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Some Unsolicited PR Advice For Any Politician Involved In The Debt Crisis Now


1. Go away from the cameras until you make a deal.

2. Make a deal.

3. If you must go on camera, appear with your sleeves rolled up, with a roomful of colleagues, from both sides of the aisle. Sweating. Have papers stacked in front of you. Or get to a podium with this mixed group and speechify together.

4. Make a deal.

5. Take the pledge: A deal by Sunday talkshow time or donate a year's worth of salary to pay down the national debt.

6. Make a deal.

7. Get in a recording studio with a whole buncha diverse colleagues and re-record "We Are The World." Sell on iTunes to pay down the debt.

8. Make a deal.

9. Tweet that some of the smartest, nicest people around are (people from the other side). No more messages beginning "No way in hell..."

10. Make a deal.

"Can't we all just get along?" Maybe not. But we sure as hell better look like we can, or the whole D.C's gonna be in trouble.

Have a good day, & good luck!


Image source here

Angry About The Debt Crisis? Blame Yourself.


"I am Generation X and nothing can shock me." 

Yeah, right.

Every time I turn on the TV and see that we're still stuck in "debt crisis" mode, with the clock ticking away on August 2nd, I get shockable again.

How did we get to this ridiculous place? I thought we had a lot of people in charge of the money stuff. Why are we seeing this constant fighting, finger-pointing, bravado talk when failure to reach compromise means we all go down the tank?

It is so very fashionable to fan the flames with...yet more blame!

Here is a radical suggestion: Let's solve the crisis ourselves. 

Deepak Chopra suggests, "You have the ability to solve problems and resolve conflict not simply by thinking creatively but by becoming creativity itself."

We, each individually and together, must become creativity itself in order to face and overcome this crisis. Only when we accept responsibility for the situation and take it on ourselves to fix it, even in the smallest way, then and only then will G-d step in and lift us out of the darkness.

My religious training emphasized the connection between spiritual and physical. The world is created and sustained on the spiritual plane - only the outcomes are seen here in the physical.

Following on that, when we behave in a spiritually sick way - being hateful to others - we experience the result of that action. Hate leads to the experience of being hated. Connecting with others becomes impossible and nothing can progress. Voila! The debt crisis.

Conversely, we can experience healing and reward: "When we rectify our ability to acknowledge and thank G-d for everything that we have, to relate to (G-d) above logic and reason, and submission, we will then be healed from the illness of exile and will be able to experience our return to health and redemption."

Are you hateful to other people? Stop it.

Are you helpful when asked? Start being helpful.

Do you look for ways to solve other people's problems? Do it.

Are you organizing into groups aimed at helping people survive physically, emotionally, spiritually the crisis we are in and the even worse crisis that may be coming? Start now.

It doesn't matter how we got here except that we have got to stop blaming other parties for the situation. Blame is just another word for hatred.

I think we should forget about party labels too, while we're at it. When you're in as deep of a hole as we're in right now, what really is the difference? A sinking boat sinks all parties.

Fortunately we are still living in abundance, and there are so many resources that each of us has at our disposal. Let us put all of our energy into healing ourselves, each other, our planet right now, and stop carping on the mistakes that came before.

If our leaders are hateful to each other, it's because we've told them to be through our votes and through our rhetoric as private citizens. Let's reverse the dynamic and "be creativity ourselves," showing them that love is the way out of this crisis, not hate.

In the end the leaders will copy the followers, and we will have what all of us wanted all along - some solutions. (And then they can take credit for it, which is fine!)

Have a good day everyone, and good luck!


Image source here.

The Coming Flight Of The Managers


What are we going to do when all the managers get tossed from the coop because Gary Hamel said we don’t need them?

Yesterday in a Harvard Business Review webinar sponsored by Dell, he talked about his research on W.L. Gore, where managers are nonexistent. To Hamel, Gore is the company of the future.

Gore doesn’t need managers, says Hamel. Employees are motivated to perform on their own because at the end of the year a panel of 20 people rates them on how much value they’ve contributed to the company that year.

