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Audio Tidbits

Audio Tidbits includes usually short episodes focusing on relationships, family, work, personal leadership and success and other aspects of getting better and better at getting better and better. There are also episodes just for fun and focusing on more serious issues and concerns. Try it. You may be surprised.

Tracks

Annoying People | Missing Muses | Magic – Audio TidBits Podcast
The podcast team has three special segments for you in this episode. You hear about annoying people while waiting on a place to park, the missing muse that might not have been missing, and the mystery of modern day magic. Please listen and enjoy.
08:37 3/28/24
The Young Pessimist – Audio TidBits Podcast
Do you think optimism and pessimism are a choice we all can and do make? It's our world and how we look at it are up to us? Would it were true. Listen and decide for yourself.
03:31 3/27/24
Is A Mainliner Driving You Up The Wall?
Who drives you up the wall? The frustration factor comes up for all of us now and then. Mainliners are among the most frustrating of the frustrating elite. Listen and learn how to deal with the mainliners of the world.
05:37 3/26/24
RINO vs. DINO
The Truth About People: All people at all times have needs, problems, and vulnerabilities beyond their individual capacity to cope. That applies to me and applies to you. Fortunately, many if not most people are more or less self-sufficient. They have the means and resources to assure that their needs are met. They can normally resolve their problems. They can manage their vulnerabilities. Even so, they still require services and resources controlled by others. Of course, the ability of people to manage, to cope with their reality, varies a lot depending where in the world they are and on local circumstances. Some of us are far better off than others of us. And therein lies the question. What level of responsibility do any of us have to provide for those of us who are unable to manage, unable to individually cope with our reality? This same truism operates at levels beyond individual people. It’s a fact of life for families, organizations, and communities. It’s true for business from one-person enterprises to international corporations. It is a daily reality for governments from home owner associations to nations. At the most fundamental level, the inability to go it alone is the reason why these social, economic, and political constructs exist. The value of collective support, effort, and participation generally exceeds the value of the associated loss of autonomy and personal independence. The Issue: For many reasons and myriad circumstances, Some people and groups of people acquire and control significantly more resources and opportunities than other people. Concurrently, for equally numerous reasons and circumstances, some people neither acquire nor control adequate resources to successfully manage and cope with their reality. Just as this inequity applies to individuals, it also applies to families, communities, businesses, regions, and nations. This fundamental disparity prompts several questions that need answers from each of us, from each community, from each business, from each government, from each nation. • What limits if any should there be on the level or amount of resources and control any one individual, family, community, business, organization, or government may possess? • What if any rules or restrictions should be imposed on any one individual, family, community, business, organization, or government? • What responsibility do individuals, families, communities, businesses, groups, networks, or other entities have to share their resources and control with entities outside their immediate domains? • What authority or power should any government have to restrict, regulate, seize, or enhance the resources or control of people or entities within its jurisdictions? • What responsibility if any does government have to protect people and other entities within its jurisdiction from risks and jeopardies within that jurisdiction – from outside that jurisdiction? • What responsibility if any does government have to compensate for the inability of people and other entities within its jurisdiction to successfully cope with or manage their needs, problems, and vulnerabilities? • What rights and entitlements do people and other entities have that cannot be limited, restricted, or interfered with through government action or inaction? Policy and Politics: The answers to these questions are policy and the process of answering these questions is politics. Regardless of how rational and orderly governance and politics are in principle, they are not exempt from the forces and proclivities present within other entities including families, communities, businesses, other organizations, and among people more generally. Resources and control do not distribute evenly. Some politicians gain more resources and control than others. Some are more successful accruing power and influence than others. Some more successfully sustain their political careers than others.
13:09 3/21/24
Adaptive Leadership (005) – Audio TidBits Podcast
In this episode of the Leadership Shop Podcast, the series on adaptive leadership continues. Being organized is the first element discussed. This is followed by attention to the importance of timeliness which is followed by one of the key elements in adaptive leadership. Adaptive leaders are never slow to pitch in and do what needs done. Please listen as you enjoy this continuing series.
04:02 3/15/24
I’ve Had It! – Audio TidBits Podcast
Do I have a deal for you. If you're like me, you are usually on your best behavior, trying to get along, trying to work things out in an environment that is frequently not nearly as considerate as you. It's enough to make you pull out your hair, if you still have any left from the last time your supervisor came close to driving you to drink. Would you like some techniques and strategies for rocking that boat, for just giving up on all that counting to ten and holding your breath? The Audio Tidbits podcast team has been there too and is here for you with just the advice you have been looking for. We aren't quite ready to encourage you to take the tips seriously but they are here for you the next time you have had it, as they say who are at the end of their rope when it comes to patience and making nice. Please press play, listen and then use your best judgement, if you have any judgement left after having to put up with those people.
