T. G. I. F. Solitude

Deming's 14 Points

Edwards W. Deming (October 14, 1900 – December 20, 1993) was an American engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and management consultant. 

Educated initially as an electrical engineer and later specializing in mathematical physics, he helped develop the sampling techniques still used by the U.S. Department of the Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In his book The New Economics for Industry, Government, and Education, Deming championed the work of Dr. Walter Shewhart, including Statistical Process Control, Operational Definitions, and what Deming called The Shewhart Cycle which had evolved into PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act). This was in response to the growing popularity of PDSA, which Deming viewed as tampering with the meaning of Shewhart's original work.

Deming is best known for his work in Japan after WWII, particularly his work with the leaders of Japanese industry. That work began in August 1950 at the Hakone Convention Center in Tokyo when Deming delivered a seminal speech on what he called Statistical Product Quality Administration.

Many in Japan credit Deming as the inspiration for what has become known as the Japanese post-war economic miracle of 1950 to 1960, when Japan rose from the ashes of war to become the second most powerful economy in the world in less than a decade, founded on the ideas Deming taught:
  1. The problems facing manufacturers can be solved through cooperation, despite differences.
  2. Marketing is not sales. It is the science of knowing what repeat customers think of a product, as well as whether, and why, they will buy it again.
  3. Initial stages of design must include market research, applying statistical techniques for planning and inspecting samples.
  4. The manufacturing process must be perfected.
Deming is best known in the United States for his 14 Points (Out of the Crisis, by Dr. W. Edwards Deming) and his system of thought he called the System of Profound Knowledge. 

The system comprises four components or "lenses" through which to view the world simultaneously:
  1. Appreciating a system
  2. Understanding variation
  3. Psychology
  4. Epistemology, the theory of knowledge

In 1981, NBC published a White Paper entitled, “If Japan Can, Why Can't We?” The Upper Management team at the Ford Motor Co., saw that show and contacted Deming to help them regain marketshare.

Deming's fee to help them was $50,000/day to which they agreed and spent a lot of time retooling their thought processes.

Through a collaborative effort between Ford and a Community College, a training program was developed that revolved 100% around what Deming suggested that they do. The two people responsible for developing this program formed PQ Systems and began marketing The Transformation of Amerian Industry Program in local communities by creating Centers of Excellence.

The first Community of Excellence Program to take place was in the Tri-Cities area of East TN which was a joint venture between TN Eastman (Johnson City) and Northeast State Community College (Blountville) in 1986. I got involved with the program in 1988 and was invited to TN to participate in a training program delivered by Dr. Deming... if my recollection serves me well, he was 92 years old at the time.

I was simply enthralled for 3 hours.

Shortly thereafter (1990), I was hired by Walters State Community College to set up Tennessee's second Community of Excellence and Center for Quality and Productivity Training.

My greatest difficulty was in getting management to accept Deming's 14 Points which are listed below.

Deming’s 14 Points on Quality Management, a core concept on implementing total quality management, is a set of management practices to help companies increase their quality and productivity.
  1. Create constancy of purpose for improving products and services.
  2. Adopt the new philosophy.
  3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality.
  4. End the practice of awarding business on price alone; instead, minimize total cost by working with a single supplier.
  5. Improve constantly and forever every process for planning, production and service.
  6. Institute training on the job.
  7. Adopt and institute leadership.
  8. Drive out fear.
  9. Break down barriers between staff areas.
  10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations and targets for the workforce.
  11. Eliminate numerical quotas for the workforce and numerical goals for management.
  12. Remove barriers that rob people of pride of workmanship, and eliminate the annual rating or merit system.
  13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement for everyone.
  14. Put everybody in the company to work accomplishing the transformation.

It was very difficult for managers to accept the fact that 100% (with some exceptions) was no longer necessary. Most managers did not see any different between themselves and leaders. Improving was completely foreign to them as if it ain't broke don't fix it was the prevailing mentality. T hey did not like eliminating quotas or the annual merit system by which employees were awarded raises. And, many of them still believed that FEAR drove motivation and productivity.

Twenty-five years later, TQM is no longer a cute thing to incorporate but has become an essential part of doing business and we now have the title of Black Belt for those who know SPC really well. It would be low-balling it if I said I taught 10,000 employees SPC as a component of a Statistical Problem Solving Class or what Ford referred to as their TOPS Program (Team Oriented Problem Solving).

