Monday, October 12, 2015

Lead Your Own Self to Success!

I have attended hundreds of talks and seminars on leadership and success, read hundreds of books on positive thinking/mental attitude and listened to hundreds of CD's/DVD's on these topics.  Let me just say that I think it is generally a good thing to think and speak and act positively for your basic well being.  Let me also say that after 30  years of observation, doing that is not going to make you rich. Thinking, speaking and acting positively and having big goals and dreams will not magically bring pallets of cash your way.  And let me just interject, I believe that 99.99% of people across the spectrum are NOT leaders and never will be.  This trend to put every single employee in a company in "leadership training" is silly.  I find that most corporate CEO's and presidents are not really leaders.  I can only name a handful in the entire country across all business and political spectra.  Most true leaders are born with those skills and maybe can tweak them a bit for improvement and refinement, but someone born with no innate leadership skills is not going to become a Bill Gates by attending a weekend seminar.  John Maxwell, anointed leadership guru once said that on a scale of 0-10, with zero being no talent in a specific area and 10 being a one-in-the-world talent, if you honestly score yourself in a particular area; then with intense work, 8 hours a day for years, you might raise your skill level by 1-2 points, but that's about it.  So if your singing skill is zero, like mine; with intense voice training every day all day for years I might improve enough not to embarrass myself in church.  But I will not become an Andrea Bocelli and make bazillions of dollars.  The same is true in business, sports, music, acting, etc.   Fortunately leadership does not automatically equate to financial wealth and financial wealth does not require leadership skills.
So why do some average people make a lot of money with average skills and average products and services?  Have you ever noticed how much mediocre and sometimes downright silly things succeed big in the marketplace, while other stuff that actually appears useful and valuable flops?  The accountant staring out of his window one day back in the 70's dreamed up 'Pet Rocks' and six months later had personally netted $16 million.  The most important factor for generating a lot of money is being able to touch and impact a lot of people with your product or service who see enough value in it to pay you something for it.  For example, professional athletes not only perform for the 75,000 fans in the arena, but millions around the world.  Thus advertisers will pay the teams for TV ads and for the athletes to wear advertisements on their clothing and equipment. Musicians touch millions through concerts, CD's and social media.  The same for successful book authors.  Actors touch millions through TV and movies, thus advertisers pay a lot to broadcast their work.
As you can begin to see, it's not based upon the 'true' value of your work.  Doctors do great work, but they only touch a few thousand patients a year, thus they are compensated fairly well, but nothing like a Justin Bieber.  Teachers and professors do very important work, but they only touch a few hundred people a year, thus they are not compensated like a Peyton Manning.  Donald Trump builds housing, retail space, hotels, resorts and golf courses around the world that provides services for millions of people, thus he makes billions while your local real estate agent is lucky to clear $100,000 a year.  And look at those late night TV commercials for some silly gadget and if you order now for $19.95 they will double your offer!  Goofy cheap stuff, but being advertised to millions of people every day.  It doesn't take many orders (their profit margin is usually very high for that stuff) to make a few million bucks.  Now think about what you're doing every day in your job, or even small business.  How many people do you touch around the world with something of value every day that they would be willing to pay you something for.  None?  You're probably being paid a meager salary for a service to a single employer as a very small part of their whole operation.  No chance for personal wealth there for you, no matter how many leadership seminars they send you to.
Colonel Sander's sold fried chicken at a single local family restaurant in Kentucky for years and just did OK.  The chicken is pretty good, but probably not the best you have ever eaten.  At age 65 he decided to franchise the chicken around the world and very quickly built a billion dollar business, on average fried chicken; but now convenient for busy people everywhere.  Same with McDonald's.  Best hamburger in the world??  Well, you answer that.  Did you ever ask yourself that question, how much money would I have if I had a nickel for every cup of coffee consumed in the United States every day?  Well Folger's did and so did the founder of Starbucks.  They're doing quite well.  Good news, you don't have to be Steve Jobs and invent a personal computer.  Ever seen those little cheap plastic sleeves you slip between your center console and car seat to catch stuff you drop being advertised on TV?  Not exactly an iMac.  What is Facebook, really?  Just a way to put your diary and scrapbook online for everyone to see.  Big deal.  Funny thing, it is, but it isn't.
Think about this as you're falling asleep tonight.  As you are hemming and hawing, someone else is about to market the next great microwave egg cooker!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Is Anybody There, Does Anybody Care, Does Anybody See What I See?

