Archive for the listening Category

Just found out I’ll be chairing the annual teaching roundtable at next month’s Economic and Business Society conference in Columbus, Ohio.

It’s not a surprise. I was one of the leaders in adding a teaching session to the conference back in Providence in 2007. And even though other problems kept me from proposing a session myself this year (the same ones that have kept me away from Iterations for some time), as an EBHS trustee, I’ve been a long-time advocate of putting teaching-related content on the program. Last year, in Braga, Portugal, I and others managed to finangle two sessions. I imagine we could have had a second session this year as well (the conference chair, Jason Taylor from Central Michigan, is also a fan of teaching sessions). But I just haven’t had time to assemble conference panels and such.

Or even to prepare a paper of my own. The reality is that it is extremely difficult to find time to do research/write in any significant way during terms. And last summer, I was occupied primarily with getting my mother moved into assisted living and rewriting an economic history that had gone quite badly the previous iteration. Add in recurring bouts of depression and learning in December that I have Type II diabetes, and I just haven’t had time to make proposals or write papers.

But I am looking forward to the trip, for personal reasons and professional ones alike.

First, I just love this conference and its people. I haven’t missed one since first going in 2002. It’s the only academic conference I go to every year anymore. Many years it is the only one I go to.

This is partly because of my evolving interests mean I’m more likely to attend non-academic conferences than academic ones with my limited travel dollars. But it’s also because EBHS offers something I haven’t found in any other organization — a dedication to multi-disciplinary collegiality and scholarship. As far as I know, EBHS is the only organization out there that regularly focuses on bringing lots of economic historians together with lots of business historians.

Oh, you’ll see the occasional economic historian presenting before a business history group, or an occasional business historian doing the same before economic historians, but the dominant world view is always one or the other. Which isn’t bad — it’s just that EBHS then provides a very valuable niche.

And we need that kind of scholarship. We need more people who regularly engage in the extended exchange of ideas and careful listening to people with different ways of doing things. It’s too easy to convince ourselves of the importance of marginal scholarship when we only interact with people who share our discipline’s methods.

And, what is even more important, it seems to me, we need it for our teaching. Teachers whose only contact with “research” comes with those who do the same kind of research are going to be much less likely to interact effectively with students who have learned to value other kinds of methodologies.
We rarely get the top scholars of our fields, much less “big names.” (Unless they’re serving as keynote speakers. Last year we managed Michael Bordo, Li Bozhong, and Patrick O’Brien (oh yes, and the Portuguese Minister of State, Fernando Teixeira dos Santos. This year I’m looking forward to seeing Dick Steckel.) But we get people I consider more important: the people on the ground who teach economics, business, and history at 2nd, 3rd, and 4th tier schools.

People less concerned with living in the penthouses of technical research, but people committed to keeping the foundations of the building filled in with sturdy examples and rooms furnished in ways that visitors (i.e. students) find welcoming and worth buying.

As people know, I have lots of problems with the way higher education is done today, particularly at lower-tier schools like my own. Serious problems. Fundamental disagreements with the way things usually get done. Deep fears about the future of what we do and its usefulness.

But places like EBHS give me confidence to go on.

Not because the people of EHBS are somehow more convinced about my arguments. They aren’t. I expect many of them see my idealism and out-of-the-box ideas as flaky (or as dangerous) just like my Luther colleagues do.

In fact I know they do. Because unlike my Luther colleagues, they have listened and conversed with me both deeply and often over the years.

No, I don’t go to EBHS every year because it’s made up of people who share my philosophical or pedagogical or political bent. It isn’t, and they don’t.

No, I have gone to EBHS every year because it’s made up of people who I know will listen. Who, though they rarely go far outside a particular scholarship or teaching box themselves, they recognize the fundamental importance of deeply listening to those who do.

So if you’re interested, and able to find a way to spend a few days the Hyatt on Capitol Square in Columbus, come over and join us April 14-16. You won’t regret it.

And you don’t have to be on staff somewhere as an economic or business historian. We’ve had accountants, political scientists, and philosophers. I’ve chaired panels with bankers and with bureaucrats. Heck, a couple years ago, I had a panelist from a federal government agency who wrote an outstanding paper on the history of x-ray medicine.

And how often are you going to find me willing to put “federal government” and “outstanding” in the same sentence.

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God doesn’t want me rich.

At least not yet.

