We Broke The Weather

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So my friend who lives in FL and recently experienced the crazy hurricanes down there said something very interesting to me. 


This was during the series of numerous recent hurricanes in just a few weeks period of time, including Harvey, IRMA, and Maria that devastated Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.


He said to me:

“We broke the weather!”


And after decades of warning about the impact of global warming–maybe he is right.


This last September was the most active month for Atlantic hurricanes ever on record. 


Further, we are seeing simultaneously the deadliest wildfires raging in California in its history. 


This only 13 years after the deadliest Tsunami from the Indian Ocean in recorded times killing about a quarter million people!


And only 28 years after the deadliest Tornado occurred in Bangladesh in 1989 that killed 1,300 people.


All these as if the increasing threats of nukes and other weapons of mass destruction and cyberattack weren’t enough to keep you up at night.


As we get more sophisticated and technologically dependent, incredible manmade and natural disasters are threatening us superbig time. 


And over and over again, it is being reported that a well-placed EMP explosion over the United States would kill 90% of the population within a year–talk about a extinction level event!


As we experience temperatures15 degree above normal this fall, even the trees are behaving abnormally as the leaves are not changing to colors of yellows and oranges and reds and purples that we expect and enjoy. 


Nature is messed up by our abuse of the planet and nurture is messed up by megalomaniacs with the weapons to do us in. 


If we don’t correct the dangerous path we are on polluting our planet and over-relying on technology then soon we could be turning horrible colors even if the leaves just fall to the ground or turn to ash. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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The REAL Problem Is NOT Healthcare

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Why can’t all the really smart people in this country solve the healthcare crisis?


The democrats tried and it didn’t work out to well. 


And now the republicans are trying and sort of the same thing so far.


Is it politics?


Sure, that is what it can easily look like. 


One side wants to give more to these folks and less to someone else, and the other side vice versa.


But I don’t think that is the truth!


Wouldn’t we all like to give health coverage to every single man, woman, and child in this country!


Seriously…doesn’t everyone have a heart and soul somewhere in there.


And we all know and/or fear what it’s like to be at risk, without proper coverage, and without the medical care and medicine that can be lifesaving!


So here’s the real problem folks:


It’s not healthcare, nor any of the other social or national security issues we face–whether the military, space exploration, environmental concerns, jobs, or anything else. 


This is what it is…


It’s called the national debt, which stands art $20,000,000,000,000


And that doesn’t even include ANOTHER 127,000,0000,000,000 of unfunded liabilities for things like social security and medicare etc. 


This is a nation that collectively doesn’t save–it spends–and it spends not only it’s current purse, but it’s future one too!


In fact, total U.S Household wealth in aggregate of $90,000,000,000 is eclipsed by our overall national debt!


True, this doesn’t include trillions of dollars of other significant business or national assets, but it does point to the overall severity of our highly-leveraged financial position.


So where does this leave us?


We can’t really solve healthcare or any of our other problems–if we are BROKE, busted, and a debtor nation. 


Yes, it takes money to invest, and money to pay for solutions for now and for the future. 


But how can you possibly solve anything, if your pockets are not only empty but have a big f*ckin’ hole in them. 


So folks, the lousy decisions of the past and present are coming back to haunt us. 


It’s a tidal wave, a tsunami of debt–of unbelievable corruption and kicking the can down the road–of fraud, waste, and abuse–of shortsightedness and lack of real leadership–and the time is coming to pay the piper!


If you think the political infighting–liberal and conservatives–tea party and progressives–alt left and alt right–socialists and dictators–is bad now?


But unfortunately, unsolvable problems lead to accusations and recriminations–finger-pointing all around–calls for impeachment–calls to let the other party or some independent lead us out of this mess.


Do you think being in such a challenging situation could also lead us to make rash and stupid mistakes or even go to war? 


In the end, how do you lead us out of a dead-end caused by generations of recklessness with our country’s finances?


Some say perhaps we can grow ourselves out of the debt–maybe we need to go back to school and all get our MBAs and start the whole messed up story all over again?


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Beyond the Four Seasons

Taj

For anyone who has ever stayed at the Four Seasons, you know it is an incredible hotel.

Customer service reins supreme and that’s not just good business, it’s good corporate values.

But reading about the Indian version of the Four Seasons called the Taj–it seems like they have taken customer service to a whole new level.

The Tajwhich has been operating for more than 100 years (opened in 1903) has 108 hotels in 12 countries, including of course India, but also Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and even America (Boston, New York, and San Francisco).

Harvard Business Review (December 2011) describes not just the routine day-to-day service provided at the Taj, but rather how they behaved under one of the most trying events, a terrorist attack.

On November 26, 2008, there began a coordinated 10 attacks across India’s largest city Mumbai than killed at least 159 and gravely wounded more than 200. The attack now referred to as 26/11 (i.e. 26th of  November) included the luxury hotel, the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower (i.e. the Taj Mumbai).

The Taj Mumbai suffered at least 6 blasts and “stayed ablaze for two days and three nights” engulfing the beautiful domes and spires of this structure.

But while the hotel suffered significant damage resulting in months of rebuilding, the spirit of service by the workers at the Taj was tested to the extreme and thrived.

HBR describes how Taj staff, hearing the blasts and automatic weapons, safeguarded their guests during the attack going so far as “insisting that husbands and wives separate to reduce the risk to families, offering water and asking people if they needed anything,…[and] evacuating the guests first.”

The Taj staff did not run out screaming–everyman and woman for themselves, but they not only stayed calm and helpful, but they actually put their guests lives above their own.

This is sort of reminiscent of the firefighters, police, and other emergency first responders on 9-11, who ran up the stairs on the burning World Trade Center to save people–but in this case at the Taj, these were not trained rescuers, they were hotel staff.

In another instance at the hotel, according to the article, hotel employees even “form[ed] a human cordon” around the guests.

This again sounds more like the Secret Service protecting the President of the United States, then waiters and waitresses serving guests.

This is not to say that culture is the driving factor here, for example just this December 9, ABC News reports on how a fire broke out in an Indian hospital and killed at least 89 residents,  while the “staff flees” and 6 administrators are subsequently arrested.

So if national culture is not the difference in how organizations and its people treat customers–what is?

HBR explains that it’s really a recipe for customer service and user-centricity.

Starting with a “values-driven recruitment system” where the hotel looks for employees with character traits such as respect for elders, cheerfulness, and neediness (this reminds me of a boss I had that used to say she likes to hire employees “who are hungry.”).

The Taj follows up their recruitment with a commitment to training and mentoring and empowering employees fully to do whatever it takes to meet the needs of its customers at what it calls “moments of truth.”

The values of the Taj go so far toward serving its customers, that they insist that employees actually put customer needs aheadof the company and this is reinforced with a recognition system for those who strive and act for making happy customers.

Is this user-centric orientation limited to just the Taj Mumbai?

Apparently not, when a Tsunami struck at 9:30 AM on December 26, 2004 and killed 185,000 people, the Taj on the Maldives Island affected “rushed to every room and escorted them [the guests] to high ground” and still managed to serve lunch to survivors by 1:00 PM.

Talking about setting the bar high for customer service–how can you beat that?

(Source Photo: here)