Enlightened Conflict

least expensive thing in life

May 17th, 2017

decent person ROI life humanity



“It costs $0.00 to be a decent person.”


words to live by







When I saw this quote I started jotting thoughts down immediately.


Here was the most interesting note:  least expensive or most expensive?




It costs you nothing to be a decent person but it can still be an expensive decision. This may sound incredibly cynical but deciding to be decent is not a zero sum decision … it is a Life value equation.


I decide to do this <be decent> or do not do this <not be decent> and ‘this’ is the repercussion of that decision <the value or lost opportunity/gain>.



By being decent in the business world you can be viewed as ‘too nice’ and get mangled by some cutthroat asshat.

By being decent in Life you can be viewed as naive and get taken advantage of by those willing to ‘do what it takes.’



decent person is hard understand


Therefore, oddly and unfortunately, decency can ultimately be assessed in ROI terms by many of us in our lives.


Boy … that sounds pretty fucked up when I say it out loud.





So someone may argue with the ROI thing but maybe think of it this way …


You walk by 4 homeless people but give the 5th one you see $20. Does the $20 balance out the fact you ignored the other 4? You were decent but selectively so.


Don’t like that?

So set aside the money.


You walk by 4 homeless veterans … never acknowledging them or looking at them … the 5th homeless vet you stop for a second and look them in the eye and say “thank you for your service.” Does the one you give some dignity to zero out the 4 you completely disregarded?


Unfortunately, decency is an ROI assessment. And more excruciatingly … it is an assessment made moment by moment as well as cumulatively.


What I mean by that is decency is mutually exclusive not inclusive … and decent moments are independent of other moments <when you may not have been so, or as, decent> … not interdependent <warning: I most likely mangled the meanings of both mutually exclusive and independent>.




Mutually exclusive events cannot happen at the same time. For example: when tossing a coin, the result can either be heads or tails but cannot be both. Events are independent if the occurrence of one event does not influence (and is not influenced by) the occurrence of the other(s).



You do not accumulate ‘decency points’ in Life or in business.


Not being decent cannot be equaled out by being extraordinarily decent in another moment.



That doesn’t sound particularly fair does it?


But you have to think that way or you start thinking about decency in a conscious decision making balance sheet sort of way. “well, I am not going to be particularly decent in this situation because to do so I may not benefit as much as I believe I deserve” and then a couple days later you consciously say to yourself “I was kind of a dickwad the other day so maybe if I am particularly decent now that will make up for it.”


I absolutely hated myself for scribbling any thought down that suggested there was a cost to being a decent person. Fucking hated even having the thought.


But no matter how much I hated it … it surely does seem like it is a Life truth.


To me there is only one way to resolve this ‘self dilemma’ and it is an ‘either/or’ thought.decent person rude and nice


You accept the fact you are gonna be a decent human being all the time and accept that the chips will fall as they may throughout Life … and they  may not all fall your way <and you can spend your last days on earth feeling pretty good about yourself from a character standpoint by realizing a Big life can often be found in a shitload of small victories>.




You accept the fact that situational decisions are situational decisions and you are a decent person at heart therefore you seek to view life, in the end, as “I was more often decent than I wasn’t” <and a Big life meant you bucked the odds of a world constantly trying to encourage non-decency and you won more often than you lost>.


I cannot choose the path for you.


But I will state that simply recognizing that this is the dilemma we face in Life … and that this is basically your choice … you have accepted that being a decent person is an ROI analysis.


A decent person and ROI. Sigh. What a sad thought.

navigators versus sledge hammers

January 4th, 2017

Innovative solution plan as a pencil trying to find way out of maze breaking through the labyrinth as a business concept and creative metaphor for strategy success and planning achievement.



“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”






“A person who can think differently and truly on his feet will always find it difficult to sit and fit as an employee in a workplace, for his attitude & approach towards the work will often hit the ego of most co-workers.”


Anuj Somany




“If u want to work in Corporate, then u should know how to play Chess.”







I was asked recently about a past job I had where I had struggled to be sledge-hammer-maze-business-get-shit-donesuccessful. After hemming and hawing a little <I have never really been sure what hemming or hawing was> I answered “the position required a dedicated navigator with navigator skills and I am a sledgehammer with some navigator vision.”


