December 20, 2011

An alternative to regulating companies

The answer to individuals who want more regulation is not to layer more red tape on top of the mess of bureaucracy. Rather, the individual answer is to go to the core. That core would be… individuals.

The best way to ensure the "right" thing gets done is to make individuals responsible. Individuals are too insulated and secured by organizations to feel any responsibility for their actions within them. The larger the organization, the more secure individuals feel and the more opportunity for wrong-doing. Regulation on any organization versus on the individuals does not address the problem. See that every entity, be it an industry, corporate, non-profit, or governmental organization, has individual(s) in it. Educate people on the role their individual part plays while making them responsible for the effects of that and we will get a true shift in results.

November 28, 2011

Ignore the man speeding through a red light

This was the attitude of one person, who I believe represents

many others. In my neighborhood association, someone posted

about a specific driver who sped across a yellow line and then

ran a red light. A neighbor who was almost in an accident with

an offender vented in a reasonable post to their neighbors.

One person responded saying that they should have gone

to the city to "fix that intersection". Talk about diffusion of

responsibility. Instead of blaming a specific person who clearly

disregards rules, this person is thus inclined to let government

somehow find their own solutions without identifying specific

individuals. So considering the facts, look at the inconsistency:

we appeal to government to somehow create more rules

to stop someone who does not follow the rules. Keep in mind,

we know what the problem is. It’s not an inanimate government.

It's that individual.

November 19, 2011

Individuals Hiding Behind Bureaucracy

I cringe every time I have to deal with a large corporation for a problem with a bill or service. I know there are going to be at least five minutes working through a phone tree. My issue is rarely one of the twenty I have to listen through. When I do speak with a person, they are usually limited with what they can do. The typical answer is, "I understand your issue, but it's not something I or my manager can fix. I am sorry but I need to forward you to..." Rarely has even a simple answer taken less than an hour to resolve. More importantly, I always feel so alone against "the system".

The problem is diffusion of responsibility. The entity is understandably managing its risk by limited what any one person can do. Bureaucratic processes make it hard for any individual to deviate from their system. They leave it up to the system, but the offset of this is disempowering individuals. Disempowered individuals disassociate themselves from responsibility. "I'm not equipped to do anything about that, so I am not responsible." The anecdotes are endless. Eventually, bad process lead good people to do bad things they would not have done if held personally responsible. In the end, the bureaucracy generates negative effects and frustration through the actions of individuals without any individuals feeling responsible for their quota. And this is how bureaucracies have more proclivity for immoral actions than individuals, even though the true perpetrators in the system are still individuals hiding behind bureaucracy.

October 27, 2011

Rachel Maddow should blame Drew

Blame Wall Street, at least according to Rachel Maddow. In my

book, Why Not Blame Drew?, inanimate things can't incur blame.

If you want to blame, you can blame neither physical houses

nor Wall Street. They are equally guilty (i.e. not guilty at all).

Finding the one responsible is easier than you may think. That

individual is writing this. I am the one who takes ultimate and

absolute responsibility for financial systems going up into more

flames. Blame me. Blame Drew!

October 20, 2011

I am

I  am


In  how


I  am

September 30, 2011

Children, can you see a different perspective?

Children are notorious for not paying attention to what is happening around them. They take away something someone else is using or they back into things or else they block the view of others who are watching television. Children become so concerned with their own needs that they don't pay attention to others.

Unfortunately, many adults are not much different. I see it in public in the way they drive, walk through crowds, and talk so loudly on their phones in public. Are they really adult?

At a children's museum, I had to stick out my arm several times to prevent other parents from backing over my daughter. At my local elementary school, I watch parents, who just dropped their kids off, speed past other parents walking their kids to school. Can you see how I feel?

What needs to happen to make these adults recognize the other humans who occupy the world? Why not see the world from

a different perspective?

September 23, 2011

Seeing death from a different perspective

    What is

    the leading cause

of death in the U.S.A.?

Guns are dangerous. So are chemicals you can buy at the grocery store,

cliffs, and cars. Cars are not only dangerous, they are over three times

more dangerous than guns. More so, unlike cars, guns are specifically

allowed. The 2nd Amendment is devoted to our right to bear arms. This

Amendment is second to your right to free speech. So, before you criticize

guns, look at the CDC list of leading deaths for 2007:

Unintentional Car Accidents                     42,000

Unintentional Poisoning                             30,000

Unintentional Fall                                     23,000

Homicide by gun                                13,000

Concerned about guns more than cars?

See this from a different perspective.

August 30, 2011

The Problem with Perspective

We Humans are good At identifying what we think is not right, usually without considering context. The next time you find yourself trying to fix a problem, ask yourself, "do I really know what the problem is?" and "is it really a problem?" Sometimes when your mind sees things from a different perspective, you realize THEre is no PROBLEM at all.

