The Melting Point: How to Stay Cool and Sustain World-class Business Performance – Book Summary

The Melting Point: How to Stay Cool and Sustain World-class Business Performance

By Dr. Christian Marcolli     

Before diving into the content of this book, I want to compliment the author and publisher on the format of the book pages. I read about 15 business books every year and most of them have a traditional textbook look and feel. You know what that does to inspired reading – well, this book is not at all like reading a textbook. It’s more on the order of attractively designed help pages with white space and clean font. I know. Normally that aspect doesn’t find its way into a book review, but I was impressed and am giving credit where it’s deserved.

This book title is cleverly relevant today. The Melting Point: How to Stay Cool and Sustain World-class Business Performance by Dr. Christian Marcolli, recognizes the volatility of workplaces, teams, groups, and communities today. Dr. Marcolli said, “We have reached the Melting Point when we no longer fully control our thinking, our emotions, and our behaviors, in a positive and impactful way.”  The final words of that sentence, at least to me, are the theme of this book. We all reach the point of meltdown but can we somehow transform the potentially negative into a positive and impactful outcome?

Becoming First Class

Life is not going to slow down, demands are not likely to either. Projects are never assigned with the expectation that you will do the minimum to just get by. No, expectations are geared toward high-performance today and high-performance tomorrow, even if there are obstacles and encumbering circumstances. That’s where this book comes in. You will learn to apply the most important factors when the heat is on: staying cool, raising your Melting Point

The author clearly understands the process of building a career and the pattern that unfolds as executive capacity is developed. He says, “Top performers have three recognizable traits – passion, adaptability, and coolness. But top performers also make key transitions as they develop.“ 

If you are an emerging leader on the trajectory of rising to your calling, this book is like spending time with a life coach, business mentor, career advisor, and professional counselor. In fact, Dr. Marcolli says, “We need to understand why life has become so tough for business leaders in today’s challenging workplace.” Then he coaches you through it.

Feeling the Heat

Who doesn’t feel the heat in today’s environment? Be it at work or home, the pace is red hot. We can blame it on relentless change, advancing technology, omnipresent globalization, but blame is a negative word and we are after positive transformation here. Instead look into the factors contributing to rising pressure and learn what can be done to face the challenges in a positive, influential way. Marcolli states it in plain language,” The intense workplace isn’t going to go away, and leaders need to understand the impact of this – on themselves, on their teams, and on their organizations.” Through the pages of this book, the author coaches leaders through the process of growing into their roles and experiencing an executive performance transformation. He says there are four stages of Executive Performance Transformation. 1) Drawn in, 2) Obsessed, 3) Ready for Success, 4) Playful

To grow through these stages, you need to be exposed to challenges and stress. I’m guessing, you will have no trouble identifying with the challenges and stress part. When you read this book, you will be guided through the stages of how you arrive at playfulness where you are responsible for yourself and individuals on your team, and the key operative words here are that you are ‘enjoying it’.

To make the trek from ‘Drawn in’ to ‘Playful’ requires that you have an intimate understanding of your Melting Point. 

“The key success factor for business leaders, executives, and corporate performers to sustainably deliver world-class performance is the ability to raise their Melting Point.” 

When you understand it and the factors interacting to determine your melting point your reaction can go from panic to peace. The author describes how these three factors are interrelated and how they affect your Melting Point.

1)      Mental and emotional constitution – how much we can take before we melt down

2)     Situational pressures – what is happening in your world over a short timeframe that causes you intense stress

3)     Constant pressures – then there is the constant pressure which is characteristic of your role

What creates heat for you? Dr. Marcolli gives us 15 examples of what might create heat for each of us, some of which may be relevant to you, but not to someone else. Examples of the fifteen are: Long hours, Office politics, Travel, Executive isolation, Career moves, Family crisis, Health issues, and here’s one for every person reading this – Always “ON”.

“When top performers reach their Melting Point, it is never simply the result of situational and constant pressures. It is compounded by the elements mentioned above combined with their basic psychological constitution.”