<note: I didn’t understand that until actually into the role & assumed responsibility>





I am a sledge hammer.

Always have been and I assume I always will be.


I respect navigators but they are too slow for my tastes, far too often worried about political correctness and always too skewed toward what is important politically versus ‘what is the right thing to do.’




Let me explain navigators and sledge hammers.


In business, there are just some people who see office politics <which all organizations have whether you like it or not> and they have the skills and vision to navigate them to get shit done <they also tend to benefit personally with this skill>.


In business, there are just some people who want to get the right shit done and believe if it is right then … well … it is better to just say ‘damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead’ rather than screw around with navigating people’s feelings and politics.





That doesn’t mean that sometimes a navigator isn’t more effective and that a navigator, which is tightly associated with someone who can play office politics, is always a corporate whore.stay the course direction path compass


That also doesn’t mean that there aren’t navigators with good moral compasses because there are a shitload of navigator managers who are skilled organizational politicians who do not showcase questionable behavior or even distastefully ‘sucking-up’ behavior.


Pretty much any leader worth a shit takes a realistic approach to managing around workplace politics. This does not mean they are ‘political’, per se, or want to play the political game … it’s just they understand that you have to navigate competing interests, whatever resources may be available, the nuances of what is viewed as authority <and who has the authority … which is most typically “enough to hang yourself’>, the bendable organizational rules and whatever information is available.


And, to be clear, the best of the navigators have a sledge hammer in their tool box <and use it on occasion>.


And, to be clear, the best of the sledge hammers have either some navigational skills or, at minimum, navigational vision <i.e., they can ‘see’ the politics and organizational rubble affecting your path>.




I am a sledgehammer.


I like to get shit done.

do what communiqueAlways have and always will.




I like getting smart shit done.


And I really like getting smart ‘right’ shit done.


The nuance between that stuff is clear … if all I did was get shit done, smart & right being set aside, politics and navigating would become almost irrelevant.

Because then you are simply a doer <not a thinker or a thinker/doer>.


But even as a sledge hammer you recognize that whether you hate it, admire it, practice it or avoid it, office politics is a fact of life in any organization. And, like it or not, it’s something that you need to understand to insure not only your professional success but the success of the good shit you want to do.


Yeah. Sure.

“Politics” certainly has a negative connotation. It most often refers to strategies people use to seek advantage at the expense of others or the greater good.

In this context, it often adversely affects the working environment and relationships within it.


<and sledge hammers abhor this type of politics bullshit>


I hesitate to suggest there could ever be something called “good office politics” but some organizational expert asshats believe that is the kind of crap you do which helps you fairly promote yourself and your ideas <they call it networking and stakeholder management … I call it the ‘necessary bullshit you just have to suck up and do in order to get good shit done’>.


As a sledge hammer I realized that there were some things that a navigator thinking-maze-navigator-business-sledge-hammer-do-shitwas good at and I should learn if I wanted to be a more effective sledgehammer.


About the only thing I truly value in a navigator is “social astuteness.”


This is the ability to read and anticipate situations – allows you to prepare, adapt and tailor your behavior based on the people and conditions around you.

In my words this is being aware of the people & what they believe and the situation organizationally.


Let’s just call this “context” <at least that is how a sledgehammer views it>.




Being aware is different than acting upon it.

Being aware meant that it prepared me, and my groups, to manage the carnage or consequences of slamming your way straight thru a maze.


As a sledge hammer it pays to understand the real map, or maze, of the organization.

Internal politics, more often than not, has little to do with the real organizational chart they give you when you sign on.


Someone outlined this important crap to be aware of really well:

    Who are the real influencers?

    Who has authority but doesn’t exercise it?

    Who is respected?

    Who champions or mentors others?

    Who is “the brains behind the organization”?



As a sledge hammer I realized there were absolutely some things that were in my control as I bashed my way through the middle of the maze getting to where I believed an idea, or the business at large should go.


office-politics-navigator-sledgehammer-business-jerks-speechBut, as a sledge hammer, I also recognized I needed to manage my own behavior <this lesson took some time … and learned thru some painful trial & error>.


Through watching others and some painful trial & error you learn what works in your organization’s culture.


