Showing posts with label Commitment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Commitment. Show all posts

July 25, 2019

Lasting Decisions

So it's a funny thing about decisions...

Decisions are supposed to represent the conclusion of a process involving the following steps:

- Research of the problem
- Decide on the scope
- Discover the requirements
- Determine viable alternatives
- Evaluate costs, benefits, and risks 
- Do some soul-searching
- And then resolve and commit on a way-ahead

While these steps are typically formalized in a work-setting, they may be done informally in our personal lives. 

But even after all this, we need to remain adaptive to changes in the environment that would cause us to reevaluate the decision and alter course. 
So a decision is a decision until we revisit the decision. 

The problem is that in some highly complex, unstable/turbulent environments, or ones where there are a lot of disagreements among stakeholders (such that there was perhaps not a consensus on the original decision to begin with) then "decisions" may be short-lived.

In this case, decisions may be half-baked, not even last until the ink is dried, and certainly not have a chance in hell to be executed on or seen through to determine whether they actually would've worked. 

In a way a decision that is so temporal is not even really a decision, but sticking your toe out to feel the temperature of the water, and any commitment of resources can and probably will be a complete throw-away.  

We've got to do the investment in the upfront work, really make a good data-driven (and inspired) decision, and give it an opportunity to blossom. 

Yes, we need to remain agile and change as we sincerely need to, but too much change and for the wrong reasons leads to going nowhere fast.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 14, 2018

Taking Pride In Your Work

I thought this was a nice necklace. 

The lady in the hair salon had a necklace in the shape of a scissors.

I asked her about it because it seemed sort of unusual and neat. 

She said, "It's a scissors!"

And then she proceeded to squeeze the miniature two handles, and said, "You see, it actually opens and closes too!"

I could see and hear how proud she was of what she does for a living. 

Yes, maybe it doesn't earn as much as some other professions, but it was her job and she loved it. 

I think we should all try to take such pride in our work and in doing a great job!

Everyone has something important to contribute and every contribution truly counts. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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May 19, 2018

Not So Indispensable

So I heard a story from a friend and colleague that I thought was important. 

It was about someone in their organization that was being fired. 

The person who was going to be let go went up the chain to complain and said "if I am fired then everything in my subject area is going to fall apart and it will be disastrous to the organization.

The person in charge responded and said, "Listen, even if I were fired, things wouldn't fall apart; within 2 weeks no one would even remember that I worked here!"

Wow, that is a powerful lesson said that way. 

No one is so indispensable.

Everyone is replaceable.

Even the very top people!

The other important thing they said was:

"Don't think all people are in it to advance the organization; many are in it to help themselves first! Everyone is talking about their salary!  Their stock options!  Their bonuses!"

I guess it's not completely surprising right.  People do have to look after themselves and their families. But I suppose when you hear it so matter of factly, it sort of really makes you think about the functioning of our companies, agencies, and society.

How much are we getting from people for our organizations and missions vs. how much are people trying to "milk" the system for their benefit?

In the end, (almost) no one is irreplaceable on the job--except maybe a Steve Jobs-type--someone who is truly a one in a million leader. 

And if we see people aren't contributing their fair share and are taking more than they are giving or they are real jerks and hurting others--then why the heck are they still in place? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 8, 2017

Is It I Don't or I Do?

Wow this was tough...

I was at a luncheon with some friends, including a couple we're friendly with that's been dating a while.  

At one point, the young man gets up to get some more food, and the young lady all of a sudden asks me, "Do you still live around here?"

I said "Yes, not far from here," and in turn asked whether she was still living in {blankty blank neighborhood}.

She said, "Yes, {and continues sort of out of the blue} and we're not going to live together until we get married."

I was sort of surprised at the turn that her answer took about their relationship, and innocently asked, "So does that mean you guys are planning on marriage then?"

Just then the man comes back and I must've been reading the tea leaves {and the ominous music for the laying of the trap starts playing in my head}...

Immediately, the young lady says to him before he even sits back down, "He's asking if we're getting married {and for some reason she's literally pointing at me or am I imaging that finger like a dagger coming out}!"

