Manage The Crisis and Don’t Exploit It

Crisis.jpeg

So I heard an interesting thought on crisis management:

“Never let a good crisis go to waste!”


Isn’t that frequently how politicians and lobbyists use the crisis, rather than deal with it. 


In certain cases, some have even been known to actually create the crisis for their ends!


Whether it’s some politicians calling for strict gun control when there is a mass shooting (perhaps infringing on other reasonable 2nd amendment rights) or it’s right to life advocates demanding an end to funding for planned parenthood when some bad people are caught selling fetal body parts and so on and so on.


Maybe these things are the right thing to do–in which case, a very bad event can end up being an impetus for much needed change and thus, can facilitate in transforming society and from that perspective, be a good thing!


But is the change really and necessarily the right thing to do…or is the crisis de jure just an excuse to get what some people wanted all  along.


– Use (exploit) the crisis.


– Maximize the momentum from the crisis.


– Leverage the emotions from the crisis.


– Promptly turn the tables on the issue.


– Leave all compromise and negotiation aside, and seize the moment.


The lesson here is not to just react, because a sudden and impulsive decision may end up being an overreaction and cause negative unintended consequences down the road.


The pendulum tends to shift and swing widely in both directions–neither extreme is good.


Instead well thought policy, use of common sense, maintaining reasonableness, looking at all sides, and a general middle of the road approach usually yields the best results for the most people.


Crisis management should be just that–managing the crisis; the policy should be fully reasoned both before and after. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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The Great Trump Wall

Wall.jpeg

So today, President Trump signed the executive order to start the process of putting up the border wall with Mexico. 


Generally, I don’t think anyone with a heart seriously questions the need to continue robust immigration for those in need that are seeking asylum or refuge from all sorts of persecution as well as for humanitarian reasons…of course, we must continue to have empathy and be kind and compassionate to people, period. 


However, the Great Trump Wall needs to go up to secure our borders.


We have over 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. and roughly 400,000 crossing the border and settling here illegally on an annual basis. 

With human trafficking, illegal drugs and weapons, criminals and terrorists, and others just coming on over willy nilly, this is not the way to secure a nation’s border or run a country. 


We have the right and responsibility to create safety and security for people. 


Running across the border, catch and release, or just illegally staying is not a policy, but rather immigration chaos. 


We and our families all came to this country seeking a better life and are so fortunate to be here, and we should and must pay it forward.


Immigration should be based on well-thought and sound policy that genuinely helps people in need and advances the interests of the nation.

In terms of freedom, equality, and human rights, we definitely want to tear down the walls the separate us!


However, for border security, catch me if you can is not a strategy or policy–just plain neglect and chaos. 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal–funny pic because I was actually pretending to tear it down.)

Best Of The Best

 

USA

We all know how important voting is so that our voices are heard in the democratic process and we can help shape the direction of this great nation. 

And this is especially the case when it comes to voting for the next President and Commander in Chief of this country. 

A couple of  concerning things though about this election cycle that I am noticing:

People Not Policy – While elections in general always have their share of rambunctious slogans and exaggerated/empty promises, this election seems to be shaping up with a distinct focus on the people running for President (are they trustworthy, do they have good judgement, how much experience do they have, are they decent people) as opposed to what policies and ideas they have for where they would take the country. Certainly, character and integrity are critical in voting for someone for such an important position, but it seems to have sidelined policy from off of the main agenda. Moreover, the inclination to vote for someone based on their race or gender or presumed sympathy towards those also has upended real discussion on where we are and should be headed. Maybe you really like your candidate of choice, but are you fully satisfied (or close to it) that they have a big picture vision for our future and that they telling it like it is or are they sugarcoating to what they think their audience simply wants to hear, or in some cases is it just limited to a single policy thread or maybe little or no cloth for the emperor at all. 

Questioning The Lineup – First it seemed with the election that people did what they always do, which is take sides and argue it out on the sidelines of the cacophony of all the electioneering. People would say, oh, I like this party and this candidate or that one or the other one–and people would debate who is the better choice. But now, this dialogue seems to have changed where many voters seem fed up with many (or even perhaps all) of the candidates. Some seem to be looking for new candidates to magically swoop in and “save the (election) day” or old candidates to show that they have different stripes. I have heard some question whether they will even bother to vote at all like this with all the negative campaigning or from whom they believe will be the ultimate candidates to chose from. Rather than people saying I like this one better for this reason, now I hear many asking which is “the lessor of the (presumed) evils.”

Considering the unbelievable power of the President of the U.S. and that we are talking about this for the next 4 or 8 years, it is scary for people to think they may have to somehow settle for less than the greatness that this position demands.

There are still many more months in this election season and things can take a lot of twists and turns, but hopefully the country will work its way to selecting the true best of the best that our candidates have to offer. 😉

(Note: This is not an endorsement for any candidate or political party.) 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to cgc76)

Walls And Bridges

Walls

I was really surprised this week when the Pope entered the election fray and made a comment about presidential candidate, Donald Trump, not being a Christian if he is wanting to build walls (on the Mexican border) and not bridges


And then the Trump campaign pointing out that the Vatican City is surrounded by what of all things…a very big wall!