But you learn really fast … as in REALLY fast … that as a sledge hammer you invest exactly 0% of your time and 0 energy on:



  • Gossip & spreading rumors: you learn to shut up and even when you hear something you wait and assess the credibility


  • interpersonal conflicts – you avoid “like/dislike people” discussions and certainly do not get sucked into arguments



  • Integrity above all: this is a sledge hammer mantra … be professional, do not cut corners, do things right and always remember the organization’s interests


  • No complaining: a sledgehammer accepts it will not be easy and you don’t whine about the tough path you have chosen <because it is the path you have chosen>


  • Confidence: a sledgehammer is assertive not arrogant, proactive maybe edging on aggressive without ever sneaking into aggressiveness


  • Never personal: a sledge hammer has only one thing in focus … the good of the organization <it is NEVER personal>


  • Transparency:  assume everything is gonna be seen anyway so you may as well share it all





Here is what I know.



……… whoa … did you guys do THAT ………..

When you are a sledgehammer and everything goes right it is not only the best in the world for you but organizationally everyone kind of goes “whoa, that was something.”


<which is kind of cool and makes it all worthwhile>



I will admit.


Being a sledgehammer is a lonelier way to conduct business than being a navigator. It isn’t that you are not liked nor does it mean you aren’t viewed as a team member at the table but navigators, I tend to believe, are just more social human beings & employees.


But sledge hammers have one thing in common … we are all homesick for an organization where we can not think about anything but getting good smart shit done.




“I am homesick for a place I am not sure even exists.

One where my heart is full. My body loved. And my soul understood.


(via lipstick-bullet)



if you have a choice between the right or wrong

September 20th, 2016

now or_never_web_design_grande




“Be strong.

Don’t be a follower.

Always do the right thing.

If you have a choice between the right or wrong, do the right. “


Jennifer Lawrence






reality welcome sign


I am a huge proponent of doing the right thing.




We act like choices walk up and down the street wearing huge signs saying “I am the right thing.”


It just is not that easy.


And today I am not talking about when the right thing to do is impossible but rather when you truly do not want to follow along blindly and truly want to make the right choice and do ‘right’ and … shit … uh oh … a lot of choices look ‘right.’


In this situation I can equivocally state that some ‘wrong’ is cleverly disguised as ‘right’ as they intermingle with right, somewhat right, very right, kind of right and ‘incredibly right feeling but not practically the thing that benefits the most.’


This is not about any bias with regard to what is right or wrong or even necessarily about opinions.


This is simply about the fact even when you actually stop long enough to ponder <which is not often> the ‘choice du jour’ can appear to have multiple shades of ‘right.’



At least to you.


Because you are gonna get screwed in this situation no matter what.


I say that because while you stand there with a range of ‘rights’ in front of you I can guarantee that some loud mouthed asshat is gonna be pointing at one going “that one, that one , that one!!”hands-waving-in-air-panic-jo



<sometimes accompanied by a lot of hand waving>







There will most likely be a number of asshats pointing at one of them.




There will also most likely be a number of asshats not even there who will eventually wave their hands and point out that you should have chosen some other ‘right’ then the one you did.




While I could simply suggest that there are just a lot of asshats out there in the world and that is part of Life … I will not.


Because the asshats will always be there and your choices will always be your choices.


Yet, while the choices are yours, the outcomes are not necessarily yours <which is why ‘right’ is a very very tricky topic>.


I can honestly say that the best choice is the one you can see the farthest on.


friends unfluencers ripples2The best choice makers have the ‘far sight’ ability.


Let me explain far sight because it isn’t easy as ‘seeing ripples’ or even ‘see the end result.’


A choice is rarely simple cause and effect.


It is more the starting gate from which effect springs forth. And, uhm, it is not a 100 yard dash type race where you stay in your lane and everything else stays in its lane.

Your choice actually enters its own little survival race needing to zig and zag in order to avoid the inevitable things which will attempt to steer it off its intended course.

It needs to be strong enough to absorb some hits.

And smart enough to adapt when appropriate.


Not everyone can see far when making a choice and not everyone can actually choose the choice with the highest likelihood of survival. And even the best choice makers don’t get it right 100% of the time.


All that said.


If you think about choices this way one of two things could happen … you can simply feel a sense of helplessness and say “well, my choice probably won’t matter in the end anyway” … or you can just become overly cynical with regard to “right in today’s world.”




