Prove Them Wrong

Your Not

So I was recently teaching a certification class. 


And this was a very high-caliber class of professionals attending. 


One gentlemen was a wonderful African American who I will call John. 


As part of one of the class assignments, John,  a very successful man, told of how as a young man growing up in the DC projects, a neighbor told him something very hurtful and potentially devastating to him.


The neighbor angrily said, “You’ll never be anything in your life!”


And John described how he pursued his education, his career goals, his family, as well as philanthropic pursuits to give back to the community–and he went quite far. 


He told with great emotion and tears in his eyes how ten years ago, he went back to his old neighborhood to thank this neighbor for motivating him (even though in a negative way) to go as far in life as he did. 


You could hear a pin drop in the class–I think a lot of people could relate to this story in their own lives. 


I know that I for one certainly could. 


For me, while I am a simple person and have not gone so far, I have certainly had an interesting life and lots of wonderful opportunities.


Yet, I too remember more than 20 years ago, when I had taken a job in a wild pursuit in my youthful ambitions that one crazy boss that I was briefly working for who was considerably older than me and with his own business abusively said to me one day, “You’re not half of what you think you are!”


BAM! Like a huge sledge hammer hitting me right across my head–I was still relatively young and impressionable.


Also, I came from a pretty blue collar-type working family and although upwardly mobile, and I was certainly trying to become “more,” I never really felt at all entitled. 


Anyway, the story this student told really brought my own experience hurling back to me from my past. 


In the class, John said–you have to go out and “Prove them wrong.” 


And while I don’t exactly feel that proving others who wish us bad to be wrong is the point, I do agree that we shouldn’t let any of these negative nellies in our own lives drag us down. 


We all have our mission in life–and it’s up to us to become the best people that we can–and to hell with everyone who looks down on us, discourages us, maybe are competitive with us or jealous in some way, or simply don’t wish us the best. 


So John is right–go out there and do great things! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Team, It’s Not About You

Teamwork
This mug on teamwork was really funny.



Teamwork (noun):

1) A group of people doing what I say.

2) Work done that I can take credit for.



Of course, this really isn’t teamwork, unless you consider it the “I Team.” 



Yes, this is sort of sterotypical of bad bosses:

– They take the credit for the team’s work when everything goes well.

– But they pass along the blame when something goes wrong. 



Has this ever happened to you?



It reminds me of another funny saying about how greedy, narcissistic people think:



“What mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine.”



In other words–mine, mine, and mine, why thank you!



The best bosses are humble and giving. They make sure everyone knows what the goals are and are working efficiently to achieve them. 



The credit goes to the indivudals and team who are working their butts off, and when appropriate, the boss will take the heat to help others save face and enable them to press forward with the mission. 



I remember one of my colleagues who is a supervisor and he was called out for doing a great job. Immediately he goes, “It’s my team that make me look good.” And knowing this person, that wasn’t just talk or a show…he was completely sincere. 



That’s leadership and an impressive human being–someone to emulate!



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Micromanaging Your Customers

Check Out
Standing in line at the store the other day, I’ve got to to say that I sort of really resented this ridiculous check out line.



We are not in kindergarten and do not need little footsies and signs to tell us where to stand, how far apart, and who is up next in the line.



Actually, it’s really not all that complicated–we can figure out to lineup in front of the counter and wait our turn civilly.



Micromanaging your customers (or for that matter your employees) is a pretty stupid idea.



Get your own house in order–and do a good job servicing the people that are paying you (or working to make you a success).



How about you take your little feet over behind the counter and get the line moving that much faster and stop making us wait so long to begin with to give you our business.



Happy Black Friday…loosen the reins a little won’t you and you’ll find a happier customer (and employee) base and make some more money in the process. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Draining Our Life Force

Corporate Agenda
Here’s a photo I snapped of one of the Fantastic Four (superheroes).



He’s telling the evil Galactus, who drains planets of their life’s energy, to “Stop!”



He yells at Galactus, “You have facilitated the Corporate Fascist Agenda long enough.”



I think we all know a Galactus (or two)!



In every company and agency…there are individuals that seem to literally suck the creativity, problem solving, and life force from the bowels of the organization. 



They complain incessantly, make excuses for their lack of support and contribution, erect obstacles to progress, and needlessly put down other people’s ideas and contributions.



These Galactuses facilitate their own or a corporate agenda–to raise their stature, power, and purse.



