Showing posts from May, 2008

Universal Healthcare Key to Virtual Workforce

In every era capitalist economies form systems to maximize efficiency. In past decades work had to be performed at a work site where processes took place that added value to physical materials. Retaining a healthy workforce over several years was necessary both to keep labor peace and also to maintain efficiency and quality through retention of company-trained employees in a generally uneducated workforce . Employees themselves sought the security of a job that lasted a lifetime. Insurers could underwrite policies accurately and profitably, because it had the worker throughout his or her lifetime, collecting excess premiums in their youth and investing that money sufficiently enough to cover the expenses of current employees and fund the period of deficit premiums when that same worker became older. The typical retirement age was 65 and typical mortality was at age 69, so companies and insurers could profitably provide retiree medical benefits for a period of only 4 or 5 years in mos

What Managers Can Learn from the Clintons

Let me first say that I am no fan of either Bill or Hillary Clinton. My idea of Hillary as Commander in Chief is this; imagine your wife in a terrible "I told you so" or "I know best" mood... for eight years... with Army Rangers to back her up. But again I could be wrong... But this post isn't about politics other than using two amazing politicians as an example. The seldom-told secret of how either of these two made it to power really rests in a rare dynamic within their campaigns. It is something managers could do well to learn and replicate. They empower someone in their inner circle to tell them the brutal truth, no matter what the topic. They act immediately to counter or capitalize on that truth. Here are some examples. During the first Bill Clinton campaign his staff planned contingencies around what his inner circle labeled "bimbo eruptions"; revelations from young women who might claim to have known him well. Each time a Jennifer Flowers or

I Kept My Promise; What's Next?

I can point to the spot in the street, 17 years ago, where I was walking with our then six-year-old daughter Rachel one night when she asked a question that literally changed my life. The family was young, money was tight, and she had just started 1st grade. The teachers were encouraging these new young students to do well in school so they could one day go to college. After dinner we were out for a walk when she looked up and asked me, "Will I get to go to college"? Without the slightest hesitation or idea how , I promised her she would. This past Saturday she changed her tassel from left to right, walked across the stage, shook President Gary Ransdell's hand, and my promise was kept. After I made that promise, my work life became serious. Very serious. Serious to the point of often being unbalanced, unhealthy, and focused to the point of obsession. We lived in a small Kentucky town where jobs were scarce, and as my career progressed a good job like mine was rare. Beca

The Importance of Getting Past It

Forget for the sake of this post that I have any managerial or leadership position with any company. I'm not serving as an apologist for anyone when I say to those of you seeking long-term corporate careers that getting past difficult decisions and people is an absolutely essential skill. Now two-weeks past our staff reductions, I see and hear of a person here or there who is struggling to keep their chin up. Their best friend was let go, the person who hired them is retiring, someone they loved was laid off while someone they despise was kept. It is not at all unusual, and is actually fairly common, for personal loss to cause someone to change jobs. The idea that, "its just not the same around here anymore" can cause you to look for another job, or at least suffer a loss of commitment to the job you have. Its a form of grief not unlike the death of someone close to you. I know this first hand. A few years back I knew I needed to leave Sumitomo Electric because I