Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Moral of the Story

The teacher gave her fifth grade class an assignment:

Get their Parents to tell them a story with a moral at the end of it. The next day, the kids came back and, one by one, began to tell their stories. There were all the regular types of stuff: spilled milk and pennies saved. But then the teacher realized, much to her dismay, that only Ernie was left.

'Ernie, do you have a story to share?' 'Yes ma'am. My daddy told a story about my Aunt Karen. She was a pilot in Desert Storm, and her plane got hit. She had to bail out over enemy territory, and all she had was a bottle of whiskey, a pistol, and a survival knife.

She drank the whiskey on the way down in case the bottle would break, and then her parachute landed her right in the middle of 20 Iraqi troops. She shot 15 of them with the pistol, until she ran out of bullets, killed four more with the knife, 'til the blade broke, and then she killed the last Iraqi with her bare hands.'

'Good Heavens,' said the horrified teacher. 'What did your daddy tell you was the moral to this horrible story?

'Stay the hell away from Aunt Karen when she's been drinking.'

Friday, May 29, 2009

Why A Good Apology is Good For You!

Everyone makes mistakes, errors, blunders in judgment, or at times just does something plan stupid. This happens in all types or relationships and if the right type of apology is not given, then the repercussions can be devastating, especially for business.

While no one likes owning up to a mistake, the best thing to do is get in front of any situation by taking full responsibility for whatever happened. Violations of a trust can be perceived as a betrayal, and most people that I know absolutely freak out when they think they are being lied to, or cheated on, or deceived. There is something primordial about this. It works on our brain chemistry, and floods all our rational thought. So, anything that you can do to take the “fuel” out of a highly volatile situation is highly recommended.

Still, making amends count is not quite as simple as saying “I’m sorry” when a trust is violated or a relationship is up for renegotiation.

Research shows that shirking from truly taking responsibility for an error or transgression in order to placate the other party can actually work against you! Do NOT try to “buy off” the other side with gifts or discounts either. It cheapens the relationship and makes the other person feel like “chopped meat.”

The trick here is to really look at the situation from the other person’s point of view, and ask a very simple question. How would I want to be treated if the roles were reversed, knowing full well this mistake may NOT be your fault?
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The best course of action is to take full responsibility, emote empathy for the other party, communicate an understanding of how upset and disappointed the other party is, offer a brief explanation of how and why the violation happened, demonstrate a course of action of how you are going to fix the problem and prevent it from happening in the future, and if appropriate, offer some form of compensation for any inconvenience you might have caused with your apology.

While at times you may not want to take this course, when it is a serious breach of contract that might lead to legal action, sincere apologies do work. The most important thing to remember in an apology is that the behavior that caused the transgression needs to stop or people will no longer put any stock in your words. And in any relationship, the only coin we have to offer is our integrity and our word. Whenever you make an apology, make sure your REALLY mean it and you can take a bad situation and turn it into a very productive one.

Monday, May 25, 2009

In Memoriam

It is the VETERAN, not the preacher,
who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the VETERAN, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the VETERAN, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the VETERAN, not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the VETERAN, who salutes the Flag,
It is the VETERAN, who serves under the Flag.

ETERNAL REST GRANT THEM O LORD,
AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON THEM

We can be very proud of our young men and women in the service no matter where they serve. God Bless them. For those who have perished, may their spirit live on in our freedoms!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wisdom from George Carlin

George Carlin, yes the admittedly gross and mouthy comedian of the 70's and 80's wrote something so very eloquent below. Love him or hate him, he is a genius at writing about the ironies and contradictions in our society. Here it is:

"The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less. We buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things. We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side. Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent. Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it.

A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Doer of Deeds

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt
Citizenship in a Republic; Speech Delivered at Sorbonne, Paris
April 23, 1910

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fines & Taxes

“A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.” -Unknown

Monday, May 4, 2009

Choose Your Partners Well

During these difficult times, it becomes easy for partnerships and teams to disintegrate due to the stress posed by the uncertainty and chaos caused by the weakness in the economy. One thing that is for certain is if anyone on your team, in your partnership, or marriage is not totally supportive and encouraging your pursuit of your goals, or belief in your abilities, then get them off your team or leave them.

You cannot be truly successful any anything you do if you have a person on your team or partnership that is either overtly or covertly working against you. Although you may not see it, a person who does not believe in what the team is doing creates such ennui that it will ultimately not only destroy your team or partnership, but most likely prevent you from truly reaching your goals.

Why were the Spartans the most fearsome fighting force ever, the Marines considered the best run organization in the US, and Nordstroms perennially one of the most customer centric companies in the world? Because EVERYONE on their teams believe in each other, in their goals, and their abilities.

So, if you feel that someone on your team is not passionately pulling your idea to success, not encouraging the team, and talking about “me” instead of “we,” then get away as soon as possible. It may be difficult (if you are married, it will be painful), but you have to do it. There is no room for negativity if you want to get to where you want to be.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Legislative Freedom?

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
~~~~ Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931