August 19, 2017

Respect for People

To move forward in life you have to find mentors to teach you. They often don’t even know they have taught you about life. It is not a formal job title. You find mentors everywhere.

Two men who mentored me were both named Robbie Robinson, many years apart. Both men helped a much younger man grow despite my being white.

Mawthorne “Robbie” Robinson trained me as a material handler, a summer replacement worker of 19. Be on time, be organized, work hard, and help your coworkers be productive. Eastman Kodak paid well, his son was also a summer replacement and decided to stay. He celebrated my going back to college, and wished his son did. His words and example helped me persist when I struggled to graduate college, and when work was hard.

Robbie Robertson was the husband of our engineering secretary. He carried himself well in any situation at work and in public, and always took care of people. Robbie was use to fame, a retired negro league baseball player. Being married to a white woman had to expose them both to some awkward situations, but you never knew it around them. Learned from Robbie both working with people and gracefully handling the inevitable aches and pains of aging. Useful now in my 60s.

In trying times, respect people with different views than our own. Mentors are family members, people you know, commentators, humorists, religious leaders, and writers who challenge our thinking. Find more mentors today for your tomorrows.

“If you never venture beyond what you know... You’ve spawned your own limitations.” - Sumner Redstone

August 12, 2017

It’s Okay to be Wrong

Didn’t get the Memo? You are not alone. Most of us grew up trying to give the right answer in school. Was embarrassing to be wrong. Had to sit down when you couldn’t spell the word in the spelling bee. (Still be one of the first out today)

Did not have the right result in math? Teacher would figure out where you got off track, and help you. It is called Learning.

No one gets the words or notes right the first time they sing a song. Singers spend hours practicing and honing a song. Artists create drafts before they paint or sculpture. Writers edit more than they write.

What about investing. Most people may have an idea, but no one knows when. Remember the experts said if Donald Trump were to beat Hilary, the stock market would drop due to uncertainty? Results: Dow Jones is up $3,600 to over $22,000 (+19%) in half year. No one really knows. The pundits gave no chance to President Trump. Most pundits are still working.

Most mistakes are not life or death. If you are responsible for other people’s lives, you do have a higher standard for getting it right. Train to be successful.

Stop criticizing other people’s mistakes. Remember you own. We are human. So are you. It is okay to try and fail. No need to be embarrassed about it. Failure is a necessary step to success.

Remember weathered, sore muscled, traveled, opinionated, businessman-engineer and former C student. I Could Be Wrong. 

“At Harvard, the A students tend to become professors and the C students become wealthy donors." - Larry Summers

August 5, 2017

Fixing Healthcare

We all know healthcare is a mess. Medicare and Obamacare are going broke. Veterans health system is in disarray. 50 million people do not have insurance. Warren Buffet (Democrat) and Charlie Munger (Republican) agree we need a new system covering everyone.

How about a proven solution? One where incentives are for our benefit. Laurence Kotlikoff, economist professor and syndicated columnist, proposes adopting a German style system. Not socialized medicine with bureaucracies. Not a wild west system either.

Companies are paid based on the health status of each company’s clientele. Plans are offered for the whole country only, and cover pre-existing conditions. No picking and choosing clients. Companies are reimbursed for those condition.

You must email or call your congressman and senators. Read Laurence Kotlikoff’s article below. Share this post. This is too important to be left to politicians and lobbyist.

July 29, 2017

Complex Problems

The hell of complex problems is the more you dig into details, the more likely you are going to find conflicts that are near impossible to resolve. No one alone can make all the right choices for everyone else.

You won’t make the right choice for me. And don’t let me choose for you unless you like pepperoni & mushroom pizza, with coffee ice cream for dessert. My choices don’t fit your taste buds. We are different, and expect others will make different choices. President Trump was not the predicted results of the election.

Complex problems have no simple solutions. ISIS, world peace, drug use, discrimination, gun violence, health care, and North Korea are examples. Whatever ideas you propose will have consequences, and different than expected results.

John Lott was an academic researcher who was convinced gun laws would reduce crime. He set up detailed research to prove it. However he found the data did not support his theory. The cities that banned guns had much more crime. Instead the best way to reduce crime was “Shall Issue Carry Permits” laws for citizen. Citizens with permits do not commit crimes, and carry permits allow them to protect themselves. More Guns, Less Crime is his book if you want to learn more.

Issues like North Korea have no good answers. They have prepared for war for over 50 years. Little technology or ways to pressure the country exist. Many weapons are hidden. South Korea and other nearby countries will be bombed if there was an invasion. Which choice is less worse may be the best answer.

Start with research and an open mind on complex problems. Invite others to bring up more viewpoints and questions. Go find assumptions that were not broken out. Keep digging and test what really improves the situation. What else has been overlooked? The solutions often will be an odd combinations of changes.

Compromise and collaboration are difficult. Does not mean we should not try. But don't expect immediate results. We will fail first before we succeed.

July 22, 2017

Stop Picking on Millennials

The stereotype of Millennials is narcissistic, all future CEOs, and saving the world in Yoga pants. This could not be more wrong. Work with talented, hard working, collaborative teammates from the shop floor to the office who want to build great airplanes.

Younger people want what we wanted at their age. A chance to meet people, develop skills and take responsibility. We boomers wanted to change the world in blue jeans and long hair. (At least it was long hair before going grey and falling out)

Millennials want opportunities, good pay, homes, safe neighborhoods and to raise their kids with a good education. Is that different than prior generations?

There are some differences in generations. Millennials saw their parents and family members lose jobs and homes during the Great Recession. They are more empathic, and faced a challenging economy starting out.

Gen X grew up with fears from 9/11, and lost opportunities in the Great Recession. Is it any wonder they value security? Gen X is squeezed between two large populations groups as they take over leadership.

Boomers grew up in a hyper competitive time. Felt bad graduating in the bottom third of my class, until it dawned on me was one of 220 engineering graduates from a freshman class of 662. Two out of three failed or dropped out. Can you imagine today’s helicopter parents hearing that? Starting salaries were tight like today’s economy, but we had severe inflation.

People are not their generations, though events, technologies and trends affected them. People are individuals with different goals, talents and loves. But we are all people.

Treat everyone with respect. You do not know their challenges.

July 15, 2017

Good Speaking Primer

Attended an event promoting apprenticeships in Rainer Beach. There were 2 young men who talked to the crowd. They were not practiced public speakers, but they were both excellent first timers. Why?

Focused on giving good advice the audience could use.
Not platitudes, but straightforward practical experiences, attitudes and reality.

They were motivational without trying.
Be ready to learn, work hard, have a good attitude, and show up on time.

Addressed being minorities without being victims.
Said it will happen, but not going to ruin my day. They were thrilled to have good jobs after low paying, go nowhere jobs. Someone else’s problems were not going to affect them.  After all you grew up being who you are.

Both emphasized it wasn’t because they were special.
The audience could complete the training and get good jobs as well. Success came from learning and applying it. They both supported people to take the training they had.

Very pleased to meet Evan and Gerald last night. Encouraged both to keep speaking because they cared about people.  They talked and showed the audience a path to success.

Respect for People

To move forward in life you have to find mentors to teach you. They often don’t even know they have taught you about life. It is not a forma...