What happened to the Golden Rule?

Back in the 60’s and 70’s, sports figures, politicians etc. were revered and protected by the media. They traveled with them and wrote about how people were “doing their job” not their personal lives.  They all knew about the personal challenges, the indiscretions, the failures, the bad decisions, their families, the late nights and all of their imperfections.  They were people, just like the writers and the writers respected their privacy.

Those days are long gone.

Today the media and our society is constantly searching for any nugget of information they can find to identify any and all flaws in a person, pass judgement without all of the facts and then work 24/7 to pull on every thread of a persons life to validate their perspective and point of view. We see this everyday in political reporting and we most certainly see this in sports reporting.  Reporting and news is no longer about truth, it is about humiliating, degrading and tearing down people and publicly sharing that in as many ways, as many times and through as many media channels as possible. When did our society lose respect for the rest of society?

We are bombarded by shows that call themselves “news shows”, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and all other forms of social media that have enabled every person on the planet to become “reporters.”  For real breaking news, these media channels are a godsend as action can be taken faster and in many cases lives can be saved.  For this we can be grateful.

But more than 90% of the “news” reported is not news at all.  It is about sharing a person’s mistake or error for entertainment purposes, regardless of the embarrassment and personal suffering that the person will have to go through after it all goes public. The collective society that I am referring to uses no discretion or common sense, nor do they treat others as they would want to be treated; the “golden rule.”  Apparently the golden rule is dead.

Why does our society delight in the misery of others?  Why is it OK for the media to put aside any discretion and insist on reporting everything about a person’s life?  Why do “news” stories such as Deflategate consume us to the point where we are now questioning everything ever accomplished by the quarterback?  Because it is unfortunately what our society has become – one that basks in the glow of others failures for their own personal or business benefit.

It is no longer about the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat.  It is about tearing down people’s lives whenever possible because this is now how we define the “news”. Well here is a headline for you – treat people with the respect and dignity that you expect. Listen don’t judge. Help don’t hurt. Maybe we can make the world just a little better today.

We will close today with a tribute to the great BB King, because now the Thrill is Gone 😦

4 Key Traits of Great Leaders

What is leadership?  Do you know it when you see it? How many great leaders have you worked for?  What has made them great?

Great leaders know how to prioritize, communicate, define a path to success, change course as conditions warrant and stay focused on the end game. They know how to drive you to do your best, to challenge you to do more.  They can reach into your soul and find what motivates you. And when you win, there is no feeling in the world like it.  You take the experience with you. It becomes a part of who you are.  It raises your expectations for all other leaders.

Found an awesome visual on blog.readytomanage.com that identifies the 4 key traits of a great leader.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 10.52.44 AM

How does your boss stack up?  How about you?  What are you doing to become a better leader?

Webman

10,000 Boomers on the Beach

Boomers on the Beach

Today, more than 10,000 Baby Boomers will retire. This is going to happen day after day, month after month, year after year until 2030.  That is a lot of Boomers on the Beach!  Will there be enough adult beverages with little umbrellas available?

The US is about to go through an unprecedented demographic shift with all these boomers entering retirement age.  During the first half of this century, the number of senior citizens in the United States is being projected to more than double. Problem is, most of them are not ready to retire as the economic challenges over the last 10-15 years have compromised their ability to retire gracefully and just relax.  Take a look at these statistics:

  • Today there are about 40 million senior citizens in the United States. By 2050 that number is projected to skyrocket to 89 million
  • According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute46 percent of all American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, and 29 percent of all American workers have less than $1,000 saved for retirement.
  • One poll discovered that 26 percent of all Americans in the 46 to 64-year-old age bracket have no personal savings whatsoever.
  • According to a survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, “60 percent of American workers said the total value of their savings and investments is less than $25,000”.
  • 67 percent of all American workers believe that they “are a little or a lot behind schedule on saving for retirement”.
  • A study conducted by Boston College‘s Center for Retirement Research found that American workers are $6.6 trillion short of what they need to retire comfortably
  • Overall, the Social Security system is facing a 134 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years.
  • The U.S. government is facing a total of 222 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities during the years ahead. Social Security and Medicare make up the bulk of that.
Ouch.  This is not the way the boomers envisioned how their retirement would be.  Looks like they may still be working well into their golden years – serving those umbrella drinks to the 1% that can actually afford to be on that beach buying $15 drinks 😦
Webman

Not Another Con Call

Given the remarkable changes in technology, why do conference calls still suck?  I was on one yesterday and all the classic issues happened:

  • The leader was late – so the participants were stuck listening to music – The Rolling Stones were singing Time is On My Side.  I was OK with that 🙂 A benefit!
  • It  is very difficult to understand people who are speaking, especially if they have even the slightest accent
  • Background noise is terrible
  • Folks speaking when they are on mute – We cannot hear you 🙂
  • Babies crying and dogs barking in the background – Ah the benefits of working from home!
  • Two people speaking at once, telling the other to go first, and then both speaking at the same time again

This video has been going around but if you have not seen it, take a look.  It is just awesome, accurate and laugh out loud funny!