We have a history in the U.S. of separation of Church and State and a First Amendment that codifies this as law. 


To me, unless a candidate is truly criminal, discriminatory, or evil in their conduct, it’s not appropriate for a lofty religious figure to publicly question their personal faith like that. 


Further, when it comes to immigration this is not just an issue in America, but all over Europe now with the refugee crisis, and in many other places in the world. 


Of course, we most definitely need to welcome refugees fleeing persecution, conflict, catastrophe, or war. 


But when immigration is principally an economic migration, this is something for each nation to debate and decide for what is best for them.


This is not an endorsement of any candidate or party, but rather an acknowledgement that we shouldn’t:


1) Mix religion and politics (and impose undue influence in a sovereign nation’s elections)


2) Judge our neighbors faith by valid policy debates


3) Throw stones in glass houses (or walled areas as the case may be).


If building bridges is what is promoted and preferred here then the Pope and Trump should kiss (proverbially-speaking that is) and make up. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Governance, Pay Attention

Monkeys
So I chose this photo to represent bad governance. 



The governing board covers their ears, eyes, and mouth.



Because they hear and see no evil and speak no truth. 



They are deaf, blind, and dumb–they provide no real oversight. 



Simply choosing to collect their pay checks and stock options for residing on the governance board.



This is their payoff–not to govern–but rather to shut up and stay out of it!



I read a good overview of what governance is supposed to be and comparing it to management functions (Reference: Exam Preparation Course in a Book for Passing the CISM):

  • “Oversight versus Implementation
  • Assigning Authority versus Authorizing action
  • Enacting policy versus Enforcing policy
  • Accountability versus Responsibility
  • Strategic planning versus Project planning
  • Resource allocation versus Resource utilization”



When the board does their job, then the organization has a business strategy, manages risks, allocates resources, delivers value, and measures and monitors performance. 



In other words, no more acting like a bunch of out of control monkeys. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Movement For Human Rights

IF



1) you are a dissident living in a country that suppresses basic human rights



OR



2) you are a person seeking to help others suffering under authoritarian regimes



THEN



consider signing up at Movements.org, an organization that connects people in need of human rights help with those wanting to provide assistance. 



After you create a profile, which is given a star rating depending on a vetting process, you can post requests for help or offers of services to help others. 



Available services for “advice, contacts, training, and services,” include those from:



– Lawyers

– Journalists

– Technologists

– Translators

– Policy Makers



The great Soviet Jewish dissident, Natan Sharansky, who spent 10 years imprisoned in a tortuous gulag, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that Movement.org is a “transformative approach to an old problem” for collecting and trying to get information on human-rights abuses to reach the free world and to seek justice and freedom. 



While dictators looks to suppress freedom of speech and information flow, social media is combating it, and Movements was provided a grant from Google, I believe, to do just that. 😉

Righting Our National Economy

Washington_monument

We made it through he fiscal cliff–whew!  But the economic landscape remains a minefield. 

In terms of our national debt ceiling, we already passed the $16.4 trillion mark at the beginning of the year and are on borrowed time (no pun intended) until about mid-February when we exhaust accounting gimmicks and can no longer pay our national bills. 

Then there is the elusive government budget where we are on a “continuing resolution” that funds the government at the prior years spending levels until the beginning of March; there is no agreement on what the budget should be after that. 

Finally, there is the Sequestration that was delayed from the beginning of the year to March, which will produce across the board budget cuts to government–not surgically, but sweeping cuts that will hit almost all major government spending. 

All of these budgetary and debt issues are highly contentious and politicized and involve substantial policy decisions in terms of tax reform, spending cuts, and even income and wealth distribution. 

As difficult as it is to navigate a mine field, there is genuine fear that our national luck is running out and the sides are digging in such that even if we get over another one of these hurdles (likely by another delay) or even two of these, what are the odds that we get through all three unscathed economically and with our national image and strength intact?

Already in August 2011, S&P lowered the U.S. credit rating because of these unresolved issues and political stalemate around them, and Moody (in September 2012) and Fitch (this past week) threatened the same putting us at risk of higher borrowing costs, inflation, and even recession. 

Bloomberg BusinessWeek (3 August 2011) using game theory seemed to advocate for political compromise–that produces a “deal no one likes” but avoids pure political victory by one party over the other where one party gives in and the other holds out, and also avoids “financial Armageddon” where both sides hold out and can’t get any deal done at all. 

In games of “chicken” both sides “entertain the option of killing everyone” until they finally realize this results in mutually assured destruction (MAD). 

In Washington “everyone, however, is playing a game called ‘election'” and “the only possible goal in that game is to win the next one”–in this game, the real question–is there the leadership to rise above the politics, the short-term focus, and bring the two sides together in compromise to forge a path through a difficult economic road ahead. 

Truly, there is really only one way ahead and it is through national sacrifice that will spare no one, but may save the country and our ideals and make us stronger in the end. We are at a dead end for kicking the can further–next step must be to right the ship through cooperation and making the tough choices.

Just like the Washington Monument is one, we must become one. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)