Ever done the “what would I do if I won the lottery?” game?  Ask yourself what you would do if you won one of those big $100 million-plus jackpots of the Powerball(tm) or MegaMillions(tm) lotteries?

It’s actually a valuable exercise.  One of the biggest excuses we make for not following our call, one of the biggest reasons we ignore signs of a call, is financial.  We “can’t afford to do that,” whatever “that” might be, because our income is too low, because it would require too much sacrifice of other valued activities or goods, or a hundred other reasons.  All of which reduce to “I don’t have the money.”

Win a hundred million dollars or so, and most of those excuses tend to evaporate.

Oh, there are many things that even a $100 million won’t buy.  A stealth bomber, for example.  Creation of Free Luna.  Immortality.

But $100 million is about as enabling an amount of money for the “everyday necessities plus a lot left over for doing what I’ve always wanted to do” as there is.  $100 million invested at 3 percent yields $3 million a year without ever touching the $100 million nest egg of principal.  $3 million/year for the rest of your life and any heirs you might designate for afterwards.

If your dream was to motor around in a Ferrari, you could buy two new ones every year, and still have a million each year for “sundries.”  If your dream is a big house for the family, you could build a giant new house every year, and still have enough left for a month first-class in the South Pacific each year.

There’s not many jobs you couldn’t quit.

There’s an awful lot of businesses you could start for $100 million. A lot of social causes you could pursue to your heart’s desire.

Sounds like a fun game, doesn’t it?

But there’s a catch.  What if your dreams are just fantasies, built upon your exposure to the values of others, rather than the true calling of your “life’s work”?

Then, I submit, the Ferraris and the houses and the businesses and the causes are going to leave something missing.  After a bit of elation,  you’re going to find yourself back in the ranks of the “unsatisfied.”  Perhaps even back in the ranks of the “unhappy.”

Finding a way to spend $100 million isn’t hard.  Finding a way to spend $100 million in service of what you are called to do can be.

If you play the lottery game, and you can’t figure out how to spend all $100 million, there are three possible explanations.

First, you simply may lack sufficient exposure to ways of spending money with lots of extra zeroes after them.  You want to travel, but you never contemplated travelling first class.  You thought about new cars, but not about planes or chauffeured town cars?  You want a new house, but how about 5,000 square feet instead of 2,500.  Or maybe 10,000.  Or perhaps one in your home town and a summer place in, say, Cancun.  Etc. etc.

Second, you have already found your calling in life.  All you want to do is be a teacher, or a nurse, or a fireman, or a novelist, and those simply don’t require the kind of annual cash flow that $100 million could generate.  “I love my home, and my job, and my current vacations. What the heck would I do with $3 million extra every year?”

And third, you don’t know what that calling is.  You might not like your current situation.  (Ask people why they play the lottery, and dig a bit, and you’ll find a lot of people unhappy in their current job or family life or who just feel “it isn’t enough.”)  But you don’t know, not really, what you’d rather be doing.

This third situation doesn’t require you to be depressed or morose.  A lot of people without callings consider themselves happy.  At worst, they would admit to a vague sense of discontent or incompleteness.

But it’s in this third situation where the lottery “what if?” game can be most valuable.   If you think about it, the first two are going to have pretty predictable results in the case of an actual windfall in real life.   The first situation will simply lead to more consumption:  not necessarily a good thing, but a self-adjusting one.    The second situation will mean a person even more content in his or her calling, since he or she will find ways of scaling expenditure:  a lot more money to favorite charities, lobbying Congress, building a bigger business, etc.

But the third?  The third situation finds a person having to think “what do I really want to do with my life?  What *is* that thing or activity that I would *die for*?

What *does* God want me doing?  If I’m a mega-millionaire, I can’t plead the necessities of life as a way of evading my responsibilities. I can only plead Ferraris and first-class luxuries.

I can’t get by with “I can’t afford that.”  I can’t put other things first without admitting that I’m doing so.  I can’t just say, “Manãna.”

I can’t make excuses.

I can say, “I don’t know what you want me to do, Lord.”  But I can’t avoid the responsibility for figuring out what He wants now rather than later.

I can’t make excuses.

And playing the lottery game makes clear that the same is true BEFORE I win the lottery.  It’s not the lack of money that’s preventing me from pursuing God’s calling for me.  Merely my own unwillingness to enter myself on that pursuit.

