Enlightened Conflict

not being owned

April 17th, 2016

world of my own

 

=======

 

“I am the sea and nobody owns me.”

 

 

Pippi Longstocking

 

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i would fight myself if i could

(letthechipsfallwheretheymay)

========

 

So.

 

Not being owned sounds like a simple thing.

 

Yet.

 

Over and over <and over> again we permit something … or someones … to own void swallows self strength own you lifea part of you.

It can be direct or it can be indirect.

It can be consciously or subconsciously.

 

 

To be clear.

 

This is not a society thing <albeit society is a nasty twit on occasion> … this is a self thing.

 

And this is not a corruption thing <albeit money is a nasty twit on occasion> … this is a self thing.

 

So what do I mean by a self thing?

 

One of the very very few things you can actually control in life is “self ownership.”

 

Owning who you are as a person. Owning your integrity. Owning your character, dignity and moral compass. And, I imagine, owning your behavior & attitudes.

 

 

Now.

 

This ownership isn’t easy. It isn’t because … well … what you own a shitload of people and things are constantly seeking ways to steal it.

 

And owning a good security system will not do shit for you.

You need to learn self-defense.

 

And by self defense I actually mean defending against your self <and not someone or something else>.

 

You have to choose to fight yourself.

 

Fight against some nasty instincts <which more often than not head you in the wrong direction>.

Fight against temptation <of which the world has an endless array it constantly parades in front of you>.

Fight against some internal mind games <think doubt, fear, acceptance, etc.>.

 

 

Regardless.

 

Many of us flippantly state “I am my own person and nothing owns me” and, yet, under the glaring spotlight of truth & reality we will find that more of us is owned by someone or something than we would like.

 

Many of us shrug our shoulders when faced with this harsh truth and say “those are not the important things” or “that’s just Life.”

created my own world

Well.

 

It is not ‘just Life’ and they are not just ‘little unimportant things.’

 

More of us should stop, take a moment, and think about whether we want to react to external ownership efforts or proactively “fight myself” over the right to own myself.

 

Each of us is the sea and no one owns a sea.

 

Do not be owned.

 

 

personal responsibility personal acceptance

December 1st, 2015

 

accountable point

===

“You’ll have to help yourself.”

Lemony Snicket

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“It may be the wrong decision, but fuck it, it’s mine.”

Mark Z. Danielewski

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“More than anything, to me, he was dad. And what a dad. He loved us with the passion and the devotion that encompassed his life. He taught us to believe in ourselves, to stand up for ourselves, to know ourselves and to accept responsibility for ourselves.

—-

Justin Trudeau at his father’s funeral

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

 

 

Personal responsibility is hard.

 

 

Much much harder than conceptually it sounds like it should be.

accountability actions consequences

 

I do not have any research today to show how people who have a strong sense of personal responsibility attained that character trait <although if you google it there are gobs of people with an opinion on it>.

 

 

 

For everyone who had great parents who taught them I can give you a dozen examples of people with crappy parents who have a strong sense of personal responsibility.

 

For every victim mentality person I can show different contextual situations that got them into that state of mind and, just as well, the path to a strong sense of personal responsibility is numerous and rarely a straight path.

 

 

But, even without research I will suggest a couple of things:

 

 

1. Personal acceptance.

 

letters to myself post it

To have personal responsibility you almost have to have a strong foundation of personal acceptance.

I imagine I could suggest that if it doesn’t than you are simply ‘posing’ in an attempt to look like you are responsible <and that rarely can stand the test of time>.

 

Regardless.

 

Somehow, someway people with a strong sense of personal responsibility have developed a strong sense of self. Not necessarily confidence … just self. They recognize ‘they is what they is’ and accept the flaws <and try to improve in some way> and accept their strengths <but never take them for granted>.

 

In their personal acceptance we, around them, see ‘solid.’ We love these people on our business teams and friend teams … as peers or as leaders … because regardless of their IQ or leadership skills or professional skills … they are lighthouse people in their own right.

 

These people can also be baffling to the perfectionists in the world because part of ‘personal acceptance’ is understanding, if not embracing, imperfections.

 

 

 

2. Lucky to be here but many others are just as deserving.

 

 

Let me suggest that people with an incredibly strong sense of personal fate waiters luckresponsibility will also most likely be the people who suggest they had a little luck along the way – lucky in life situations, lucky with mentors, lucky in opportunities – and even though they had worked hard they had done nothing to actually deserve the luck.

As a corollary to this thinking they would also believe, as part of the luck aspect, that there are many others just as deserving. This attitude creates a sense of responsibility for actions, behavior and attitudes. Mistakes are owned and successes are shared.

 

Some people may suggest that personal responsibility and accountability is a reflection of integrity or humility.

Well.

It may be.

But I rather believe it is more a sense of understanding that successes are more often than not a reflection of just hard work but also circumstances.

And, to that point, inherently someone with a strong sense of accountability balances success with the understanding that a portion of success is luck – luck of circumstance & luck of being the one where many were just as deserving if provided the opportunity.

 

 

 

Like I said in the beginning.

 

 

This is not based on research and you can toss this into your ‘Bruce bullshit bin’ if you want.

 

 

But I do not need research to state that personal responsibility and personal acceptance takes work. Lots of work. And lots of fortitude.

 

It is the kind of thing you spend your entire life working hard to not only ‘be’ but to live up to the character standard you have set for yourself. A standard which you will never measure others against because … well … it is personal.

 

You are accountable to your own standard and responsible to meet it. And everyone not only has the ability to set their own but they also have an unequivocal right to do so without anyone else telling them “how to be accountable.”

 

 

————

“It was instead something that we would have to spend the rest of our lives to work very hard to live up to.”

==

Spike Leeself unpronounceable

————-

 

 

 

 

Personal responsibility is actually one of Life’s lightest burdens if you choose to accept it. That is why I am so often surprised by how many people actually do not accept this burden.

 

But, in the end, personal responsibility is a personal choice. No one can convince you to do it or be that way. You have to help yourself on this one because no one else can.

lesser of two evils

August 9th, 2015

———–opinions fight myself

“… but there is a certain point where trying to choose between the lesser of two evils is just an exercise in futility.

It doesn’t matter what you choose … both are so bad you struggle to discern which would be worse.

Therefore, I refuse to choose.”

=

Alex Verus

———–

 

 

 

So.

 

 

I just finished reading a book where this character says the quote above.

 

 

We have all been in a situation where all the choices look bad, or not so good … but definitely not good.

