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Can We All Agree™ – 11/4/17 edition

November 4, 2017

Can we all agree, the release of a climate change report at odds with the administration’s position, proves once again the White House is simply unable to walk and chew gum at the same time?

Can we all agree, EPA commissioner Scott Pruitt needs to get his own special copy of the report?

Can we all agree, White House is so focused on tax reform they cannot deal with other major issues that surface?

Scientists say Northern California wildfires are a symptom of climate change.

Scientists say the Northern California wildfires are a symptom of climate change.

Can we all agree, our President has proven, once again, that he has no idea how the Justice Department or legal system, works in his own country?

Can we all agree, based on current Immigration and Custom Enforcement practices long-time residents from Central America and Haiti should be very worried?

Can we all agree, the louder House Speaker Paul Ryan proclaimed the new tax bill would be a boon to the the middle class, the more everyone knew it was a Christmas present for businesses and the wealthy?

Can we all agree, once the lobbyists are done with Congress the final tax bill, if there is one, will look nothing like what was unveiled this week?

Can we all agree, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has sent a clear message to everyone in the Trump White House, and they are all very worried?

Can we all agree, the public is seeing right through Mr. Trump’s bravado about the Russian election investigation? Each month his ratings seem to hit a new low.

Can we all agree, Mr. Mueller’s court filings have made it pretty clear he thinks the collusion with Russia goes right to the top of the campaign?

Can we all agree, the only reason Janet Yellen will be replaced as head of the Federal Reserve, is that she did not get along with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and his rich boy’s club?

Can we all agree, Sam Clovis never should have been nominated to head the science division in the Agriculture Department.

Can we all agree, the Russian ads on Facebook could have been written by the Trump campaign?

Can we all agree, charges that the Democratic primary was rigged to make sure Hillary Clinton won, are more damaging than any of the chants at a Trump rally?

Can we all agree, the recommendations of the report by the President’s Opioid Commission, will never be implemented?

Can we all agree, only our current President could calm a worried nation after a terrorist attack, by blaming Sen. Chuck Schumer for a program the senator wanted to end years ago?

Can we all agree, when the current ACA enrollment period ends in 6 weeks, the GOP will discover it’s still pretty popular?

Can we all agree, it turns out Chief of Staff John Kelly is just as committed to ‘alternate facts’ as everyone else who works in the White House?

Can we all agree, if Papa Johns made better pizza they wouldn’t have to blame the NFL for their sales slump?

Can we all agree, it really didn’t take a report to tell us the collisions between Navy ships and tankers could have been prevented?

Can we all agree, the tech lawyers testifying before Congress this week, pretty much insured there will be some kind of legislation to regulate them, passed in the coming year?

Can we all agree, New Yorkers are saddened by the innocent lives lost in this week’s terror attack, but they’ve seen so much worse they were almost blasé?

Can we all agree, Kevin Spacey will be the third or fourth in a long line of men who should have lost their jobs years ago?

Can we all agree, the disgruntled Twitter contractor, who gave us 11 minutes without Mr. Trump’s tweets, should be applauded?

and finally:

In case you think humans are here because we were smarter than Neanderthals, think again.

or

A great look at the frustrations of formerHouse Speaker John Boehner.

 

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CWAA: Can We All Agree – 10/8/16 edition

October 8, 2016

Can we all agree we’re not really that surprised by the latest tape revealing Donald Trump’s attitude toward women?

Can we all agree Mr. Trump’s non-apology, apology will  become a classic in future public relations manuals?

Can we all agree Mr. Trump’s comments will easily bury the leaked details of Hillary Clinton’s paid speeches to Wall Street?

Can we all agree, the fact that the speech transcripts were taken from hacked emails, hurts their credibility, but adds to  the US contention that Russia is trying to influence the election?toles6-16-16-0001

Can we all agree Sunday night’s debate is really Mr. Trump’s last, slim chance to show non-supporters that he has anything approaching a presidential temperament?

Can we all agree the latest revelations might derail Mr. Trump’s already derailed new focus on policy?

Can we all agree there was no shortage of outrageous statements this week even before the latest revelations?

Can we all agree that by the end of the week we didn’t even remember fundraising activities by Mr. Trump’s foundation were closed down by the New York Attorney General?

Can we all agree the makers of the Epipen may think their $465 settlement with Medicare is not a guilty finding, but given their previous actions, most folks know they are guilty of something?

Can we all agree 156,000 new jobs may be tepid growth, but at least it’s still growth?

Can we all agree no one really understands the sudden ‘scary clown’ epidemic but school administratrors all over they country have been forced to assure parents that the situation is under control?

