Wednesday, August 31, 2011

No One Is As Smart As I Am … I Think

I was sifting through a complex to-do list today, mostly around strategy initiatives that some individuals were NOT embracing as they should and I thought “Surely with all the knowledge that we have access to in the world, people can’t be making the same common business mistakes repeatedly. In fact, I’m sure Dr. Seuss could have explained how to employ strategy in a way that anyone could understand it”.

Then the light came on – I would write a cute little ditty under the guise of “strategy as explained by Dr. Seuss”.

Feeling quite content with myself, I thought “Maybe I should take a look around on the web to make sure someone else hadn’t already done it”.

And I stumbled upon this brilliant little piece:

A Common Seuss Approach to Strategy

I am strategic. Strategic I am.
Do you like to think strategically?

I do not like to think strategically,
not in an office
not in a tree.

It’s more fun to think tactically,
stuff I can touch,
stuff I can see.


Click here to read the rest of this brilliant work.

As I read this and realized that this author had written a better piece than I had envisioned, I was reminded of something.

When we go about our day-to-day work, we often think we have the best answer to a specific challenge or problem.  Sometimes it may be true.

However, if we choose to ignore the possibility that perhaps someone out there has a better solution than we do or has the missing piece of a puzzle we are wrestling with, then we are denying an opportunity to discover or create a better solution.

Oftentimes, we go about believing that our way is best or our solution is THE solution instead of A solution while forgetting that leveraging the talent and skills in others is the basis for truly successful collaboration.

For all the teams I have built over the years, there was a set of characteristics that I always looked for in addition to the required technical and business skills:

Are you smarter than I am or at a bare minimum, do you bring things to the table that I don’t have within me or have access to.

If the answer is “yes”, then I want you on my team.

Because if my success and the success of people around me is limited to just my intelligence and capabilities, then I have condemned everyone to less than the best we are capable of.

And that is a shame indeed.

If my ego doesn’t like it, that’s too bad.  I find it far more fun to promote the brilliance of others than to lay claim to my own clever insight.  And when I think about the brilliance I have been surrounded by over the years, I am humbled indeed.

As Sir Isaac Newton said:

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

Now … I wonder if I can do something with Dr. Seuss’s “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish”.

In service and servanthood,


PS For another brilliant application of children’s literature in conveying business knowledge, I highly recommend “The Ugly Duckling Goes to Work: Wisdom for the Workplace from the Classic Tales of Hans Christian Andersen” by Mette Norgaard.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Irene and the Media Leave Millions of Minds Devastated and in Ruins

As of the time this blog was written, Irene will have caused approximately 25 deaths (Friday to Monday).  With no disrespect to those lost, we really dodged a bullet, didn’t we?  After all, Piers Morgan on CNN on Friday night said that 65 million people were threatened or in danger. 

Of course, he used a statistic that referenced the number of people on the eastern seaboard who would be touched even by the slightest rain or wind and broadened it to suggest that each one of them was “at risk or threatened”.

Meanwhile in NYC, local TV stations on Saturday were showing what the flooding of a category 3 hurricane will (not might) look like in NYC (with much of lower Manhattan under 12 feet of water), even though by then, anyone who could read knew that the storm would be a low category 1 or a high tropical storm.  Even on Sunday morning when the storm had passed, local stations, instead of showing that the flooding did not reach the panic levels that had been promoted, focused on “what could have happened if NYC had had a category 3 storm”. 

The web is filled with videos and images of reporters who, while claiming that they could hardly stand because of the fierce wind gusts, were oblivious to people casually strolling, jogging, riding bicycles, texting, etc. in the background.

Yes … flooding did happen.  When we build dwellings on sand spits, river banks, beach fronts and flood plains, this is inevitable.

This is not a shocking revelation that should occupy the media.  One reporter on a small island in Queens, NY, waited for the flood waters to arrive while at one point admitting that the island actually floods twice a month year-round during new moon and full moon tides.  So why should a little extra water be news there?

