What’s Your Relationship?

This week I learned about the Three Levels of Relationships.


Level 3: Family/Friends

The highest form of a relationship where you are being authentic (i.e. yourself), you share deeply about yourself (thoughts, feelings, desires, mistakes, etc,) and you are vulnerable. 


Level 2: Professionals

The middle level of relationships in which you are seeking to build trust and respect, you share some information (i.e. appropriate), and you expose yourself a little to the other person. 


Level 1: Acquaintances

The most elementary of relationships that is superficial in nature, there is little personal sharing of information (i.e. mostly when you are asked a question and you feel comfortable answering it), and you remain guarded. 


This is a good way to assess your relationships–is it a level 1, 2, or 3 and are you behaving appropriately within that, so that you trust, communicate, and collaborate effectively.  😉


(Graphic Credit: Andy Blumenthal)

In The Know or Dark

So here is one way that some people can (try to) manipulate you–positively or negatively. 


They can help either to keep you “in the know” or “in the dark.”


As we all know by now, information is power!


When you’re in the know–you are a trusted agent and a valuable resource; you have more dots and more connections between the dots to make; you are able to analyze what’s happening and make better decision going forward; you can lead with knowledge, wisdom, and hopefully understanding. People come to you for advice, guidance, and because you are a true asset to the team, your superiors, and the organization. 


When you’re in the dark–you are untrusted and unvalued, you may actually be seen as the enemy who needs to be marginalized, put out or taken out! You are kept out of meetings, uninformed or misinformed, and so you become more and more intellectually worthless. Further, others are implicitly or explicitly told that you are poisonous and not to get caught up in the pending slaughter.  A colleague of mine put it this way: “Don’t get between a man and his firing squad.”   


So with others, there can be information alliances as well as information warfare. 


To a great extent, you are responsible for keeping yourself in the know. You need to build relationships, bridges, and networks. You need to read, observe, and talk to lots of people. You need time to digest and analyze what you learn.  And you must build your information store so that it is ready and actionable. 


But to another extent, there are others–superiors, competitors, bullies, abusers–who just might seek to keep you in the dark and bring you down. Not everyone is your friend…some maybe just the opposite. (Wouldn’t it be nice, if we all were just friends!) But showing you the intellectual ass of the group is a powerful nut that once superimposed as an image, cannot be easily distilled. There is plenty of groupthink to go around. And taking out a perceived enemy diffuses their power to everyone else.  What a lousy coup by some nasty f*ckers!


Why some friend and others foe you–who the heck knows. Perhaps some is chemistry; some is tit for tat; some is personal bias and bigotry; and some just the crapshoot of fate. 


In the end, keep doing your part to enhance your value, your friendships, and your integrity. The rest, you have to be vigilant about and realize not everyone wants the lights kept on. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

UNSOCIAL Social Media

This video is absolutely fantastic.

Congratulations to Gary Turk for hitting the nail on the head here.

And thank you to my daughter, Michelle, for sharing this with me.

Smartphones, dumb people.
Easier to connect with people, but we spend more time alone.
Be there in the moment.
Give your love, not your like.
Look up from your phone, shut down your display.

Part of me just wants to say that Social Media is one of THE biggest wastes of our time…REALLY!

Another part of me, believes in some aspects of it for information sharing, collaboration, and being a greater influence.

But Social Computing is NOT a replacement for genuine human interaction, which is too OFTEN what it has become.

I applaud my daughters, for at times, disconnecting their Facebook accounts to read, spend time with friends, and do other activities.

We’ve lost too much of ourselves to an escapist virtual reality–where it’s easier to HIDE behind a screen, then be there in the flesh facing the challenges that we must.

There are great aspects to being online–it’s been a true information revolution–but the computer needs to SERVE the human master, and not the other way around. 😉

The Counterterrorism Calendar

The Counterterrorism Calendar

The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) “leads our nations efforts to combat terrorism at home and abroad by analyzing the threat, sharing that information with our partners, and integrating all instruments of national power to ensure unity of effort.” The NCTC is part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

Not since the playing cards used in the 2003 Iraqi invasion with the most-wanted identified on the cards have I seen the employ of such a common tool for sharing such important information–until now with the development by the NCTC of a Counterterrorism Calendar.

