It Rises To The Top

So one of my friends who is dealing with some bad people in his work told me about his situation using a very interesting descriptive phrase:

“Cream may float to the top, but other things float too!”


Ah yes, in many cases the best (“the cream”) climbs/rises to the top of the corporate ladder and extraordinary people are recognized with positions of leadership and influence to progress things. 


But in other cases, some really bad people (i.e. the sh*t) floats to the top based on lies and baloney promises and payback, malevolent power grabs, undermining of the competition, nepotism, or plain old corruption in the leadership suite. 


Yes, both the cream and the crap float to the top.


It is important to recognize who is who, and what is what. 


Not everyone who occupies the corner office belongs there. 


In some cases, they should never even be allowed in the building. 

In the end, you gotta believe that the stars shine, and the sh*t stinks and that’s how you know who is at the top when. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Technology and Human Capital–They Go Hand-In-Hand

So there are some mighty impressive places to work that really shine in terms of the technology they use and the constant desire to upgrade and improve their capabilities. 


Usually, these are also the places that value and respect their human capital because they view them as not just human pawns, but rather as strategic drivers of change. 


Then there are the places that are “so operationally focused” or just plain poorly run that they can’t be bothered to think about technology much at all or the people that make up the organization and its fiber. 


In many cases, the wheel may be turning, but the hamster is dead: 


There is no real enterprise architecture to speak of. 


There are no IT strategic or operational plans. 


There are no enterprise or common solutions or platforms. 


There is no IT governance or project/portfolio management. 


Even where there are some IT projects, they go nowhere–they are notions or discussion pieces, but nothing ever rolls off the IT “assembly line.”


How about buying an $800 software package to improve specific operations–that gets the thumbs down too. 


Many of these executives can’t even spell t-e-c-h-n-o-l-o-g-y!


It’s scary when technology is such an incredible enabler that some can’t see it for what it is. 


Rather to them, technology is a distraction, a threat, a burdensome cost, or something we don’t have time for.


Are they scared of technology?


Do they just not understand its criticality or capability?


Are they just plain stupid? 


Anyway, organizations need to look at their leadership and ask what are they doing not only operationally, but also in terms of technology improvement to advance the organization and its mission. 


Look to the organizations that lead technologically, as well as that treat their people well, and those are ones to ogle at and model after.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When People Fear You, You’re Not A Leader

As the fortune cookie I came across yesterday says:


“Leadership is action, not position.”


And actions demonstrate a good or evil heart.


When everyone hates a leader is that a “leader?”


– Fear is not leadership.


– Bullying is not leadership. 


– Corruption is not leadership. 


Leadership is:


– Showing others what is right and being a good influence. 


– Rolling up your sleeves and doing the hard work alongside everyone else. 


– Helping others to achieve their potential. 


– When others see you as a leader based on your integrity of purpose and actions. 


How we treat others is as true a test of leadership as of where we want to go and how we want to get there. 


G-d sees everything man (leader or not) does, and only He in Heaven is the Leader of Leaders and the King of Kings.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Culture Key To Organizational Success

As I continue to learn more about organizational success strategies, I am coming to understand that the underlying culture of the organization is so very fundamental to its success.


I believe this is especially the case in terms of three critical competency areas:


– Communication – needs to be timely, constructive, multi-directional, and with emotional intelligence.


– Trust – must be be based on honesty and integrity including consistently supporting the success of everyone professionally and as a organization. 


– Collaboration – must be be anchored in respecting, valuing, empowering, and rewarding each and every person for their views and the contributions, both individually and as team members, and in treating diversity and collaboration, as a true force-multiplier. 


If any of these elements are missing or broken then it does not seem to me that the organization will be able to be successful for the long term.


Organizational success is built on ingredients that strengthen the ties of leadership and individuals and that foster contribution as individuals and as team members. 


No amount of smart, innovative, and even hard work, in my mind, will make up for shortfalls in these critical organizational success factors. 

So when planning for organizational success, make sure to build these in from the get-go. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Sexual Harassment No, No, No

So I took this training about sexual harassment etc. 


There were some good general tips for managers confronting these challenging situations:


1) Address it quickly

2) Discuss it privately

3) Specify the problem behaviors

4) Get commitment that it won’t happen again

5) Document what occurred


It’s not rocket science, but thought this was useful guidance. 


Unfortunately, people don’t always behave appropriately, but hopefully, individuals and society as a whole can learn to do much better.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Nothing Personal

There’s this funny line that some managers use with their employees.


It’s when they harshly criticize, pick on, or even bully their hard working and good people.  


What do they say when they do it:

“It’s nothing personal.”


Ha, that’s sort of funny, but really it’s sad. 


I asked an executive colleague about this and this is what they profoundly said:

“It’s my favorite line when the boss says it’s nothing personal. Of course it’s personal. Is there anyone else in the room!”


When people misuse/abuse their power to hurt others whether at work or even in other situations like with small children or anyone else in a subordinate position:


– That’s not business.


– That’s not professional.


– That’s not being a good human being.


People are not punching bags because someone else is having a bad day. 


We need to rise above the occasion and be better than that. 


It’s better to be humane, compassionate, and emotionally intelligent. 


And not just because someday, we are all in that position where someone bigger is facing off against us.


But rather we need to behave kindly to others, because they too are G-d’s children and our brothers and sisters, and it is the absolutely the right way to behave–whether it’s business or personal. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Crumbs Are For The Birds, Not The Workers

Since the days of slavery, workers have had very little in terms of rights or protections. 


The rich and powerful capitalist employers hold all the cards.


Like this poster says:

“Which Shall It Be?
Duke: ‘If you demand your rights, no more crumbs from my table.’
Working Man: ‘Give me my rights and keep your crumbs.'”

The capitalist owners enjoy being able to give “trickle-down economics” to the average working man. 


Basically, it’s just crumbs from the rich man’s table. 


And if you don’t like it, and you want rights, protections, and more…tough luck, and no more crumbs for you!


But the little guy who breaks his back to earn his daily bread, wants his dignity and respect more than the crumbs from the “capitalist pig” taking advantage of him.


Trickle-down is bullshit!


Crumbs aren’t going to raise the standard of living for the working class. 


We need living wages, social and income equality, and workers rights and protections to keep the little guy from being bulldozed by the rich and powerful. 


Certainly, there are many rich and powerful people that are good and generous, but not everyone is that that way. 


And we can’t have mistreatment of people by those wielding a whip over them.


Yes, workers need to perform and conduct themselves professionally–that is their job.


But workers shouldn’t be taken advantage of with poor wages, little to no benefits, and miserable working conditions (including bullying, harassment, and hostile work environments). 


Remember that in life tables can get turned and the rich and powerful can become the poor and the weak.  


Therefore, pay and treat your workers as you would want to be paid and treated. 


No one is so big as to be untouchable by G-d. 


Money and power will not save anyone from illness, accidents, disasters, and misfortune.


The only thing that does save people is good deeds, kind words, compassion, faith, and prayer. 


Crumbs are for the birds, dignity and respect are for the people!


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)