“I can’t believe you’re changing planes in Charlotte.”
That was the last thing my wife said to me as I packed my car to head for the airport. She had spent a very frustrating evening in said airport while the rest of the family celebrated our son’s graduation from college. But that was 20 years ago.
As it turns out, some things don’t change.
A mid-afternoon hailstorm had closed Charlotte’s airport for two hours. So, my 10 p.m. flight to Fort Lauderdale was delayed two hours – just like everyone else’s. My fellow passengers and I settled in for an uncomfortable wait, trusting that the chaos would dissolve into some semblance of order.
We sat glumly as the posted departure time deteriorated from 12:10 a.m. to 12:20 a.m. to 12:45 a.m. to 1:15 a.m. and so on. If you’ve been through this (and who hasn’t?), you know what’s most frustrating is that the airline staff rarely tells you what’s going on.
The change in our national political environment is driving new thinking at state capitols and in our cities. I recently heard Los Angeles Mayor Gil Garcetti refer to the constitutional right of states and cities to exercise the power not granted to the federal government. He was talking about the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution:
Last week, my friend Jack Altschuler asked me to weigh in on an interesting topic. As an entrepreneur, Jack attended a class on the Theory of Constraints (TOC). He learned the lessons well, applying the theory to his own business with great results. He now asks how TOC applies to our nation and what I think are the “undesirable effects of what is going on right now – what needs fixing.” I should mention that Jack, now retired from his business, writes a political blog expressing some far-left ideas about our national politics. Recognizing that my politics are “somewhat to the right” of him, he seeks to broaden his perspective.
I’ve been working to promote The Reluctant CEO. A half dozen book signings, all local, complemented by social media advertising have had the desired effect. Still, there’s a way to go to achieve the sales goal.
You know the one I mean: a one-page summary of the year you’ve had. No one wants to talk about bad news. But, no one wants to be dishonest. Yet, there’s always someone who writes about their fabulous vacation, their terrific career and their youngest making the honor roll while the eldest is off to Harvard.
Trust has taken a beating in my lifetime. From the Watergate affair to the recent financial crisis, from Enron to Lehman Brothers, we have been failed by government and business institutions and lost our faith in them.
In light of these multiple failures, how do we function as a society?
In my book, the protagonist – CEO of a global corporation – develops a corporate culture based on trust. Espousing a communitarian ideal, he advocates that each of his employees from senior management down the front lines, think of how their actions affect the communities in which they live – their neighbors, their employees and their families.
Here’s how he puts it to the business press:
“Would you want your children to drink water that’s been polluted by the chemical plant you manage? Would you like members of your family to be treated shabbily by their employers? How can a corporate leader expect a company to thrive if the people in his or her community aren’t thriving?”
My last post (Your opportunity to be treated as badly as the men) struck a chord with more than a few women. The responses were mostly positive. The last line quoting John Wayne’s advice to Barbara Walters – “Don’t let the bastards get you down” – got this response from a former military officer and graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School:
Excellent take! In 21 years of active duty, my sole focus was on accomplishing the unit’s mission. Gender was the last thing on my mind at any given time. I never had any of these issues that the media seems so fond of focusing on.
An old friend simply said, “Go, John!” adding a few thumbs up emojis for emphasis.
I attended a lunch to honor our nation’s veterans last week. A beautiful lady – a generation or so past her prime but still beautiful – pinned a red carnation on my lapel and thanked me for my service. It was a nice gesture.
The luncheon featured a panel discussion. Three impressive, successful female veterans sat behind a long table and told us of their experiences in the military. Had I been the moderator, I might have kicked off the discussion by asking how their military experience prepared them to succeed in civilian life. Continue reading “Your opportunity to be treated as badly as the men”→