Archives for March 2015


Focused Consciousness

The way to make things happen out of thin air.


My Endless Fascination with Human Behavior

In my management experience, I have come across a few different personality types that are quite consistent.  I have developed ways and means of dealing with several types of subordinate staff members.

The loudly defensive and hot potato throwing personality style is one such style that I have developed methods for effective management.  Arguing doesn’t seem to be the thing for gaining productivity from this behavior style.  Instead, it is important to stay factual and calm.  I must be very organized and completely capable of following up on the minutest of details.  This is the only way to deal with this person.  The “hot potato throwing” personality style is one who shirks responsibility by throwing it into someone else’s lap.   For this behavior I must be very focused and completely capable of resetting our conversations to meet my goals rather than the other person’s goals.  If I am the boss, it is up to me to keep the conversation where it needs to be.  For myself, I have to recall that the goal of work is to create a work product, whatever that may be.  My end point can never be to listen to complaining and shirking.

In any case my loud and defensive hot potato thrower (I’ll just call them LAD) is normally someone who puts a lot of effort into defensiveness and no effort into the work product.  So, normally this behavior style is not difficult to fire because if you track their work (and not their mouthiness) you will see that they are not getting their work done.  In fact, I associate LAD with laziness and sloppiness, or at least nonperformance and ineffectiveness.  Because of this, when I come across this LAD style, I immediately begin tracking their work product.

What is amazing to me is that on my new staff, I have a LAD who is NOT an ineffective non-performer.   She works hard and is very effective.  She is the researcher who can be relied upon to get to the bottom of the problem and really find out the issues.  She likes her work and likes to work hard.  But if you ask her a question about her work or her work product she is LOUD AND DEFENSIVE.  She tells long stories about how difficult the work is and how unfair a situation is.  You think she is misleading you away from the conversation and maybe she is.  But, it’s not because she didn’t get the work done.  She did.  She is just LAD.  Interesting, huh.


Sigma Alpha Epsilon

The serious and immediate repercussions of the national chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon  on the racist chanters at University of Oklahoma are so rare that, they must be remarked upon.

Since Gerald Ford pardoned President Nixon, we have been a nation of “excusers”.  We only excuse people who are famous and wealthy.  Excuses have not been used for everyone in this great nation.

You can always tell when excuses will be required again.  After some great crime, or perhaps even a crime that is obscure; there will be platitudes and long speeches with pregnant pauses.  No one can believe that yet another criminal will be set free.  This has been the norm in America, for at least the last 40 years.  The speeches all begin in the same way: “We will complete a full investigation, we will punish those responsible…”  You know when you are listening that nothing will come to pass for those who break laws.

That is why it is shocking to see wealthy young white men held responsible for their actions.  I think Americans of every color and size have been asking for this kind of justice for many years.  I think women on campuses speaking out about date rape, and protesters in Ferguson, Missouri are all asking that we hold people accountable for ALL of their actions.  It is almost unbelievable that justice would occur with such swift action after racial chanting was recorded and published.  The national chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon were purposeful in meting out repercussions for the bad behavior of chapter members.  In America we have seen too many speeches about excusing and ignoring bad behavior.

I don’t think all bad behavior nor do I believe that all crimes are equal in severity.  I do think that the reaction to all bad behavior and criminal behavior should be the same.  Swift, immediate and harsh repercussions to demonstrate to the innocent and good people of America, that it matters to be good.  We should all be reassured that our own personal contribution to what is good and right is worthwhile, that if not rewarded, is at least recognized.


Equality the Impossible Equation

I don’t think much about offering everyone dignity and respect and here is why: we don’t do anything in this country to maintain basic human life at a living standard.  What good does it do to give dignity and respect when so many people are starving?

If we are to believe in equality and to tout the benefits of equality, we must agree to basic minimum living standards that – just by virtue of being human – everyone is entitled to.  What I mean by this is – should every human expect shelter from the elements?  Should every human expect to avoid malnourishment by eating healthy food?  Should every human expect healthcare?  To all of these questions, we must say yes if we are to create true equality.  We must come to an agreement about what is the minimum standard for equality and thus human dignity.  I can guarantee that a few kind words for a homeless and hungry woman does not translate to equality.

In America, we don’t agree that every human is entitled to a basic living.  We use our biases and judgmentalness to justify our lack of sensitivity to the plight of those in poverty.  Judging others for their conditions, saves us from evaluating our own selfishness.  We can evaluate others negatively and justify our own actions and thoughts.  “Those people don’t work hard, that’s why they are hungry!”  “If he had gone to school, he wouldn’t be making minimum wage.”

That’s part of the difficulty inherent in equality, because we all have to agree to minimum living standards for everyone.  Those standards have to apply to everyone, no matter what we think of how people live their life, each person has a right to shelter, food and healthcare.  In the system we have now, talented, beautiful and the rich are the only ones entitled.  If we admit that all humans are entitled to a living, we might have to do something about it.  That would require a contribution from everyone.

In America, we are so taken in by mass marketing, that we have actually believed that giving “dignity and respect” means that we have created equality here.  We have not.