Category Archives: Style

Get a Real Title

People who know me know that it is only on the very rare occasion that I may get just the teensiest bit sarcastic when people, places, things, etc, strike me as being silly. I enjoy humor. I seem to find it everywhere, even when I am not especially looking for it. I guess a more correct phrasing would be that the humor and silliness of the business world just seems to find me. Occasionally my approach and public comments regarding what I find funny aggravate my wife, and now she reminds all of our friends not to encourage me when the silliness finds me and my sarcastic twin emerges and starts commenting. Fortunately she is not around right now, and yet another source of silliness in the business world has found me, so please bear this in mind.

I guess I am lost as to what has occurred within the business world that has enabled people to bestow upon themselves, or upon others the latest collection of self aggrandizing job titles that appear to be proliferating on both resumes and the online networking sites that everyone in business now seems to be members of. If I didn’t know better I would say that it looks as though there is a tacit competition amongst the various business players to see who can come up with the most grandiose job title for themselves. If that is indeed the case we seem to have quite a lot of “winners” out there.

I have to believe that the current “Title Wave” started with the many comedians of the past and their stand-up comedy routine monologue searches for laughter. I think the great George Carlin was one of the first to refer to garbage men as “sanitation engineers” as a way of uplifting their roles in society, and Rosanne Barr refused to refer to herself as a house wife and opted for the more resume friendly “domestic goddess”. Who would have thought that from these humble and humorous beginnings business people would now generate an entire new lexicon of job titles, with the only difference being that today’s purveyors of new age job titles are not trying to elicit even the smallest chuckle from the audiences reading their resumes.

In looking at some of the various job and occupational titles that are now being crafted with such care, they appear at least to me, to fall into three general categories:
• Chiefs
• Eastern Philosophers
• People born in or lost in the 1980’s
I am sure that there must be others, and possibly even potential sub categories of the ones I have named, but for me they seem to all fit into these three. It is interesting how that works out. With everyone striving to differentiate themselves from everyone else, they have succeeded in all looking relatively if not inanely the same. I suppose it is the same phenomenon that causes all teenagers to grow their hair long so that they can look and be different. If they all have long hair, how can you tell which one is different? But I digress.

In this case “Chiefs” are not the professional football team from Kansas City. There used to be a politically incorrect saying that when a business was deemed to be too management heavy it was said to have “too many chiefs and not enough Indians”. This however no longer seems to be the case based on the ongoing proliferation of “chief” titles. In the past there were essentially two “Chief” titles: the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Chief Operations Officer (COO) as the primary chief titles in an organization. Now we must include a few of the more recent ones that I have witnessed:
• Chief Visionary Officer – okay, you got me here. Some people are visionary and some are not. How do you get to be the Chief visionary? Business keratotomy?
• Chief Creative Officer – Same as above. Some are creative and some aren’t. I guess the person that came up with this one first gets to claim the prize.
• Chief Thought Provoker – While I am always in favor of more thinking in business, I don’t think I would hire this person to make sure we do it.
• Chief Inspiration Officer – Now I’m really starting to get lost, or inspired. I’m not really sure which.
• Chief Elation Officer – I think we have officially made it into the silly realm.
• Chief Instigation Officer – I would like to see this job description. How would you do succession planning for this one?
• Chief People Herder – Despite the title, I can see a need for this function. I think most of us refer to this role as a “Project Manager”.

I could not make these up. While I like to think of myself as being somewhat visionary and creative, I know I am not that visionary or creative.

The next general set of new age titles that are appearing seem to be associated in one way or another with Eastern philosophies. I am not sure why. Perhaps the owners of the following titles watched the movie “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” one time too many (which in itself would be an oxymoron as watching it one time could be construed as one time too many) in their more formative years. A few of these new titles are:
• Marketing (or insert any other business discipline here) Ninja – I can stretch to see the skill level association, but the rest of the silent killer / warrior connotation is lost on me.
• Marketing (or insert any other business discipline here) Guru – Same as above I guess, but probably not as warrior like. Marketing seems to attract these types of titles. The last group that I am aware of that had a “Guru” was the Beatles in the 1960’s.
• Marketing (or insert any other business discipline here) Sensei – Staying with our bad movie theme, this how the bad guys in the original Karate Kid movie referred to their teacher. True martial artists refer to their instructor as “Mister – insert last name” (as in Mr. Miyagi in the afore mentioned Karate Kid) as a sign of respect.

Eastern philosophy has always had a role in business. I have extolled the virtues of Sun Tzu, and the twenty fifth century B.C. Chinese general’s “Art of War” several times in the past from a strategy point of view. Despite my appreciation of the book, I don’t think I would try to title myself as a “Business General”. On the other hand, maybe I should.

The final group of new position titles seems to me to be best associated with the 1980’s. Just like “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “The Karate Kid” may have engendered the Eastern philosophy bent of new business titles, it seems that other 1980s movies and cultural phenomenon may be responsible for other titles. Here are a few of the more entertaining examples:
• (Insert a business discipline here) Evangelist – Weren’t Jim and Tammy Faye Baker television Evangelists? Just asking.
• (Insert a business discipline here) Magician / Wizard – I get the feeling some people played Dungeons and Dragons (a lot) in their formative years.
• (Insert a business discipline here) Jedi – Yet another movie (Star Wars) reference. Just because you call yourself one, does not mean the Force will be with you.
• (Insert a business discipline here) Warrior / Overlord / Badass / Demigod – These were lame descriptors back in the 1980s. They don’t work now in business either.

I understand the desire for people to set themselves apart from others when it comes to who they are or what they do, but have we allowed ourselves to propeller off into a relatively strange place for business when we use and proliferate such titles. These are actual titles – if you don’t believe me, go out on Linkedin, the business networking site, and do a search on any one of them. I suspect you will get several hits on each one.

I know it sounds boring, but I think most businesses are interested in what talents people have, what they can do and what value they can bring to the organization. If the targeted organization is responsible for creating new job titles, then we probably have some over achievers identified here. If the organization is interested in getti
ng on, and ahead with the business disciplines and functions that drive a business, then they will probably be looking for those that can find a better way to demonstrate their business prowess and skills.

On the other hand, maybe I should just start auditioning for the newly created position of Chief Sarcasm and Silliness Ninja Evangelist.

