This is not a political column but sometimes we need to shine a light on this topic.
Our government is shut down because our leadership can no longer communicate with one another. A bit of a groundhog day moment, don’t you think? Haven’t we seen this dance before? Well, for all of the folks in Washington, here is a headline for you – Get out! One thing you have excelled at is incompetency. Incompetency is not an attribute we look for in our employees. Do you think you would have a job if you worked for anyone else? The answer is no!
How is it that 800,000 hard working Americans can be laid off from their positions because of your inability to lead, but you, our leaders, continue to get paid? How does that work? Let’s peel the onion back another layer and look at yet another perk of yours that has not been shut down. The Members Only Congressional Gym remains open as it was deemed essential. Really?
Head Start programs have been shuttered, small businesses can’t get loans and hundreds of thousands of federal government employees are furloughed. But the exclusive members-only Congressional gyms have remained open throughout the shutdown.
A House aide confirmed that the House member’s gym is open. The House gym features a swimming pool, basketball courts, paddleball courts, a sauna, a steam room and flat screen TVs. While towel service is unavailable, taxpayers remain on the hook for cleaning and maintenance, which has been performed daily throughout the shutdown. There are also costs associated with the power required to heat the pools and keep the lights on.
According to the aide, the decision to keep the gym open — even while other critical government services were shelved — came directly from Speaker Boehner’s office. Meanwhile, the staff gym available to Congressional staff has been closed. It appears that the members gym in the Senate remains open on similar terms. Yesterday, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) complained to a reporter from the Omaha World-Herald that the members gym was getting “rank.”
The daily operating cost of the House and Senate gyms remains shrouded in secrecy. The Architect of the Capitol, which oversees both gyms, has previously refused to provide information about the gyms for “security reasons.” A call to the Architect of the Capitol for this story was not immediately returned.
And here is another one from my friend Armand that is sure to tweak you a bit (Not twerk you )
The US has entered into a contract with a real estate firm to sell 56 buildings that currently house U.S. Post Offices. The government has decided it no longer needs these buildings, most of which are located on prime land in towns and cities across the country. The sale of these properties will fetch about $19 billion. A regular real estate commission will be paid to the company that was given the exclusive listing for handling the sales. That company is CRI and it belongs to a man named Richard Blum. Richard Blum is the husband of Senator Dianne Feinstein. (Most voters and many of the government people who approved the deal have not made the connection between the two because they have different last names).
Senator Feinstein and her husband stand to make a fortune (est at between $950 million and $1.1 billion!!) from these transactions. His company is the sole real estate on the sale. CRI will be making a minimum of 3% and as much as 6% commission on each and every sale.
So our leaders get to work out while our government employees deemed non-essential get to sit home and not get paid. And then one of our Senators gets right because her husband is awarded an exclusive agreement to sell $19 billion dollars worth of government owned real estate. And we wonder why we have little or no faith in leadership.
Facial recognition software will end privacy once and for all. Your face now provides marketers and the government with the ability to link that fabulous mug shot you put on Facebook to everything there is to know about you. That’s right. You thought you were just posting your smiley face for your friends to see? Not exactly.
Queue the music:
The government has some restrictions with facial recognition software, but they are spending a ton of money to figure this out. Retailers on the other hand have the ability to use your face to send you promotional offers – the linking between the on-line world and the off-line world. Europe has tougher rules (You need to opt in there), but here in the US, the technology is way ahead of the law. Even if you have never put your own picture up anywhere in the internet you can be found if you were included in any picture any one has ever taken of you. So yes, Grandpa or Grandma who have refused to embrace anything digital and still read the paper in the morning, have been digitized and are therefore searchable.
A company called redpepper (www.redpepperland.com) has started a program called Facedeals. Here is how it works. Facial recognition cameras are installed at local businesses. These cameras recognize your face when you pass by, then check you in at the location. Simultaneously, your smartphone notifies you of a customized deal based on your Like history on Facebook. Creepy?