Can we all agree it’s good news to see that the Paris climate accord will take effect, despite what the US Congress thinks about global warming?30

Can we all agree it seems Vladimir Putin’s plan to take over Syria while we are occupied with our election seems to be succeeding and the people of Aleppo are paying the price?

Can we all agree it’s hard for the rest of the world to understand how a country can vote against peace, but the Colombian president still deserves the Nobel Peace Prize?

Can we all agree even The NSA seems a little confused about whether they have arrested a spy or just someone who likes to hoard information?

Can we all agree, at this point, no-one even cares what happened at the vice presidential debate earlier this week?

Can we all agree, Yahoo seems to be trying to commit business suicide but agreeing to scan its users’ emails for the government?

Can we all agree, just when you think the President of the Philippines has insulted every world leader, he finds a new way to prove he has no business leading a Democratic country?

Can we all agree we have a few of our own unqualified elected officials?

Can we all agree there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of enthusiasm for Google’s newly announced smart phone?

Can we all agree Fox News’s attempt at humor by stereotyping Asian Americans was disturbing – mainly because no one at the network realized how insulting it was?

and finally, two feel-good stories:

One about a 113 year-old man having his bar mitzvah and another of heart felt appreciation during the most unimaginable tragedy.

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‘Rules’ in Need of Adjustment

November 18, 2015

I just finished reading Laszlo Bock’s ‘Work Rules’ and while I can’t say there’s anything wrong with the book I definitely think it needs an attitude adjustment.51Df4YVLvbL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

Bock is Google’s head of People Operations, which is an advanced version of what most people would know as human resources. Like many hi-tech firms, Google feels HR is an outdated term and doesn’t really explain what the department does. In truth, at least at Google, the department does a lot more than traditional HR departments.

But that’s really part of the problem. Bock presents a myriad of suggestions  for managing, promoting, recruiting and measuring employees or potential employees. Many of the procedures were developed at the company using statistical models developed by Google and all are presented as a common sense logical alternative to the way  other firms operate. A common refrain is simply “why would you do it any other way?”

This rationale comes despite that fact that the new procedures represent significant changes from the way Google used to do things, which were also supposedly based on statistical models and were  logical conclusions to the way things should be done.

Old methodology which has now been jettisoned include minimal middle management and the well known brain teasers which stumped thousands of job seekers.

Bock admits what everyone else in HR had been telling them for years: Everyone needs management and brain teasers only test how well someone can solve a specific problem, not overall creativity or performance.

The reality is, that despite their reliance on statistics, Google’s employee turnover  is no better than many other firms and they felt obliged to sign on to an illegal agreement with other tech firms not to poach employees. That case has been settled but the issue has not disappeared.

While there are a plethora of great ideas in the book, that many firms would do well to consider, my problem  is really an attitude issue. Much like a lot of other actions which aggravated many people, (such as private buses using public bus stops) Google seems to assume that what they do should not face the same scrutiny as others.

Other firms, they seem to feel, should be grateful that Google has shared their ideas so openly and should adopt them. That may be true, since there is a lot of bad management at most companies, but no-one likes to be told what is right for them.

In truth the best use for the book, might be for potential employees who want to figure out what principles will govern their potential employment.

And for that reason, I will suggest it for all my career clients, although I will warn them about the attitude adjustment that may be in order.

 

 

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Can We All Agree – 4/18/15 Edition

April 18, 2015

Filed under: Can we all agree — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 5:45 am

A weekly commentary on news, sport and culture.

 

Can we all agree that while the state’s measles outbreak may be over, the debate over vaccination will continue for a long time?

Can we all agree that the world is a lot less romantic with the passing of Percy Sledge?

Percy Sledge

Percy Sledge

Can we all agree that while Wikileaks has every right to publish the documents stolen from Sony, they don’t belong in the public domain?

Can we all agree that this week’s deals on fast-track trade legislation and the Iran nuclear treaty show that government can work, maybe?

Can we all agree that the alarming increase in teen usage of e-cigarettes proves that the tobacco industry still knows how to sell to kids?

Can we all agree that the recent decision to end the investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) without taking any action, is another PR win for Pope Francis?

Can we all agree, as I’ve noted before, that Republicans have boxed themselves into a tough spot by refusing to confirm a new attorney Genera?

Can we all agree that a Seattle’s businessman’s decision to make $70,000 the minimum wage at his company, deserves praise?

Can we all agree that the European Union investigation of Google as a monopoly could have serious repercussions in the United States?