Society, life and people are relentlessly tough on ‘doing right.’


But here is what I know about choosing between right and wrong.


The attempt matters.courage to keep trying succeed try


While it is incredibly tempting to think nothing will change … if you refuse to believe that … well … the next 10 choices you make could shape 10 different futures and maybe shape things that can happen over the next 10 years.


And that, my friends, may be the only reason to ‘do right’ when having a choice between right and wrong.


September 15th, 2016

 see depends on look post xmas



“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.”



Henry David Thoreau



“Hell of a thing to have to experience, hell of a thing to have to see, to be reminded you’re a human being and all it meant to be one.”


Dean Koontz




Projecting may be the easiest thing we do every day.



consumer eyeballs see thin ideas clutterWe see, we think about what we see through our own eyes … and project a belief.


We hear, we filter the words through our own experiences and how we felt about those experiences … and project a belief.


Projecting, in general, is easier for us and certainly creates some efficiency.




It doesn’t guarantee really accuracy … but it offers us all those gosh darn time benefits so … aw … what the hell … who cares if we are right or accurate? … we saved time.


The biggest issue with regard to projecting is most likely the fact most of us confuse ‘informing’ <the information a person actually provides us> and ‘judging’ which is more about responding by how we are affected by that information.


In other words.

We ignore most of the information we actually receive <or it gets blocked by our existing perceptions and beliefs> and just end up judging based on the few things we let thru to inform us which we then ‘bolt on’ to all the shit we already “know.”




99% of us … shit … 99% of the people reading this … will say “oh, not me … but I see people do it all the time.” Uhm. But we all do it.


It’s pretty easy to do it in a world where we seemingly know so much information which inevitably builds a sense of ‘personal wisdom’ which encourages us to actually believe it is never us who is projecting <just ‘other people’>.


Suffice it to say projection, which is a foundational element that all of us utilize, is one of the most difficult habits/actions to break.project-with-what-eyes


In fact.

Since projection is a natural instinct we tend to see it as a natural defense mechanism for who and what we are as individuals as well as feeds our ego <even if we are actually wrong>.


Why do I say this?


When we are projecting, we actually believe that what we are seeing as ‘truth’ … in our beliefs as well as about another person.

This implies in some way we are better than they are and certainly different and incapable of their worst and aligned with their best.



We think we know what other people are thinking.


In some cases this means that we assume that they know what we know, in other cases we assume they are thinking about us as much as we are thinking about ourselves. It’s basically just a case of us modeling their own mind after our own (or in some cases after a much less complicated mind than our own).

Phrases associated with this:

Curse of knowledge, Illusion of transparency, Spotlight effect, Illusion of external agency, Illusion of asymmetric insight, Extrinsic incentive error



We project our current mindset and assumptions onto the past and future.

Magnified also by the fact that we’re not very good at imagining how quickly or slowly things will happen or change over time.

Phrases associated with this:

: Hindsight bias, Outcome bias, Moral luck, Declinism, Telescoping effect, Rosy retrospection, Impact bias, Pessimism bias, Planning fallacy, Time-saving bias, Pro-innovation bias, Projection bias, Restraint bias, Self-consistency bias




Maybe it is the last thing I just wrote “incapable of their worst and aligned with their best” that made me decide to discuss projecting.


Prioritize concept word cloud background

The American presidential election is getting incredibly skewed by our projecting.





Because he is a famous brand and self-proclaimed billionaire people project their beliefs that he knows enough shit to run a company and manage decisions with regard to the economy.


But what truly concerns me is the second.






I have written in the past that ‘lack of trustworthiness’ scores didn’t really matter in this election.


I am wrong about the lack of concern, or a belief that it was truly unimportant, with regard to her trustworthiness numbers. I believed that … what the heck … no one trusts any expert any more … so pretty much everyone would simply judge her off of competence and real information <not speculation>.


I was wrong.


What has happened is that this odd smokescreen of ‘lack of trust’ has created such a strong filter that even her good ideas, well designed policies & programs and the real truth she says about governing the country is all being ignored.


But, here is what I know about projecting, it can be changed. You just have to shake the etch a sketch hard enough to clear the filters and redraw some aspects.


