Enlightened Conflict

old white men and hollowness of behavior

August 16th, 2017

 

it is going very badly good disaster

==============================

 

“At any other time it’s better.

You can do the things you feel you should; you’re an expert at going through the motions. Your handshakes with strangers are firm and your gaze never wavers; you think of steel and diamonds when you stare. In monotone you repeat the legendary words of long-dead lovers to those you claim to love; you take them into bed with you, and you mimic the rhythmic motions you’ve read of in manuals.

When protocol demands it you dutifully drop to your knees and pray to a god who no longer exists. But in this hour you must admit to yourself that this is not enough, that you are not good enough.

And when you knock your fist against your chest you hear a hollow ringing echo, and all your thoughts are accompanied by the ticks of clockwork spinning behind your eyes, and everything you eat and drink has the aftertaste of rust.”

 

Dexter Palmer

 

===================

 

Well.

 

I am surprised at how often Trump and the Trump administration make me go business old white guysback again and again to the post I wrote on November 13th 2016: The Last Stand of the Old White Men.

 

 

It was within that post in which I posed the ultimate judgement we should apply to the new Trump administration …“the potential redemption of a generation.

 

At that time I shared thoughts with regard to how a Trump presidency and his speculated band of merry old white men, his “band of brothers” <his cabinet and advisors>, would guide America to the next level of greatness despite the fact they had built their own personal empires on a variety of greater business acumen & business culture hollow attitudes & achievements.

 

Hollow?

It is my belief that, as a generalization because there are exceptions, old white men have hollowed out the business world in their quest for “winning at any cost” and “maximize win-to-cash” ratio.

 

Everyone should note that Trump is the poster child of this hollowness <and I will aggravatingly point it out over and over again> and I have pointed it out on the following topics already:

 

 

Capitalism.

Branding.

Profit.

Wealth dispersion.

Communication.

want to be like you hollow man trump

 

 

They hollowed them all out.

 

 

But this weekend I was reminded of another … a much simpler pragmatic crime than lack of morality … hollowness of behavior.

 

Now.

 

I hesitated to call this “the hollowing out of morality” mostly because that sounded a little harsh and I tend to believe the reality within this particular hollowness is more pragmatic. That said … it doesn’t make it any better just that I didn’t really want to get into a morality & ethical finger pointing game.

 

 

Behavior

 

Leadership is a complex mix of personal, professional and pragmatic.

When wielded well it is a beautiful tapestry of effectiveness, however, beauty is often in the eyes of the beholder when actual effectiveness becomes the measuring stick. As a reminder, old white men leadership grew up in a business of dictatorship leadership behavior or, at its best, benevolent dictatorship.

Old white men grew up in the hallowed halls of hollowed leadership management. This means that their ‘management twitch muscles’ inevitably provide reflexive business decision making based on this.

The easiest way to point this out is that businesses have developed a myriad of cultural initiatives and, yet, old white men leadership tends to simply treat them as “feel good politically correct” initiatives. They view them as “society dictated” thinking and not “business dictated” thinking. Therefore a hollowness was inherent in the organization between how the old white men leaders attitudinally approached the business, how they viewed behavior and how the organization actually behaved.

Old white men began talking longingly of straight talk, when people knew their place in business and ‘carrot & sticks.’  Old white men started looking at businesses in disdain as vehicles of political correctness and not stark effectiveness. The truth is that many of the old white men simply didn’t buy in to a better way of doing business and, therefore, when put in a corner & challenged revert back to the hollow management style of “do what I tell you to do and shut up.”

To be fair, old white men did not create this hollowness … they simply propagate it.

 

That is Trump in a nutshell.

 

work bad idea panda angry

Anyway.

 

 

To be clear, simplistically, old white business men behavior falls into one of two camps:

 

  • Those who do something because they were shown something and thought “hmmmmmmmmm, this makes sense to do.”

 

  • Those who do something because … well … they think they have to <but still believe it is stupid and that ‘the old way’ was better>.