There is such a thing as preparedness.

To be paralyzed by hyperbole is quite another thing.

And this is the great disservice that modern media provides to us.

The one thing the media did little of was to help people with actual preparedness.  Yes, they occasionally carried a valuable, important statement from a mayor, governor or emergency preparedness group.  Years ago, normal programming would have been interrupted with these important announcements.

But now for the most part, they fill the “airwaves” with all the reasons why we should be VERY afraid without REALLY informing us as to the best way to protect ourselves.

Was the amount and type of coverage appropriate for the risk?

Consider these numbers:

25 people died from Hurricane Irene (at the time of this writing) over the four day period.

During that same time period (4 days, numbers are approximations):

1. 116,000 children under the age of 5 died worldwide from tainted water (source: WHO).

2. 400 US citizens committed suicide (source: CDC).

3. 448 US citizens died in vehicle accidents (source: CDC)

4. Of the 448 citizens who died in those accidents, 164 of them died in accidents caused by drunk drivers (source: CDC).

This doesn’t include deaths from cancer, heart attack, stroke or other diseases.

I don’t recall getting breaking news regarding any of these other, more significant numbers.  I guess they just weren’t snazzy enough.

Sadly, while the hurricane deaths will mostly level off by now, the deaths noted above will continue to happen daily, all the while being mostly unreported.

When we stay glued to media that entertains and frightens rather than informs and teaches, we have a problem. 

The problem is that instead of helping us become more informed, more knowledgeable and more capable to do the right things when challenges are before us, we lose that opportunity amidst the cacophony of fear mongering as promoted by the media.

And someday, heaven forbid, if we should be in the middle of a REAL disaster where mass communication mechanisms die and we don’t have the opportunity to be “entertained” by Anderson Cooper and others, we may find ourselves in real trouble.

And that won’t be their fault.

It will be ours.

In service and servanthood,


PS When I think about some of the statistics I cited, something intriguing comes to mind.  We have the technology to correct the tainted water problem but don’t have the will or interest to implement it.  Suicide prevention will produce better results when we work harder at reducing the stigma associated with mental illness (we have come far but have far to go).  Most accidents are caused by driver error of some type.  There is technology that can sharply reduce the ability for an intoxicated driver to drive a vehicle.  Heart attack, stroke and many cancers have significant lifestyle causes, where we can make better choices to avoid these diseases but we choose not to.

Perhaps, maybe, this is why we don’t report these numbers, since to do so reminds us that we can do more to prevent them.  Who likes to be reminded of responsibility put before us but not embraced?

Meanwhile, Mother Nature will always take some lives every year.  To report such events allows us to wonder and be saddened about the loss while not feeling guilty that “we could have done more”.

Victimhood is a cloak more easily worn than the cloak of responsibility and accountability.

What do you think?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ethics–Winning At Any Cost

I overheard an interesting conversation this morning between a small business owner and a tax advisor that reminded me that ethics may be going the way of the dodo and the carrier pigeon.

This wasn’t just any tax advisor.  This was a former senior employee of a federal taxation agency.

And it wasn’t just any tax guidance this person was providing.  She was providing her client with ways to cheat the system (not just to use loopholes) in such as way as to not set off any of the internal alerts that the taxation authority might have.  By the time they are done, pretty much none of his fairly decent income (in excess of $200K per year) will be taxed or even known by the taxation authority.

This got me to thinking about what we are willing to do ethics-wise in order to win, whether professionally or personally.

A little while ago, I was solicited by someone who wanted me to vote for their company in a competition that would award startup capital and guidance to the top entrants.  Each entrant must be in business a year or less to be eligible for this funding.  When I pointed out to the CEO who had solicited me that being in business almost four years disqualified them and potentially could deprive a real startup from obtaining this essential head start, the response was that they found a loophole that allows them to enter in good conscience, since the most recent version of their product was less than a year old.  That’s  not what the rules state, but he rationalized that it made sense and within the rules.

