Posts Tagged ‘Self-Reliance’

…who’s happy?

May 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Memorial Day, in the US is always a bittersweet time of year. A time for reflection and remembrance for those that died during conflict. Also, it marks the beginning of Summer vacation season The few days leading up to the day, are usually marked with mixing of the adulation and reverence. The pinnacle of this mixing, often culminates with the utterance of “Happy Memorial Day!”

Really…do you want to wish someone who has lost a loved one a happy day?

Many people have forgotten the meaning of this observance and in 2000, The National Moment of Remembrance resolution was passed. It asks that at 3pm local time, that all Americans “voluntarily and informally observe in their own way, a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence, or listening to Taps. I have done this for years and do not think it is too much to ask, considering the cost.

Most people also do not realize, that traditional observance requires that the US flag is raised briskly to the top of the staff, then slowly lowered to the half-staff position – remaining there until noon. Only then, is it raised back to full staff for the rest of the day. Flying the flag at half-staff is a remembrance to the more than one million service members who lost their lives for their country. The notion being that, at noon, their memory is raised by the living – to continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.

So take some time, if you will, and remember the fallen. Wear a silk poppy…then carry on into the summer season.

Don’t, however, wish anyone a happy Memorial Day…that’s just

…make wise choices






…which side are you on?

September 30, 2012 Leave a comment

I was reading an article the other day interviewing Tom Morello, one of my favorite artists – and a funny few lines came up. A certain political candidate (I think they all suck by the way) was commenting on some of bands that he enjoyed – those that partially shaped him.

One of the bands, this person was influenced by Rage Against the Machine (another favorite of mine), in which, Tom played for a bit. The amusing portion of this interview was where Tom recognized and quite intelligently (actually one of the most well articulated responses I’ve heard to date) retorted with a litany of reasons as to why this political candidate clearly had no clue about the music as people like him were the target!

Now, in true sk fashion, I’ll not even bother discussing the leftist views expressed by the bands and the hypocrisy of their messaging – now being multi-millionaires. And I want to make it perfectly clear that a certain death row inmate (that had his death sentance commuted to life w/o parole) actually deserved to die….but I suppose we all die in the end….that’s why they call it the end.

It’s all about the music – and I am not a political candidate. Message here is that if you are going to reference something in a context where it may have an impact on your (stated) belief system – make damn sure you are not supporting the opposition!

I am sure they have enough ammo on you…

…make wise choices,


…selective outrage

September 1, 2012 1 comment

I am often reminded of how people react, when times are tough…when times actually get tough. How the same situation can be perceived differently depending on a person’s subjective ways (yep – another constant theme in my writings) and how they behave in a perceived authority vacuum. As the remnants of Hurricane Isaac start to recede from NOLA, I recall certain elements of the press making some interesting comments regarding individuals trying to survive (and thrive) during Katrina.

Same scenario, different types of people…praise for one….outrage for the other – right outrage but for the wrong reason.

“Look at those people looting, have they no shame for doing this to their own community!”…..”It is heartbreaking but motivating to see the resourcefulness of these brave foragers.”

So I got to thinking…with my abstract little brain…without getting into the obvious elephant in the room, that is 10 feet tall, on fire and yelling “pay attention to me!!!”

Individuals had an opportunity (free crap), a need (to be debated) and a situation (disaster, whereas security was compromised)….the Social Contract was broken.

The lesson here is what motivates individuals and how they react when there is no (apparent) consequence to their action (perceived authority vacuum). Some do indeed loot and do harm to one another while others forage to survive and try to retain their persona. The point is we never truly know what we are capable of until we are presented with the opportunity, a need and a situation.

Are you a forager or a looter?

…make wise choices,


…object permanence

January 30, 2012 2 comments

We are all hoarders.

Most do not appear on television, covered in filth and living amongst feces covered rodents. There are plenty of valid reasons to store things and we are not talking about that…we are talking about the aberration of that.

It dawned on me the other day that I am an information hoarder, compulsively collecting, categorizing and storing information for no other reason than pure habit.

For me, that, was email – the MS Outlook PST file storage compulsion.

I had this epiphany when I was moving from a Windows 7 laptop to a Mac Book Air. Simply put, Macs don’t support having a PST file (aside from a one time import of mailboxes).

I’ll not delve into a useless religious diatribe of why one vs the other, because both are truly suitable for use in the business world. There are some advantages and disadvantages for each one. I needed something very light, powerful and killer battery life. If you are thinking iPad, please stop reading now, close your browser and punch yourself to sleep. I love my iPad…but this is not the time for that discussion.

I had not realized how liberating it was to actually delete emails (of course nothing in the digital world is truly deleted) and focus on more productive activities versus filing and searching. I realized that I could rely on a combination of internally and externally hosted collaboration services.  Did I have every email that I sent and received at my fingertips? No I did not. Did I need to have that? Hell no!