Introduce Yourself

Some time ago I went out to a dinner party / birthday party for a friend of mine. This in itself is something of an anomaly in that I am not renowned for my witty conversational capabilities and hence do not get invited out to many parties. I suspect they actually wanted my wife to attend and couldn’t figure out a way to get her to come that didn’t involve inviting me, so they went ahead and just invited me but made sure to tell me that they wanted me to bring my wife.

I had met this friend many years ago when we were in a dads and daughters organization that was designed to get dads to spend time and develop relationships with their daughters. We started when our daughters were in kindergarten, and it was one of the best organizations I have ever been involved in. I would tell you the name of it but it has since been declared to not be a “politically correct” name, and they have changed it. I liked the politically incorrect name and won’t relate the new “corrected” name here. I will say that the old name had something to do with Native Americans and princesses, and I think my daughter and I had a great time together in this organization.

The point of that somewhat lengthy introduction was to bring up the point that there were several people at this birthday party that I had never met before. I suspected that these unknown people were friends of my friend’s lady friend. I hope you followed that. I suspected that this had to be the case since my friend was not friendly enough to have that many friends. As you might guess, it was a friendly get together with many of his friends and several of her friends.

Another interesting point that I noticed was that due to apparent comfort levels and familiarity his friends tended to sit together on one side of the large table and her friends tended to sit together on the other side. This generated two sets of conversations but with little to no interaction between the groups. It reminded me of several customer meetings I had attended in the past where the customers sat on one side of the table and talked amongst themselves and the vendor sat on the other side of the table and talked amongst themselves until the actual meeting got started.

The actual party had not really gotten started yet either, so there seemed to be only one thing to do, and I did it. I stood up, now with all eyes upon me, and walked over to the other side of the table and started introducing myself to each individual that I didn’t know on that side of the table. I introduced myself to everybody. Men, women, friends, everybody got an introduction and a handshake. I don’t think the waiter really cared who I was, and his hand was still damp from wiping off the table but that didn’t stop me from introducing myself to him either. The only thing missing was the exchange of business cards, but who brings business cards to a friend’s birthday party?

That being done, everybody else joined in and started to introduce themselves, and like the customer meeting where everyone does their own introductions, the energy level of the party started to rise.

Of course it could also have been the abundance of wine, but for purposes of this discussion I am going to go with the increased human interaction as the primary catalyst for getting things moving. I have witnessed this same phenomenon at the aforementioned customer meetings, the vast majority of which did not serve wine.

The fact is that given the opportunity, people will interact. They will interact even better if they know who they are interacting with. The best way for them to know who they are interacting with is to take the first step and introduce yourself.

As I think more about it, I find it interesting that my daughter (now in college) has also recognized my view of introductions to the point where she now instructs her various boyfriends to walk up to me, introduce themselves, shake my hand and look me in the eye, if they truly wish to receive a passing grade from me. I can’t possibly be as fierce as she has made me out to be, but I find I do like the ones that do provide an introduction without being asked. On the other hand, those that have shown up at our house and honked the horn out by the curb in order to get her to come out in anticipation of avoiding this friendly contact have been known to wait for a significant amount of time, and then eventually having to come to the door and go through the face to face introduction anyway, before they are allowed to escort my daughter out on their planned activities.

I have since started to apply this self introduction process in several instances other than customer meetings and parties. While working in a large company it is not uncommon to see or pass by other people in the hallways. In the past it seemed it was proper protocol to just nod or smile at these people in order to acknowledge their existence, and not much more. I now stop and introduce myself. I start the conversation. I ask them what they do and where they are located in the building, and provide them the same information.

In doing this I have met several interesting people in the organization and have gotten a better idea of who has which responsibilities. I have also found that it is in fact possible to engage Co-Ops, new hires and other members of the so called “millennial” generation in at least basic conversations. In the past I had just assumed that there was something more interesting occurring on their smart phone than in the interpersonal surrounding of the office environment.

It seems that subconsciously we all understand and accept the premise that if we are really going to work together, we are going to have to know and understand each other. It was interesting to me that it truly became a conscious approach to this topic for me as a result of my friend’s social event. I assume I had been only partially aware of it at any of the previous business events that I had been party to. Perhaps this was due to the fact that as a matter of course there is usually a formal introductory portion of any business meeting agenda. It can be handled by the leader of the meeting or each individual may be allotted the opportunity introduce themselves to the group. We all get the opportunity to inform each other of who we are and what we do before we get started, right?

But it is not the same.

Standing up and being introduced, or introducing yourself to the crowd is not the same as walking over and introducing yourself personally to an individual and shaking their hand. It doesn’t carry the same interpersonal value. It doesn’t show the same amount of care and effort to make that connection. It is about as impersonal way to meet people as is possible. As I noted before, it is just a protocol for a meeting.

As we continue to become more of a virtualized society, where more and more of our communications are conducted electronically, we seem to be losing the ability to make that face to face interpersonal connection. It is interesting that as I continue to push myself back into this realm with the people I meet and those whom I used to just pass by in the office hallway, it seems to be both unexpected and well received.

It is a small step, but I think we all need to get back into the habit of introducing ourselves and making that interpersonal connection with those people we meet, and those people we work with, and especially those people who want to date my daughter. I know I think better of those boyfriends of hers that make the initial introductory effort, and I think the same applies for those of us that make the same introductory effort in our professional environments as well.

The Executive Suite

It’s hard to say what will get me started on a topic. It may be something I see or notice. It might be some offhand comment that I hear. Something clicks and off I go. I recently visited a customer friend of mine and went through the usual security screening before entering the building. I presented a photo ID, filled out the form on who I was seeing, passed through the Magnetic Resonance Imaging device similar to what we now go through at the airport, provided a blood sample for disease testing and had the inside of my mouth swabbed for DNA testing. I was then issued a day pass security badge and allowed to enter the building. I then took the 14 minute elevator ride to the top floor where I got off and waited. Yes, waited for someone else, with an entirely different and more special access badge to come and let me into the Executive Suite of offices to see my friend.

I guess it is time for me to address one of the last bastions of corporate elitism in business, the executive suite. Sometimes called the “ivory tower”, sometimes called “mahogany row”, the executive suit has been a source of wonder for me, for years.

The executive suite is that part of the organization’s building or campus that for whatever reason is off limits to everyone, including the mere mortals that work there. It is the part of the building where the access door is locked, and even in the age of high security magnetic badge access for entry into the building, those that are not chosen cannot enter the executive suite. I understand the concept of security for the staff and the building, but exactly who are the executives in mahogany row protecting themselves from with this incremental access denial point, inside a building which is populated by their own employees? If you are going to be allowed in the building, surely you should be cleared to access all floors and regions of that building, right?