 

 

This is the choice of the lesser of two evils:

 

choice plans doors question

The lesser of two evils principle (or lesser evil principle) is the principle that when faced with selecting from two unpleasant options, the one which is least harmful should be chosen.

 
Let’s just say … well … it sucks.

 

 

And it sucks even worse when we stop and fruitlessly seek some silver lining in what is , frankly, no good choice.

This is not one of those choices where someone says “sometimes the wrong choice puts you in the right place.” The only place this choice puts you is in a bad place … maybe less bad than somewhere else … but bad.

 

 

 

In game theory it is typically known as the no-win situation – an unavoidable decision with unavoidable an outcome which encompasses the losses of whatever value resides within the choice.

 

 

And, yet, the character decided to not choose.

 

At some point it becomes an exercise in futility.

 

 

 

If there was ever an example of ‘no choice actually being a choice’ this may be it.

 

 

But in this case it may actually be ‘the win’ choice.

 

 

Huh?

 

 

It seems like when faced with a lesser of two evils far too often we look at harm associated with the choice itself … and not the harm to ourselves.character dignity glory worth

 

 

 

This may sound crazy … but … survival is not always the desired outcome.

 

 

Huh?

 

 

Well … if survival means sacrificing all that you find valuable & important to your self … well … you better be damn sure it is worth the evil you are choosing.

 

 

And that is what the character in the book is saying.

 

 

“I choose neither of the evils because if I did … I live … but I may not be able to live with myself.”

 

 

Well.

 

 

I probably think about this ‘live with myself’ with regard to my decisions more than most people … and possibly more than is productive or healthy for me.

 

 

But.

 

 

I have seen success … and I have seen failure.

 

I have had rewards … and suffered penalties.

 

I have risen toward the top … and scrambled to get free of the bottom.

 

 

Through it all the only one, the only thing consistent, is me.

 

 

Just saying ‘I survived’ <and this can be in business, life or situational> is not enough for me. Possibly because I have seen the wounds inflicted upon character, esteem and integrity with basic ‘I survived’ choices.

 

 

Personally, I don’t want to survive if I have to sacrifice … well … me <the character portion … not the physical portion>.

 

 

This personal decision comes with a cost. But it is a cost I am willing to bear because it only costs me material rewards & society-based successes. It doesn’t cost me any of what resides within me.

 

 

 

Look.lovers quarrel choice

 

 

Choosing between the lesser of two evils is almost always actually choosing between three evils … the two choices and what evil it inflicts upon yourself.

 

 

I cannot tell anyone what to do when faced with a ‘no win’ scenario. That is for each person to face on their own and decide what is best for them.

 
But I can tell everyone you should think about it.

 

 

It can be a ‘no win’ choice just make sure you, yourself, also doesn’t win.

 

 

Because losing yourself in addition to having to choose between a lesser of two evils means … well … evil has won.

contextual contextual contextual

May 10th, 2015

——

we are mosaics

“Most men are individuals no longer so far as their business, its activities, or its moralities are concerned.

They are not units but fractions.”

=

Woodrow Wilson

——

 

 

Well.

 

 

In business and in Life …  people like consistency.

 

We actually like rules.

 

 

And we really <really> like some guidelines for how to do things, what to say and when things should be done.

 

Oh.

 

 

And … we love, yes, LOVE to look to the past for answers or the ‘formula for what to do or how to act.”

 

 

Ah.

 

 

That sneaky ‘learn from the past or be doomed to repeat mistakes’ advice.

 

 

True … but not true.

 

 

What makes it not true?true not true

 

 

 

Context.

 

 

 

Future truths, or solutions, only partially reside in the past. The other part lives in the present … and what is swirling around that moment.

 

 

Which brings me back to the opening quote.

 

 

We like to see things as units and yet they are simply fractions.

 

 

Some people stand on fractions and act like they are whole solid foundations.

 

Be wary of those people.

 

 

 

They are not really seeking truth … just answers … okay … well … maybe just an answer.

 

 

——-

 

 

“Fear not the path of Truth for the lack of People walking on it.”

 

 

=

 

Robert F. Kennedy

——-

 

 

 

I admit … the trouble we constantly run into is … well … context.

 

We are always contextual … mosaics of the moment … and this is troubling for those seeking simple answers.

 

And, frankly, most of us would love a simple answer now & then <if not all the time>.

 

But some people thrive on simplicity and black & white.

 

 

Please do not read into what I just wrote that these people live a colorless life.

 

Everyone has color and everyone certainly has pieces of light within and without.

 

 

==

 

“We are mosaics.

 

 

Pieces of light, love, history, stars … glued together with magic and music and words. “

 

Anita Krizzan

 

==

 

 

 

All I am suggesting is that magic, or the contextual aspects, in Life creates a certain intangible aspect to everyday situations. And while this intangible thing is a nagging aspect in common everyday life & business … at critical points, let’s call them ‘semi-critical moments or junctures’, the contextual intangible aspect is nerve wracking.

 

Nerve wracking because we want a simple solution in semi-critical moments.

 

And context demands some complexity. It demands looking at fractions and not the whole.

 

 

This means we constantly struggle with the fact <the Truth as it were> we, as individuals, businesses, countries and societies, are simply fractions and not the unit.

 

 

I would also suggest decisions, business & in life, are simply fractions and not a self-sustaining unit.

 

 

And, yet, we try and make most of our decisions as if everything is aligned and unmoving … kind of like taking a snapshot and taking action.

 

 

Uh oh.

 

 

wide open spaces far to goThis means, contextually, whatever action or decision you take or make will be relevant to what was … not what is.

 

———-

 

 

“Only a crisis — actual or perceived — produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.

 

That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.”

 

 

Milton Friedman

 

————-

 

 

In closing out this thought I would like to point out that this thought, while it seems like a stronger Life thought, is maybe even more importantly a business thought.

 

 

Far far too often in business we ignore the fact each decision is contextual seeking comfort in “let’s look to the past for the answer.”

 

 

I admit I find it slightly odd because in today’s business world every single mistake or hiccup/interruption in the status quo is labeled a crisis … and crises tend to produce real change.

 

 

On the other hand … maybe that is my explanation to the oddity.

 

 

Because they really aren’t true crisis we tend to depend on the ideas lying around.

 

 

And the most typical ideas lying around are “what can we learn from the past.”

 

 

If you ever wonder why great decision makers should be paid some inordinate amount of money … reread this. Great decision makers see the past, the present & the future and envision the mosaic better than most of us <certainly I>.

 

 

They understand the situation is simply a fraction of what is.

