and all the BS fit to read!

Atlanta – a city never too busy not to bitch

Atlanta – a city never too busy not to bitch

Jan 26, 2011

Back during the civil rights movement the city of Atlanta earned a reputation as the “city too busy to hate”. Over time things change and not always for the better. The recent snow storm that impacted the southeast and Atlanta is a classic of example of how the “city too busy to hate” has become the “city never too busy not to bitch”. We whined about the Georgia Department of Transportation’s inability to clear our interstate system and major highways within hours of the storm. We whined because our counties and municipalities were unable to have our side streets plowed and dried within hours of the storm moving north. We whined about having to spend 4 or 5 days with our children. One is led to ask why you had children in the first place if you are incapable of being with them more than a few hours per day. We whined about cabin fever. We are so uncomfortable with ourselves we are incapable of spending a few days without the simulation of shopping or some other mindless self-centered activity. But the weather warmed and the snow melted after a few days but our whining just changed targets and went on. We whined about the gravel and sand that was put on our streets and sidewalks during the snowstorm. But the snow is gone and why haven’t they cleaned up the sand and gravel. After all this could nick my car and then I would have too sue you. We also whined about garbage collections. We produce 52 weeks of garbage and you removed all of it but you did it in 51 weeks, therefore I am due a rebate of one week in spite of the fact that you removed it all my garbage. We whined because the USPS couldn’t deliver the mail and our credit card payment was late and we got charged with a late fee. So against this backdrop of whining, I think about the singing group the Eagles. In one of their numerous comeback tours they produced an album “When Hell Freezes Over”. And one of the songs on that album is entitled “Get Over It”. So perhaps the...

Cracking the Code: Successful Leadership starts with Great Followership

Cracking the Code: Successful Leadership starts with Great Followership

Jan 12, 2011

For decades, experts have said that leadership is intangible and unmeasurable. But great leadership is clearly measurable. Leaders are determined by their followers. No followers. No leader. In business, leadership occurs at all levels—from the executive suite to the shop floor—and at every level in between. Influential leaders, no matter what title they have or role they play, are those with willing followers. Leadership is getting wholehearted followers for a given course of action. Unfortunately, many potential leaders ignore followership and focus instead on being more engaging, convincing, or interesting. Or, sometimes, they rely on their positional power and end up, not with committed followers, but with agreements at best, compliance at worst, and marginal business results. Whole-hearted implies leaders have engaged their followers emotionally and intellectually—both in the heart and head. Whole-hearted also implies that the follower decides whether or not to give his or her commitment. Most people start their leadership interactions by establishing a common goal. Leaders understand the difference between goals and strategies. Goals are outcome-oriented, starting with the end in mind. Strategies are plans for reaching a goal. The first step starts with the conversation you have with a potential follower. Here you express that goal, and you include three critical elements to make it a common goal: 1) a confident statement of the goal which has value or benefit to the potential followers; 2) an invitation for followers to look at or listen to the goal and strategy; and 3) an acknowledgment that the potential followers are decision-makers. Take this conversation opener as an example: “I believe we can reach our target of expense reduction by making a few changes to our process. Let’s discuss this approach, and you decide if it is something you can support.” In this statement you see the decision elements at work. By stating your confidence when you put forth an idea for others to decide on and treating followers as decision-makers, you have a greater chance of being heard with an open mind and gaining credibility. Unfortunately, planning and logic alone can’t guarantee that a plan or strategy will result in commitment. Commitments are wholehearted decisions, and that means engaging the heart...

