Archive for September, 2010
My friend, Mort, wrote me over the weekend describing, really decrying, a management seminar that he attended recently. He contends that his company is trying to persuade its own managers that drastic cut-backs in every expense imaginable are actually investments in the future. “the last time that we heard this – at this time last year – we suddenly came up with a $300,000 fourth quarter surplus that was spread around senior leadership as bonuses.”
Aside from the disappointments of a middle aged man, e.g. no mountains to climb nor maidens to rescued, but merely bobbing and weaving in the form of nodding and agreeing in order to keep the paychecks coming to fund the under-water mortgage debt. He has low hopes for the Tea Party and no hopes for the established scoundrels in office. “Everyone is doing the same things. Selling the same things the same way, ignoring the requirements and pleas of our customers. So, the customers are only investing if they are absolutely positive of the usefulness of their investments. Meanwhile, we make plans and Powerpoints and forecasts based upon our company’s needs and not the realities of our customers. Sort of like taking cocktails orders from a man surrounded by alligators,” he lamented.
“About the only thing that I really learned at the seminar was how much the younger people despise the phrase, implication and level of implied authority termed ‘Manager.’
“We separated into groups representing a variety of roles and ages across our company – a round table of about 7- with the purpose of brainstorming on how to improve our performance for our customers. After a several minutes of noting ways to improve the company in order to better support the current customers, someone mentioned, ‘can’t you talk to your manager about this?!’ Well, this got the younger members at the table laughing and smirking and sharing knowing eye contact. ‘Who needs a “manager?’ They are the last to know; only measure what we do; have no idea about the technology that we work with in our jobs; and basically get in the way’ were a sprinkling of their remarks. ‘Yeah, someone has to keep the higher ups informed, but not by pretending that they are in charge of our work.’ The punchline had two parts:
no one needs a manager and no wants to be a manager.
Seemed to Mort that the other generation, whatever its DNA identifier- X, Y, M or Them – are gypsies in their attitude towards employment and seek coaching or a form of leadership with which he is not familiar. This may explain the blank looks that he gets in his own meetings – or how he feels on conference calls – as they fiddle with their laptops and texting devices, giving him that blank stare of ‘are you finished yet?!’
9/29 a related post on managers. ” He spreads stress around like it’s a communicable disease.”
App is for the October annual conference in Hawaii (sigh) of the Association of Science-Technology Centers.
Especially satisfying and well organized by Friends of Duke Forest.
The President recited the challenges that he inherited and the achievements of his new administration. Cleverly described the pending mid-term elections as similar to a car once stuck in a ditch: without helping much, the Republicans ask for the keys now that the car out of the ditch. Paraphrasing: ‘a vehicle only goes forward when put into D; putting a car into R sends it into the wrong direction.’ Pointedly solicited audience ‘not to wait for him to rally voters, but to take the lead wherever that they can in rallying the electorate.’
Many, if not too many clients, are trying to figure-out how to justify the investment from Web 1.0, publishing, to Web 2.0, encouraging genuine participation. They are mired in too much data; not organized to maintain a discussion with their clients; and just don’t want to do it even though, through their younger friends and kids, know that this is the way of the near future.
I suggest that they start with the mobile device as is illustrated in this compelling and informative slide show. Figure out which data is the most useful to clients and send it to them, where they are and formatted for the mobile device. Not the cell phone. The telephony component doesn’t matter much and becomes even less compelling e.g. not my phone browses the web, but my mobile device – of varying sizes – can make phone calls. Think Tablet Computing as evidenced by the iPad more than the iPhone. Use the web site for static information and deeper searches. Leverage other sites. Above all, make available on the web site that content which the organization is willing to actively maintain.
Received a robo-call from the new high school last evening. Substance of reminders impressed me with the constrictions of actually educating our children. Here is what the principal, a conscientious and apparently hard-working man, emphasized:
1. After 1.5 weeks, school is off to a good start (must the principal be the Cheerleader in Chief?).
2. Due to the Labor Day holiday, this will be a short week, so let’s concentrate on having another good week (see item #4).
3. Tuesday evening is the first after hours event for Parents (making the third in 3 weeks).
4. Wednesday is a 1/2 day of school (staff requires time for certification or ?).
5. Longish reminder of the significance of healthy eating habits and diet.
Struck me as a typical call until I realized how tangential this list is to the reason why we send our child to school. We’re a long way of understanding the privilege of public funded education and enthusiastically taking advantage of the related opportunities for personal and social benefit.
I favor the responsibility of education belonging to the student and then to the student’s parents. Catering to the needs of administrators (1/2 day off in the third week equalling only one full week in the first three weeks of school) and having to expend energy reminding 14 to 18 year olds to eat a healthy diet – although in vogue – strikes me as misdirected energy. Ultimately, I admire the corps of teachers for what that they accomplish amidst these ultimate distractions.