Saturday, June 25, 2016

Mid-Year Thoughts and Commentary

“Suppose our failures occur, not in spite of what we are doing, but precisely because of it.”- Dallas Willard

_The economic forecast for 2016 was for more of the same. Slow or no growth, bobbing along just above recession levels. That certainly seems to be the case. My sense is that it’s a bit worse than expected and the outlook for the second half of 2016 and 2017 is becoming more negative.

_We will experience more “Orlandos”. Whether a function of religious extremism, homophobia, racism, easy access to high capacity firearms, mental instability or a combination of these and other dysfunctions… in today’s world violence is the result. We can take steps to control it, to limit the carnage. But those who hate and choose to kill people will always figure out ways to get it done.

_Brexit is a big deal, but not surprising. Just over 50% of the folks who voted in the UK would like to build a wall and turn the clock back. My prediction is that there will be another referendum and next time just over 50% of the voters will choose to remain in the EU. And the chaos will continue.

_The Baylor situation says a lot about our culture. That the leadership of any university, much less a Baptist, bible-thumping, born-again bunch of true believers would go so far down the rabbit hole of sports worship that they end up covering up sexual assaults, protecting the guilty and ignoring or even trying to intimidate the victims is an incredible and terrifying story. How many more Baylors and Penn States will it take to change the prevailing win-at-all-cost, protect-this-house-no-matter-what mindset?

_Trump vs. Clinton. You just can’t make this stuff up. It’s crazy-time in politics. I don’t like either one of them, but at the end of the day, I’m thinking about future Supreme Court appointments. We know there will be one for sure and most likely one more during the next President’s first term. There could even be a third. Yep, it is a big deal… a very big deal.

_Even in a sluggish economy it’s hard to find qualified people to fill jobs. The big question for the next 20 years is going to be “Who’s going to do the work?”

_E-commerce is re-defining the supply chain. The old ways of bringing products to the market: showing, selling, buying and delivery…they are changing. E-tail has arrived.

_Healthcare, education and infra-structure. We better get about addressing these three issues or all the rest of it won’t matter much. Unbelievable that we cannot seem to figure it out. We can’t just throw money at the problems, but it’s going to take a lot of money. It’s also going to take better plans and better management. Two things at which our government totally sucks.

_On a positive note, the U.S.A. remains the best place on the planet, warts and all. God Bless America.

Monday, June 13, 2016


What this Muslim has to say in the aftermath of Orlando should be on the front page of every newspaper and the cover of every magazine...

"One of the reasons we got here is because there is a huge disconnect in too much of the Muslim world between what we want to see, and what we're actually capable of bringing about. Much of the Muslim world is dominated by violent, oppressive governments, some of which spend liberally to support their interpretation of Islam. Sadly, they have enough cash to crush more compassionate and intelligent alternatives."

For the full article go to

Saturday, June 11, 2016

What Is (__________) Worth?

A few weeks ago I introduced a decision-making model that focuses on Motivation, Options, Risk/Reward and Recovery (MORR).
I think it works better than a list of Pros and Cons or the old Franklin T. Life’s choices are rarely “either or”. And if you do not clearly understand you own motivations, you’ll tend to overlook options, underestimate risks and overestimate rewards. Then there is the whole concept of Recovery. What does it take to recover if things don’t work out? If you are honest with yourself and go through this process of evaluating choices, I’m convinced you’ll make better ones. I’ve learned the hard way. Believe me.

But there has to be something else at work here. Values. Your motivation, the options you are willing to consider, the calculation of risk and rewards and what you might be willing to do in order to recover from a poor choice….all of these are dependent upon your values. Your values determine “what’s worth it”. The most undecided candidates are always those who are struggling to balance conflicting values. The specific issues and questions vary, but they all really go back to one big question: How much value do you put on money and career? And it gets complicated because what you do about “money and career” has a major impact on everything else you value. Some of those impacts are positive and some are negative.

I think it’s worth noting that younger candidates seem to be asking “the big question” a lot more often these days. And this has major implications for employers. Work-life balance is a huge issue for Millennials. What sort of work they do, where they do it, who they do it for and how much time they spend doing it are equally if not more important than money or career. Most Millennials are not willing to just do whatever it takes for money, career advancement or even plain old job security. Over time they will be forced to adjust their work-life balance expectations to the realities of the marketplace. But, make no mistake, the marketplace is being forced to adjust its work-life balance reality to meet some of those expectations.

Are there still companies out there that demand everything from their employees? And are there still people out there willing to sign up for that. Of course. One of the most successful, Amazon, is known for being a grinder and they seem to be finding enough willing “grind-ees” to keep their amazing enterprise thriving. But there is a shift in attitudes toward work. More people are asking the big question….”What is __________ worth?” You have to fill in the blank and you have to decide. Those decisions will be driven by your values. And I mean your real values. Not what you tell your family and friends. Not what you want to believe about yourself. Your true values will be revealed by the choices you make. And those choices may be wrong, but they always tell the truth about what __________ is worth to you.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, June 6, 2016


“Forget about likes and dislikes. They are of no consequence. Just do what must be done. This may not be happiness but it is greatness.” – George Bernard Shaw

I’m old enough to remember when a lot of people (mostly white people) did not think Muhammad Ali was great at all, much less the greatest. My dad loved Cassius Clay the boxer, but Muhammad Ali the draft dodger, not so much. Even though the old man thought the Vietnam War was a big mistake and had an almost Oliver Stone-ish idea that it was all about money and politics, he believed that if you got drafted you served. If not with a gun in your hands then at least in some way. Dodging the draft was not an option.

I disagreed with my dad when it came to Ali. There was a revolution going on in the late 60’s and I was inclined to agree with the revolutionaries. There was a lot wrong about this country back then, just like there is a lot wrong about it now. The civil rights movement was necessary. Protesting the Vietnam War was necessary. And challenging the establishment is always a good thing, especially if you’re still young and hopeful that there must be a better way. Ali symbolized all of that and he was willing to sacrifice his best years as an athlete for what he believed in.

Ali eventually went back into the ring and proved himself to truly be the greatest of all time. He also became a global ambassador for peace and justice. After he was stricken with Parkinson’s he became even more beloved. Had he remained healthy and outspoken, who knows how things might have turned out. Muhammad Ali was special. He was large enough for a unique time in history. A world champion who took a stand on the most important issues of his day and paid the price. RIP Champ.