The underlying assumption is that managers are there to make the workers work. If workers are self-disciplined, then who needs managers?

In fact, Hamel believes, managers actually get in the way. They’re so busy imposing rules that employees can’t navigate the maze they’ve created and do their work efficiently.

Hamel’s justification for eliminating the manager and replacing that person with a self-disciplined worker is impressive. Workers innovate. And companies have to change radically, innovating all the time and at every level, to compete. Because their technology is easy to copy.

Hamel gave the example of Apple going into mobile phones. The technology was out there; they took it; turned the product into an Apple-branded device (simple, pleasing to the eye) – and succeeded.

Though as a non-manager I sympathize with Hamel’s research conclusions – we all want to do what we want and without a lot of bureaucracy – I think he is throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Managers are important. The problem is that good managers are lacking. This is partly because some people are jerks, but partly because companies don’t know what they want from the role. Worse, the don’t value the true financial benefit managers offer.

In the age of the self-motivated employee, the role of the manager is indeed no longer to discipline. Rather, they are needed in the same way that smart kids still need parents to be there for them. Parents, and in particular, historically, mothers, provide a safe place for vulnerable young people to handle unpleasant emotions effectively.

Unfortunately, a natural capacity for caring for others is not financially recognized or rewarded in the workplace. Throughout history this ability has been taken for granted as “female,” “instinctive,” “unskilled,” and so on. It’s been exploited because of women’s dependency on men for protection.

It is no wonder that as soon as women got the chance, they fled “Revolutionary Road” in search of equal treatment in the workplace. Of course when they did so, they left a gaping void at home (though a lot of kids were probably also relieved that their resentful mothers would now stop bothering them.)

It’s pretty much the same at work. People who have caring jobs, or who care for others on the job, get absolutely no credit for it. Because it’s hard to find the “ROI” on emotional intelligence.

Of course there is enormous “ROI” in emotional and group intelligence: At a bare minimum, a good manager prevents otherwise sane employees from killing each other. At a maximum they enable teams to perform at peak capacity and protect them from the irrational demands of leadership. During times of extreme and abrupt social change, we need them more than ever!

If we want to adapt management for innovation 2.0 or 3.0 or whatever we’re calling it now, for Heaven’s sake don’t toss out the managers! Instead, refine the job description, educate accordingly, and compensate highly, in accordance with the value they facilitate.

In this country we don’t let minors raise themselves. In the same way, it is stupid to say that employees who are producing lots of code all night are necessarily incredibly productive. I don’t care what kind of genius you are - it is not normal to sleep in your office in a sleeping bag.

Emotions matter. Conflicts arise. If you don’t have anyone to help you out with that, you’re just wringing out your people for the money. As soon as the economy picks up they will pick up too, and leave.

Managers today are actually organizational development specialists. Let’s recruit those and pay them in accordance with the value they deliver.

Vineet Nayar, the author of Employees First, Customers Second, is right that it the frontline employee is your value creator. But at the same time, even a blind person can see that without solid parenting – provided by a female or a male - no human being and no workplace can function effectively.

For more information on Hamel’s work to promote Management 2.0 visit I’ve visited the site; it’s good; this mention is voluntary and not suggested or sponsored.


Image source here

Real Love Is Tough & Ugly


I am a huge Anne Bancroft fan and was surprised this weekend that I had never seen her performance in The Miracle Worker (1962). This of course is the famous story of Anne Sullivan Macy (known as "Annie Sullivan," who in the late nineteenth century helped Helen Keller, a deaf and blind girl, learn to communicate.


It's sort of about Helen Keller, true, but the most fascinating part is the character of her educator. A human being of incomparable will who seems tough and mean but is truly full of selfless love for the child.


The breakfast scene is horribly painful to watch. And yet I am transfixed by it. I can watch it again and again.


I love that Annie was completely unselfish.


I love that Annie didn't give a damn about getting an award for her work.


I love that Annie physically threw herself into the task.


I love that Annie didn't know what she was doing, but let the child be her guide.


I love that Annie didn't care about how she looked.