13:46 3/14/24
Be Fun To Be Around – Audio TidBits Podcast
In the short-term, "fun" usually does not matter much. You spend time with this or that person and give little thought to it one way or the other. You certainly notice people who are particularly pleasant or especially abrasive; but most people are merely there, doing whatever they do, being whomever they are. In these relationships, you take care not to be unpleasant or abrasive yourself; but "fun" is not a high priority. For the long-haul, though, fun matters. …
03:43 3/13/24
Bummed-out
Maryanne Mitchell is the office manager for the Koch, James and Hightower law firm. She is meeting with Martin Koch. It is not unusual for Martin to ask her to stop by, but still she gets up tight and nervous whenever he does.   "I am just a born pessimist," she frets to herself, waiting for Martin to start.   He gets immediately down to business. "We seem to have some problems, Maryanne. Generally, things are going smoothly. The snag seems to be with some of the typing and some of the filing along with the billing. What do you think you can do to clean things up a little?"   Maryanne sighs but does not respond.   "What do you think? Is there any hope for it, Maryanne?" Martin asks, trying to relax the discussion.   Finally, the office manager says, "I'm worn out from trying. It is exhausting, trying everything there is to try and people are still not satisfied. I will try to straighten it out, but don't have much hope."   Martin leans toward Maryanne and says, "Maryanne, to tell you the truth, I'm beginning to get some heat about you, about your performance. There is some question about whether you can handle things anymore with the computers and all. I don't know. I think you can do it, but you need to tell me what has to happen to get things straightened up."   Maryanne sits motionless, not saying anything until Martin settles back to outwait her. In a small voice, she reluctantly says, "You'll have to decide for yourself about me. I am working as hard as I can. I've given this firm all I have. Things are a mess around here. I'm a nervous wreck from trying to straighten out everything that goes wrong. Everyone thinks it's all my fault. I'm just one person and can't do it all. Even you think it is all me, now."   Maryanne plays bummed out to perfection. Her main strategy is to get Martin to feel sorry for her.   ●"I am worn out from trying"   ●"It is exhausting, trying everything there is to try and people are still not satisfied"   ●"I have given this firm all I have"   ●"I am just one person"   ●"Even you think it is all me, now"   Let Martin get tough with Maryanne and then give him a guilt check. On a scale from one to ten, he will register at least eight or nine. Maryanne is counting on it.   As an aside, you occasionally see an interesting variation on the theme. The bummed out player makes an alliance with several other players. As a bummed out diad or triad or whatever, the crew supports each other's bummed out patterns. People who play together survive together. They usually describe their shared condition as being burned-out or perhaps demoralized.   Managing Bummed Out Players:   When bummed out is the game, the player neither values nor expects job success. Should it come, it is only serendipity. His personal priority is being protected and being forgiven - in advance - if things go badly. It is this guarantee of immunity that the player works for.   Going at it with a skilled bummed out player is exhausting but is not particularly difficult. Consider first what the dynamics of the play are. The bummed out player is using the technique to avoid responsibility, to get others to back off, and to avoid work or pressure. In a child, the pattern would be called pouting.   It will do little good to talk with the bummed out player about his behavior, but it cannot hurt. At least talking about the problem puts the player on notice that he will not be successful playing the game with you. Whether you talk to the player or not, there are several steps that will be effective over time.   First, simply out wait him. Bring up a problem or issue of concern and then wait for a response other than "bummed out." If necessary, say, "I hear all that. My concern is. . .. I'm waiting for your response to the problem." Patiently go back again and again until an appropriate response comes.   If this does not work, say, "I can see you are not going to deal with this,
09:04 3/13/24
The World’s Best Advice (Vol. 1) – Audio TidBits Podcast
The Audio Tidbits Podcast team has collected a series of tidbits incorporating the world’s best advice. These life gems are packaged in six episodes that we are sharing with you in the hope that you adopt them as elements in your personal style as you continue to make a difference to people who make a difference to you. This edition of the Audio Tidbits Podcast shares one of those six episodes for your enjoyment and consideration.
09:31 3/12/24
Virtue, Conscience & Personal Style – Audio TidBits Podcast
In this episode of the Audio Tidbits Podcast, Peter shares his perspective on character and virtue. Our choice boils down to a commitment to doing right or to doing wrong. As Peter concludes, when you get down to it, it’s not much of a choice. The key is consistently sticking to our choice. Please listen and see if you come to the same conclusion. I think you will.
11:30 3/11/24
Alien Intercept: War, Exchange Tokens & The Capital City Leader
Rod has intercepted another transmission by the aliens among us back to their home planet. They find our system of countries rather strange and report about what they call pods and sub pods. They also report on what they see as the world's ongoing war and how nations and groups war over power, control and exchange tokens. They also continue to update the folks at home about their leader who has infiltrated the power elite in the capital city. This report is interesting and very frightening. Listen and come to your own conclusion.
06:35 3/10/24
The World’s Best Advice (Vol. 2) – Audio TidBits Podcast
The Audio Tidbits Podcast team has collected a series of tidbits incorporating the world’s best advice. These life gems are packaged in six episodes that we are sharing with you in the hope that you adopt them as elements in your personal style as you continue to make a difference to people who make a difference to you. This edition of the Audio Tidbits Podcast shares one of those six episodes for your enjoyment and consideration.
