We Need Thomas Jefferson!

A few weeks ago, a relative sent the following to me in an e-mail.  As we look at our country today, we are going through a very difficult time financially, with job security, ineffective government, strained international relations and a deteriorating global position.  Many of you are struggling under these extreme burdens and life has become more stressful than ever before.  Many of the basic principals of our nation are being challenged, as evidenced by the recent Warren Buffet article (See previous Web Blog on “Let’s end the Deficit now”)

I thought it would be great to illuminate one again the brilliance of One of our greatest leaders and founders of our country, Thomas Jefferson. 

One evening, John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the White House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at that time.  He made this statement: “This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

Here are just a few of the many quotes and insights from Thomas Jefferson that resonate for all of us today, 200+ years later:

  • “When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.”
  • “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”
  • “It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes.  A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”
  • “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”
  • “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”
  • “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against the tyranny of government.
  • “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.  If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property – until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

Thomas Jefferson said that in 1802.  Things that make you go hmmmmm…….

Where are you Thomas Jefferson?  We need you now!

Thanks again for reading this blog.  Let me know what you think by sending comments along below.

Webman

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Business Transparency…Yeah Right!

Second in a series as to why businesses fail.

Continuing yesterday’s theme using definitions, here is one from Wikipedia on Transparency in Business –  Transparency, as used in scienceengineeringbusiness, the humanities and in a social context more generally, implies openness, communication, and accountability. Transparency is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed.

Given all of the issues over the last few years with financial firms, accounting regulations, Bernie Madoff and the like, we hear the word transparency quite a bit these days.  Many businesses use transparency as a key word to secure your trust as an employee, to provide you with a sense of greater good, where they craft the illusion that they are above reproach and will treat you with the dignity and respect that you deserve.

Of course this is really nothing more than marketing spin, getting you to buy something you think you need.  Only it is not a product they are trying to buy; it is your trust.  So you walk into managements office and they say “We are a very transparent company” or “I am a very transparent manager and I expect complete transparency from you as well.”  And because you want to believe in this world where ethics, morals, honesty, trust and integrity have gone right down the old Bemis, that it will be different for you at this employer, because deep down that is what you would like it to be.  Do not fall for this jive.

All organizations have a transparency culture, that part of the culture that relates to transparency; but few have a culture of transparency, i.e., a culture of being aware of transparency and incorporating it routinely into how things are done.

So we are going to change the definition of business transparency today – the new definition is that business transparency occurs only when it is convenient for the business, regardless of what is said or stated on one’s website. Think about it.  Why does every PowerPoint presentation come with a confidentiality clause even when it is just an internal presentation and even after you have signed a confidentiality clause anyway upon gaining your employment?  Or why is there so much legal mumbo jumbo to govern your every phone, e-mail or chat?  The reason is so an employer can use this information anyway they want to fit their needs.  Don’t ever forget this.

If you are a business owner, take a minute to reflect on how you are running your business.  Are you truly being transparent and engaging your employees regularly with the business challenges and ideas necessary to grow and create an environment of trust, passion and success?  Or are you a business leader that manipulates their employees, engaging them only when you deem necessary or when it fits your definition of transparency?

Take a look in the mirror.  Who are you?

Webman