Feeling Blue, Feel Better

Life is filled with so many wonderful marvels and joys–thank you G-d!


Yet interspersed is what feels like a series of non-ending life challenges. 


Yes, of course we wouldn’t recognize or appreciate the good, if we didn’t have the bad to compare it to. 


But just when you think you’ve gotten through one obstacle and are cruising nicely down Life Lane, then it seems like it’s time for the next speed bump.


I know that having faith through thick and thin is a huge part of it. 


Also, challenging oneself to be strong and work through the next life dilemma. 


Sure, not everything is life and death, thank G-d.  


But even daily upsets can be frustrating.


I know inside though that in a weird sense, this is really what life is all about. 


It’s not paradise we are living in–that comes later when we get our angel wings!


This is a world that challenges, teaches, and grows us. 


We are not here just to have a merry ‘ol good time day in and day out. 


While that may be nice for a while, it would get pretty tiresome and pointless. 


Life is like a puzzle–a very big puzzle–and we are here to help solve it and in the process, we have the opportunity to become better souls for it.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Nuttiest Duck In DC

Just when I thought I’d met all the nuts in this town (Washington, D.C.)…


I ran into this one in the Capitol Reflecting Pool on the Mall. 


Check this out!


The duck is head first waddling away it’s feet in the air like a lost puppy.


Reminds me of too many folks who don’t want to deal with the many consequential problems that our nation faces (fortunately, there are also many good folks that do!).


From the imminent dangers of North Korea, Iran, and ISIS to our staggering national debt (all of which I wrote about yesterday) along with other critical issues such as healthcare, immigration, and jobs, jobs, jobs. 


Then there are the all too frequent projects that are out of control and funding that is flushed down the proverbial $4,000 toilet. 


A history of dysfunction, fraud, waste, abuse (along with an assortment of personality disorders) have ripened for the picking in the election famous “Swamp”–that we’ve been promised will be drained!


Maybe that’s what this duck is wading into…and what do you think he will find? 


This nation can no longer afford to go head in the sand unless we are looking to be a good-for-nothing dead duck rather than a thriving democracy and beacon of freedom to the world. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal

The Success Iceberg

Success Iceberg.jpeg

Thought this was really so true.


Under the tip of the iceberg of success lay all the factors that most people don’t see.


The vast mass of persistence, failures, sacrifices, disappointments, good habits, hard work, and dedication. 


Success really is an iceberg!


Don’t be jealous of the success at the tip of the iceberg of others unless you put in all the ingredients beneath–plus a prayer to the Almighty Above for his blessings.


Have a Shabbat Shalom!


(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)

Body of Armor

body-armor

So had some disappointments recently.


Nothing terrible (and for that I am so grateful). 


Just life happening. 


Have to fail and fail and fail {more}…in order to get to that single success. 


Along the way, sometimes it feels like arrows going through your body.


Or as someone said to Tina Fey in a movie we watched yesterday:

“Hearts and minds, the two best places to shoot someone.”


Is that funny? 


Ok, now I know that I am feeling a little down, because even that made me smirk but not fully smile. 


It’s okay.


Life is a series of peaks and valleys. 


Time to climb that next peak. 


I will do it with body armor on and solid. 


Won’t let those arrows pierce me, while I ascend.


I am trying, and learning and growing along the way.


If I am to fall, Hashem, in mercy, pick me up that I may keep doing my mission you have for me in life, so that I may ultimately prevail toward the destiny only that You know and have planned for me, for the good. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

“Chickenshit”?

Chicken
Wow, what type of politician calls the Prime Minister of Israel, our “Major Strategic Partner,” with an “unshakable bond,” a “Chickensh*t”?



Yes, it’s in the Washington Examiner today. 



Forget about being completely rude and disrespectful–how utterly impolitic!



Sinking to new political lows globally with our friends and allies–while the ratings sink (and sink) to new lows for these politicians. 



Imagine, Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu defends his nation by putting real boots on the ground in Hamas-run Gaza for the 50-days of fighting rocket barrages and terror tunnels, and builds apartments in Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel–Sorry, that is not Chickensh*t.



