We've Talked Politics, Religion, Work and Relationships. With Rum. And Lived To Tell About It.

April 06, 2022 00:33:20
We've Talked Politics, Religion, Work and Relationships. With Rum. And Lived To Tell About It.
I See What You Mean
We've Talked Politics, Religion, Work and Relationships. With Rum. And Lived To Tell About It.
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Show Notes

Political discussions can be unenlightening and uninspiring. Two or more yammer on sounding vaguely like Charlie Brown's teacher.... loving the sound of their our own voices and ideas.... and not learning because no one is listening. But not discussions with this week's guest.

 

Dan Morford and I have been friends for 22 years. We've worked together, volunteered in our community, raised families, cooked a lot of food, listened to a lot of blues, and have occasionally fallen into a barrel of rum. Over the years we've spent many hours talking about politics, as we do in this episode. 

 

Dan is smart, thoughtful - and principled. That's one of the things I love most about him. He knows when there's something at stake greater than his individual interests. He knows how to have a respectful and effective dialogue. We're not on the same page about everything, but we listen to see if we might learn and we're respectful when we see things differently. And the older we get the more we're on the same page worrying about the future of our country - for our kids.

 

We talked for an hour so I split the recording into two episodes. If you notice Dan sounding more focused, he is! He had me thinking and I got tangled in my own thoughts. Words were hard but the ideas were as good as ever. With a few expletives thrown in for emphasis (!), here are some of my favorite ahh-ha! moments in Part 1 of 2:

 

2:10 - Hurling insults at each other isn't just unhelpful, it's hypocritical.

11:20 - There's not a crisis covered by the press and media that can't be monetized.

13:08 - Can we pick a fight amongst ourselves about any issue in the news? Yes! And lose our humanity along the way.

21:41 - We form opinions, focal points, emotional perspectives about many things - but from what? A rich dialogue exploring perspectives?  

26:46 - To stop learning or not stop learning, that is the question. What I know about this subject is a small fraction of what I want to know about this subject. And what I want to know is an even smaller fraction of what there is to know. 