Yes, there are companies out there today that are putting all the little fragments of your life together, both on-line and off-line to get to know you a little better. They might know you, but you will never know them. Minority Report is much closer than you might think.
One of the greatest leaders of our time was Peter Drucker. Peter Ferdinand Drucker (November 19, 1909 – November 11, 2005) was an Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation. He was also a leader in the development of management education, and he invented the concept known as management by objectives.
Drucker’s books and scholarly and popular articles explored how humans are organized across the business, government, and nonprofit sectors of society. He is one of the best-known and most widely influential thinkers and writers on the subject of management theory and practice. His writings have predicted many of the major developments of the late twentieth century, including privatization and decentralization; the rise of Japan to economic world power; the decisive importance of marketing; and the emergence of the information society with its necessity of lifelong learning. In 1959, Drucker coined the term “knowledge worker” and later in his life considered knowledge worker productivity to be the next frontier of management.
Here is what Peter Drucker believed about leadership:
- A leader is someone who has followers
- Popularity is not leadership, results are
- Leaders are highly visible, they set examples
- Leadership is not rank, privilege, titles or money; it is responsibility
Leaders do not hide behind issues; they confront and resolve them. Leaders do not avoid conflict; they embrace it and learn from it. Leaders don’t sit in their offices all day; they interact and work closely with their co-workers. Leaders don’t need control; they know how to get things done by understanding the business issues clearly and resolving them through collaboration. Leaders listen. Leaders change and embrace change. Leaders lead change.
Do you work for a great leader? Are you a great leader? Do you have what it takes?
Don’t follow, lead.
A classic tune from the 80′s to begin your day today.
Thanks to Wikipedia www.wikipedia.org for the brief overview of Mr. Drucker.
Looking around the ball park, it is easy to observe just how many people are on their smartphones. We see it at work everyday, but when you see 37,000 people in one place, it provides an interesting perspective. Did you know, on average, people check their smartphones or feature phones 150 times per day. My favorite yesterday at Fenway, was people taking pictures of themselves when their faces appeared on the jumbotron in center field. Sweet Caroline indeed! So good, so good, so good….
In 2010, Nokia found 150 to be the number of times the average individual views their phone on a daily basis, which includes both smartphones and feature phones. U.S. T-Mobile, meanwhile, confirmed the same figure for the American market in its own study conducted during 2012. In the United Kingdom, meanwhile, the figure is claimed to have reached 200.
Well, one thing you should not do is walk and text. Fort Lee, N.J. police said they will begin issuing $85 jaywalking tickets to pedestrians who are caught texting while walking. “It’s a big distraction. Pedestrians aren’t watching where they are going and they are not aware,” said Thomas Ripoli, chief of the Fort Lee Police Department.
Tough to stay focused, isn’t it. Well, when we are at work there are a number of things that get in our way during the course of the day. Check out this cool infographic.
So, stay focused and stop wasting time. So many good things for you to focus on
And now a little Allman Brothers to start your Monday – Classic indeed!
Enjoy the day.
As summer is now upon us here in New England , there are a number of great tunes that just capture the moment. Wanted to share a few with you.
Have an awesome weekend!
“(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” is a song co-written by soul singer Otis Redding and guitarist Steve Cropper. It was first recorded by Otis Redding in 1967, just days before his death. It was released posthumously on Stax Records‘ Volt label in 1968, becoming the first posthumous single to top the charts in the US. It charted at number 3 on the UK Singles Chart.
A modern version of the song goes global – Awesome.
The Grass Roots is an American rock band that charted between 1966 and 1975 that was originally the brainchild of songwriting duo P. F. Sloan and Steve Barri. The Grass Roots achieved two gold albums, one gold single and charted singles a total of 21 times. Among their charting singles, they achieved Top 10 three times, Top 20 three times and Top 40 eight times. They have sold over twenty million records worldwide.