So here is what I believe Hillary Clinton should do <and Trump could do something similar but my suggestion is so far out of his DNA I didn’t even think about offering the thought for him>.


I would have Hillary Clinton do a “judge me” speech <this is not an actual speech just one I drafted out>.






“Today I want to ask all Americans to do one thing – judge me.


I see the same poor honest & trustworthy numbers everyone else sees every day. I hear ‘crooked Hillary’ and ‘liar’ every day. I cannot lie … it stings. It stings because I know I wake up every day with the objective & intent to bring out the best of America and give everyone a chance to be and do their best. And I do know I will continue to wake up every day and try and show you I mean this. I will wake up every day and try to show you that you can trust me to make the important decisions for America as commander in chief and president. I will wake up every day and show you I do my best with the best intentions for America and the American people.


All I can ask is that you judge me. And judge me harshly and fairly. But, in the end, I ask you to just judge me.


Judge me as a person for my mistakes & regrets.


  • My state department personal server. I made a mistake and I regret it. And if I could go back in time and do it all over again I would have simply conducted all of the 70,000 personal emails on the state department classified server which handed the 550,000 classified emails I sent and received on that server <I made up those numbers but someone has them and everyone will get the point that her personal was one semi-classified email and the 99.9999999999% classified were handled on separate server>.



  • Benghazi. I regret the loss of my good friend Chris Stephens and the three other Americans and if I could go back in time and find something that could have been done I would do it.


  • Super Predators. If I could go back to the day I said super predators and change those words I would. I regret saying them. I should be better than that and you should expect me to be better than that.



Judge me as a person for my better moments.


  • the U.N. women’s speech <”women’s rights are human rights”>


  • My 9/11 response for firefighters and first responders


  • Maybe something from Secretary of State years? … but not Iran deal and don’t pick Libya.




And, lastly, judge me as your possible president on the real things, the real hillary-stronger-togetherpolicies & programs that I have in mind to have us make America stronger together.


My site has over 38 programs including climate change, criminal reform, childcare support & minimum wage increase as well as a 1st 100 day plan but here are the three I would have you take note of:


  • A jobs/ economy one – how it positively affects minorities, middle white America, and working mothers …


  • The vets mental health program … how it addresses real veteran issues


  • I personally would offer a ‘right sized government’ initiative <cut spending waste> but I imagine I would be happy with something that addresses debt/deficit/budgeting.



I ask you to judge me. Judge me harshly and fairly.


I am not perfect. I have regrets and I will continue to apologize, as I have done in the past, when my best is not good enough. And when I do my best I will wake up the next day and try to do even better.

I believe America is at its best when we work together, when we do our best, and even when our best doesn’t work out, we get back up and try and do better the next day.

Back in 1979 I said this when being asked how I felt about not being traditional …. “I think that each person should be assessed and judged on that person’s own merits. I’m not 40 but that hopefully will be cured by age, eventually I will be.”


I am 68 now.


So, go ahead, I ask you to judge me. Assess and judge on my merits and imperfections.

You should.

 I am running to be the president and commander in chief for the greatest country in the world.”


<or something like that>






I am certainly not asking anyone to trust Hillary or vote for Hillary. All I ask is that we judge her fairly.


I sometimes think about something that Clinton, who earned a doctor of law degree from Yale, was the first female chair of the Legal Services Corporation, and was the first female partner at Rose Law Firm, the third oldest law firm in the US said in 1979:


“I think that each person should be assessed and judged on that person’s own merits. I’m not 40 but that hopefully will be cured by age, eventually I will be. <while I don’t fit the traditional image> …. that doesn’t bother me, and I hope that it doesn’t bother very many people. I think in a way it’s kind of a tribute to the state that someone who may or may not fit an image is accepted on her own terms.”


projects-complete-finish-progress-businessAnd to do that we need to accept most of us ‘project.’


And while I truly wish we all got better at managing our ‘projecting instincts in day to day life’ <mostly because I think it eliminates some opportunities to hear some really good stuff from some really good unlikely people> … today … and in this time & place … we are choosing a president. Therefore if someone is to actually try and affect their existing ‘projecting behavior’ I would encourage you to do so with the presidential candidates.


This is a big decision and we should … well … judge fairly and as wisely as we can.



Enlightened Conflict