Typically, pin-up calendars have been devoted to beautiful models, Dilbert cartoons, and areas of personal interests and hobbies–such as cars, sports, aircraft, boats, or whatever.

I was impressed to see this concept used for sharing counterterrorism information; really, this is something that we should be mindful of every day–it’s about our safety and national security.

The counterterrorism calendar has both a website and a PDF download.

The website has an interactive timeline, map, and terrorist profiles–so you can learn about terrorism by time and space and those who commit the atrocities.

Timeline–you can view by month and day the major terrorist acts that have occurred–and many days have more than one terrorist act associated with it–and only seven days out of the whole calendar year have no terrorist acts listed–so for those who are focused on just 9/11, there is a whole calendar waiting for you to view.

Map–the map allows you to see the home base and geographical sphere of influence of many terrorist organizations–17 of them–along with a profile of each of those terrorist groups. There is also a button on the bottom of the page to see all the countries impacted with victims from 9/11–there are 91 countries shown with victims from this single catastrophic event alone.

Terrorists–the site has a list of terrorists with their profiles, identifying information, what they are wanted for, and amount of reward offered, or whether they have already been captured or killed. There is also a list of the 10 most wanted off to the right side of the page–with a rewards of $25 million listed for the #1 spot for Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The downloadable calendar has this information in a 160 page color-calendar–with a wealth of information for a calendar format like this–it is so large, I don’t think you could actually hang this calendar because no regular push pins could actually hold it.

So if you can pull yourself away from the stereotypical Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Calendar, then you may actually be able to learn a lot about what our counterterrorism efforts are all about. 😉

Amazing Internet Statistics 2012

Star_wars

So what happens in only 1 minute on the Internet–this cool magazine Ideas and Discoveries (October 2012) provides some amazing examples:

– Information Sharing–639,800 gigabytes of data are exchanged

– Information Generation–6 new Wikipedia articles are created

– Information Visualization–20,000,000 photo looked at on Flickr

– eMail–204,000,000 emails are sent

– eCommerce–$83,000 of sales on Amazon

– Social Networking–320 new users on Twitter and 100 on LinkedIn (wonder how many for Facebook…)

– Cyber Crime–20 new victims of identity theft

And in the same month, Harvard Business Review reported on the growing significance to commerce with the Internet contributing to GDP (in 2010) as much as:

– 8.3% in the UK

– 7.3% in South Korea

– 5.5% in China

– 4.7% in the US

– 4.7% in Japan

– 4.1% in India

Moreover in HBR, this is what was reported that people are willing to give up instead of the Internet for a year–and the numbers are pretty startling–check this out:

– 91% of UK would give up fast food

– 89% of Indonesians would give up smoking

– 86% of Japanese would give up chocolate

– 85% of Chinese would give up coffee

– 78% of Indonesians would give up their shower

– 60% of Japanese would give up exercise

– 56% of Chinese would give up their car

– 56% of Japanese would give up sex–go figure! 😉

While this is all sort of light, there is also a very seriousness dimension to this. For example, in the Wall Street Journal today, it quotes Secretary of Defense, Leon Paneta warning that with Iran’s digital assault on the U.S., the concerns of cyberwar are growing with the SecDef going so far as to say “Is there a cyberwar going on? It depends on how you define war.”

Yes, the Internet is amazing for so many reasons and we can’t take it for granted–we need to be vigilant and defend the Internet (cyber) with the same zeal and commitment as the other domains of war–land, sea, and air–all are vital to national security and for the preservation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

This is a lesson we need to learn quickly and decisively–before the old Star Wars is passe and cyberwar turns deadly.

