Ever Feel Like You’re Target Practice

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Thought this was really spot on.


The knives get sharpened and readied. 


At some point, they come flying out of nowhere. 


Often, from all directions at the same time.  


When it rains, it pours. 


Some people latch on to the opportunity to try and make a kill. 


You do your best to duck this way and that and survive the onslaught.


Hopefully, you were adequately prepared. 


The big question is–can you hold unto your cheese? 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Killer Organizational Sharks

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There are sharks out there. 


And it’s not just in the oceans. 


There are plenty in your organizations. 


They make for lots of dysfunction and conflict. 


The organizational sharks see themselves as the bigger and more important fish in the sea. 


They look for weakness in others—they smell blood and when they do, they usually follow it to the kill!


These sharks are the types of people that attack their colleagues when they should be assisting them. 


Not only do they lack respect for others, but instead see them as the enemy and eat them as prey, when instead, they need to be chewing up the outside competition.


It’s an attitude of us versus them misplaced within the organization, rather than external-facing. 


These organizational sharks could be in leadership positions, in which case, their attitudes filter down infecting the rest of their staffs. 


Instead of unity, cohesion, and working together to get the mission and job down, the sharks are selfishly worrying about and working to build their own power base. 


It’s a dysfunctional culture that allows these sharks to exist and swarm in their organizational waters. 


Sharks for some reason fail to see that their boats are hitched to everyone else in the organization, and that all the organizational boats rise together or fill with polluted water and sink to the bottom.


As leaders, we need to focus and agree on supporting each other to achieve the success of all. 


Even sharks should learn to be nice and play together with all the other fish in the organizational sea. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

I Got The Call

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I got the call!


But not the one that I always wanted, which is to serve at the very highest echelons of government or/and industry for those values and things which I so hold dear. 


No, instead I got the call that my professor in college warned me about. 


He said:

“You will get a call one day from someone asking for a lot of cash–no questions asked! At that time, you will know who you’re real friends are.”


So I actually got this call (for real) and in the middle of my work day.


This person who contacts me is considered quite affluent and with an extensive network, and I know him/her for only a relatively short time


Person:

“You know you’re like family to me Andy…I need $2,000–in cash–by 7 pm. I’ll pay you back $500 on Friday and the rest by Monday.”


Me (Stunned):

“What–is this a joke or something?”


Person:

{Repeats again the request}


Me:

“OMG. What’s wrong–is everyone okay? Are you in any trouble?”


Person:

Uh, everyone’s fine…don’t ask me any questions–there’s no time for this now.”


Me {Reaching for some humor in this bizarre situation}:

“Oh, only $2,000–I thought maybe you needed $2 million–that’s no problem, of course.”


Person:

“Please don’t make jokes now Andy–this isn’t funny!”


Me {Trying once again to get some more–any–information}:

“Can you just explain to me what’s going on–I really want to understand, so I can help you.”


Person:

“Do you have the cash or not?”


Me: 

“To be frank no. I don’t keep any cash around. {Inquiring to learn more…} Could you take a check or something else?”


Person:

“No. Listen, can you go to the ATM now?”


Me {frustrated by the abruptness, lack of sensical communication, and pushiness, as well as more than a little suspicious at how this is all going down}:

“Well the ATMs have a cash limit. Also, I would really need to check with my {lovely} wife first,”


Person {seeing they weren’t getting what they wanted when they wanted it}:

“Okay, well if you can’t help, I’ll just call someone else–thanks {hanging up on me}!” 


WOW!


Despite having trusted this person and feeling very hurt by all this, I still called the person back later that evening to follow up and because I truly cared, and they were still not any more forthcoming with me, and in fact, were quite attacking that they were sorry to have called me.


But I wasn’t sorry…my college professor was right on, thank G-d–I do know who my friends are!


Whether its a lunch date, LinkedIn/Facebook contact, or social invitation, be discerning about the motives of people–outside of any sane and normal context–that are seeking to “friend” you. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Another Nothing Burger

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So I’ve noticed that not only in politics–but in life–people are want to throw around a lot of nothing burgers.


This happens when they make vague accusations–incriminating people or groups–but without substantiating what they are saying. 


It’s a way of bullying, discriminating, and hating on others. 


Creating doubt about your victim–keep saying those derogatory, demeaning, and hateful stories–it tarnishes the other person’s image, reputation, and credibility.