At this point, I think my eyes started to bug out a little as I must've had this look on my face like what the heck is going on here. 

But if this isn't going bad enough {what in G-d's name did I walk into with this?)...

This older lady across the table, starts blurting out loudly saying, "How would you like if she ends up with another guy?!!!"

Holy sh*t {where is that coming from now?)!

The guy next to me is obviously at the point of fury {I can't say that I fully blame him}, and he packs up his stuff and sort of storms off from the table.

The young women is still there trying to make conversation as if this whole thing just somehow didn't happen. 

But it did and it was pretty ugly!

The older lady {not stopping--this is madness} then chimes in again and says, "Look at what he did, he stormed off--if I were you, I would just drop him!"

We're all sort of sitting there in complete shock now. 

Pulling for a straw to somehow make this scene go away, I ask the young lady, "Should I go out and see if I can speak with him?"

She's shakes her head and says, "No. We're almost done {done--in what way...?}!"

Within a couple of minutes, we excused ourselves and headed out--sort of not believing how this whole scene went down. 

One thing I can tell you is do not get ANYWHERE near people and their relationships--there are a whirlwind of just under the surface feelings, agendas, and finger-pointing ready to take flight and eradicate everything in the vicinity of ground zero. 

Anyway, I hope everything works out okay for this couple...they actually do seem really nice together.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 27, 2016

Coupling, The Beauty Of

So just a couple of birds, right?

Not to me!

There were a number of reminders to me today about how special and fortunate it is for any of us to be with someone we love.

It's not just that two heads are better than one. 

Pretty much, everything is better with a partner who looks back at us and smiles. 

We magnify the joy and we share the sorrow, together.

What my dad used to call my mom, his "better half!"

What we are lacking in, often our soulmate can fill in the blank. 

And planning and executing is as a team, rather than flying solo. 

There is someone who keeps our lofty ideas in check and at the same time challenges us when it's time to think bigger. 

We learn from the other person, at the same time that we teach them maybe a little thing or two from our repertoire. 

Strategically, divide and conquer makes everything from routine tasks to complex projects easier to achieve, especially when we agree on the goal and the approach. 

Even the "occasional" disagreements and fights helps us to learn to control our temperament and to work things out or when to take a break and think things through afresh. 

Someone to reach out to.

Someone to hold unto. 

Someone to caress.

Someone to buttress. 

Someone who makes us a better person than the one we see in the mirror naked and mortal. 

Like 2 by 2 in Noah's Ark or in the birds and the bees, we are committed to that special someone. 

The Bat Kol calls out "so and so shall be married to so and so" like only the L-rd in heaven can decree from the rib of man to the flesh of a women. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 19, 2016

Some Nice Hats For Shabbat

Just some fashion festive before Shabbat.

Suggestions for some nice hats for Jewish ladies who cover their hair in synagogue or out. 

I don't think these were designed for that purpose, but it just made me think that it does the trick.

Modesty before G-d and for the sanctification of marriage. 

It's a nice Jewish custom that seems holy and beautiful. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 24, 2016

Defeating Terrorism Not Optional

So in today's New York Times Sunday Review, David Rieff provides some insights on the state of terrorism that we are living with. 

Two very concerning points he makes:

1) A resignation that not much can be done: There are limited security resources, but infinite points for terrorists to strike. As he says, "Not all these attacks can be stopped....there is no way to police every subway station, cafe, and public square."

2) Many of our leaders are in convenient denial or disengaged: They see the daily terrorist attacks and their response is a rote rejoinder to either join for a brief memorial, slough it off altogether, or even make a joke of it (as if murder is a laughing matter). Rieff repeats even a recent interview with President Obama where he makes light of the impact of terrorism in that doesn't pose "an existential threat to the United States of the world order." Unless of course, it escalates and involves weapons of mass destruction or potentially taking out significant portions of our nation's critical infrastructure.

This just seems so different that how our nation has raised itself up in past conflicts and to win them: 

In World War II, the Allies were committed to defeat Nazi Germany, and they did, including through D-Day, one of largest and bloodiest invasions in history. 

President Reagan helped win the Cold War, by labeling the Soviets the "evil empire" and setting America on a major military buildup, one that the Soviet Union could not afford and eventually withdrew from. 