If, not knowing my call, I play the lottery game, I’m not going to be able to spend most of that money, unless its on gross frivolities.  I could spend 5 of the 100 million on a Gulfstream jet, but what real justification could I, a college professor in rural Iowa 60 miles away from the nearest jet-capable airport, have for “needing” a personal jet.  What real justification could I find for wanting several multi-million dollar homes?

I can’t make excuses.

I can’t wait and avoid the question.  I have to admit that I’m not following His call and I have to refocus myself on ensuring that I do. I have to admit that there’s no time like the present.  I have to admit that anything other than striving to find and follow that call is avoiding my responsibilities.

And even if I were nott a professed Christian, I still couldn’t avoid the question.    I have to admit that I don’t know what *I* deeply want to do.

I may be enjoying myself, but I’m unaware of my core motivations.  I’m unaware of that one thing that burns in me, that one thing that, to me, is more important than anything else I might know.  I’m unaware of what I’m driven to put my wealth, today’s small wealth or tomorrow’s mega-wealth, in service of.

I can’t make excuses.

But of course I am a Christian.  If I don’t know how God wants me to follow His Great Commandment, then I need to refocus my attention and figure it out.

Because I can’t make excuses.

I admit I still would like to win the lottery.

But only to the extent that i already know my call.

Because I can’t make excuses.

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Another bit about “modern society” that people bemoan is our mobility.  Sometimes our excessive moving about is blamed on job and career, but more often than not, its just on the list of self-evident reasons for complaint.  Like the weather.

The more I pay attention to the human past, however, I find this received wisdom puzzling.  Indeed, I would argue that our ability to move is what keeps us from falling back into serfdom.  If the job sucks too much, we can always move.    If there’s a better than good job, we can move for that, too.

Oh, I understand that moving is a pain.  Especially, if you are poor.  But it’s neither against the law nor required by law.  (At least in this country, or in most of Europe.)  Oh, we have passports and immigration rules (sort of), but most of those are restrictions on entry into a place, not restrictions on exit.

And it is the exit possibilities that really make for a non-serf world.

All that said, I’ve always considered myself more an exception to the rule rather than its illustration.  I’ve spent most of my life in two states (Wisconsin and Iowa), and with the exception of one semester in London when in college and a couple other extended research-based visits to England, I’ve never lived farther South than St. Louis or more than 125 miles away from the Mississippi River.

But I decided to count the numbers of homes I’ve lived in over the years.  And the number — 16 — shocked me.

Because this number isn’t particularly padded.  To be sure, I did count multiple places in the same town some.  But I only counted places where I have lived for at least two months.  And even there I didn’t count as separate each return to the town of my birth unless it was to a physical location (once because my mother had moved, the other because I was practicing law and wanted to live in a house rather than a duplex apartment).

But even if you count only the number of different towns or cities, even my number of discrete homes — seven — would have been amazing to  a feudal serf would have considered substantial.

That serf would have likely had at most two different homes in his lifetime — the one he was born in, and the one he lived in after being married. (Many times in fact, the places would have been one and the same.)

From 2 to 7 is an increase in mobility of 350 percent.  From 2 to 16 is an increase of 800 percent.

And I guarantee that I’m far down in the lower tail of the distribution, even among those who have lived most of their lives as I have in “rural America.”

That, I submit, is evidence a fortiori of our escape from serfdom.

And it is a greater protection against tyranny and poverty than industrialization and the Internet combined.  Far more than any revolution, and far, far more than any “political” protection.  More even than modern plumbing.

We can move.

I may be able to choose serfdom.  Sometimes I think a lot of my fellow citizens are willing to do just that.

But you can’t make me choose it.

Nanner, nanner, nanner.

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There are two kinds of bullies.

The kind who control the way you play a particular game.   And the kind who insist you play their game.

Most Americans reject the first kind (save for those who like to be BMOP (big man on playground).

But, if truth be told, the first kind is pretty easy to get away with.  You can just walk away.  Life isn’t grade school.  If I think Joe is a bully, I just decide to hang out where Joe isn’t.

It’s the second kind of bully that can be the problem.  The second kind of bully wants to keep you on his playground, playing his way by his rules.

And, unfortunately, our “system” encourages such bullies to get together and seek power.  They know that it’s a lot easier to keep on bullying if you’ve got a gang of bullies who stand with you.