I have mentioned many times that I am old school when it comes to business. That does not mean that I particularly ascribe to the way things were done. It just means that I am aware of the way things were. The executive suite to me is a part of the way things were. It has even entered our lexicon of corporate terms in that “getting a key to the executive washroom” is the sign of an executive’s success. I don’t know why executives would need a special bathroom, but then I don’t understand why they are locking the access to their offices from their own employees and staffs. It is also probably a vestige of the hierarchical business world that has run its course and worn out its usefulness. In the age of political correctness, egalitarianism and immediate access, having senior management working behind an extra set of locked doors seems to me to be both an anachronism and the wrong message to send to the rest of the corporate team.

I have worked in and visited several locations where the executive suite was a cherished and protected aspect of the corporate culture. You longed to feel the extra padding and more plush carpet under your feet. You got to appreciate the upgraded office art and inspirational images that adorned the walls. To be called in there was to walk on hallowed ground. After being in an executive suite, walking around on the industrial strength, geometrically patterned, low wear, indoor – outdoor carpet that the rest of the building walks on just won’t do.

Most of the time the executive area is cloistered away from the prying eyes of the uninitiated, behind a solid wooden door. Occasionally, and perhaps a little perniciously, there is sometimes a glass door as the access point to mahogany row. That way the general business population can walk by, and see how the executives live, much like the children that walk by the window of a candy store only to gaze upon that which they cannot have. I could also assume that the reason for a glass door would be so that the casual observer could per chance walk by and gaze upon an executive in the midst of his work day and marvel at his or her work ethic.

However it has been my experience that executives upon entering the pearly gates of the executive suite immediately go into their offices and close the door so that they have yet another barrier separating them from the masses. With the door closed and being fully sequestered from the herd it is hard to guess what they are doing.

The locked door to the executive suite seems to be a vestige of a bygone era. I once had the opportunity to work in an environment where the only access to the executive suite was by a very small, cramped elevator. The various stairwells were locked from the inside to keep people from gaining entry to the hallowed ground (or in this case floor).

I finally worked up the gumption to ask the residents why the limited access and the small elevator. I was told that the facility was actually built in the 1950’s, and back then there was a genuine concern that if the labor resources on the manufacturing floor became so disenchanted with the management team that they decided to charge them, they wanted the elevator to be so small as to limit the number of them that could access the executive area at one time. This is a true story.

I then noted that the 1950’s were more than half a century ago and that it might be time to change the facility’s configuration. I was looked at as though I was from another planet. I actually seem to get that look a lot. Still it was interesting to me how this segmentation of the executives from in this case the waged manufacturing staff had far outlived its usefulness (if it was really ever useful at all), but that there was no desire to change it, even fifty plus years later. In fact there seemed to be subtle and tacit resistance to any mention of changing it.

I think this is in part due to the idea that so many people passed by the outside of that special door on their way up that when they actually get to have an office on the secured side of it, they want to continue perpetuating the segregation. It seems to be that if they went through the wondering of what was going on in there and the pining to be a part of it, then everybody else will have to go through the same wondering.

I have tried to think of other organizations that have retained this same idea of general access for the standard population, but segregation of a specific group away from the rest. It took a while, but I actually came up with a couple of institutions that initially started out with this organizational configuration and have maintained it, quite successfully for literally hundreds of years.

These institutions are prisons and zoos. It seems to me that the only potential difference is that the executive suite door locks are on the inside and the prisons and zoos have the door locks on the outside. This would logically lead to the question: Did the Executive Suite get it wrong when the put the lock to the door on the inside?

The answer to that question seems to fully depend on which side of the door to the executive suit that you are currently working.


What is the first question that gets asked when something goes wrong? This should be an easy one for everybody. The first question that is asked after something goes wrong, or not according to plan is: Who is to blame? It seems to be built into our DNA that we look for someone to blame. This process has evolved into an art form in recent times. It is now even the subject for tongue in cheek commercials, which in my book means blaming someone else for our own performance (good or bad) is now part of our social, and business fabric.

If we happen to fall off a ladder, we blame the ladder manufacturer for not putting a warning label of some sort on the ladder that clearly states that ladders are in fact dangerous pieces of equipment and that the scaling of them should not be attempted by the uncoordinated, clumsy or stupid. Going even further, the epitome of this blaming cultural art form has to be the getting burned by spilling hot coffee in our laps and then blaming the provider of the hot coffee for providing coffee that is too hot. The fact that “spilling” the coffee was involved seems to have been left out of this picture.

I have digressed, but I think you get the picture. Since childhood we have been conditioned to create excuses or blame others for our behaviors. “The dog ate my homework” has moved into our cultural lexicon, as a method of blaming an unexpected external event for not having an assignment completed. “The sun was in my eyes” likewise has evolved into a catch-all method of blaming external factors for not being able to perform an expected function. The bottom line here is that we like to blame other people, issues, factors and things for when we fail to meet expectations. The fact that the dog may have been around for years or that the sun has been around since well before the dawn of man and is a known source of glare, both of which could have and should have been taken into account during preparations, is conveniently not mentioned.

All of this evolution and history of the culture and art of passing the blame for our inability to achieve our objectives or to succeed in completing our tasks brings us to business. I think we have all been around people who are never at fault for missing their goals. They are artful. They are glib. They are eloquent. But they are not leaders. They usually elicit looks from their peers that are normally reserved for politicians, used car salesmen and poorly trained puppies that may have tried their best but just couldn’t seem to go on the paper.

The simple fact is that sometimes in business things do not go the way we hoped, expected or planned. It can be for reasons that are outside of our control or within our control. It doesn’t matter. For whatever reason the job didn’t get done. It happens. I will now impart to you the best phrase to use when creating excuses and placing blame when this type of situation occurs:

“It was my responsibility.”

Stand up. Look in the mirror and recognize the person responsible. Regardless of what happened you shouldn’t get to blame anyone else. Leaders understand this.

It may not have been their fault that the objective was not achieved, but it was their responsibility to achieve the objective.

Other leaders recognize this. It is the leader’s responsibility to put the team in a position to succeed. That means they need to provide the appropriate resources (time, money, people, there really are no other resources than these) to get the job done. If the team doesn’t succeed you cannot blame the team. It is the leader’s responsibility to put the team in a position to succeed.

