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)

 

Is Blame A Leadership Quality

Blame

One of the most important qualities of a leader is responsibility and accountability–as they typically say, “the buck stops here.”

So why do we have so much of this:

1. “Blames his guards [the U.S. Secret Service] for closing White House Tours


2. “Blames [former U.K. prime minister] David Cameron for Libya Descending into a ‘Sh** Show‘”


3. “Says GOP is to Blame for Rise of Donald Trump


4. “Blames [former House Speaker] Boehner for Ongoing Government Shutdown


5. “Blames Democrats for Midterm Losses


6. “Shifting Blame for Bergdahl Trade to [former Defense Secretary] Hagel


7. Blames “Detaining Terrorists at GITMO Helps ISIS [recruit terrorists]


8. “Blames media for losing war against ISIS


9. “Blames U.S. for Gun Violence in Mexico

10. “Blaming [former HHS Secretary] Sebelius” for botched Obamacare rollout


11. “Blames ‘bad apple’ insurers for cancelled [Obamacare] coverage

12. “Blames his Low Approval Numbers on Racism


13. “Blames China…for not playing fair [as competitors]


14. “[Russian President] Putin largely to blame for Syrian crisis” 


15. “Blame Middle East Turmoil on [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu


16. “Blames Christians from Holding Back America from Doing ‘Big Things


17. “Blames Founding Fathers’ ‘structural’ design of Congress for gridlock


18. “Blames the rich–big banks, big oil, big hedge funds…[and] recklessness of Wall Street” for economic crisis


19. “Blames [former President] Bush for Economy While Standing Next To Him


20. “Blames the Messenger” for “legitimate criticism


21. “Blames Everyone but Himself for Failed Economic Policies


Do you think that there is probably a lot more blame to go around? 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Wild Trees)

It’s Not About The Regrets

Drowning

So a teacher recently gave her students a scenario with the following moral dilemma:


An important and talented surgeon who has saved many lives in the past and will surely save many more in the future runs across an old man who has slipped and fallen under the cracking ice into a lake after trying unsuccessfully to save his puppy from drowning.  


The old man is trapped and will freeze to death in short order.


Should the surgeon walk across the breaking ice and risk his own life to try and save the old man?


The vast majority of students’ responded…that the surgeon should try and save the old man.


When asked why they thought that, most said because otherwise he would feel guilty afterwards. 


Thinking about that it seems like a funny reason to do something dangerous, heroic, and maybe utterly stupid…so as not to feel guilty. 


I guess that I would’ve thought people who would advocate for trying to save the old man would say something like


– Every life is valuable!

– Saving one person is like saving the world.

– Helping people even at our own risk or peril is what we do for our fellow human beings.

– We would want others to help us if we were in trouble, so we should do that for them. 


While we can’t judge someone else for how they react in situations of genuine moral conflict, we can teach the younger generation that doing something good for others is about more than just not feeling bad or guilty afterwards (for being lazy, selfish, or making the wrong call in the situation).


Making moral judgements is about choosing in every situation to try your best to do what’s right, help people, be a good influence, take responsibility, and generally act selflessly, but not recklessly. 


Regret stinks (and can be truly painful), but missing opportunities to live a good, meaningful life is much worse. 😉


(Source Photo: The Blumenthals)

Smelt It Dealt It

Smells

As kids, there always used to be someone who would run around holding their nose, and yelling at the smallest sign of someone’s flatulence…Eew!


In turn, the other kids would all chime in: “The person who smelt it, dealt it!”


Might as well push the responsibility where it rightfully belongs–uh, maybe. 


This is what kids do–they are not politically correct in the slightest!


Are adults any better really?


I’ve seen grown men and women start holding their noses and waving their hands in front of their faces when someone is stinking up the local air.


In particular, this happens quite a bit on places like the crowded Metro and elevators…going down. 


People are unforgiving when the air is foul. 


Personally, I am very sensitive to bad smells and hot air–my A/C is running full blast all around the year…even in Winter, seriously!


When I saw this sign in a storefront window that said, “Free Smells,” I thought to myself, gee we got enough smells to last a lifetime, and that’s why fresh air and nature is so appealing to the good ‘ol olfactory senses. 


Free smells…unless it’s fresh flowers or some savory dish to eat–you can have it–free or not, I frankly don’t give a damn.  


My personal belief is that an odor is far more likely to cause you a gag sensation than put a refreshing smile on your ugly face. 


Good etiquette, keep your smells to yourself. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Happy 4th From Washington DC

fourth of july

Go Independence Day!


But what does it mean?


We are independent from British rule since 1776.  


That made us a free nation.


We are free to be…but be what? 