The Who are an English rock band formed in 1964 by Roger Daltrey (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica), Pete Townshend (guitar, vocals, keyboards) and John Entwistle (bass, brass, vocals), and joined shortly after by Keith Moon (drums, vocals). They became known for energetic live performances which often included instrument destruction.The Who have sold about 100 million records and have charted 27 top forty singles in the United Kingdom and United States, as well as 17 top ten albums, with 18 Gold, 12 Platinum and 5 Multi-Platinum album awards in the United States alone.
Best band I ever saw live in concert. And I have seen all the great ones except for the greatest band of all, The Beatles.
And one from the 70′s.
Mungo Jerry is a British rock group whose greatest success was in the early 1970s, though they have continued throughout the years with an ever-changing line-up, always fronted by Ray Dorset. They are remembered above all for their hit “In the Summertime“. It remains their most successful and most instantly recognizable song, and their only hit outside of the UK
Ah, the summer classics.
With all of the talk, books, seminars, training and discussion about leadership, why is it so hard to find? Do you work for a leader? Someone that has passion, curiosity, compassion, daring, generosity, accountability and grit? Or do you work for someone that is just looking out for numero uno, protecting his or her ass at all times? No really, who do you work for?
Do you think about the person that you work for as a leader? Do you come into work everyday and wonder what you will learn today? Or think, I hope he/she spends some time with me today, because I want to learn something new? I want to develop skills like them. Well do you?
Who do you look up to in your company, in your life? Who do you admire? Where do you get your inspiration? Is anyone out there that stirs your mind, your intellect, your curiosity, your passion?
A brief musical interlude………..
You might work for the greatest leader in the world, someone you respect and admire. I hope you do. Most of you do not. You are subjected to bosses (Not leaders) that merely sit in the spot above you in the organization chart. Someone that might have a bit more experience, someone who is resting on their accomplishments from years before, someone that has figured out how to work the system, someone that never does anything proactive for the business, you, your career or anyone other than themselves. Maybe you work for the dreaded “Insecure Manager”. (Blog on that next week)
Well if you are blessed with a great leader, what are you doing to learn the most you can? If you are working for Sluggo, what are you doing to change it? A recent Harvard Business Review article mentions the following attributes as true signs of a modern leader. The leader that does not need authority to make a difference. Do these describe you?
Seers — individuals who are living in the future, who possess a compelling vision of “what could be.” As human beings, we’re constantly looking forward, and we love to sign on with individuals who are already working on “the next big thing.”
Contrarians — free of the shackles of conventional wisdom and eager to help others stage a jailbreak. It’s exciting to be around these free-spirited thinkers who liberate us from the status quo and open our minds to new possibilities.
Architects — adept at building systems that elicit contribution and facilitate collaboration. They leverage social technologies in ways that amplify dissident voices, coalesce communities of passion and unleash the forces of change.
Mentors — rather than hoarding power, they give it away. They believe the primary job of a leader is to create more leaders. To this end, they coach, tutor, challenge and encourage.
Connectors — with a gift for spotting the “combinational chemistry” between ideas and individuals. They help others achieve their dreams by connecting them with sponsors, like-minded peers, and complementary resources.
Bushwhackers — they clear the trail for new ideas and initiatives by chopping away at the undergrowth of bureaucracy. They’re more committed to doing the right thing than to doing things right.
Guardians — vigilant defenders of core values and enemies of expediency. Their unflinching commitment to a higher purpose inspires others and encourages them to stand tall for their beliefs.
Citizens — true activists, their courage to challenge the status quo comes from their abiding commitment to doing as much good as possible for as many as possible. They are other-centered, not self-centered.
So who are you and what are you doing about leadership or lack there-of.
More details can be found at http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/05/how_to_lead_when_youre_not_in.html?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews
The men and women that serve our country and protect our freedom. Memorial Day edition.