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:06 Welcome to, I see what you mean a podcast about how people get on the same page or don't, or perhaps shouldn't today. My guest is Dan Morford. Dan's a friend colleague, fellow foodie, blues and rum fan, and a father worried as I am about our democracy and country. Dan, welcome to the show. Speaker 2 00:00:23 Well, thank you, Lou. I was glad to be here. I guess we want to talk about the political landscape of today, huh? Speaker 1 00:00:28 Yeah. You and I talk about that all the time and yes, I think, I think it'd make a great podcast episode to start. Why don't you give listeners a short bio about yourself? Speaker 2 00:00:38 Sure. So, you know, as, as most people going into college, I went down to the path of Marine biology and then found out that that was what I wanted to do and why for the Navy flew a electronic countermeasures divisions for a number of years, uh, ironically in the theater of question right now that we all focus on then after leaving that worked for ADP global for quite a number of years, building a networking around the world, you know, finished up by career as a federal consultant, actually working with you and a range of others across the federal landscape. And, uh, during that entire time, however, couple of decades now you and I have talked to the sisterly about where this country was heading, you know, what is needed in order to be its best self. And, uh, I guess that's what we're going to talk about a little bit today. Speaker 1 00:01:21 It is. And you know, and then the pandemic heightened, some of that dialogue, as we both know, and we we've talked about it as we are now directly, we've talked about it through Facebook and posts, and we've talked about the extreme voices in politics and how they're overwhelming or drowning out those who aren't extreme. So one of the things that I know you've been thinking about is where's the center what's going on in the center. We don't think that we both agree the country's not as extreme as the voices make it seem that those extremes are out there, but there's people in the middle, maybe more like us who don't hold those extreme views. And we both wondered, you know, we're part of that where, what what's, what's going on with that, with that center. And where's the, where's the voice of the message coming from the center. So why don't you just pick up on that and share your thoughts on it? Speaker 2 00:02:10 Sure, sure. Well, what's of interest to me in Photoshop. This is hypocrisy is invoke right now and I think it has been for a long time, but it's come to the forefront today rather than having constructive dialogue. We are busy hurling insults at one another. Your position's wrong if you don't buy by and I'm not going to listen to you anymore. Well, that's a recipe for disaster. And especially in the 21st century where things happen very quickly and the implications are much broader and deeper than they perhaps work a hundred, 200 years ago. You know, the fact is, is that the Republicans say that Democrats bit too much money. For instance, the Democrats didn't say no, the Republicans just like us. They get it all Facebook too much money. The reality is both are, are true. You know, if you look at the Speaker 1 00:02:53 Central, here we Speaker 2 00:02:55 Are. And again, the priority is different. You know, if you get a administration and right now the focus because of the travesty of abortion, you know, is you get the democratic side in the Travis Jeep, recalls, homelessness, you know, et cetera, et cetera. And rather than cocky, constructively as intelligent humans, about how we can address these problems, both factually and economically, which is important. We, we tend to just hurl, insults at each other. And today I looked yesterday good. And we had crossed the $30.3 trillion mark for national debt. Now, most people don't know that that national debt is just the discretionary debt. You know, there's a whole lot more non discretionary debt like social security and stuff that are hanging out there that don't even get incorporated into that money. But 30.3 trillion, you say that to people and they either don't connect with you or their eyes glaze over because you can't wrap your mind around something. This Speaker 2 00:03:54 Is 14 digits long, you know, so there's a lot there, but, but what's more important to that. And I wish the American public would pay more Tisha this and their busy lives. But plus more than that number is the debt to, in relationship to our gross domestic product, how much we produce as a nation in 1980, the ratio of our national debt to our GDP gross domestic product was 34.5%. Today it is 125.6%. That means that we're spending over 25 cents all over and above every dollar. You know, that just goes right to that debt line. And then administration on posts. I would want to talk about deficit. They really don't want to talk about debt. They want to allow people to reduce the Tufts, that people don't stop to realize that what they're basically saying in layman's terms is I will go into debt less fast than I was yesterday or more fast, fast, less than the thought of bills are saying, we are still digging the hole. We're not even, we're not even stopping the day, much less Billy in the hall, we keep digging it deeper on both sides of the equation. Speaker 1 00:05:00 The article I read yesterday, talked about the fact that the rules of the game have, have become things that support the continuation of what you just decried, which is if our side wins that's that's what matters is that we just want to win. We want more seats. So we can, we, and we'll we'll we'll, uh, pass or attempt to pass the legislation. And we think is that we have a mandate for, and you know, that winner take all systems a little bit weird because if you win 51% and you want to claim, you have a mandate, you gotta be a little careful with that. It might've been 49% of the people who thought somethings could go a different way. And as you're saying, and what we're both saying is if you have the right kind of dialogue