 

 

see what we look for

 

This should also help explain why so many people make incredibly bad decisions.

 

 

 

Every moment, every situation, every success and every failure … is contextual.

 

 

In fact … contextual exists in almost every situation in such a wide vivid mosaic perspective that … well … ‘learning from the past’ almost seems like an inordinate waste of time.

strength is never solid

September 1st, 2014

struggle and virtue

—–

“I am a strong person. But every once in a while I would like someone to hold my hand and tell me things are going to be OK. “

=

Unknown

——–

 

Well.

 

 

We so often talk about ‘strong people’ as being these pillars of granite … solid and seamless in moments of need or challenge … unflinching in the face of whatever it is they face.

 

 

But more often strength is not a solid piece of granite.

 

 

It may be a shield or a shell … or it may be that the person has the ability to put stop handa strong hand forward … and stop what needs to be stopped.

 

But in all these cases … strength is neither a complete solid wall nor does it not have some weakness … or maybe some fragile aspects in which to balance everything.

 

———

“It is one thing to be brave in front of others, perhaps for fear of being branded a coward and becoming diminished in their eyes, but another entirely to be brave when there is nobody to witness your courage.

The latter is an elemental bravery, a strength of spirit and character.”

=

John Connolly

———-

 

 

 

 

Oddly … strength is … well … a paradox <or in some sense a contradiction>.

 

 

 

 

It is about setting unequivocal limits … and yet having no limits.

 

 

 

 

It’s about adapting yet unwavering.

 

 

 

So.

 

 

Let me discuss this limit thing for a moment.

 

 

 

Emotionally strong people do not really need constant action and excitement … or even a crisis … to define themselves and their lives.

 

 

This suggests they put some limits on things.

 

 

This is not to suggest that they don’t enjoy excitement in their lives … but they aren’t ‘doing’ junkies.

 

 

 

Strength is usually defined by some self awareness.

 

 

Awareness with regard to some character type things <which are embodied in actions and behavior decisions>.

 

 

 

Let’s call these our ‘limits’:

 

 

 

–           just don’t do some things

ignorance tiger sheep

Well.

 

 

 

Suffice it to say we all do things that we don’t enjoy doing … but we should never do things that we don’t want to do.

 

 

There is a nuance in that … but an important nuance.

 

 

 

The strong self aware understand that nuance … and almost always manage to figure out what they need to do … not at the expense of ‘what they don’t want to do.’

 

 

This translates into that when it comes to character defining decisions there is always a line.

 

 

The line isn’t about what you enjoy doing or what you like or dislike … it is about … well … character.

 

 

 

And being able to live with yourself and look in the mirror.

 

 

 

–        saying “no”

 

No complete sentence

 

Suffice it to say … if you can’t say “no,” you will get taken advantage of.
I will not suggest you won’t be taken seriously but I will suggest that if you cannot say no you will forever live on the slippery slope of credibility and trust.

 

 

 

 

Saying “no” reminds people that they cannot control you … only you control you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

–             it’s really about plateaus … not limits

 

 

 

 

Face it.

 

 

 

There are only plateaus, and they are not meant for you to stay there, but only resting places for someplace beyond.

 

plans patterns

 

Please note I did not say ‘someplace higher.’

 

 

 

“Up” is overrated.

 

 

 

It is more important to move anywhere <mentally, physically, career, Life> than it is to move ‘upwards.’

 

 

 

I’ve always believed in pushing yourself further and taking on new challenges.

 

 

 

 

I believe this because I tend to believe there is no such thing as that infamous trite cliché ‘being the best you can be.’

 

 

 

“Best” is a relevant thing … at least to the moment. Maybe it is better said that ‘best’ is contextual.

 

 

 

There is always room for growth and change and new possibilities of being the best you can be.

 

 

 

 

Anyway.

 

 

 

 

Strength is tricky.

 

 

 

It is partially inbred as an attitude … but it is also forged thru the furnace of Life.

 

 

—–

“Sometimes you don’t realise your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness”

=

we are mosaics

Susan Gale

——-

And maybe that is why strength is never solid.

 

 

 

Because strength is often about weakness.

 

 

The chinks in your armor define your strength … uhm … not your theoretically solid seamless armor.

 

 

 

Which leads me to my final thoughts.

 

 

 

Strength is nothing more than doing what it takes … with character.

 

 

 

 

In order to be strong we will inevitably embrace some different variations of our self. This naturally happens as we encounter knew things and new ‘weaknesses’ we never knew we had.
Within those variations are some aspects of solidness … but other aspects are adaptable and resilient in their ability to morph to the situation.

 

 

 

And, in the end, I imagine strength in a person can be defined one way:

limitations perfection

 

———

“I endure.”

=

E. Lockhart

 

————

 

 

corralling chaos (a management lesson)

August 17th, 2014

chaos control leadership

—–

“True freedom is where an individual’s thoughts and actions are in alignment with that which is true, correct, and of honor – no matter the personal price.”

=

Bryant H. McGill

——-

 

So.

 

 

I recently wrote about my college job, fake security guy with a company called Contemporary Security Company <CSC>, and it made me think about another good business lesson I learned.
I call it corralling chaos.

 

 

chaos team alignment

Maybe it is more simply managing people.

 

 

Whoa.

 

Comparing chaos to managing people?

 

 

Yup.

 

 

Look.

 

 

Unless you want to hire a bunch of clones or do some mind meld trick upon hiring someone … you are going to inevitably have a wide variety of specific skilled people, a mosaic of personalities and characters … and … well … humans being human within your purview.

 

 

I learned this very quickly as a youngster at CSC.

 

 

And, by the way, I didn’t learn this because I was some brilliant leader or insightful organizational behavior person at the age of 18 … I learned it out of simple survival.

 

 

Once I became a supervisor I definitely had a ‘Bruce team.’ A small group of guys who I always selected <or they selected me> to be surrounded by to manage and utilize.

 

 

In hindsight I was a little different than some of the other supervisors.
I liked using the same guys even though the assignment was different.

 

I liked tweaking each guy’s ‘comfort zone’ to show them how to adapt.

 

 

I think I subconsciously recognized that it probably helped me out under a variety of assignments in that these guys … and these guys were wired differently … wouldn’t take a cookie cutter approach to how they handled things.

 

 

Not only did they see that things could be done differently <than maybe what their first instinct was> but also they became comfortable with some things out of their comfort zone.

 

 

The best example I have is two guys who were with me whenever possible.

 

 

They were book end personalities.

 

CSC 4

 

Lamont.

