Home Leadership Turn Archives Me RampUp Solutions Option Sanity
 


  • Categories

  • Archives
 

Ducks in a Row: Education For Tomorrow’s Heroes

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

https://www.flickr.com/photos/dimsis/17826882135/

The talk of heroes and the need to change their traits and profile started last week when I shared a post from Wally Bock.

Sadly, need doesn’t always drive change, so, if our society really believes there is a need to change our heroes, we must look to how we educate our children.

What about education? Is its primary purpose to prepare humans to earn a living?

Mark Zukerberg and other tech titans would have you believe STEM is critical and that tech is the solution to education’s woes.

But if that’s true, why did Steve Jobs limit his kids’ tech at home and why do so many in the tech world send their kids to schools that allow no tech?

If money, tech, and extracurricular opportunities are what’s critical to kids success, why is the teen suicide rate climbing fastest in high-income, suburban, mostly white schools (along with elite colleges and among entrepreneurs, also mostly white males).

Is there more to education than providing workers to Facebook, Google, and the rest of techdom — who will be needed only until AI is trained to write code?

There definitely is more and it was elegantly summed up by Malcolm Forbes.

Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.

In 2009, there was a boycott by conservative parents over a back-to-school speech by then-President Obama that focused on personal responsibility and personal choice.

However, no such blowup surrounded the speech given this year by Chief Justice John Roberts at Cardigan, his son’s private, all male prep school that addressed similar topics and attitudes. (This is an excerpt, read the entire speech at the link.)

From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion. Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.

I think if you’re going to look forward to figure out where you’re going, it’s good to know where you’ve been and to look back as well.

But you are also privileged young men. And if you weren’t privileged when you came here, you are privileged now because you have been here. My advice is: Don’t act like it (emphasis mine).

The only way we will change our hero leaders from the shallow ideologues of today is by changing education.

A new breed of heroes requires different skills, such as deep thinking, critical thinking, empathy and the entire range of so-called soft skills.

Ideology, no matter the flavor or parameters, just won’t cut it.

Image credit: Dimitris Siskopoulos

Golden Oldies: Power, Arrogance And MAP

Monday, August 7th, 2017

It’s amazing to me, but looking back over more than a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written.

Golden Oldies are a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.

Last week we started looking at our heroes — first as cowboys and then why/how they needed to change. It’s a timely subject, especially considering the attitudes/actions of so many of our current ones — from Donald Trump to Travis Kalanick and all those inbetween.

Read other Golden Oldies here.

I recently questioned whether, in fact, the imperial CEO is indeed dead as many are saying.

Wednesday Dan McCarthy was inspired to write 10 Ways to Avoid the Arrogance of Power after reading The Arrogance of Power by Jeffrey Pfeffer, a Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford Business School. Pfeffer says,

“The higher you go in an organization, the more those around you are going to tell you that you are right. The higher reaches of organizations–which includes government, too, in case you slept through the past eight years–are largely absent of critical thought. … There is also evidence, including some wonderful studies by business school professor Don Hambrick at Penn State, that shows the corroding effects of ego. Leaders filled with hubris are more likely to overpay for acquisitions and engage in other risky strategies. Leaders ought to cultivate humility.” He ends by advising not to hold your breath waiting for this to change.”

I think much of Dan’s advice is good, but I won’t hold my breath waiting for the advice to be taken.

I think that power corrupts those susceptible to it, not all those who have it; there are enough examples of powerful people who didn’t succumb to keep me convinced.

Susceptibility is woven in MAP (mindset, attitude, philosophy™) and is especially prevalent in today’s society of mememememememe with its sense of entitlement.

Changing MAP and stopping drinking are similar, since the individual has to choose to change. All the horses and all the men can’t convince the king to change—that only happens from the inside out.

Moreover, as I’ve frequently said, MAP is sneaky; it will pretend to change and then revert to its normal pattern when no one’s looking.

We, the people, can’t force them to change, but we can learn to sustain our attention span and keep looking.

Image credit: flickr

Golden Oldies: Narcissism And Leadership

Monday, August 29th, 2016

It’s amazing to me, but looking back over a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written. Golden Oldies is a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.

I wrote this post back in 2009 and since then the number of narcissistic leaders in all walks has exploded. It’s literally a global epidemic, with tech leading (pun intended) the way, although the current crop of politicians is still out front. Read other Golden Oldies here.

narcissus“Leaders tend to be narcissistic, but you don’t have to be a narcissist to be a leader.” –Amy Brunell, assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University’s Newark campus.