August 21, 2011

All is not well that ends well

Most people are not surprised to hear there is a correlation between violent programs and violent children. Nurture Shock by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman illustrates a surprising correlation: the strong correlation between kids who watched "good" children's programming and violence in those children. The correlation of these shows were not as bad as the violent shows, but they were surprisingly close. Good shows were almost as bad as violent shows.

When the researchers dissected the programs, they discovered large amounts of insults and violent behavior. Bad AND good programs both use violent behavior to help "set up" the conflict so they could ultimately teach a lesson. Continue through the show and you will fine the majority of the show demonstrated the conflict while a smaller portion was devoted to resolving the issue. Looming behind the eventual positive resolution is the bulk of time devoted to negative behavior to "set the scene". (Large assumption: kids watched the show to the end where the resolution and most of the positive events occurred.)

July 10, 2011

Failure is an option!

Google is releasing Google+, a new social media tool. As many like to point out, this is on the heals of several recent failures with Wave and Buzz and (if they are aware) a slew of other efforts attempted and failed over the year. We are inclined to think that failure is indicative of future failure, so the implication is that this too is likely to fail.

Seeing this attitude by the press and public saddens me. It says that we do not appreciate the value of failure. It reiterates an expectation for companies and individuals to always succeed or be assumed failures.

Innovations, which come at the cost of many failures, are stifled by this attitude. This attitude reinforces people's fear of failing, so they do not try. This attitude makes large companies afraid to experiment when experimentation is necessary for true innovation. This is why large companies buy innovative small companies rather than innovate in-house and risk failing.

Inside every success are many failures. Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison all knew this. Any great scientist knows this. WD40 would have been WD1 in a world without failure.

Failures are what we should embrace. We should be applauding Google for taking such big risks and failing. This is commendable for a company their size. Google should be a model for other companies and individuals to take a chance to fail. By applauding and commending them, we encourage more failures, and ultimately, more future success.

July 6, 2011

Risk setting the proper expectations

We have gotten away from setting the proper expectations of risk. I have discussed how we live with a feeling that things should be "risk-free." Constant reminders of this foolishness notion are warnings not to use my hairdryer in the shower or not to use a razor in a brisk earthquake or not to eat a plastic bag. Instead of accepting that risks exist, we expect manufacturers to take extra precautions on our behalf. These extra precautions: extra testing, asterisks on everything, special labels, modifications to the product, etc. increase the cost of goods (usually more than that additional value is worth to the average consumer). Rather than raising the cost of goods, why not raise (in some kind of way) our level of common sense? Why not raise our acceptance that risk is part of life?

June 25, 2011

Are cars more complicated that students?

Explain to me which are more complex, students or cars?

In May 2011, the government proposed a new format for representing car Fuel Efficiency on window stickers. Note that the original design was to assign a letter grade of A through D for fuel efficiency, but that was rejected by the manufacturers and other opponents because it was "simplistic and potentially misleading".

Cars are apparently much more complicated than people. Relegating a student with a letter grade of A through F in a given subject never caused such pushback. Numerous generations have accepted this basic measurement for students. Evidently, we do not find a letter grade simplistic or misleading when it comes to students. Kids must be simpler than cars.

Or, maybe we allow this because educational leaders never had the gumption to fight back and defend students like the automakers did for cars. Even now, it's not too late to start fighting back, but I suppose educational leaders are too satisfied with the status quo.

What do you think?

June 9, 2011

Wanted: good discussions about bad guys

We have a bad sense of resolving criminal issues. In books or movies, the bad guys eventually get their due. The bad guys are killed or destroyed, sent away, or dispatched to jail. Inevitably, we are left with the good guys slapping the dust off their pants and smiling. We are left with the comforting feeling that now all is well and good.

The bad news is that criminal issues in real life are much more complicated. What do we do with a bad guy in real life? Assume we even know who the bad guy is to begin with. (People are not easily classified as good or bad*.) If real life, the bad guy rarely gets killed (and if so, many years pass before a death penalty actually gets carried out). Sending them away only pushes the bad problem on to other people. Dispatching them to jail only fills the jails (and arguably builds their associations with other bad criminals in the process). Rehabilitating them… well, lets get education of youth right and figure how we will convince more people not to smoke before we even talk about changing an adult's bad habits.

We have never truly addressed this problem in a good way for society. What do we do with the bad guys? There is no all around right answer, so what is the best answer about bad guys?

First of all, we need to accept that no good answer is perfect. What ever we choose, some good guys will get caught in the net. Some bad guys will get away. Part of picking a good answer is knowing that this will happen. It is a risk that is impossible to ever completely eliminate all the bad consequences.