Our culture seems to turn up the heat and create environments of volatility in consistent repetition. There is rarely time to cool off before another heated occurrence confronts us. Raising Your Melting Point takes all the symptoms, causes, elements, experiences, and boils them down into recommendations for raising your Melting Point. In the final chapter of his book, Dr. Marcolli presents the six Ps of Personal Leadership Excellence which leads to raising your Melting Point. Passion, Precision, Perception, Peace, Presence, and Persistence

He also discusses the ten specific behavioral patterns needed to raise your Melting Point. When you read the book, don’t skip the chapters leading up to this one and be sure to read the real-life case studies that are serious eye openers of how executives have learned to raise their Melting Point.  I am putting in a plug for the last chapter that walks you through those important ‘10 key behavioral patterns’ to raise your melting point. Dr. Christian Marcolli has written a solid guide that’s transparent and easily understood so you can raise your melting point, not overnight, but through practice and progress.


Under New Management: How Leading Organizations are Upending Business as Usual – Book Report

My first thought as I finished this book? Where was this management philosophy and leadership style when I was working 9 to 5? The good news is, the word is on the street that what was proven to work in the past, no longer works today. In fact, many management techniques of the past didn’t work back then either, and this generation is moving on. To be transparent here, I admit that a few of the ideas presented by author, David Burkus, are strikingly alien to me – but I hold high hope for corporations who dare to go beyond what has always been done. This book was so well organized and segmented by subject, it was a pleasure to read, uncomplicated to absorb, and therefore easy relate to.

From the first page, where I read “Management Needs New Management” I was all in. He starts with an interesting history lesson of a well know ‘mature’ corporation and ends the section with this quote, “We need to ask ourselves whether we can find better ways of working for the future.” Then David Burkus proceeds to offer solutions to faulty management practices embedded into our workplaces today. Under New Management book cover

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and writing the review. I urge you to pick up a copy for yourself. It’s full of real life case studies told in lively, interesting dialog that will hold your attention while being memorable. For corporations ready to try on some new management styles, Under New Management: How Leading Organizations are Upending Business as Usual is like opening the closet door.

Read the full book report here: Under New Management: How Leading Organizations are Upending Business as Usual

BackTrack to OnTrack

You, Lord God, will keep in perfect peace  those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3 

I couple weeks ago, I posted an acronym I use to remind me that what I want in my life is Peace. Choosing P.E.A.C.E. is based on this verse, Romans 14:19 “Let us make every effort to pursue the things which lead to peace and do those things to edify and build up one another.”  At the end of this post, are the values engendered in that acronym.  Yesterday I had one of those days … Monday? Spring Fever? Unproductive – and worse, totally off track from PEACE. This verse in James 1:8 has totally invaded my conscience. “Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” I don’t want to be double-minded or unstable, but in that moment – well? Sunday night our pastor reminded us that to live a successful life, we have to keep the main thing, the main thing. I was looking for a sample of my work to send to someone and in the process found a post dated July 11, 2012 from a friend who dared to publicly report on her goals and progress … on Facebook, Twitter, and who knows how many social media sites! Publicly stated, publicly rated.   I’m not sure why I saved her post, but it has to be one of those orchestrated maneuvers known only to God, because that spoke to me. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, because it is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:22-24 What does it mean to work at ‘it’ with all my heart because it is the Lord I am serving?

Sometimes I forget that God is who I am honoring or disappointing with the choices I make. If I let Him in, God speaks to me over the rattle of ticker tape pouring through the task engine. Do you ever feel like that? About the time you feel accomplished enough to slow down, that task engine starts cranking like a turbine. By definition a turbine is a machine driven by pressure. Sound familiar? Pressure to do more, add a few more items to the list, push a few things off to the side and rearrange priorities? What would God say about my commitment to ‘keep the main thing, the main thing’? God is a God of peace and He wants that for us.

It wasn’t by chance that I saved that post titled in huge letters:  PUSHING FORWARD – A Goal/Progress Update

God knew I would be struggling today. He knew I would have said yes too many times to the unimportant while the important were left clinging to the slippery slope while I navigated and realigned with ‘the main thing’.  I’m reminded over and over that God is the God of order not of chaos. Isaiah 45:18 says this “For the Lord is God, and he created the heavens and earth and put everything in place. He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos. “I am the Lord,” he says, “and there is no other.””