“…narcissistic behavior is a “trait predicting charismatic leadership. People who are charismatic and charming… They think they’re entitled to it. They think they’re smarter than other people and they can get away with it.” –W. Keith Campbell, head of the psychology department at the University of Georgia in Athens.

Narcissism isn’t necessarily bad, but it is growing. When psychiatrists deemed it a bonafide personality disorder in the 1980’s it affected 1% of the population; in 2008 the number stood at around 6.2%.

Most politicians are narcissists, as are many media personalities (neither is surprising), but it seems that more and more business leaders fall in that category also.

There are 7 component traits that are measured.

  • Authority
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Superiority
  • Exhibitionism
  • Exploitativeness
  • Vanity
  • Entitlement

Although I have no proof, I bet that most, if not all, Wall Street honchos would score fairly high on these traits.

“A study published in December in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that people who score high in these traits are more likely to be leaders, but these individuals don’t necessarily perform any better and potentially may become destructive leaders.”

So much for the much-ballyhooed ‘charismatic leader’.

Now let’s have some fun.

Go to Take the Narcissistic Personality Inventory and take the test.

Then come back and share your score and whether you believe it fits you.

My score was 11, but if I had taken it 30 years ago I think it would have been at least 5 points higher. (Age is either mellowing me or I’m more realistic:)

There are no right or wrong answers and even if you score off the narcissism charts that doesn’t mean you’re ‘bad’—as with any trait it is how you handle it in everyday life that matters.

If the Shoe Fits: Where’s the Money?

Friday, August 26th, 2016

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mAs an entrepreneur, the constant stress around money in vs. money can at times be overwhelming and deeply emotional. Anxiety/angst/anguish/fear-and-loathing, and all synonyms thereof, best describe the feelings swirling in and around the entrepreneurial community these days when the subject of money, AKA funding, comes up — although not so much if you are one of the “chosen”, i.e. connected/entitled.

That said…

Bambi Roizen, Vator Founder and Managing Partner of Vator Investment Club, actually sees more money available. (Here is the video and full transcript of her talk at Splash one year ago. The quote is edited for clarity.)

There were about 20 post seed venture funds; now my friend Paul Martino counts probably 200 and there’re going to be a lot more funds. If you think that there’s going to be a crunch, don’t worry about it. I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot more funds coming to fill that void. I think there’s going to be a lot more specialized funds. (…) I think that’s we’re actually going to see local funds. Local funds investing in local businesses.

Because remember, this is the opening up of title 3 to the average investor. (…) It’s so hard sometimes to look at companies, because they’re so good at telling stories these days. I knew that was going to happen — you’re such great storytellers, you have to be, because you have to sell your vision. But it makes it really hard for investors to know what to invest in, so they’re going to invest in everyone, right? Money is available.

I asked KG what he thought from his perch as a serial entrepreneur who has raised funds in very different economies and attitudes over the years.

 “What she says is interesting. However, what we’re seeing is the financialization of the startup/entrepreneurship industry, with the consequence that financial investors will get involved earlier, take larger stakes and leave less for the entrepreneur and the team. 

One could say that it is good that capital may become easier to access (if this is true), but the cost of that capital is also increasing since there are now two layers of return that has to be provided much earlier than before — that to the VC and also to the VC’s LPs. 

In other words, entrepreneurs are coming earlier into the VC model where only a few outsized returns matter and the majority of companies are pushed/allowed to fail.”

Many VCs treat startups the same way commercial agriculture treats seedlings — once they get to a certain size they are thinned in order to concentrate resources on fewer plants that will yield a larger harvest.

“This may actually be negative for a whole host of companies that have no way of maturing before being put under the pressure of the VC return machine.”

However, newly emergent investors may bring change to the game. Kobe Bryant and Jeff Stibel have invested together since 2013 and have started a new fund with their own money.

Dozens of other musicians, actors and athletes are investing directly or through funds they started or joined.

Hopefully, that money will be more patient and come with a different mindset than the typical Silicon Valley focus on the connected and entitled.

It would be good to see at least some of the new funding go to the unconnected — especially people of color.

But no matter how much money is out there, I’m willing to bet that will take a lot more than vision/great story/rapid user growth to access it.

