July 22, 2014

Living in New England just went south

Boston
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My family and I live up in southern New Hampshire, about 1 hour north of Boston and the mayhem that followed yesterday’s race. My wife and I moved here in 2002, after we met in Washington, DC and live there for four years. We left the busy-ness of DC and made our way to northern Massachusetts, where my wife grew up, when we decided to have children and raise a family.

The city has always been a place to go when we need a break from the comforting slowness of New Hampshire life. The ability to get a taste of the city is great for both my wife and I as adults, and the exposure to everything the city has to offer, good and bad, is important and necessary for raising kids. Unfortunately, the events of yesterday afternoon have changed what visiting Boston means to us. [Read more]

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Five types of toys, and a lesson for the grown-ups

toys in a pile
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Like most parents, I buy my kids toys. I buy them mostly for Holidays and birthdays, and sometimes just because I can, and sometimes because I can’t listen to the begging any more, too. On top of that, there are the presents from other people, the junky things you get from Happy Meal boxes and the things they save up their allowance for, too.

Of course, the intrinsic value of the toy has nothing to do with the importance of that toy to the child. Through the years of watching my kids play with, discard, or completely ignore their toys, I have come to realize their toys fall into just a few categorie [Read more]

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The Easter Egg Hunt and perfectly normal disorganization

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Our small town up here in New Hampshire hosted an Easter Egg Hunt and, of course, with a couple hundred children between the ages of 2 and 10 milling about, things went along….well, let’s just say they went along.

The organizers of the event scurried to and fro to make amends for oversights and, since they were clearly working very hard to make the event enjoyable, no one was pointing a finger. The thing that I saw, that was truly bothersome to me, was the indifference and acceptance of such near-pandemonium as normal. It is that acceptance of disorganization as normal, [Read more]

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Things I hate: “Too Busy to be Bored”

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TweetI hate when people say, “i am too busy to be bored.”  Just because I have something to do doesn’t mean that it is the cure for boredom.  In fact, many of the things I have to do are the cause of boredom, much less the antidote. What is even worse is when someone with [...]

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Snowy boots: A reminder that enjoyment enhances skill

snow covered bridge in the woods
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On a walk in the woods this weekend with my sons we discovered the trails were still covered by a good foot of heavy, compacted snow. I contemplated turning around but the boys were having a blast and convinced me to just keep going. Falling into the snow up to their knees at times didn’t sway them in the least. We worked much harder than was needed had we decided to walk on an asphalt trail in a park, but we carried on just to enjoy the day and be near each other.

While you can do work for money and do a fine job, imagine how much greater of a job you could do for a belief in addition to a paycheck. As my boys demonstrated, even children will work hard for something they believe is worthwhile. If you can combine that kind of belief with a skill so well developed people are willing to pay you for it, I can only imagine the degree of success that could be attained. [Read more]

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Leadership, Culture and the Situation of Marissa Mayer

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Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, sent a shock wave across the internet and the blogosphere last weekend when she announced that Yahoo’s policy of allowing people to work remotely would be ended, and that remote-working employees would need to begin reporting to the office by June 2013.

The debate has raged over the wisdom of the move, with a heaping ton of criticism coming from culture-change advocates who point to research indicating that remote work programs are beneficial, while the other side of the coin points to lost engagement and productivity.

Mayer is attempting to benchmark against other organizations and believes that worked over there will also work at Yahoo. That’s a bit short-sighted, however, it’s also the exact same dynamic being offered by her critics – finding the best case example of a situation just like your preferred alternative, and then using that as evidence that the alternative is the right one. [Read more]

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The height of disrespect for people: A UK Healthcare nightmare

The_Doctor_will_SEE_you_now_by_DaYDid
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I came across this lengthy article from The UK’s Daily Mail detailing the nightmarish conditions at Staffordshire Hospital, where it is reported that between 2005 and 2008 as many as 1,200 patients died needlessly due to appalling conditions and neglect.

Keep those dates in mind – this is current. The events described in the article did not happen in some long-forgotten past or in a third-world hell hole. This scandal is unfolding, right now, in one of the most developed nations on earth. If you want to know just how far an organization can stray from the Respect for People ideal that lies at the root of Lean and Operational Excellence, forget Foxconn and look at the UK’s NHS.
[Read more]

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“Discipline, effort, patience and courage”

patience...it's a virtue... by melodyofrosepatience...it's a virtue... by melodyofrose
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Thanks to StumbleUpon, I came across on article on Psychology Today entitled “What to Tell Kids After Failures and Mistakes.” The Author, Salmansohn, describes some recent research conducted by Dr. Carol Dweck, who advocates an “Incremental theory” of learning.

Incremental Theorists believe that success is achieved through putting in the necessary hard work. According to Dr. Dweck, a big key to a successful life is to embrace being an “Incremental Theorist” – so when failure or disappointments occur, you are ready to overcome them.

This quote from the article is powerful: “Discipline, effort, patience and courage are hugely important core values for kids to grow up embracing.”

They are also hugely important core values for adults to maintain, too. [Read more]

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Dad tells a story of inefficient communication, and truly wasteful meeting management

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On a recent trip home for the Holidays, I was railing about such-and-wuch workplace goings on, when my father shared a story from his days managing projects in the construction industry.

as the “steel guy,” most of his work was done fairly early in the life cycle. The steel was cut, fabricated, delivered, erected, corrected, charged back, and his end of the project entirely signed off. Nonetheless, he was bound to attend these hours-long meetings at times, just to hear how the electrical inspection and finished carpentry was progressing. His activity on the overall project was long since done and over with, nonetheless, in the name of communication, he was required to attend. The fact that the meeting would never include any information he needed to hear was entirely lost on the meeting’s organizer. [Read more]

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Stranded by the tide, and the return of the water

Stranded by the tide
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Those of you who follow this blog regularly…yes, both of you….are well aware that I haven’t done much with the blog for a while. In fact, I haven’t done anything in over two months. Let’s just say, life’s been busy. We very often don’t know where we’re going, or even how we got where we are, and when we hit these low times it tends to feel as if we’re going to be stuck there forever. [Read more]

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