 

The problem is that the latter group is incredibly good at pointing out how they are technically ‘hiring more women, promoting more women, giving opportunities to minorities, discouraging sexist and racist behavior in the office’ and everything else they would throw into the “mamby pamby politically correct business bullshit” bucket … all the while chafing under the true spirit of behavior.

 

I say all this because if you strip away all the horrible racist and incorrect moral equivalency rhetoric you will find an old white man who’s “make great again” is grounded in a pragmatically hollow view of behavior. There is no subtext nor is there any higher ground it is a simple black & white behavior analysis in which everyone’s behavior is viewed as a commodity and the only differentiation is ‘effectiveness’ or outcomes.

 

I say all this because while I pointed out the old white men have a chance at redemption we saw, in the spotlight and podium, one old white man not seeking any redemption nor showcasing any redemptive characteristics. I worry that this one man is beyond redemption.

 

And as I say that I remind everyone that the old white man Donald J Trump is surrounded by a crusty bunch of curmudgeonly old white men who we would hope we could find some level of pragmatic redemption.

 

thoughts people stand up i will be defined

I say that to point out the other piece I authored which continuously pops up as a reread – at this time, at this place, I will be defined.

 

 

I wrote it February 17th 2017. In it I said:

 

In this moment, in this time and place, something is happening of which we really have to create nothing … but, instead, rather shape something. And, in doing this shaping, we are actually building something within the moments we elect to stand up and define ourselves … well … building “us” … okay … maybe it is building “me or I.”

This moment is different because it demands that we take a whole bunch of seemingly meaningless little moments … almost unrecognizable … that have got us to where we are attitudinally, intellectually and physically … and stop and speak out in some way that will be meaningful to us for the rest of our lives.

And.

In this moment … I would suggest that this is not the time to define yourself by standing against something but rather standing up & for something. This is not the moment to be “anti” something but rather “pro” something.  ‘Anti’ suggests you can turn, or stem, the tide of affairs when the reality of ‘affairs of men’ would most likely suggest a tide is a tide and affairs will be affairs and by being ‘pro’ it may be possible to show which harbor the tide should enter. Don’t define by what you are against … define by what you are for.

That said.

I could suggest that for many of us this is a “now or never” time.

 

 

Look.

black white gray

I can point out all the issues with old white men and all their flaws which could potentially impact, negatively, the united states of America until I am blue in the face.

 

And I will continue to do so.

 

But inherent in pointing out hollowness is the unequivocal truth that hollowness begs to be filled with something. And in today’s world, in this time and in this place, it will inevitably filled by the decisions of each of us, one by one, on how we will choose to be defined.

 

Each of us will do this. That I believe. It may not be today. It may not be tomorrow. But at the end of this wretched situation we find ourselves in I believe everyone will have chosen where to stand and how to be defined.

 

=================

There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

 

Shakespeare

================

 

a different case for better healthcare for all

August 3rd, 2017

life expectancy health statistic

 

 

I have made the case a number of times why healthcare for everyone benefits America from a productivity standpoint. Today I will try to make a case for healthcare for all by pointing out an underlying real issue which creates some disillusionment <which obviously drove some of the Trump support during the election> in middle America.

 

We often discuss inequality in terms of economics & opportunity … but how about something which cuts to the core being of everyone – life expectancy inequality.

 

I came across a map created in May of this year showing life expectancy by county.

 

life expectancy health map colored

 

Well.

 

Yikes.

 

Okay.

 

Double yikes.

 

The average life expectancy … yes … average … in individual counties can vary by up to 20 … yes … 20 … years.

 

Yes.

 

If you live in certain counties the average life expectancy is around 87 years <remember … this is average for an entire county> and in other counties the average life expectancy is around 67 years.

 

Holy shit.

 

Average.

 

20 years difference.

 

And I am not smart enough to do the cross tab <or invest the energy> but if you look at the life expectancy map and you were to overlay the Trump voter support I would bet <and I am not a betting man> that the counties which have the 20 years less life expectancy … shit … the counties with lower standard deviation life expectancies in general … went overwhelmingly for the Trumpster.

 

So for all the intellectuals, faux & real, who suggest many of the Trump voters are ignorant, misguided and stupid … you may want to shut up and think about this for a second.

