Archives for January 2015

The Paradigm of “Is”es and “Ought”s

The Paradigm of “Is”es and “Ought”sI learned a long time ago that one of the greatest frustrations in life is how people respond to “The Paradigm of “Is”es and “Ought”s.” But, before I continue, I apologize for the grammatical errors that must inevitably accompany the explanation of this paradigm.

The paradigm comes into play at any time when you realize that where you is is not where you ought to be.

This can be even more problematic if you and your spouse are driving and you find yourself at a dead end on an unnamed road instead of at your intended destination. This is especially true if your spouse has told you more than once that you had made a wrong turn. You have arrived at where you is, but it isn’t where you ought to be.

Now the problem becomes: If you is where you is, and where you is is not where you ought to be, what is it that you must do to get from where you is to where you ought to be?

By now you should be getting the idea. But the foregoing is just an illustration of the frustration that can arise out your being where you is when being where you is is not where you ought to be.

The paradigm often comes into play at work (get it?) when an employee is not where he ought to be on a projects. According to the milestones and Key Performance Indicators, where he is is not where he ought to be. This is a corollary of success is not measured by what you achieved, but by what you have achieved compared to what you should have achieved. In other words, even when where you is appears to be successful, if you aren’t where you ought to be, wherever it is is not an indicator of success. It may, in fact, be a sign that where you is is in trouble.

The correct approach to resolve this paradigm in a serious business model is to implement a gap analysis. The first thing that gap analysis does is to ensure that you know where you ought to be. If you don’t know where you ought to be, you is no longer in trouble. You is in BIG trouble.

The next thing the gap analysis does is to figure where you really is. Having determined where you is, that information is used to determine how to get from where you is to where you ought to be. With that knowledge in hand, the objective then becomes eliminating the gap.

One of the things I like about performing a gap analysis is that it focuses on defining the problem. Once the problem is adequately defined, an appropriate solution can be determined and implemented.

Another thing I like is that it does not focus on the person or the reason for where you is not being where you ought to be. Why you is where you is is subordinate to getting from where you is to where you ought to be. Why you got to where you is is important only to the extent that you don’t repeat the same mistake(s) again. The overriding issue is to determine the direction for how to get where you ought to be. If you keep ending up somewhere other than where you ought to be, then the “why” becomes important and requires corrective action to keep the same mistake from recurring.

People who do not understand the paradigm of “Is”es and “Ought”s are destined to deal with both short-term and long-term frustration, either as a boss or as an employee. But it also applies to life at home and in every possible venue. Understanding “Is”es and “Ought”s simply makes life easier. At least it ought to.

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Pathmaker Marketing: Benefits of Internet Marketing

Consumers are increasingly turning to the Internet for their buying decisions. This makes Internet marketing more important than ever before. Here are some benefits that could help you consider internet marketing.

An expertly crafted Internet marketing campaign can open up a whole new world of opportunities for your business. We can help you grow your business through Internet Marketing

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It’s Never Right to Do Wrong in Order to Get a Chance to Do Right

It’s Never Right to Do Wrong in Order to Get a Chance to Do RightThis is a follow-up to my earlier post, “When Doing the Right Thing Is the Wrong Thing,” published on January 3, 2015.

I want to expand on that concept. In that post I proposed that “the right thing” is not defined by the desired result. That is, there is nothing that is right about a plan to rob a business. Granted, in order to pull it off successfully, there are, as with anything else “right steps” to take in order to achieve the objective. But that does not make those steps things that are inherently right. In fact, morally speaking, each of those steps are wrong within the scope and context of the objective.

For instance, let’s assume that the robber doesn’t want to hurt anyone. That’s a good thing in and of itself, but once it is a part of the overall plan to do wrong, it is by nature a part of the bigger wrong.

Now, let’s turn that argument around. Let’s say that the reason for robbing the business is because the robber is unemployed, deep in debt, about to be evicted and cannot provide for his family. The question becomes, “Is it right to rob a business to provide for his family?” Some people may want to say that it’s okay, because they don’t know what they would do if they were in the same situation. If that is the case, those people have a broken moral compass.

What if the question was, “Is it right to rob business to pay off his debts?” Those without clear moral direction – without the ability to clearly distinguish right from wrong – may be inclined to answer the two questions differently, even though they are the same. You see, the question is really, “Is it right to rob?” The answer is “No, it is not.”

It’s that simple.

But every day, all around the world, people rob others, justifying their actions on excuses like, “They’ll never know” or “They’ll never miss it” or “It’s not a big deal.” Cashiers steal money from registers because they believe that they need the money more than the business does. Repairmen charge for things they don’t do so that they can make more money. People shoplift so that they don’t have to spend money on items they want – or to sell those items for other purpose. Employees steal from employers. Employers steal from employees, suppliers and customers using all sorts of schemes.