However, there are very few companies that have adopted all 14 of these Points and it is a shame because Deming saw them as a complete package and if you accepted one, you accepted them all.

It is also interesting to note that Deming took his 14 points with him in 1950 when he was sent by this country to Japan to help them rebuild. He told the Japanese that they had to incorporate these 14 points and they did and are still using them today.

Maybe that is why we are still following in some areas rather than leading like we used to... Just thinking out loud.


Formula(s) For A Successful Career

The first thing that you must realize and come to terms with is that there is/are NO FORMULA(S) for success or to have a successful career... and, anyone that proposes otherwise is so full of it, that their eyes are turning brown.

Will you have a successful career, if you emulated the behavior of:
  • Bill Gates
  • Warren Buffett
  • Bill Clinton
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Mother Theresa
  • Jesus Christ

And, the answer is NO... and, the answer would remain NO regardless of whose name you added to that list.


Because you are not them
You are not experiencing their circumstances
Your DNA structure is slightly different

And yet, I read article after article after article from well experienced and well educated authors, telling the reader that if you do this or if you do that, there is a higher probability that you will be success than there is if you not follow their advice and/or steps... and mathematically, the odds are no doubt in your favor, but there are more odds working against you.

There are thousands perhaps millions of very gifted writers in the world today and yet only a handful of these writers are published and are earning a living at writing. Why?

And, what if I told you that all these thousands perhaps millions of gifted writers read and followed the advice of published authors indicating that this is what needs to be done in order to be successful and still no success came. Why not?

Would you be surprised if I told you that all the NASCAR drivers read the same book about what they needed to do in order to have a winning season and yet only one NASCAR driver had a winning season from the standpoint of being #1. Why do you think that happened?

I could tell you the same thing about professional sports and yet only one team will emerge victorious even though all players and all coaches read the same book that gave the same advice as to have to have a winning season. How is this even possible?

It should be painfully obvious that one cannot follow a recipe and be successful, nor can one emulate the behavior of successful people and expect the same results that they achieved.

Let's take Bill Gates for instance and for those who do not know him, he is the owner/creator of Microsoft... or, was he really... other than title. Bill Gates was attending Harvard when he read an article in some magazine whose name escapes me and shortly thereafter dropped out of Harvard. So, right there, in order to be like Bill Gates, one must first have the grades and intelligence to be accepted to Harvard and one must have the insight to see an article that would prompt one to drop out of College, and then one must have the financial resources to pursue this unknown idea...

How are you going to emulate that... Jack?

Next Bill Gates hooked up with Steve Jobs... and, how many Steve Jobs do you think are running around the world today?

Next, the date was sometime between 1970 and 1975 (when Microsoft was founded) and how would one ever replicate the dynamics of culture and technology during those years?

Next Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were able to make contact with IBM who gave them computer software where they (these Engineers from IBM) did not know what to do with it. Ok, now this point is critical... how often in one's lifetime do you think this kinda shit is gonna happen?

Next Bill Gates stole the computer software that Steve Jobs had perfected and called it Windows and formed a company called Microsoft to sell the software with absolutely no idea that it would ever catch on.

So, now we have the wealthiest man in the world and if we were to emulate his behavior... because Bill did this and Bill did that, then, the odds are we are going to be successful because Bill Gates was/is successful...

Do you have any idea how silly stupid that notion really is... do ya?

Ok, forget Bill Gates... let's copy Warren Buffett or Sam Walton or Sonny Liston or Jim Morrison or Bono... since they are all successful and I am sure that they will be glad to give you a list of the 10 things they did to get where they are today; and, if you were to emulate each and every one of them 110%, you would not be much better off after wards than you were before.

My brother is wealthy but he has 3 degrees from Harvard.
He asked 10 of his classmates form $10 million each to create an investment war chest.
He is relentless in his pursuits.
He spends countless hours doing research.
He is void of emotions.
He discovered after graduation that others were just as smart as he was and did not attend Harvard.
He treats family and friends as if they were business deals.
He does not mind being underhanded in business deals.
He strongly believes that LUCK favors the PREPARED.

So, would you like to emulate his behavior and see if that will make you financially successful as well?