They can be–almost G-d like figures in the organization that are feared and cowed to–but in the long term it’s counterproductive to enslave humanity to them.



You can be like the Fantastic Four, who recognizes problem people and calls them out for bad behavior–you can be part of changing the culture from a BIG VILIAN negative to a SUPERHERO positive.



It starts, like in the comic–by identifying their personal agendas and bad behaviors and telling them to stop as well as by working with or around them to facilitate progress.



Galactus, you are finished! 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Naked And Yelled At

Naked And Yelled At

So true story…I’m in the changing room at the pool.

There is a guy there, just a few feet away, naked.

The pool supervisor comes over and says, “Hey, where’s your brother?”

The guy says, “Why?”

The pool supervisor says, “He asked for a change in schedule, and I told him he can work on Mondays, and he’s not here.”

The guy annoyed, says, “I’ll tell him.”

The pool supervisor, shakes his head, and walks away.

The guy turns to me and says, “You know this is the only job where your boss can come up to you when you’re stark naked and start yelling at you!”

I say, “Yeah, and you can’t even say it’s sexual harassment.” 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Watch Out For Organizational Psychopaths

Wathc Out For Organizational Psychopaths

Ever feel like this at work?

The knives are flying and you’re the target–where’s the next one going, the heart of head?

Harvard Business Review has a telling blog about bosses at work that are borderline psychopaths.

Hard to spot because of their “chameleon-like qualities,” they are:

– “Self-serving”–basically they have what I call the selfish disorder, they want power, money, and status but don’t really care about the organization, mission or people, just themselves!

– “Manipulative personalities”–they hide their agendas, but work over others with charm, favors, even pretend friendship to get what they want.

– Domineering–corporate psychopaths are bullies, who assert themselves over others; they are insecure and endlessly competitive and abuse the people that work for them rather than recognize and reward them.

– Win-lose—they play corporate gamesmanship, appearing collegial enough, but really are always trying to get one up on their colleagues, staff, and even their bosses.

-“Unburdened by the pangs of conscience”–they don’t care what it takes to get what they want for themselves: they will lie, cheat, steal, and try to get rid of the competition (even if that is everyone that works for them or around them).

Estimates are that “perhaps 3.9% of corporate professionals” have these psychopathic tendencies–With all the crazies out there, that seems on the low side. What do you think?

Thank G-d, however, that there are some good bosses out there–seek those people out who act like mensches, who elevate others and do not treat them like the enemy within–those people are true gems. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The G-d Watch – Live With The End In Mind

I used to have this manager who was within a couple of years of retirement.

She kept a jar of beans on her desk.

Each bean represented one day of work.

And every day, she would take one bean out of the jar.

This was her way of counting down to the end of her career (and the beginning of her retirement).

Anyway, trust me when I say, that we were counting down too–even without the beans. 🙂

At work, some people may even say of someone just hanging on or just hanging-out waiting to retire that they are Retired In Place (RIP)–a pun, on rest in peace.

Uh, not funny, but when people know the end is coming (either for career or their life), they often change their behavior–they focus on what what’s coming next.

With the end of career, perhaps they are imaging sunny skies, palm trees, and margaritas in retirement.

And with end of life, people are often thinking about judgement day–and how they spent their lives: in love or hate, purposeful or without direction, doing good or taking advantage.

So it’s very interesting to me how this company, Tikker (funny name, as a watch often makes the sound tick-tock, but also a person’s heart is referred to as a ticker), developed a watch (the Death Watch) that not only provides the time, but actually counts down–years, months, days, and even hours, minutes, and seconds–not that they can be so precise–to your expected death.

The watch is supposed to give people new perspective and encourage them to live a better life.

Someone who is going to purchase the watch fills out a questionnaire with information on family health history, age gender, and race, and then they get their estimated date of death, for the countdown!

With the DOD (date of death), we now know what we are dealing with–for better or worse–and of course, subject to change, by the One Above.

But like the boss looking to retirement who took out a bean a day from the jar, we too can look towards our own mortality–not in a sad way, but in a fundamental human way–one that guides us, with the end in mind, to make better decisions for the time we have in life.

Despite, what almost every young person seems to believe, we are not immortal–and the stupid things we do when we are young or throughout of lives comes back to haunt us (whether smoking, drinking, overeating, or other bad stuff).

And so we must choose to live every moment, not as if we have forever, but rather with purpose, passion, and poetry–until the clock runs out on all of us, as it inevitably will.