Here’s the funny part (not really) – they are winning the competition so far.   The judges know but are ignoring the violation.  Why?  Because the competition itself is a sham, a piece of selfless promotion by an organization using it to find additional companies to sell their own services to and to find ways to take partial or total ownership of these entrants.

Each side is trying to out-scam the other, each side thinking they have fooled the other.  They deserve each other.

A few months back, a household name in the not-for-profit space asked me to bid on a significant piece of work which I happily did, reducing the price significantly because of who they are.  We had quite a number of discussions over the proposal until they admitted that they never had any money budgeted for it and never had any intention of paying for the work.  They hoped that if I spent enough time exploring it with them, that I would eventually give it to them for free out of the kindness of my heart.  This strategy was their plan all along.

However, my biggest surprise came when they became indignant over my observation that this wasn’t an ethical way to run a business.  They thought I was the one being unethical, since I wouldn’t serve a well known organization for free.

This makes me wonder if to many people, ethics are merely a perspective, one that can be skewed to serve one’s needs (and to make them feel good about themselves in the rationalization process), even though ethics appears to be fairly cut-and-dried to many of us.

It reminds me of the old joke about the two guys who were always competing for everything no matter what the cost.  One day, they were both skydiving.  As one guy drifted lazily to earth, his friend whooshed by, his parachute and spare hopelessly entangled.

As he saw his friend hurtle to earth, he began to unbuckle his chute, shouting at the top of his lungs “Oh, so it’s a race you want, is it?”.

This is the way people who are willing to sacrifice ethics are acting.  They are willing to do whatever it takes so that THEY win (or so that they think they are winning).  They just don’t think far enough ahead to see what their actions are producing in the long run.

It is true that, just as the skydiver learned, we may win when we make sacrifices in common sense or ethics.

But will it have been worth it in the long run?

Those who still adhere to ethics learn that it may take longer to win than those who don’t, but the victory is sweeter, more long-lasting and produces far greater return for themselves and others.

And they will still be standing when many who don’t care about ethics have long since vanished.

But then again, this only happens when we work hard to create such a future.

How do you think we are doing?

In service and servanthood,


PS The company that was cheating in the competition won.  However, business, like Mother Nature, is self correcting – I don’t think their success is going to be very long-lasting.  Ethics DOES make a difference.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Jack Layton–Profile of Passion

Many Canadians and fans of politics were deeply saddened today by the passing of Jack Layton, Leader of the Opposition, at the young age of 61.  I am one of them.

While I wasn’t a big fan of the NDP platform and I didn’t admire everything that Mr. Layton held dear to his heart in terms of policy and political beliefs, there was one thing that I have always respected him for, going back to when he served on the Toronto city council.

I have always respected Mr. Layton for his passion, drive and belief that we can create a better world.

We live in a world that seems to have more complexity then ever, despite the fact that we have access to more knowledge and easier, faster ways of sharing this knowledge than ever, things which should contribute to solving the world’s challenges.

However, I often wonder if our processes around strategy and tactics, problem solving, knowledge sharing and such are not as effective as they should be because we don’t have enough passion to create the will that would enable us to solve these issues.

Mr. Layton had an abundance of passion and it was infectious to those who served with him.

His passion drove him to make a difference in his community, in his province, in his country and in the world.  His belief in creating a better world was best exemplified in this quote by Tommy Douglas that he often signed his emails with:

“Courage my friends, ‘tis never too late to build a better world.”

And while we may not agree with some or all of his beliefs, I believe that if each one of us had the same level of passion that he did for the things that we thought were important in the world, the world would be a better place.

And this, above all, may be the legacy that Mr. Layton leaves behind – in a world filled with apathy and indifference, that passion to make a difference is essential to actually making a difference.

A difference that the world needs.

He was the perfect embodiment of the following quote by Howard Thurman, author and educator:

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Mr. Layton followed his heart to make a difference and to inspire others to do so as well.