 

 

African American. Sharp & smart. Took life seriously. Scowled a lot. Maybe 6’ 1” and 280 pounds of hair triggered whirlwind of aggression.
You only walked up to Lamont from behind very carefully.

 

 

I vividly remember walking up behind him and tapping him on the shoulder … and he spun around with a semi graceful martial arts form <… c’mon … how graceful can a 280 pound guy be> … crouched and coiled to part my head from my shoulders.

I also vividly remember his eyes were laser-like and seemingly completely clear of anything but ‘destroy.’ Without relaxing … he said ‘little buddy … you shouldn’t sneak up on me like that’ … and then he uncoiled.

 

 

 

Dave.

 

White suburban kid. Maybe not the sharpest knife in the drawer. 6’ 2” and chiseled 220 pounds or so. Played defensive end at Orange Coast junior college.

Easy going … smiled a lot. The first time I met him on the job I saw him wade into a drunken brawl of maybe 6 guys and singlehandedly blow it up with maybe only one punch thrown by him <which admittedly put that guy out of commission>.

 

These two guys became the bookends that held most of my teams together.

 

 

Lamont was like an assassin.

 

Dave was like a bull.

 

 

Lamont I restrained.

 

Dave I released.

 

 

Both could intimidate in their own way … but their instinct was always to act with power of action … and not words.

 

 

My bosses struggled to understand why I always wanted them … no matter the assignment.
Lamont was often seen as uncontrollable <therefore they hesitated to want to put him in more ‘delicate diplomatic’ situations>.

 

Dave was often seen as ‘not too smart’ <therefore they hesitated to want to put him in situations where he may have to think on his feet>.

 

 

Beyond the fact I saw how these guys could be used effectively … I probably more recognized that situations my bosses ‘foresaw’ within an assignment more often became unforeseen actions & consequences.

 

 

chaos and safety

Security at some event with zillions of people wandering around <many drinking> all with an attitude that ‘hey … I paid to be here … so I can do pretty much whatever I want’ is inevitably one of much randomness.

 

Interestingly … that describes the business world fairly well <without the drinking>.

 

Managing people isn’t really about plans & planning … or even having a plan … it is more often about how to deal with what happens when the plan breaks apart.

 

 

Look.
Plans and planning … and all the things under those headings <business plans, contingency plans, succession plans> … are all good things … uhm … until they aren’t.

 

 

All the plans that once bring order, continuity, and control often become rigid obstacles to progress and adaptation.

 

 

Lamont, Dave … shit … whatever personality I was supervising … I found that most people are trying to do what they believe is in the best interest of the organization.

 

 

I also found the trouble was often they may not have the same point of view on what that is.

 

 

And, yes, that leads to some version of chaos.

chaos corral outcome and understanding

 

You can have two people conducting themselves with the best of intentions and trying to do the right thing.

 

Both options are valid.

 

 

Uh oh.

 

 

But the conclusions they reach end up in direct conflict with each other.  This creates confusion <with each other as well as those around them seeking cues on what to do>.

 

 

A lot of the supervisors around me did two things.

 

 

 

One.

 

Bitched & moaned about ‘the guys they managed’ and said ‘they just don’t get it.’

 

 

Two.

 

Picked guys for their team that they could ‘control.’

 

 

Me?

 

 

I guess I decided to take responsibility for getting out of the chaos.

 

 

I assumed from day one that it was me responsible for allowing chaos.

 

 

 

 

I also assumed I couldn’t control anyone … certainly not someone like Lamont or a number of other highly wired individuals I liked to have on my team … but I did assume I could point them in the right direction <with regard to attitudes & actions>.
I picked guys for my teams who could get shit done. And get shit done within some principled behavior guidelines.

 

chaos control game

I kind of assumed my role was to ‘be still amidst the chaos and active in repose’ <Indira Ghandi>.

 

 

Be a compass as it were.

 

 

 

 

Look.

 

 

I certainly didn’t understand all the real thinking behind good management and leadership at that age.

 

 

 

What I do know now for sure – good leaders provide a compass.

 

 

A good leader helps others think through implications that can impact the broader team’s goals and objectives.

 

 

Once people have orienting values and principles, their ability to think and operate independently accelerates.

 

 

 

Good leaders hold people, themselves included, accountable to a set of values and principles.

 

And leading is often measured by how you deal with the times which inevitably occur when the leader needs to confront a difficult decision that puts principles to the test.

 

 

Corralling chaos is all about getting comfortable with being slightly uncomfortable.

 

 

My guys recognized that always sticking to the plan without fail provided a false sense of security.

 

 

They knew from experience that there needed to be some flexibility with “how” the “what” is implemented.

 

 

 

They embraced the purposeful discomfort and I rewarded the purposeful discomfort.

 

 

I left room for serendipity.

 

 

I left room for what is called “interaction with an unintended outcome” <Scott Doorley, Stanford>.

 

 

Some smart guy, Atul Gawande, states there will always be people who excel and thrive in complex and chaotic environments.

 

 

People who “have a better capacity to prepare for the possibility, to limit the damage, and to sometimes even retrieve success from failure.”

 

 

 

Well.

 

 

 

I agree with that and I don’t agree with that.

 

 

 

I agree that some people are better than others at the ability to quickly assess situations and take decisive action based on their experience and instinct.

 

 

 

I don’t agree that anyone and everyone can become better and hone this ability. In fact … part being a good leader is trying to figure out how to maximize this ability within employees <because it enhances autonomy which increases organizational efficiency>.

women leadership

 

I have no clue if I am particularly strong with the ‘capacity to prepare for unintended consequences.’

 

 

 

What I do have a clue on is that no matter how strong I may be … I can’t prepare for everything and can’t solve everything and I can’t be everywhere at all times.

 

 

I liked having a variety of skilled people available … no matter how difficult they were to manage.

 

 

 

Why?

 

 

It increased the likelihood the team could handle any ‘unintended consequences’ as they arose.

 

CSC taught me a shitload.

 

 

It taught me very quickly that when supervisors complained that people are working against each other, that they are not aligned, that they don’t seem to ‘get it’ … that they are full of shit.

 

It taught me first & foremost that a supervisor needs to look in the mirror.

 

 

Anyway.

 

 

Is chaos a bad word to use when discussing people management?
Aw.

 

Probably.

 

inspire leadership

But here is what I do know.

 

 

I would rather corral chaos than ‘light a fire under someone’s ass.’

 

 

Is that a management style?

 

Sure.

 

 

I imagine so.

