Why Can’t People Be Genuine

Why all the phonies, users, shysters, and scammers out there?


It starts perhaps with that big, warm smile.


Maybe a handshake and hug. 


Perhaps, you even get a kiss or two (it’s cultural, I think, LOL).


Colleagues, friends, you’re just like family.


Sometimes it’s real and you truly found something valuable in your life.


There are good people of soul and conscience out there. 


But other times it’s an act, a sham, deception, you’re the fool. 


The other person wants something–cash, control, connections.

Oh by the way, can I ask you for just a “little” favor?

You wouldn’t mind if…?

Just do XYZ for me, I got your back. 

I see you know so and so, would you introduce me?

I have a great investment opportunity for you, let me tell you all about it.

Sure it’s okay and actually wonderful in a real relationship for people to be there for each other and help each others…“that’s what [real] friends are for!”


The problem is where the friendship is only about the ask for the benefit of the other and no care for you as a person. 


Then the smile isn’t a genuine collegial or friendship one of happiness and outreach. but rather it’s upside down to get you to do something legit or illegit for the person pressing their lips up and out into that smile you already know is all about the ask. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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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)

The Movers and Shakers

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For a long time, I’ve heard of “The movers and shakers” as the ones who get things done.

But I think there is another and more accurate meaning to this phase.

And it is related to the old adage of “those who can do, and those who can’t teach.”

Note, there is no disrespect intended to good, solid teachers here, as they have one of the most important jobs in society in educating and molding our children, but the point is that there are some that can only talk theory, but haven’t actually done the job!

Similarly, in the organizations, movers and shakers are often not one and the same, but two different types of people.

We have those who are “the movers”–who actually get things done, who break logjams, who overcome bureaucracy, who solve problems, who make things better.

And then there are “the shakers,” those who do more jumping up and down and waving to get attention for themselves, their egos, their resumes, and their bogus brands, but don’t or can’t actually deliver the goods–real results.

The movers are the genuine, hardworking doers and carers of our organizations; the shakers are the Billie Big Mouth Bass showpeople.

The movers work the problems everyday and make progress and it is wonderful to celebrate their hardwork and successes, but the shakers are the attention-grabbers, boasting more about what they do, instead of actually doing much of anything.

Beware of those that talk a good game, but can’t actually hit the ball–and the recognition and attention they are bathing in may actually just be a good cover like from a tanning salon and not from the real beach. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to RedHerring1up)

Get This Guy Off My Back

Backpack_head

This was another odd site around Washington, D.C. today.

A guy carrying around this bust on his back–almost like a backpack.

I don’t know who this figure is, nor what the writing says, but it certainly does seem to make some sort of a statement.

To me, while we all carry a lot of burdens in our life, I don’t think we should be weighed down by anybody or any one of them.

People can get on us about all sorts of things–work, school, and personal stuff–but we are better of taking it in stride.

They have their own problems and imperfections–they also are mortal and frail–and in some cases, they are less of a person than we are.

Whoever they are, don’t drag ’em around or let them get you down–hear them out, get their input, and then make up your own mind about things.

Remember, there are a lot of false beliefs out there, as well as people pushing their own agendas.

What you think is real, could just be another phony idol to get off your back and out of your life.

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Innovation: Leaders vs. Liars

Innovation

There’s a big difference between doing something and saying you’re going to do something.

Or as I learned early on–words are cheap, but actions speak loud and clear.

The Wall Street Journal (23 May 2012) reported this week about how many companies (and even academic institutions) overuse the word innovation–“the introduction of something new.”

It’s practically become cliche–“chief innovation officers, innovation teams, innovation strategies, and even innovation days.”

So is innovation just the buzzword du jour or is ultimately something more?

Of course, the more we use something like the term innovation, the greater the chance to dilute its meaning.

– “33,528–times [innovation] was mentioned in quarterly and annual reports last year.”

– “255–books published in the last 90 days with innovation in the title.”

– “43%–of 260 executives who said their company has a chief innovation officer.”

However, innovation is not just a word to throw around and use lightly–innovation is our bread and butter in this country; it is what differentiates us from our global competitors (i.e. its one of our main competitive advantages) and is a source of our economic strength.

Not all innovation is created equal–there is “innovation lite” (my term), where we take something and make it better, faster, or cheaper, and then there is “disruptive innovation”–where we really bring something new to the market.

“Everybody’s innovating because any change is innovation,” but not every innovation is transformative.

We can’t afford for innovation to lose its meaning, because leaders and companies that abuse it and dilute it–and don’t ultimately deliver–will end up losing their jobs and ultimately the companies themselves.

Real innovation is like condiments, use it sparingly and it can pack a huge punch–pour it on indiscriminately, and you might as well just throw away the whole dish.

What we need are innovation leaders that don’t just mouth the words and buy the toys, but champion it, invest in it, and empower and encourage their employees to make it happen.

Innovate or die is our reality–so be a true innovation leader–don’t lie to yourself if it isn’t the real thing. 😉

(Source Photo: herewith attribution to Seth Waite)

Where The Biggest Nuts Rise To The Top

According to an article in Mental Floss (November/December 2011) engineers at the Advanced Dynamics Laboratory in Australia in 1996 researched how to mitigate The Muesli Effect, which describes the paradox of how, for example, cereral in boxes tend to separate with the smaller stuff lingering on the bottom and the large chunks rising to the top. This is the opposite of what you’d expect in terms of the larger, heavier pieices falling to the bottom–but they don’t.This is also known as The Brazil Nuts Effect, because the largest nuts (the Brazil Nuts) can rise to the top. While in physics, this may be good, in leadership it is not.With leadership, the Muesli Effect can led to situations where cut-throat, unethical, workplace operators push their way to the top, on the backs of the masses of hardworking individuals. Unfortunately, these workplace “bullies,” may stop at nothing to get ahead, whether it means manipulating the system through nepotism, favoritism, outright descrimination, or political shinanigans. They may lie, steal, kiss up, or kick down shamelessly disparaging and marginalizing coworkers and staff–solidying their position and personal gain, which unfortunately comes at expense of the organization and it’s true mission.Some really do deserve their fortune by being smarter, more talented, innovative, or hardworking. In other cases, you have those who take unjustifiably and ridiculously disproportionately at the expense of the others (hence the type of movements such as 99% or Occupy currently underway). This corruption of leadership begs the question who have they “brown-nosed,” what various schemes (Ponzi or otherwise) have they been running, how many workers have they exploited, suppliers squeezed, partners shafted, and customers and investors have they taken advantage of.

Countless such ingenious leaders (both corporate and individual) rise by being the organizations false prophets” and taking advantage of the “little guy”–some examples whether from Enron, WorldCom, HealthSouth, Tyco, MF Global, and Bernie Madoff are just a few that come to mind. These and other examples can be found as well in government, non-profit, as well as educational institutions.

Interestingly, the Museli Effect occurs when you shake a box vertically. However, if you rock it side-to-side, then you reverse the effect and larger and heavier pieces of chaff fall to the bottom letting the precious kernels rise to the top.

This is similar to organizations, where if you focus on working horizontally across your organization and marketplace–on who you serve, your partners, suppliers, investors, and customers in terms of breaking down barriers, building bridges, and solving customer problems–then the real gems of leadership have the opportunity to shine and rise.

In the age of social networking, information sharing, collaboration, and transparency, the reverse Muesli Effect can help organizations succeed. It is time to stop promoting those leaders who build empires by shaking the organization up and down in silos that are self-serving, and instead move to rewarding those that break down stovepipes to solve problems and add real value.

(Source Photo: here)