Winning Attitude

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I met this lady at the shopping outlets a few weeks ago. 


One of the awesome brand stores was running a sale with 70% off!


Check, check–not a gimmick–we race over with the crowd already forming lined up outside the doors. 


This salesperson was there to guide just a few people in at a time–I guess, so the mob wouldn’t rip the joint to sale shreds!


This lady (pictured) had something awesome about her.


Working part time in retail, I’d imagine that it’s not the job’s salary and benefits that is perking her up or “getting her out of bed in the morning.” 


Yet, she had the most unbelievably great attitude. 


She stopped to talk with us and tell us about her background studying and living in Israel during the year, and that she had a twin sister working in the same store for the Summer. 


Her energy and enthusiasm was inspirational and I would imagine could even be contagious to many who let themselves revel in it rather than resist it. 


As people waited on the line, this women offered them her umbrella to stay dry and cool. 


Waiting on line is not the most fun thing, even when it’s for a 70% off sale, but this lady kept everyone smiling and sort of stress free with frequent updates and walking and talking up/down the line.


Listen, we all know people who do the same or similar jobs: one is grouchy, sullen, and is for all intensive purposes miserable all or most of the time; the other is generally smiling and happy to be there learning and contributing, and have the job.


What a difference between these 2 types of people!


And what a enormous contrast between the positive and negative impacts they have on others and on the organization. 


It’s not just what you say and do, but how you go about doing it. 


Yes, we all have various challenges and problems in our lives, but how do you deal with it.


This doesn’t mean you should be a phony baloney head–you need to be genuine and real to be credible and a high-functioning human being–and of course, everyone has bad days. 


But an overall winning attitude goes a long way in life and towards success–for yourself and how you can influence others. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

I Doth Fear

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Innocent Shakespeare in the Park or violent assassination incitement of the President of the United States? 


Kathy Griffin holding up a severed head of the President.


Stephen Colbert’s tirade and obscenities.


And the list goes on and on…


Is this resistance or are things perhaps going too far for political discourse? 


Whatever your views, does the rhetoric need to get any hotter or more violent in this country. 


Cooler heads and compromise need to prevail for anything positive to come from all this.


Is it not still possible to unite under the shared values of freedom, human rights, and democracy that we all presumably hold dear and use these to advance our common cause? 


At least twice now protesters have stormed the Shakespearean stage calling the incitement as an evil portrayal reminiscent of those like Nazi Propaganda Minister, Goebbels (may his name and memory be erased).


The other side pretends nothing is going on and says, but it’s only Shakespeare. 


Demonstrating against the actors’ nightly violent portraying (and perhaps undisguised wishing for) the killing of the President, the plays’ protesters are themselves summarily dragged off by security.


Nothing seems to stop the shrill words, calls for violence, and violence itself. 


Just last week, we had the unreal and gross shooting of Congressman Whip, Steve Scalise, at an early morning baseball practice with his colleagues. 


For those who care to glimpse down the road, what happens from here as we seem to forget who we are as people and as a nation, and we let extremists take over the agenda.


I doth fear (a little Shakespeare myself here) that the problem with extremism and violence is that it can too easily beget more extremism and violence.


Incessant name-calling, an avalanche of punches by the media, hostility on college campuses towards free speech, SNL just poking fun (is this really so funny anymore), an inciting Shakespearean play, plus marches, protests, and then taking things too far.


Like the closing in a classic Shakespearean tragedy…should we all not fear how this will end? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

Paper Navy Tiger

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We spend $600 billion on defense and this is what we get?


In the middle of the night our U.S. Navy DESTROYER crashes with a ginormous container ship.


The commercial vessel (yes it’s bigger, but it’s a civilian ship) is lightly damaged, but the U.S. Navy BATTLESHIP (after having undergone a recent $21 million upgrade) has 7 dead, the captain injured, and it can barely make it back to its port except with tugboats for extensive repairs. 


WTF!


How does an battleship with the latest sensors and technology collide with a civilian ship–how did such a foreign vessel even get close to our navy ship let alone collide with it–was someone completely “asleep at the wheel?”


This is no joke!–this is our first line of defense in our ability to project force globally. 


What if this had been a terrorist ship laden to the hilt with high explosives or an Axis of Evil Iranian or North Korean fast attack craft or even a Russian or Chinese attack submarine–surprise!


Doesn’t a battleship need to be ever-vigilant and -ready for battle? 


How can we fight sophisticated 21st century militaries with advanced ship-killer cruise missiles, torpedos, and mines, if we can’t even avoid the essential sinking of one our own fighting ships in peacetime. 