 

 

I imagine it is actually a management or leadership choice.
And when I look in the mirror with regard to management style I am okay with what I see.

 

And I thank my CSC job for helping me be okay with it.

 

—-

CSC becks

If interested, after you read this post, you can visit his past CSC ‘learnings’ posts:

<learning to say no>

http://brucemctague.com/big-fred

=

<practicing actually means more relaxed>

http://brucemctague.com/the-wall

=

<action has its time>

http://brucemctague.com/there-is-a-time-to-talk-and-a-time-to-act-part-1

=

<gaining perspective>

http://brucemctague.com/what-you-do-not-see-at-a-concert

 

 

what you do not see at a concert

August 2nd, 2014

music points of view shakespeare

 

 

 

Ok.

 

 

 

This is about music … and my job in college as a ‘fake’ security guy <for a company called Contemporary Security> walking around in a cool yellow tshirt that said “SECURITY” on it … telling people what to do at concerts and sporting events and trying to only get into altercations I knew I could win.

 

 

To be clear.

 

I loved this job and loved the guys I worked for and with.

Good organization and, in general, good culture and fellow employees.

 

In addition.

 

On a professional “acquiring skills for later” level … I learned a lot at this job … some basics that if I had not paid attention to would have represented missed opportunities for learning. I learned shit i have applied in business to this day.

 

 

If interested, after you read this post, you can visit his past CSC ‘learnings’ posts:

<learning to say no>
http://brucemctague.com/big-fred

=

<practicing actually means more relaxed>
http://brucemctague.com/the-wall

=

<action has its time>
http://brucemctague.com/there-is-a-time-to-talk-and-a-time-to-act-part-1

=

 

 

Anyway.

 

 

I hadn’t thought about this job in quite some time.

 

 

And then I saw that Steve Perry <ex-lead singer Journey> performed in NYC for the first time in a long time. it reminded me of one of the best moments that you don’t see at a concert.

 

In the good ole days there were things called stadium concerts. These were day long concerts where a full lineup of great bands would queue up and play one after another … and the best of the best would end the day.

 

 

Ok.

 

They still have these. But now they are events <like Bonnarroo or Glastonbury> when before pretty much every big stadium in America schooled these things.

 

 

 

The one I remember was in the Los Angeles Coliseum and Journey headlined <I think there was also The Babys – with John Waite and Johnathon Cain … who had not joined Journey yet, Aerosmith, The Motels and a couple other bands I cannot remember at the moment>.

 

Roadies old

 

Because I didn’t have anything else to do that day I volunteered to work the sound check the day before the concert as they set up the stadium <yes … they set up things the day before so that as the gates opened up on show day at some ungodly early hour the bands only needed to have their ‘set up’ put in place as they entered stage>.

 

 

On that day each of the bands just strolled in and did what they do to warm up and make sure the sound system was set up the way they liked it. And each band does it their own way.

 

 

That day I was standing at the sound system which was set up maybe a third of the way back in the stadium directly in the center of the field in front of the stage. A mass of confusing boards and little blinking lights and knobs and such all managed by maybe two guys chugging black coffee like they had been in a desert for three days and who looked like they should be in a homeless shelter.

 

 

Random people walked around the stadium and my job was to make sure any of the random people who did not actually belong near the million dollar valued sound system didn’t accidentally come by and twist a knob or something.

 

 

It was Journey’s turn to tune up and do sound check.music mr magoo 1956

 

 

Please remember.

 

I am old.

 

This was before they had wireless mikes so everyone was wired up and was limited by how far a cord could go and their ability to not get tangled up in their cord.

 

 

Neil Schon and the drummer just kind of got things started.

 

 

music point of views smellsAnd if you haven’t seen musicians playing nothing, and everything at the same time, you haven’t seen and heard music at its best.

It just this rambling incohesive brilliant musicianship.

 

 

 

Oh.

 

 

And then Steve Perry wanders on stage in jeans and a tshirt holding a mike just watching the other guys play.

 

perry and schon

 

And without saying anything all of a sudden the band eases into a song almost one by one … but all together … and Steve eases in with vocals in his distinctive clear voice.

 

It’s the kind of thing that is so stunningly easily beautiful that you just have to stop whatever it is you are doing and stare.

 

Time kinds of stops.

You are in the middle of a stadium and while people are still moving and there are the regular noises of people doing what hey need to do … and yet … there is nothing else but the music.

 

 

To be clear.

 

 

Even people who are used to this recognize special moments.

 

 

People around me stopped.

 

Even the sound guys, who you knew had heard his dozens of time, stood still for a moment as it all synced up on stage.

 

 

The moment passed but the band seemed to shift seamlessly from one song to another and on occasion stopping to tune something or just talk amongst each other.

 

 

They had been doing this for a while and me being me … had stopped paying attention and was kind of mindlessly listening.

 

 

And all of a sudden something felt different about the music and I started paying attention. The music sounded different.

 

 

I turned around and Steve Perry was standing maybe 10 feet away from me facing the stage … singing. perry singing

 

 

Now remember … this was before wireless microphones. He had been wired up to walk all the way from the stage, maybe a 1/3rd of the way into the stadium, with his microphone to the sound system and hear what it sounded like.

 

 

I don’t remember the song. I wish I did.

 

 

I do remember a nonchalant Steve Perry, his voice crystal clear, pitch perfect, watching as the rest of the band clustered on stage watching each other work their way thru the song … I remember Steve Perry stopping and watching as Neil Schon effortlessly worked his way thru a solo … and seamless picking back up with vocals as Neil slid out of the solo and back into the song.

 

 

I remember Steve Perry looking over at me <ok … maybe he was looking at the guys in front of all the knobs and boards> and smiling, as he sung, and give a thumbs up because he lied what he was hearing.

 

 

Hey.

 

 

With my CSC security job I saw a lot of shit that most people do not see at a concert … but this was a special moment.

 

 

I am sure warming up and sound checks created great moments that most people never see all the time.

 

 

But this was my little glimpse into what makes great bands and great musicians great.

 

<and, please, Journey was a great band with one of the greatest rock … ok … any genre … lead singers of all time>

 

 

 

So.

 

 

 

Professional learning? Beyond the obvious practice & rehearsal <for the musicians and the ‘support for the presenters’… perspective.

 

Yup.

 

 

Perspective.

 

How often in business do we fall into our own little groove and fall into sync with the people around us and … well … we think all is good. We think it is good because it feels good.

 

Perry stepped out of the onstage groove and got perspective. He wanted o see what the people saw … he wanted to hear what the sound guys heard.

comfort zone

 

Oh.