It is the leader’s responsibility to put the right people on the team. If the right people are not on the team it is not the team’s fault. The team will do the best that it can with the people that are selected for it. It is the leader’s responsibility to foresee the potential issues and roadblocks to the team’s success. It is not the team’s fault that the unexpected occurred. The team is in place at the direction of the leader. A leader needs to be prepared with alternative and back-up plans in case the unexpected does unexpectedly occur.

In business as with falling off a ladder, we seem all too prepared to place the blame for any missed achievements on others. We are all too willing to place the blame elsewhere for our own lack of performance. We also seem to be all too willing to allow others to exhibit the same blame shifting behavior. The blaming art form has given rise to a new activity and the creation of a new word to deal with the blame generation process:

“Blamestorming”: The Oxford Dictionary defines blamestorming as: Group discussion regarding the assigning of responsibility for a failure or mistake. The Urban Dictionary defines it as: Sitting around in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and identifying a scapegoat. Check out:–BLAMESTORMING

No team is mistake free when it comes to the execution of their responsibilities. No team achieves one hundred percent of their objectives one hundred percent of the time. No team should be blamed for this fact. Just as the leader should acknowledge and attribute all team successes to the team, the leader should NOT blame the team for any failures associated with the team’s performance. Just as the leader receives their credit for the team’s performance from the fact that they enabled the team to be successful, so should they take responsibility for not enabling the team’s success.

Blame is a funny thing to me. I think it openly diminishes the one doing the blaming. However it also seems to unavoidably diminish the one being blamed. Once the accusation is made or the blame assigned, at least some of the stigma associated with that event will remain, regardless if the accusation or blame is proved to be unfounded. That to me is a lose – lose proposition. There is no benefit to be gained by anyone by trying to assign blame anywhere.

The leader that stands up and takes responsibility, and does not look to attribute blame to anyone else, will again be the leader that is looked up to by their team and will be respected by their peers. Just as the leader receives some of the credit even though they attribute the success to the performance of their team, they will also not receive all the blame by taking responsibility for the issues associated with the missed achievements by the team.

I know it goes against just about everything we have seen and been taught to this point of our lives, and it also seems to go against what is now accepted as the cultural norm but when it comes to issues in business I just can’t see the value in someone uttering the professional equivalent of “The dog ate my presentation” or “the fluorescent lights were in my eyes” when not taking responsibility for their performance.


I singled out a team member from another leader’s organization during an organizational leadership meeting the other day to make sure that he was recognized for the great work he had done in supporting me and my team on a very difficult assignment. Even though I got to report the progress, I thought it was important that the person most responsible for the work received the recognition for the job well done. His senior leadership thanked me for the acknowledgement. I didn’t remember getting thanked very often for acknowledging another team’s individual member in the past. I got the subtle feeling that this sort of acknowledgement behavior may not have been the norm.

This small interchange got me to thinking again. This is always a dangerous process as I am never sure where it is going to lead me, but I thought anyway. I started remembering back in my career to try and pinpoint when and where I adopted and implemented the position that a leader should not take the credit for the successes and good performance of the team.

I can remember working for managers that did not seem to ascribe to this approach to team acknowledgement. We probably all have. It has been a while and I find myself searching my memories for how I felt about it. I would have to say my memories and feeling about it were mixed. I remember feeling proud that the work I had done was being recognized as noteworthy, but I also remember feeling at least a little bit slighted that the manager was individually receiving the accolades.

I can also remember the first time I was singled out and recognized by a leader for delivering an important work product for the organization. There was the same pride in the work, but also a little more pride associated with the specific acknowledgement.

Business is about competition. On the higher levels one business competes with another for available customers and revenue. Organizations within the business compete (and work in concert) with each of the other organizations within the business for funding and growth opportunities. To illustrate this organizational competition just take a look at the budgeting process and how the available funding and growth are allocated in the next year’s plan.

There is also competition within and amongst the various organizations on an individual level as well. There is usually a general desire by individuals within an organization to matriculate upwards in the organization to positions of greater responsibility, and compensation. This is not always the case as there are those that find a role and level that they are happy with and do not try to go farther, but in general this desire for upward progress in the organization is a given.

The competitive issue arises in that as you progress further and further up the organizational charts, the number of positions available to advance to becomes smaller and smaller. Individual contributors usually wish to become managers, who in turn want to be one of a fewer number of senior managers, who in turn want to be one of still fewer directors who in turn want to be one of even fewer vice presidents, and so on.

As an individual contributor we get the opportunity to be specifically acknowledged for the work we do. There probably isn’t anyone else doing the specific work the individual is doing so this is okay. Individuals who do good work seem to be the first ones to be recognized and promoted to the management levels. This begins and reinforces a process where the desire for individual recognition is seen as a key requirement for promotion and advancement.

The issue here is that as you are promoted and rise in the organization the amount of solution content that each individual manager adds to the delivered work product begins to change and decrease. The individual delivering a project has a great deal of input and relationship to the final work product. The director (two to three levels higher in the organization) of the individual delivering the project may be able to provide guidance and directional input on the project but probably limited to little specific content. It is still the individual that is delivering it.

I know I have, and I suspect that many others have worked for managers (a generic term to be applied to people at all relative levels of an organizational hierarchy) who never seemed to advance beyond the need for receiving that individual recognition. These are the type of individuals that seem to gladly accept the full recognition for the work delivered by the entire team. They are a team manager but they are still thinking and acting like an individual contributor.

There are and will always be instances of the type of management behavior being rewarded. It is not however a sign of leadership and at least in my experience seems to be a behavior which eventually catches up with the individual. Leaders eventually identify this type of behavior and react negatively to it.

Leaders understand that their role becomes more strategic and directional, the higher up in the organization they go. They may identify the issue, prioritize the project, and provide the funding and staf
fing to see to it that it can be completed, but they do not perform the work product themselves. They know others must do this, as they have other issues to identify, prioritize and act on. They also know that those who actually do perform the work product should be recognized when they succeed.

These are the types of leaders that are recognized by their teams as a leader to be valued because they know that they will be recognized and rewarded for their efforts. What may not be so widely known is that these are leaders are also valued by other leaders as being able to successfully assemble quality teams that identify and resolve the issues they are faced with. When a leader publicly recognizes the efforts and abilities of the individuals on the team who successfully delivered on their objectives, they are also tacitly pointing out that they as leaders put together that team and put them in the position to be successful.