 

These people have a legitimate gripe.

 

Yeah.

 

Life expectancy is pretty legitimate.

 

I mean if my local community is dying off around me and I look around at other communities who seem not only getting better breaks but are actually living longer … well … I am gonna start thinking I am being overlooked and underappreciated.

 

............ Life expectancy standard deviation ................

………… Life expectancy standard deviation …………….

 

 

Combine that with the fact the gap between longer life expectancy counties and lower life expectancy counties is actually growing and, well, I am gonna start truly believing that the elites & establishment do not really care.

 

 

“There’s no sign of the gap closing. In fact, it appears to be widening. Between 1980 and 2014, the gap between the highest and lowest life spans increased by about two years.

 

“With every passing year, inequality — however you measure it — has been widening over the last 34 years. And so next year, we can reliably expect it’ll be even more than 20.”

 

“That is probably the most alarming part of the analysis.”

 

———–

Christopher Murray:  Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

 

So.

 

Having attended this rodeo before, I know I can count on getting a number of intellectual sounding emails pointing out the inevitable flaws in my thinking and conclusions. My suggestion to those people is please hit ‘unsend’ and get off your intellectual high horse and think about this.

 

Flawed logic or not … if I am in a county dying off at early ages I am more likely to be thinking I live in India and not in America. And if I even perceive that, if I even have a sense of that, I am gonna start wishing for what I thought America was again.

 

Parse out the flawed aspects behind my ‘America was again’ thought if you want but on the surface this is a no brainer thought. Dying can make you wish for a shitload of things that intellectually can seem less than logical but are actually well intended thoughts – because, uhm, this pertains to life & death.

 

All of this permits me to circle back to healthcare.

 

Maybe print out the map of life expectancy and put it beside your computer while you read this part.

 

health is wealth illness expensiveWe talk about putting healthcare in the hands of people.

 

We talk about subsidies for health insurance companies.

 

We talk about inordinate bureaucracy for … well … physicians, hospitals and patients.

 

We talk about high premiums, high deductibles and high falutin’ reasons why healthcare works and doesn’t work.

 

It’s all talk.

 

And it’s all bullshit.

 

Important bullshit in terms of actually getting something done but unimportant bullshit in terms of we are not getting something done.

 

Just because someone lives somewhere doesn’t mean they should have a lower life expectancy than someone who lives somewhere else … at least if they live in America <other countries deal with their own problems>.

 

Is health insurance the only reason for this?

Of course not <so keep your snarky emails to yourself>.

 

But health is certainly a reason for this.angry but open our minds tupac

 

At the core of life expectancy is … well … health. And I don’t really care how much you earn, what kind of education you have had, what kind of job you have, or do not have, but it seems like if you live in county X you should be offered equal health opportunities to those received in county Y.

 

There is more than enough inequality haunting the United States these days without having health services & insurance inequality.

 

There is more than enough inequality haunting the United State these days without having life expectancy inequality.

 

a glimpse of what a Trump win really looks like

May 5th, 2017

 

average check

 

I almost called this “confusing a win with simply checking a box on a to-do list.”

 

This is about yesterday’s American House of Representatives vote to repeal & replace Obamacare <albeit it doesn’t really repeal nor replace but rather try and fix in an absurdly negatively way>.

 

Anyway.

 

How you play the game is most likely in my top 3 important things in Life.

Anyone who reads enlightened conflict has most likely discerned this.

 

Yesterday we were able to gain a glimpse behind the curtain of what winning looks like in Donald J Trump’s eyes.

 

Do whatever it takes.

 

The only winner that counts is me.

 

As long as I can stand on the pedestal and say ‘I won’ <adding a bemused “I am president”> it is a win.

 

The American Healthcare system did not win yesterday.

The American citizen seeking good health and a good healthcare support system did not win yesterday.

The people who voted for a seriously flawed option did not win yesterday.

The Republicans did not win yesterday <although they may have breathed a sigh of relief in the moment for ‘having met a promise’>.

The Democrats did not win yesterday <although they may feel in some self serving way that they did>.