Economics says that a cartel contains the seeds of its own destruction.  That cartel members have an incentive to cheat, since they can reap extra economic benefits from doing so.  But bullies aren’t driven by economic incentives.  They’re driven by the pursuit of power.

That’s why a Constitution of enumerated powers combined with a t Bill of Rights was such a critical thing. The founders knew their would be bullies out there.   Bullies who would see majoritarianism as a tool.

Unfortunately, “we the people” have emasculated both Constitution and Bill of Rights by converting them into a tool of utilitarianism.  And in so doing, we’ve enabled bullying on a huge scale.  Indeed, we’ve converted the greatest innovation in government ever into an unprecedented affirmation of the bullying ethos.  If we don’t like what other people want to do, the solution has become to pass a law to make what they want to do illegal.

We’ve professionalized and legitimated bullying.  Look at your typical Congressperson, your typical President, your typical bureaucrat.  They’re almost all bullies.

They’re just bullies that look good and promise better.   All at the expense of the evil on the other side of them and us.  We don’t want our bullies to be jackbooted thugs.  We want them to be expertly coiffed with business suit and nicely shined shoes.

Why is political correctness such an evil?  Because  it is nothing more than another excuse for type 2 bullying.  To convert taking offense into taking over the schoolyard.

Do I consider some speech offensive?  Sure.  Absolutely.

And as an adult, I have a pretty easy solution available to me:  I can walk away.

But political correctness doesn’t work that way.  If the PC bullies are offended, they’re solution isn’t walking away and associating elsewhere.  They’re solution is that of serfdom.   They want to build a 10,000-volt fence around the schoolyard, and then, when the offending person can’t escape, pummel him unmercifully until he speaks better.

Look at today’s newspapers.  Look at the stories and editorials where people are calling for government action.  Look carefully at what people are asking for.   Are they asking for enforcement of the Constitution and its protection.   Or are they asking for help in bullying other people?

If you have to, start with those whose causes you don’t share.  (It’s always easier to see bullying on the other side.)  But after you’ve identified the opponents’ bullying tactics, move to those who you agree with.  Look in the mirror.  Look real carefully at what is being proposed with respect to the choices of your opponents.   I hate to say this, but more often than not, you’re seeking to take advantage of the same bullying tactics and threats.

This isn’t meant as America bashing.  Bullying using state power has been the default of political action since long before our republic was founded.   Indeed, what made the American Experiment so special is that it attempted to formulate rules that prevented legitimized bullying and that discouraged just the sort of bullying we now practice.

It’s just that we no longer hear the voices of the Founders well enough.   We’re too busy trying to be bullies.

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Regular readers know that when it comes to “the effects of the internet”, I tend to be an optimist.  Even an apologist.

I have to be honest, though.  My position is to a large extent, one of faith rather than one based on “conclusive scientific evidence”.  No, not the capital-F faith that my July 18 post was all about, but small-f faith.  The “I believe this, well, just because” sort of  faith.

Oh, my reasons are a little better, a little more sophisticated than that.  (At least *I* think so.)  But compared to, say, what is collectively known about the economic effects of the American railroad, or the size of GDP in 1970, our overall empirical sophistication about “the effects of the internet” is amazingly low right now.

Not just mine, but thine and all the Nobel laureates, too. (And we won’t bother mentioning how little clue the Nancy Pelosi/CNN/New York Times crew have.)

And its not for lack of babbling on the question.  Consider the subquestion of: “what is the internet doing to the quality of social relationships?”

Quite frankly, we’re barely getting to the point where we’re even asking the right questions.

On one key empirical point, virtually all the pro-internets and virtually all the con-internets agree:  the network of social relationships looks very, very different today.

But, despite all the “debate,” most discussing this empirical reality fail to engage the real question:  is this good, or bad, and why?  Because virtually no one explains why web-of-relationships-A is categorically “better” or “worse” than web-of-relationships-B.    Worriers point to the decline of traditional connectivity (churchgoing, newspaper reading, political participation)(“A” was better!), while pro-internet people (raising hand) point to all the marvelous-ness of LinkedIn and blogs and Twitter.

But do we ever really engage the question of “what makes A (or B) better?”  I’m not convinced.

Two examples:
1.  Two “differences” you’ll observe if you live any length of time in a small town, one positive and one negative.  Positive: you can leave your car unlocked with less risk.  Negative:  more people will mind your business.  So which is more significant?