Or perhaps, you would like to emulate some of the Southern Families who made their millions because of slavery whose descendants lead respectable lives today... Or, maybe the Kennedy family who got their first few millions by illegally transporting Rum out of the Caribbean to the US and did so at a time when there was no Coast Guard patrolling the Atlantic Coastline of the US, so maybe that one would be a tad difficult to replicate today... unless it dealt with smuggling drugs.

During the Watergate Hearings, Senator Sam Irvin from North Carolina said all wealthy people are a little oily which is how they got there. Now, if that is in fact true, then how would one emulate that particular aspect of behavior and personality?


Hump Day Art

The Art 
         Hiroshi Hirakawa

Is You Is or Is You Ain't?

In an article entitled, “Stop Acting So Light-Skinned!” Being Mixed in Modern America, written by Mbiyimoh Ghogomu and published online at The Higher Learning, An Exchange of Knowledge for the Advancement of the People on February 1, 2014, she writes:

She responded with, “Stop being so lazy, light-skin.”

I really wasn’t offended by the light-skin reference, but I was totally caught off guard by the way she used the term. See light-skinnededness (no that’s not a real word) has been the target of black humor for a while now, but usually people just say, “Stop being so light-skinned.”

A lot of y’all are probably wondering what that even means so I’ll break it down for you (sorry black people, bear with me here- I know ya’ll already know this stuff). It actually means somewhat different things if it’s being used to describe a guy or a girl, although there are some commonalities.

Guy acting light-skinned means:
  1. Showing and expressing emotions too freely,
  2. Being too “friendly”,
  3. Doing anything that could be seen as gay or feminine,
  4. Acting like Drake and/or listening to too much Drake,
  5. And just generally being “soft”
Girl acting light-skinned means:
  1. Acting boojie- in essence acting like you’re better than others (this also applies to guys somewhat, but not nearly as much as it applies to girls),
  2. …that pretty much covers it for girls actually.
Acting white is a definite insult in the black community, and many black women hate nothing more than seeing a successful black man with a white woman.

When I was asked to write about this, I must admit that I had a “general” idea as to what “light skinned” might means as I have only used it as it pertains to African Americans but the note to be implied that teens were having to live and cope with this phrase which therefore and automatically gave it a bad connotation but no doubt was being used a bullying tactic.

But, I am white and and I am as white as white can be... at least that's what I was told by Henry Louis Gates Jr. recently when he was presenting to us our family genealogy... plus, not only am I white but I am old too so how would anyone who is 67 relate to anyone (especially a female) who is 17 with half a century difference in age. 
There seems to be, at least to me, some perverse mindset that is developed in and displayed by teenagers where an important part of time is taking the time to put down others but only if one is a member of a “click” that actually reinforces that type of “shitty” behavior. And, most “clicks” have no problem reinforcing that type of behavior because they really don't have anything else that is substantial to hold them together.

As far as my age is concerned... well, this same kind of crap happened when I was a teenager and this same kind of crap happened when my father was a teenager and no doubt his father as well.

Words and Phrases change from one generation to the next but “put downs,” “bullying,” and “hazing” have remained the same which does not make it any better or lessen the impact but it does help understand that this kind of behavior took place before you.

Actually, I was on both sides of the fence and then some because I was getting harassed at school and receiving verbal abuse at home from my father. I learned to hold it in but sometimes I had to fight to let it out, and when I did so, it was not to defend my honor but to defend the honor of someone smaller than me.

Most of the time, when people are making ugly or derogatory comments about you or a friend, you can pretty count on the fact that these people are projecting their own fears and concerns about themselves onto you as a mechanism of self-protection while at the same time getting reinforcement from their peers, laying the stage for them to continue their assault.

Very few of us do any kind of introspection at all because if we did, we would realize that these comments say more about us than they do about the person to whom they are directed and usually because the person making these comments has low self-esteem or low self-confidence or both and needs his teammates to reinforce otherwise... so, the comments towards you are more designed to illicit a response from peers than it is to attack you...

And if, we introspected we would see that... but, we don't.

The really sad part of all of this is that these phrases have been said and heard so often and so long that they simply have become part of the American Experience and Culture and don't really mean the same as when they were first being used.