 

The only one who won was Donald J Trump <okay … health insurance trump complicated scarycompanies won today … they are back on the path to returning to doing business the way they had been doing business which, as I may remind everyone, we didn’t particularly enjoy back then and they made a shitload of money>.

 

Back to Trump.

He gave the appearance of ‘fulfilling a promise’ by making a transaction … okay … it wasn’t a transaction because nothing was exchanged between two parties.

 

Let’s say he won by “checking a box.”

 

Yeah.

We all need to remember this moving forward with regard to Trump wins.

 

Winning to Trump is like checking a box on a to do list.

 

Came in to oval office today and had picture taken. Check. <win>

 

Mentioned on news today. Check. <win>

 

Cut some regulation <which I really have no clue of the impact> so it appears like I am “freeing up business”. check. <win>

 

A yes vote on something I have no clue what the impact is on people who I am responsible for. Check. <win>

 

I can guarantee you that he has no idea of the possible consequences of this vote <a> to Republicans in the House or <b> to people. The only consequence that matters to him is the illusion of a win.

 

He is the NASCAR driver who has caused 3 crashes in a race he ends up winning and claims he is the best driver … because he won.

 

I am constantly amazed that there were so many people on a variety of level get your shit together kid to adultwho were resentful, angry, and unhappy enough to vote for someone who almost everyone recognized on some level is not really competent to be president as well as … well … just seems fundamentally “not quite right.”

 

I am constantly amazed by how easily so many people are accepting of “a hollow win” and a “hollow winner” with a seeming disregard for the fact that ‘blowing shit up’ <the country, institutions, other countries, healthcare, government> doesn’t have some consequences – some intended and some unintended.

I am constantly amazed that so many people have forgotten that how you win is significantly more important than the win in and of itself.

I am constantly amazed that there are so many people who have forgotten how rotten our healthcare system was before The Affordable Healthcare Act and how many people are blindly guiding us backwards toward what we know and hated.

 

I do not believe the country and the citizens are hollow but we have a president who is doing his absolute best to use his own hollowness to hollow us out.

 

Sigh.

 

As for healthcare.

 

I will pound away on this day in and day out until some politicians understands the economic & business view of a good healthcare system.

 

Maybe it would help them if they would think about what a “win” looks like.

 

It isn’t “accessible & affordable” <healthcare’s version of efficacy> it is a National non-Absenteeism day.

 

<whew … imagine if we actually had one day where everyone in America showed up for work, for class, in daycare, for whatever> and saw how productive Life, and America, could be>

 

A successful healthcare system from an economic point of view would be to have one day which every single worker in America showed up at work, on time, healthy and did a full day of work.

 

No one out sick.

 

No one out because someone in their family was sick and they needed to take care of them.

 

if only dreams wishesNo parent out because they had to take care of a sick child … or maybe even take care of their child because the daycare center supervisors were sick.

 

No child, our future generation of workers, misses school  and class.

 

No one out because senior dependents, or independently living seniors related to you, are healthy and receiving services they deserve.

 

No one out because the additional services , which far too often are described as ‘luxuries’ or entitlements, provide a support system which not only keeps someone working but healthy and less tired <rested: which translates into higher productivity when working>.

 

The consistency with regard to the way we miss the importance of health to a productive, happy economic powerhouse as a country is mind numbing to me. I do not disregard the moral imperative aspects but for all we talk about, over & over, the importance of freeing up businesses and economic growth and free market … the most powerful machine, invention and tool the American economy has is the people.

 

Shame on everyone for not discussing this.

 

While I love bashing Trump for his lack of understanding of what it takes to run a business let alone a country … this is a politician issue. I have never heard one, just one, politician ever make this point. This is basic ‘running a business 101.’

Stop talking about insuring healthcare to citizens of a country as a moral imperative <although it is> and start talking about the real tangible benefits of an effective healthcare system.

 

I can partially excuse Donald J Trump because he has never really run a business. His only business hands on experience was construction. In his mind, and experience, when 5 construction  workers didn’t show up one day he didn’t unhappy unsatisfied people life businesspay them and went to Home Depot and found 5 more workers. He had no additional expense and lost no productivity.