2.  Google “twitter whore youtube”.  You’ll find a two part video by one LisaNova.  Watch it.  Are you appalled or do you find it amusing?

With the exception of interludes in London, St. Louis, and Iowa City, and various bits of business travel, I’ve spent all my life in towns and “cities” of under 10,000 souls.  And I can tell you that I haven’t answered #1 satisfactorily yet.

And as for #2?  Well, I have no clue.  I found the video originally because I was searching for what people were saying about twitter;  and then I spent another half an afternoon trying to figure out a subset of the splinter cultures that use/live on YouTube.  (After a bit of searching on LisaNova, I discovered one such splinter culture, populated, at least temporarily, by people blogging as  CommunityChannel, Channel Reviews,  Danny Diamond.  What does it mean that the total views of part 1 of LN’s “twitter whore” parody are approaching 1.5 million, or that her 2007 “last blog ever” (which isn’t parody at all) now has 648,000 views?

Clearly, there is no mainstream anymore. We live in an urban world — with tens of thousands of small town communities out there on the web.  Is this bad, maybe Tower of Babel bad? Or is it good?  Tocqueville’s America of associations writ large?

I don’t know.

It’s definitely a different world.  But “better or worse”?  Well, er, um, it is better.

I think.

Why?

Well, just because.

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Sometimes life is just surreal.

My current iPod playlist seques from “Amazing Grace” (Paul Schwartz, State of Grace) to “Push” (Prince, Diamonds and Pearls CD).  Bizarre.  Whyever did I set it up that way?

No clue.

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I wish I had more time to spend on marketing research.  I keep thinking of things that need measuring but never seem to find the time to develop the metrics.

Take the term I use in the title of this post:  “time to cliché”.   It may be a WOT (in both “Wade original term” and “wot?????” senses), but I’ll leave to those less lazy than I the task of  searching for prior use.

I get an awful lot of email that isn’t technically spam, but might as well be for all the likelihood of my opening the messages.  (For me, the technical definition of spam is something like “unsolicited, without offering double-opt out, etc.”)  It might as well be spam because the subject line tries to pull via cliche.  Using phrases like:

?    ”free web summit”
?    ”"double your …”
?    ”the secrets to …”
?    ”official notice”
?    ”save up to…”
?    ”how to … Now!”
?    ”you’re invited…”
?    ”only XX hours left”
?    ”I don’t usually do this, but …”
?    ”I blew it…”

And the same is true for the teaser copy on the snail mail solicitations…
?    ”urgent update”
?    ”final
?    ”official correspondence”

And so on.

Now, I understand that these cliches are used because they worked in the past.  And, direct response being what it is in the Internet age, abandoned when they don’t pull enough.  That I’m still getting all of the above means they probably are still working to some extent.

But it’s amazing how quick they become tired and unproductive.  Take the first one.  I’ve been offered more web summits than there are peaks in the Rockies, Himalayas, and Andes combined.  “double” and “secrets” and all the others — instant trashing.

And it happens faster and faster all the time.

And I don’t think its just me finally developing better bullshit filters.  I’m still pretty gullible, after all.  But I think individual pieces of language are getting worn out faster and faster.  Scroll down your inbox (if that’s where you keep your clutter), or though your email trash before you hit “empty” — look at all the phrases that bring forth that delete key in your mind….and think about how recently it was that the same subject line phrase would have pulled you into opening the email.

For years I’ve taught about the dangers of cliché in writing.   But a hidden assumption of that teaching was that it takes awhile for something to become a cliche, a while during which the word or phrase has social or economic value.  How should one approach the use of cliche when the half-life of meaning begins to resemble that of a transuranic element.

I don’t think the answer is obvious anymore.

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I’ve remarked briefly before about my changing business model for Iterative Listening. Part of the story lies in my realization that, for lots of reasons, I wasn’t interested in having “direct mail/emaill copywriting (business-to-consumer)” at the center, as it was in the original plan.  One reason:   I’m just not convinced that the “tried and true” of direct response will work with the various Gen Y-related demographics I’m most interested in..

It isn’t that Gen Y won’t respond to some direct mail/email solicitation.  They have, they do, and they will continue to.

But their information filters work very, very different than older direct response demographics, and that makes some of the DR marketer’s traditional techniques highly problematic.

Think of it this way:  any given marketing activity can engender three types of “response”:  (i) positive response (leads, sales, other conversion goals); (ii) non-response (the most frequent, call it “send it to the trash” response; and (iii) negative response.  This last is the most dangerous, and the kind that an awful lot of direct mailers simply seem to ignore.