I Hate Paper

Paper_pile

Paper has been around for approximately two thousand years, since it’s invention in China, and it has served as the medium of choice for recording and sharing information ever since.

However, enter the age of information technology and we are now able to capture, process, and store far more information, quicker, cheaper, and more efficiently than we ever could with paper.

Combine that with the environmental impact and the need to conserve, and we have numerous federal laws calling for the reduction or elimination of paper, to the extent practical.

1) The Paperwork Reduction Act (1980) calls for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to regulate collection of information and establish information policies to reduce the paper handled by the government.

2) The Government Paperwork Elimination Act (1998) mandates the use of electronic forms, filings, and signatures for official business with the public.

3) E-Government Act (2002) requires use of the Internet to improve citizen access to information and services.

All three are a recognition of the need to move from costly paper-based processes and the management of maintenance of mountains of paper records to instead leverage information technology to re-engineer and improve the way we perform information management.

It’s funny, but for me it’s almost become a personal crusade to make better use of information technology to perform our mission and business of government more effectively, and I personally keep as little paper records, as possible–instead choosing to manage predominantly online–and it’s great.

Aside from having a cleaner office–no paper files, I enjoy all the benefits of electronic filing, search, and the ability to quickly share files with others in the office without having to rummage through a stack of papers 3 feet deep!

Working in some areas that are still paper intensive for case management and so on, I have taken on the mantra, which I frequency cite of “I hate paper!”

No, I don’t really hate it, but in order to change decades old manual and paper intensive processes, we need to exaggerate a little and tell ourselves and other we hate it, so we can help change the inefficient and costly status quo.

You can only imagine how surprised I was to read in The Atlantic (20 April 2012)–that “Paper: [Is] The Material of the Future.”

Essentially, the article touts the new developments with paper using nanotechnology to make it water-proof (although you can still write on it), magnetic, fluorescent, and even anti-bacterial.

Imagine paper that you can stick to your file cabinet, spill coffee on, light up the room with, and even keep you from getting sick–yes, that’s fairly impressive!

However, while these new features are wonderful indeed and will increase the usability of paper as well as improve records management of them, I do not want to see us get complacent with reducing our use of paper and making better use of technology.

Even with these cool nano-tech improvements to paper coming our way, I am still going to say, “I hate paper!”

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Earthworm)

Candy Dish, Come and Get Some

Candy_dish

I saw this brilliant piece in the Wall Street Journal (20 March 2012) about building relationships with sibling “rivals”, but in my opinion the advice has much broader implications for growing our relationships for how we deal with others in life.

The article describes about how one man sends his brother, with whom he has been fighting with for years, the following story in an email:

“Two men had a stream dividing their properties. One man hired a carpenter to build a fence along the stream, but the carpenter built a bridge by mistake.” The brother then wrote, “I’d like to walk over the bridge.”

Wow! This is a very powerful story.

We can choose to build walls to separate us or build bridges to close the divide.

This can be applied to so many situations, where building relationships has a genuine chance or can be a lost and forgone opportunity.

In the office, for example, some people choose to put up proverbial walls between themselves and others. They do this by closing their doors, scowling at others, putting up signs that they are having a bad day, or perhaps by literally surrounding themselves with the accoutrements of their office (desks, chairs, appliances, mementos) and sending a message of a clear distance between them and others–almost like they are circling the wagons and no one will get in without getting shot.

While others take a different approach and are busy building bridges between themselves and others. For example, they regularly say good morning and how are you, they have a true open door policy, they may even have a candy dish or other enticements for others to stop by and just talk. They are open to others to share, collaborate and to build relationships.

Thus, just like with the two brothers, the conflict between them can turn into a hard and deeply anchored wall that closes all venues or the opposite, a bridge that connects us.

Think about it as building or burning bridges. When dealing with people who are really not deserving of trust, sometimes there is no choice but to separate and “live and let live,” but when dealing with those with whom a real relationship is possible and even desirable, then start building those bridges today or at least take a first step and put out that candy dish. 😉

(Source Photo: Blumenthal)