Are we doing the same?

In service and servanthood,


Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Significance of Insignificant Events

I have a confession to make – I am probably the last person to get around to reading “Outliers: The Story of Success”, a powerful book by Malcolm Gladwell, one of my favorite authors.

And as I devour the book that in a very compelling fashion describes what makes successful people successful, I feel compelled to share a story about an individual whom I will name “John”.  I have John’s permission to share this story.

To understand the significance of insignificant events, I first need to provide a little background regarding John’s life.

John was born in the month of August in the mid 1960’s to a a less-than-wealthy family.  

When it was time to attend kindergarten, the cutoff for admission was that the student must be five as of the end of September.  Since John had turned 5 in August, that was no problem.  Many of his classmates were born in October to December, but it didn’t seem important at the time that shortly after school started, they would turn six and be almost a year older than John.

At the end of kindergarten, for a variety of reasons the school selected eight students and forced them to combine grades 1 and 2 the following year.  The thrust of the combined year would be focused on grade 2 material with the intention that at the end of the year, they would have finished grade 2 instead of grade 1.

John was one of those eight, participating in another insignificant event and now almost two years younger than his peers.  Two years are significant at that age in terms of physical development and life experience.  But this seemed insignificant at the time.

John being physically smaller in stature due to the age difference became a target for bullies because of his small size.

Being smaller in stature also meant that he was often not chosen for sport teams or for other “popular” events.

Since John was often left out of things and was bullied by his peers, he developed a low sense of self esteem that forced him to become shy and introverted at the time.

Many times, as someone who didn’t participate in the sports teams, when other kids were traveling for events, he was forced to stay behind and study.

Often times during recess and lunch, to avoid the bullies he preferred to hang out in the library and read in order to avoid their incessant intimidation.  An interesting side effect is that when one spends enough time in the library, eventually the “favorite” section is explored completely and one is forced to expand one’s reading interests significantly.

Of course, the more he read and the more he learned, the more he was bullied and thus the process accelerated, forcing him to spend even more time studying.

He also learned to think quickly on his feet, learning to think strategically and to talk his way out of problems when confronted by bullies or when trying to explain why he should be allowed to participate in something that the bigger kids were involved in. 

He was also driven to excel, with a desire to escape the torment around him.

John graduated high school at the age of 15 and started college at the age of 16.

Having been immersed in books his whole life and still being physically smaller in stature than his peers, college wasn’t much of a different experience than his previous education.

Once again, he found himself hiding from bullies by seeking the solace of the library or honing his strategy and negotiating skills for the same reasons as in school.

He also found the computer lab was a great place to hide and he spent hundreds of hours there, even turning the lights off and locking the door after hours (when no one was allowed in the lab) so that security guards doing their nightly rounds would assume the lab was locked up and closed as it should have been.

At the age of 17, because of the amount of time he spent studying, learning how to program computers and being able to negotiate his way in almost any situation, he was selected by an insurance company to be a developer and ultimately architect for Canada’s first PC-based insurance system.  PCs were new then and the insurance company wanted to see if the technology had staying power or was a passing fad as many so-called experts believed.  The system was a huge success.

Had he been born a few years earlier, even if he had obtained a job in information technology, by the time this opportunity arose he would have been considered not “fresh enough” to have participated in the opportunity or perhaps he would have been considered irreplaceable where he was with the older technology.  Had he been born a few years later, someone else would have been provided the opportunity to work on this project while he was still in school and he would have missed the opportunity that was to prove crucial to his career.

So at the age of 17, John was blessed with an incredible opportunity to get into technology on the ground floor level and he took it and from there a career blossomed that eventually took him to Wall St. as a strategy advisor and global enterprise architect.

Of course, many of you who know me also know who John is.

I am John.

As a strategy advisor and global enterprise architect, I am often asked why things like strategy, technology and figuring out people come so naturally to me and for years I didn’t have the answer.