 

And he took himself out of what I would perceive is a good comfort zone. All by himself … away from the others he is most likely in subconscious sync with on stage … he sings … they play. He … well … disconnected from the comfort zone in a way.

 

That, my friends, is stepping out of the comfort zone for perspective.

 

I stored that learning away in my ‘futre professional thoughts to to remember’ in my pea like brain.

 

I still use it today.

 

Even when things are going right … and they feel right … and maybe even because they are feeling right … I like to figure out a way to gain some perspective.

 

And, frankly, we all need perspective.

 

 

Anyway.

To end this.

 

I wanted to share a clip of what this behind the scenes looks and sounds like from the good ole Journey days but I couldn’t find one.

<nuts>

 

 

But.

 

I thought I would share this fabulous clip of Stevie Ray Vaughn during a sound check. I was fortunate enough to see Stevie play maybe three times before he passed away.

 

 

Regardless.

 

This is a reminder of how good these musicians really are.

 Those were the days … a roadie in the 70s.

—–

 

 

“Stevie just waking up then warming up. Insane how good can you really be that tired? This was filmed Jan 1986 by Greg Savage of Savage Guitar Design.

How can that guy just walk up, plug in and play like he’s been playing all day long? The man was a natural.”

=

Stevie Ray Vaughan – Sound Check:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grBmQwLSlDw

=

——–

Hope you enjoyed.

farewell to a champion

September 19th, 2013

 

Well.norton banner

This is a quick note on Ken Norton … heavy weight boxer who just passed away at the age of 70 .. and a champion in the ring and outside the ring.

 

Let me say some things because I met Ken Norton.

First.

I am not a boxing fan … I don’t really understand the allure of watching two men beat the crap out of each other in a ring. But I imagine I probably wouldn’t have understood gladiators in the coliseum in ancient Rome.

 

Regardless.

 

Second.

Whether I ‘get’ something or not … I can respect greatness. And I can recognize a true champion <not just a winner but a … well … winner in Life too> I was a young adult at the time of Ali, Frazier, Foreman and Norton in the boxing world. Everywhere you turned heavyweight boxing was being discussed. And respected. It was a show with substance. And the substance was not only a reflection of the quality of the output <the boxing itself> but a reflection of the quality of the competitors as men. Sure … they were typical flawed men … but men with substance.

Norton was seemingly the pinnacle of character and substance.

 

Third.

How can I sincerely say what I just said?

<about his character and substance>

Well.

I can’t say I really met Norton but rather I can honestly say our paths crossed several times in the late 70’s and early 80’s. As a Contemporary Security Company <CSC> quasi-security guy working my way through college in Los Angeles I met Ken at several events and even sat a bar having beer with him by my side once. <I have shared some CSC stories before … an example:

http://brucemctague.com/there-is-a-time-to-talk-and-a-time-to-act-part-1 >

 

 

 

He was quiet, a gentleman, polite … and while a world champion … he almost seemed like he didn’t want people to know. He certainly did not go out of his way to flaunt it.

 

Being a non-boxing fan … I didn’t even know who he was the first time our paths crossed. I was working backstage at some event <I am guessing a concert but cannot remember> when he casually walked up to me to gain access to the ‘private’ back stage area. I asked to see his pass. My supervisor happened to be walking by and stopped and leaned over and said “he’s okay … let him in” … and I stepped aside.

The gentleman that he was he said nothing to me but “thanks” as he walked by.

My supervisor told me it was Ken Norton <and I kinda felt stupid>.

 

Maybe 15 minutes later I felt someone standing behind me and I turned and it was Norton. I immediately apologized for not recognizing him and he simply shrugged it off and said “hey man … you are just doing your job.”

Hmmmmmmmmmmm … just a reminder. This is a past world champion heavy weight boxer talking to a punk college kid, standing maybe 5’ 8” at best, with a security job. As if I could have stopped him if he really wanted to get by me <answer: nope>.

And then he politely asked if it was okay of he could stand there while he waited for someone who he didn’t believe had a pass but was meeting him.

We chatted for a couple of minutes about nothing.

And then he left when his friend showed up.

 

I ran into him <not physically … or I wouldn’t be alive today> several times after that. Every time he stopped and said hello. He didn’t remember my name but he acknowledged that he remembered me.

Me.

A young punk college kid acting like a security guy/bouncer when he could have steam rolled me in 3 seconds or less.

 

You know what?

That kind of makes him a champion in my mind. Even more so than the belt he won.

 

Fourth.

Ah.

What I remember most about Ken Norton.

norton 1Beyond the fact that he treated a young college student acting like a security guard with respect … this guy was a frickin’ physical specimen.

 

He was almost 6’ 3” … maybe 220 pounds … and not an ounce of fat on him. I believe he had something like a 33 inch waist. Yes. 33 inches. Football players have thighs bigger than that. When he first walked up to me I vividly remember thinking “jesus h christ this guy is a stud <who could beat the living crap out of me if I am not careful>.”

note: we fake security guys actually thought things like that mostly out of self-preservation.

 

Norton was a stud.

 

The only gripe anyone had with him as a boxer was that maybe he was in too good shape … he needed more bulk. Well. I am not a boxing expert … but I do know that other than maybe 2 or 3 guys in the world … he coulda beat the living crap out of anyone else.

 

Lastly.

In 1973 Norton was awarded the Napoleon Hill Award for being an “outstanding positive thinker.” Norton was the first athlete and the first African American to receive the honor.

 

The guy was a champion.

In the ring and outside the ring.

 

It’s worth remembering someone like Norton cause I tend to believe the sporting world, heck, the world in general … needs more Nortons.

no mas (or how you win matters)

November 28th, 2012

“No mas, no mas …no more box.” – Roberto Duran 1980

 

 

 

So.

 

 

 

This is about winning … and deciding how important … ‘how you win’ is to you … versus ‘the win’ itself.

 

 

 

 

Well.

 

 

The quote.

 

Nothing much was happening in the eighth round of the Roberto Duran – Sugar Ray Leonard boxing match on November 25th in 1980 when Roberto Duran turned away from Sugar Ray Leonard and waved a glove at the referee in a signal he wanted to stop.

 

 

 

Interestingly … Leonard, only aware that the current champ wasn’t defending himself, hit Duran … and Duran did not respond.

 

 

“No mas, no mas,” Roberto told the referee.

 

 

“No more box.”

 

 

And he walked to his corner.

 

 

 

Now.