Giving credit where credit is due is the sure sign of a leader. A leader knows they are in charge and ultimately responsible for the delivery and success of any project. That does not mean that they have the right to, or should assume all the credit for the delivery and success of the project. On the contrary. The leader that understands their role in the project, who focuses on and enables the success of the others on the team, and then makes sure that they are recognized and acknowledged for their success, is also usually the one that gets the most credit without ever having to ask for it.

Office Art

There is a very good chance that I am perhaps overly aware of the business environments that I have been in. This could be because of all of the changes that I have seen in those environments over the years. I can remember when everybody wore a suit and tie to go to work and people could smoke in the office. It really wasn’t that long ago when you think about it. Now with virtual offices and telecommuting we are all casually attired whether we are in the office or not, and very few admit to smoking whether they actually do or not, and certainly not in the house or office as the case may be.

It could also be that I am so office environmentally aware because of the many things that have not changed over time. Just about every cube still looks like every other cube. The carpet and wall color schemes all continue to remain boringly and uninspiringly neutral. It is from this bland sea of constant cubic uniformity that we are trying to create and innovate new approaches and solutions to our customer’s needs.

There is however one bastion of stolid stability in the office environment that stands out above all others. It is so pervasive and consistent so as to be present in just about every office environment that I have ever worked in or visited. It is so constant so as to go almost unnoticed by the denizens of the business office environment. Almost. It seems to me that the one thing that never changes, regardless of restructuring, reorganizing or remodeling is our office art.

That is correct. The objects and images that adorn the walls of the standard office building seem to be a constant that never changes.

The items on the walls of an office would appear at first to fall into one of three general artistic categories: Technical, Inspirational, and Artistic art. Invariably there is a mixture of all three genres in any office environment, and depending on the group involved in that location there is usually an emphasis placed on one specific type.

Technical office art usually consists of multi-colored charts and posters that purport to provide some sort of definition or direction in accordance with the various processes associated with the business. There is usually a flow diagram of some sort associated with them, and they also usually contain at least three or four geometrically diverse shapes as a way of distinguishing the various different functions represented in the flow chart.

The more complex, the more colors, the more shapes and the more connective flow lines the better. Remember this is technical office art. It is supposed to be colorful, complex, obtuse and inaccessible. You will usually find this type of art in the building sections normally populated by engineers, and the research and development staff. The truth be told, most of them don’t understand the diagrams and flows either, but it does contribute to the general feeling that you are in a technical area populated by smart people.

Inspirational office art usually consists of sweeping vistas, soaring birds or athletes, either individually or in teams, either training for or competing in high stakes arenas such as the Olympics. In general we are all inspired by pictures of mountains, or eagles or groups of people rowing boats. When we see these things I assume we all want to go climb the mountain, soar like the eagle or row the boat to the point of exhaustion. Who wouldn’t?

However, that alone is not enough for the image to be considered inspirational office art. It must also be accompanied by some sort of an inspirational phrase or message. When I see these pictures with their inspirational catchphrases, I can’t help but think of the statue shown in the opening credits of the movie “Animal House”. As the camera pans down the length of the statue of the founder of Faber College, it rests on the inscription at the bottom. The inscription reads:

“Knowledge is good”

That movie inspired me to do many things, most of which I will not go into here.

Inspirational art is normally found in and around the Human Resources and Training departments of a company. I don’t know why these groups require that much incremental inspiration, but they do seem to need it.

The final category of office art is the category that can nominally be considered art. That is the artistic category. This category consists of anything that can be hung on the walls of an office that is neither technical nor inspirational in nature. The preponderance of artistic pictures that are hung an office wall normally consist of some sort of pastel oriented soothing landscape or similar type of image. It is definitely not art that is intended to evoke any sort of response, with the possible exception of a yawn.

There are however notable exceptions to this generalization. I was once in an office building where there was a framed US flag that hung on the wall. This in itself was not too interesting except for the fact that the flag had only forty eight stars, not the customary fifty that I had grown used to seeing on the average flag pole outside. I could not tell if it was in fact a decorative antique or artistic relic, or if it had just been put up on the wall prior to Alaska joining the union in 1959 and no one had thought to take it down since.

This point brings me to the downside of all this office art. It never changes. Buildings are erected. Businesses move in and they are finished out with whatever art du jour is popular or applicable at that time, and that art is never changed. The building, the offices, the cubes may be rearranged or reconfigured, but the artwork remains intact and in place. For years.

I am sure that some number of millennia in the future when the future archeologists are excavating our office buildings, much like we have done in the ancient pyramids, they will discover all these images on the office walls (much like the hieroglyphics on the pyramids) and wonder how people with such boring tastes could have built such buildings.

I believe that there was some sort of financial analysis conducted which proved out the hypothesis that it would in fact be cheaper to move, relocate or rotate the locations of the resident people in the building than it would be to periodically replace and upgrade the office art. This could in fact be the underlying reason that on average people in offices are asked to change their locations approximately once every year.

On the surface this movement of people not art, may sound like an ingenious solution the issue of people becoming jaded with respect to their professional surroundings, but no one thought about the long term issues associated with this scheme. With all this office relocation that has been going on for years on end, we now have HR and Training people trying to contemplate pastel landscapes and outdated flags, Engineers and developers being assaulted by simple pictures with inspirational phrases and the rest of us losing productivity as we try to understand the complexities associated with the engineering flowcharts and diagrams that once directed the development processes of our companies.

Pardon the pun, but this cannot be considered a pretty picture.

As an example, currently outside my office is a Software Improvement Process Diagram. It is on that heavy gage high density white presentation board. On the surface this isn’t so bad, other than the fact that the plan is dated 2004. It is only ten years old. Now it may be a fabulous process and there is even the finite possibility that it still may be applicable. The problem is that it is not applicable to me. I am here now, and I need my abstract pastel landscapes, or even a trite inspirational eagle or two if I am to get my work done.

On the inside of my office is a multi-dimensional, multi-figured, multi-colored flow chart and guide to problem solving. When you put the four three dimensional figures that represent the various stages of the problem solving process together, to me they
resemble a psychedelic lava lamp that has been laid on its side

The four phases of the problem solving process all quite conveniently start with the same letter “D”. They are “Define”, “Discover”, “Develop”, “Demonstrate”…..

Reading further into the detail….Wait a minute. This thing is actually starting to make some sense. I guess I should have looked at it in more detail sooner.