I think I have made my point, so let’s return to the title, which is a quote from the late Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. “It’s never right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right.”

Right and wrong are not defined by our circumstances, but whether we do what is right or what is wrong defines who we are.

It may require some changes in your perspective and your actions, but “Do right. Do right until the stars fall.”

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“If you can’t be part of the solution at least don’t be part of the problem!”

“If you can’t be part of the solution at least don’t be part of the problem!”There are a plethora of “communities” that we are part of on an ongoing basis.  These include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Families
  • Companies
  • Churches
  • Clubs/Organizations
  • Networking Groups

And, in each and every one of these today’s Bumper Sticker Wisdom is pertainable.  As a result, we need to take a quick look at how we can avoid being part of a problem that may already exist.

There are, of course, several ways this can happen, including but not limited to:

  • You repeatedly complain about the problem at hand.
  • You discourage others who are trying to come up with solutions to the problem at hand.
  • You refuse to follow suggestions others give to resolve the problem at hand.
  • You distract other’s attention away from concentrating on the problem at hand.

It is understandable that not all of us can be problem solvers, but we all can refrain from perpetuating problems.

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“Birds of a feather flock together, making it very easy for hunters.”

“Birds of a feather flock together, making it very easy for hunters.”Do you know about the American Passenger Pigeon?  In 1871 it was estimated that there were over 136 million breeding adults in only one section of Wisconsin!  But, by  the 1890s they numbered only in the dozens  – in the whole country.  At one time considered a nuisance, they were hunted literally into extinction!

Now, you may wonder what any of this “bird talk” has to do with business?  The answer really is quite simple:  When you are at work it is important you choose who you spend your time with very carefully.  You see, whether you like the old adage, “Birds of a feather flock together” or not, it is pretty much true.  As a result, when you get a new job, you may want to consider the type of folks you will want to align yourself with.  Some of the characteristics they will exhibit include, but are not limited to:

  • They are virtually always busy, able to find something to do themselves without having to be told.
  • They make suggestions at meetings, even if those suggestions are not always followed up on.
  • They are positive and upbeat.

By the same token, there are some people you may want to spend less time with, and their characteristics include:

  • Seem to spend a lot of time at the water cooler, or other “social gathering” places.
  • Have a tendency to complain a lot, without ever offering any solutions to the issues they are complaining about.
  • Tend to be the last people to arrive and the first people to leave.
  • Never volunteer to help or mentor others.

With downsizing an ever present concern/consideration, making sure that you are “flocking” with the right “birds” may want to be one of your top priorities!!!!

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“You can’t spell ‘awesome’ without ‘me’”

“You can’t spell ‘awesome’ without ‘me’”On the surface that looks like a cute little sentiment.  However, more and more, members of our society believe that’s true.  As a society we are so self-centered and eco-centric that we believe not only are we awesome, but that, because we are awesome we are totally above reproach!

It used to be a joke when someone said, “I’m perfect, and if you don’t believe it all you have to do is ask me!”  Today, however, there is a vast majority of society that actually feels this way!  We are so self-impressed that we don’t care what others think or say – – – even when they are trying to give us constructive criticism!

Perhaps Mac Davis, with his song, IT’S HARD TO BE HUMBLE, summed up much of how contemporary society feels when he sang:

Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble
When you’re perfect in every way

And there in lies the crux of this problem – – way too few people in our society today seek humility!

As a challenge for the upcoming New Year, take a lingering inward look and do some serious introspection by asking yourself, “What do I do, or say, that might indicate that I am seeking humility?”  This is a difficult question, first to ask and then to answer truthfully.  You may find that, if you are serious about being humble, that you are going to have to find a mentor to help you achieve your goal.  If you find it too difficult to seek help, but do want to live a life of humility, consider the steps for becoming more humble, which include but are not limited to:

  • Admit when you don’t know the answer.
  • Appreciate other people’s strengths.
  • Ask other people their opinions.
  • Continue to learn as much as possible.
  • Know when to speak and when to listen.
  • Embrace your strengths, but admit your weaknesses.
  • Focus on giving, not receiving.

If you really want to be awesome, seek to live a more humble life, and enjoy the rewards that will follow!

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“If you DON’T live in a glass house is it okay to throw stones?”

If you DON’T live in a glass house is it okay to throw stones?I’m sure you all know the old adage, “He who lives in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones.”  The idea being, of course, unless you are totally above reproach and therefore “safe” from attack yourself, you shouldn’t say anything about others.  Slightly paraphrased from what Jesus tells us in THE NEW TESTAMENT, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone,” this more or less pretty much gives us the idea that we need to “watch our tongue.”  Obviously good advice, why, then, do so many people ignore it?