That is, until I read “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell.

And as I read his book and reflected on my Life, I discovered that when it comes to strategy, negotiating and technology application, I have an unfair advantage that I can’t apologize for because it was thrust upon me.

Many people start learning strategy and negotiating in school (and in Life) in a cursory way, learn the nuances of them in college and then refine them in real Life.

I was forced to learn them  from the age of 5 onwards in order to survive.  Skills learned in order to survive burn deep.  They are not a passing interest – they are burned into one’s soul and become an innate part of who that person is.

Learning technology was an accidental Life choice as well, a naturally strategic choice that enabled me to escape the torment I experienced in college.   Being born in the mid 1960s allowed me to be in the right spot at the right time when PCs came along and thus began a career in technology.

And as I reflect on all of this and think about what Malcolm Gladwell writes in “Outliers: The Story of Success”, I am reminded of something.

The career I have been blessed with, the people I have been honored to work with and the experiences I have been humbled to witness are not all a result of anything within me, per se.

They are a result of three insignificant events …

1. When I was born, which allowed me to be an early adopter with PC technology.

2. When the cutoff for kindergarten was, where being a year younger than my peers set the stage for a motivation within me to acquire skills that I would not otherwise have acquired until later in life (and possibly in a less impactful manner).

3. Being advanced a year, which made the learning opportunities created by the kindergarten cutoff even more necessary and focused.

All of this reminds me of something else.

It reminds me that the simplest, seemingly most insignificant events in our lives have the opportunity to have the strongest, most significant impact in our lives.

We can’t always go around analyzing every single event and ask “Is this the BIG one that will transform me?”.  We would go crazy if we did.

But perhaps our lives would be more enhanced if we were open to the possibility of the significance of insignificant events.

Because they are all significant – we just may not know how or why until years later, if ever.

In service and servanthood,


PS At 6’3”, I am not the small, shy introvert anymore. :-)

PPS  Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers: The Story of Success” (and all of his books) are highly recommended.  I will warn you though.  When you read his books, you will not see the world in the same way again.  But then again, that’s ok – we need a fresh outlook on the world.  Or rather … the world needs us to have a fresh outlook.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Secret of the “Soothsayer”

I was contacted this morning by a young lady representing a Northeastern newspaper, looking for a comment on the accuracy of some of my predictions in recent years, most notably the downturn in September of 2008, the current economic struggles and some company successes and failures that I predicted contrary to the predictions of others.

She seemed to be fascinated that the things I have gone on public record about appear to have manifested as predicted and within the window that I predicted and she wanted to know how I did it.

In my reply, I mused about the potential sources of my predictions, namely:

1. Perhaps my Wall St. background and connections give me access to information not generally available.

2. Maybe its my recent work in predictive analytics, using math models to predict human behavior and the results of that behavior.

3. It would be nice to claim that I had a red-phone directly to God, but I don’t.

4. I can’t profess to have any belief in tea leaf reading and other forms of divination so that’s not it.

5. It could be my 20+ years providing strategy and global technology architecture, in a world where optimism must be balanced by pragmatism and where the art of listening is critical to providing solutions that work.

6. Maybe its my upbringing in a small community in eastern Canada, where common sense was bred into us (and beat into us if we still didn’t get it).

Yes, they may have all played a role (except for the red-phone, which hasn’t been installed yet but I have ordered one). :-)

But then I mused, that maybe, possibly, it is because ….

1. I can read.

and ….

2. I accept that information is just information.  It becomes good or bad news depending on what I choose to do (or not do) with it.

and finally ….

3. I am not afraid to ask questions and to speak frankly about the responses that I receive.

Many people, in an effort to escape the squeeze of daily life, prefer to ignore most the important information around them, filling their life with distractions that are more time-waters or mind-deadeners than anything.  If it looks like bad news (even though it is just information), they avoid it or embrace the mantra “I only read positive, reaffirming material”.