Can we all agree that while the economic impact of the drought may be minimal in urban areas, it will be a disaster in the Central Valley?

Aaron Hernandez as a Patriot

Aaron Hernandez as a Patriot

Can we all agree that we would all be better off if we paid attention to how much water was needed to grow or raise, whatever we decide to eat?

Can we all agree that the NFL and the New England Patriots should both be embarrassed by the Aaron Hernandez verdict?

Can we all agree that taking Cuba off the list of countries that sponsor terrorism was long overdue -even the GOP agrees?

Can we all agree that Hillary Clinton’s announcement of another run for the Presidency was anti-climactic?

Can we all agree that, even with the addition of Sen. Marco Rubio, the list of GOP candidates running for President is less than impressive?

Can we all agree that the guilty verdict against the Blackwater private security guards is a reminder that we really have no control over the 40,000 mercenaries we hire to do work that the military does not do?

Can we all agree that Vladimir Putin’s decision to start missile deliveries to Iran, even before a treaty was signed, is just his way of annoying Western governments?

and finally,

Can we all agree that the Republican push to get rid of the inheritance tax just shows how out of step they really are?

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Can We All Agree – 4/5/15 Edition

April 5, 2015

This week’s commentary on the news:

Can we all agree that no matter what kind of agreement the EU and US reach with Iran, Mr. Netanyahu and his GOP will oppose it?

Can we all agree that it’s better to be talking with Iran than fighting with them? Although it’s tough to ignore their state sponsored terrorism.

Can we all agree that the continuing revelations about the copilot of the Germanwings plane, make the whole episode, much more tragic?05kentucky2-master675

Can we ll agree that Lufthansa Airlines is in a lot of trouble if they knew their pilot was seriously depressed, and still allowed to fly?

Can we ll agree that, it’s not the ‘liberal press’ or ‘militant gays’ that are behind the brouhaha over the Indiana and Arkansas religious freedom bills?

Can we all agree that the European Union’s skepticism about the business practices of Google, Apple and Facebook is much healthier than the unquestioning ‘regulation’ of US agencies?

Can we all agree that for residents of the northern third of the country, ‘Play Ball’ may be the most welcomed phrase they’ve heard in a long time?

Can we all agree that while McDonald’s decision to give raises to minimum  wage employees at company stores, is good news, $12/hour is still not a living wage?

Can we all agree that while California’s drought is very serious, exempting farmers, who use 70% of the state’s water, undermines Governor Brown’s credibility? BTW: It’s supposed to be raining for the next three days here in Northern CA.

images Can we all agree that outside of  Kentucky, most of us were pulling for Wisconsin in the NCAA semi-final on Saturday?

Can we all agree that varsity letters should be awarded for academic accomplishment, as well as extra-curricular activities such as  speech, drama, music, art, and dance?

Can we all agree that the charges against  NJ Senator Robert Menendez are an indictment of the Citizen’s United, Supreme Court decision?

Can we all agree that Trevor Noah is off to a bad start as host of The Daily Show, even though he hasn’t even hosted a program yet?

Can we all agree that while cheating is wrong, and should not be condoned, we are troubled by  the potential jail terms that the Atlanta educators are now facing?

And finally,

Can we all agree that the thought of Al Franken and John Stewart in the US Senate is very funny?

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Can We All Agree – 3/28/15 Edition

March 28, 2015

Can we all agree that Amanda Knox may be the most relieved person in the world right now?

Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox

Can we all agree that while there is certainly evidence of discrimination in Silicon Valley, Ellen Pao’s plight was not the right case to make the point?

Can we all agree that Indiana’s new law allowing business owners to discriminate against LGBT couples is a black eye for the state and was totally unnecessary?

Can we all agree that the latest facts surrounding crash of the Germanwings airliner are truly terrifying?

Can we all agree that Sen. Herry Reid’s decision to retire was the right move?

Can we all agree that the the House’s ability to pass a Medicare payment bill, might offer some hope for the future?

Can We All agree that trying to understand the ISIS-Houti-Yemeni-Saudi Arabian-Iranian-Iraqi battle gets more confusing (and critical) every day?

Can we all agree that keeping some US troops in Afghanistan was inevitable?

Can we all agree that Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu is the most cynical of all politicians? Making inflammatory statements before the election and then trying to disavow them weeks after his party was was re-elected.

Can we all agree that the spy vs. spy saga in the Iran nuclear talks is not really surprising.

Bowe Bergdahl

Bowe Bergdahl

Can we all agree that regardless of whether Bowe Bergdahl is a deserter or not, he should not have been left behind as the US pulled out of Afghanistan?