I mean I can say someone is a “TWIT” and they really are a “Twit,” but I can also say someone is a “Twit” when they aren't really a “twit” at all but it is being said to evoke a friendly response. The same is true for this phrase: “You Sorry Sack of Siberian Sheep Shit!” At one time, that was a “put down” but nowadays is it used so much that it has become a positive salutation upon meeting someone after a long time of separation.

Since people on both sides of the equation will not back-off from “racism” either with their actions or their saying then our only solution, to me, seems to be a push for interracial marriages. No, not that... we will eventually learn to keep our mouths shut... but, that will never happen.

We will always have differences among people and between races and within races since no one or very few want to self regulate... but, if we did not have differences in the various tones of our skins, then we would be forced to make fun of those who were:
  • attractive or ugly
  • smart or stupid
  • fat or thin
  • tall or short
  • athletic or not
  • musical or not
  • heavy chest hair or not
  • big nose or not
  • big boobs or not
And, our list could go on and on and on... and, it will never stop... so, why sweat the small shit?

Endnote: It may come across as a little over-simplistic, or that I have no idea what I am talking about since I am a white guy discussing African American issues regarding to different shades of color.. and, you are no doubt right to all of that... and, I have no way of knowing what it is like to be brought up and raised as an African American... either in an affluent neighborhood or in a less than affluent neighborhood. True... true... all true... But, I do know what it is like to be bullied, harassed, and constantly criticized which is exactly what is happening here and I don't have to be African American to know what that type of hazing feels like. And, whether you are white or black, it does not feel good.


What We Want To See

We see best only that which we want to see...”

This morning on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose, Nora O'Donnell, and Gail King, a female Olympic Skier, Lindsey Vonn, was interviewed regarding what she thinks might give her the edge over her competition when “running the course” since her times are so incredibly fast; is it knowing how fast she can go through the turns or angling her body in such a way that it minimizes wind resistance? Her comment was that both were accurate but her true piece of wisdom, knowledge, leverage (whatever it is called) is the fact that she knows the course better than anyone else...

And, while I understand that comment for various but obviously different reasons, I am not sure that the general public fully understood (but if they did) nor did they fully appreciate the significance of her comment.

What Lindsey Vonn is doing is a “time honored” concept called VISUALIZATION which she later mentioned in her comments, but there is still more to it that just that... There are about 15 or so visualization concepts that can be used depending upon what one is trying to accomplish; one of which is creative visualization.

Creative visualization (sports visualization) refers to the practice of seeking to affect the outer world by changing one's thoughts and expectations. Creative visualization is the basic technique underlying positive thinking and is frequently used by athletes to enhance their performance.

The concept originally arose in the US with the nineteenth century New Thought movement. One of the first Americans to practice the technique of creative visualization was Wallace Wattles (1860–1911), who wrote The Science of Getting Rich.

In this book, Wattles advocates creative visualization as the main technique for realizing one's goals; a practice that stems from the Hindu Monistic theory of the Universe that is subscribed to by the book.

Visualization works something like this: Creative visualization is the technique of using one's imagination to visualize specific behaviors or events occurring in one's life. Advocates suggest creating a detailed schema of what one desires and then visualizing it over and over again with all of the senses:
  • what do you see?
  • what do you feel?
  • what do you hear?
  • what does it smell like?
For example, in sports a golfer may visualize the perfect stroke over and over again to mentally train muscle memory.

Now, one might be thinking to one's self and saying: “self, don't all athletes know about this shit?” And, the answer would be yes they do... but, here is the difference, some put the visualization process to better use than others... pure and simple... For those kinds of athletes/people who can do this better, they see “things” that are overlooked by others... and, they may see specifics where others only see generalizations... and, these unique ones who can visualize the best may spend 2-3 more time visualizing than their competition.

And, in my opinion, this is where Lindsey Vonn has the competitive advantage...

All the pilots of the Blue Angels use this technique as well and they will sit together for hours in a room visualizing their routines with each one articulating exactly what they are doing at each precise moment in the cockpit... after so many hours of training your mind to see this, once you get in the air, the pilots are flying their air crafts in part by mental preprogramming.

Have you ever experienced driving home from work and whether it is 30, 60, or 90 minutes, when you arrive home you are not sure how you got there exactly because your mind had been thinking about something else all the time? Well, you had driven that route so many times and in the same way that it became pre-programmed into you mental and subconscious awareness.

