Showing posts with label Leadership. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Leadership. Show all posts

July 1, 2020

When All The World Is Going Crazy

When all the world is going c-r-a-z-y...

The best thing you can do is stay CALM. 

- Calm is where good energy enters and bad doesn't.

- Calm is where rational thinking gets done. 

- Calm is where positive action happens.

- Calm is where our inner faith is sustained. 

- Calm is where we can inspire and lead ourselves and others to do good. 

Calm is where we all yearn to be. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 1, 2020

Our Cities Are Burning

I like the saying on this guys knapsack:
Discipline equals freedom.

The opposite is true too:

From the violent riots across the country the last week, even a modicum of discipline has gone out the window, and with that comes a curtailment of freedom through deployment of the National Guard, Military, and imposition of curfews and more. 

There was a time that peaceful protests led by leaders with integrity held sway...but now it's anarchy out there!

Today, the cities are burning, the stores are being looted, people are afraid, and our republic is being torn asunder by racism and filthy election politics. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 18, 2020

Not That Great!

I like this quote from former Israel prime minister, Golda Meir:
Don't be so humble; you're not that great!

Nice way to pop someone's oversized bubble of an ego and tell them to put a cork in it. 

Or as my dad used to say:
He's not a big shot; he's a big sh*t! 

Anyway, she had a sharp mind (like my dad) and was an amazing leader that Golda.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 13, 2020

Stop The Coronavirus, Please!

It's been a few exhausting weeks since the outbreak of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) has gone public. 

First case in China in November.

Now as a Pandemic in 126 countries!

Over 132,000 confirmed cases, so far .

And around 5,000 deaths 🕱.

The numbers are projected to climb/////.

With Dr. Faucci of NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) warning that it will "get worse before it gets better."

Everything is closing down from our work facilities to Cruises, Broadway, and Disney.

Of course, we need the government (at all levels), health professionals, and pharmaceutical companies to get their acts together with an effective response strategy. 

Also, this is a wake up call for better preparedness for all sorts of natural and man made disasters that are awaiting. 

Today it's a virus (natural or biowarfare) and tomorrow it'll be a devastating cyber attack that we are woefully unprepared for. 

No more playing politics, half measures, and waiting for the next shoe to drop (Spanish Flu, Pearl Harbor, 9/11).

The rest of us need to do our "prepping" parts and to say a prayer or two and keep going. 

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 23, 2020

Innovation: Finding The 3rd Alternative

There are two quotes on innovation that I came across recently that I liked and wanted to share:

The first by David Ben-Gurion:
If an expert says it can't be done, get another expert. 

The second by Shimon Peres:
When you have two alternatives, the first thing you have to do is to look for the third that you didn't think about, that doesn't exist.

Both of these smart thinkers understood that solutions and innovation means breaking previous paradigms and thinking outside the box.

They got it absolutely right! ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 18, 2020

Project Governance and Gate Reviews

Thought this may be helpful for those looking at a Governance Process and Gate Reviews for project management. 

This aligns the Capital Planning and Investment Controls (CPIC) process of select, control, and evaluate phases with the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC). 

There are 5 notional gate reviews with associated documentation for project conception, initiation, planning, execution, and launch.

Of course, this can be modified as needed based on the project threshold and governance stringency required and seeks to create strategic alignment with the goals of the organization. 

(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 13, 2020

Roosters or Homelessness?

So I had to drive into downtown Washington D.C. 

Along the way, I saw this colorful artistic rooster. 

I appreciate this quick pick-me-up from this. 

Yet, all around the streets were homeless people. 

One was literally collapsed on a narrow island between the opposing lanes of traffic.

Some horrible-looking food, rags of clothes, and two bottles of liquor lay next to him and one of his arm hang almost into the moving traffic. 

This was just one of many that I saw in abject poverty and desperation. 

So I really feel conflicted looking at this colorful rooster. 

What good is it when the people are homeless, sick, and starving? ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 10, 2019

Training With Paper Airplanes

So I was in an Agile and Scrum Management class yesterday. 