 

For the rest of us in the business world when we run a 300 person company and 5 people do not show up we still pay them and we have to decide whether we invest in bringing someone in and absorb the lost productivity of ‘lost labor’, less efficient labor and the machinations of dealing with an empty resource space. We lose productivity. We lose profit. We lose every time an employee is absent in a cascading way of consequences.

 

Sigh.

 

And, to be clear about a ‘free market’ concept, in general consumers do not win within the health insurance system. To point that out I will not take the lazy route of pointing out their hefty profits and ‘making money’ but rather point out HOW they make their money. Health insurance companies make their money by selling policies combined with filling as few claims as possible <and limiting the highest of those they are required to fulfill>. This translate into selling people things they don’t need or will never use, trying to avoid offering things they don’t particularly want to fulfill claim wise and charging a premium to someone who they believe will actually file a claim <this can either be a healthy person with a profile which indicates they are a ‘claim filer’ or a less-than-healthy person who will actually have needs>.

 

I point that out because health insurance companies are only in the “encourage attendance in Life” business as much as it encourages the non-filing of claims … not for any real economic productivity objective.

 

And … I point that out so small government people can get their head out of their asses on how government involvement can actually benefit people.

 

It is lazy to suggest the government shouldn’t be involved in health insurance for its citizens just as it is lazy to simply say the issue with health insurance companies is their profit motivation <it is more how they make their profits>.

 

 

republican healthcare repeal hurts

 

Regardless.

 

If this is winning the Trump way, I am already tired of winning.

 

 

if only republicans had a republican president leading

May 3rd, 2017

lead stand out color what matters

 

==========

 

“The price of greatness is responsibility.”

 

Winston Churchill

 

==============================

 

“In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity.”

 

Abraham Lincoln

 

===========

 

 

Well.

 

I have to imagine republicans wake up every morning dreading looking at their trump twitter stormsmartphones for the latest tweet and feeling a sense of despair that, in what should be their moment of triumph, they are faced with having a president who isn’t a leader.

 

Now.

 

I will not comment on whether Trump is a Republican or not … I will leave that to republicans to debate.

 

But I will comment on being a leader. Because if he were truly a Republican and he were truly a leader Trump would get the Republicans asses out of the healthcare bind they are in.

 

Any sane business leader with any business experience would view the current government American healthcare decision as one of two paths – fix it or kill it.

That same sane business leader would look at what is currently happening and say “oh shit, they are stuck in the wretched in-between trying to do a little of this and a little of that and ultimately creating a dead on the table Frankenstein.”

That same sane business leader would then decide it was time to step in, because that is what they get paid to do, and get everyone walking down one path and stop being in the Frankenstein building business .

 

Sure.

Politicians don’t think like business people. They don’t necessarily think like leaders. They more often think like middle managers in large organizations … “what can I do that doesn’t make too many people unhappy so I can keep my job.”

This means, more often than not, they build a lot of Frankensteins so they can cherry pick what they want to talk about to cover their ass and insure at least a part of everything they do is palatable to their constituents.

 

But here is the sling their ass is in right now. The only two viable paths that are possible for a good initiative are painful for Republicans.

Don’t kill it <don’t repeal> and they will get killed publicly.

Kill it <repeal> and they will get killed publicly.

 

It is quite possible that they don’t realize that even the wretched in-between, their Frankenstein, only offers getting killed too.

 

All I know is that a business person looking in at those inside this horrible situation would see that … well … they were in a horrible situation in which not only the decision makers were likely to get killed … but the people affected by the decision may not actually get the best decision because all the decision makers are getting squeezed.

 

All that said.

if only cloud

If the Republicans actually had a president who was truly a leader AND a republican … that leader would offer a path out <spoiler alert: I seriously doubt the current president is enough of a leader to do this>.

 

If I were a republican, and I were the president, I would walk over to the congress and tell congress to stop voting and stop talking with the press and , as a team, decide what the right thing to do was – whatever it was. And then I would tell them to give it to me and I would go on television <not twitter> and say “here is what we are going to do and why … this is my decision … this is my responsibility … this is what I believe will help make America great.”