This type of technique can be used in business as well as by artists who have designed a painting in their heads long before putting the first brush stoke to the canvas or by writers who have imagined an entire novel unfolding in their heads before they write or type the first word.

When I am designing a new course curriculum (for the first time or one that has not been used for a while), I imagine mentally how my ideas might unfold inside the classroom, based upon student interactions or lack thereof and what I might need to do to stimulate them. Sometimes, I can work out all the “bugs” in my mind, but other times, I have to teach the class once or twice before I can appreciate what flow is required.

At other times in my life and not always after moving into a new house but whenever the desire arises to create a home office and after the location is determined, I will spend hours thinking through in my head, exactly where I want what before I lift a finger... and, if and when that is done properly then I change very little if anything around once I start setting up that office physically.

I have also used this technique successfully, when I have visualized the scenarios as to how my termination meeting will unfold and what my “judges” will ask me or what they may not ask me so that when they do ask me these question(s), I have already formulated an answer; however, there is also the likelihood (which took place in my last termination) that I simply refused to defend my actions because if they really wanted me there these people would not have had this type of meeting called in the first place.

So, the “real visualization,” took place after the termination in terms of what I wanted to do with my life from that point... simply retire and be done with all this garbage... or, work somewhere else transferring knowledge to students?

But, in going through that visualization exercise, I was at ease and mentally prepared because I had thought pretty much everything through and if there were any surprises, then those surprises would not be anything more than a fizzling 4th of July Day sparkler which might force me to put my sunglasses back on as I walked out the door...

REMEMBER: Mental Visualization is a muscle that must be exercised regularly if it is to work properly when needed.


Chiefs and Indians

The Kennedy Center, located on the banks of the Potomac River near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., opened to the public in September 1971. But its roots date back to 1958, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed bipartisan legislation creating a National Cultural Center. To honor Eisenhower's vision for such a facility, one of the Kennedy Center's theaters is named for him.

The National Cultural Center Act included four basic components: it authorized the Center's construction, spelled out an artistic mandate to present a wide variety of both classical and contemporary performances, specified an educational mission for the Center, and stated that the Center was to be an independent facility, self-sustaining and privately funded. As a result of this last stipulation, a mammoth fundraising campaign began immediately following the Act's passage into law.

Two months after President Kennedy's assassination in November 1963, Congress designated the National Cultural Center (designed by Edward Durell Stone) as a "living memorial" to Kennedy, and authorized $23 million to help build what was now known as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

While a few years before the Kennedy Center opening, I had moved to North Carolina to attend college, I had not yet broken my ties with those that I had grown up with who still lived in and around Alexandria, Virginia which is about 8 miles south of Washington, DC just on the other side of the Potomac River.

By keeping in touch with these people, I was made aware of the fund raising efforts that surrounded the building of this center and remember quite well many of my friends and Kennedy supporters, who were also liberal minded politically, would tell me how this was going to finally benefit not only the middle class but allow the “common man” to finally be exposed to the “Arts”.

It was then quite evident, that, we as Americans, were reaching a very unique milestone in our evolution and maybe, just maybe, there was hope for us after all. And, we loudly applauded our leader's efforts to make this happen and create this new opportunity for equality.

Blah... Blah... Blah...

Much to our surprise, this never happened... and, from the days that the doors of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts first opened and until this day, the day of this article, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is simply another showcase FOR THE WEALTHY to once again dress up and pat each other on the back, reinforcing how wonderful they all are.

Yes... this is sarcastic... and, yes, I am tired of being mislead and tentatively convinced that this country of ours really cares about the “have nots,” because after years and years of experiencing disappointments, I know that it does not and never will... even though, I know one should never say never.

I have the money to buy the clothes and to buy the ticket and to arrange transportation and room and board to attend events at this Kennedy Center, but that is not the point; and, neither is the point that the average poor person who does not have the financial means to do this, probably does not care about the “arts,” in the first place because he and every one else should have that opportunity rather than living one's live without that opportunity and feeling grateful because my country has been taking care of me.

And, the issue is not really the “arts” or the Kennedy Center or anything else like that... the issue is equality and respect for that equality.