E-commerce, M-commerce, commerce, connected commerce, retail, brick and mortar, mobile payments, blow-out sales, Memorial Day spectaculars, Buy 1 Get 1 free, Buy 2 Get 1 free, free……..
We are bombarded but these terms with the intensity amped up around the major holidays on just how much money we can all save when we buy something, somewhere. We have become so overwhelmed about the media messages as well as our hectic everyday lives we have lost sight of the true meaning of Memorial Day. It is to celebrate the men and women that have given us the freedom to live in the most prosperous nation in the world; the United States of America.
Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service.
Take a moment to honor America and our heroes with this rendition of God Bless America by Ronan Tynan;
Following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in April 1865, there were a variety of events of commemoration. The first well-known observance of a Memorial Day-type observance after the Civil War was in Charleston, South Carolina on May 1, 1865. During the war, Union soldiers who were prisoners of war had been held at the Charleston Race Course; at least 257 Union prisoners died there and were hastily buried in unmarked graves. Together with teachers and missionaries, black residents of Charleston organized a May Day ceremony in 1865. The freedmen cleaned up and landscaped the burial ground, building an enclosure and an arch labeled, “Martyrs of the Race Course.” Nearly ten thousand people, mostly freedmen, gathered on May 1 to commemorate the war dead. Involved were about 3,000 school children newly enrolled in freedmen’s schools, mutual aid societies, Union troops, black ministers, and white northern missionaries. Most brought flowers to lay on the burial field. Today the site is used as Hampton Park. Years later, the celebration would come to be called the “First Decoration Day” in the North.
On May 5, 1868, in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, the veterans’ organization for Union Civil War veterans, General John A. Logan issued a proclamation calling for “Decoration Day” to be observed annually and nationwide. It was observed for the first time that year on May 30; the date was chosen because it was not the anniversary of any particular battle. According to the White House, the May 30 date was chosen as the optimal date for flowers to be in bloom.
To learn more about the history of Memorial Day, here is the link to the wikipedia page used to source the information – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Day
I hope that you enjoyed your day and value the true meaning of Memorial Day.
On her home computer with a 3D printer…..
So while America continues to debate what we should do about modifying the gun laws based on the recent tragedies in Colorado and Newtown just to name a few, technology now exists where you can just print your own gun at home on your 3D printer.
This is not a political blog. I am making you aware of this as our laws and legal system continue to show just how far behind the technology growth curve they are. Whether the topic is guns or my recent blog on Automatic Number Plate Recognition http://wp.me/p1WXuM-vm our legal system can no longer keep up with technology to protect the people of this nation, either from physical harm or identity theft. The rate of technology innovation has blown past the archaic process required to pass a law in our country and this will continue to get worse.
Can guns really be 3D-printed? The answer to that question is a simple yes. If you don’t believe it, just watch Cody Wilson, the man behind the world’s first 3D-printed gun, firing the weapon on video.
Following a test firing, documented by Forbes, in which a string was used to pull the trigger, Wilson now took the gun into his hands and successfully fired it. Neither him or the weapon suffered any visible damage (sans a cracked pin that used to hold the gun’s barrel in place) on that occasion, but the gun did misfire and explode in one of the test firings.
The weapon, called “the Liberator” — a homage to cheap pistols distributed by the Allies in France during World War II — is printed on a Stratasys Dimension SST 3D printer. It consists of 16 parts, 15 of which are 3D-printed. The last part — the firing pin — is a simple nail, found in any hardware store.
Wilson is the founder of the company behind the project, Defense Distributed. He claims the project is not about violence, but about freedom. “This is about enabling individuals to create their own sovereign space,” he told Forbes.
“I recognize that this tool might be used to harm people. That’s what it is — it’s a gun. But I don’t think that’s a reason to not put it out there. I think that liberty in the end is a better interest,” he said.
This is scary stuff. Learn about it.