 

 

As a boxer Roberto Duran was known as the most dedicated, intense warrior in the ring. His nickname was Hands of Stone <Manos de Piedra>. He was the lightweight champ and had lost only one decision in 72 bouts <or something close to that>.

 

 

 

It was said that he never thought he could ever lose.

 

 

And, yet, he walked away … and in the win/loss column he lost.

 

 

But.

 

 

 

Here is the deal.

 

 

No mas” didn’t mean ‘I quit.’ It just meant ‘fuck this.’

 

 

 

It was purely a comment made in disgust.

 

 

Yup.

 

 

 

Duran wasn’t hurt … he was just disgusted.

 

 

Once Duran realized Leonard wouldn’t play ‘quien es mas macho’ he just walked away.

 

 

Winning … if he couldn’t fight the way he thought a fight should be fought … well … it just wasn’t a fight to him.

 

 

 

Was he right or wrong?

Shit. I do not know.

 

In his head … right.

 

 

In may other people’s heads? Wrong decision … it made him a quitter in their eyes.

 

 

But this is all about winning the way you want to win.

 

 

His way of fighting? …

—–

“Getting hit motivates me. It makes me punish the guy more. A fighter takes a punch, hits back with three punches.”

Roberto Duran

—–

 

Duran was the champ. He probably was smart enough to figure out a way to win the way Sugar Ray was fighting the fight <which wasn’t fighting it was avoiding> but that wasn’t the win he wanted.

 

He wanted to know who the best fighter was.

 

He wanted to be hit and see if he could take it.

 

He wanted to see if Sugar Ray could take his best hits.

 

 

 

When Sugar Ray decided he wasn’t going to allow that to happen Duran just said … not only do I not want to play this game but I don’t want to win this way … “no mas.”

 

 

 

Now.

 

 

To us <because most of us are not world class boxers> we will all at some point have to make this same type of decision … in sports, in Life, in relationships, in business. We all have to decide how important how we win is to us.

 

 

Look.

 

How you win, or play the game, is a very personal decision.

 

 

 

It really ends up being your choice with regard to your attitude <which ultimately influences your own behavior … even when that behavior is within a group or business organization>.

 

 

Oh.

 

And when it isn’t your choice how to play <i.e., someone else is dictating how you play> … and you really do not want to play that way … well … there is trouble <in River City my friends>.

 

 

Ok.

 

 

Please note I am going to make some generalizations soon to make some points and I fully understand there are degrees within each generalization.

 

 

Regardless.

 

 

Let’s say there are three types of wins and winners:

 

 

–          A ‘whatever it takes to win’ win

–          An intellectual win

–          An ability win

 

 

And while this is probably relevant to Life, in general, as well as sports <obviously> and personal … I am going to discuss this idea in a business environment.

 

 

 

Why?

 

 

 

 

Because I tend to believe this is one of the most difficult attitude & behavior decisions someone has to make in business.

 

 

Organizations ask, and demand, many things of you … and you have to reconcile all of it with your own attitude … and inevitably your actions <behavior>.

 

As a junior person this is very difficult to manage but my suggestion is that you get things set <with the best knowledge you have> in your own head … and then look to the leaders behavior. Watch the senior people and how they treat going after a win, the process in win decision making and then how they define & evaluate the win.

 

Make sure it matches up with what you have decided attitudinally.

 

If you do not, you run the risk of being constantly put in positions where you do not like what you are not only being asked to do … but what you are doing.

 

 

Senior business people have no excuses.

 

No if, ands or buts.

character stood up best

 

How they win defines them as a business person.

 

 

All I can say to them is … well … accept it <whichever type you are>. I know what I like in my head but that doesn’t make it the only right.

 

 

The only point I have to really make to leaders is that once you accept how you go after a win … then begin recruiting people who think as you do. If you do not then you will be forcing your attitudes & behavior upon others who probably do not want to, let alone like to, do it that way. And I can also promise you when it comes to evaluation time , as a leader, you will be continuously disappointed in their performance.

 

 

 

Anyway.

 

 

The three wins <my perspective> and how they are different aspects of ‘adept, adapt & adopt.”

 

A whatever it takes to win.

 

 

I actually refer to this as an empty win.

 

 

 

This is typically the type of win done by someone who says afterwards … “all that matters is the result” … or … “it’s not the journey it is the destination” … or “winning is everything.”

 

 

 

It is empty because the person runs a very large risk that how you actually got to the win is ignored and everything gets measured <in their personal character measurement> on a scorecard.

 

 

 

I admit.

 

I don’t like these types of wins.

 

 

 

 

But there is a personality type out there, and some very successful people, who take pride in how many checks are in the win column and could care less how they got to them.

To these people … all wins are quality wins because … well … it is a win.

 

 

 

Typically really competitive people fall into this group.

 

 

 

I call this “adept” winning. You compete because you are adept at reading what it takes to win … and doing it.

 

 

 

This person isn’t adapting because they understand winning is about lining up the necessary variables … each time. So they aren’t adapting but rather simply building each time to win.

 

 

 

And they aren’t adopting anything because while some things can be reused it is mostly one time usage winning.

 

 

 

These types of winners are very difficult to replicate through training.

And these types of winners have to be very careful in how far they will go to win.

 

They have bigger boundaries of accepted behavior because of the adept attitude … and because of that they can stray to the boundary margins of character.

 

 

 

 

But it is the win numbers in this group that is most satisfying.

 

Out of all three groups I have listed this one probably will chalk up the most quantity of wins in the end.

 

Next.

 

 

There is an intellectual win.smart kid point

 

 

You truly outsmart someone <or outsmart the problem>.

 

 

You out think or tear apart the challenge in such an innovative way that your competition can just look afterwards and say … “wow … that was smart.”

 

 

This is as good as a physical <ability> win … but unfortunately many people do not evaluate it that way.

In fact many of the intellectual winners kind of wish they had some other tangible contribution because thinking is … well … intangible.

 

 

This type of winning is ‘adapt & adopt” winning.

 

 

You compete by adapting your thinking to the situation and adopting new ideas/thinking <its a contextual win>.

 

 

 

These types of winners I tend to believe are just born this way. Yes. Some aspects can be trained but these types of winners just seem to have an innate ability to see things … assess what matters versus what doesn’t matter … and assimilate the “what matters” information into either unique, or refreshingly different, ideas and thoughts.

 

 

This is a very satisfying win because you out thought someone.

 

 

Next.

 

 

An ability win.

 

 

 

This is ‘mano y mano.’

You bring your best and I will bring my best and let the best win.

 

 

Here is the deal.

 

Sometimes your best isn’t the better. And you lose.

