The Virus

This blog is going to have a heavy “dog” feel as I am going to hawk my leadership/dog book at the end, and I am going to use some quotes from “How to be Your Dog’s Best Friend” by the Monks of the New Skete.  Some of these blogs are best consumed with a cold drink, outside with a dog by your side.

These blogs are a lot longer than the old “Planner Quotes” as I take notes all month and at the end put it all down.  There are three parts:

An opinion piece, this month it is on the Virus.
The Quotes – which I think are excellent this month.
And some notes on what is going on at Chesapeake and some plugging of our business

You may want to read blog in separate sessions.



“I am so excited; Mom and I are going to get our hair done,” Leigh proudly said.  

“Isn’t that illegal?” I replied.

Later that day, Linda came by the office and off she and Leigh went – very happy.  Getting their hair fixed together is a mother-daughter fun event.  

I am sort of a boring fellow.  I have never attended secret groups or societies.  I have not met and felt I was doing something that was suspicious.  I have never belonged to a real shady organization (The old geezers at the Church of the Chick-Fil-A is borderline).  I felt a little sense of pride in my two revolutionaries scurrying off to get their hair done in violation of the government telling them they couldn’t.

Their stylist had converted her garage into quite a nice salon.  Linda and Leigh were instructed to bring cash.  Whoever uttered “Live free or die,” would be proud of my two girls and the salon owner. 

The Corona virus has affected the entire world.  Nations, states and businesses are now starting back up.  This week the University of Alabama announced that they were going to have Fall classes with real students and professors in the classroom and today their president announced that there would be Crimson Tide football played in Bryant Denny stadium in the fall.  You could hear the sigh of relief from the city financial office for miles around.  

We are not quite there yet –but we are close to asking ourselves, “what did we learn?”  

We will eventually get enough data and analysis to determine where the virus came from, how deadly it is verses the flu, and whether a complete shutdown of the economy was necessary.  We will get to a point that only the incurably biased will not agree as to what happened.  Heck, we still have folks that think we faked going to the moon so we will never get consensus.  However, I am concerned that the “incurably biased” among us is on the increase.

One of the things I have learned is how much the American people dislike each other.  We may be to a point where the stated values of the two main political parties are unreconcilable.  If we cannot pull together during a major crisis (and we haven’t) then there is little hope for unity.  Yes, there has been a sizable group of people that have saved the day for all of us, including most people in public leadership.  All those on the front line, the rapid innovation to develop testing methods, getting factories turned around to produce personal protective equipment, churches and others feeding tens of thousands and university engineering departments producing face shields with 3-D printers.  However, there is also a sizable group of folks that seem to be cheering for the virus and our other enemies.  They seem to rejoice at bad news and quickly look to put the blame on someone.  That is disturbing and it is not how nations and their leaders need to act during a crisis.  

As a one-time lifelong Methodist, I saw the same thing evolving for decades within the church.  It was apparent to me, and others, that the values among different factions within the church were not going to be reconciled.  The good people on both sides of the fence needed to go their own way as they are going to be stronger apart than they are together (that sounds like the reverse of a famous saying).  But it is true.  They seemed to love one another – they just didn’t like each other.  

Does our country need to figure out how to divide up and go our separate ways?  A peaceful civil war?  Would we be happier and more productive apart?  I don’t know.  Perhaps.  I have grown weary of the acrimony.  I have learned that I just don’t like some of my countrymen.  I have some friends that I love – however I don’t know that I like them.  That is what the virus has taught me. Or maybe it just reaffirmed something that was already there. 

Three times each week I read “For Each Day” by Max Lucado.  It is in the introduction to one of his devotional books.  I read it three times per week because I am thick headed, it is a good message and I want to internalize it.  It is almost like a poem using the fruit of the Spirit as the foundation of the poem.  There are nine of these fruits.  Here is what he had to say about “kindness.”  By the way, all these fruits are choices.  “I choose kindness.  I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone.  I will be kind to the rich, for they are afraid.  And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.”   By the way, if you want a copy of that “poem” send me an email, and I will send you a copy. You might also be thick headed. 

I guess going forward in a culture where there are unreconcilable values, that the kindness fruit is one I need to get an extra dose of – for such is how God has treated me.  Crap.  Be kind to one another anyway. 