09:31 3/9/24
Alien Intercept: Health Care & Exchange Tokens – Audio TidBits Podcast
Rod has intercepted another transmission from the aliens among us. This time they are reporting to their home planet. The report includes info about their activities in the capital city including focus on health care and the distribution of exchange tokens. Rod will continue to update you whenever he is successful with intercepting their communications.
04:47 3/9/24
Do You Remember? – Audio TidBits Podcast
What do you think about taking a few minutes to remember Christmas? You haven't forgotten? Relax, close your eyes and try really hard to remember. You may recall that it is really even better than you remembered. You are in for a nice surprise.
08:28 3/7/24
Aliens: The Aliens Amongst Us Have Reappeared in the Big Easy
Hey fellow Earth humans. To my surprise, the Aliens Amongst Us didn’t actually return permanently to their Home Planet. I intercepted them in New Orlins, just hanging out like real people. As you might expect, the setting was pretty noisy and a lot rowdy so listen carefully. The conversation is well worth the extra effort it takes to listen.
11:11 3/6/24
The Leader Quiz
Are you a leader or striving to become a leader? If so, it is important to identify your leadership style and to be aware of why you prefer a particular style. As becomes clear, there are alternative and distinct styles and each has its strengths and limitations. The better you understand your style, the more effective you are as you exploit the strengths of your style while compensating for its limitations. Top dog leadership: If this is your style, you value a high level of personal control over and direct management of your followers. You work best with very cooperative followers and have low tolerance for non-compliance. You run a tight ship. Your followers typically defer to your perspective and are eager to do things your way. They tend to compete for your approval and may prioritize getting your blessing over getting the job done. Lead dog leadership: You are a visionary who sets the organizational course. You reject use of power and control, placing your faith in the good will and principled behavior of your followers. You favor followers who function well with minimal supervision and direction and who naturally see the validity of and value in following your vision. Your style is an excellent fit for kindred spirits but is less compatible for those who may occasionally question your vision or who desire more structure and guidance. Your followers may tend to separate into the consonant majority and the small but dissonant minority. Task leadership: Your strength is in getting the job done and depends on having qualified followers who are ready to work. Your followers are expected to bring the necessary expertise to each task and efficiently handle their piece of the project. This works especially well for followers who are expert at what they do and neither need or want direct supervision or involvement beyond their immediate tasks. It works less well for followers whose expertise may not be an exact fit with the current requirement, who value understanding how what they do fits in with the success of the larger organization, or who value social contact and interaction. It also may be less effective in the event the various elements of the enterprise experience minor to major disruption or variance from expectation. … Technical leadership: You know what needs done and how to do it. As the resident expert, your followers need only follow your instruction and direction. Your style is a particularly good fit for inexperienced followers who are eager to improve their skills and demonstrate their value to the organization. It also works well for more experienced followers who are comfortable deferring to superior knowledge and expertise. It may work less well for followers who value more autonomy and want to become experts in their own right, for those who value independence. Motivational leadership: Although you may not be especially charismatic, even a small measure of charisma adds to followers’ attraction to you and to their desire to align. Your verbal and interpersonal presence are compelling and interject energy and “want to” as your followers coordinate their energy, interests, and aspirations with yours. This works well for motivating less engaged followers but may pull weaker and less centered followers into blindly following, with a minimal sense of consequences or personal responsibility. Values leadership: Your strength is in showing followers why what they and you do is important, why it matters. This works well for followers whose personal views and priorities are already near alignment with yours. You have a knack for encouraging followers deeper into the fold. Alternatively, followers who are more diverse shy away from your leadership and over time, your organization tends to become more and more homogenized. THE QUIZ: Although a few leaders may be restricted to one or more of the six styles, most blend all, depending on the situation or particular circumstance. Even so,
08:31 3/5/24
Driving Everyone Up The Wall
Have you ever wondered how frustrated people manage to be so frustrating? Well, it requires a set of skills that most people don't have but can develop, with practice. If you aspire to be among the frustrating elite, here is a full dozen of the most useful techniques for totally frustrating people. With time and concentration, even amateurs can become proficient at frustrating most anyone. The only requirement is to creatively expand these techniques to numerous relationships and to add new and innovative techniques as you go along. Read and judge for yourself. 1. Always play it safe; and above all, don't take any chances. If it is not in writing, either get it in writing or refuse to do it until it is in writing. If it is already in writing, ask for clarification. Once you have gotten clarification, check with a few other people to see what their understanding is and then ask for a meeting to discuss the confusion everyone is experiencing. 2. Put most of your time and energy into worrying and hoping nothing changes. When things do change, ask for written procedures and clarification. Once you get clarification, suggest that the changes be put off until everyone has had an opportunity to provide input and to discuss the long-term implications of the changes. After everything has been discussed at least twice, take your sweet old time getting with the new program, letting everyone you talk to know that the changes are causing things to back up and nothing is getting done. 3. Avoid taking responsibility for anything. Certainly don't volunteer and be reluctant even if asked. If you can't avoid it, ask for written instructions and check back often for additional instructions and clarification. If someone tells you, "If you can't handle this, I will find someone who can," you should say, "That's an excellent idea. I really have too many other responsibilities to handle this right now anyway." 