I have lived in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky and while living in those States I have come to realize that those students who attend county public school have different opportunities made available to them than those students who attend city schools because the city schools have bigger budgets on a per person basis so the argument of population is not valid.

So... families, who cannot afford to live inside the city limits are forced to accept that their children will not have the same level of education as those who can afford and do live within the city limits.

I may be a little off base here, but does it not cost us more in tax dollars to support two governments (city and county) and would it not be cheaper and our tax dollars go farther if we combined those 2 governments and eliminate that kind of duplication?

And, it is not just the educational opportunities but the roads are poorly maintained in the county as well as less fire protection and less police protection.

But, I tell you what you will see out in the country... for every 10-15 houses, you will see a Church Steeple.

If I look at the 2 county area that comprises where my wife and I currently live, and check the population data which also includes all cities within those counties, the total population is about 115,200. And, if I look at the number of Church also located in those combined geographical areas, I see that there are just shy of 400.

This calculates out to 288 people/church.

It would appear that there is a lot of duplication in this areas as well, since most of those churches are Baptist.

The last area of inequality that needs to be mentioned which is painfully obvious is that there are 2 sets of laws in American: one for the poor and one for the wealthy. Of course, we all know that this is simply not true because the law is the law is the law... but, not really... if you can afford a “good” attorney.

We have seen too many “high profile” court cases in the media to believe that the law works the same for both the “rich and famous” and the poor. In fact, I specifically know of one case where a teenager was put in jail for life because he did not know his passenger had killed someone when they had stopped for gasoline; yet, OJ Simpson was found not guilty when in all likelihood... well, you know what I mean.

No matter what society tries to do to prevent the scenario of “haves” and “have nots,” it will, sadly enough, never work because of the nature of mankind... let me put it another way... there will always be Chiefs and there will always be Indians...  and, not only will there always be this separation, this separation will take place at all levels within our society...
Within the ranks of Chiefs, some Chiefs will be lesser Chiefs, so they will be considered Indians by the other Chiefs...   and the same situation will take place within the ranks of the Indians as some Indians will be considered of a higher position so they will be perceived and exhibit behavior as if they were a Chief not an Indian.


T. G. I. F. Solitude

Winners Want the Ball

In College Basketball when the score is tied and the time on the game clock and shot clock are similar but only have enough time for one more play, both the coaches and all the players of both teams know that the ball should be in the hands of the player who has the highest percentage of baskets, regardless of their position on the team... as our game at this level is managed and controlled by the numbers.

However, in Professional Basketball, it is not always the person with the highest percentage of baskets and in whose hands the ball should be but in the hands of the team leader which again may or may not be the elected Captain of the team, but in the hands of that person who most embodies the mindset of a winning attitude.

Let me explain.

A team may have a player that makes 80% of all their shots (the highest on the team) but only shoots the ball an average time of 20 each game so if we assume that all these shots are 2 points (not three) then that person contributes 36 points.

A team may have another player who shoots 50 times per game but always makes 20 baskets, equally divided between 2 and 3 point shots, contributing 50 points each game; but, this team player is also a “play maker” and passes the ball to other players on the team, encouraging them to shoot and build their confidence.

This person seems to be a natural leader (a natural on-the-floor coach) and may or may not be the Captain of the team, but everyone knows that he possesses the leadership skills, the confidence, and the mindset to believe in himself and the fact that he is going to make the basket...

In these last few seconds, it is these hands that everyone knows the ball should be and not the one with the highest percentage.

So too, is this the case with the business world that also seems to be undermined by others, including themselves from ensuring that this will naturally happen, especially when everyone has the best of intentions on their minds.

Let me explain.

The following is a phrase that I have heard over and over and over again at the high school level, the college level, and the “real world” level:

If we just believe in something because we have been told to believe it, then we no longer have to think for ourselves anymore.”

I wonder how many of you do this or have done this at some point in your careers, or perhaps you are still doing this because you want to keep your job?

And, since the problem goes both ways, how many of you don't think or want to think as much as you used to because you know that someone else is going to do it for you?