about it, you can find in the middle where most people think is the reasonable path. Speaker 1 00:05:44 But if you say at 51%, you have a mandate and you go, go in and do things that are extreme or your hot button issues. That's what the games become. It's become it's, self-fulfilling that sense that it's like a political masturbation, Dan, like that makes me feel good. And I'm just going to do it. I'm going to keep doing it. And then you went, you went last time. Well, now you're going to do it. Well, what are we getting out of that is that country, what's the policy decisions? What is the course? We're on what's, we've got big problems. What nothing's changing while the, while the parties do that, Speaker 2 00:06:18 You know, I think you have to start with an educated public and even that's term education, kids spoken hours of debate right now. Right? But the fact is Lou, if you or I were to line up 10 people on the street right now and ask them who their congressional representatives were, maybe one or two might tell you, and the other eight was that I'm not real sure, you know, there's they have a paid attention. And then as the say to, they could name them, you asked them, well, what do they stand for? And all you're going to get a deer in the headlights because people granted people's lives are busy. But I think the, the establishment machine that, you know, fertilizes that era of busy-ness such that the individual does not have time in their lives to think about things that matter to them. You know, th th the hypocrisy that just pervades for that, because people seize on little sound bites in the, in the media social or, or online or broadcast. Speaker 2 00:07:20 And then that becomes their mantra for the day. And rather than having a, it tells you the discussion about subjects. We devolve into hurling insults on at other based on very small fraction of the information that, that actually surrounds the subject head. And to your point about a 51, or even a 55, or say a wind-up, you'll say, oh, I went by five points. That's great. Yes, but only 30% of the eligible voters actually cast their vote. There's another problem. So what happens if a difference 30% woke up that morning, so be able to vote then the whole, the whole spectrum could change, right? So we have to, as a society, start to take ownership at an individual level of our future. And that's the last thing that the establishment government congressional representatives want to happen. I agree there, there's a reason that if you look at the congressional landscape, the vast majority of them are Bolty curbs, almost multi-decade politicians. Speaker 2 00:08:19 And, you know, our forefathers never bit for politics at a rational level to be a career. It was something you were supposed to put aside your professional career for our limited about timing and was a shortlist to the nature, right. But we, and I've been really the individual Americans need to take ownership of that because we've allowed this to happen over the recent 2, 3, 4 decades. We have turned a blind eye to what Congress was doing, and they have, like, he was, will do great as up self raises, greater themselves healthcare that we don't as a citizens have. It's, it's quite interesting to be that the Congress that is responsible for quality affordable healthcare in America, does it even use the same quality affordable health care that ran to the citizens? They have created their own parallel platform that covers Dale and their families. Not only while they're in office, but for the rest of their lives. While we sit out here at grouse, back and forth about the cost of health insurance, that is a perfect case example of how Americans need to pay for college to the details of their lives. Speaker 1 00:09:23 I think there's some limitation on that, but the points that doesn't change your point it's as a very self-serving. And I, we talked about that over the course of the pandemic, as people were ranting and raving about the vaccine. And I made a comment on, on, uh, Facebook post is so look, the only people that are benefiting by, yeah, it became a very vitriolic dialogue. At that time, people are benefited benefiting by, this are the ones who want to get elected on it, and the ones who, the ones who make money at it in some other way. So if you are a podcaster, if you're a broadcaster, if you're a commentator and you've got your stick and you make money, you get eyeballs on your posts, on your, on your blogs, or you get people viewing on TV or listening to you on radio. Or if you are in an industry where you make can make a ton of money based on the divisiveness, the divisiveness works for you. Speaker 1 00:10:20 There's only. So there's certain parties that are, that are doing very well with things being that divisive. And it's not, it's not the country, it's not the people in the middle who were men who were, maybe, I don't even know if it's a political middle, but who aren't extreme, who are saying, kill me, get back to talking about our infrastructure. Is it time to update our clean water and our clean air laws? Because it's been decades since they were written. It's those parties that benefit by it that keep perpetuating it. Let's talk a little bit about how to reclaim the dialogue. Let's talk a bit about your experience talking to people. You mentioned, if you actually talk to people and don't open up with, you know, firing my opinions at somebody, that's the opening salvo, right? I'm going to show you my opinions at you. If we actually talk to people, what do you hear in the dialogue when you're talking to it? We both live in Florida. Um, I'm in Tampa, you're in, uh, a less urban area. Speaker 2 00:11:18 Right? Right. Speaker 1 00:11:19 What are you here? Oh, Speaker 2 00:11:20 Ah, to begin with, you know, I think we, we, when we become focused in this area, it's, it becomes obvious that in the current environment, there's not a crisis out there. They cannot be monetized, you know, and, and, or use as an emotional statistic about the population. Right? Take the pandemic. Oh God, she's an