There is a Place for Border Walls

There is a place for border walls. 


Walls are not bad. 


And neither are all people.


But some people are bad.


And we have the right to be protected from them. 


Walls help to manage the flow. 


Not everyone can just go whatever, whenever, wherever. 


Surely, some people need to move to and fro. 


But we must decide who and when and where. 


Walls define spaces and ownership.


Not every place and thing is everyone’s.


People have property rights as do sovereign nations.


Not everything is strictly defined.


There is the commons that we share. 


But also there is a mine and a yours. 


That’s how economics functions and how people give and take. 


Walls help separate and secure. 


Bridges help connect and transport. 


They are not mutually exclusive. 


I’ve never seen a house, company, organization, or government without walls. 


And neither have you. 😉


(Credit Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)

Don’t Give A Fire Truck

Sometimes, others can get negative at you in life.


People are unhappy. 

 

Complaints are rolling in. 


It seems like you can’t do right.


But you have to have a thick skin or as one colleague told me:

You need to be like Teflon and have it all just roll off you.


And this book title reminded me of this:

“The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck”


Yes, we do have to care about doing good in what we do. 


It’s just that we shouldn’t “give a f*ck” when others are just wanting to tear us down and enjoying it. 


Constructive feedback is good. 


But destructive negativity at every turn is just hurtful.


It’s also a way for others to not take ownership.


We all need to do our part to make things better in this world. 


Sure, no one does everything right and no one is perfect. 


But everyone needs to try their best, and when others just want to beat on you…


That’s a completely appropriate time to not give a firetruck. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Whose Throat Do You Choke

Head.jpeg

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)

Getting A Leadership Washing

Getting It WashedGetting It Washed 2

So I am reading this book called, “What Your Boss NEVER Told You.”


In terms of leadership, a key principle is stated very well here: 

“‘What’ flows down

And

‘How’ flows up.”

Meaning that as the leader, you set the goal, but you don’t tell people how to achieve it.

Micromanagement “stomp[s] out 

creativity, ownership, and commitment.”

To give your people the breathing room to innovate and solve problems and feel good about their work, here’s the ideal manager:

“Hands-off whenever possible, 

and 

hands-on whenever needed.”

And finally the 3 “H’s” of leadership:

1. Honor — doing the right thing (i.e. integrity)

2. Humility — “give away the credit,” but own the responsibility 100%!

3. Humor — “take their work seriously, but themselves lightly.”

Overall, good book to get a clean bill of leadership health. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

 

2 Heads And A House

2 Heads and a House
My daughter took this photo on a trip to Spain. 



In America, in front of the McMansions, it is not atypical to see interesting statues (perhaps of lions or fantasy guard creatures), ancient fountains, and even modern art.



I thought this European house was unique with some busts of a man and woman on each side of the gate to the front door. 



Wonder whether these are actually supposed to look the owners or are just randomly funny.



Also, the color match the orange house and yellow entranceway sort of perfectly.



Either way, it makes you take a 2nd and 3rd look.



Why is the man bust smiling and the woman bust looking so miserable here (or is that just representative of what most “traditional” marriages are about)?



Wouldn’t it be sort of funny if every home had busts or large photos or other representation prominently and widely displayed of the family inside. 



No more mystery of who lives there and more warmth and personalization. 



When you sell/buy property, you just have to take all of yourselves with you. 😉



(Note: no idol worship please.)



(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)

Learning To Compromise

Think
My wife and I decided after living in the same condo for the last 15 years that maybe it was time for a change. 



There is a great area that we hang out in with workout, grocery, pharmacy, and–most importantly to my wife–Starbucks–all right there.



So my wife made an appointment for us to look at this rental right above all the action….



The apartment was nice, modern, and best of all in this vibrant neighborhood–but on the smallish side (we would definitely be cramped) and with a substantial monthly. 



My wife, the perennial city dweller, loved it, and I didn’t.



Next, my turn up, we went with a real estate broker to see a charm of a house–this was the one we’d “been waiting for,” all these years. 



Solid, roomy, castle-like…but it would have some ongoing house maintenance things and was a little distance from public transportation (i.e. we’d mostly have to drive). 



This time, my wife hated it, and I loved it.



Back and forth–argue and debate–getting no where (this is a very egalitarian relationship–my wife tells me what to do!) 🙂



Thinking about this, I say “Okay, let’s compromise”–let’s look for a more upscale and roomy condo that we can make our own but in the neighborhood she really likes (and yeah, I like it too). 



1-2-3, with a little searching, we find something online we like, and back to the real estate broker to make an appointment. 



This story is not over in terms of where (or if) we are going to move to, but along the way we continue to learn as a couple to get along, love each other, and of course, compromise. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Take Your Advice And Shove It

Take Your Advice And Shove It

Great piece in the Wall Street Journal today on getting and giving advice.

This was a funny article about how most advice comes not from the wise, but from the idiots trying to push their own agendas, make a buck off you, or bud into your business.

When people try to tell you what to do, “the subtext is ‘You’re an idiot for not already doing it.”

But who wants to do what someone else tells them to do–unless you a robotic, brainless, loser!

Every manager should already know that everyone hates a control freak micromanager–and that they suck the creative lifeblood out of the organization.

The flip side is when you give people the freedom to express their talents and take charge of their work activities, you motivate them to “own it!”

Real meaning from work comes from actually having some responsibility for something where the results matter and not just marching to the tune of a different drummer.

The best leaders guide the organization and their people towards a great vision, but don’t choke off innovation and creativity and sticking their fat fingers in people’s eyes.

The flip side of advice not getting hammered on you, is when you have the opportunity to request it.

People who aren’t narcissistic, control freaks seek out other people’s opinions on how to approach a problem and to evaluate the best solutions.

This doesn’t mean that they aren’t smart and capable people in and of themselves, but rather that they are actually smarter and more capable because they augment their experience and thinking with that of others–vetting a solution until they find one that really rocks!

While decision making by committee can lead to analysis paralysis or a cover your a*s (CYA) culture, the real point to good governance is to look at problems and solutions from diverse perspectives and all angles before jumping head first into what is really a pile of rocks under the surface.

Does vetting always get you the right or best decision?

Of course not, because people hijack the process with the biggest mouth blowing the hottest stream.

But if you can offset the power jocks and jerky personalities out there, then you really have an opportunity to benefit from how others look at things.

While the collective wisdom can be helpful, in the end, all real grown ups show personal independence, self-sufficiency, and a mind of their own, and take responsibility for their decisions and actions.

We can learn from others, but we learn best from our own mistakes…no pain, no gain. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)