Can we all agree that Sen. Ted Cruz’s highly orchestrated announcement of his presidential bid rings a bit hollow?

Can we all agree that Sen. Cruz’s decision to accept coverage under the Affordable Care Act, makes a mockery of his  stated opposition – especially since he had other options?

Can we all agree that 230 White House meetings in 6 years, is a bit much for any one company, even Google?

 

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The Wisdom 2.0 Bottom Line

March 2, 2015

I spent the last few days at the annual Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco.

IMG_0962

Michael Gervais, (left) George Mumford and Mike Robbins (right) discuss sports and psychology and the Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco February 28, 2015,

Many of you have probably never heard of the event, so a little context is probably in order.

Attendance this year reached 2500 and could have gone higher if organizers had not capped it. The conference is designed as a combination celebration and support group for anyone trying to bring more:  (pick one) consciousness, gratitude, or mindfulness to technology and business.

Attendees come from all over the world, although a large percentage are from California, to hear a variety of speakers from CEO’s to human resource managers, explain how they have tried to humanize their companies and deal with the increasing demands of the ‘always on’ world.

Using mindful meditation, exhortations to be present, and a wide variety of what many might consider alternative techniques, the conference is in direct contrast to the prevailing view of corporate America as a ruthless, cut throat, bottom line, profit driven culture.

In addition to the conference presentations on everything from neuroscience to networking, there are rooms devoted to meditation, and yoga, as well as a trade show in the Inspiration Lounge.

Many sessions focus on how to live a more fulfilling and compassionate life and to make choices that leave you happier both personally and in your career.

Here you can also find the latest in relaxation and stress reduction equipment and techniques.

While you might think the principles were some import from Europe, most of the foreign attendees, are quick to note that the techniques are uniquely American, which is what draws them here.

Companies with representative include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Gap and a host of others who say that recent studies have shown conclusively that promoting mindfulness and self realization in their workforce actually adds to their bottom line in  quantifiable manner.

In reality the conference is a large networking event, where like-minded folks can get together to reinforce their beliefs in hopes of connecting with someone who can help them move forward in their career.

A large percentage of the attendees are personal/executive coaches or management consultants, who are looking to make connections with those HR types from Google, Twitter, Facebook and GAP, to  improve workplace performance. Admittedly the chances are slim, but you never know.

In two days I collected a raft of business cards, and spoke with lawyers, coaches, HR managers and some old friends from the spa and yoga worlds.

My wife, who is a clinical psychologist, and attended the first Wisdom conference 6 years ago, may be a more typical participant, but she was ill over the weekend and insisted I attend.

I’ll admit I was hesitant, but after three days I was pleasantly surprised and happy I made the effort. More on some of the things I learned will come in subsequent posts.

When organizers at the opening session asked who, in the audience, was a first-time attendee, I raised my hand along with two-thirds of the crowd.

Sponsors were thrilled, saying it showed how the movement was attracting new members. But you have to think; what does it mean when attendees at previous sessions are not coming back in significant numbers?

If this were a business that had to rely on new customers for 66% of it’s profit each year, would you be optimistic?

 

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Re-inventing the Wheel at Google

March 19, 2011

Filed under: Coaching,Management,observations,Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — admin @ 2:49 pm

A week ago the New York Times, featured an article on a lengthy study done by Google on management practices.

I’ve been stewing about it ever since.

Despite Google’s protestations, it seems to me that they spent a year re-inventing the wheel so that their “data-driven employees” will understand their rationale in trying to improve the performances of the managers.

The study uncovered 8 secrets to better management and Google then ranked the ‘secrets’ and began implementing them. I’ll let you read the list and their implementation on your own, but any executive coach or organizational development consultant, or even any good manager could have created the list and developed a blueprint for implementation.

Yes, having data being behind your plans adds credibility, but so would successful implementation by a professional. What Google really found out what something that every other business discovers: technical expertise does not make you a good manager. Or put another way the skills that you need as an employee are not the same as those that you need as a manager.

I guess in all their vaunted testing they never realized that while logic and test-taking skills may be able to predict employee success, they do not translate directly to the ‘soft skills’ that managers need to make their employees better. Now, as competition grows and other businesses are stealing their employees, they have discovered that managing a staff takes some skill and actually translates to the bottom line.

I worked with first-time managers in a variety of industries and the one unanimous concern they have is that the technical skills that got them noticed as a potential manager have nothing to do with the skills they need once they are promoted. I guess it’s good to know that a year of research by Google has led to the same conclusion.

If that’s not re-inventing the wheel I don’t know what is.

Google has been in the fore

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