4. Don't put up with the quirks and idiosyncrasies of other people. You know how to behave and they should too. If there is anything about them or the way they do things that you know isn't the way people should act, mention it to a few people. Say something like, "I suppose you have heard what people are saying about so-and-so." Not one person in a hundred will resist saying, "No, what?" Now just lay it out, being careful to emphasize that, although you don't feel that way personally, other people are getting pretty fed up with it and that you just want to give everyone a head's up about the problems that are brewing out there. 5. Since someone is going to screw something up sooner or later, you might as well just assume that things are a mess. Even if they seem okay right now, all you need to do is wait around for a while. To be on the safe side, you can bring it up in casual conversations now and then. You need only pick a couple of things that could go wrong since they likely will; and if not, something equally bad will happen. As sincerely as you can, say something like this, "Have you thought about the consequences of this or that happening? Don't you think we better think this through more carefully and not be so quick to jump into things we don't thoroughly understand? We have done that before and it looks like we would learn. I would hate to see us end up with egg on our faces again." (If asked, you can mention most anything that didn't work out at anytime in the past.) Now, when something down-the-road does not work out as expected, and something will not work out, you then only need to say in your most concerned voice, "I was worried that this might happen. I will certainly pitch in and help you with your problem but I'm sure not optimistic. It's too bad things are such a mess around here." 6. Since most people are out for themselves, never take anyone on an "as is" basis. Just assume that what they are saying to you and what they are really thinking are not the same. It will help support your insight into human nature to o...
12:42 3/1/24
The Great Mouse Appears to be trapped in the Desert
Our intrepid hunters have tracked the Great Mouse to a remote desert somewhere on the Earth planet where it appears that the Great Mouse may have finally faltered. Will the Great Mouse once more escape or is this the end of the Great Mouse’s world? Join me to learn the fate of the Great Mouse.
11:52 2/29/24
You Screwed UP!
I'll bet you know that person who always knows what went wrong and who screwed up. It's that same person who is quick to point an accusing finger and let everyone around know that they would have never made such a stupid mistake. Big ego? sure. Insensitive? Definitely. Driving the rest of us up the wall? Absolutely. -- So what to do? Press play for a suggestion.
10:44 2/29/24
Collaborative Intelligence
Hackman, Richard J. Collaborative Intelligence: Using Teams to Solve Hard Problems. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2011. A team is akin to an audio amplifier: whatever comes in, be it Mozart or ear-grating static, comes out louder. To perform well, any team must include members who have the knowledge and skill that the task requires; it must recognize which members have which capabilities; and it must properly weight members' inputs--avoiding the trap of being more influenced by those who have high status or who are highly vocal than by those who actually know what they are talking about. The benefits of teamwork come only when capable people work together interdependently to achieve some collective purpose. Face-to-face teams are indicated when creating a high-quality product requires coordinated contributions in real time from a diversity of members who have complementary expertise, experience, and perspectives. We have seen that the five common types of teams discussed--surgical, coacting, face-to-face, distributed, and sand dune--are appropriate in some task and organizational circumstances, but not in others. The social processes the team uses in carrying out the work enhance members' capability to work together interdependently in the future. An effective team is a more capable performing unit when it has finished a piece of work than it was when the work began. … here is the rub: research has shown that leader behavior makes the most constructive difference for teams that are reasonably well structured and supported in the first place. If a team is poorly composed, has an ambiguous or unimportant purpose, and operates in an organization that discourages rather than supports teamwork, there is no way that a leader's hands-on interventions with that team can turn things around. The six enabling conditions are: creating a real team , specifying a compelling direction or purpose for the team, putting the right number of the right people on the team, specifying clear norms of conduct for team behavior, providing a supportive organizational context, and making competent team-focused coaching available to the team. If what holds members tightly together is a shared wish to maintain harmony and good interpersonal relationships, the risks of dysfunction are high. But if cohesiveness stems from a shared commitment to accomplishing the team's task, it can unleash members' energies and talents to generate synergies that never would be seen in a loosely bounded group. One way to lessen the likelihood of purpose-related problems in managerial and professional teams is to establish, as a team's first and most important task, the development of an agreed-upon statement of the team's main purposes. Someone who is internally motivated feels great when he or she has done well, and feels bad when things have gone poorly. It is those internally generated feelings that fuel motivation, not extrinsic rewards or prods from a supervisor. …leaders often put too many people on the team in the first place, either to make sure the team has enough members to accomplish the work or to include at least one representative of every constituency with a stake in the outcome. The perverse result can be such an excess of members than the team has little chance to perform at a level that will please those same constituencies. Psychological safety is a shared belief that the team is a place where one can take personal and interpersonal risks. Members of psychologically safe teams are better able to admit mistakes, more likely to ask for help from teammates, more open about what they do and do not know, and more likely to learn from the expertise of others. The degree to which teams actually use the tools available to them, however, depends considerably on how those tools are made available. There is a world of difference between "We've put some great new software on your desktops that you and your teammat...