ass. No, no, no. She's the science now she's that blah, blah, blah. And once you want to devolve into this discussion, if you will, a very data discussion about an individual, but at the end of the day has nothing to do with the original subject. Take what we're dealing with right now in Ukraine, you know, putting the jerk, you know, well though the, the west is trying to be a capital, blah, blah, blah. Instead of talking about the human suffering and the, the, the travesty that is going on, the human cost of what's happening there, we are defaulting into, who's going to provide a water weapons to win. Speaker 2 00:12:17 And then once I get a in, wow, you know, I mean, the end result is not going to be good either way. It I'll show. What do I hear? Look at Florida, take flourishes yesterday. As I understand it, there's a new law that the Congress or the legislature came out with at the, the left side has dove the Dulce gay law. Right? If you dig into it, though, what it really says is don't talk about things like transgender sexuality, as an example, to children that are four or 5, 6, 8 years old, you know, and when you look at it from that perspective, you know, our children today have ever shorter childhood because of the things that are going to all around them. Those few years of innocent should be preserved. You know, they should be foes, you know, Teddy bears and who's kicking the can out of the street and riding bikes, you know, things like that. Speaker 2 00:13:08 They, you know, there will come a time, the vast majority of all of our lives, where we have to post all the things we're talking about today, but what are your seven or eight years old? You shouldn't be, not only should you not be faced with that, you don't have the middle of maturity to process it and make it make sense in your world. So, you know, either side is right at either side is wrong, or they start calling it out. That one piece of legislation, should we embrace, you know, humanity regardless of sexual orientation, yada, yada, yada. Absolutely. Can we pick a fight amongst ourselves about any one of the issues related to that? You bet. So the focus now becomes the fight rather than the humanity, right? Why are we doing this? Speaker 1 00:13:49 Well, let's talk about that for a minute. Try to try to illustrate the point you're making. I saw that article yesterday and what to look up the law to actually read the language. Two things concern me one. I think if you just think about the objective of it, okay, it's not unreasonable. Let's not have any, that's not have the subject matter in the curriculum from kindergarten, third grade, but you know, as a school teacher and she says, well, it's not an, the curriculum. There's no curriculum in which that's a part. I said, well, how would it come up in a classroom? She said, at those ages, probably wouldn't. She said a, teacher's not going to bring it up because they don't want to open that can of worms in a classroom, right. They're not using it as part of an curriculum at those ages. And they're not going to read a book at, you know, a reading time that gets into that issue because any individual could, but she said, generally teachers aren't going to, because it opens all kinds of conversations that you don't even want to have. Speaker 2 00:14:47 Right? Speaker 1 00:14:48 So a student could bring it up. She said, um, she said, there's a student where she teaches. Who's got, um, I think she said he had like black fingernail painted his fingernails pink or black and blink sparkles. So those kids are saying, what is that about? So I said, well, what's the conversation that teachers try to have? And she says, oh, the only way to play it is tolerance, right? The only way to do it, if you're a teacher is to not, no matter what your personal view is, you shouldn't aspire as a political or a social policy sort of position on it. It's just, you got to just teach tolerance. Now, maybe parents think there should be a harsher judgment made about that student. That's their opinion. But as a teacher in a classroom, all you can say is, you know, we respect each other. We treat each other well, let's move on with the lesson, right? That's what you're going to try to do. What concerned me about the language that was quoted in articles? I want to read it because you always find something that you read it, the original that wasn't covered in the press coverage, Speaker 2 00:15:48 Right? Speaker 1 00:15:49 Without vague, some of the language was, and they're saying parents ought to be able to Sue. So what I saw in a more, if what you want to grant the legislature, especially the Republicans, because it was there. A bill is a, a value of, we don't think there should be in the classroom at that, at those three grades, but to cater for grades. Okay. I agree with that. If you look at the means to the end, how that constructed the language, the legislation, there could be something else going on here. This is kind of poking. This was a political, this is, this is saying to people, go ahead and Sue. Well, that's not a public policy objective that I think is valuable for education. So pick it up. What are your thoughts on how, how something like that helps or distorts the conversation we need to be having about an issue? Speaker 2 00:16:40 Well, the first thing that comes to mind, just in a bigger picture format is the litigious culture that we have developed here in the United States. It doesn't matter who you are, what you stand for, there's somebody to Sue about it. You know, and as a result, everything goes up the cost of food, the cost of healthcare, the cost of insurance, everything goes up, not because of real issues. I think to your point, you know, this is a piece of light. So I just use it as an example that shape here. Otherwise, it's just an example where a set of individuals crafted a law. That one, it could be very well-meaning all the other heads could have underlying implication. Right. You know, but they were allowed to craft that law almost in a vacuum because the public that they serve, those are good just to go up to about