Our brave men and women who take up the uniform to serve this great nation–and this country–DESERVE BETTER!


Does this paper navy ship with a punched hole in it represent a larger forgotten or war-weary military in dire need of modernization and genuine readiness to defend the beautiful and free America? 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via The Guardian)

Happy Father’s Day

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So it’s Shabbat and that’s one of the wonderful times to look at old photos in the albums and boxes. 


Yes, this was before digital photography!


I came across this art that my daughters had given to my father and mother when they were still alive–I think it was plastered on their refrigerator for a while. 


This photo seemed to bridge the past, present, and future for me. 


My parents are gone now to Hashem–already 2 and 3 years–and I still can’t believe it. 


At the annual Mother’s Day and Father’s Day–it’s just another time of year to remember how much I miss them all year long. 


For me now, it is also a chance to be grateful for my lovely children that G-d has so gracefully blessed me and Dossy with. 


Smiles, hugs and kisses, love and caring for one another–this is what life is all about.


Father’s Day to me is not about the gratefulness of my children to me, but rather of me to Hashem and them to be blessed to be a dad and have the chance to give back to such lovely children–to the next generation that greatly supersedes me and mine!


So I’m crunched in the middle in time between wonderful parents and beautiful children and as my dad would joke, it skipped a generation (hopefully, not really). 😉 


(Source Photo: My Girls)

It Takes A Village

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I wanted to share some good tidbits about effective management, collaboration, and engagement that I heard this week at a Partnership for Public Service event.


It Takes A Village – No I don’t mean the book by Hillary Clinton, but rather the idea that no one person is an island and no one can do everything themselves. Rather, we need the strengths and insights that others have to offer; we need teamwork; we need each other!


2-Way Communication – Traditionally, organizations communicate from the top-down or center to the periphery (depending how you look at it).  But that doesn’t build buy-in and ownership. To do that, we need to have 2-way communication, people’s active participation in the process, and genuine employee engagement.


Get Out Of The Way –  We (generally) don’t need to tell people how to do their jobs, but rather develop the vision for what success looks like and then get out of the way of your managers and people. “Make managers manage and let managers manage” and similarly, I would say, hold people accountable but let people work and breath!


Things Change – While it’s important to have consistency, momentum, and stay the course, you also need to be agile as the facts on the ground change.  “Disregard what’s not working, and embrace what is.” But you must stay open to new ideas and ways of doing things.


This is our world of work–our village–and either everyone helps and gets onboard the train or they risk getting run over by it. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Aging Is A Process

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This guy was a hoot on the Metro in Washington, D.C. 


His shirt says:


“With age comes oldness.”


Ah, yeah!


When he was sitting, he had his arms crossed over his chest, and I thought it said:

“With age, comes baldness.”


That too!


Getting old is not easy.


Being young is not easy either. 


But it’s really how you handle yourself during every stage and turn in life that defines who you are and what you become as an person and a creation of G-d. 


You’ve got to get up and walk the dance through thick and thin…life bring old age and oldness…what’s the alternative. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

I Met The Swamp And It Is Us

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So with the election came promises (and hope to some) to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C. and beyond. 


That means redefining the size, scope, and purpose of federal government.


It also means reducing regulations that stifle American business and competitive advantage, placing restrictions on lobbying, and imposing term limits on Congress.


Presumably, it also means addressing mounds of fraud, waste and abuse in the system (many examples of each are out there).  


So here is a funny true story from when I was traveling recently…


A gentleman is riding with me in the elevator and he turns to me to make chit-chat. 


He says, “Good morning. Where you from?”


I smile and respond, “Washington, D.C.,” and add proudly, “the nation’s capital!”


He then asks, “What do you do there?”


Feeling a little perky that morning and with the elevator ride about to come to a stop at the lobby, I quickly blurt out, “Oh, cleaning up the swamp.”


To which, the man responds with the sarcasm galore and probably a good dose of disdain, “Yeah right!” 


There was something so comical about this scene in which I sort of baited this guy and at the same time found the reaction that is all too likely throughout America.


Do people believe and are they committed that we really do the following:


– Change the status quo of big stumbling government


– Right the wrongs done by those who take advantage of the system, its power and big money


– Restrain the ginormous national debt that threatens to consume all of us


– Fairly and compassionately address the nation’s priorities including those for national security, prosperity, and well-being


– Drain the swamp from the horrendous creatures that dwell and thrive therein


And the capital is not built on a preexisting swamp, but it did come and grow, man-made, dark and deep, as a result of the greed and fear that drives too many, far too far. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)