From the very beginning, the sole purpose of THE PORCH has been to create a space to ponder the subtle issues of business and life. In the almost 250 issues, no two issues have been alike – well, until summer’s reflection series was launched last summer! With each of the issues of THE PORCH this summer, I pulled from the archives of the first decade of “The Porch” AND with a gentle brush have slightly fine-tuned the original expression. This month is quite different – yes, still from the archives a decade old, but in partnership with ChatGPT, an app of AI (artificial intelligence), we have worked hand-in-hand (or chat-in-chat) to evolve the original narrative into a post-pandemic and “AI” infused world – ten years beyond a time where the tool nor the context could have been imagined. You can see the original expression of the article from May 2013 by CLICKING HERE. No doubt, this gives new meaning to Jim Finley’s quote (a psychologist and one of my favorite spiritual teachers) when he says: Repetition is not redundancy. So, grab a seat on the porch and let’s go …


In every journey, the companions we choose can shape our experience and the outcome. Take the classic tale of Dorothy in Oz. She was accompanied by the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion, each embodying attributes she needed. As it turns out, these characters were more than just friends; they represented a unique, synergistic formula.

Among this trio, the Lion, a symbol of courage, struck a chord with me. In our ever-evolving digital landscape and amid the challenging dynamics of a post-pandemic workplace, courage remains a vital trait. I’ve often contended: Courage is a cornerstone for any leader aiming to shape a culture anchored in deliberate core values. Patience, persistence, and notably courage, were presumed prerequisites for this endeavor.

However, I’ve come to see things differently!

Or more precisely, from a flipped perspective. Establishing and guiding a culture embedded in intentional personal and organizational values doesn’t consume courage; instead, it generates it! In this sense, Dorothy’s companions served as a perfect model, their order of introduction revealing a powerful blueprint.

Delving into the definition of courage – the mental or spiritual capacity that enables a person to confront adversity, danger, or pain without fear – brought this realization into focus:

Mind + Spirit = Courage

In the turbulent era of “AI” and the blending of virtual and physical workplaces, the Scarecrow’s intellect and the Tin Man’s compassion become even more critical. Just like their combined abilities empowered the Lion to discover his courage, leaders today need a blend of intellectual agility and empathic understanding to navigate the complexities and uncertainties of a new context.

Their journey, akin to Dorothy’s, is marked by the yellow brick road – an allegorical representation of the path every modern leader must traverse. But notice the phraseology:

Follow the yellow brick road!

It’s not about leading – rather, it is about following. In this era, where “AI” continues to reshape the future of work and offices have transformed into virtual or hybrid spaces, leaders need to personally experience this journey. It offers a striking analogy for every modern leader – the journey is more about understanding and adapting. The days of dictating have been exposed for the wicked brew they have always been.

Unlike the pre-pandemic world where leaders could impose frameworks from the top down, today’s leaders need to journey alongside their teams, whether physically or virtually. The quest to build a culture rooted in substantial values requires leaders to embrace vulnerability and a willingness to personally traverse this path. In harnessing their intellect and heart, they uncover their core essence, and in doing so, courage finds them.

Just as Dorothy and her friends faced towering odds, today’s leaders grapple with rapidly evolving technology, shifting market dynamics, and the unpredictable impact of “AI.” Despite these hurdles, armed with intellect and heart, they can navigate these challenges with courage.

Ultimately, Dorothy realized she had what she sought all along.

This holds true for leaders today. The resources they seek lie dormant within them, waiting to be uncovered. Ever since the 2016 release of the leader version of my book Return on Integrity, I’ve become increasingly convinced that the most potent resource at a leader’s disposal is already within them, waiting to be unearthed. But they do have to dig for it.

The journey to building value with core values, especially in a world reshaped by the pandemic and marked by the unpredictability of “AI,” begins with personal vulnerability. As leaders harness their intellect and heart to uncover their personal and organizational core, they’ll realize that they no longer need to seek courage. As they progress on this path, courage will envelop them.

Paradoxically, it’s in their initial willingness to follow that they find the strength they need to lead effectively in our swiftly evolving, complex world.

As always, I would LOVE for you to share, below, your thoughts, wisdom, insights or reflections!