Don’t Drive Angry

For those of you that don’t know, I live in Texas. Texas is an interesting state and there are many things that I like about it. And there are a few that I am not so fond of, such as the apparent absence of any mountains or anything else that might pass for “terrain” within a five to six hour driving radius from where I live. It’s pretty flat here. Driving in Texas is invariably a very high speed endeavor and learning experience. Hence there are many signs along the sides of the various highways which simply state “Drive Friendly”.

It may be a reach but I got to thinking of the parallels that exist between Texas highways and today’s business climate. I think it is obvious that there are far more ups and downs in today’s business than there are on Texas’ highways, at least in the part of Texas that I live in. Now there is supposed to be some mythical portion of Texas that is referred to as the “hill country” where there are supposed to be some hills and there may be some people who claim to live there that might dispute this assertion.

I have flown and driven over a great deal of the state. While not “planer” flat in the mathematical sense, it is by and large pretty flat.

But I digress….

I think that some of the speed limits on Texas highways are some of the highest speed limits in the country, and even these are considered to be not much more than guidelines and suggestions as opposed to limits and laws by the Texas locals driving here. People move quickly here on the roads. This requires a great deal of attention and high speed interaction if you are to get anywhere safely.

Are you now starting to see the parallel between driving in Texas and working into today’s business environment?

What Texas has learned is that high speed interaction between people requires a certain amount of courtesy and respect between the related participants. There needs to be a certain adherence to the protocols associated with the various interactions (such as driving on the proper side of the road, remaining in your appropriate lane, dimming lights for oncoming traffic, and if you are going to swear at or call the other participants on the road derogatory names it is probably good form to keep your windows up so that they cannot hear you (this would be the automotive equivalent to the “mute” button on a conference call). Hand gestures of just about any kind, other than a polite, short, open handed wave are discouraged.

In short, this type of mutual respect and interaction on the Texas highways can be considered driving friendly.

What the Texas highway department has realized is that people who are not friendly on the Texas highways seem to have more issues and unpleasant interactions on the Texas highways than those that are friendly. They have learned that people who are not operating in a friendly manner in a high speed environment have problems interacting with other people in a high speed environment. Being tired, angry or any other non-friendly physical or emotional state could affect how they are perceived and have a detrimental effect on their performance and interactions.

Overly aggressive behavior, just as overly timid behavior had a tendency to cause issues on the roads and disrupt the smooth flow of traffic. The same was seen with a lack of respect for the needs and rights of the other drivers on the road. It was also noted that the boorish behavior of one could engender a similar behavior in others, again resulting in a limitation of the progress for all. Even those that are maintaining their proper decorum on the roads needed to be ever aware for those that were not in order to make sure that they were not inadvertently caught up in issues not of their own making.

Hence the multitude of signs dotting the (mostly flat) Texas highways reminding all participants to “Drive Friendly”.

Unfortunately, most business environments do not come with signs reminding the various participants to drive friendly.

By its very nature today’s high speed business environment requires us to openly and directly confront the various issues that we face on a daily basis. Many of these issues can be the result of actions, activities and behaviors of others on the same road. In short there are many times where we are asked, or in some instances forced to deal with issues that are not of our own doing. There are other times where we will be dealing with issues that are our own. This is business.

When there is an issue to be solved it doesn’t matter at that point in time who is responsible for creating that issue. Despite everyone’s urge and desire to first thing figure out who is to blame for it. What matters is who is going to be responsible for solving it. If someone is driving on the wrong side of the street or running red lights, it can create issues. If there is a traffic issue you worry about taking care of the issue and those affected by it first, then you look at who is at fault. Getting people back in the right lanes and making sure that they stop at future red lights should be the preventative solution goal as it is always more effective to avoid future issues than to have to expend the time and resources required to deal with them.

By the way, that red light thing in Texas can be tricky. I think the standard street light progression as perceived by Texans is: Green – Yellow – Dark Yellow – Really Dark Yellow – Almost Green Again – Should Have Been Green Again By the Time I got There – Green. It seems that the standard response to any of these perceived light colors or light color changes is to increase speed to enable that person get through the intersection as quickly as possible and thereby minimize the time available for any intersection issues. This approach does not always seem to work.

Business is about how effectively we can interact with others in the pursuit of our objectives and goals. Our human nature makes it difficult to separate how we are feeling at that time from how we are dealing with others. Anger and other emotions have a tendency to adversely affect our performance and decisions making abilities in the office, just as they do when we get behind the wheel of a car.

Business decisions and judgment, like the decisions and judgments while driving on the highway are best performed when we “Drive Friendly”. Perhaps we might do better if we added a few more “Drive Friendly” signs to the office environment, instead of just having them on the sides of the flat Texas highways.

International Travel, Beer and Cabs

A recent international business trip reminded me of several axioms that I had learned on past international trips but for some reason seemed to have forgotten. When I mention international trips, I mean real international trips. Not trips to our neighbors to the North or South, but trips over oceans and to different continents. Trips where you get to sit next to people for eight, ten, twelve hours at a time while traveling. Those are the kind of international trips I am talking about. In fact it can’t really be considered an international trip unless you go to a place where you can order and drink a beer that you have never heard of before, and the actions that are perpetrated on the highways during the natural order of conveyance (what we would call driving) scare the hell out of you.

I’ll start with the more pleasant of these two aspects of international travel, the beer. As time has passed I have found myself ever more comfortably in the rut of preferring to drink beer as my social beverage of choice. It is estimated that beer was invented some 7000 years ago. There have been ancient Sumerian poems written about beer that are more than 6000 years old. Some anthropologists argue that it was the invention of beer (along with bread) that was the base line cause for the rise of human civilization and technology. I guess if you are going to have to survive on something as boring as bread you better have something tasty to wash it down with.

7000 years is a long time to have in the perfecting a beverage. I think we have gotten pretty close in some instances, and maybe not so much in others. I think the last great advancement in beer-kind was when we went from “beer” to “cold beer”. Mixed drinks have come and gone. Martinis were popular, then they were not. Then they enjoyed another resurgence, but then fell out of style yet again. And this was all just last month. The same can be said about various other drinks based on bourbon, gin, vodka and just about any other distilled spirit you can think of.

