is a reality. Some 270,000 square feet of silvery blue fabric, shimmering in the changing light of Paris, hugs the monument commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 at the giddy height of his power. The polypropylene material, its tone reminiscent of the city’s distinctive zinc roofs, is secured but not held rigidly fast by almost 1.9 miles of red rope, in line with the artist’s meticulous instructions." (From the New York Times).


Standing at the Arc de Triomphe this week, President Macron said, “I think that what we believe is this: crazy dreams must be possible.”


May this dramatic achievement inspire you.  Personal visions can be achieved.  


To see the Wrapped Arc see the articles by Roger Cohen of the New York Times ( and Bill Chappel of NPR.   (photo from NPR article).

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Creating Safe Space: The Gift Exchange


I hadn’t ever thought of a gift as something that would create safe space between people.  That changed when I listened to Keith Lipert, of Keith Lipert Corporate Gifts (  He is an expert in the art and science of gift giving.  Having worked with the Protocol offices of several US Presidents, with other world leaders, heads of corporations, and other dignitaries – he knows the importance of and potential impact of gifts. 


Giving a gift he reminds us, creates a relationship between the giver and the recipient.  The exchange itself can create “safe space” because focuses the parties on their connection.  At that moment the only topic of importance is the gift, representing their connection.   Usually a neutral conversation occurs where the gift is explained:  why it was selected turning the conversation to something special about the recipient.  Polite.  Friendly.  Insightful (we hope).


How do you get to having that perfect gift, the one that starts the safe conversation you want to have?   Begin with answering Mr. Lipert’s  Six Questions for Selecting a Gift: 


Who is it for

Why is it being given

What’s the intended message

What have I given this person (or group)  before

How many of this gift do I need

What’s the budget


Six simple yet sometimes complicated questions whose answers can lead you to the gift that creates Safe Space in the moment of the exchange.


Monday, April 26, 2021


In a recent meeting, I listened to a Director of a company from Finland* describe challenges of working globally, describing requests for special payments to facilitate the movement of goods.   His story reminded me that there is an annual report titled  the Corruption Perception Index (CPI).  Created by Transparency International it offers an assessment of the perceived level of corruption in countries across the globe.   (

The 2020 edition of the CPI ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, drawing on expert assessments and surveys of business executives. It uses a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

Denmark and New Zealand top the index as the least corrupt tied with 88 points.  Following them are Finland*, Switzerland, Sweden and Singapore all at 88.   At the bottom:  Syria, Somalia and South Sudan  with 14, 12 and 12 points, respectively.  Wondering about the United States?   The US appears at #25 with 67 points (down from 73 in 2012).     Thinking about entering a new market?  Don’t forget to check the CPI. 

To see the full report:

Monday, April 12, 2021

Yes, there is still Happiness in the World


 It’s hard to think in terms of happiness when we look back at 2020.  However --- it can be found.   Thanks to the Sustainable Development Solutions Network we know that there is Happiest Country in the World.    They recently issued their annual report,  announcing that Finland was the Happiest Country in the World.  (


They stated that:  “This year’s report focuses on the effects of COVID-19 on happiness and how countries have differed in their success in reducing the deaths and maintaining connected and healthy societies.”   Although the same five countries  rank as the happiest five whether looking at results covering 2018 – 2020 or only  2020, the rankings change slightly.  Either way Finland continues to rank #1 – Happiest country.


 2018-2020                   (2020 only)


1.     Finland                         (1)

2.     Denmark                      (3)

3.     Switzerland                  (4)

4.     Iceland                          (2)

5.     Netherlands                 (5)



You’ll find the details  of the 2021 report and those dating to 2013 by following this link:


(By the way, of the 149 countries in included in the report for 2018-2020 – in the top 20 are  Austria at 10, Ireland 15, the US 19 and Belgium 20.  At  149 is Afghanistan.)


Monday, March 15, 2021

Forget the New Normal














As more people receive their vaccinations there seems to be a sense that  they are magic shots that will take us back to 2019 – a familiar time with well-known rhythms, ways of doing things. 


I submit to you that it’s time to change our vision – not to look backwards.  Let’s be realistic. We’re not going back.  Corvid’s here to stay (like the flu).  Look forward.  Let’s talk about PV (Post Vaccination) or NN (New Now) or New Time (NT) or whatever forward thinking label you wish to create.


Let’s take  advantage of all that we’ve learned (who knew what ‘You’re on mute” meant a year ago?) --- that remote work could be difficult/easy/productive/and not – that we could pivot, learn, adapt, suffer, care for each other, play bingo on Zoom, talk to long lost colleagues and more? 


Let’s figure out our new passports, what it means to be working in hybrid model, figure out how to support each other as we create new patterns, new ways to travel, new ways to keep each other safe.  Let’s look for the joy that surely will come if we pay attention and bring our energy to creating what comes next. 

Thursday, February 4, 2021

I wish you a leader who laughs

Gary Burnison, Korn Ferry, (, writes occasionally about Leadership.  In a recent piece he focused on humor and shared stories of when humor diffused difficult, awkward situations.  Of all that he wrote the sentences below touched me, so I am sharing them with you.

Humor is a legitimate leadership tool, and it takes a lot of intelligence (emotional and intellectual) to use it well. It can become the release valve that lightens despair and disarms conflict.

For family and friends, colleagues and clients, adding a dose of levity and authenticity can alleviate even the heaviest of downpours. We become relatable. We become more human. We don’t build walls of words; we help people climb over to reach us. Indeed, where there’s humor, there’s humanity.

 No matter where we are in the world, no matter that what makes me laugh  may not make any sense to you - and the reverse -  I believe as Mr. Burnison does, that we all benefit when laughter is part of lives.  So I wish you leaders who laugh and laughter to brighten your days.