I love that Annie knew how to get tough without getting angry.


I love how Annie saw through the girl's behavior to the light inside her soul. 


But most of all, I love how Annie believed that Helen could learn and join humanity, even when the rest of the world was negative about the child. Even when they let her run wild out of pity and hopelessness. They had labeled Helen an animal and so that was what she became.


Annie proves that there is nothing new under the sun. She embodies the management philosophy of the future. In particular, she epitomizes what has to happen right now in order for large bureaucracies to adapt effectively for the future.


Unfortunately in 2011 we are obsessed with everything being camera-ready and "nice." It has to look good for the cameras every single second or we don't want to get our hands dirty with it. We would rather be pessimistic and be proven right - keep the trains moving on time even if they're going nowhere - rather than put up our hands and yell "Stop! Nobody's got the map!"


If Annie Sullivan were a CEO today she would get in the trenches and find out what's going on. She would relentlessly inquire at all levels of the organization where the pain points are and why we aren't being profitable. She would go into business, government, educational institutions, hospitals and she would ask why there is so much inefficiency when we have some of the most innovative workers out there.


And then she would kick some ass.


America today needs a "Supernanny" like Annie Sullivan. We need some tough love. It's time to get rid of the misplaced compassion, stop living down to our worst fears about ourselves, and start demanding more of ourselves and our organizations.


We are not as incapable as we fear we are - we do have the possibility to get better - but it is going to take hard work and it is time to change.


Let's get out there and work together and be the change that we seek. Anything else is unforgivable, especially when there is so much at stake.


Have a good evening everyone, and good luck!


Empty Words & Hidden Agendas


I watched Jeffrey Toobin analyze on CNN the disgusting, abhorrent attack on Nafissatou Diallo, an economically disadvantaged hotel maid of color, by a powerful, rich Caucasian who to her had all the power in the world.

Toobin absolutely no trouble mouthing the pros and cons of the accuser’s case in the coldest of legal-strategy terms. It was almost as though he were a sports analyst predicting who would win a major football game. “...may be a smart move on the part of her legal team, considering…”

In my mind I contrasted these cold, uncaring words with the straightforward words the victim used to tell her story:

Excerpt from interview with ABC News' Robin Roberts:

DIALLO: I was watching the news and then they say he's going to be the next president of France. Then I say, oh, my God. And I was crying. I said they're going to kill me. I said they're going to kill me. I'm going to die.

ROBERTS: Why did you think that, Nafi?

DIALLO: Because I know if I was in my country, a powerful man like that, they're going to kill me before someone knows what happened to me.

Read the interview with Newsweek. Put yourself in her shoes. Feel the terror she must have felt. Finally a decent job but cause any trouble and you're gone.

The Jewish Bible tells us to be especially kind to the immigrant, to the stranger in one’s land, because the Jewish people know exactly what it feels like.

It’s sort of laughable to me that people try to undermine the victim’s credibility by saying she was somehow trying to play the situation for money. Like, how would that work exactly? She was so happy to have a hotel floor all to herself rather than have to run up and down the stairs, and being suddenly assaulted by an old man was…a bonus she could use to buy a gold watch?

Whatever happened to her in the past, whatever lies she has told either to survive or because she is a psychopath, I believe her. The courts should try the case, I believe. But it looks damn clear to me that Diallo is telling the truth. And that DSK was a perpetrator who tried to run, failed, and now is lying.

The U.S. has a unique legal system, where accuser and accused get to duke it out in the world of rhetoric. In a way this is good – let the best case win – but in a way it is terrible. We have become immune to trusting our simple common sense. Everything people say is just “one side of the story,” a side they are most likely playing for a buck.

It is difficult in a climate like this to get to the truth of anything. It’s like “Fight Club” except we’re always debating.

Marketing culture has, unfortunately, made matters worse. We make up some words out of whole cloth; mangle the meaning of others; distort what we know to be true; turn wrong into right; and document it all with reams and reams of paper. Kindly assembled by the legal team, which has the “terms and conditions of use” carefully on file.