The one exception to this rule would be scotch. One should never mix scotch with anything. Alone and unmixed scotch is almost undrinkable. Mixing it with anything is the one thing that does in fact render it truly undrinkable. I suppose mixing scotch with water, or ice (frozen water) is acceptable as it serves to dilute scotch’s almost undrinkable nature.

I have digressed. Each culture has its local preferred beer. I have found that part of the fun of visiting these foreign countries is to sample the local brews. It usually surprises my hosts and creates a common topic of conversation. I have learned that in foreign countries Budweiser is considered an imported exotic brew. Now I have nothing against the good people of Anheuser Busch, in fact when I am home I have been known to partake of many of their products. Despite the “man-law” that you “don’t fruit the beer” I seem to have developed a certain partialness to one of their lime infused beers. Again I have digressed. This seems to be a common thread when I talk about beer.

My foreign hosts invariably try to order me one of these types of beers when I visit. Why would I fly thousands of miles just to drink the same beer that I can easily get at home? I want to try the favorite local beer. Almost without exception it has been a very pleasant experience.

In Ireland the fresh Guinness from the tap does in fact taste different than the Guinness we get here in a bottle. The bottled stuff here reminds me personally of shoe polish in both its color and taste. The stuff in Ireland is truly wonderful. The same can be said about Hite beer in Korea, Cerpa in Brazil and Steinlager Pure in New Zealand. They are great tasting beers and there is certainly a reason why they are popular brands in their home countries. I strongly urge everyone who travels to sample the local foods and drinks when traveling. Since civilized business people have been drinking beer for thousands of years, it is a great ice breaker, conversation starter and usually results in a pleasant discovery.

The only real problem with the beer in foreign countries is that you usually have to go somewhere in that country to get it. The act of going somewhere for beer, or anything else for that matter usually involves getting in a car and venturing out on the roads, with the local inhabitants. There is nothing that can prepare you for this, short of going to your favorite amusement park, getting on the roller-coaster and demanding that they run at least five other roller-coasters at the same time, on the same tracks, all in different directions. I don’t ask to drive these roller-coasters, and I certainly know better than to try and drive in a foreign country. When visiting foreign countries I don’t drive, I take cabs.

First of all, contrary to my wife and children’s opinions, I do know how to drive. I know most of the rules of the road here in the US, both the written and unwritten ones. The unwritten ones seem to include such gems as “Don’t make direct eye contact with someone you are passing” and “Turning on your signal to move into another lane is seen as a challenge to anyone else to try and speed up so as to occupy the space in the lane you are intending to move into”. I think we are all reasonably familiar with these rules and many others when it comes to driving here. It seems to be part of the “sport”.

However, nothing can really prepare you for riding in a cab in a foreign country. I am not casting aspersions or trying to denigrate any people, places or things. What I am saying is that, in general and with a few noted exceptions, that upon entering a cab in a foreign country you should be issued a blindfold and a cigarette when getting into the back seat.

While this idea may conjure up images of facing a foreign firing squad, it should not. First of all a firing squad ends reasonably quickly, while a foreign cab ride can go on for hours. A more accurate comparison would require a firing squad with guns that either would not, or could not operate properly, people who might not know how to properly operate or aim their guns and multiple conflicting orders being issued from a multitude of incomprehensible commanding officers.

Amidst all this, after a certain amount of time, many loud noises and several near misses later, you would then be required to then pay this firing squad an unspecified amount of money and to thank them for their time and effort on your behalf.

The foreign cab issued blindfold would more properly be so that you couldn’t see what was going on around you on your way to wherever you were going, and the cigarette would be to calm your nerves, even if you didn’t smoke.

Mark Twain is quoted as saying: “All generalizations are incorrect, including this one”. I would say that in general he is correct. One notable exception that I have encountered to the international driving free for all that I have experienced has been in Australia. While travel on the roads there does seem to have a tendency to take on certain aspects of a game of high speed bumper cars, you are actually expected to ride in the front seat of the cab, next to the driver. Perhaps this passenger proximity has a mellowing effect on the drivers. Perhaps it is the funny accent all Australians claim we have when we speak English there. Whatever it is, they seem to drive in a manner that I can more readily comprehend.

That, and they have some really great beer there too.

Learn to Talk Good

I remember having a conversation with one of our newer hires in a past assignment. I should say that I remember trying to have a conversation with one of our newer hires in a past assignment. He obviously didn’t know who I was, and I didn’t tell him. I thought I would just strike up a conversation and get to know him, and at the same time communicate what an outgoing and friendly organization we tried to have. I should have known better.

The first thing I had to do was to try and pry his nose out of his smart phone long enough to make eye contact with me. While he did look up long enough to acknowledge that I did exist, that I was standing there next to him and that I was not in fact one of the undead zombies that he was so fond of eradicating in oh so many colorful and exciting ways, I didn’t get much more than that. No verbal greeting. No nod of recognition. It seemed that just my motion of walking up to him had caught his eye and momentarily distracted him from whatever he was doing on his smart phone. He immediately went right back to it.

Undaunted, I said hello and questioned if he was in fact the new hire that we had just brought on.

I could see the gears turning. I could see the internal battle raging. He was obviously hell bent on whatever application he was using on the smart phone and I was annoying / distracting him from it by my insistence on engaging him in some sort of social interaction. It took him a while to frame a response, without looking up.

While he went through his internal preparations, I asked him if he would like me to text him the question, if that would make responding to me any easier.

This got his attention. He looked up to see if I was being serious, if I was angry, or if he could ignore me and blow me off. I kept a straight face and to his credit he finally looked up and acknowledged me. Since it was obvious at this point that he did not know who I was (I think I was his supervisor’s, manager’s boss at that time) and again to his credit he did not choose to demonstrate what I perceived as his distain at my interrupting his communing with his smart phone. Smart boy.

Since he now recognized that I was not going to go away easily, or due to his ignoring me, he tacitly agreed to slightly more than 2 seconds of prolonged eye contact and acknowledgement before his next text message came in and distracted him. He immediately re-immersed himself in his phone and began to type furiously with his thumbs at a speed that could only have been attained after many, many hours of practice. I was amazed.

As he was typing I said that he should go ahead and respond to that text message as I would be pleased to watch and wait.

Now he knew something was up. After he had finished his prolonged message he again looked up at me to see what sort of expression I had while uttering such blasphemy regarding the priority of his smart phone connectedness. I kept my face carefully neutral. I then smiled.

