Worth The Squeeze

I like this saying that I heard.

“The juice has to be worth the squeeze.”


It’s a little like the corollary to “If something is worth doing, then it’s worth doing right.”


Spending time and effort has to show commensurate results or why the heck are you doing it?


Probably always good to reevaluate where you’re getting the “most bang for the buck,” so you’re not “just spinning your wheels.”


With all the sayings about what we do and whether it’s really worth it, there is probably some good reason to be concerned about whether or not you spending your time productively or just acting insane, because: 

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”


Results matter–so make sure your achieving them or go do something else you enjoy and that’s ultimately worth the squeeze! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Anything Is Possible

So you’re all aware of the 3 legs of project management:


– Cost


– Schedule


– Scope


I remember learning the adage that if you change any one of these then there is an impact on the others. 


For example, if you “crash” the timeline on a project to finish more quickly, then you either need more money or you need to reduce the scope. 


Similarly, if you want to cut costs on the project then you may have to extend the timeline or scale back on the requirements. 


Recently, I heard someone says the following:

“We can do anything with enough time and resources.”


And when I thought about this, it’s true enough.


If you provide more money and time for a project then, of course, you can do more in terms of the scope of the project.


Pour enough bucks and time into something and conceptually, we really can do anything. 


Technically, we can do the proverbial “anything,” but that’s only if the politics and infighting don’t get in the way of  progress. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Mountain Of Data

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So I heard this interesting perspective on information and data analytics…


Basically, it comes down to this: 

“Most organizations are data rich, but information/insight poor.”


Or put another way:

“Data is collected, but not used.”


Hence we don’t know what we don’t know and we end up making bad decisions based on poor information. 


Just imagine if we could actually make sense of all the data points, connect them, visualize them, and get good information from them.


How much better than a pile of rocks is that? 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Customer Service No-Nos

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So if you’re in customer service…


The answer is easy. 


It’s always got to be YES. 


– Any less is a big No-No!


The customer’s needs are paramount.


Their satisfaction is your goal. 


So your job is to figure out how to get from no to yes!


You’ve got to problem-solve and figure it out. 


And it’s not enough to come up with any old solution.


When I said to my colleagues the other day:

“There’s a solution to every problem.”


Someone joked and answered back:

“It’s just that the customer may not like it.”


And I responded:

“Well then that’s not the solution you are looking for!”

You’ve got to go back to the drawing board and get to a legitimate yes. 


Of course, it can difficult, especially when at times you deal with some challenging customers and problems.


But listen, this is the customer service field and in the end, the customer experience should be WOW fantastic!


It’s the customer that is depending on you to come through for them and their mission. 


Doing your job isn’t just a matter of reading off of some cue card or playbook. 


This is real life with real consequences. 


If you can deliver, the customer will be able to do their jobs, and they may even sing your wildest praises–wouldn’t that be rewarding? 


Customer service means getting to YES from the earliest possible moment in the interaction, meaning it, and legitimately delivering on it–no other questions asked.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Management Is A Privilege

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So some people have this notion about management that is all wrong. 


– Management is not a right or entitlement.


– Management is a wonderful privilege!


The privilege comes with responsibility and is earned by knowing how to manage and treat your people right.


That means:


– Acting with integrity


– Treating people fairly, with dignity, and respect


– Showing you value them


– Helping to develop them


– And of course, achieving results together!


I heard it said well like this:

“If you don’t treat people well 

you won’t be a manager for long.”

Again, it’s a privilege, not a right, to manage and lead others. 


Those who abuse their privilege and people–it’s like the cycle of life. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Hope vs. Change

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So we were promised hope and change, but what’s the difference?


Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal says, “Hope is the helium -filled ballon of politics. Governing in office is the gravity that pulls it back down to earth.”


Many politicians are giving the false impression that “giving people the rhetoric of hope, lifting them with words, is more important than delivering results, which some might call change.”


Despair is when we are told that there is hope and promise, but we don’t get meaningful, impactful, and lasting positive change.


The hard work of leadership is not just providing a beautiful Garden of Eden vision for people to salivate over and to get their votes, but rather it is making something REAL happen that makes people’s lives and the world better. 


As they say is plain english, “Words are cheap!”


We don’t need any more fancy oratory skills–Hitler had those too and it led to the murderous genocidal Holocaust and disaster of World War II. 


Time for some elbow grease and some results that aren’t fake like the news we’ve been getting. 


We’ve heard too many lies, too much spin, and been subjected to language control of the “media echo chamber.”


Just one prominent example has been regarding terrorism and radical Islam which is not and never has been “workplace violence” and traffic accidents. 


Who is the President of the U.S. fooling when he says that theres been “no foreign-planned terror attacks in 8 years.”


Gee, ISIS and their numerous terror supporters seem to violently disagree about the many terrorist attacks we indeed did have on U.S. soil in the last 8-years, including Orlando, Garland, Fort Hood, San Bernardino, MinnesotaOhio University, and many more.  


It’s time that we stop being fed a bunch of false hope and political malarkey and instead we get some genuine change, improvement, and progress in our lives and the nation. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Balancing Change and Stability

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So new leaders frequently want to come into town like a knight in shining armor riding speedily on their white stallions to “save the day.” 