I think one of the main reasons this is true is because in 21st Century America there are a multitude of people who don’t realize that they are not perfect!  We are so close to “situational ethics” that we have become drastically close to destruction because of everyone’s adherence to the Machiavellian concept, “the end justifies the means.”  With a dramatic push to ignore the morals reflected in the Bible, we teeter on the very edge of Moral Anarchy.  With all of this influencing us, we, as a society, have come to believe that we can verbally violate anyone we choose to without any fear of consequences.

What we need to realize is that words, often thrown out with little or no concern as to the effect they will have on people, can be devastating.  Like a gun shoots a bullet and can’t take it back, so often our tongues throw out a salvo of destructive claims and accusations that some poor soul can never recover from.  And, this can be especially destructive in a business environment.  All too often, when accusations are leveled at us we are “guilty until proven innocent.”  Lies, and even innuendos, can destroy our reputation and in many cases our careers.

What is the point of all of this?  Well, it is a less than subtle admonishment to remind readers that we need to “think before we speak.”  Now, unfortunately, we are never going to convince some people to be careful of what they say.  However, we can be careful of what we hear and, at the very least, be careful of what we repeat!  Gossip and negative innuendos are only as effective as those of us who hear them allow them to be!  Whether you live in a glass house or not, if someone is throwing stones at others the least you can do is not pick them up and throw them again!!!

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When Doing the Right Thing Is the Wrong Thing

When Doing the Right Thing Is the Wrong ThingBack in the 1980’s, I worked for a company that promoted “Doing the Right Thing” as its slogan. The power of that message was overwhelming several decades ago, not as much as I would suppose that it would be today. People were longing to be associated with anyone or any entity that had an apparent desire to do the right thing. New customers, employees and suppliers were banging on the doors, wanting to be a part of this movement.

It didn’t hurt that, at the time, the company was just beginning to break through and was becoming recognized for its potential to become an industry leader. People figured that the company’s success so far was the result of doing the right thing, and they reasoned that doing the right thing would continue to produce similar, positive results. Having been a part of the company at this nascent stage, I witnessed first-hand the power of the attraction of “doing the right thing.” But I also learned that “doing the right thing” was not always the right thing to do. It all depends on what you mean when you say it.

I come from a background of, “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” That’s what I was taught, so, like so many others, I assumed that everyone was taught the same. I forgot to take deception into account.

What does it mean to “do the right thing?”

It sounds virtuous, doesn’t it? That’s what attracted so many to this company ethic. We all want to be around people who are committed to doing the right thing. But, “the right thing” does not necessarily equal the virtuous thing. And therein, as William Shakespeare once said, lies the rub.

The slogan, “Do the Right Thing,” was cleverly crafted to BE the right thing to attract those new customers, employees and suppliers. It created a sense of partnership and loyalty that was, and still is, uncommon. But it was entirely one-sided, and defined entirely by the inner circle that ran the company. Let me illustrate.

In the second quarter of the 20th century, there was “a problem” in Europe. Adolph Hitler rose to prominence with a promise of “a final solution.” He had a plan to solve the problem. His plan was immoral, inhuman, and insane, but – and please bear with me here – he did “all the right things” to make it happen.

I use that illustration to gain your attention. Your ethics are defined by your goal. If your goal is pure, then “doing the right thing” means exactly what we first imagine it to mean. If you goal is nefarious, you still must do the right things to accomplish your goal.

Over a period of time, people began to realize that it was never the company’s goal to do the right thing. The company’s goal was dominance, and they were committed to doing all the right things necessary to accomplish that goal. And part of the right things that needed to be done was deceiving people into cooperating with them. They succeeded. As a result, while the inner circle prospered, others’ lives were destroyed by the power of deception.

Let me offer an example. In the company’s early days, it struck an exclusive supply agreement with a young manufacturing company halfway around the world. For two decades, that partnership seemed unbreakable. What people thought they were witnessing was a commitment to loyalty, which would seem like a commitment to the right thing. But, what was going on behind the scenes had nothing to do with loyalty at all. It was all about reaching the company goal of dominance. The two worked together for two decades to develop and introduce new electronic components to be distributed worldwide.

Then, one day, the relationship was over when my former company introduced its new line of identical products – manufactured by subsidiary company, based on the designs of the loyal manufacturer. The goal was never to partner. The goal was to develop a product line that they, themselves would control. But, getting from nothing to having a complete product line was a huge leap. The “right thing” for them was to use someone else to get them to their goal, then cut the cord and become the loyal supplier’s competitor.

Lesson learned: Be wise. Be discerning. Deception is not accomplished through direct opposition. We can believe deception simply because it sounds like the right thing. We need to understand that “doing the right thing” is not necessarily a moral standard for some people. It is simply doing what they need to do to get what they want.

Let’s stick to the highest moral and ethical standards and motives, so that what we are doing is not deceptive, but is, in fact, the right thing.

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