After 9/11, President Bush vowed that we would get Osama Bin Laden "dead or alive," no matter how long it takes, and eventually we did!

Over and over, the odds were not great and the stakes were enormous, but a positive attitude and the commitment to win took us a long way. 

In contrast now a attitude of defeatism has set in with Rieff declaring that "the stark truth is that the number and lethality of terrorist attacks are far likelier to rise than to diminish in the near future," and as he quotes the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls as saying, "Times have changed, and we should learn to live with terrorism."

How can anyone agree with that--should we really resign ourselves to learn to live with random acts of violence, murder, and terror? 

Rieff ends with that "the best we can hope for is to hold on to enough of our humanity to have a chance of clawing back the rest when the war ends, as all wars do."

I do not believe that this is good enough!

Not identifying the enemy, disengaging from global events or leading from behind, appeasement of sworn enemies, removing sanctions and releasing terrorists from GITMO, getting soft on terror saying it's not so bad out there that "the birds were [still] chirping and the sun was out,", and giving up on defeating it...is a losing attitude and proposition and one that will only result in more heartbreaking and innocent deaths. 

Dismissing or belittling the issue, defeatism, and jokes will not defeat terrorism, but a commitment to do whatever it takes to save lives and protect our nation will, as has been the case from Hitler to Bin Laden, and so it will be again. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 29, 2016

Getting A Leadership Washing


So I am reading this book called, "What Your Boss NEVER Told You."

In terms of leadership, a key principle is stated very well here: 


"'What' flows down

And

'How' flows up."

Meaning that as the leader, you set the goal, but you don't tell people how to achieve it.

Micromanagement "stomp[s] out 

creativity, ownership, and commitment."

To give your people the breathing room to innovate and solve problems and feel good about their work, here's the ideal manager:

"Hands-off whenever possible, 

and 

hands-on whenever needed."

And finally the 3 "H's" of leadership:

1. Honor -- doing the right thing (i.e. integrity)


2. Humility -- "give away the credit," but own the responsibility 100%!


3. Humor -- "take their work seriously, but themselves lightly."



Overall, good book to get a clean bill of leadership health. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 21, 2016

Love Is Like Cows

So had three funny instances today of the tales of woe when it comes to love.

The first was when someone was telling me that they are trying to meet women through online dating. 

But he goes, "No one gives anyone a chance anymore."

It's like if there is one thing wrong, it's over.

He said, one lady wrote in her profile that if you are a fan of XYZ sports team, do not even bother contacting her.

Another was like if you're of ABC political affiliation, forget about it!

He said people just don't seem to want relationships anymore. 

Then I was talking coincidentally to someone else, who I knew was going out with someone already. 

I politely asked how things were going. 

He said, "Fine, but she is pressuring me to marry her."

I said, "So if you love her, what's wrong with that?"

And he responded, "Well then my whole life will change. I won't be able to go to parties or on vacations anymore."

Basically, he's just happy being with her but on casual terms.

Then I told him (considerably younger than myself) how years ago mothers would warn their daughters about men's thinking of "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free."

This guy was laughing like crazy when I said that. 

Finally, someone at the kiddush today told the joke about the Rabbi or Priest who lost his umbrella in the synagogue or church. 

His first thought was darn it, one of the congregants stole my umbrella. 

So he decided that for his sermon he would lecture the people about the Ten Commandments, one at a time from the beginning. 

But then when he got to the sin of adultery, he stops and says, "Oh forget it, I just remembered where I left my umbrella!"

Funny day for love and relationships--it's something in the air, maybe cow patties.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 27, 2016

Making The Deadline

It was funny at work recently.

The team was having some "technical difficulties" getting something done. 

It wasn't like it wasn't going to happen, it was just taking a little longer than expected. 

I was riding herd on this, since we had made a commitment to get it done by a certain date and time and it was important to get it right. 

After a number of delays, I started to question whether we were really going to be able to meet the deadline, and one of my colleagues asks about how the boss will react if we don't make it. 

Then all of a sudden, they blurt out, "Is he going to sh*t a brick if we don't make it?"