1) Safe and Secure – Have a strong military, intelligence, and homeland security to keep the peace or compromise on national security and make bad deals for political expediency and face the consequences by a host of crazed terrorist threats, a nuclear Iran, a belligerent North Korea, a bellicose Russia, or a rising confrontational China. 


2) Prosperous And Self-Sufficient – Strengthen education, encourage innovation, invest in research and development and advanced manufacturing, cultivate a motivated and capable workforce, and manage a fiscally responsible economy or spend recklessly and indiscriminately driven by pork-barrel politics and special interests and eventually bankrupt our richly-endowed nation.


3) Equal And With Fundamental Human Rights – Ensure equality and opportunity for everyone under the law, where everyone has respect and dignity and the protection of basic human rights or discriminate in large and small ways perpetuating the have and have nots in every fiber of our society, where the rich get sickeningly richer and for everyone else you’re sh*t out of luck. 


4) Socially Just – Provide for a just and fair society ensuring that people are duly protected and crime does not pay or irresponsibly live in managed chaos and let violent criminals back out on the streets in a revolving door of recidivism rather than rehabilitation. 


5) Environmentally Responsible – Safeguard our environment and natural resources, invest in renewable energy resources and sustainability, reduce, reuse, and recycle, and give a hoot and don’t pollute or just pig out now and leave an inhospitable gutted world for later. 


6) Democratically Governed – Rule with righteousness and integrity, give back to the people, be open and honest, listen to all sides and ensure a balanced fair approach or perpetuate lies, deceit, corruption, conspiracy, fraud, waste, and abuse. 


Not everyone in the world is so lucky to be free.


Maybe this Independence Day, we think not just about the new Terminator movie, shopping at the mall, and feasting at the BBQ, but also what we want this treasured freedom to mean, what our “leaders” are leading us to, and are we getting the freedom we all, as human beings under G-d, innately deserve.


We can definitely raise the bar and we should. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Reform The Movement

Hamas_Children

So was very glad to read this week about a top Sunni cleric who called for educational reform to combat “extremist violence.”


Sheik Ahmend al-Tayeb, a grand imam in Cairo said “corrupt interpretations” of the Koran and of Muhammad was leading to a rise of Middle East-based terrorism. 


This to hopefully stem the flow of what is now being reported as 20,000 foreign fighters flocking to join ISIS


What is amazing here is that good Muslim people are recognizing the problem with radicalization, extremism, and violence and are speaking out. 


Yet, many of our own leaders in the Western world still refuse to say the dirty words “Islamic terrorism.”


The President saying instead: “No religion is responsible for terrorism–people are responsible for violence and terrorism.


So perhaps, according to this “logic,” no movement is responsible for what their people do–only the individuals are?


And therefore, accordingly, the Nazis would not be responsible for the Holocaust, nor America for Slavery, nor Communism for political purges, oppression, and violation of human rights, etc. etc. 


…in which case, there would be no apologies, no regrets, no reparations, no museums, no memorials, nothing–because this was just some individuals doing some bad things and those individuals are may no longer even be here with us. 


Doesn’t this ignore the very basic and fundamental fact that when the masses follow a movements’ (genuine or distorted) ideological teachings of hatred, racism, and discrimination, and the people act nefariously on this, then does not the movement itself hold some responsibility for the murderous and evil actions committed based on their doctrine?


The Sheik who denounced terror and called for changes to the education in the Muslim community is recognizing what apparently many of our own leaders refuse to, which is that they–and we–are responsible for what is taught and tolerated in our communities. 


As Peggy Noonan recently wrote, “The reality is that the Islamic State is…very Islamic.


Currently, we are fighting a war on radical Islamic terrorism…whether that terror is committed on Charlie Hebdo, a Jewish grocery store, or the World Trade Centers. 


That does not mean that tomorrow, we are not fighting against some other movement’s treachery. 


This is why good people everywhere must stand up and speak out when they see religions, governments, institutions, or other movements preach and teach lies, hatred, and terror. 


Bad (or hijacked good) movements drive bad actors…so we must not only go after the bad guys, but also hold the movements themselves to account.


We must demand that the lies and distortions be called out for what they are and that truth and virtue be held up in its place. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Front Page Magazine)

Unjust Justice

Unjust Justice

The Wall Street Journal quotes U.S. District Judge Richard G. Kopf who offered advice to young judges, as follows:

“It’s not your job to save the world. Do law, leave justice to Clint Eastwood.”

What a notion he has–that it is not a judges job to mete out justice–how (oxy)moronic!

Instead, the judge says that is for vigilantes like Clint Eastwood’s role in Dirty Harry (or perhaps Charles Bronson in Death Wish).

While I understand that the law is the law, you would think that a judge’s role is to not only ensure that it is applied evenly, but also that it is meted out fairly.

As it says in the Torah/Bible (Deuteronomy 16:20), “Justice, Justice shall you pursue.”