I would place all the bloodbath on my shoulders … and take it off of my ‘kindred spirit’ Republicans shoulders.

 

Would I do this because I am a nice guy and I feel sorry for the bind that my fellow republicans put themselves in? Of course not.

 

I would do it because I am a leader and I know that presidents come and go but maintaining control of the congress is what really matters.

 

I would do it because, as a business person, I would see that my organization was stuck in a corner with no real good way out.

 

And … I would do it now because the earlier I do it the longer I have to manage the aftermath before the next election.

 

Now.

 

Donald J Trump is too much of a narcissistic idiot to see this pathway out.

And why do I add in the ‘idiot’?

 

Because this pathway out makes him a hero.

Contextually he has done nothing to date to show he can lead, that he can show contrition, that he can assume personal responsibility or that he can utter anything other than hyperbole & lies.

 

Therefore, to stand up and say “it doesn’t matter what you have heard over the past 8 years and who has said what … this is the situation and here is where we go from here” and articulate the choices, the decision, the rationale, the outcomes <good & bad> and the responsibility <with him and not the Republicans> would shelve almost all the past criticism because it was so far out of the existing character perceptions and he would get a ‘reset.’ In addition … it feeds into his desire to showcase ‘strong decision maker’ which seem burden responsibility those who haveimportant to him & his ego. And, lastly, I would assume every Republican in congress would owe him for getting their own ass out of the sling.

 

Some people call this “taking one for the team.”

 

I would call this “accepting the burden of responsibility.”

 

Republicans are screwed not because they put themselves in this horrible healthcare decision ‘non-win’ situation but because they now have a president who is not only not a republican <although they are stuck with the fact he chose to run under their banner> but is also not a leader.

 

All that said … here is the most disappointing aspect viewing this is a a business person. He is supposed to see things differently because he is a business person and not a politician. And he is failing everyone because he doesn’t seem capable of viewing this healthcare issue from a business perspective.

What do I mean?

 

  • the less absenteeism i have in my organization the more productive my business is.

 

  • the healthier my not-absentee employee base is the more productive they are <and, yes, someone with a pre-existing condition can be a highly productive healthy everyday employee>.

 

Trump claims to be a business guy and wants to make the economy grow … well … healthy people, healthy employees make businesses more productive, more happy, more profitable and more successful.

 

I offer daycare so that my employees are not distracted, show up to work on time, and can be fulfilled from a family perspective.

I offer family healthcare plans so my employees stay focused <because their children and spouses are healthier> and it decreases healthy employee absenteeism who may have had to leave to take care of family heath problems.

 

This is kind of business leader 101. This would seem to be ‘make America great again 101’. This would seem to prove that Trump is not only not a leader but doesn’t know shit about what is important in running an effective productive business.

 

Anyway. Here is what I do know.

 

Republicans are in a no win position and the only thing that really comes of that is that there will be no win for the people themselves.

 

Look.

 

America isn’t a business … it is more like a living organism. A president, while having some CEO-like qualities, doesn’t really have P&L objectives … more often it is “successfully breathing new life into the organism” objectives.

 

Trump wouldn’t understand a single thing I just said in that last paragraph. And while I have no particular love for what I think the Republicans are trying to do with healthcare I feel sorry for them that they finally got a ‘republican’ in the oval office and it is this person … one totally incapable of leading and being a leader. He is totally incapable of understanding the words of Churchill < The price of greatness is responsibility   > let alone embracing the behavior that embodies the words.

if only

Anyway.

 

Republicans have to be thinking … “<sigh> … if only.”

 

——

 

Author note:

 

I am not a republican, democrat or anything … I solely focus on what ideas would be good for America and its people.

I, personally, would fix The Affordable Healthcare program because I believe it is closer to being successful and ‘good for America’ then it is depicted in the political vitriol. However, if you choose to not ‘fix it’ you cannot have it both ways … you would have to kill it in order to eventually give what is best for the American people.

In the middle is a horrible place to be <with anything>.

 

I would remind everyone in congress of the words I opened with:

In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity.

—————————-

 

Enlightened Conflict