Don’t Call Me Sir!

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Don’t Call Me Sir!” 

In a split second, the officer zeros in on me and admonishingly says: “I’m not a Sir!” I’m taken aback, as I watch the officer speak, their face hardened and angular and their full mustache rising and falling with their words.

 

It’s Pride Month, and I learned a valuable lesson in sensitivity, respect, and diversity and that in short: 


Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, Jewish Lives Matter, All Lives Matter!  We are all children of G-d. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Harassholes Y’all

Someone brought me a copy of this photo from their office. 


It says:

Stop Harassholes Y’all


Not bad. 


Harassment plus as*holes = Harassholes. 


Thank G-d, there are some very good people and managers out there.


But unfortunately not everyone is, and so there are also some real stinkin’ abusers too. 


These types of people should never be in power, since they misuse it!


They do not use the power they have been entrusted with to advance progress, and do good for the organization and its people, but rather they clumsily wield power for their own selfish, personal pleasures and vendettas–bullying and harassing others–and simply because they can.


Belittling others, making them feel stupid and worthless, and then going after them for whatever they want. 


Through intimidation, they keep others from talking…shhh! hush!


Emotional, verbal, and even physical abuse can be common. 


I remember one colleague telling me how their boss would literally throw things at them in their office while they had to sit there “taking it.”


Another has a boss that makes them do the stupidest, most trivial tasks–completely worthless stuff–just to prove a point…that they’re in charge. 


Marginalization, threats, bullying, abuse, harassment…it goes on and it shouldn’t!


In some cases, the harassholes are even protected from someone above.


Money, power, honor…more, more, more!


But G-d sees these people too and eventually cuts the bad ones down to size. 


My father used to say:

G-d does not let any tree grow into the heavens!


Eventually, I am pretty sure that harassholes end up getting some very BIG hemorrhoids or something from above that teaches them to use G-d’s gifts for the good, and to properly love, care, and empathize for other human beings–G-d’s children!


I never knew why hemorrhoids existed in this world, but there is a purpose to everything under the heavens. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Wrong Direction–Who Stands For The Truth?

So I thought this was pretty funny in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend. 

A wife is listening to the radio and she hears that a car is dangerously going in the wrong direction on the highway. 

Immediately, she calls her husband to tell him about the car going in the wrong direction, and to be careful. 

He husband replies: One car going in the wrong direction…there are hundreds of cars going in the wrong direction!

How true this little story is about life and what direction we choose for ourselves–in the face of the groupthink and the tidal wave of public opinion that will sweep you away if you aren’t strong of mind and especially of character. 


Whenever we choose the road less traveled, others see us as dangerous and going the wrong way. 


Yet to us, others may just be following blindly, and we may truly see something that everyone else is missing…could it possibly be that they are really the ones going the wrong way!


But there is always some doubt in our minds…we are fallible, we can wrong, we can be crazy.  


Whose truth is it anyway–Mine?  Yours?  Or could it really be “The (objective) Truth”?


Alternatively, maybe we just lack confidence or courage?


It is very hard to be the nail that stands up (and doesn’t get hammered down) and say that something is wrong and everyone should pay attention and change direction or their ways. 


Perhaps, they are all heading off a moral cliff or just heading towards disaster.


In some cases…


We know the agendas of the people who want to steer you wrong. 


We hear the propaganda and lies they are feeding you. 


We can see down the road or just around the bend where the danger lies in wait. 


– Can we stand up to the crowd?  


– Can we demonstrate the moral truth?  


– Can we get others to see what we see?  


It is certainly not easy to be the contrarian in the crowd. 


Not only may you not be recognized for what you are doing, but you may even be persecuted for it. 


It doesn’t matter…


Because you need to do it anyway just because you know deep inside that it’s the right thing to do. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Contributors and Whiners

Have you ever noticed the relationship between those that contribute and those that whine. 

The bad news is there is a highly inverse relationship between contributing and whining.

– Those that contribute, don’t whine–they are focused on how to make things better!

– Those that whine, don’t contribute–they complain and naysay, but add no real value.

The good news is that some solid contributors can more than counterbalance the whiners.

– Unfortunately, too often the whiners outnumber the contributors.

– But fortunately the contributors outweigh the whiners.

Despite your best efforts, you may not be able to make the whiners stop whining and throwing up roadblocks. 

You’re often best-off spending your time working with the other contributors who want to see things through to success. 

Be a leader, not a babysitter and help the contributors win! 😉

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal adapted from here with attribution to mediamodifier)

Solving Computer Problems

Funny T-Shirt on solving computer problems:


Does it work?


Did you screw with it?


Does anyone know?


Can you blame anyone else?


This little flowchart seems to capture so many issues in the office like:


– Accountability


– Problem-solving


– Doing the right thing


Oh, maybe that’s a different flowchart. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Having Those Difficult Conversations

Took an interesting class recently in having difficult conversations.


These are the conversations you need to have about performance, accountability, expectations, bad news, conflict, and so on. 


Often these are the conversations we tend to avoid, because we don’t know how to have them without making things worse where things get emotionally charged, people become defensive, things gets misinterpreted, and they get escalated. 


And it’s even more difficult when there is a discrepancy in power between the people having the dialogue. 


But it is important to have the critical conversations in order to solve the underlying problems!


Often problems are rooted in that we judge others too quickly and erroneously, or we just don’t have all the facts. 


The data points we do have get filtered, interpreted, assumptions are made, conclusions are drawn, beliefs are adopted, and actions are taken that may be wrong (reference: The Ladder of Inference by Chris Argyris).


The key to having a productive conversation is to explain the issue and the impact, acknowledge your part in the problem, describe the desired outcome for the relationship and the work, and most importantly, give space for the other person to respond.


We need to get the other person’s point of view, including the data points that we may have missed or misunderstood, generate options, and agree how to solve the issue.


Unfortunately, there are times when the other person digs in and isn’t open to working on or resolving the problem, in which case you may need to decide whether to grin and bear it (i.e. live with it) or leave the relationship, because it has become too unproductive and toxic. 


The instructor said it well: This is about problem-solving. But life is too short to deal with jerks!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The New Faces Of Hate

Representative Illhan Omar claims Congressional lawmakers are bribed to support U.S. friend and ally, Israel:

“It’s all about the Benjamins baby”.

Representative Rashida Tlaib said about congressional representatives supporting Israel in a bill  that would punish companies that participate in Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) to further Israel’s destruction. 

“They forget what country they represent.”

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated about Israel’s defending their sovereign border with Gaza amidst terrorist organization, Hamas-led violent protests, terror attacks, and infiltrations into Israel:

“This is a massacre. I hope my peers have the moral courage to call it such. No state is absolved of the mass shooting of protesters.”

“Silence” around the Palestinian cause “has been a little interesting to me.” 


Perhaps, the most concerning thing is where is the Democratic Party leadership in calling out these anti-Semitic hate-mongers in their ranks?