12:08 2/26/24
I’m Human but Are You? – Audio TidBits Podcast
Hey folks, there is something I think needs clarified. Since it is going to become an issue sooner or later, we might as well get it out in the open today.   World UFO day was a while back and knowing that got me to thinking. If aliens are smart enough to get from wherever they were to where we are, they are also probably smart enough to do that without our knowing about it. They could easily be among us without our having a clue.   Would they look like aliens? Of course not. They would simply materialize in ways that let them blend in transparently. We might never know that there were aliens among us.   Our only hope is that there are tells that we can detect and then correctly interpret. Tells are little behavioral clues that let us know that all is not what it purports to be. Gamblers talk about poker players showing tells that give away what is going on behind that poker face. Some people claim to be able to read the tells that let them know when someone is lying. It seems likely that aliens would have inadvertent tells that let us know that they are among us but not one of us.   The first issue is just how we can be sure who is and who is not an alien. Try glancing around when you are near other people. Do you notice anything strange or peculiar about them or their behavior? Concentrate on picking up on any tells. Is there anything that gives you second thought?   As a place to start, limit your investigation to people you know well. Those are the people with whom you are the most familiar and in whom you are most likely to recognize alien tells. You are aware of all of their human traits, their universally human behavior. What you are looking for is anything that causes you to wonder if they are actually human.   I don’t know for sure what an alien tell might be but suspect it looks like a momentary disconnect, an instance of weirdness, a since that the other person is not quite with us, is not quite one of us. I’m pretty sure you know what I mean. What’s more, I think it is highly likely that you have picked up on these little tells slipping out with people you know but have not yet classified them as alien. You have just wondered if that person is for real.   They may be for real but maybe not. The unsettling truth is that they may be an alien trying to pass as human. The alien among us may be in the room with us right now or merely an image on TV or YouTube. He or she may be sleeping on the street or pretending to lead a nation. There is no way to know with certainty who is for real and who is only posing. Our only hope is to learn to spot the tells.   I wish I had an answer to the pressing question. I know I am human but are you? My challenge is to figure out the answer to that simple question. In turn, the challenge is yours as well. How can you know if I am human or simply posing.
03:22 2/25/24
It Doesn’t Matter What You say, Usually
Sure, it matters what you say, but not as much or as often as you may think. Press and pick one of these things to say and then just say it the next time you are at a loss for words. If you are questioned, just mention that it was just something you were thinking about. By the time you get another turn, you will likely come up with an ok comment.
06:28 2/24/24
You’re Fired! – Audio TidBits Podcast
James is here to assure you that enthusiasm is the key to getting fired as well as to avoiding the employment ax. It's your choice and your opportunity. Which will it be?
02:50 2/24/24
Are You A Proactive Leader? – Audio TidBits Podcast
This episode of the Leadership shop Podcast shows you the elements of proactive leadership. It gives you the opportunity to consider your approach to leadership and evaluate the extent to which you are a proactive leader. The members of the podcast team take turns presenting the elements so please listen and decide how your leadership fits with proactive leadership.
09:17 2/6/24
Feedback Can Be Dangerous
Give people clear, frequent, and accurate feedback. This unusually complex strategy starts with being as quick to tell people what they have done right as you are to tell them what they have done wrong. That does not sound difficult, does it? What if the order is reversed though? Be as quick to tell people what they have done wrong as you are to tell them what they have done right. Now it sounds odd. It seems like I am suggesting that equal attention needs to be given to both what's right and what's wrong. There you go. That is exactly the point. It is not necessary to go into a lot of detail about leaders who only relate to team members in terms of problems and things they have done wrong. They also point fingers and know every problem is someone else's fault. Their major activity is finding someone, anyone to criticize or blame. You are also well-aware of leaders who appropriately point out problems but seldom point out good work. It is not unusual to see the compliment criticism balance favoring criticism. … I certainly recommend that leaders carefully attend to keeping the balance in balance. For a proactive leader, finding and keeping the balance is based on taking it for granted that people are trying to do a good job. They do not intentionally screw things up, make mistakes, or perform below their abilities. Even more, most everyone on the team consciously and intentionally gives the little extra that moves good work into the excellent category. Their commitment to excellence is a major reason why they are on the team, and excellence is what you get from them, the first time, on time, every time. Here is the rub. With highly successful teams, the expectation is that team members perform at the excellent level every time, no exceptions, no excuses. People are extraordinarily good at what they do. With teams like this, compliments and praise are plentiful and lavish. Even when people are not being complimented directly, they receive indirect compliments and praise from customers and others in the external environment. They are among the best and they know it. It helps to attend to direct praise and acknowledgment of superior performance, but this is merely an extra quality touch in an already self-reinforcing environment. If a team is not doing well, compliments and praise will not, by themselves, help much. If it is doing well, additional praise and compliments will not add much to its success. The real issue here is criticism. Of course, a proactive leader praises publicly and only criticizes in private. He also is very careful to assure his criticism is an exact fit with the problem or issue, not overdoing it or under doing it. Criticism, no matter how well it is managed, introduces a negative element into a fast-moving, stressful environment where people are already on edge and pushing themselves to their limits. The affect is the person who is criticized and those who are coincidentally in the immediate environment become apprehensive and less productive, at least for the moment. The point is that criticism is always temporarily counterproductive. For this reason, a proactive leader is quick to praise but very cautious when criticizing anyone, for any reason. Clear, accurate, and frequent feedback is certainly important. a proactive leader knows as well that providing constructive and effective criticism is the most delicate area of the feedback balancing act. If this feedback is inappropriate or excessive, the person will overreact or withdraw and the outcome is often worse than the original problem. If criticism is not forthcoming when it is appropriate or is not focused enough, the problem or issue persists and likely will get worse. Getting criticism just right, the first time, on time, every time is critical for any leader and an essential ingredient of a winning team. As if the challenge of getting criticism right, the first time, on time, every time were not enough by itself,