Always looking for new best practices and efficiencies for what we are doing in software development. 

We did one exercise to compare the old Waterfall methodology with Agile. 

And the instructor had us as a team build paper airplanes one way and then the other so see the difference in output and outcome. 

Lo and behold, we had almost 40 planes in agile and only 6 in waterfall. 

What you see in the photo is the testing phase: we actually had to see if they could fly at least 10 feet without taking a nosedive.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 18, 2019

Types of Project Management Office

This is a quick breakdown of the 3 types of Project Management Offices (PMOs).

  • Enabling (Supportive) — Provides best practices, templates, and tools “as needed,” and compliance is voluntary.
  • Delivery (Controlling) — Adopts framework or methodology, policy, and repeatable procedures, and a certain level of the standards are enforced.
  • Compliance (Directive) — Establishes strict standards, measures, and control over projects, and these are highly regulated.

A good place to start is with an enabling/supportive PMO and then progress to a more delivery/controlling model. Generally, a compliance/directive PMO is for more highly regulated organizations.

(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal and concept via CIO Magazine and Gartner)
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November 10, 2019

Harriet And The Underground Railroad

We saw the movie Harriet today. 

Obviously, it was about Harriet Tubman and her rescuing the slaves through the Underground Railroad of secret routes and safe houses. 

She was an amazing heroine that they even called her "Moses" for her rescuing the black slaves from the southern plantation where they were sorely abused in every way. 

Even though she herself was a runaway slave who made it though a100 treacherous miles from Maryland to Pennsylvania to Freedom, she went back over and over again to save others. 

The movie said she saved 70 other through the underground railroad and then in the civil war led the black troops to free another 750 slaves!

Her courage and faith through it all was truly inspirational.

I was so glad when she carried a gun and shot at her nemesis who enslaved her and her family before he could kill or capture and torture her. 

She didn't kill him, but she told him in no uncertain terms that people were not meant by G-d to own and enslave other people!

We need more people like Harriet Tubman in the world who fight for what's right and clearly know the difference between good and evil. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 14, 2019

Goals Vs. Tactics

I liked this saying from someone in the IDF. 

Be "flexible in tactics, but stay fixed on the goals!"

There are many ways to accomplish the same thing. 

And different people have their own approaches. 

As in the lyrics: "You take the high road and I'll take the low road."

That's absolutely okay. 

In fact, that's one of the strengths and benefits of diversity.

We bring different ways of looking at the world to the table.

Hence, we can bounce fresh ideas off each other and come to a great way forward. 

The main thing is that we focus on our goals and progress to achieve them. 

Be rigid on goals and flexible in tactics. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 8, 2019

Who's In Charge Here?

This was a funny photo...

Sign around the ape says:
Laugh now, but one day, we'll be in charge

I guess you never know who will be in charge. 
  • Be nice to everyone. 
  • Never burn bridges.

All of life is a circle--and everything and everybody goes around and around.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 25, 2019

@Bagels and Business with CEO Hair Cuttery, Dennis Ratner



Hair Cuttery has 1,000 company-owned Salons in 18 states in the USA.  

Dennis Ratner, the founder and CEO is a huge success story.

- Puts people first. 

- Gives back to the community. 

- Believes in vision, planning, and execution. 

- Dennis said: "Effort = Reward" and to be "Relentless" in pursuing your passion.

- Great roles model. 

(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 21, 2019

UNDERpromise + OVERdeliver

Every manager is rightly taught to underpromise and overdeliver. 

It's sound planning and good risk management to plan for contingencies--and certainly these do happen. 

Build in some buffer time and resources into your estimates, because reality bites and you need to have the ammunition to respond. 

My father used to tell me:
"A word is a word!"

When you say something, promise something, commit to something then that is it!"

To do otherwise is to have no honor, no character, and no fear of G-d. 

Similarly, when you overpromise and underdeliver, you fail yourself and your customers.

People commit time, resources, and faith in you, so you owe it to them to set realistic goals and plans to accomplish them.