It is not enough for the “justice system” to enforce laws brainlessly, but the role of the judicial branch is to interrupt the law so that justice results.

What a contrast to even the bumbling inspector, Clouseau, in the movie, The Pink Panther, who knows “Yuri, the trainer who trains,” but some of our judges don’t seem to know that they are judges who sit in judgement.

So much for “jurisprudence”–but without any prudence!

Doing law, without pursuing justice is like dehydrated water in this picture–empty and good for nothing. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Shortsighted Government Is Selfish Politics

So I am at the pool today in Maryland.

This old man–looks about 100, yes really!–comes up to me and starts a conversation.

He says, you know what–my friend in California is 99-years old and he just got his driver’s license renewed–for 5 years!

Imagine that–can the State of California with confidence really issue a 5-year driver’s license to someone at that age and believe that both the drivers’ safety and public safety is provided for?

Yes, the problems at the Federal government level are ginormous–the national debt, the level of social entitlements, the “true” unemployment rate, the poverty level, our failing healthcare system, and more.

Still we cannot forget that some of the most important services that citizens get are at the State and Local levels of government–police, fire & rescue, transportation, community development, family planning, and more.

For government to function effectively–we need all levels to act rationally, responsibly, and with care for the people in mind–both short-term and long-term.

Issuing 5-year driver’s license to 99-year old individuals can have a devastating impact on someone family if that person loses control of their vehicle due to their physical or mental condition.

Similarly, issuing social entitlements (and they may indeed be needed) without a realistic plan for funding the system is irresponsible and can have a catastrophic impact to families around the nation when the system comes up short.

Government has to run with common sense–and stop setting up rules that are shortsighted and blind to the bigger picture.

Yes, people deserve to drive and to have medical care and so forth, but politicians should set up these systems, so that the people are really served, and not just their political agendas. 😉

(Source Video: Michelle Blumenthal)

Seesaw, Yeah It’s For Kids

There is an interesting new crowdsourcing application called Seesaw.

And like a seesaw goes up and down, you can take a picture and crowdsource decisions–thumbs up or down for what you should do.

Food, clothes, movies, more–I could imagine people even going so far as to use this for dating–Go out with them or not? Keep ’em or dump ’em?

While the possibility of having others chime in on your everyday life decisions is somewhat intriguing, social and fun…it also seems a little shallow and superficial.

Do you really need to ask your friends about everything you do or can you make simple day-to-day decisions yourself?

And when it comes to big decisions, perhaps you need more than a picture with a thumbs up or down to give the decision context, evaluate pros and cons, think through complex issues, and make a truly thoughtful decision–perhaps some genuine dialogue would be helpful here?

Finally, many decisions in life come at the spur of a moment–should I or shouldn’t I–and you don’t have the benefit of saying hold on “let me take a picture and get some of my friends opinions on this”–life waits for no one and timing is often everything!

It is good to get other people’s opinions (i.e. the proverbial “second opinion”) as well as to do what my father used to tell me which is to “sleep on it,” because things look different over night and in the morning.

But while you should consider what others think–in a meaningful way–in the end, you need to trust your inner self and take responsibility for your own decisions. 😉

Have It When You Need it

Candy_machine

At an event that I attended recently, I heard a young woman explain her philosophy on life.

She said, her grandmother taught her: “Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.”

Thinking about it at the time, it seemed pretty wise–because you never want to be without something you really need. 

And good planning and survival skills say to always be prepared–you never know what happens. 

But then with the fiscal cliff and all the talk about social entitlements, I started to think about this some more. 

In a sense, as a society, we have come to think of social entitlements as something that we better have in case we need it–Unemployment Insurance, Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid and more. 

You never know when it’s your turn to get laid off, sick, old, or needy. 

And isn’t that what’s it for–it’s a safety net–these are like personal insurance and you never want to need the coverage and not have it. 

But as we should know by now, having it–doesn’t come for free. 

So the question is how much social entitlements or insurance do you need–and part of the answer is how much can you afford. 

So is it really better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it–if you can’t afford what you’re buying?  

In this case, our grandparents and parents having it and not really needing all of it–may mean that we and our children will not be able to have it when we do need it. 

To have social entitlements, we need to be able to pay into the system for it or borrow to finance it. 

Unfortunately, as a nation we have been doing more borrowing, because we have spent beyond our national means–we have even raided our very own social entitlement programs that we hold so dear, to pay for other things–maybe that’s why they call it a trust fund, because you really do have to trust, almost blindly, that there will be something there, when it’s your time to need it. 

It’s great to have it, but if we are gluttons and don’t responsibly plan for genuine needs–then as a nation, we really will be left needing and not having it when the time comes.

In short, spend all your money to soon, and tragically, there won’t be any candy later. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)