Creating an endless aura of fallibility on the other person’s part. 


Here, we go…they screwed up again!


It’s death by a thousand cuts of insults, pot shots, and sucker punches.

It’s a definite form of verbal and emotional abuse and violence. 


Sometimes, there may be something to it–in which case the party that screwed up should take responsibility, correct their mistakes, and commit to sincerely doing better in the future. 


But often, there is nothing there!


And the false accusations are merely a way to cover up (management) incompetency or bias by the accusers themselves. 


It’s a great way to dominate the conversation, but really the people making the stink are simply acting out–and not too flattering as the whiners and complainers.


They point fingers at others, but there are three fingers pointing back at themselves!


Why?


Because it’s another nothing burger meant to deceive, discredit, and retard and take the focus off their own meatless patties!  


Where’s the beef?


The liars and deceivers and propagandists are using you for their own means.


Another nothing burger in the oven and it ain’t kosher! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Who’s In Your Corner?

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So as the saying goes…


It’s not what you know, but who you know!


Relationships, connections, and networks are critical for all of us to work together and get things done. 


And sure, it’s good to have some reliable people in your corner who know you and can speak good about who you are, what you represent, and what you’re doing.


However, let’s face it, there are some people out there that take advantage and don’t just have advocates, but rather protectors, and it’s a way for those who may be unqualified, unsavory, and incompetent–as individual–to sustain themselves.


Frankly, some of these people should never be in their jobs and should never be a leader over anything or anybody–but they are enabled, because of who and not what they know or are able to do. 


Whether it’s the Peter Principle or bullies and those without a working moral compass or sometimes it seems even a conscience, it can be very scary at times for what suffices as leadership in many organizations. 


Yes, of course, Thank G-d for the many good, well-meaning, and hardworking folks that make getting up in the morning as well as going into the office, worthwhile.


But for those that hide behind the skirts of others, so that they can get away with things that they should never ever be getting away with…well those are not fruitful relationships being maintained, but rather caustic ones that radiate concentric circles of toxicity to organizations, people, and mission. 


People know it when they see it–because it stinks from the stench of bad apples, bullying, disengagement, lack of accountability and ultimately failure. 


We desperately need each person to perform and to band together as an A-Team. 


However, sink or swim–as individuals, each person in their own based on their conscience and contribution without a phony mask of a protectorate accomplice. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Inspector Inspects Starbucks

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This was the first time that I have ever seen an inspector in Starbucks…


See the lady in the white lab coat with hair cap and gloves…


Ah, she stands out like a saw thumb in contrast to the other staff person in the traditional green Starbucks apron. 


So I would imagine that she’s not a doctor moonlighting as a barista!


She was checking here, there, and everywhere. 


At this point, she was taking out the milk and looked like she had some thermometer like device to make sure it was cold enough and not spoiled. 


Honestly, I was impressed that they have this level of quality control in the stores. 


We need more of this to ensure quality standards as wPhotoell as customer service — here and everywhere in industry and government. 


There is way too much dysfunction, inefficiencies, politics, power plays, turf battles, backstabbing, bullying, lack of accountability, unprofessionalism, fraud, waste, and abuse, and mucho organizational culture issues that need to be–must be–addressed and fast!


Can the inspector that inspects do it?


Of course, that’s probably not enough–it just uncovers the defects–we still have the hard work of leadership to make things right–and not just to checklist them and say we did it.


I wonder if the Starbucks inspector will also address the annoying long lines on the other side of the counter as well? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Mice End Up Dead

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So there are three main ways of reacting when in a bullying situation by someone:


1) Passive – You can sit back and take it for now, shutting your mouth and turning off your feelings, maybe even running for safety, as you get temporarily scr*wed, but perhaps maintaining the moral high ground and smartly saving your chips and choosing your battles for the right time and place to set things right and the record straight. 


2) Aggressive – You can fight back, make sure you have a good strategy, but you may nonetheless end up blamed or bloodied, or who knows, maybe you actually win the day, but also you need to be sure to win the war. 


3) Assertive – You can hold your ground, assert your rights, maintain your own opinions, and do what you believe is right, being firm in your self-determination, but you could be reprimanded or punished for not falling in line or best case scenario, you could actually end up being respected for it.


Listen, there is no one right answer, but you need to be a man and not a mouse.