12:13 2/4/24
Personality and the Fate of Organizations
Hogan, Robert. Personality and the Fate of Organizations. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 2007. …all managerial jobs have one important feature in common: They help accomplish the work of an organization through other people. This means that managers are responsible for the performance of their staffs. The word leadership has two meanings. On the one hand, leadership refers to a certain kind of position in an organization--a leadership position. On the other hand, leadership refers to a kind of performance--behaving in a leader-like way. By definition, managers are in positions of leadership; whether they exercise it appropriately is another question. The published literature on leadership is immense--actually overwhelming--and growing daily. Effective leaders tend to be resilient and handle stress well, they promote a vision and develop strategies to translate the vision into reality, they solve tactical and strategic problems, they set high goals and work hard to achieve them, they project a sense of self-confidence, they build relationships, they build teams, they follow through on their commitments and treat people fairly, and they plan and organize work. These attributes are no guarantee of success, but they improve the odds of a person being able to build a high-performing team that achieves results. …bad management is the primary cause of employee dissatisfaction--the best predictor of employee dissatisfaction is poor leadership. …bad managers create turnover--people do not quit organizations, they quit bad bosses. … …perceived integrity--keeping one's word, fulfilling one's promises, not playing favorites, not taking advantage of one's position, and not claiming special privileges. …visionary—they [leaders] can explain why the team's activity is important and how it contributes to the future success and well-being of the members. Leaders are leaders are leaders, even when they are bad. …the primary task of leaders is to build a group, persuade the individuals to work together, and then maintain their performance. Leaders with imagination can project a vision that participants find attractive, morally compelling, and worthy of allegiance, whereas incompetent leaders unwittingly project visions that are distasteful to people. …leaders must be perceived as having integrity, decisiveness, competence, vision, persistence, and humility.
03:57 2/3/24
Leaders Are Never Pushy
Where and When are Leadership Connections Initiated As Figure 3 in Ecological Human Services Management shows, leadership connections can be planned or unplanned, as represented in the left column of the figure. Additionally, they can be Leadership Team member initiated or stakeholder initiated, as represented in the middle and right columns of the figure. The result is leadership connections that are planned and member initiated, planned and stakeholder initiated, unplanned and member initiated, and unplanned and stakeholder initiated. If the Leadership Team restricts its membership to people who do well on the earlier Leadership Team membership assessment, the four types of connection initiations shown in Figure Three are manageable for the members. They are comfortable with all four types. Let's expand on the four initiation types. Planned initiations are those where either the member or the stakeholder decides ahead of time to initiate a connection and then pursues the connection. This may start with a letter or phone call, but may as commonly start with either the member or stakeholder planning ahead of time to introduce himself or herself at a meeting or other gathering. A few cautions are in order when considering planned connections. The Leadership Team member should initiate the connection personally. If possible, do not have someone else make the arrangements. For example, do not have a secretary, co-worker, or another stakeholder arrange for the first meeting. If initiating the connection by letter or phone, do not ask the stakeholder to contact you. For example, if you leave a message on voice mail, let the person know who you are, briefly why you are calling, and that you will try again at another time. You can leave your number at the end, letting the person know returning the call is fine if they prefer. Just do not give any hint you expect them to call you. €“ When calling anyone, take a minute to decide before you place the call exactly what you will say, if you need to leave a voice message. Do not wait until you hear the beep to think about what you want to say. Additionally, never initiate a connection by email. In general, avoid emails with stakeholders all together, unless the other person sends an email to you. Even then, a phone call is better and a face-to-face contact is better yet. Email is just too impersonal for leadership connections. Also, do not stop by someone's home or office without an appointment, expecting the person to meet with you. This is both rude and inconsiderate. … Further, do not call a stakeholder on his or her cell phone or send him a text message, unless he has given you the number personally and asked you to use the number. Do not send text messages to stakeholders unless you are replying to a text message the stakeholder sent to you. For both planned and unplanned connection initiations, there is one exception to the above caution about personally initiating a connection. When at a meeting or other gathering, asking someone you already know to introduce you to someone they already know is usually acceptable to the potential stakeholder. You can then say as part of the introduction you were hoping you would get a chance to talk with him or her. This lets him know you have an agenda beyond the social pleasantry and starts your relationship on an open and honest basis and clarifies the role of the person making the introductions. If it is not awkward under the circumstances, ask the potential stakeholder if you can call him later to arrange a time to talk more. Do not try to pursue your agenda then unless the potential stakeholder specifically asks you to do so. Just give him your card and call later, if he agrees. As we saw earlier, good Team members are never pushy.
