Be Careful What You Say
We recently attended a 50th high school class reunion. I was probably way too young to be there. However, it was an interesting experience. A few people showed up who were dead, or at least we were told they were dead. A couple of others raised questions about the 2nd wife or 3rd husband, when the folks were never married. When people are this old and everyone changes, you chalk it up to age, the passage of time and related confusion. Thankfully it was fun and the Alzheimer’s has not set in yet for some of us.
Think before you speak
However, I recently had a slightly different encounter which could not be blamed on age. A friend of mine was talking about an incident involving parents and hospital care. The father was in for a treatment and was being sent home much too early according to the daughter. When she sort of complained to the nurse, the nurse replied that it was the result of “Obamacare”.
Being a healthcare ‘professional’, the nurse’s word was taken as gospel. The daughter reported this to a friend who repeated the story to me. This is a typical process of how information is often spread. If you add social media to the mix, everyone has a chance to hear this story inside of a few days.
The legislation of the Affordability Care Act has not put any provisions in place yet that would shorten a person’s stay in the hospital, but there are a number of people who now believe it will be undermining health care with no sound basis for forming that opinion.
Check the facts!
We try to get the correct understanding when our politicians make speeches and the fact checkers try to sort things out. It seems that the politicians have very limited concerns about this anymore and say whatever they please. Now it appears that their practices are rubbing off on the general flow of events. Perhaps we need fact checkers in more places, or at least we need people who think before they speak. We shouldn’t forget that we have influence wherever we are, for good or bad. Why not be socially responsible instead of just being social.
Is it ever 'Business as Usual"?
This morning I attended a presentation put on by the Family Business Alliance. I was prepared for a program that was informative and well done, but what I observed was something much more than that. I typically avoid attending programs that cover the usual “hot topics”. I find it is often difficult to get as much value from them as I should, primarily because it is difficult to put their ideas into the context of what my clients urgently need. The end result is that after a few hours and more so, after a few days, I’ve generally forgotten most of the salient points discussed.
Sometimes the best value is the indirect impact
However, today I was impressed in that the critical points were ones that can provide great value to an organization over time and therefore are worth revisiting on a regular basis. Although, the audience today was made up primarily of family owned businesses, and the discussion revolved in that realm, the truths seemed to have application to most organizations.
The speaker was Greg McCann, author, professor, and business owner. Throughout his presentation he would say, “If you are taking notes, write this down.” and so we would. One such item I liked a lot: Culture will defeat strategy every time. I also heard some wise insights mentioned by the audience. One of those that I thought highly insightful concerned why a member attended the various events. He said, “It was not so much about what he learned, but that such events usually got him thinking.” To me this was very notable. So many of us just want someone to give us the answer and so we seek out the “Hot Topic” discussion.
Change is Upon Us.
A few years ago, I started keeping a list each January describing what I perceived as change over the prior year. Although interesting to me, I’ve discovered how inadequate my practice is. During todays program we viewed a You-Tube clip to emphasize the “exponential” change that is surrounding us. Watch this and you’ll see why I may have to revamp my practice.
What YOU Must Do
The real point about the video is that we have to be visionary about our businesses, where we are going and how we are going to get there. Without a plan we will be sitting on the sidelines much sooner than we ever dreamed and it has nothing to do with the recession. A strategic plan is an absolute necessity. As part of that plan you have to identify your strategic advantage, who is responsible to look after and manage the advantage and also the plan itself.
And remember that culture trumps strategy, so they have to be aligned. Communication and actions are the keys to management of culture. So, if you see today as getting back to business as usual, you are what they call 'Dead Meat'.
CAMPAIGN PROMISES by Ardon Schambers
All of us have seen the various styles of campaign strategies over the years. There is the appeal to a minority segment, the consolidating of the “base” whatever that may be, attack ads regarding past indiscretions, and even a new twist, being positive and not lashing at your opponent, that is until the campaigner finds that doesn’t work.
Using the various types of social media has now been added to the mix. And, if you are following them, the countless debates that the Republicans have been having all over the country are designed to get the evening sound bite. In all these instances and strategies, the task is to increase visibility, and hope someone can catch the voter’s ear and attention. The method of reporting the events of the campaign support the “sound bite” mentality. It is difficult to figure out if it is the politician who is the egg or the media that is the chicken.
There is also one other element to the short cycle focus. If there are enough promises in the air, it is more difficult to keep track of what is being said and how it can “morph” into a new position as the current circumstances might dictate. It is a form of non-accountability or slipperiness that politicians thrive on.
Proposed New Practice
Instead of complaining about what is happening, I’ve decided to take the approach of offering a potential solution. Let each candidate pick a topic and develop an actual plan to address the issue. The plan should be put in writing with the key points of action or critical consideration underlined. Since most successful plans revolve the KISS strategy of simplicity, require that the statement paper is limited to two pages, so all of us can actually get through the document and hopefully understand it. If you can’t understand what the politician is saying, that tells you something too. Of course we want them to put a date on the statement just below the place where they say “I approve this message” and they sign it.
Now they can talk about the statements in debates, ads, news shows etc. Now we can track the topics, and what they intend to do and hold them accountable when they get elected.
Last Suggestion Today
Let the public pick the topics we want addressed. A few opinion polls with the top ten items of interest could be the starting point. My number one suggestion is creating and retaining jobs. I don’t want to hear what you’ve done in the past. I want to hear about what you will do now in today’s situation.