I was a little taken aback at the saying, but then it was sort of a funny image of the extreme kvetchy face a person would be making in such a situation--trying to pass not a (little) stone, but literally a big brick. 

As it turns out, we made the deadline--although we had to use the buffer time we had carefully built in--and the team did a great job, so no bricks, no stones, and just kudos all around. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 17, 2016

Love 'em OR Leave 'em

An age old question, "Love 'em or leave 'em?"

I heard one young man say, "I love her...but I'm not in love with her."

So what's the difference?

He's been seeing two girls, one is steady and stable, earns a good income, and is head over heels for him--when he is sick, she makes the chicken soup. 

Then there is this other girl, foreign, cool accent, good-looking, intelligent, has similar interests, but no serious income--however, there is some serious hots there. 

What do you do?

Girl #1 or #2.

Who's the better bet--Ms. I love her or Gal I'm in love with her?

One women said that years ago, mothers would tell their daughters, "If they bring home a paycheck and look better than a baboon, marry them!"

Back then, marriages were often arranged by the parents or the village elders ("Matchmaker matchmaker, make me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch...").

These days, there is much more a sense of the need for compatibility, chemistry, and passion--I can't live without him/her.

Without the mutual respect and passion, it might as well be in the bedroom like, "Let's just get this over with" or something pathetic like that.  

In some ultra religious circles, I've heard some women sadly simply referred to as "baby machines."

Yet on the flip side, I remember hearing this story when I was young about this famous model (it could have been about Bo Derek, but I can't remember for sure), and they interviewed her husband who was known to have married her for her unbelievable gorgeous looks, and they asked him, "What would you do, if she had a terrible car accident, and was horribly disfigured?" And his cold, hard response was, "I would leave her!"

Ok, so looks are skin deep, and passion is important but doesn't replace shared values, genuine commitment, and selfless giving to one another. 

Maybe the answer is it's not 1 or 2, but 1 and 2--we need someone that will make the chicken soup when we are sick, but who we also find hot in the sack. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 26, 2015

Discuss and Work Together, Respectfully

Everyone and their brother seems to be jumping on board to hit on Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of our "Major Strategic Ally" and friend, Israel. 

This after Netanyahu accepted an invitation from the United States Congress to speak about Iranian nukes threatening the State of Israel, the region, and the Western world. 


1) Iran, Israel and Arab Allies:


Truly, can anyone blame Israel and our Arab allies of being distressed that we are disavowing our 2011 commitment to them, as President Obama stated:


"You also see our commitment to our shared security in our...there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon...My policy is prevention of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons."


Now we have as reported gone from preventing Iran on obtaining nuclear weapons to instead a possible agreement that still leaves thousands of Iran's nuclear centerfuges spinning and "sunsets" as early as 2025!


This is a lopsided turning of the tables on Israel and of our Arab allies for reapproachment with Axis of Evil, Iran


2) Russia and Ukraine:


But not alone are our Middle East allies in feeling abandoned by us, as we made security guarantees also to Ukraine in the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 that specifically committed the U.S., U.K. and Russia to:


"Respect the independence and sovereignty and existing border of Ukraine [and to] refrain from the threat or use of force."


Well so much for that as Crimea has now been annexed by Russia and battling rages across eastern Ukraine by Russian-supported separatists, despite a blantant violation of a truce recently brokered by France and Germany.


3) Poland and Czech Republic


Yet once again, with Poland and the Czech republic (members of NATA), we commited ourselves to building a missle shield only then to back away and seemingly abandon them


"In one of the biggest national security reversals of his young presidency, Mr. Obama cancelled...plans to station a radar facility [and]...ground-based interceptors."


Questions:


Why are we continually turning on longtime friends and allies and embracing enemies sworn to our destruction?


What do our commitments mean to anyone anymore and why shouldn't our shunted allies speak out, especially when it is their countries that are being placed in jeopardy?


Disrespect and Freedom of Speech:


What is also amazing is how low we have gone in our interactions such that we no longer discuss and disagree respectfully, but instead resort now to withholding security information, disgraceful name-calling (e.g. "Chickenshit"), discrediting, and even seeking to silence opposing views!