  • A dog is the only thing in this old selfish world that loves you more than he loves himself.  Josh Billings
  • We cannot become what we need by remaining what we are.  John Maxwell
  • Listening requires the kind of mature love that moves a person to leave his own world to enter another’s—a love that does more than hear words—the kind of love God demonstrated when Jesus entered earth’s atmosphere in a self-saturated world.
  • Listening isn’t a luxury.  So often it is the road to experiencing love.  
  • If you learn to listen like God listens your life will make a difference.
  • In hearing like God hears, you’ll love like He loves.  Listening will help you know what to give people, how to refresh them and how to prepare for their needs.
  • Prayer is sitting in the silence until it silences us, choosing gratitude until we are grateful, and praising God until we ourselves are an act of praise.  Richard Rohr
  • Learning the value of silence is learning to listen to, instead of screaming at, reality: opening  your mind enough to find what the end of someone else’s sentence sounds like, or listening to a dog until you discover what is needed instead of imposing yourself in the name of training.  Thomas Dobush, Monk of New Skete
  • Because of their association with humans, dogs are in a unique position to offer humanity a reflection of itself.  Monks of the New Skete (a good reason to purchase and read the book I hawk at the end)
  • Dogs are guileless and filled with spontaneity: unlike people, they don’t deceive.  When we take seriously the words they speak to us about ourselves, we stand face-to-face with the truth of the matter.  Monks of the New Skete
  • Talent is a gift, but character is a choice.  John Maxwell, 
  • You must understand the distinction between training an animal and educating one.  Trained animals are relatively easy to turn out. All that is required is a book of instructions, a certain amount of bluff and buster, something for threatening and punishing purposes, and of course the animal.  Educating an animal, on the other hand, demands keen intelligence, integrity, imagination, and the gentle touch, mentally, vocally, and physically.  J. Allen Boone
  • You cannot become a better dog trainer without becoming a better human being.  Monks of the New Skete
  • Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.  John Maxwell
  • Men mean more than guns in the rating of a ship.  John Paul Jones
  • When principle is involved, be deaf to expediency.  Commodore Maury
  • He who will not risk cannot win.  John Paul Jones
  • A leader who produces other leaders multiplies their influence.  John Maxwell
  • Inspirational leaders minister to the weakness of the people they serve.  They sacrifice their right to be respected in order to allow people to express their emotions appropriately.  
  • Nature is God’s workshop, the sky his resume.  The universe is his calling card.  Max Lucado
  • The only guarantee for failure is to stop trying.  John Maxwell

Other Stuff:

  • The weight loss program is on schedule for the year.  That is the good news.  The bad news is I lost four months’ worth of weigh the first two months and have stagnated.  I need to make a move in May to get back on track so I can be on goal at the end of the month.  Plan to tweak up exercise plan and get more diligent on intermediate fasting.  If I mess up in May I will want you all to send me some hate mail.  
  • We are digging into the use of ACT job profiles to help companies be compliant with ISO 9001 paragraph 7.2.  There are a boatload of advantages of these profiles – not to mention every high school senior in the state of Alabama takes the WorkKeys test and the same criteria is used in the profiles.  
  • All DISC assessments are not the same.  The ones we use from TTI are top drawer and give lots of information for use in hiring, counseling and just have a better knowledge of yourself and those around you.  Now you can have your own in-house expert without leaving your computer.  You will have the ability to order assessments as you need them and the expertise to understand what they are telling you.  Contact Leigh Covington for more information.  This is a good deal. 
  • Our work for prison re-entry has been put on hold during the virus.  We are doing preparation work to hit the ground running – hopefully in June.   One of the things we are working on is providing assessments to measure the effectiveness of the thinking-change curriculum.   Fun and exciting stuff. 

“What I Learned About Leadership From My Dog”

That is the book of the month we are highlighting.  I wrote this in 2012.  Here are what some others said about the book:

  • John understands dogs, people, and organizations.  With great wit he intertwines leadership theory, his experience in business and dog training.  An entertaining and educational read.  Dr. Phillip Westbrook, University of Alabama. 
  • This book is like getting a strong dose of leadership common sense from a fire hose.  Tom Patterson former Chairman of the Board DAXKO, Inc. 
  • John’s refreshing book brings together insights from the two worlds of leadership theory and practice and of interaction with dogs.  The intersection of these worlds invites and surprises with new ways to consider a leader’s roles and functions.  Read this book to find a different window through which to see the work and responsibilities of a leader.  Karen Greenwaldt, CEO, General Board of Discipleship, the United Methodist Church, retired. 
  • John’s book lays out a compelling narrative on the essential elements of effective leadership on the training field and in the business field.  His work is a reflection of his devotion to his dog, Maggie and his business, Chesapeake Consulting.  He has developed a relationship with Maggie that is truly built upon the foundations of trust and respect; the same elements that have created an outstanding leader in the business community.  Charles Radle Jr., Co-owner of Fieldstone Animal Inn and Dog Trainer

The foreword of the book was written by Tom Kilgore, who is the retired President and CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority.  

I got the idea for the book while I was training my German Shepherd, Maggie, in search and rescue and drug detection.  Working together with the dog was more about leadership than “training.”  

You can purchase “What I Learned About Leadership From My Dog” on Amazon and other bookstore outlets or from us.  Our price is $25 per copy and that includes shipping within the US.

Hopefully by next blog time we are well on the way to “an old” normal versus this “new” normal crap.  

Blessings and stay safe my friends,

John Covington
CEO, Chesapeake Consulting, Inc.