These days investors want a solid business plan focused on generating revenue, and, in many cases, a strong spotlight on social responsibility/giving back.

Image credit: HikingArtist

Happy Birthday Albert Einstein

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

Einstein

Are you smart? Are you impressed with those considered brilliant?

Do you look for signs of genius in your kids?

Can you really tell at an early age?

Monday was Albert Einstein’s 137th birthday.

Einstein was nicknamed “der Depperte” — the dopey one — by the family maid, because he was slow to learn to talk.

He couldn’t find a job teaching, so worked in the patent office in Bern, Germany, while he wrote some of his most important papers.

He was still there when he wrote the paper that underlies E=mc2.

He didn’t get an offer to teach for another four years — and almost didn’t accept because of the low salary and his description to a friend isn’t exactly complimentary.

“So, now I too am an official member of the guild of whores.”

Although Einstein’s family knew he was famous that didn’t understand why. His answer when his son asked him offers great insight to his attitude.

“When a blind beetle crawls over the surface of a curved branch, it doesn’t notice that the track it has covered is indeed curved. I was lucky enough to notice what the beetle didn’t notice.”

Entitlement was neither part of his life nor of his beliefs. He was a socialist and detested and fought the discrimination so rampant in his adopted US homeland.

He lived by his values, expeditious of not, and died by them, too, when he refused treatment (an attitude the “live forever tech crowd” should embrace).

“It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly.”

BI has a great overview of Einstein’s life that is well worth reading.

And after you’ve done so, take a look at how your own values stack up.

Image credit: Wikipedia

Entitlement on Steroids

Monday, July 13th, 2015

What’s the excuse these days for bad manners? Or no manners.

Click the video to see 11 seconds of 100% pure entitlement.

And self-absorbed doesn’t begin to describe him.

“New York Magazine reports the guy asked the ushers: “Well where can I charge it?””

YouTube credit: garruba1

Ducks in a Row: the Need to Change

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

http://www.flickr.com/photos/44148352@N00/3726480621/

Media, including me, have termed Millennials the “entitled generation,” but, as with most things, there are two sides to the coin.

Over the last few years I’ve written about what I call “aMillennials” and I still think the term is apt.

As they age, the difference has become clearer.

Some Millennials still seem to think they are entitled to a job because they are there and promoted because they show up; in general, they feel they are owed something by the world at large.

aMillennials believe they should be hired because they can contribute, challenged to grow and that hard work will get them promoted.

They also have the silly idea that there is more to life than work.

 “There’s a huge gap across the generations in terms of how people look at the whole question of time and commitment and what that means,” said Stewart D. Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project and the author of “Baby Bust: New Choices for Men and Women in Work and Family.”

They crave transparently, have little patience with corporate games and vote with their feet when stymied.

“People are just more disaffected now with that kind of lifestyle and want to have a greater sense of control,” Mr. Friedman said. “Where companies don’t provide that sense of meaning and purpose, their brand as employer is weakened. They’re not going to be able to compete for the best and the brightest.”

aMillenial-style entitlement is even invading the hallowed halls of Wall Street.

“The longstanding tradition of 100-hour work weeks, that’s not going to be easy to change, but I applaud these efforts,” Mr. Friedman said. “The young people, after two years in an analyst program at a bank on Wall Street, they’re burnt out, they’re saying ‘I don’t want to live like this.’”

Given the attitude, you can expect careers, from medicine to finance, that have historically included long hours, total immersion, high stress and total commitment to change and the changes will be wrenching.

What it means to business, both large and small, is a willingness to provide meaningful work as opposed to just a paycheck—no matter how fat.

Please join me Friday for a first person look at this change and another view on what’s driving it.

Flickr image credit: Jannes Pockele

Expand Your Mind: Take These Personally

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

The links I’m sharing today are meant to be taken personally. They are about you and others in your world, so you may want to share them.

A couple of weeks ago I pointed you to a discussion that HBS professor Jim Heskett had initiated questioning the 24/7 style of today’s work. The forum is closed and Heskett has summarized the results based on comments that are well worth reading.

“There is a lot wrong with the way we work… (…) But ultimately the primary culprit is us.”

Following that came an essay on busyness to which I really related. Busy seems to be the new black, but you may want to consider varying your wardrobe.

They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.

Now take a look at why living optimistically (not touchy-feely everything is wonderful) has real health benefits and the follow-up real-world example.