When I absorb information, I like to explore it, question it, evaluate it and analyze it, filtering out stuff like why some famous person spends $28,000 a week on her hair.  Many times, my questioning makes the owners of the information feel uncomfortable, since my questioning reveals avenues that they hadn’t explored or truths that they hadn’t or don’t want to acknowledge.  They forget that these truths aren’t good or bad – it is still only information until they make choices that turn it into good or bad news.

When I ask questions, I have a purpose behind them that was well described by my friend Bill H. when he said, “I am not trying to question your faith, I am trying to build mine”.

And finally, I am not afraid to speak my mind about the results.  I try to present the information objectively, fairly and responsibly, but I share it all the same.  If the emperor has no clothing, I have no qualms about saying it, as long as it is presented in an appropriate fashion.

Many people today hunger for optimism – if the news is good they want to hear from you as a fellow optimist but if it is bad news (as they perceive it), then they don’t want to hear from you with cries of “away from me, you pessimist”.

But I believe this is an unfortunate state of denial that doesn’t allow us to manage our lives in a better fashion and is largely responsible for how we have arrived where we are today.

And so when I examine things in front of me, whether it be the state of the economy or examining an organization to help them be successful (or warn them if the inevitable collapse is approaching), I strip the subjective fluff out of the information and view it as just that.

Information – pure and raw.

And then I ask a lot of questions until I am satisfied that I understand what I am looking at and can make appropriate choices with it.

The information is not good or bad until we make our choices as to how we will use it.

But if we ignore the information or our right and responsibility to understand it, question it, analyze it and apply it, then the results are VERY predictable.

And that’s not pessimism.

It’s reality.

In service and servanthood,


Monday, August 8, 2011

S&P Ratings–What We Need, Not What We Want

I hear a lot of noise about the Standard and Poors’ downgrade of the United States current economic standing.  Today, Standard and Poors downgraded Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and the market is responding again with terror and fear.  Meanwhile, we hear stories that the US Postal Service may be about to default (while running commercials on television that revenue from stamps and services makes them fully viable and self-sustainable).

What does all of this mean?  Is this the end of the world as we know it in the US?

Not at all.

What it does mean is that we are being told by a lot of information sources and very intelligent people that the economic models we have adopted are not sustainable.

Unfortunately, human beings tend to ignore good advice until they are thrown up against the wall and told to listen up or face dire consequences.  Many people who have challenging habits, whether it be poor spending habits, substance abuse or anything else will often continue those habits despite the pleas of others.

“I can’t stop”, they say, “or I will try better the next time”.

Meanwhile, their behavior continues unabated until they finally hit bottom and they are forced to listen to the advice they avoided before.  Unfortunately by then, the pain and loss they have experienced is much worse – they just didn’t know earlier that it could get that bad.

In recent decades, politicians have been elected on the platform of fiscal prudence and responsibility and once in power, it’s “same old, same old” again.  Spending and borrowing continue unabated and the savings that occasionally manifest are trumpeted as large and significant when in fact they are nothing in the big picture.

So instead of being afraid of the Standard and Poors downgrades, let’s look at it for what it really is and, dare I say, be GRATEFUL for it.

It is a wake-up call that what we are doing is not sustainable and doesn’t reflect our potential to do better.  That being said, this is not a time for rhetoric or political positioning – it is a time for action towards strategic, measurable results.

The question becomes:

Are the people in office able to see it this way or will they choose the path that Treasury Secretary Geithner chose the other day when he went on a rant about how Standard and Poors doesn’t understand the mathematics of economics?

There is an old adage, Mr. Geithner, that if it’s you against the world, bet on the world and right now, the world is asking for the US to get its act together.

We are being called to wake up, straighten up and build an economic model that makes better sense for future generations.

We are being called to build a model that extends beyond the next election horizon and is built with the intention of creating a strong future for the citizens of America and the world and not for the politicians who hope to get reelected.