So instead of tackling the mess I’ve made with my off-track voyage into chaos, why am I blogging? Because of the last E in P.E.A.C.E. and because the post written 2 years ago by Joanne Sher, which I unearthed, helped bring me back to center today. And remember that ‘main thing’? The main thing is discipleship and what is discipleship?  Well – I can’t cover that in under 600 words, but I can say that of the many responsibilities, teaching, supporting, and encouraging are among those acts found in the disciples’ job description.

If you had the formula for keeping the main thing, the main thing, wouldn’t you share it? Yes, of course you would. Let’s hit just the highlights of 1 Thessalonians 5, but you can read it all for yourself. “And live peacefully with each other. We urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid; be tender with the weak. Be patient with everyone. Always try to do good to each other. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances. Hold on to the good. Stay away from every kind of evil. May the God of peace make you holy. God will make this happen because He called you and He is faithful. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”

I love that, don’t you? I’m ready to back track to get on track.  Ready? Let’s get out there.


Unacceptable – What do you think when you hear that word? Disheartened? Anxious?  Unacceptable. If you’re anything like me – human – you’ve experienced ‘unacceptable’. No matter how much effort I put into an activity, I never get it right the first time; don’t achieve perfection; concede to the do over. It’s tempting to affix the label ‘unacceptable’ to the whole project and just give up. Consider this with me for a moment. Sometimes we pray for God to give us direction, to open the right doors, and to show us his will.  Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will direct your path. We want clear direction, not foggy instruction. We want these words in Isaiah 30:21 to apply to the decision making process. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” How much easier it would be to hear “This is the way…”

How do you think Joseph and Mary felt about the angel’s message to them back in Matthew 1:18-24? Joseph finds out his fiancé is pregnant! “…before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.”  Totally ‘unacceptable’! But then Joseph realized that even though this wasn’t the way he had it planned, God had a different idea. In verse 24 “Joseph did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.” Unacceptable?

What about Lazarus? Do you remember that Jesus had a good friend, Lazarus who was very sick? You can read the full story in John 11 but here’s a recap. His sisters, Mary and Martha, sent messengers to Jesus with an urgent plea for him to come at once, but verse 6 says “Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, he remained in the place where he was for two more days.” OK wait a minute! That is totally “unacceptable”. Verse 3 of John 11 says “Lord, look, the one you love is sick” yet Jesus dragged his feet and stayed right where he was until it was too late. John 11:14 Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died.” Can’t you feel the anguish; maybe even anger? Unacceptable! But was it really? The story has a happy ending. Fast forward to verse 43 where Jesus is at the tomb of Lazarus and he shouts “Lazarus, come out! And he who was dead came out.” Unacceptable? John 11:45 assures us that it was not. “Then many of the people, who had come with Mary and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in him.”
How do you think Joseph felt in Genesis 37:23 “When Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing— and they took him and threw him into the cistern.” That’s crazy. Talk about unacceptable! If you know the story, Joseph lived a roller coaster life of premier successes and cruelest defeats. Unacceptable – until we get to Genesis 39. Verse 3 reveals “the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did”. And that’s just the beginning. Verse 9 when he was being lured by Potiphar’s wicked wife, Joseph rejects her because he is honorable to his master and true to his God.  “No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” But Joseph’s story doesn’t end there, does it? The life of Joseph didn’t stop at that ‘unacceptable’ act of his brothers selling him into slavery or the deception of his master’s wife. Genesis 45 finally shows us where God’s path was leading all along. Verse 4 shows the restoration of the family. “Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.”

We live with perplexing circumstances, situations that baffle us. We don’t want to hear ‘unacceptable’. We plead with God to make his way known to us. We pray like David prayed in Psalm 19:14 “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

Today, let’s look beyond what we fear is unacceptable and give God our best. Our best is never unacceptable to Him. Jeremiah 6:16  This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.

Ready?  Let’s get out there!

The probationary period has ended

The probationary period has ended.