05:10 2/2/24
Versus
Thanks for Joining me. Let me share a story with you. It’s an example of what most of us have been taught about conflict resolution, working out differences, and more generally about working and living among each other. • We have been taught to be more tolerant and less judgmental. • We have been instructed to respect and value our differences and diversity. •We have learned ways to communicate more effectively by being better listeners and more receptive to those who disagree with us, those who do not value our cause and point of view. • We have been shown the wisdom of moving beyond our limited incentives and personal values to embrace the greater good, the collective interest. We might think of this as consecutive subordination: Our interests are subordinate to family interests, family interests are subordinate to community interests, community interests are subordinate to national interests, and humanity rules all. Do we agree on the list? Of course not. We seldom agree on much unless we are associated with the same cause, the same perspective. Even then, our consensus hangs together on a very thin thread. Now for the story. It should work like this. We have been taught that it can work like this. We have been instructed to go along with this approach to harmony and mutual success. But we know that it will not work. Even if it seems to be working it eventually fizzles out. Factions emerge, differences intensify, and harmony retreats. As you consider the story, I only have two questions: • Why do we persist in trying to resolve our collective issues using the same approaches and strategies we have been taught since we were too young to understand, knowing that the chances of lasting success are slim to none? • If our conflict resolution paradigm no longer works -- assuming that it ever did – and knowing that most will not agree to any new paradigm that might be proposed, how will you approach conflict resolution at the family, community, national, and humanity levels without reverting to the faltering paradigm we have all been taught? The Rift Within: Rebuilding Riverton's Community Chapter 1: The Fractured Community The small town of Riverton had always prided itself on its tight-knit community, where people of varying ages and socioeconomic statuses lived harmoniously side by side. It was a place where neighbors knew each other's names and shared in each other's joys and sorrows. But as time passed, a subtle shift occurred, disrupting the tranquility that once defined Riverton. It all began innocently enough, with a group of enthusiastic individuals who were passionate about a specific cause. Their dedication was admirable, but little did they know that their newfound focus would soon consume their lives, altering the dynamics of the entire community. Randy Wayne White's words echoed through the minds of the townspeople: When you hook up with a cause you forfeit your interest in relating to those not associated with the cause. Initially, the members of this cause-oriented group embraced their mission fervently, united by a common purpose. However, as they delved deeper into their cause, they inadvertently distanced themselves from those not associated with it. Conversations became focused solely on their agenda, leaving little room for connection with others. This isolation gradually seeped into the fabric of Riverton, causing a ripple effect that spread throughout the community. As other groups emerged, supporting different causes and rallying behind diverse beliefs, the once unified town became a fragmented patchwork of clashing ideologies. With each passing day, the divide grew wider, and the once- cherished unity was replaced with opposition and hostility. Riverton became a battleground where the original cause was pitted against other causes, and the community suffered as a consequence. Ideas were met with resistance, innovation stifled, and compassion was overshadowed by animosity. Yet,
16:49 11/7/23
Dream Magic
  Thanks for joining me. I am sharing a story with you that highlights both an opportunity and a trap. The opportunity is for great success and fulfillment. The trap is for failure and disappointment. If your dream, your passion requires putting all of your eggs in one basket, please do what you've got to do. It may work out just fine. At least, you need to believe it will. I'm sure you see the trap. Ignore it at your risk; and if all of your eggs are in that basket, the risk is extreme. Better would be to hold back an egg or two, just in case. Since I seem to be into old sayings, here's another one. Don't burn your bridges unless you will never need to go back across; and even then, don't burn them if there is any acceptable way to keep them open. My point is that this story could be true but the odds of its being true for you or me are slim to none. Does that mean that we shouldn't go for it? It definitely does not. We should. Here is the point. Hold back an egg or two and don't burn any bridges if you can at all avoid starting the fire. Now for the story. Just substitute your dream, your passion for those of the guys in the story. Give it your best shot. Just know how you will recover if your shot misses. Chapter 1: A Familiar Face The hustle and bustle of daily life in a big city was something that Ben had become used to since he'd moved to Los Angeles. It was a far cry from his childhood home in the small town of Leetonville, Ohio, where life was a lot quieter and simpler. It was during one afternoon stroll, when he was walking along the busy streets of downtown, that he noticed something out of the ordinary. A man walking towards him, wearing a blue plaid shirt and a baseball cap, that appeared very familiar. Ben had never seen this man before, yet he could not shake the feeling that he knew him from somewhere. The man's face was so familiar that it seemed as if he had known Ben for years. As the man got