When I think about this thinking game, these people and/or types of positions come to mind:
  • Church Pastors and Ministers
  • State Governors
  • Lawyers and Judges
  • Executive Branch of Federal Government
  • Military Leaders at level E4 and above
  • Teachers and Coaches
  • Retail Store Owners
  • Fast Food Managers
  • Production Managers
  • Olympic Trainers
  • Parents and Relatives
  • All types of Executives (including Dept. of Corrections)

Although, some of us want subordinates, but only in some situations, to think for themselves; but, this is not always addressed in a well articulated manner during employment orientations because it is perceived that this behavior trait is better handled on a case-by-case basis... while at the same time, we make the assumption that ALL individuals in question will think “almost perfectly” and exhibit complete “know how” when a situation of this type and magnitude arises as a result of “common sense” that we all have...

This is not a good thing to assume as there are varying degrees of common sense that oftentimes is only accrued through experience.

Let me explain.

When I was Dean of Academics at a Proprietary School in the great State of Kentucky, I expelled an African American after repeated offenses of the Student Code of Conduct as stated in the College Catalog and Student Handbook, given and explained to all students; plus, these students sign a sheet of paper saying that they understood all that was being explained to them and each one of those key items is again listed, including all the ones that this student had violated.

It was early in the morning the next day, and I was the only Management person around when several African American Civil Rights Groups entered the campus along with lawyers and the expelled students and asked to speak to someone in charge.

I had received no training for this type of situation.

After everyone one had made introductions, they demanded to speak to someone to reinstate this student or they were all going to drive to Corporate Head Quarters about 3 hours away. I asked for the business card of the person who would be doing the talking for the group, asked several people to take their orders for food and drinks and handed them my credit card and told the group I would be right back.

I walked straight into an office and called Corporate Head Quarters and was damn emphatic that the VP of Education be called out of a meeting with the CEO of the company so that he could talk to me. I explained the situation to him and he told me to “stall” them somehow while he had a chance to talk with legal and he would call me back.

I returned to my visitors and thanked them for their patience and helped distribute the food and drinks while telling them about our campus and my decision to leave another State and accept this position here. I apologized for having to make them wait but there were teleconference that the individuals in question were attending and from which they could not break free for this unscheduled meeting. They all appeared receptive and told me that they had expected to be asked to leave the campus. I took them on a campus tour and tried to “entertain” them as best as I could and after about 30 minutes the VP of Education called me back with Legal on the line and they asked to speak to the spokesperson.

After a 5 minutes conversation, the spokesperson had reappeared and informed the group that they all had been invited to Corporate (at Corporates expense) and would be more than willing to listen to their concerns over lunch.

They left and I went back to my office where my VP of Education called me again and informed me that everyone here was very impressed with all the actions that I had taken because only the Campus Presidents had been trained as to what to do in a situation like this and in his 20 years of employment, I was the only untrained employee who had handled it the way Corporate wanted it to be handled, including some of the Campus Presidents who had been trained and panicked.

What to do did in fact come from common sense but that common sense came from years and years and years of experience handling different situations inappropriately.

Because of the ways things are in the “real world,” I would speculate that Upper Management only wants LEADERS and THINKERS when it is convenient for them and/or when it appears to be the only solution to improve the “bottom line,” otherwise they want to be the ones to tell people what to believe and/or what not to believe.

Consequently, Upper Management always wants the ball in the last few seconds of the game so that they alone can control or have the perception of control over the game's outcome... and, are not that concerned or depressed if it does not go their way... because they always hedge their bets... that is to say they invest in outcomes on both sides of the fence so they are guaranteed to win.

Funny... but, I always think of Pete Rose when I think about stuff like this...


Are You A Leader? Or, A Follower?

On 24Feb15, I received an email from Ali Brown entitled:

Are you a Leader? Or a follower?

It’s time for a new conversation.
I’ve been talking with several of my clients—past and present—who are in the revenue ranges of high-6 to multiple-7 figures.
They agreed there are plenty of events out there for beginners and those in the low-six-figures, but few to no events for real leaders who are excelling, have been in business for years, and really know what they are doing.
And I knew it was time to put on a special workshop I’d been contemplating.
An intimate event ONLY for high-6 and 7-figure entrepreneurs.
One that focused on strategy, leadership, and collaboration.

A new conversation… by the women who don’t follow.