Do you know me? If you do, you will know that in every employment position I ever had there was one component that I hated … and that’s not an exaggerated term. I absolutely hated the performance review in every minute aspect. If my performance is being rated in meticulous detail, I will fall short of perfection. When that happens, tell me now so I can make corrections now. Three months later or (gasp) a year later is well past the incubation period to effectively make improvements – and if I’ve already adjusted my behavior, there is no value in regurgitating the past. Why is this topic permeating my thoughts so heavily these past few days? It’s been three months since my last day of employment. Three months since anyone looked at my work and evaluated whether it met expectations or had defects. Admittedly, for a few weeks my unequivocal job was to heal from injuries, but after that period … how will I measure up?

Yesterday, I had to pack up possessions from my desk because while I was unable to work, my contract expired. As I left the parking lot I realized that my probationary time of being unemployed has passed. Without stated objectives, I’ve fallen short of using my time wisely. There has been no feedback on deficiencies, and no advisors to point out my failures. As much as I detest the performance evaluation, God reminded me that He has expectations which he has revealed in the present (now) so corrections could be made now.

I came across this passage in Isaiah 49 where God is speaking to his people and I think it still applies, “He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.” But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand, and my reward is with my God.” Is this how I want to account for all the hours God has given me today? To expend my strength for nothing at all? How often I think of the way the Apostle Paul used analogies of athletic competition to drive us toward goal setting and discipline. 1Corinthians 9:24-25 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

I will never warm up to the man-made, human motivated performance evaluation, but when God reaches down, calls me his daughter and says he loves me and created me for his purpose, I need to listen and be ready to learn. Isaiah 48:17 ““I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” God created me with a love of lists: Thankful list, To-do list, To-buy list, Places-to-go list, People-list, God-honor list … In my self-inflicted performance evaluation, it’s obvious that my priorities need to be rearranged starting with my lists.  What has to be first is honoring God, not just now but for all future nows.  I need to practice self-management as explicitly as I would manage a project destined for that dreaded performance evaluation. Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Here’s the plan:  Pray specifically, pray often; give God first place in my life; keep short accounts; acknowledge that insignificant changes can make incremental improvements; stay on track with the goals ahead; be joyful in all things; be content in every circumstance; never be the victim of worry; practice peace.

God said this in Zephaniah 3:14 “Sing, Daughter, shout aloud, be glad and rejoice with all your heart.”

Good, better, best ….

Good, better, best …. give it a rest!

We’ve all heard it, right?  Good, better, best; never let it rest; until your good is better; and your better is its best.  It’s Friday.  What if for today, we take a break from trying to do better. What would it hurt to assess what we’ve accomplished through a clear lens, free of criticism.  How about this. Reach over right now and get a piece of paper and a pencil. Write yourself a note listing what you do well. You know what they are:  good listener, ready to lend a hand, conscientious worker, spiritual counselor, prayer warrior, involved grandparent, positive attitude, talented in your profession.  I read this passage where the Queen of Sheba applauds Solomon’s reputation.  2Chronicles 9:5-7 ““It’s all true! Your reputation for accomplishment and wisdom that reached all the way to my country is confirmed. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it for myself; they didn’t exaggerate! Such wisdom and elegance—far more than I could ever have imagined. Lucky the men and women who work for you, getting to be around you every day and hear your wise words firsthand!” We know Solomon had wisdom, was intelligent, and was even a king – but even he didn’t get it right every time.

Give yourself credit for finishing a book, grocery shopping without complaining, taking time to help a co-worker with their project even though it put you behind on yours, getting started on your laundry early, keeping the cars filled with gas, being helpful to a  neighbor, taking time to visit a friend, mowing the lawn, organizing a room, crossing 3 things off your over-stretched to do list. Hebrews 6:10 “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”

Let’s have one day of applause for just being.  Plan for tomorrow, live for today and let’s open the door wide to the possibilities waiting just outside – no heroics, nothing spectacular, but just having an attitude of gratitude, finding the little splashes of right instead of all that has gone wrong.  Go toward the light. Here’s encouragement for your day from 2Corinthians 8:10 “So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. “

Let’s do what we can today.  Ready?  Let’s get out there!