“…optimism is not about being positive so much as it is about being motivated and persistent.”

Years ago I wrote Being “Special” Can Ruin Your Children’s Lives and then watched as Millennials graduated college and entered the workforce with no clue that there was more to it than showing up and trying. In a high school commencement speech the speaker told students that they were neither special nor exceptional, but that did not change their value (you can see the entire speech here).

I wonder if there is any room for the ordinary any more, for the child or teenager — or adult —…who will be a good citizen but won’t set the world on fire.

— we have of late, we Americans, to our detriment, come to love accolades more than genuine achievement,” he told the students and parents. “We have come to see them as the point — and we’re happy to compromise standards, or ignore reality, if we suspect that’s the quickest way, or only way, to have something to put on the mantelpiece, something to pose with, crow about, something with which to leverage ourselves into a better spot on the social totem pole.”

Personally, I believe there is not only plenty of room, but also great need.

We are of enormous value in our own world as well as the world at large.

Flickr image credit: pedroelcarvalho

Surprise

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

3203922211_0d55195a4f_mI know this sounds like a joke, but it really happened.

The comments below were part of a larger discussion regarding role, responsibilities and expectations.

The discussion was at the request of a boss as a final effort to turn a new hire around before the end of his probationary period.

It takes a lot to get to me, but 40 minutes into the conversation the words I uttered were pure sarcasm.

I said, “The world does not revolve around you.”

His response was real, honest and sincere.

After ten seconds of silence he said, “Oh.”

I said, “You as you are special to your parents, your love and some friends. Beyond that you must earn special status through your actions with each individual you meet and in every new situation throughout your life.”

This time the silence lasted closer to 20 seconds.

And then he again said, “Oh.”

Flickr image credit: Michelle Tribe

Salary Entitlement

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Northern California startup land is once again the Golden State for new grads—especially those with a strong sense of entitlement.

And I do mean golden.

Lattice Engines, a small San Mateo startup, where she makes “near the top” of the company’s $80,000 to $130,000 range for an entry level product manager, plus equity.

Notice that the young woman is not a techie, so her salary isn’t pay for (supposedly) hard to find programming skills.

Granted I’m no longer in the front lines of hiring, but I’m still going to stick my neck out and say that no new grad is worth that kind of money—not even programmers.

Why?

Because there is so much more to working than what was learned in class. Stuff like

  • you may not know as much as you think, let alone everything;
  • experience matters;
  • understanding that while screwing up your own work is bad it can wreck the project and damage not just your team, but even the company;
  • not only being present, but also productive five days a week, 12 months a year;
  • being engaged every day all day—no cramming just before evaluations;
  • no spring or winter break or summer vacation (it’s a different rhythm); and
  • many other mundane things

In other words, it’s a different world, with different rules and different measures.

Further, new research is showing that entitlement kills innovation and for a new grad to believe they are worth a six figure salary plus equity compensation package is definitely entitlement.

I’m not saying that they aren’t assets or that they won’t contribute significantly, just that it wouldn’t hurt if they proved themselves first.

Can you imagine the impact on their productivity and creativity if their annual raise is meager, let alone justifying that salary if they change jobs?

There is a world of difference in the skills of someone with one year of experience, let alone five or more.

The problem is that by the time that truth is learned they are no longer entry level.

Flickr image credit: Jeff Wilcox

RSS2 Subscribe to
MAPping Company Success

Enter your Email
Powered by FeedBlitz

About Miki View Miki Saxon's profile on LinkedIn

About Ryan ryanrpew

About Marc marc-dorneles-cpcu-b8b43425

About KG View KG Charles-Harris' profile on LinkedIn

About Ajo View Ajo Fod's profile on LinkedIn

Clarify your exec summary, website, marketing collateral, etc.

Have a question or just want to chat @ no cost? Feel free to write or call me at 360.335.8054

Download useful assistance now.

Entrepreneurs face difficulties that are hard for most people to imagine, let alone understand. You can find anonymous help and connections that do understand at 7 cups of tea.

Give your mind a rest. Here are 2 quick ways to get rid of kinks, break a logjam or juice your creativity!

Crises never end.
$10 really does make a difference and you'll never miss it,
while $10 a month has exponential power.
Always donate what you can whenever you can.

The following accept cash and in-kind donations:

Web site development: NTR Lab
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 License.