closer, Ben could swear that he recognized his eyes and the way he walked, his mannerisms, everything about him. He was confident that he had seen this man before, but he wasn't sure where. The two men stopped in their tracks, with Ben standing in front of the mysterious stranger. The man looked up at Ben and smiled, and it all clicked. "Ben?" the man said, "Is that you?" A wave of recognition swept over Ben's face. It was his old neighbor, Robert! Robert had moved away when Ben was still a child, so he was understandably surprised to see him here in Los Angeles. The two men embraced and shared stories of their lives since then, and Ben was delighted to learn that Robert had come to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of becoming a movie director. With the memories of their old home in Leetonville, Ohio flooding back, Ben saw that his old neighbor was still the same old Robert he had known and loved all those years ago. Chapter 2: Rekindling Dreams As Ben and Robert sat down at a nearby café, the memories of their childhood in Leetonville, Ohio flooded their conversation. They reminisced about their adventures in the woods behind their houses, their shared love for baseball, and the countless hours spent dreaming about their futures. Ben couldn't help but feel a pang of nostalgia as he listened to Robert talk about his passion for filmmaking. It reminded him of the dreams they had shared as kids, the dreams that had slowly faded away as they grew older and life took them on different paths. "I never thought I'd see you again, Robert," Ben said, a hint of sadness in his voice. "It's amazing how life brings people back together." Robert nodded, a wistful smile on his face. "Yeah, it's funny how things work out. I always knew I wanted to make movies, but life got in the way. I got caught up in the routine, the expectations, and I let go of my dreams." Ben could relate. He had always dreamed of becoming a writer, but the practicality of life had led him down a different path.
15:17 11/2/23
3 Dose Truth
Thanks for joining me. I have been away for a while but am glad to be back with you. While I was gone, my website has had a facelift. Check out GaryCrow.net to see how the update went. I have been thinking about what's true and how we can ever know. Although I don't personally have any certainty, I did come across this 3 Dose Truth strategy and thought you might appreciate it. It's just something to consider. Give it a couple of minutes and come to your own conclusion. In these days of fake news and intentional misinformation, it's easy to wonder if anything we read or hear is true. Maybe even more alarming is our inability to know who to believe, who to trust. And of course, that is the point of fake news and misinformation. The goal is not so much to get us to believe false this or untrue that as it is to fuel mistrust and doubt: mistrust of our political leaders and doubt about the intentions and motivations that underpin our government and institutions. In The Fine Art of Baloney Detection, Carl Sagan was definitely on point when he counseled, "Finding the occasional straw of truth awash in a great ocean of confusion and bamboozle requires intelligence, vigilance, dedication and courage. But if we don't practice these tough habits of thought, we cannot hope to solve the truly serious problems that face us — and we risk becoming a nation of suckers, up for grabs by the next charlatan who comes along." It's harsh but certainly self-evident that "If you don't control your mind, someone else will." John Allston points out the obvious, but it has gotten to where even the obvious is suspect. In testimony to this sad state of affairs, William Safire advises, "Never assume the obvious is true." At the extreme, we get to where we mistrust what we hear, what we see, what we think; and if the insidious erosion of trust persists, we come to distrust our personal judgment and our self-confidence falters. There is an antidote for this insidious erosion of trust, but I doubt that many would think it is an easy medicine to swallow. The first dose is to give up our reliance on group-think. "Don't think you're on the right road just because it's a well-beaten path." I don't know who said that first and doubt that it matters much. The value is in being reminded that we are responsible for what we think, what we believe, and just because lots of well-meaning folks have signed onto the trip does not make it okay for us to thoughtlessly follow. Anatole France assures us that "If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing." It's also true that if fifty million people think or do a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing. It's up to us to guard against being just another one of the fools. The second dose serving as an antidote for this insidious erosion of trust is to give up on our habitual reliance on simply accepting the perspectives, views and opinions of people with the loudest voices or the most followers. Let it suffice to remind us of Buddha's advice, "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it — even if I have said it — unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." The third dose is perhaps the hardest to swallow. Grace Hopper argued that "The most damaging phrase in the language is, it's always been done that way." Variations on the point are mental crutches such as "I've always thought…," or "I've always believed…, " or "Everyone knows…." The notion is that once I think or believe anything, that's the way it is forever. Granted, it's being consistent; but as Bernard Berenson cautioned, "Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." Or perhaps you prefer George Bernard Shaw's take, "Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything." Even so, Glen Beaman has a point, "Stubbornness does have its helpful features. You always know what you are going to be thinking tomorrow.
09:44 10/16/23