What has happened to our dearly held and constitutional rights and values for democracy, free speech, including openly debating issues and respecting differences of opinion?


Institutional Anti-Semitism:


Interesting also is how big and tough we are being on little Israel (population 8 million and about the size of the 5th smallest U.S. state of New Jersey)...


While simultaneously many seem to be proverbially (excuse the language) peeing their pants in front of the newly aggressive "Big Bear," Russia


What is more important when it comes to the dangers of a Iran with nuclear WMD--a longtime friend and ally Israel that is facing a potentially existential threat just 70 years after the Holocaust or getting an historical "award" for making an agreement (and a potentially bad one at that) with Iran?


Conclusion:


Behavior unbecoming, includes serially breaking commitments, silencing the opposition (uh, against our Constituion), name-calling and bullying, and endangering longtime allies and friends--this is not leadership and does not leave anyone a desired legacy. 


Let's openly and freely discuss and work together respectfully in true friendship and partnership, and get a good deal that safeguards the democracies of the United States and Israel. ;-)


(All Opinions my own.)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to blueforce4116)

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January 13, 2015

Absence, A Big Statement

We all know from psychology 101 that what we pay attention to and give to is what is really important to us. 

Parenting is an example of this where we give our time and efforts to our children as our most important investment of self. 

This last week was the historical Paris Unity Rally attended by millions, including 40 world leaders, to denounce blind discrimination and hate and the associated terror and murder that marked the terrorist attacks in Paris.

The Paris attacks were a striking blow on free speech and resulted in the murder of many innocent citizens and law enforcement at Charlie Hebdo magazine and numerous Jews in a kosher grocery store--it was more than shocking to see our top leadership missing in action (MIA).

In the Wall Street Journal today, there are many words on this from "error" to "lost opportunity."

Yet, despite acknowledging the blatant absence, what we are left with are an unfortunate series of excuses, such as the incredible statement that "No one in the White House brought such a request to the the President's attention."

As if someone needs to tell the leader of the free world that he needs to be participate in the Paris Unity Rally. Did the millions who attended or the other 40 world leaders need a reminder or a nudge?

Or here's another one about not being able to attend because of "security concerns."

Once again, did the heads of state for France, Germany, England, and Israel not have similar concerns that their protectors were able to adequately address. 

What about the  apology that he "regrets his decision not to send a top White House official"--uh, what about going himself?

I remember immediately after the attack of 9/11, President George W. Bush, with bullhorn in hand, standing on the rubble of what was once the World Trade Center...there was no excuses as to a need for reminders from staffers, security or health concerns, or sending surrogates--the leader was there and doing his job to lead, period.  

How can we fight a war on terrorism, fanaticism, and blind hatred, when we won't give it our time and attention--from the top down. 

As with a parent who is absent with his children, it speaks a thousand words about what is really important to that parent and the impact on the (symbolic) child.

"A cat's in the cradle with a silver spoon little boy blue and the man in the moon when your coming home dad I don't know when, but we'll get together then dad, you know we'll have a good time then."

In the past, the administration has been incredibly supportive in fighting terror, anti-semitism, and standing up for human rights, and with genuine commitment of time and effort, can do so again. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Doug)

(All opinions my own).

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October 28, 2014

No Way To Fight The Good Fight

Unfortuantely, like many things we do...we do it only halfway. 

While there is certainly a place for vetting issues, moderation, and compromise, often we are overly worried about the ramifications of going too far and thus don't go far enough to accomplish strategic goals.

Similarly, in a pendulum swinging out of control way, we may fluctuate and treat friends as enemies and pretend our enemies are our friends.

Whether in fighting terrorism and nation state enemies, ebola and other horrific diseases, and even righting the national economy...we don't lead, we hesitate or as many commentators have said, we lead from behind. 

ISIS, Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbolah and more...all alive and still terrorizing.  

Russia, North Korea, Iran...not contained, and threats are growing, while questionable deals involving no less than WMD in some and territorial sovereignty in others loom on the horizon. 

Cancer, parkinson disease, and a dreaded endless list...killing our loved ones and research funding goes to political juggernauts. 

