The Pilot – The Surgeon – And Sir

“True! Life and death are part of your job every day, but… Only one life at a time,” I heard the fellow say. “One life. One life at a time? Maybe … but my actions are themselves deadly while yours are not. You just have to avoid making stupid mistakes,” said the other fellow drinking a glass of red wine. I stood there cleaning glasses and other bartender things when I saw him walk in quietly and sit around the corner from the other two. “Eagle Rare or Woodford Reserve, Sir?” the new fellow questioned. Not bourbon. Not Maker’s. Not Jack and Coke. Eagle Rare or Woodford.
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Tax Credit for Dual Income Households

President Obama tells of his plan for dual income tax credits.
President Obama tells of his plan for dual income tax credits.
Another attack on traditional families who choose to keep a parent at home with the kids? While many of you out there are dual income families, do you really want a society that requires families to have two incomes? That’s what our President said last night in the State of the Union Address. Our modern economy REQUIRES middle class families to maintain two incomes. What is the best way to solve this? Take more money from the rich and give you $500 per married couple. Excellent! I could have an extra $41.67 per month in spending. That should help!

Another way to look at this is with a long-view in mind. One could argue that the long-view is a continued attempt to seize control of parenting the children away from parents and give it to the government. No way, you Say?! Well…. think, please take a moment and combine a variety of initiatives and see where their combined effects are considered:

1. We need to expand Headstart (the pre-kindergarten program designed for 4 year olds).
2. We need to create/expand Early Headstart (the pre-Headstart for 2-4 year olds).
3. We need to expand our after-school programs to assist working families, so our children are not home alone – at risk.
4. We need to make junior college free to train our citizens for the workforce since our high schools are busy teaching them …?
5. We need to take-over the student loan program, so we can reduce payments and provide more opportunities to have student debt waived.

To put this in clear terms…. please, both of you parents go to work and we, the government, will take care of your children from age 2 to age 22. During that time, we will tell them how much guilt they should have for all of the transgressions of their forefathers decades and centuries ago, and we will teach them that it takes a government to raise their children.

I had free lunches almost my entire school life … what did I learn? That I didn’t want my children to ever have a free lunch. Somehow that concept of self-worth and self-support is lost in our current construct.

But HEY… Go ahead and applaud another tax credit on your end of year income. As least you can make one more car payment this year or buy an HDTV.

Military Intelligence on Display

IMG_0155.JPGYou know the old joke about military intelligence… Well, here is a story that goes far to revive and reaffirm that joke. The Pentagon has a library… a place to read, think, and broaden our military servicemembers’ and civilians’ skills and perspectives. However, in this building of more than 3.5 million square feet of office space, we have intelligently decided to strip away more than half of the library to create a bit more office space. While doing this, we are destroying some of our materials that the library holds. We scan them and put them in a database, but there is no budget for modern archival, so the dedicated staff diligently scans the documents and books but without conducting optical character recognition for simple retrieval and future use. There is not even a thorough plan for what to do with everything … Decisions are made on the fly as construction crews drill, cut, and hammer in the background.

This might seem simple and unworthy of discussion. Surely someone has thought this through intelligently and the office space is of higher importance, right? While I am certain that someone, or some ones, has used a method to determine the library space is less important than office space, it is an incredible demonstration of the priority the military places on stopping and thinking versus more space for working. Worse yet, the lack of a thorough plan for how to care for the multitude of items that no longer have a space at the new library is extremely disappointing for an organization that purports itself as the epitome of
planning aptitude. It validates why the joke about the military’s intelligence is easy to understand. Furthermore, every time I walk in the library right now as the construction is taking place, I know why so many officers are leaving the military … It doesn’t need to think… It just needs to follow orders.

By the way, I would estimate the increase of office space created by this reduction of the library at about 2,000 square feet…. Pentagon space managers have increased the office space by about one-half of one percent. Thank goodness we are spending tens of thousands of dollars for the construction of more office space. Military decision making at its finest!


Where is your Passion?

“Some people are doing what they are passionate about while others must choose to be passionate about what they are doing,” Gary L. Good. That thought came to my mind the other day while standing in the library. I realized that the idea of passion is too far removed from many people for them to understand what passion has to do with their current work. But, I also realized that successful people find something to be passionate about within their various roles. They might be doing what they are passionate about (e.g. a veterinarian might be passionate about animals), but many are simply earning a living in hopes of getting the time and finances to do what they are actually passionate about.

As I have written about in the past, I view leadership, and if truth be told — everything, in terms of “PIE” — Passion, Integrity, and Energy. Sometimes, people are focused on “passion”. They believe they have to be passionate about their work or about other areas of life. Too often our movies and books and other ways to view life through the lens of others create untenable, unachievable idyllic views of the world that are virtually impossible for the “average joe” to achieve at work, at home, or wherever.

It is virtually impossible for us to be doing what we are passionate about in everything we do — especially our workplace. Thus, we have angst regarding the chasm between what we are doing and what we are passionate about doing.