And now for some Stones.

Someone, please innovate!

Webman

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5 Ways to Empower Your People

This is the third installment in the series from JetBlue CEO, Joel Peterson.  I have once again hit the highlights for you.  Thank you to Mr Peterson for a great series!

Our best performances are nearly always spurred on by colleagues and leaders who have empowered us – that is, trusted us with the freedom and resources to excel.  Low-trust organizations have trouble giving their teams the latitude to do much. Wary ofeveryone, they often don’t trust even their most trustworthy people. Instead, they rely on thick compliance manuals for even the most trivial matters, and reward tattlers as a way to prevent rule breaking. This suspicious atmosphere kills initiative and creativity, and worst of all, it stifles any potential for trust.

Here are a few things to consider if you’re aiming to build a culture where people are empowered to do great work:

1) Bet on people. Allow people a chance to prove they can take on more responsibility. A leader who trusts others to grow inspires the best in people and can ignite trust.
2) Take action.  Try out ideas, don’t just talk about them.  Walk that talk.
3) Move On.  What worked before is not today’s answer. High-trust organizations don’t rely blindly on old rules. Instead, they trust their teams to figure out the new ones.
4) Expect mistakes. Even the best efforts can, and do, fail. Find out why quickly, learn and move forward with renewed vigor.
5) Don’t be paranoid. Giving up power is a great way to create more power.  Get everyone on the same page and make great stuff happen together.

A little Aretha Franklin to jump start your day.

Enjoy the day.

Webman

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It is Up to You!

Interviewed a great person a few years ago for a business development position.  When I asked her why she had been so successful, she responded, “If it is to be, it is up to me.”  Best answer ever!

Seems to be a lot of excuses going around these days.  In the workplace, many associates seem to blame circumstances or other people for their failure to get stuff done.  In government, does anyone take accountability for anything?  Been stuck on a bridge in New Jersey  lately?  Too many examples of people making commitments that they just do not live up to.  Does anyone just stand up and take responsibility anymore?  How about some honesty and integrity?  Pretty rare these days.  What are the drivers of this behavior?

Well, here is some great advice for you to remember and live by everyday:

  • Accountability starts with you. Grab a glove and get in the game!
  • Accountability is about being reliable. Do as you say!
  • Accountability is ownership. Own it.  If it fails, fix it.
  • Accountability creates clarity. No questions required.
  • Accountability is about trustworthiness. You deliver, maybe others will follow your lead.
  • Accountability is a partnership. Do you want your partners/teammates letting you down?  Did not think so!
  • Successful leaders always show accountability.

Stop the noise. No more excuses.  Get it done and do it with excellence.  Why would you ever do less than your best?  Original article can be found at http://www.lollydaskal.com/leadership/accountability-if-it-is-to-be-its-up-to-me/

And now for some comic relief from Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Fallon.

Webman

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That’s A Lot of Ham for Only Two Eggs!

Google just announced that it’s buying Nest for $3.2 billion!  For a company with two products, that’s a lot of cash 🙂

But Nest is one of the current market leaders in what is being referred to as the “Internet of Things.”  What is that you ask? The Internet of Things  refers to uniquely identifiable objects, like a room thermostat or smoke detector, that are connected and accessible via the internet.  Earlier examples of these “connectors” are RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips, barcodes, QR codes and digital watermarking.  According to Gartner there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020. Now that is a lot of devices.

A bit more about Nest.  Nest is best known for its smart thermostat, which learns your habits over time and adjusts your heat settings accordingly.  They also recently launched Protect (Smoke + CO Alarm) to rave reviews.  Here are pictures of the Nest thermostat and Nest Protect alarm.

nestnest protect

The Nest thermostat is the first next generation in-home thermostat.  It learns your schedule, programs itself and can be controlled from your phone. The Nest Thermostat can lower your heating and cooling bills up to 20%.  That will save you a lot of Benjamins 🙂

Nest Protect not only has an alarm component, but also speaks to you with a human voice. It tells you what the problem is and where it is. And if you have more than one Nest Protect, they connect so they can speak up at the same time even if Wi-Fi is down. No better way to protect the home and family.

For Google, this continues a big new push to apply its machine-learning expertise to physical objects, from self-driving cars to robots and now home appliances. Google continues to broaden its focus to artificial intelligence and machine learning in myriad forms. It is now a machine-learning company.

We are moving into a time where the opportunity to track everything in real time on your phone or other internet connected device will be possible.  When will we have the time to actually accomplish anything?  🙂  George Jetson is the man!

Enjoy the day.

Webman

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