Just imagine the power that will be in this room, and the incredible opportunity for all of us to help each other.
I cannot wait to be there myself. And create our next vision and plan together.
The time has come… to Repower.
Have a look here and see if you qualify.
We are limited to only 37 spots total, and several have already been reserved. After sending out just a few private invites to my own contacts, I already have several experts and leaders signed up whose revenues are in the $1M – $4M range.
First come, first served. I’m not doing early bird specials or bonuses and all that jazz.
What you see is what you get. You’ll know if this is for you.
(And isn’t that refreshing?)
Read about it here.
Love and success,

  • First of all – I am not sure why I am on her email list...
  • Second of all – I am not a female so I have no interest in being in a conversation by the women who don't follow...
  • Third of all – I am not a high 6 or 7 figure entrepreneurs...
  • Fourth of all – I don't see where wanting to have this level of income makes me a leader...
  • Fifth of all – well... there is no 4th reason... but, that is not the point, is it?

Ali Brown is an American entrepreneur business coach, author, speaker, and television commentator. She is the founder and CEO of Ali International LLC, an enterprise devoted to empowering women entrepreneurs around the world that currently has over 65,000 members in her online and offline programs. 

In 2009, Brown's company ranked #263 on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private companies in the nation.

In 2010, Brown was a recipient of the Enterprising Women of the Year award, and in April 2010 she was featured in the season finale of ABC's Secret Millionaire.

There is no doubt in my mind that Ali Brown is not a very successful female and there is no doubt in my mind that she is also very wealthy; but, that does not make her a leader, nor does it make anyone who decides to follow her advice a leader either.

What she is... is very good at making money

And no, I am not trying to get into a spitting contest with females as if this were a male who had sent this to me, I would have made the same comments.

Anytime, you are selling for someone else in an effort to make yourself rich, you are making the person who recruited you even more wealthy regardless of whether or not you become wealthy.

AmWay was very good at this process and so is Primerica but both boarder on being schemes... and, a
pyramid scheme is an unsustainable business model that involves promising participants payment or services, primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, rather than supplying any real investment or sale of products or services to the public.

Granted, both AmWay and Primerica are selling products and true that if I were to recruit someone below me... that they would have an equal opportunity to grow their business independent of mine and perhaps become bigger than mine.

A pyramid scheme would never allow something like that to happen, but these two are very, very similar and each person above you gets a percentage of everything you sell without lifting a finger, where the person at the top of the organization, could in fact, make a million dollars a year just from receiving that small percentage from a lot of workers.

One could make the argument that this is how American Businesses typically work... so, what's the problem?

All of this may be true, but the point for me is that all of this does not and will not make you a leader, nor will it make you a follower simply because you chose not to participate in the activity; but the email from Ali Brown, implies that this is exactly what will happen if you do not participate.

Leadership has been described as "a process of social influence in which a person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task". For example, some understand a leader simply as somebody whom people follow, or as somebody who guides or directs others, while others define leadership as "organizing a group of people to achieve a common goal".

Most leaders in business and industry would say that they perform the following tasks:
  1. Create an inspiring vision of the future.
  2. Motivate and inspire people to engage with that vision.
  3. Manage delivery of the vision.
  4. Coach and build teams, because that is a more effective way to achieving the vision.

It is also pretty much accepted in most business circles that in order to be a good leader, one must first learn to be a good follower. Interestingly, it is not always engrained in our personalities and behaviors to follow... we don't mind working together to achieve a goal where no one is designated as “the leader,” but outside of that it is uncharacteristic of us to follow.

I mean... isn't this why we created those 2 business classes: white collar and blue collar? And, everyone knows that blue collars follows.

I do not have a 6 or 7 figure income but I consider myself a leader. I am not a while collar person although, I still consider myself a leader. And, I also know the subtle nature of being a good follower and practice or deliver those skills as appropriate.

My Myers-Briggs Personality Profile type is INTJ and we are considered theoretical builders of models and concepts. It would appear on the surface of this revelation that my personality is ideally suited to that needed for being a leader; however, that is not to say that I lead people. Good managers know how to leader people but that does not necessarily make them leaders.

I wish Ali Brown all the success in the world because she sure has already proven herself that she knows how to do the business dance as good as any man; but, I just wish she would approach her sales pitch a little differently, because for me it was a tad misleading.


Hump Day Art

British photographer Lee Acaster illuminates the quiet, mysterious beauty of the forest through his enchanting images of trees.