The answer is that we need to decide what is good and act on that decision. A critical part of the good decision is choosing what we are trying to accomplish. What is the goal of our good criminal justice? To "get even" with the bad guys? To make examples of bad guys to other potential criminals? To rehabilitate the bad guys? To remove the bad guys from society (temporarily or permanently)? Each of these has a different approach to managing the bad guys. Our current approach is a bad blend of all of the above and it does not do any of them well. Plus, we still end up with bad cons (pun intended) for each approach.

So, why not start good discussions about what we are trying to accomplish? What is a good goal? Then, we can get on to actually doing something about the bad guys.

* But the other sentences in this text are.

May 27, 2011

Teachers: fight the status quo, not for it

Shun them or not, Wisconsin officials voted to make major
changes to the education system. Right or wrong, they did
so in response to economic pressures plaguing the system.

The teachers fought back; however, instead of offering better
solutions, they fought to keep the status quo. They fought
to keep a system with less-than-stellar results. Although the
situations are better than other states, is that an argument to
remain as it is? "Let's keep this junky car because it is not as
junky as my neighbor's." Really? That is not the kind of thinking
teachers or anyone should be accepting.

Instead, in response to the economic pressures, schools
should be taking this time to reinvent the system. They should
utilize their existing resources much more effectively to find
ways to improve results with less resources. There are models
to follow out there. Look at Brockton HS in MA. Look at those
success of the many KIPP schools. It can be achieved, but not
by teachers protesting in the streets and fighting (with little
innovation) to keep a broken system broken.

Look at things from a different perspective! Why not?

May 13, 2011

Friday the 13th Hint#2

The ebook version of Why Not Blame Drew? was
released this spring; however, the printed copies
do contain many more mysterious messages.

For example, in Chapter 14 on page 141, entitled
"The Burden", carefully piece together the first
word of the last line of everyy paragraph. Or, in the
peenultimate numbered chapter, cobble together the
extra letters in missspelled words. Oh, yes, every
misspelling was intentional. There were (I do admit
for once) some mistakes in the printed copy, but most
you will find were intentional. My fault.

Note: For other hints, visit
Look carefully at each entry. On Friday the 13th,
see the world from a different perspective.

April 22, 2011

True messages hiDDen in first impressions

I used to shake my head about rock stars with unusual, nitpicky requests like "No brown m&m's at performances"? This week, a show explained this as "a canary in the coal mine". Each performance location has its local manager. Giving minor specific tasks becomes a tracking mechanism. Recognizing a failure with the m&ms, for example, is a warning that more important tasks probably were neglected. If location managers do not handle these minor things, it implies they have not read the contract and/or met all the terms. The performer then has a right to back out assuming the show could have problems. Yes, this changes my perspective on the matter.

In this are many learning points. So for one, pointing my finger at arrogant performers abusing their power is Not always valid. On many occasions, the performer probably did not even know about the specific requirement. Thus, labeling people based on actions is not really valid when we do not understand their intent.

Another learning point stems from my inclination to blame the team of people (once the performer is cleared of responsibility). So, while the performer is Still technically responsible, aware or not, the one at whom to point is a team member responsible for the contract. Using "team" is not valid because a team is not capable of being responsible; a person or team Member is. Each action by a collection of people can always be linked back to a person, but it is easy to be Deluded that it is someone or something else.

Why Not Blame Drew? (ebook) Now available

I've done it... many times,
...on paper.
...on radio. person. front of the Texas State Capital.
I've taken all the blame, but...
I've outdone it this time.

You asked for it...

Why Not Blame Drew?

Now available in ebook:

April 12, 2011

Everyone knows, few do

Teachers who garner long-term results have a special talent.
Any good teacher focuses on the learning rather than on the
many skills. Inspiring students to learn gets students closer
toward learning the specific skills on their own. They go
fishing on their own initiative. Otherwise, the students learn
nothing unless prompted by teachers to learn a new skill. The
feedback on this approach is always positive, but this way isn't
an easy one. As such, numerous teachers continue in the same
manner as before and our educational system does not improve.

March 24, 2011

There is always an opportunity for IRR (Integrity, Responsibility, Respect)

Risk is ying while the opportunity to be responsible is yang. You can't have one without the other.

If you have risk and you accept and deal with it, you are considered responsible. If you have risk and you don't accept or deal with it, you are considered irresponsible. If you eliminated ALL risk, then you deny any ability to be responsible.

Suppose scientists created a drug that counteracted ALL risk of eating "bad" food or over-eating. This drug prevented gaining unnecessary weight or any harm to the body from what you eat. If this drug eliminated ALL risk, what would it mean to "eat responsibly"?