While domestically, we have been seen as in full global retreat abandoning our bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, carpet bombing from the air in Syria and not punishing chemical weapons use (remember the “red line“), leaving key portions of Ukraine in the hands of Russia, seeking to forge WMD-losing deals with the devils in Iran, and watching the situation deteriorate as we “Pivot East” to Asia, and as we all know, much more. 



– Finanically–we can’t balance a budget,

– Ebola Epidemic–we can’t put together a sensible quarantine policy (while the States fill the void)

Imigration–we can’t muster a realistic bill

Veterans–the scandal of not caring for our veterans is still scathing.



And the list goes on, virtually without end. 



Horrible name-calling and snubbing leaders on the world stage, let alone of our best allies and friends, is not only politically immature, but morally disgraceful–but psychological projection is a very real possibility.



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Metro Opens (Wrong) Doors

Metro Opens (Wrong) Doors

MetroOpensDoors.com is a website name for WMATA trains in/around Washington, D.C.

So this was Metro opening the train doors today.

Unfortunatey, it was the wrong doors–the ones facing the tracks, and not the side with the platform.

I took this photo with the doors open on the wrong side.

I wondered what would have happened if the trains had been full and someone was leaning up or against the doors–they could’ve actually fallen off/out of the train.

Where exactly are the safety features so this doesn’t happen?

Anyway, we ended up being offloaded from the train, but at least no one that I know of ended up as train kill. 😦

>Strategic Decision Making Trumps The Alternative

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A strategist frequently has to temper the desire for structured planning and strategic decision making with the reality of organizational life, which includes:

· Organizational politics (who has the power today to get their way).

· Subjective management whims (I think, I believe, I feel, but mainly I want—regardless of objective facts).

· Situational knee-jerk reactions (due to something that broke, a mandate that came down, an audit that was failed, and so on)

· People with some cash to throw around (they have $ and “its burning a hole in their pockets” or can anyone say “spend-down”?).

The result though of abandoning strategic decision-making is that IT investment decisions will be sub-optimal and maybe even big losers—some examples includes:

· Investment “shelfware” (the seals on the packages of the software or hardware may never even get broken)

· Redundant technologies (that drain limited resources to operate and maintain them)

· Systems that are obsolete by the time they make it into production (because they were a bad idea to begin with)

· Failed IT projects galore (because they never had true organizational commitment and for the right reasons)

Why does strategic decision-making help avoid bad organizational investments?

1) Having a vision, a plan, and an enterprise architecture trumps ping-pong balling around in the firefight of the day, because the first is goal-oriented—linear and directed, and the second is issue-oriented—dictated by the problem du-jour, and generally leads to nowhere in particular.

2) Having a structured governance process with analysis of alternatives and well-thought out and transparent criteria, weightings, and rankings trumps throwing an investment dart into the dark and hoping that it hits a project with a real payoff.

3) Taking a strategic view driven by positive long-term outcomes for the organization trumps an operational view driven by short-term results for the individual.

4) Taking an enterprise solutions view that seeks sharing and economies of scale trumps an instance-by-instance approach, which results in gaps, redundancies, inefficiencies, and systems that can’t talk with each other.

5) Taking an organization view where information sharing and horizontal collaboration result in people working together for the greater organizational good, trumps functional views (vertical silos) where information is hoarded and the “us versus them attitude,” results in continuous power struggles over scare resources and decisions that benefits individuals or groups at the expense of the organization as a whole.

Certainly, we cannot expect that all decisions will be made under optimal conditions and follow “all the rules.” However, as leaders we must create the organizational structures, policies, processes, and clear roles and responsibilities to foster strategic decision-making versus a continued firefighting approach.

Understanding that organizations and people are imperfect and that we need to balance many competing interests from many stakeholders does not obviate the need to create the conditions for sounder decision-making and better organizational results. This is an IT leader’s mandate for driving organizational excellence.

While we will never completely get rid of the politics and other sideline influences on how we make our investments, we can mitigate them through a process-driven organization approach that is based on a healthy dose of planning and governance. The pressure to give in to the daily crisis and catfight can be great that is why we need organizational structures to hold the line.