Why does it seem that all great governments start out with the best of intentions and ultimately wind up in a state of despotism and decay?  They seem to grow exponentially at the expense of the governed.  As the power of the government grows the freedoms of its people shrink.  No doubt it is due at least in part to the fact that men are made a little lower than the angels.  Additionally I believe that it is due to the fact that the purpose of government, is to, well, govern.  Once the big decisions are made, the crucial laws of establishing a new nation are passed; the legislators don’t simply call it good and go home.  They start looking for more and more things to legislate and regulate.  The focus gets narrower and narrower.  They start meddling in more minutiae of the daily lives of the people.  Things that were never intended to come within the purview of a large, centralized federal government now become the focus of power-hungry legislators and bureaucrats, searching for any rationale for their continued existence in their cushy public sector jobs.  The tenants of the Declaration of Independence and the dictates of the Constitution devolve into mere nuisances to these government zealots.  These sacred documents which are intended to protect the people from these very government usurpers are tossed aside and ignored as antiquated meaningless historical trivia by them.  They claim that the documents have been misinterpreted, that they have evolved; that there are new penumbras and emanations; that they were written for a different time and a different people which certainly cannot apply and direct the government in today’s enlightened times.  They complain that the writers could not possibly have foreseen what a society would be dealing with two hundred years in the future, forgetting that there are two methods included for amending the Constitution just for these unforeseen circumstances.  It’s not the details for dealing with every possible issue which could arise that is important but rather the basic foundation of the government and the protection of the people’s freedoms and liberties which are paramount.  When one considers the far-reaching tentacles of the myriad executive branch agencies, the contortions the Supreme Court twists itself into in reaching conclusions completely at odds with the very text of the Constitution and the money that the Congress raises and prints to spend on things it has no constitutional authority to spend; it is astounding how far this national government has fallen off of its legal foundation.  It bears no resemblance to its original intent.  It is eating out the very fiber of our society.  Sadly it is the nature of a government is to grow, not shrink.  I think we might all be better off if the government had been constitutionally disbanded after its first fifty years of existence.  Surely by then all of the big national issues and legislation would have been dealt with and the rest after that could be left to the States, as should be.  The question before us is can we possibly go back?  Is it too late?  Are we too far gone?  Can one President or Congress or Court undue decades of subversion?  Are we destined to devolve into class warfare, race warfare and a complete unraveling of civil society while we sink into hundreds of trillions of dollars of debt for unfunded liabilities for which there is no hope of ever paying?  Without unwavering fealty to our foundational documents we are ship at sea in a storm with no rudder.  We are subject to the momentary whims of men, not laws.  This is the recipe for despotism, dictatorship, disaster, decay and destruction.  Are we destined to become a mere 250 year footnote in world history?  There once was a shining spot, called Camelot.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Declaration of Freedom!

The federal government of the United States of America (two very different things) is bleeding the people of this country dry.  For years it has stolen trillions of dollars out of middle class American families and spent it on pure crap, 80%-90% of which it has absolutely no constitutional authority to spend.  Beyond the clear question of constitutional permission, common sense would dictate that other people's money not be spent to foolishly.  Families need that money for food and education for their children.  This is more than a crime, it's a sin against Almighty God!  And some day these people will have to answer for their sins.  I have no respect or use for these people in D.C. I don't care a flying flip for them.  As far as I am concerned they are demons from the pits of hell and the sooner they go straight back there the better!  Like Mark Levin has been saying for weeks on his radio show it is time for the States and the People and businesses to simply disobey.  No more.  Just say no.  We are not approaching, we are at a pivotal point in history much like 1789 France or 1776 America.  The rest of the sins of this government against the people are too numerous to list.  I declare my independence from this monstrous abomination and plant my allegiance firmly on the actual Declaration of Independence and the actual Constitution of the United States of America! Liberty & Freedom!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Inside the Mind of Barack Hussein Obama

There has been much discussion, particularly in conservative circles these past few years about what motivates Barack Obama to do what he has done and continues to do. One camp believes that he is diabolically intentional about destroying the country.  Another postulates that he is simply dumb as a box of rocks.  I don't really think that either explanation is a true reflection of what is driving Obama to drive the country over a cliff.  Rather, I believe that he was raised and educated, perhaps indoctrinated in and by a steady stream of radical, liberal progressive ideology from a very early age and to the exclusion of any other philosophies.  This is the prism through which he views history and current events.  I don't believe that he can even fathom that there truly is any other valid point of view.  Facts and logic cannot overcome this lifelong immersion in liberal philosophy.  He is effectively hard-wired to view events, think and act according to this imprinting.  Nothing will sway him.  In his mind he probably cannot understand why everyone doesn't think the way he does.  He is undoubtedly honestly flummoxed at why so many vehemently oppose his efforts to make the world a much better place. I have no doubt that to the core of his being he truly believes that if he could just exert his will unfettered  he could bring about peace in the Middle East and throughout the world, economic prosperity for all, eliminate poverty, hunger and disease as well as make the Earth a beautiful garden of Eden.  Why wouldn't everyone want that? Now, one could classify that as a mental illness, megalomania or schizophrenic delusions of grandeur; and that might be accurate, but where does that leave us?  Impeachment, incarceration in an asylum, mandatory medication and counseling?  No, I think the lesson to be learned here is to not put people like this in positions of power (including the education system).  As to what can be done to undo the damage already wrecked upon the nation and that which is probably still to come, I will leave that to another time and perhaps other people.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Democrat In Republican Clothing #DIRC