My friend Elizabeth found the following wisdom and suggested that I share it with you. You will notice a very common them from last week’s Comfortably Numb http://wp.me/p1WXuM-ut blog focused on doing the best you can do regardless of the mediocrity and excuses around you. This is a re-post of some additional recommendations on getting you to focus on success. Original article can be found at:
1. No problem — Take the challenge
There is no such thing as a problem. What you call “a problem” is not a thing independent of you, but a situation you don´t like. It is “a problem for you.” To deal with it more effectively, put yourself in the picture. Think of it as your challenge. Take the difficulty as an opportunity to show your true colors.
I often catch myself saying, “the real problem is…” followed by the thought, “…that you don´t agree with me!” Equally often, my counterpart argues that “the real problem is…” that I don´t agree with him. Unless we recognize and give up these bad stories, we will each push hard to overcome the other. Push versus push equals stuck: a very expensive stalemate where we both spend tremendous energy for no result.
2. Drop “Who’s responsible?” – Be response-able
You didn’t do it. So what? You are suffering from it. People and things are out of control. It is tempting to blame them and play the part of the innocent victim. Don’t. The price of innocence is impotence. That which you blame you empower. Become the hero of the story; focus on what you can do to respond to your challenge.
The inspiring question is not, “why is this happening to me!” but “what is the best I can do when this happens?”
I once coached a financial services executive who would always blame external factors: regulation, competition, the economy, his employees, his boss, his peers. All these forces did impinge on his goals. It was the truth, but not the whole truth. The truth that he refused to accept, the one that blocked his growth, was that he was able to respond to these forces. (See the coaching questions I use, here.)
3. Forget what you don´t want – Focus on what you want.
Consider an issue that troubles you. What would you like to have happen? I ask this every time I coach. Infallibly, I learn what my client would like to not have happen anymore. This is a bad end for a hero´s journey. Avoiding what you don´t want will take your energy away from achieving what you do want.
Your brain doesn’t compute “no”. What you try to avoid you unconsciously create. If you don´t believe this, try to not think of a white bear right now and notice where your mind goes. Define a positive outcome precisely. Ask yourself, “What do I really want?” and visualize it in as much detail as you can. This will force you to put some flesh on the conceptual bones. Furthermore, ask yourself, “How would I know that I got what I wanted? What would I see? What would I feel?” In this way you will be sure that your vision has observable standards by which to measure success.
4. Take one eye off the ball – Go for the gold.
It’s not about hitting the ball; it’s about winning the game. Set your mind on what you are ultimately trying to achieve. Build a chain from means to ends, taking you from getting the job, to advancing your career, to feeling professionally fulfilled, to being happy. The ultimate goal and measure of success is happiness.
“What would you get, if you achieved X, which is even more important to you than X?” Ask yourself this question and discover that you never ask for what you really want—and neither does anybody else. We all ask for what we think is going to give us what we really want. Have you ever bought set of golf clubs hoping they would make you play better? And what would you get, if you played better, which is even more important to you than playing better?
5. Failure is not an option – Succeed beyond success.
Commit fully to achieve what you really want. Know that you deserve it and give it your best. This will make you more likely to get it. Success, however, is not the most important thing. To be a hero, pursue your goal ethically, as an expression of your highest values. Success may give you pleasure, but integrity leads to happiness.
Have a great day!
Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) is a mass surveillance method that uses optical character recognition on images to read vehicle registration plates. They can use existing closed-circuit television or road-rule enforcement cameras, or ones specifically designed for the task. They are used by various police forces and as a method of electronic toll collection on pay-per-use roads and cataloging the movements of traffic or individuals.
ANPR can be used to store the images captured by the cameras as well as the text from the license plate, with some configurable to store a photograph of the driver. Systems commonly use infrared lighting to allow the camera to take the picture at any time of the day.
In the UK, an extensive (ANPR) automatic number plate recognition CCTV network. Effectively, the police and security services track all car movements around the country and are able to track any car in close to real time. Vehicle movements are stored for 2 years in the National ANPR Data Center to be analyzed for intelligence and to be used as evidence.
