When You Need To BLUF

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Most professional (and even personal) communications should start with…

________________________


BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front).


This means that you start with the ending–in mind, on paper, verbally, and in digital format. 


You provide the conclusion and/or recommendations right up front.


Rather than first wadding through all the details–context, analysis, considerations, assumptions, risks, etc. 


Let the reader know right away what it is you want. 


Generally, this is different than an abstract or summary that provides a synopsis and leading evidence for the argument put forward. 


Tell me what I need to know and get right to the point! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Going From Hearing To Listening

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I thought this was pretty good. 


How do we go from hearing to listening?


We have to be silent (and contemplative)!


– Check out the letters in the word silent.


– They are exactly the same as the letters in the word listen.


Keep the mouth shut and really listen to the what the other person has to say, and you might actually learn something. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Is It I Don’t or I Do?

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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)

The Meaning of Silence

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Is silence a good thing or a bad thing–what does it really mean?


On the plus or neutral side:


Silence can mean modesty and humility–you withhold speaking out of turn or having a big mouth; you recognize that you don’t know everything and what you do know is not intended to put down or shame others. 


Silence can means secrets and privacy–you don’t say everything; you treat information properly based on need to know and propriety of sharing. 


Silence can mean good situational judgement–that you know prudently when to let others have their say, or when your opinion isn’t really welcome, or when it’s best to just stay below the radar. 


Silence can mean you simply don’t know–and it’s something you need to listen and learn more about rather than speak; it’s why we’re told that we have two ears and one mouth.


Silence can mean that maybe you don’t care about something–why get fired up or “waste your breath” on it when it’s just not your thing.


When can it be a negative:


There was a sign in the local school window that silence means (wrongful) acceptance; that is also something I learned in in the Talmud in yeshiva; if you see something wrong and don’t say or do something, you are (partially) responsible.


Silence can mean fear–perhaps you don’t accept something, but you’re afraid to speak truth or morality to power; you sit silently cowering, when you should stand up tall and speak out. 


Silence may also mean shame–you’ve done something wrong or don’t want others to know something that could make you look bad or put you in jeopardy. 


Silence can mean you are hiding something–it can be that you don’t trust or aren’t trustful; silence at a time when you need to answer or respond can result in suspicion about why you are “holding back,” instead of being forthcoming and truthful.


When to talk and when to remain silent? 


Certainly, “you have the right to remain silent.”


We need to use words with care and intent–to always seek to help and not to hurt. 


Words are so potent–the mouth is perhaps the strongest part of the human body, just like the pen is mightier than the sword. 


That’s why I pray that G-d put the “right words” in my mouth–to be constructive, positive, effective and impactful–to do good as much as possible with words and with silence. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Shock Value Gets The Ball Rolling

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There is definitely something to be said for shock value. 


When you do or say something that is S~H~O~C~K~I~N~G.


And it jolts the other person out of their daily stupor so that they really take notice. 


It’s hard to stand out in a global population of over 7.2 billion people and counting. 


Everyone wants to be special, unique, have an impact, and make a difference. 


It’s our answer (partially) for why we are here and why it matters.


Our life is a journey and it can be a log slog if we don’t have a purpose and meaning in it all. 


We look to the One Above for guidance, meaning, love, and protection.


But we also have to look at ourselves in the mirror…what are we doing with our lives. 


Shock value doesn’t mean real value…it’s just the initial jolt to get noticed…like that purple and green spiked hair or those sparkly shoes you adorned. 


So you have to take the initial jolt and make it into deep impact–by touching not just a cord, but the nerves that run through. 


In Florida, there was a funny sign along the highway with that shock value that said something like this:


“Your Wife Is Hot So Call {X} To Fix Your A/C!”


What did you say about my wife? 


You know you’re right, I do need to invest in better air conditioning! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

It Takes A Village

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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)

People Nutrition

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This is an risque t-shirt this lady is wearing.


It’s a big nutrition label. 


And she’s wrapped in it!


I’m not sure if this is a gag or fashion statement or even a sexual thing.


Is she advertising that she’s like the food?


What was really funny though is by her butt…it says 


“Moschino chocolate tastes good.”


Maybe that should be a black box warning!


Uh, this is way too much information for me. 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)