Oh.

But what a loss.

 

 

 

This one is near & dear to my heart.

 

 

 

And I admit that I got really really lucky early in my career in that I was encouraged to go for this kind of ‘no frills’ winning and use losses to make my best better … so that each consecutive ‘game’ I was able to stay true to what I was good at … and it got better and better. Maybe it was partially I was stubborn on my definition of best or maybe I figured out what I was good at <even if it wasn’t the best of the best … just good while still being my personal best> early on and figured that if this was what I was good at … well … then I would only rise as high as my ‘best’ would take me.

 

 

 

 

This type of continuous winning is “adopt & adapt” winning. You compete … learn … adopt some new skills <skill level or new skill> and then adapt within your existing skill set to the next challenge. This means your muscle group gets stronger and stronger <albeit it is just one muscle group>.

 

 

 

This type of win is extremely satisfying. I also envision this group has the lowest actual total wins. They are the highest quality wins just not a shitload of them.

 

 

 

Well.

 

 

 

That is, of course, unless you are as good a fighter as Roberto Duran.

 

 

And that is the real differentiator in quality wins … how good you really are.

 

 

And I guess that is going to be my point having used one of the best boxers of all time.

 

 

He was one of the best.

 

 

 

“Manos de Piedra”, is true, Hands of Stone. Every punch, and I’m not exaggerating, every punch that he hit me with, from the body to the head, felt like bricks, stone, rocks”.

– Sugar Ray Leonard

 

 

And not all of us are of that level of ‘best.’ In fact … not many people are.

 

 

So you have to figure what is most important to you in the win. The numbers?

 

 

The intellectual win? The ability win? And embrace that is what makes you … well … you … in the business world.

 

 

 

And know when to say “no mas.”

 

 

Know when to say ‘fuck this.’

 

 

 

 

Look.

 

 

Do I give Sugar Ray credit for figuring out how to win by avoiding the Hands of Stone?

 

 

 

Sure.

 

 

Would I have done it that way?

 

 

 

 

Nope <and I probably would have lost>.

 

 

Do I give Duran credit for just saying ‘no mas’ after 8 frustrating rounds?

 

 

 

Yup.

 

 

 

He was the champ. He cared more about how he won the championship than the championship itself.

 

 

 

Now that, my friends, is a lesson that many of us should take to heart in business.

 

 

 

Figure out what you want … and how you want to do it … and find your place in the business world doing it.

 

big fred (and saying no)

July 25th, 2010

CSC 3

 

Ok.

 

 

Back to the security company job I had in college.

 

This one is about Big Fred.

 

 

That is what everyone called him (I wonder if his last name was really Fred. hmmmmmmmmmmmm).

Big Fred was a mountain of a man.

 

I am sure there was a lot of muscle hidden in there somewhere but he was Jabba the Hut before there was Jabba. I am not sure he ever had to actually take any action because he was so intimidating.

 

 

Anyway.

 

Big Fred’s job was always the same job at every event.

He managed the artist/players entry area backstage. He was the last line of defense to the performers. He said who got in, what got in and in general provided oversight for their well being. So when I was a backstage supervisor I was kind of de facto under Big Fred’s supervision.

 

 

I would say that everyone I talked to believed Big Fred had the sweetest job in the company.

 

 

And … well … he may have. But. As with most things … everything in life is a trade off and the grass always looks a helluva lot greener if you aren’t the one mowing it.

 

 

Regardless.

 

After a couple of months watching Big Fred in action I was pretty confident if I paid attention I could learn a lot and very confident you couldn’t pay me enough to do his job.

 

<by the way, while I didn’t follow closely I do believe he was recognized for ability beyond being big because I believe a number of bands hired him to manage their backstage tour>.

 

Big Fred had a big job that was easy to miss how big it was … because of all the glitz and glamor surrounding everything taking place.

 

Big Fred had a huge pain in the ass job with massive benefits.

 

Big Fred was constantly squeezed.

 

By those within <the performers> and those without <those who wanted to be near the performers>.

 

He had to balance all that and make it all seem like it was under control. I am pretty sure I never once saw Big Fred freak out <even as the oiled up dancers came racing out of the Van Halen dressing room>.

 

Let’s see.

 

 

So.

I have Neil Young at the back entrance wanting to be let in. I don’t have his name on the list <and you learn VERY quickly it doesn’t matter who it is if you don’t have them on the okayed list they don’t come in>.

 

So, me, capable of making many decisions, frankly ain’t gonna make this call.

 

 

“Hold on a second, will you Mr. Young.”

 

Back to Big Fred.

 

Explain situation.

 

 

Now Big Fred was a master of this crap.

He knew if he should ask someone, put someone on the list or just say no <all while he has one eye on caterers wandering in, random special guests and keeping riff raff out of the way>.

 

Here is where he shared an even bigger lesson to me (the kid).

 

Big Fred:“Nope. He can’t come in.” (‘Oh shit’ bubble over my head) … but he then says “Hold on. Let me come with you and we can tell him together.”

 

 

Look.

 

This may sound stupid, but to a 19 year old kid telling Neil Young “nope” was a big thing.

 

And Big Fred kinda had a great sense for how to defuse things as well as delegate and empower.

 

 

I know I say in my bio I have always been a collector of moments and Big Fred gave me some of the most thoughtful formative management moments.

 

I will tell you the biggest lesson he taught me.

 

 

To say “no.”

 

oh no 2

And to be fearless with regard to whom you said ‘no’ to.

 

You quickly realized in this position that it wasn’t a “power thing” but rather a clear decisions made that met the needs of the situation.

 

So.

19.

Maybe 20.

Into my 21 year.

 

 

I became comfortable saying ‘no’ to Sting, Stevie Nicks, Nick Nolte, a slew of people I don’t have time to list during Eagles shows because they never let anyone backstage, a governor, a senator and others who you would know but may not know because it was the decision of someone else.

 

 

This was not abusing power.

 

 

This was simply becoming comfortable saying “in this situation at this time I am going to have to say no to what you want.” And, frankly, I moved up in the organization because I wasn’t star struck and just dealt with it.

 

 

And, frankly, I probably moved up in my career because afterward I was rarely star struck and made decisions at had to be made.

 

And Big Fred gave me my first lesson on this.

 

I am unclear whether others saw the same thing but I hope Big Fred is still doing well.

 

He taught me some basics I still utilize today.

 

Do not be afraid to say no, to anyone <regardless of their title or stature or fame> if you are in the right.

 

That is the lesson for the day.

Enlightened Conflict