It is a sad fact that young women not even of teenage years have been completely thrown into a sexualized arena, one created specifically by the lies marketing culture has created. Everyone's making money from these girls: The makers of clothing, cosmetics, phones, music, movies, social media. The men young and old who are only too happy to exploit them. And their so-called "friends," already exploited, hate to see them remain innocent. Are only too eager to lie and manipulate them into adulthood before they can even drive a car.

I read such a case in the newspaper on Sunday. It paralleled the movie “Thirteen,” where an American girl’s best friend drags her down and out until her childhood and innocence are completely gone and unrecognizable. UK’s The Daily Mail reports of a 12 year-old whose girlfriend tells a bunch of 19-year-old boys they are both 16; delivers friend to boys; and she is of course attacked. The boys are initially convicted of the crime, but the conviction is overturned, because the appeals judge determines that the 12-year-old somehow consented.

We want to know why are kids are so spiritually lost, so unhappy. We want to know why the “underclasses” are smoldering with resentment. We can’t put our finger on precisely what has gone wrong. But we are perpetuating the problem every single day. By closing our eyes to reality, and preferring instead to let the “system” – legal, marketing, education, what have you – run its course. Lie its way to more profit and more pain.

Over the weekend a stranger tried to abduct two little girls. The perpetrator wasn’t who you might think. In fact it was a woman, young and sweet-seeming. She rolled the window down and said, “I have an infant in the car…and I give people rides sometimes. Do you want to get in?”

Lacking in cynicism, insufficiently cold, fully kind and emotional and receptive, the kids listened for a minute.

And then their instincts took over and they ran. Fortunately.

We have become a society with the wrong kind of compassion. We are cold to the daily attacks that take place against the powerless, ignoring their pleas for help and stepping over them when they eventually lie homeless, and then stinking and dead, in the streets.

At the same time we are fully attuned to our childrens’ every whim and desire, especially the tormented desire to be “popular” when what they really want is to be loved and paid attention to at home. Today the word “popular” is a code for having passed through a terrible kind of hazing, the kind that gets left on cellphones and passed from kid to kid with a laugh. Hazing that begins and ends with lies.

We are so busy talking and texting and shopping and running that we have lost touch with our ability to listen. To really think critically about the things we read and see and listen to and yes, feel.

Am I crusading against the legal system or due process? Hell no.

Telling people to ground kids till they turn 18? Of course not.

Saying that only girls are attacked and not boys? That is silly.

I am arguing that with all our seeming sophistication and fast-moving pace, we have lost touch with a critical survival factor: simple thinking - connected to simple morality and common sense.

We have a duty to look after adults who are vulnerable to exploitation – yes we do. And an equal responsibility to protect our children from themselves. To do so requires looking past the legalistic, cold analyses and staring manipulative marketing right in the eye. In a society that often seems to have gone crazy, the most important thing we can do is think – and feel – for ourselves.

Did I tie the point all together? I hope so. It seemed important to share these thoughts even if the edges are a little ragged.

Have a good rest of the day everyone, and good luck.


Image source here.

10 Personal Branding Tips for Gender Balance (Personal Observation)

The following is based on my own personal observation, and I know that
everyone is different. If you think this doesn't apply to you,
obviously you can ignore it or comment. I hope that it is helpful.

For women--

1. Remember that work is inherently competitive - don't take it personally.

2. Develop a comfort level with authority - assertive, not passive or

3. If you define yourself strongly as a "relationship person," engage
in linear decision-making sometimes.

4. Demonstrate physical confidence: Walk fast and tall; shake hands
firmly; look people in the eye.

5. Dress more formally than you think you have to, and not overly
"girly." The message should be: I'm smart and focused on my work.

For men--

1. Look beyond the visual cues and listen for the things that are not said.

2. Seek to influence and inspire rather than to "lead."

3. Convert enemies into friends, or neutral parties, rather than go

4. Develop a high level of comfort with weakness to avoid being
blindsided by problems caused by denial.

5. Even if you know the answer, ask for advice anyway.