Our national deficit grows, social entitlements are skyrocketing and unpaid for, and we can't seem to manage our way out of a pending breadline. 

There is something to be said for making a real decision based on morality and inner strength, going all in, and achieving the seeming impossible...decades ago, we did it when we put a man on the moon and defeated the Japanese in WWII. 

Now we seem to fight with one arm tied behind our backs (sometimes two) and our eyes covered with hands stained in the blood of social favoritism, stealth corruption, and defeatist attitudes, and at the end of the day, with very little to show for it. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 16, 2014

Decide To Win

This was an interesting sign + sticker in Washington, D.C.

It asks to Stop Fighting Congress or perhaps stop the fighting in Congress.

The point is to come together and collaborate for a better decision, rather than have bad decisions made by just one side or have indecision altogether.

The New York Times had an Op-Ed over the weekend called The Great Unraveling about how we are living amidst hatred, fighting, disintegration, disease, and disorientation. 

And we are watching it as if dazed and confused--paralyzed as a nation taking maybe a baby step here or there, but with seemingly no solid committment to do anything to really change, improve, better, or win. 

Scared by lost lives and treasure since 9/11...we cannot bear to lose or waiver in our resolve because of weariness or despair.

Their is a lot to get done...for ourselves and future generations.

We've got to stop fighting our demons and each other and instead face up, man up, to the myriad of global problems that confront us. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 30, 2014

Corporate Dictators Gone Wild

Interesting book review in the Wall Street Journal on Moments of Impact--corporate strategy meetings. 

The authors, Ertel and Solomon, see strategy meetings as critical for "to confront radical challenges" "cope with fast-changing threats", and confront competition.


It is an opportunity to:


- Look at the big picture, including industry trends.


- Hear different points of view from as broad array of perspectives as possible (instead of the usual "fences and silos" that prevail in corporate life).


- Decide to change ("Creative Adaptation") or to stay with tried and true strategies ("stick to their knitting").


The book reviewer, Adrian Woolridge, though has a much more skeptical view of these strategy sessions calling them "dull, unstructured time-sucks" and "more often than not, [they're] a huge waste of time":


Why?


- They produce "airy-fairy nonsense."


- Rather than abandoning the corporate hierarchy, the sessions anchor in "status hierarchy."


- Outside strategy "experts" brought in "are nothing more than cliche-mongers."


- The "games" are silly and non-impactful.


- Often rather than strategic conversations, we get "lazy consensus," where decisions are driven by senior managers with a bone to pick or a reorganization in mind.


What's the truth...as usual, somewhere in between these 2 states of idealism and cynicism.


We can choose to take planning seriously to bring people together to solve problems creatively and gain consensus and commitment or we can use strategy as bogus cheerleading sessions and to manipulate the sheep to do what the seniors already know they want.


If we really work as a team to press forward then we can accomplish great things through our diversity and strength, but if strategy is nothing but corporate dictators gone wild, then the cause is already lost to the competition.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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August 16, 2013

The Measure Of A Person

Another candidate for picture of the week. 

This guy is wearing "tape measure" suspenders. 

Oh, how fashionable! 

While the true measure of a person is their good deeds and relationships (to man and G-d), perhaps the suspenders is a reminder that we should take the time to stop and measure ourselves both quantitatively and qualitatively in our lives.

As we approach the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, a time of introspection and judgement, it is a good opportunity to take measure. 

Performance management is not just for work--we can look at ourselves both personally and professionally and commit to do better. 

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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March 30, 2012

Democracy Built On More Than Hoya

There is a funny joke that is timely for election season, and it goes something like this...

"It was election time and the politician decided to go out to the local reservation and try to get the Native American vote. 

They were all assembled in the Council Hall to hear the speech. 

The politician had worked up to his finale, and the crowd was getting more and more excited.   

'I promise better education opportunities for Native Americans!' The crowd went wild, shouting 'Hoya! Hoya!'.   

The  politician was a bit puzzled by the native word, but was encouraged by their enthusiasm. 'I promise gambling reforms to allow a Casino on the Reservation!'  'Hoya! Hoya!' cried the crowd, stomping their feet.   