You've heard about RINO's, Republican In Name Only.  Well, now I think it's time to take it a step further with DIRC, Democrat In Republican Clothing.  I would nominate Governor Chris Christie and Jeb Bush to start with.  There are many more.  Join me on Twitter and nominate your favorite #DIRC!
Senator Lindsey Graham-SC
Senator Orrin Hatch-UT
Senator Jeff Flake-AZ

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

You Can Lead a Horse to Water...but That Doesn't Make it a Leader

Egads, companies all across America are obsessed with "Leadership Training."  Every employee from the bathroom janitor to the CEO are spending hours and days in classes hearing canned PowerPoint presentations from perky presenters touting the latest 12-step program that will transform anyone and everyone into the next Steve Jobs.  Over my nearly 60 decades I have read dozens of books on leadership and sat through lectures, presentations and training on finding and developing the leader within me.  Well, guess what?  There ain't one in there.  So let me give you my curbside consultation on what I have learned and believe about all of this.
I postulate that within the corporate hierarchy there are basically four categories.  You can call them by different names, but essentially most companies are comprised of one or two (if they are lucky enough to still have one) Leaders, a small batch of Managers, Supervisors and then Workers. It is my belief that people are born with, or without the tendency to fall into one of those categories.  It is pretty much genetically dictated.  My uncle was born with musical talent.  He took violin lessons when he was very young and quickly mastered that instrument.  One day he sat down and started playing the piano.  He didn't need sheet music, he would just hear something on the radio and start playing it and would transpose it into another key on the fly.  I wanted to play the piano but was not born with the innate talent.  I took lessons for years, fighting and struggling.  I can pick out the notes off of the page, but I don't make music.  My uncle made music.  He was a musician.  I, with all my years of lessons still could not claim to be a musician. While you can tweak and develop and improve the skills within your particular category I don't believe that there is much movement of an individual from one category to another.  Wanting to become a Leader and attending all of these myriad leadership classes does not make you a Leader any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.  If you're not born to be a Leader, you're probably not going to be one.  Or a Manager or Supervisor either for that matter.  And just because your company anoints you as a Leader or Manager or Supervisor and sends you to class doesn't make it so either.  They may just be setting you up to fail.  Leadership training companies rake in billions every year telling rooms full of chickens to 'fly, you're an eagle!'  Well, chickens are not eagles and they're not going to become eagles.  There are very few eagles.  And we needs chickens, there's nothing wrong with being a chicken.  But the allure to be a Leader is very intoxicating.  In my opinion, there are very few leaders in government or business, but a lot of wannabes.
Leaders cast the vision for the product, service and company.  They were probably the founder(s) of that particular enterprise.  The original Leader many not even be around any more.  Sadly, after the founding Leader is gone, many companies never really have another Leader and wallow around until they go bust.  They try to hire another Leader or promote a Manager into leadership, but usually with disastrous results.  Leaders are big idea people, not detail.  They think outside of the box, come up with new, novel ideas and sometimes come off as a bit quirky, eccentric and impractical.  The words 'no' and 'impossible' are not in their vocabulary.  The fact that something has never been done before excites them while it scares Managers.  The are oriented to the future.  Once they have put an idea for a product or service in motion and handed it off to the Managers, they are pretty much done with that one and off dreaming up the next big deal.
Managers may go by many names:  CEO, President, Vice-President, COO, CFO, Manager, General Manager, Superintendent.  These people are responsible for taking the Leader's visions, manifested as a product, service or company and make it happen. They break the vision down into its component projects and steps and then manage the necessary resources, budgets, personnel, policies, legal and regulatory demands and timetables and deadlines. They hire the Supervisors who will oversee the workers who will ultimately do the work of the vision.  Managers are more oriented to the details of the vision, relieving the Leader of that burden.
Supervisors oversee the Workers who are doing the day-to-day grunt work of bringing the Leader's vision to fruition.  They hire and fire them, make sure they have the necessary tools and training, make sure the work is done safely and strive to meet the deadlines and budgets given them by their Manager for their particular project. 
Workers have very specific skills for very specific jobs.  These are comprised of the industrial trades, skilled and unskilled workers.  They perform the daily heavy lifting (many times literally) of accomplishing the vision.  They perform repetitive tasks on a very specific part of a step or aspect of a project making up the vision. Without them, nothing much would happen.
It is my premise that Workers rarely if ever make good Supervisors, Supervisors rarely if ever make good Managers, and Managers rarely if ever make good Leaders.  Thus the problem with promoting up the chain from within an organization.  People really do tend to rise to their level of incompetency, unfortunately that is usually the point where they are promoted from one of these categories up to the next one.  They were doing a great job in the position for which they are best suited, and this is probably why there were singled out for promotion.  That, and the fact that someone has been around for a long time and now it's their turn.  Eeeek!  Formula for epic fail.  Rather than leaving that successful person in their best-suited job and trying to help them be the best they can be there, the company out of the goodness of their heart promotes them up to the next category where they flounder and founder for years, while attending multiple seminars on how to be a success in that job, but secretly knowing they never will.  Surprise, I am not a big proponent of promoting from within.  If a company needs a Leader (or Manager or Supervisor or Worker) they should look everywhere for the best person with those particular skills, inside and outside the company and hire the best person for job.  It is more important that the candidate have the requisite skill set for the particular category of job rather than know the product, service or company inside out.  Someone from outside with the right skills can learn the company, product and service quickly.  But remember, it's the skills you are really after, not company knowledge.  Someone with all of the company knowledge and experience in the world will still fail if promoted beyond their God-given skill set. 
I believe that companies should stop sending everyone to leadership training classes and spend their money and resources identifying employees' innate skills, matching that to the right job and then investing in helping them improve those preexisting skills to the highest level within the job and category that best suits them.  If a position needs to be filled, fill it with someone from inside or outside the company that already has the right skills for that category, then train them in that position. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