What are you hoarding?

…make wise choices.


Categories: Work Life Tags: , ,

…don’t poop your pants

January 7, 2012 Leave a comment

As I was leaving for a trip the other day, my 4 year-old daughter and I had a conversation that ended in a peculiar way. Not odd for a 4-year old, I imagine, as she confidently said “see you later daddy hope you poop your pants.”

I gave her a chuckle and reassured her that I would not (this time) and went on my merry way. I actually thought about this for both airport layovers that day.

What’s the point here?

How we leave a conversation is just as important as how we start one. How many times have we thoughtfully engaged in a conversation with an individual or a group, only to disengage in a fashion that did not match the conversational ingress.

Maybe it was due to time constraints, maybe the information exchange was sufficient or maybe you just didn’t want to talk (or listen) any longer. Provide sufficient thought to how you disengage as that will often leave a lasting impression.

…make wise choices,


…do you know how to operate your equipment?

November 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Something interesting happened to me this past weekend that I am compelled to share. I was taking the holiday photos of the children in the home studio, as we usually do this time of year. This year was especially challenging as we added a new one to the mix and he does take a little bit more coaxing than the older kids to strike that perfect pose.We were snapping away, while cleverly trying to keep the kids smiling and engaged. A juggling act, as we were also trying to have them look at the lens instead of my wife, who was standing slightly off camera.

After a bout 45 minutes or so, varying poses, begging, pleading and yelling – my softbox/strobe lights overheated. I scurried to stick on my on-shoe flash (remember folks I am a wanna be photographer here…) and had some serious issues with the camera settings as I had dialed everything in to use the off-shoe strobe flashes. Kids melted down….well I did actually…shoot over. Then, almost summing up the entire session, got the gentle poke of you just don’t know how to operate your equipment. At first my reaction was that of any normal person, angry and defensive…not a good recipe for the current situation….we’ll fade to black here and see how I can draw parallelism to the point I am trying to make.

The reality is that I was relying too much on post-processing (ala – Photoshop), versus really taking the time to learn the mechanics of all the equipment that I have invested in over the years. So there is the hook – do we as leaders of people invest the time to ensure that team members have the knowledge necessary to use the equipment that is at their disposal? At times, we spend money and time on acquiring new products/services with very little afterthought on intelligent sustainability.

Invest in learning as much as we invest in technology…

…make wise choices.


…the buck stops here…no…here…no…over here…

November 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Recent events have uncovered an interesting question. When something goes wrong – how does a team respond post-recovery in terms of accountability? Some say that the member of the team is held accountable in some fashion for the mistake, others believe that its their leadership that is held accountable. Still others claim that these actions detract from the purpose of the team concept and ethos, celebrating successes and failures together.

This is a bit of a slippery slope, of course depending on the nature of the error and its impacts. How does a leader hold his team accountable, and in turn, how is that leader held accountable in a fashion that does not stifle initiative, innovation and thoughtful risk-taking?

Ultimately, it boils down to corporate culture, the nature of the mistake as well as over all team cohesion. I am not talking about repetitive mistakes that would have another, less pleasant avenue for remediation – but mistakes every now and again from an otherwise high-performing team. This is one of those delicate balancing acts that leader of people needs to come to terms with early on, as it will chart the path for how team members’ achievements and misses are perceived within the team, organization and company.

How do you lead when things go south?

…make wise choices,


…importance of autonomy

September 13, 2011 2 comments

I have learned a few lessons over the past week, mostly thanks to hurricanes Irene and Lee, that I would like to share;

1) Perspective: No matter how bad I think I have it and no matter how much damage I have sustained to my basement due to flooding, others have it worse…much worse. Looking at my family safe and sound, although inconvenience is a heck of a lot better than the alternative. Seeing entire streets with houses inundated with water up to their second floor…terrible…but amazing. Seeing a river crest and inundate a bridge and an entire street wash away…terrifying but full of awe.

2) Transient Materiality: A re-affirmation that things can always be replaced…people, substituted (in some situations)…but never replaced. A new couch is just a Macy’s away… a new person…not so much.

3) Self-Reliance in America is dying a slow evident death. Having to run around Lowes and Home depot to cobble together a sump system after a localized disaster (long story) was an adventure that allowed me to see just how unprepared people are for the unexpected. All of the so called emergency services (plumbers, damage restoration companies, roofers…etc) are too busy to help as there is a long long line. Learn how to do things yourself.

Putting together a readiness plan for “next time” will be something that will be empowering versus the helpless feeling one experiences watching nature overrun your living space.

Learn to live, learn to survive, learn to prevail.

…make wise choices.