At this point he now recognized that, horror of horrors, he was going to have to engage me in a real time interaction. I could tell that he recognized his predicament because he had exactly the same look on his face that my son did when my son realized what he had just stepped in because he had forgotten to clean up after the dogs in the back yard before he started mowing.

It was at this point that my smart phone started ringing. I let it ring. I could see that he was having a hard time with my nonchalance regarding the immediacy of my smart phone communication. He asked if I was going to answer that. I think he was hoping I would and that would be his opportunity to flee.

I said no and made a point of reaching in my pocket and turning the phone off. I think that single act caused the preponderance of blood to drain from his head. He seemed to grow quite pale. It seemed I wanted to talk with him and he was going to have to respond. We were going to have a conversation.

I am familiar with “text-speak”. I actually do text quite often. I just don’t converse in it real time. I prefer to speak English, although I do understand Spanish, and even took a little Russian in college. I am not quite sure what language he spoke.

What I did gather from him was that everything according to him was “like” something else. It was “like” this, or when he was surprised it was “like” wow. Things were also “seriously” one way or “seriously” another. There were also times when it appeared that he was tongue tied as he tried to locate the real-time emoticon that he could provide me that would convey the depth of his feeling or commitment in the conversation.

I think that all this time he thought that I was going to harsh his mellow.

What he didn’t realize was that in accepting that he was going to have to talk to me he had actually stumbled upon the best way to achieve what he wanted in the first place; which was to find a polite way to drive me away. I don’t think I am overly literate, but this guy drove me nuts.

About five minutes into the conversation I was looking for either the “off” button or the ejection seat switch. It was as though my children’s texts had been animated and had come to life in front of me. There were no complete thoughts or sentences that were conveyed. All standard grammatical concepts now seemed to be merely the slightest of suggestions. In short he was verbally illiterate.

I am sure that he hoped to, and quite possibly even thought that he had made a good impression on me. I believe I might have misled him down that road when at the first courteous opportunity I thanked him for talking so good with me. He smiled and immediately dove nose first back into his smart phone and beat a hasty retreat to my office.

I am concerned that we all may talk so good in business in the future.

Little Things

I recently read an article by Gretchen Rubin titled “Trick Question: Can One Coin Make a Person Rich?” In this article she cites the fifteenth century scholar, Erasmus, from Rotterdam, Netherlands. This intrigued me as some of those who know me and my never ending quest for the arcane can attest. I finished reading the article and then did a little research on Erasmus as my curiosity had been piqued. Gretchen sited not a book, but a footnote in Erasmus’ 1509 essay “In Praise of Folly”. Now I was hooked. The footnote was related to and explained “the argument of the growing heap.”

According to the footnote, the argument of the growing heap is: “If ten coins are not enough to make a man rich, what if you add one coin? What if you add another? Finally, you will have to say that no one can be rich unless one coin can make him so.”

This is an interesting proposition. If you continue to give a person coins, at some point in time you will have given them enough so that they can be considered rich. But how many coins does it take? Which specific coin is the one that pushes the individual across the “rich” threshold? I think we can all conceive of and follow the logic here in general, but again may have divergent views on which individual act of giving a coin is the “special” one. This got me to thinking, yet again. That is always a dangerous process.

I continually try to look at what leadership is, as opposed to what management is in the business and sales environments. I like to point out that we have always looked up to and followed great leaders, not great managers. Applying what Gretchen Rubin cited and what Erasmus footnoted may seem at first to be a bit of a stretch here, but overall I think it is pretty interesting.

If we apply the argument of the growing heap to actions demonstrating leadership (or to actions demonstrating management for that matter) we would have to say that there is obviously some threshold where at which, after a certain number of leadership demonstrating actions an individual would be considered a leader. Let’s not get into what a leadership demonstrating action is. That too is a matter for conjecture. For purposes here, let’s just assume that there is such a thing.

To put this question another way, I would ask if one anomalous leader like activity in the career of an otherwise drone like manager would make that individual a leader. Now remember we are talking about business, not politics. My suggested answer would be no, one leadership action in a career doesn’t qualify anyone to be a leader. I have seen some managers take leader like actions by mistake and immediately revert back to their management activities. If it is not one action, then how many? Would ten qualify? How about a hundred?

I think you can now see the application of the argument of the growing heap that I am making to business. The fact that it originates in a sixteenth century essay titled “The Praise of Folly” seems to me to make it that much more apropos for its application to business, or politics today.

We all make a number of decisions and take a myriad of actions during the course of a normal business day. These decisions can either add to or detract from growing our leadership “heap”. How we are perceived as leaders is subjective in that each individual will have a different threshold for what they consider an acceptable leadership heap to be. Many will also have varying values that will be assigned as to how much a demonstration of leadership advances the heap and how much a management act reduces it.

I remember reading a joke which stated that every time someone did something good at the office they got a little token that read “Atta Boy!” When they got one hundred “Atta Boy!” tokens they were entitled to a firm handshake, a slap on the back and a “Good Job!” from the boss. However if they ever did something wrong they got an “Aw Crap!” sticker which meant that they had to immediately give back all of their “Atta Boy!” tokens, even if they had ninety-nine of them, and then start back from zero in their quest for a “Good Job!” from the boss.

I don’t know why that little story came to mind, but it does seem to fit in when we talk about the subjective nature of leadership activities, management acts, and how the two are judged by the population in general.

Sometimes we manage the issue and sometimes we lead by example. We need to remember that inevitably people are always watching what we as leaders do. According to the argument of the growing heap, it is in fact one individual act of leadership, in a succession of leadership acts that can qualify an individual to be a leader. The question then arises as to which single act is it? As no two individuals are going to have the same perceptions and values, it’s probably safe to say that there will never be an agreement on which specific act caused someone to cross the leadership threshold, or which management act caused them to fall back from it. Therefore I would say that every act is important.

If we add the complexity to the argument that an “Aw Crap!” management moment can reduce the “Atta Boy!” leadership heap by a disproportionate amount, it means that every action counts, both positive and negative counts even more.

Gretchen Rubin noted in her article “Often, when we consider our actions, it’s clear that any one instance of an action is almost meaningless, yet at the same time, a sum of those actions is very meaningful.”

I would suggest that this is not the case in business. As a leader every action we take will have meaning. It will either add to or detract from your leadership position. I think we have all experienced the fact that it normally takes many more positive acts to outweigh what may be considered or perceived as a negative act.

Leadership is an ongoing process where every action counts. It will be good to remember that the next time you are going to take an action, even on the little things.