Imagine you are doing a great job in a position, and your boss comes and says, “Congratulations! You’re doing so great, we are giving you a new role as X.” The problem is that you do not like X, and you do not feel comfortable about doing it.

What is the difference between success and failure? I posit that more times than not, it has entirely to do with attitude. If one chooses to be passionate about doing a great job at the position, he or she will find themselves performing better and garnering more praise and respect. If one enters the position abhorring it and loathing it, he or she will likely not perform well. One must CHOOSE to be passionate when the role is not what he or she is actually passionate about.

Maybe someone loves animals and wants to be a veterinarian but does not have the grades or the finances to get into veterinary school. So, he chooses to work at a humane society and save money. He is told to mop floors, pick-up poo, and maybe more difficult things like bury animals that were brought-in sick. If he views his role as not what he wants to do — work with animals — then he may loath heading to work each day. However, if he is passionate about providing the shelter’s animals a clean, hospitable environment and the future when he is the boss leading the clinic or the shelter, he will almost assuredly do a better job and be a happier person.

Do you agree?

Therefore, as the quote above reads, “Some people are doing what they are passionate about while others must CHOOSE to be passionate about what they are doing.”

Who needs college?

CNN released a documentary lifting the veil on college costs and the new business … Selling bachelor’s degrees and more. The American political correctness machine and idealism of each of us being equal versus having equal opportunities has resulted in the nation’s youth holding more than $1 trillion in student debt. That number pales in comparison to the free money and grants they received from all of us. Our President took over the student loan program and immediately started speaking to how we taxpayers will pay those bills when he absolves those students from their debt. Sadly, our nation is unable to have thorough, strategic, honest conversations about the priorities of government efforts . We cannot even discuss whether security is more important than paying for condoms for college students. If we cannot decide which of those is more important for our government to fund, how can we possibly consider the value of, and responsibility of us to fund, a college degree?

We all need to watch this movie…Ivory Tower

Big Data for Defense and Intel

Presenting at the Big Data for Defense and Intel Presenting at the Big Data for Defense and Intel[/caption]Excellent experience today – Selected to present at the Big Data for Defense and Intelligence, and Homeland Security Symposium today. Technology Training Corporation hosted and led the conference. My presentation was a special dual presentation entitled, “Decision Point Analytics” and “The Role of the Interpreter.”

In short, Decision Point Analytics is tracking information at the point of recommendation such as who is the decision-maker, the recommendation, expected outcomes and the like. If we do not track that information, we do not have verification of our algorithms or data, nor do we assure the science in the decision-maker.
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I was a speaker at PAWGOV – 2014

Presenting at PAWGOV-2014

I was honored to have the opportunity to speak at the Predictive Analytics World for Government this past Tuesday.

My talk was not a hard science/math discussion. Rather, my presentation was about people … people I call “The Interpreters”. Interpreters are the people who understand the mission of the organization and have sufficient technical capability to help the vision leaders (the decision makers) understand how the technical aspects can assist them, and they help the technical people understand the organization and its mission.

As leaders in organizations, I propose that it is time to consider who the technicians, the scientists, are that have the communications, relationship, and organizational skills to become Interpreters. Additionally, organization leaders need to identify the individuals who are currently interpreters that are not necessarily technical in nature but have the requisite skills and have demonstrated technical understanding.

Post-presentation talk 1
Once identified, organizational leaders need to create individual development plans for these individuals. Individual development plans would include technical training, leadership training, management training, and positions of increased responsibility to grow the individual —- no different than the plans might be created for the MBA or the Engineer or the salesman (leader).

Over the past couple of years, there have been numerous articles in the business and IT publications about the role of the Chief Information Officer, Chief Technical Officer, Chief Management Office, Chief Operations Officer, and the like. In many organizations, there are glass ceilings depending on what type of “person” you are. In engineering organizations, individuals who are not engineers might not be elevated above a certain level. In insurance companies, it might be a requirement to obtain a legal degree. In pharmaceutical companies — chemists or the like.

Is it time that we got more nuanced, more focused on the best people earlier regardless of their degree or initial position in the organization? Are the interpreters the ones who should help move us in that direction? Many of our most esteemed individuals through history were likely the interpreters earlier in the careers… they were good at many skills and did not focus excellence on the one required skill.

There is so much more to start thinking about regarding this topic that one blog post is insufficient.

As an aside, you will see my recently created title “Straterationist”. For a long-time, I have spoken and written about the need to separate strategy and operations and then find the method to recombine strategy and operations, what I call straterations … So, I am the Straterationist.
Post-presentation talk 2
What is Predictive Analytics World for Government? Dr. Eric Siegel created Predictive Analytics World to gather industry experts across a variety of industries and share their current work in the predictive analytics area. In short, predictive analytics is the advancement of statistics combined with the extraordinary amount of data we produce to provide decision makers with a better understanding of what may happen in the future. You can follow the link above to get the full agenda and description.

PAW GOV 2014 Presentation