God and Government

Let's clear up this church and state thing once and for all.  It's really quite simple, not complicated in the least.  The people who founded this nation were fleeing religious persecution under a state-mandated religion.  They set up a nation based upon the concept of religious freedom.  A nation where religion of all kinds, or none at all could flourish unimpeded by the heavy hand of the government.  People would be free to worship when and where and what they pleased, or not at all.  They did not distinguish between private and public religious practice.  They were not concerned about people expressing and practicing their religion in the public square and in the halls of government.  Just look at how many of our early politicians held strong religious beliefs, talked openly about them in the chambers of government and how many mentioned their faith in speeches on the floor of the House and Senate.  Look at how many Presidents prayed openly and encouraged prayer for our nation. The sessions of Congress are opened in prayer and Presidents are sworn in on Bibles (or other religious books) and swear their oath, so help them God.  Our founders did not intend for religion to be hidden away to only be practiced in the home or Sundays in church.  No, what they intended was a vibrant religious fervor throughout the land, in homes and churches and schools and businesses and the halls of government, unchecked by intrusion from the rulers.  The thing they did proscribed was any establishment of a state religion or policies setting one religion above another, or giving one special treatment over another, or prohibiting some altogether.  This is not to be construed to an interpretation which keeps religion out of the public and government realms, but rather keeps government out of the religious realms.  The separation of church and state is to keep the state out of the church, but not the church out of the state.  We have come a full 180 degrees since George Washington said in his farewell address of 1796, "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports."  Atheists and agnostics are now everywhere lobbying for the removal of anything religious from our schools, public squares and halls of government.  What gives them the right to do so anymore than those of us with religious affiliation the right to remove them and their beliefs from these same places.  One could argue that atheism and agnosticism are simply religions of faith in things other than a supreme being.  In the world of the First Amendment they have no more right to demand religious cleansing than the religious to demand their cleansing.  No, we must all co-exist and blossom together in all aspects of life.  The First Amendment guarantees the right of freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.  I would recommend that those who seek to remove anything religious from the public square grow thicker skin.  What religious people do doesn't harm them, and what they do doesn't harm the religious.  Live and let live.  The industry of being offended has become too much a growth industry.  A lot of what they do and what happens in our country and the world offends me, but I choose to let it roll off of me like water from a duck's back.  I do what I can to make a difference in the world from my perspective, they would be advised to do the same.  By the way, the Constitution and Bill of Rights nowhere guarantees a right to not be offended.  It's part of life.  Amen.