To do otherwise, you risk damage to the longterm relationship, you hurt your credibility, and maybe most importantly, you hurt the chances of genuine progress. 

The philosophy that I believe works best is:  Be thoughtful. Be strategic. Be direct. Be honest.  

That's what I would want from others and that's also what I strive to be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 1, 2019

Harassholes Y'all

Someone brought me a copy of this photo from their office. 

It says:
Stop Harassholes Y'all

Not bad. 

Harassment plus as*holes = Harassholes. 

Thank G-d, there are some very good people and managers out there.

But unfortunately not everyone is, and so there are also some real stinkin' abusers too. 

These types of people should never be in power, since they misuse it!

They do not use the power they have been entrusted with to advance progress, and do good for the organization and its people, but rather they clumsily wield power for their own selfish, personal pleasures and vendettas--bullying and harassing others--and simply because they can.

Belittling others, making them feel stupid and worthless, and then going after them for whatever they want. 

Through intimidation, they keep others from talking...shhh! hush!

Emotional, verbal, and even physical abuse can be common. 

I remember one colleague telling me how their boss would literally throw things at them in their office while they had to sit there "taking it."

Another has a boss that makes them do the stupidest, most trivial tasks--completely worthless stuff--just to prove a point...that they're in charge. 

Marginalization, threats, bullying, abuse, harassment...it goes on and it shouldn't!

In some cases, the harassholes are even protected from someone above.

Money, power, honor...more, more, more!

But G-d sees these people too and eventually cuts the bad ones down to size. 

My father used to say:
G-d does not let any tree grow into the heavens!

Eventually, I am pretty sure that harassholes end up getting some very BIG hemorrhoids or something from above that teaches them to use G-d's gifts for the good, and to properly love, care, and empathize for other human beings--G-d's children!

I never knew why hemorrhoids existed in this world, but there is a purpose to everything under the heavens. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 6, 2019

Wrong Direction--Who Stands For The Truth?

So I thought this was pretty funny in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend. 
A wife is listening to the radio and she hears that a car is dangerously going in the wrong direction on the highway. 

Immediately, she calls her husband to tell him about the car going in the wrong direction, and to be careful. 

He husband replies: One car going in the wrong direction...there are hundreds of cars going in the wrong direction!

How true this little story is about life and what direction we choose for ourselves--in the face of the groupthink and the tidal wave of public opinion that will sweep you away if you aren't strong of mind and especially of character. 

Whenever we choose the road less traveled, others see us as dangerous and going the wrong way. 

Yet to us, others may just be following blindly, and we may truly see something that everyone else is missing...could it possibly be that they are really the ones going the wrong way!

But there is always some doubt in our minds...we are fallible, we can wrong, we can be crazy.  

Whose truth is it anyway--Mine?  Yours?  Or could it really be "The (objective) Truth"?

Alternatively, maybe we just lack confidence or courage?

It is very hard to be the nail that stands up (and doesn't get hammered down) and say that something is wrong and everyone should pay attention and change direction or their ways. 

Perhaps, they are all heading off a moral cliff or just heading towards disaster.

In some cases...

We know the agendas of the people who want to steer you wrong. 

We hear the propaganda and lies they are feeding you. 

We can see down the road or just around the bend where the danger lies in wait. 

- Can we stand up to the crowd?  

- Can we demonstrate the moral truth?  

- Can we get others to see what we see?  

It is certainly not easy to be the contrarian in the crowd. 

Not only may you not be recognized for what you are doing, but you may even be persecuted for it. 

It doesn't matter...

Because you need to do it anyway just because you know deep inside that it's the right thing to do. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 1, 2019

Contributors and Whiners


Have you ever noticed the relationship between those that contribute and those that whine. 

The bad news is there is a highly inverse relationship between contributing and whining.

- Those that contribute, don't whine--they are focused on how to make things better!

- Those that whine, don't contribute--they complain and naysay, but add no real value.

The good news is that some solid contributors can more than counterbalance the whiners.

- Unfortunately, too often the whiners outnumber the contributors.