In addition to the real-time processing of license plate numbers, similar systems called ALPR systems (Automatic License Plate Recognition) in the US collect (and can indefinitely store) data from each license plate capture. Images, dates, times and GPS coordinates can be stockpiled and can help place a suspect at a scene, aid in witness identification, pattern recognition or the tracking of individuals. Such data can be used to create specialized databases that can be shared among departments or individuals (such as insurers, banks or auto recovery) Specialized databases can also be used to compile personal information on individuals such as journalists suspected gang members, employees of a business, patrons of a bar, etc., and be shared by E-mail or portable flash media.
The Boston Globe had a great article on this topic last week. Here is some of the article. Full article can be found at http://bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/04/08/big-brother-better-police-work-new-technology-automatically-runs-license-plates-everyone/1qoAoFfgp31UnXZT2CsFSK/story.html
Now, automated license plate recognition technology’s popularity is exploding — seven Boston-area police departments will add a combined 21 new license readers during the next month alone — and with that expanded use has come debate on whether the privacy of law-abiding citizens is being violated.
These high-tech license readers, now mounted on 87 police cruisers statewide, scan literally millions of license plates in Massachusetts each year, not only checking the car and owner’s legal history, but also creating a precise record of where each vehicle was at a given moment.
The records can be enormously helpful in solving crimes — but they increasingly make privacy advocates uneasy.
Use of the technology is outstripping creation of rules to prevent abuses such as tracking the movements of private citizens, or monitoring who visits sensitive places such as strip clubs, union halls, or abortion clinics.
A survey of police departments that use automated license readers found that fewer than a third — just 17 out of 53 — have written policies, leaving the rest with no formal standards for who can see the records or how long they will be preserved.
“The worst-case scenario — vast databases with records of movements of massive numbers of people — is already happening,” warns Kade Crockford of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, which is pushing for a state law to regulate use of license plate scanners and limit the time departments can routinely keep the electronic records to 48 hours.
The usefulness of the automated license plate reader as an investigative tool springs from the astounding number of license plates the units can scan and record. With an array of high-speed cameras mounted on police cruisers snapping pictures, these systems are designed to capture up to 1,800 plates per minute, even at high speeds and in difficult driving conditions.
Most of the departments that deploy license plate readers use them primarily for traffic enforcement. But the scanners — sometimes called by the acronym ALPR — are also used for missing persons, AMBER alerts, active warrants, and open cases.
While law enforcement officials are enthusiastic, critics can point to alleged abuses:
■ In 2004, police tracked Canadian reporter Kerry Diotte via automated license scans after he wrote articles critical of the local traffic division. A senior officer admitted to inappropriately searching for the reporter’s vehicle in a license scan database in an attempt to catch Diotte driving drunk.
■ Plainclothes NYPD officers used readers to scan license plates of worshipers at a mosque in 2006 and 2007, the Associated Press reported, under a program that was partially funded by a federal drug enforcement grant.
■ In December, the Minneapolis Police Department released a USB thumb drive with 2.1 million license plate scans and GPS vehicle location tags in response to a public records request, raising fears that such releases might help stalkers follow their victims. A few days later, the Minneapolis mayor asked the state to classify license scan data as nonpublic.
ACLU attorney Fritz Mulhauser warned last summer that, within a few years, police will be able to use license scan records to determine whether a particular vehicle “has been spotted at a specific church, union hall, bar, political party headquarters, abortion clinic, strip club, or any number of other locations a driver might wish to keep private.”
“Technology is rapidly moving ahead in terms of our ability to gather information about people,” said Hecht. “We need to have a conversation about how to balance legitimate uses . . . with protecting people’s legitimate expectation of privacy.”
With technology changing so quickly, privacy laws will not be able to keep pace. Scary but true.
And now a little Bowie.