Protect yourself–and as long as you don’t go overboard or act like a jerk–be you, be proud, and don’t let anyone mistreat you. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

DISGRACEFUL United Airlines

To all decent human being out there…


Think twice about United Airlines. 


They overbooked a flight and then forcibly removed passengers that had paid for their seats. 


What right does anyone have to sell something that they in essence don’t have to sell?


And then treating their passengers like animals, smashing them and busting their lips, and dragging from from seats they paid for!


These passengers just wanted to go home. 


On top of it, the joke of a CEO of United Airlines, Mr. Oscar Munoz, defended this abhorrent violence against his paying passengers stating:

“Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this. While I deeply regret this situation arose [not that he regrets that they oversold seats and then beat the sh*t of this passenger], I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to do above and beyond to ensure we fly right [this is what he “commends” and consider going “above and beyond” and doing what’s “right”–what a complete moral disgrace!].”


While Mr. Munoz had a heart transplant last year, apparently he truly has no heart at all–these are subhuman actions whose defense can only be considered to be the vacuum of any decency or morality in the leadership of United Airlines. 

If no passengers took their offer of $400 or even $1,000 to get bumped, then let them offer $10,000 or more–whatever the market price is to get the seat–but they have NO MORAL RIGHT to force this passenger out of a seat he legitimately paid for and was already sitting in. 


Either United Airlines should immediately apologize and extraordinarily compensate this harmed passenger, promise never to do this again, and fire their corrupt CEO or the public should boycott this disgraceful airline.


Where is the Federal Aviation Administration? 


Where is the board of directors of United Airlines?


Where is justice for this passenger and protection for airline customers?


Please G-d, justice will be done. 😉

The Greatest Failure of Leadership

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So perhaps the most damaging trait of failed leadership is hubris.

When a leaders exhibits arrogance–bullies and degrades others, especially underlings–then that absolutely destroys the moral fiber of and the employee engagement in the organization.

No, it’s not the salary and benefits, or recognition, or position title, or even the grandness of the mission of the organization itself–although they are all important–but rather, the key ingredient to employee satisfaction is the common sense fundamental of how we treat our people.

People rising or elevated in the organization frequently forget the humble beginnings from whence they and their families likely began.

They see their honor and fat pay check and power–and they start to perhaps think of themselves as (close to) G-d Almighty, Him/Herself.

But it is not their position that makes them in the image of G-d, but how they care for and treat others.

If they shepherd their flocks meekly and with empathy and kindness to all then they emulate G-d, the creator and sustainer.

But when it goes to their heads and they become fat and haughty with themselves and are above everyone and care not for the basic dignity and respect of each individual in their steward then G-d sees and G-d hears the cry of the oppressed, and the mighty will surely fall and hard.

As it says in Isaiah 13:11:

I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.

Those who are blessed by G-d with position, money, and power–their challenge is to be gracious and giving with it. 

When they “laud it” over others and when they think that they are truly “all that”–rest assured that G-d does not let any tree grow or tower (of Babel) build into the Heavens themselves. 


Empathy, kindness, graciousness, and generosity–that is true leadership–and that is when employee engagement, satisfaction, and productivity will bear the mark of the meek and the truly great person and leader. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Why People End Up On The Sh*t List

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This was a funny sign…the old “sh*t list!”


When people do cr*p to you and they do it maliciously and with intent, and as repeat offenders enjoying their evil ways hurting others. 


Invariably, they can end up on the sh*t list. 


However, I’ve never actually seen such a list until this. 


You have your:


– Offender

– Violation

– Was it a friend, stranger, lover, family, other?

– When did it occur?

– Severity level


It even has a line for your “plan of attack”–whether you confront, ignore, stew, avenge, talk sh*t, or other. 


And finally whether the terrible offender is still on or off the list. 


While not every offense is a mortal blow and we need to have compassion for people and try to love everyone…sometimes, people can behave so badly and don’t stop no matter how much you try and beg and offer to help them that they just force themselves onto the bad boys/girls list. 


We don’t want to have ill feelings to anyone–we are all G-d’s creatures–but what do you do when people go so far astray or have problems so big that they hurt others so bad and so often.


Surely, we need to have understanding and compassion first for people and try to do everything to help them and bring peace to the world, but when your dealing with the true worst of what people have to offer and they lack basic human self-control and decency, perhaps that’s why victims revert as a last resort to their sh*t list. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)