America Deserves More Literary Sanitization

America Deserves More Literary Sanitization

Jan 10, 2011

In light of the recent “sanitization” of Mark Twain’s Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, I don’t believe we have gone far enough in changing words that may offend the sensibilities of some segment of our population. This occurred to me last night as I watched the ATT Cotton Bowl. I realized that I think the word cotton is offensive. Cotton was at the core of the slavery period in the United States. You may think this relationship is a stretch but it is no different than blaming guns for murder and mayhem and that view is promulgated by many of the intellectual elite in our country. So as I watched the Cotton Bowl I was offended. It didn’t help that the players in the game were not compensated for their services while their institutions and governing bodies reaped millions of dollars. It didn’t help that many of those players were African-Americans who were once again being subjected to the modern day version of servitude. But let’s get back to the offensive word – cotton. Cotton is also a reflection of the period racial segregation in our country. Have you ever seen cotton that is any color than white? Where is the diversity? Cotton doesn’t reflect the racial composition of our great country and I think that is offensive. And what material is used in the robes and pointy hats of the Klan? Quite frankly the chemical companies almost eradicated cotton back in the 60’s with the invention of polyesters, but like most evils, cotton got a second life with the creation of the Cotton Board. There is precedence for changing the name of things we find offensive. Some years ago we found a use for the oil from rape seeds. Marketers were worried they would have trouble selling rape oil. So we have canola oil. So I believe we need a national campaign to replace the word cotton and I suggest we call it ridiculous. Patrick T. Malone Senior Partner The PAR Group 770 493 7188 Atlanta Office 706 835 1308 North Georgia Office 800 247 7188 toll free 404 630 7504 mobile www.thepargroup.com Skype...

Grief and Today’s Economy

Grief and Today’s Economy

Jan 3, 2011

Technically, grief is the intense emotion suffering cause by a loss. However, grief is relative to the worst loss one has experienced. If you are among those who have suffered the death of a child, spouse, parent or grandparent, you know an intense level of grief that is almost indescribable. However there are many among us today who are dealing grief due to a different kind of loss and for them it may be the most intense loss they have experienced. Over the last three decades we have experienced unprecedented economic growth not only in the United States but around the globe. More than half of the US population has little or no recollection of the economic problems associated with the early 70’s. The current meltdown of the global economy is creating the same type of intense emotions normally only associated with the loss of a loved one. Sadness, fear, anger, guilt, apathy and why me are now as common as openness, interest, enthusiasm and commitment and these emotions are not only appearing in our global workforce but also in their families. With almost 10% of the United States workers currently unemployed it is easy to understand why they might be encountering the negative emotions of grief. Often overlooked is the impact on the remaining 90% that are still working. Consider the toll the global recession taking on the survivors. Sadness It is easy to assume that those still receiving a paycheck are grateful and happy and yet when their co-workers are furloughed or downsized they have lost an important relationship and experience a certain level of sadness. Even if their company has managed to keep its workforce intact most of us know a neighbor or a family member who is unemployed and that makes them sad. Fear Rejoice, you did not receive the pink slip this month. That might be understandable but is it realistic? Even if there was a sense of relief, it was momentary and quickly replaced the fear that I will be next. No one knows how or where this economic crisis will end or turn around. So the fear that you could be next is real and intense for...

Freedom Isn’t Free

Freedom Isn’t Free

Dec 22, 2010

On Nov 13, 2010 Lt General John Kelly, USMC gave a speech to the Semper Fi Society of St. Louis, MO.  This was 4 days after his son, Lt Robert Kelly, USMC was killed by an IED while on his 3rd Combat tour.  During his speech, General Kelly spoke about the dedication and valor of the young men and women who step forward each and every day to protect us.  During the speech, he never mentioned the loss of his own son.  He closed the speech with the moving account of the last 6 seconds in the lives of 2 young Marines who died with rifles blazing to protect their brother Marines. “I will leave you with a story about the kind of people they are. About the quality of the steel in their backs. About the kind of dedication they bring to our country while they serve in uniform and forever after as veterans. Two years ago when I was the Commander of all U.S. and Iraqi forces, in fact, the 22nd of April 2008, two Marine infantry battalions, 1/9 “The Walking Dead,” and 2/8 were switching out in Ramadi.  One battalion in the closing days of their deployment going home very soon, the other just starting its seven-month combat tour. Two Marines, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, 22 and 20 years old respectively, one from each battalion, were assuming the watch together at the entrance gate of an outpost that contained a makeshift barracks housing 50 Marines.  The same broken down ramshackle building was also home to 100 Iraqi police, also my men and our allies in the fight against the terrorists in Ramadi, a city until recently the most dangerous city on earth and owned by Al Qaeda. Yale was a dirt poor mixed-race kid from Virginia with a wife and daughter, and a mother and sister who lived with him and he supported as well.  He did this on a yearly salary of less than $23,000.  Haerter, on the other hand, was a middle class white kid from Long Island.  They were from two completely different worlds.  Had they not joined the Marines they would never have...

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