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)

The Humanity of Routine

People are creatures of habit. 


They form routines and function with relative comfort and efficiency within that. 


And for the most part, we can recognize our own patterns in life. 


Get up, brush our teeth, dress, daven (pray), go to work and so on. 


After a while, you can do it mostly in your sleep. 


We sort of become like automatons. 


Flip the switch and we go.


When routine and structure become so rigid that we can no longer improvise or innovate then we have a big problem in higher order functioning. 


But also when we break people’s structures and habits, we find that they can quickly lose their sh*t. 


People need to control their time and maintain their patterns of life. 


Therein lies a certain safety and comfort in that repetitive doing.


You know what you’re doing–you’ve done it before, so you can do it again.


If you strip a person of their control over their time and the structure of their behavior, they are truly naked and in much more than a physical sense.  (They articulated this in The Punisher, Season One, on Netflix)


All of a sudden they don’t know what to do or how to do it. 


Do they go crazy, breakdown, or tell you everything you want to know. 


Torture is not just physical, but also mental and emotional. 


It is not hard to take away something so simple and a person is no longer a full person anymore. 


People need solid coping as well as survival skills to deal with the unknown.


Finally, appreciate when everything is more or less under control, because that’s truly a blessing.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Super Cool Military Wheels

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has come up with a Reconfigurable Wheel Track (RWT). 


The tires can switch shape from round tires for flat terrain to triangular tracks for soft or rugged terrain in just 2-seconds!


You can see in the screenshot the rear wheels in tire formation and the front wheels changed to tracks. 


The agility of this technology makes for better maneuverability and survivability for our troops and their transports and combat vehicles. 


I wonder if someday soon, they will commercialize this technology so rather than all season/year tires or snow tires on our cars, we have these gorgeous ruggedized military grade babies.


I for one would gladly pay extra! 😉


(Source Screenshot: Andy Blumenthal from here)

Change Everybody Loves To Hate

I thought this saying from a colleague was really astute.

“Everybody hates the status quo

but nobody wants to change.”


How’s that for a conundrum. 


The question is are we more unhappy with the dysfunctional way things are or are we more afraid to make the necessary changes in our life?


I think that when the pain and dysfunction of the status quo are greater than the fear and inconvenience of changing, only then will people quite resisting and adapt to the new reality. 


Welcome to change!  😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Hammer and Nail

Often, we have a one size fits all orientation to life. 

“To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”


We try to solve fresh daily problems, yet everything we are going through is seen through our preset filters and mindsets. 


In many cases, we are simply and undeniably biased, mistakenly believing that what worked in the past or for particular challenges will always work in the future and for all our problems. 


We stereotype people and races and see them as either “the good guys” or “the bad guys”–but there’s no grey in there to further differentiate.  


Also, we work in a comfortable zone of blind routine thinking that we wish it’s all as simple as wash, rinse, and repeat.


But while some die-hard habits and lessons learned in life are very valuable and should be mentally recorded and referenced, seeing life through a single, or even a few handy-dandy, filters can prove disastrous when things or times change. 


For example, one big criticism of our dealing in Washington is that:

“Politicians, like generals, have a tendency to fight the last war.”


Instead, if we evaluate the nuances of each person and particular situation, we can work to get a more detailed evaluation, and potentially be able to fine-tune approaches for what needs to be done, and how, with each and every one, accordingly. 


Chucking a batman belt approach to just using whatever tools are immediately available, can facilitate a broader and more creative approach to problem-solving. 


Sure, to a certain degree, we are creatures of habit–and we intuitively rely on what’s worked in the past, and reject and shun what hasn’t–but past experiences do not necessarily foretell future successes. 


If we don’t stay agile and resilient, we can easily get blown away by the situation or the competition. 


There is always a new challenge to test us and someone coming up who may be better, faster, or stronger that wants to try and take us on or down. 


A shotgun approach, in lieu of a more precise surgical strike, can result in a lot of collateral damage and maybe even missing the mark altogether. 


Think, think, think. 


Focus on what needs to get done–apply lessons learned as applicable, but also look for new sources and methods to build a bigger and more versatile tool chest.


In the walking dead, a hammer to the head works fairly well on all Zombies, but sometimes there are too many zombies in the hoard or even more dangerous living people and situations to attend to. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to stevepb)

It Takes A Village

Village.jpeg

I wanted to share some good tidbits about effective management, collaboration, and engagement that I heard this week at a Partnership for Public Service event.


It Takes A Village – No I don’t mean the book by Hillary Clinton, but rather the idea that no one person is an island and no one can do everything themselves. Rather, we need the strengths and insights that others have to offer; we need teamwork; we need each other!


2-Way Communication – Traditionally, organizations communicate from the top-down or center to the periphery (depending how you look at it).  But that doesn’t build buy-in and ownership. To do that, we need to have 2-way communication, people’s active participation in the process, and genuine employee engagement.


Get Out Of The Way –  We (generally) don’t need to tell people how to do their jobs, but rather develop the vision for what success looks like and then get out of the way of your managers and people. “Make managers manage and let managers manage” and similarly, I would say, hold people accountable but let people work and breath!


Things Change – While it’s important to have consistency, momentum, and stay the course, you also need to be agile as the facts on the ground change.  “Disregard what’s not working, and embrace what is.” But you must stay open to new ideas and ways of doing things.


This is our world of work–our village–and either everyone helps and gets onboard the train or they risk getting run over by it. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

| Go With A Winning Strategy |

Chess

So there was an office discussion the other day about something having a “checkered past.”


And one of my colleagues said wisely about it, “I rather play chess!”


I though it was a smart retort, since chess is a game of strategy versus checkers, which is more a game of luck. 


Checkers is by far the more one-dimensional game with each piece moving or jumping in a similar fashion, while in chess, you deploy specific types of pieces (king, queen, rook, bishop, night, or pawn) for different manuevers. 


In life, when we deal with things that are especially challenging, double-edged, tricky, or plain dangerous, we need to handle it with a well-thought-out game plan and a solid strategy.


Having a plan and maintaining agility in dealing with the “facts on the ground” as they unfold is by far the better problem-solving approach than just trying to jump over the other guys pieces or block his next move. 


Chess in the only way to get to checkmate 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Florls Looijesteijn)