- But fortunately the contributors outweigh the whiners.

Despite your best efforts, you may not be able to make the whiners stop whining and throwing up roadblocks. 

You're often best-off spending your time working with the other contributors who want to see things through to success. 

Be a leader, not a babysitter and help the contributors win! ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal adapted from here with attribution to mediamodifier)
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April 9, 2019

Solving Computer Problems

Funny T-Shirt on solving computer problems:

Does it work?

Did you screw with it?

Does anyone know?

Can you blame anyone else?

This little flowchart seems to capture so many issues in the office like:

- Accountability

- Problem-solving

- Doing the right thing

Oh, maybe that's a different flowchart. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 11, 2019

The New Faces Of Hate

Representative Illhan Omar claims Congressional lawmakers are bribed to support U.S. friend and ally, Israel:
"It's all about the Benjamins baby".

Representative Rashida Tlaib said about congressional representatives supporting Israel in a bill  that would punish companies that participate in Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) to further Israel's destruction. 
"They forget what country they represent."

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated about Israel's defending their sovereign border with Gaza amidst terrorist organization, Hamas-led violent protests, terror attacks, and infiltrations into Israel:
"This is a massacre. I hope my peers have the moral courage to call it such. No state is absolved of the mass shooting of protesters."
"Silence" around the Palestinian cause "has been a little interesting to me." 

Perhaps, the most concerning thing is where is the Democratic Party leadership in calling out these anti-Semitic hate-mongers in their ranks?
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February 10, 2019

The Not So Civil Service

At one time, it was considered a great honor to work for the Federal government, and people fought for the jobs and to take the civil service exam. 

The Civil Service was not only a term, but also a reality filled with honor, dedication, and devotion to one's country. 

Working for the Federal government meant interesting and exciting work opportunities not only defending our great nation, but in making it just and prosperous, and literally a beacon of freedom for the world. 

While no one became rich working for the government, you could make a stable living, build tenure over your service, and finally receive a pension upon retirement. 

Over the course of almost 20-years of my federal career, I have had the opportunity to serve in positions that I only could have dreamed about as a child, and to feel such pride in serving. 

But it seems like times have taken a turn for the worse either willfully or through neglect:

- From Capitol Hill to the Executive Department, we see the extremus of polarization and endless obstacles to getting anything done.  

- With each change in administration, aside from a change of leadership and direction at the top of each Department, the workforce is seemingly accused of subversion for the other side and turned on itself. 

- Just recently, we've seen the longest federal government shutdown lasting 35 days and with hundreds of thousands of Federal workers required to work without pay at the time. 

- We have also seen many years of pay freezes--with not even a meager cost of living adjustment (COLA), while the overall economy is booming!

- The pay for grades at the upper levels are hitting up against the Congressional limits with multiple pay steps being the same pay and no increase for career advancement or growth of responsibilities. 

- Employees have been forced to endure the A-76 outsourcings, threats of disbanding entire agencies, demands to reduce the size of government, and hiring freezes even while serving a larger population requiring ever more services. 

- There have been limitations on the power of employee unions, and an ongoing series of tightening of benefits from CERS to FERS and continuing thereafter requiring greater employee contributions and what feels like ever less benefit payouts. 

- Staff are threatened with firing in a short(er) period of time for making a small number of mistakes to a host of "conduct" issues that may or may not be true, and may at times be the outcome of poor leadership rather than problematic employees.

- The system for employment grievances and judging these has gone without a quorum for the longest period on the books and the backlog of cases continues to build. 

While no system is perfect, and there are bad apples on every side, there clearly seems to be a devolution of the federal service, and what this means for governing and for our defense and prosperity is yet to be fully felt. 

For me, serving the Federal government has been one of the greatest honors and has been many of the best years of my life. My wish is for others going forward to have a positive and productive experience as well. 

Perhaps with an appreciation and true respect for the millions of good men and women that serve our country--from the front lines to the back offices--we can once again create a system that is equitable, fair, and just and that inspires the world-class results we needs for our nation and our people. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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