Being new and needing to prove themselves, change and quick results are the imperative.


The problem is that fast, quick wins can be mistakenly and superficially achieved while sacrificing longer-term organization success.  


We push people to hard, too fast, and without the underlying care and emotional feeding to duly support the rainbow in the sky changes being sought. 


People are human beings that need to be brought along in a unified manner and with a solid infrastructure and not plowed over for the sake of some short-term gains.


You can push for change so hard–you can crack the whip and you can demand what you want when you want–but rest-assured that you are leaving a great pile of destruction in your wake. 


Performance results are built by maintaining a sane balance between change and stability–pushing others to do more with less has to be replaced instead with getting out front yourself and pulling the organizational weight at a measured pace so that workers aren’t trampled by the raw, unbridled ambition of the leadership. 


You may have a great scorecard of accomplishments, but they may be the tip of what is otherwise an iceberg of discontent and disaster beneath. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Beautiful Rise and Fall

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Just wanted to share this beautiful Fall scene in Maryland.


While we are about to embark on a major infrastructure spending spree to make this country great again–and we need it to fix all the rot in our roads, bridges, trains, airports, marine ports, schools, utilities, and more–at the same time, we need to keep in mind the safeguarding of the beauty of our natural outdoor spaces and resources.


I heard President-elect Trump on 60 Minutes last night speak about the $6 trillion that we have spent in the Middle East fighting terrorism since 9/11, and that with that money, we could’ve rebuilt our infrastructure twice over.


While the amount is seen on the high end, the point is that while other nations are investing in their infrastructure, people, and future, we are wasting large sums of blood and treasure in a fight that in over 15 years, we haven’t won, and many question whether we are significantly even any safer.


We need to fight smarter, spend more strategically, and take care of America first.


BTW, what did we get from the prior investment from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus spending of $831 billion in 2009…where did all that money go (uh, down the special interest drain)?


While the beautiful outdoors needs to stay pristine, our country needs to seriously rebuild with clear project expectations and results and at the same time wipe out the terror threats against us–no more dabbling, PC, Mr. Nice Guy (of course, we need to be nice to those that are nice to us, but also we need to fight for this country like we mean it)!


That’s a big agenda, but for under $6 trillion, we ought to be able to get some decent return on our investment please, 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

14 Lessons Learned from the Political Process

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So here are some things that I learned from this awful, drawn out election:


1) Keep it positive – Negativity, divisiveness, and hate hurt you more than it does anyone else.


2) Don’t play the *ism card – Using racism, religion, gender, and sexual orientation to divide people and get what you want from them is dirty politics and empty promises for votes; stick to the facts and the issues. 


3) Focus on service to others – “Public service” is about service to others, not self service; it is more important to give than to receive any of the fame, fortune, and favors. 


4) No one is above the law – Corruption, collusion, and cover-ups are a boomerang that eventually come back to hit you in the proverbial head.


5) Action speaks louder than words — What you actually did, accomplished, and how you behaved is the much louder message than what you say you did or claim you will do. 


6) People are not sheep – Regardless of how strong and biased a position the media and others take, hammering and hammering away, in the end people are not sheep and can and do think for themselves. 


7) Polls, statistics, position papers, conventions, and debates – There are many tools for manipulating the masses and they, like the people who prepare and administer them, have biases and lie. 


8) Branding yourself and others – Creating an image for yourself and others by weaving a tall tale narrative only goes so far unless the words and deeds are consistent and ring truth. 


9) Speak from the heart – Preparation and practice make perfect, but a perfect what?  Prepared lines and zingers are great sound bites, but speaking from the heart goes to the heart. 


10) Moral high ground – Just saying you are taking the moral high ground does not make it so; you actually have to have integrity to stand that ground. 


11) The political machinePolitics and the money and operatives behind it, are very strong and dangerous, and those that wield it can and will do anything to gain and stay in the much coveted positions of power. 


12) Don’t think you’re so deserving – Be humble and compassionate on others, instead of believing you are so great and the world owes it to; the more you run after something, the more it tends to elude you.


13) Listen to your gut – There are great orators, writers and influencers out there, but you’ve got to listen more to your gut and moral compass than to anyone else trying to bend your mind and will. 

14) Star power – Bringing out the big gun superstars to speak, sing, and endorse you is some nice added glitz, but the real superpower is the one Almighty who ultimately decides who wins and loses. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Driving Your Organization Off A Cliff

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So life is generally supposed to be a series a peaks and valleys. 


There are highs, but also lows.  


No one and nothing can perform at peak all the time. 


Like the commandment to keep the Shabbat, everyone needs a rest. 


And studies have shown that getting a healthy dose of sleep, pause, and rest in life is healthy.


When we force ourselves or others to perform past their “designed” limits, then we risk a breakdown. 


Machines break and people can break. 


The risks are either explosion or implosion: some people can frighteningly “go postal” and others end up on psychiatric medication or even sick and in the hospital. 


What is key to remember is that you can push the limits of performance so far, but then no further without a healthy, recuperative rest period and down time. 


If you want to raise the bar on yourself, others, or your organization, you need to do it strategically so there is a surge forward and then a normative recovery and energy buildup again. 


As we all know, life is a marathon and not a sprint, and the journey is as important as the destination. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Alan Levine)