'I promise more social reforms and job opportunities for Native Americans!' The crowd reached a frenzied pitch shouting 'Hoya!  Hoya!  Hoya!'   

After the speech, the Politician was touring the Reservation, and saw a tremendous herd of cattle. Since he was raised on a ranch, and knew a bit about cattle, he asked the Chief if he could get closer to take a look at the cattle. 

'Sure,' the Chief said, 'but be careful not to step in the hoya.'"  :-)

So when candidates get on their soapboxes and promises are being made on the left and on the right, you can only but wonder what is a promise that is sincere and will be kept and what is a promise that is for garnering votes and will be ignored. 

When the mic is unknowingly on and you hear something you weren't meant to hear, it is hard not to wonder about true intentions. 

The New York Times calls these "moments of political candor," while the Wall Street Journal (30 March 2012) calls it "moment[s] of political contempt."  

The Journal asks why we would not be told the truth about intentions with the implication that it is something that the candidates do not want us to know or that we would not approve of. 

Who are these candidates really? Does anyone really know when words are but bargaining chips for winning elections, rather than true commitments of the heart. 

It is scary, when the truth is obscured by empty words that change with the audience, and then votes end up based on false promises, vagaries, and disappointments.

When it comes to elections--Is the truth out there? Does it exist? 

People deserve candor, sincerity, and to know where candidates really stand on the issues, so they can vote for what and whom they really believe in.

Democracy is built on more than rolling hills and valleys filled with hoya--the truth is it's foundation. 

(Source Joke: here and Source Photo: here)


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March 5, 2012

Are You A Moses or A Seagull?

I have a new article called "Leadership for Lasting Change."

"Usually organizational turnaround don't happen by themselves. They are steered by change agents, people unafraid to take the reins and move forward. Like Moses liberating the Jewish people from slavery, a strong leader shows his [/her] people the way."

Read the article at Public CIO Magazine, Winter 2012. 

Hope you enjoy it.

Andy 

(Source Photo: here)

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October 24, 2010

Pain Points, More Potent Than Wish Lists

Organizations are all interested in what sells—what’s hot and what’s not!

Of course, as advertisers learned long ago, “sex sells.”

What else? Fear sells. All the basic emotions seem to selleverything from affection and anger to wonder and worry.

When people experience an emotional drive, their internal (biochemical) and external (environmental) states elicit a psychophysiological response that drives mood and motivation.

The result is that when effectively selling to people’s emotions, we address or meet their explicit or implicit “pain points.”

Fast Company (November 2010) has an interesting article called “The Felt Need” that differentiates wants from genuine needs.

A want is one thing, but a genuine need or “pain point” is something entirely different. Getting something we want may be satisfying a nice to have on our wish list, but getting rid of a pain point is something that we literally crave to fulfill from physiological and/or psychological motivations.

A good analogy to satisfying people’s wants versus needs is that it’s better to be selling aspirins than vitamins, because “vitamins are nice; they’re healthy [and people want to live healthier]. But aspirin cures your pain…it’s a must-have.”

Similarly, the article tells us that just building a better mousetrap, doesn’t mean that customers will be beating down your door to do business, but rather as organizations we need to figure out not just how to build a better mousetrap, but rather how to get rid of that pesky mouse. The nuance is important!

In technology, there is a tendency to treat almost every new technology as a want and almost every new want as a need. The result is vast sums spent on IT purchases that are unopened or unused that perhaps looked good on paper (as a proposal), but never truly met the organizational threshold as a must-have with a commensurate commitment by it to succeed.

There are a number of implications for IT leaders:

1) As service providers, I think we need to differentiate with our internal customers what their genuine pain points are that must get prioritized from what their technology wish list items that can be addressed in the future, strategy alignment and resources permitting.

2) From a customer standpoint, I’d like to see our technology vendors trying to sell less new mousetraps and focusing more on what we really need in our organizations. The worst vendor calls/presentations are the ones that just try to tell you what they have to sell, rather than finding out what you need and how they can answer that call in a genuine way.

In looking at the emotion, the key to long-term sales success is not to take advantage of the customer in need, but rather to be their partner in meeting those needs and making the pain go away.


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