Suppose scientists created a tool that removed ALL risk to drivers. This tool prevented drivers from crashing into anything, including other drivers. If this tool eliminated ALL risk, what would it mean to be a "responsible driver"?

Risk exists in any situation, no matter how small. Thus, there is always an opportunity to be Responsible (just as there is always an opportunity for Integrity and Respect).

IRR may be small enough that no one easily notices, but being there makes all the difference.

March 21, 2011

What you do, from another perspective

When we get so en-gaged in a daily rou tine,

normal ex pe c tati ons,or cy cles, stand ards,

habits, it gets hard to see a thing diffe rently;

however, the mother of invention is something being

done differently. It is taking any unique tack. It is

done in any new way, looking at something from a

new perspective then seeing it in a way no one might

have observed priorr to you noting it to them. Why not

look at what you do from a different perspective?

February 15, 2011

Set right expectations of reality

Most people do not like risk. The threat of getting sick is a risk. The threat of terrorist attacks is a risk. The threat of running out of money in retirement is a risk. Risk is inherent in life and can never be eliminated. Although there may be numerous evolving strains of viruses out there at any moment, it takes only one brisk strain to make people sick. It just takes one person out of billions to briskly carry out an effective terrorist attack. To make poor economic choices which briskly drain even the largest bank account is always a possibility.

Yet, enough people cling to the idea of someone absolving them of any risk. Politicians at all governmental levels frisk citizens of votes by catering to this false belief. They use the people's fear of risk and offer them a false sense of respite in their programs. Risk of not having adequate health insurance? Relax, vote for me and I'll eliminate that risk. Risk of getting caught in a terrorist attack? If you vote for me, its risk-free. Risk of not saving enough for retirement? Someone's got that risk covered. Risk of losing your house? Keep voting for me to stay risk-free. "Risk-free" is what people want to hear, but that road just leads to disappointment. Risk still exists, it can't be eliminated entirely.

We could never even afford to eliminate all the risk. All money in the world could never eliminate risk in any of these areas. Risk exists in just one person, one bug, or one bad decision. By its very own definition, we could never even afford "all money in the world", let alone the money needed to truly eliminate risk.

Let us set correct expectations about risk. Why not accept the reality of risk?

February 7, 2011

What makes a good manager?

Does being a good engineer mean you will be a good manager and vice-versa? Does GE, renowned for its managers, require its managers to first be engineers?

Does being a good designer mean you will be a good manager and vice-versa? Does Nike require its managers to first be designers?

What about at Intel, Kodak, Nissan, IBM, HP, and Time Warner? They realize that leadership and management are different skills sets than specialized front line roles.

Does being a good inspired animator mean you will be a good manager and vice-versa? Does Disney require its managers to first be animators?

Does being a roughneck steel worker mean you will be a good manager and vice-versa? Does Reliance Steel & Aluminum require its managers to first be steel workers?

Does being a good pilot mean you will be a good manager and vice-versa? Does American Airlines require its managers to first be pilots?

What about at Wal-Mart, Kraft Foods, Cisco, AT&T, and Bristol-Myers Squibb? They realize that leadership and management are different skills sets than specialized front line roles.

So, why do schools require administrators to first be teachers?

January 17, 2011

When crowds go wild...

When the microphone failed midway through an 8-year old's singing of the national anthem, the hockey crowd boldly picked up when the volume of the microphone did not. They could have blamed me, but individuals chose to sing. They could have roared in near frustration, but they sang in support. They could have blamed the tech guy, but they helped finish out the song. They could have raised fists expecting blood, but they only raised voices in solidarity. They could have raised their arms about the problem, but they focused on a solution. Moving on was more powerful than anyone could have predicted. Who anticipates everyone rooting for the same outcome at a hockey game? Do you?

January 11, 2011

See what we are missing...

Time after time, our politics fail us;

not because they do not do as they say;

not because they seem to mince words.

But because we abandon our individual responsibility;

and because we obtain hope that one single individual

can become individually responsible for each one of us

and because we think that one person going somewhere

can become representative of us in some "higher" way;

and because we, seeing them in a role as our representative,

can become complacent in a false sense of responsibility;

and because we follow the illusion that individuals in control

can become conduits making each one of us more responsible;

and because we pressure their esteemed role so much, they

can become people constrained to meet high expectations;

and because they play by rules to succeed as we expect, they

can become parts of the political system that we despise;

and because we forget our own responsibility, thinking another

can become responsible in politics where it is hard to be such;

and because we then get frustrated because the laws passed

can become failures at making other people more responsible.

The solution is simple: don't expect others to be responsible.

The solution is remaining individually responsible. Otherwise,

Time after time, our politics fail us.