Living Your Values

So I had this great conversation today with someone about values.


Thinking about what I really value and whether I am living consistently with these…


For me, I was able to clarify for myself these critical values:


1) Being a good person and influence in the world (having a positive impact on people and ideas)


2) Being a good family man (a loving husband, father, and previously son)


3) Being spiritual and serving G-d (living selflessly for my Maker and not selfishly for myself)


4) Being a hard worker (living productively and not as a laggard or sloth)


5) Being a balanced person (living along the “golden path” or “middle of the road”–not an extremist)


6) Being a generally healthy person (living a lifestyle that includes activity, exercise, good nutrition, and no smoking, drugs, or excessive drinking)


What I realized is that when I need to let my values guide me every moment of every day. 


This ultimately means my success and happiness! 


Being what I think that I am supposed to be or what others would want me to be, just doesn’t work–it’s a strategy for failure. 


My father used to tell me:

“Let your conscience be your guide”  (that and the Torah, of course)


This is the answer to a lot of questions that I have in my life–about what to do with my life and what decisions to make.


Values–driven by conscience and integrity–that’s where I want to go next and next. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Take Off The Halo and Horn

Thought this was a learning moment. 


The halo and horn effects. 


This has to do with generalizing about people, things, places, or events. 


With the halo effect, if we like (are positive) about one or a few things about it, we may put a proverbial halo on it and and treat or rate everything about it as great.


Similarly, with the horn effect, if we dislike (are negative) about one or a few things about it, we may put a proverbial horn on it and treat or rate everything about it as horrible. 


This means were not really being objective or balanced in our assessment. 


Usually, it’s not all just good or bad, black or white–but good AND bad, black AND white.  


And obviously, this can cause us to make bad decisions based on poor analysis and judgement. 


Therefore, the importance of taking a step back, looking holistically at all the facts, and evaluating things for what they really are, rather than making snap calls to judgement–and poor ones at that! 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to darksouls1)

A Mountain Of Data

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So I heard this interesting perspective on information and data analytics…


Basically, it comes down to this: 

“Most organizations are data rich, but information/insight poor.”


Or put another way:

“Data is collected, but not used.”


Hence we don’t know what we don’t know and we end up making bad decisions based on poor information. 


Just imagine if we could actually make sense of all the data points, connect them, visualize them, and get good information from them.


How much better than a pile of rocks is that? 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Escalator Pile-Up

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So this was really funny at the Metro escalator. 


There was a huge double line of people coming down the escalator heading to the trains.


Everything is moving swiftly like clockwork.


Decend, decend, decend…step off and move to the right or left track for the next train. 


But then…


One person, steps off and instead of moving left or right, they stop to try and figure out which side their train is coming from. 


So all the people behind them coming down and off the escalator are blocked by the one “bumbling idiot” and they start stumbling into him with no place to go, and more and more people coming down end up in the human pile. 


You could almost hear the people getting to the end of the escalator yelling: “Get out of the way!”


It was crazy and sort of hilarious–as no one was hurt, but the system isn’t built to give a person pause at the bottom.


The people just keep coming and coming–where’s the emergency break? 🙂


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

BIG Difference Between Private and Public Sectors

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So I thought this was very telling today about the difference between the public and private sectors…


I was teaching a class and gave the students a challenging scenario and problem and asked how they would solve it.


The class was a mix of leaders and managers from the public and private sectors–this time weighted mostly on the commercial side. 


Typically, the students from the government usually provide answers in terms of lengthy analysis processes, negotiations, vetting and getting buy-in and approvals through many layers of bureaucracy and red tape, as well as getting people to understand the what’s in it for me (WIIFM) value proposition.


However, this time, one the students from the private sector said bluntly, the following:

We can either do it the easy way or the hard way!


So I asked, “What do you mean the easy and hard ways?”


And he answered:

The easy way is that we can try at first to appeal to people, but if that doesn’t work then the hard way is we just do what needs get done.


Again with great interest and curiosity, I inquire, “And how do you that?”


This time someone else answers, and says:

We do “rip and replace”–we pull up the truck in the middle of the night and we rip out the things we don’t like and replace it with what we do, period.


Then I ask innocently again, “So what happens the next morning?”


And the 2nd person answers again, and says:

Who cares, the job is done!


This reminded me a little of the old images of the mob gangster pulling up in the shadows of the night to someone’s door that wasn’t cooperating and applying the baseball bat to the knees!


Yes, it’s a very different and extreme way of getting what you want and when you want it, done. 


Quite a BIG difference between the private and public sector approach to getting thing done!


One one hand, we have the speed and execution of the marketplace versus the more lengthly thoughtfulness and inherent compromises of government and politics. 


What’s it gonna be–some bureaucracy, seemingly endless red tape, and horse-trading or the good ol’ baseball bat to the knees? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Settle Down or Trade Up

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So I always hear this question from people…

 

Should I be happy with what I have or should I seek out something better?

It’s the age old question of whether to settle down or trade up.


When it comes to any decision in life…choosing a school, degree, career, place to live, an investment decision, or even your spouse and life partner–how do you know when you are making the right decision?


Maybe you like or love what’s in front of your eyes, but you still don’t know 100% if there’s something better out there for you.


Every choice means you are settling in some way, because let’s face it, nothing is perfect in life!

When is good, good enough for you?


There are trade-offs with every decision.


And it’s a matter of what YOU can live with!


A guy may say, “I like this girl, but I’m not sure whether she’s the one for me or that I really want to settle down with long-term.”


Someone else says, “I’m studying to be an accountant, but you know I really always liked psychology.”


And yet a third person says, “I like working at company ABC, but maybe I can learn something new or do better financially for myself and family if I go somewhere else.”


So when do you settle down and when do you try to trade-up?


The dilemma is fateful because you don’t want to lose what you have, but you also don’t want to potentially miss out on something even better for you.


Listen, we’re not prophets!


No one knows whether your investment in something is going to pay off in spades or land you flat on your butt. 


All you can do is try to weight the pros and cons of every decision. 


If you treat life like a roulette game in Las  Vegas, the one thing that is pretty sure is that at some point, you will lose it all to the house. 


So choose wisely and make sure you are passionate about your choice and that can live with it over time. 


Know that you made the best decision you could by looking at it from all angles. 


And most important of all, be grateful for everything you have–these are blessings from the Almighty Above and you need to have faith that He/She is guiding and helping you all along the way. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Whose Throat Do You Choke

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So this was an interesting term that I heard about getting people to take responsibility for their actions.


“Whose throat do I choke for this?”


Sounds a little severe, no?


I think this is partially an adverse reaction to “analysis paralysis” and “death by committee” — where no decisions can ever get made. 


And organizations where lack of accountability runs rampant and it’s more about finger pointing at each other, rather than owning up to your responsibilities, decisions, and actions.


So with dysfunctional  organizations, the pendulum swings aimlessly being no accountability and the ultimate chopping block. 


But choking off the life blood of our human capital certainly isn’t conducive to innovation, exploration, and discovery or to productivity, employee morale and retention.


So when it’s simple human error with our best effort and no bad intentions, how about we say a simple “Who done it this time,” do a post-action, figure out the valuable lessons learned, and resolve how we do better going forward. 


No throats or heads necessary (most of time). 🙂


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)