I call it the “pissed-off percentage”.  People in group (iii) don’t just trash your letter or email.  They remember.  They take umbrage at your wasting their time.  They remember, and they spread the word.  And the word is not good.

As long as the positive response is “big enough,” traditional direct mailers have always been happy.  (And so are those who write copy for them, by the way, since copywriter fees/royalties are directly a function of the copywriters ability to “pull”.)

And it’s worked.  I can point to dozens of copywriters whose own financial success (and their clients’ financial success) is directly related to their ability to pull.  Focus on making group (i) as big as possible.  Period.

Look closely at the demographics.  These successful writers get their  greatest successes with whom?   How often are they aiming at Gen Y?  Or even Gen X?  How many of them are focusing on Boomers.  Seniors?  Super-seniors?

Or they’re writing B-to-B copy.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that B-to-B copy looks different than B-to-C copy, and pretty much always has.  Business buyers — well, they just don’t have the time or the patience to deal with those things that work in many B-to-C markets:  constant upselling, daily autoresponders, telemarketing.  And their “piss off factor” is very high.

And Gen Y is the same way.

Take up-selling.  Nothing wrong with it.  Gotta do it.  But do it “too much,” and the recipient stops reading you completely.  They see the envelope from the Upselling Institute, and it goes immediately to the trash.  They see UI is the sender, and one click removes the message from the inbox.

And if they keep seeing UI, and you make them scroll down to the unsubscribe button — well, they don’t see that as “easy”.  They see that as someone wasting their multi-tasking time.  And they’ve joined the pissed-off percentage.

And guess what?  A lot of those Gen Yers on your mailing list?  The ones who haven’t unsubscribed yet?   You might think they’re still warm or semi-warm prospects.  But they are colder than cold.  They’re as cold as a bath of liquid nitrogen.

They’re illustrations of the Klingon/Sicilian proverb about revenge.

Okay, perhaps that’s stretching the point — since most of them simply aren’t going to be bothered to waste any more time with you.

But they are going to talk about you.  Because they don’t like being “just a customer.”

By the time you identify how to transplant your upselling strategy and “discover” a new marketing channel like Facebook or Twitter, they’re already living their real internet lives somewhere else.  Somewhere else where they’re spreading negative vibes about you.

You’ve violated the authenticity principle.  You’ve entered the realm where the best that you can hope for is that they ignore you.  And the worst — they spread the word about how your only interest is your revenue stream.  They don’t mind you wanting to be rich.  But they do mind you only wanting them for their money.

Whether they should have such a view of the marketplace is beside the point.  The fact is, they have it.  And they live it.

They’re not into “doing business” (at least not when they’re behaving as prospective buyers).  They’re into relationships.  And they’re not interested in relationships with people who see them only as prospects.

It’s basic marketing, really.  Learn the psychology of your market first.  Then choose from your box of tools.  Not the other way around.

That hasn’t changed.

What has changed are the consequences if you don’t do it.

These prospects have choices beyond “yes” and “no.”

And they know it.

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It’s that day again.

Last year I spoke of the Declaration of Independence.  Of how “we the people,” following the mad example of King George, have become addicted to our own abuses and usurpations.

This year, I’m too tired to try and improve on what I said a year ago.  Just read the Declaration, America.   And look in a mirror.

Me, today I start flying the Gadsden flag.

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How the worst managers are addicted to their own urgency?

If you want a list of “12 managerial practices guaranteed to ensure employees [or collaborators, or students] listen less rather than more, and do so sooner rather than later,” put “constantly press for the urgent” near the top of the list.

Every urgent request interrupts the employee’s workflow.  “Urgent” says put aside that long to do list I’ve already given you.  “Urgent” says put aside that thing I’ve already got you working on.

“Urgent” says, “I can’t manage my own work flow, so I’m just going to push it off on you.”

Well, I’m sorry, you’re the manager.  That’s ass-backwards.

And if you keep doing it?

Trust me, no one likes constantly having to smell a certain part of the anatomy.  If you press your employees constantly about what’s urgent?  They’re going to find ways to avoid you and that smell.

And guess what *that* will do to your to do list!

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All content of this blog, except comments added under names other than "Wade," are copyright © 2008, 2009 Wade E. Shilts