Are we ready to wake up or would we rather wait until the pain gets greater, the stakes are larger and we are REALLY forced up against a wall?

Based on past results, it is easy to assume that we will wait until the warning signs are so loud that we can’t hear ourselves think.

Hopefully, we won’t wait that long.

There is something to be said for being told what we need to hear, not what we want to hear.  Unfortunately we often only see the value in what we were told AFTER the fact.

This is one of those times when we can’t afford to wait until later to see the value of what S&P is telling us now.  We must suck it up and take action now.  Empty assurances, rhetoric and rah-rah speeches just don’t cut it any more and haven’t for sometime.

By taking action now, we will see the wisdom in what groups like the S&P are telling us.

We can thank them later for saving our skins … if we listen to them now.

In service and servanthood,


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bad News–Potentially Fatal If Ignored

As I watch my various sources of information today, I am struck by an interesting disconnect.

From the world of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, CNN, Fox News and everyone else, I see mostly a cacophony of noise around things like:

1. David Cassidy seeking the “Partridge Family fortune”

2. A-Rod to be questioned about involvement with poker games.

3. Justin Bieber considering recording a new album with

Blah blah blah blah.

Unfortunately most of it is not news – it is entertainment presented as news.

Meanwhile, I don’t see the “air waves” being torn up over the fact that the Dow fell over 500 points today (about 4.31%), dragged down by the current state of affairs in the world and specifically within the US itself.

And that really worries me.

The news should concern us as it comes amidst a pile of troubling indicators. 

But what I worry about the most is that the people most affected by it, the average person on the street, doesn’t seem too concerned as they tweet, share and muse about everything but the things that will impact them and their families for a long time, potentially generations down the road.

Einstein’s Law of Insanity … again ….

Maybe they are trusting politicians to get us out of it.  That would be fine, except that up to now, it’s been the decisions by politicians that contributed to this mess and if Einstein’s Law of Insanity has anything to say about it, it would be silly to expect a different result to come from the same people who continue to use the same knowledge and approaches.

This reminds me of Gerald Weinberg’s Bread Recipe Rule; that if we use the same baker, ingredients and recipe, we will always bake the same bread.

Consider these elements:

1. The Baker(s) – the politicians who have been following specific policies for decades, unwaveringly.

2. The Recipe – the economic policies being followed, spending what we don’t have without any strategic plan that REALLY goes beyond the horizon of the next election regardless of what is promoted.

3. The Ingredients – the mix of indicators that keep telling us that we are making economically / societally / ecologically unsustainable choices but we keep making them anyway.

The Time article “What US Economic Recovery?: Five Destructive Myths” puts a lot of the current myths about our recovery into strong perspective and is a HIGHLY recommended read.

I am not worried about the drop on the Dow.  The market rises and falls.

What I worry about is that the average person who will REALLY be affected by this is either not paying attention to it, doesn’t understand it or is trusting someone else to fix it.

Fixing it would be wonderful if someone were trying to strategically correct our challenges with new thinking as outlined in the Time article and other articles.

But they are not, which is what really worries me.  And we don’t seem to care, which worries me even more.

One If By Land ….

Many of us are familiar with the line “One if by land, two if by sea”, Longfellow’s poetic description of the alerts used to describe the British troops preferred method of invasion.

What about if our greatest enemy now is from within – within our own policies, lack of strategy, lack of tactics, lack of creative thinking and lack of interest?

We face the greatest challenge to our way of Life that we have ever seen.  That being said, today’s news is neither good nor bad.  It is just information.

It’s what we are NOT doing with the information that makes it bad news.

Do we care enough to learn about what’s happening and what our options are or would we rather know what color Lady Gaga’s outfit will be in her next concert?

Which do you think will be of better use to you and your family in the uncertain times that persist?

Exactly – so what are you waiting for?

We need to show our families, communities and country that we expect and demand better.

While we still can.

In service and servanthood,