it, to be dangerous. Speaker 2 00:17:32 So you have the left leaning side of America saying, oh, well, you're going to call this a don't shake gay. Well, that's said play up the story. Okay. Because that's not really true. I'll be other, you know, the right side will say, well, we're just protecting children to their innocence. Well, okay. But it goes beyond that or could go beyond that. And that, that the shifter you would be okay. If, if we're having a dialogue about this, a we could probably craft a much better piece of legislation and beat. That's a really bad, or to begin with if we're doing the right things for the right reasons. You know, and I really think we've got to get back to ownership as individual citizens of our collective future. Because right now we are voting on individuals, as we said before that we put in to office and they turn a blind eye to, for two or four years or perhaps more because we've got better things to do. And, but then when a piece of legislation gets it, that Causes our personal boundary and we're like, oh my God, how did that happen? Well, how it happened was you were asleep at a wheel at the wheel, Mr. Citizen, you know, Speaker 1 00:18:40 And another thing I read from a Republican was fair point. He was saying, parents take, I encourage you to take this up at home. So let's not put it in the schools, take, take this up at home. But I think that makes it, that makes me think of the point you just made, which is some families do, lot of families. Don't right. A lot of families don't and you read the legislature, you heard about the proposed legislation. I don't think anything's passed no. Wanted to criminalize that no. That wanted teachers to report to parents. If a student approached them and said, there's homes all over this district where students of any age, can't talk to their parents about these things. And sometimes the only trusted person they know is perhaps a teacher. And it was always that one teacher, that one coach, you think I could tell something too, I could confine it. Right? Speaker 2 00:19:34 Sure. Speaker 1 00:19:35 And, and so she's saying you want to make it a law that they've got to report that. So I still respect the objective. I think this is a means, and I think this comes down to a means, ends challenge, Dan. Right. I respect that. And I respect the objective of let's put the right conversations in the right places for people who ought to be having them the means to the end, as I've seen it in the Florida laws, probably more problematic than helpful, maybe in the end, it's with lawsuits and things is going to be more of a problem than a help. Sure. But I won't condemn the objective. Speaker 2 00:20:14 Right. Speaker 1 00:20:15 But, but, but, but you and I having a conversation about it that who else had, did they have this conversation in the legislature? I kind of doubt it. Speaker 2 00:20:26 Nope. Speaker 1 00:20:28 Recently I interviewed Susan Valdez, my Florida state rep Speaker 1 00:20:33 A month or two ago, we had that episode and she said, uh, she's a Democrat per centrist. And her approach though, which I liked more like, look, it's just kind of like what you and I did in business problem solving approach. Right. We didn't have to have a big philosophy or theory about what we were trying to solve problems every day. And she's got that problem solving approach. And she said to me, Don naming any names. She said, I asked a Republican colleague, why you doing that? And it wasn't in reference to anything that I knew. And this was months ago. He said, because we can, Speaker 2 00:21:09 Because we're allowed to. Speaker 1 00:21:10 And part of it is because they've got the numbers. Part of it is because they, you know, we all, they all, they both sides have rigged the rules to work for them when they need the worlds to work for them. Right. And then part of it is because of what you've already said, which is watchdog groups are fine, but where's the citizens watching this going? No, no, no, no, no, no. That's done. I can't agree to that. That's not right back that re rethink that, keep talking about that. Don't, you're not stopping here. Keep thinking about that and talking about it and make that better Speaker 2 00:21:41 Back. When I first began studying the management side over the engineering side, as I've moved through my old profession, you know, I, I thought about it. I had a similar from a gentleman named Peter shin gay head of the, uh, the Sloan school of management at MIT. And you know, what he said was, you know, we're basically as, as individual humans, only unprejudiced for the first second of life. But as soon as that doctor smashed you on the butt, you become to the elder prejudices out that hurt. I don't want to do that again. And it goes off from there. And so we evolved into adulthood, developing our own, you know, focal points, uh, you know, emotional perspectives, et cetera, et cetera. But those things are all formed or should be formed in large part by rich dialogue of exploring perspectives. You know, getting back to your t-shirt I'm sure the first agent was like, I have time to do that with his administrative overload that I have today. Speaker 2 00:22:39 Well, where did that administrative overload come from? In large part, it came from what we've got to protect our high quarters. So that it's possible that this district, or I get sued for what I say or do or don't do, you know, I remember back in high school, you know, elder school, high school teachers, that if they had a problem, student would actually take the time out of their lives to go visit the parents at their home and say, Hey, this is what I'm seeing. You always have the parent conferences, but you know, they would take time out of their lives to go and have a discussion about it. They should try to nip it in the bud. Not only do they not have time to do that anymore, they couldn't do it. I'm sure there's an administrative rule that says they can't do it because a, they might open a can of worms for the district and B they might walk into a situation where they get shot or killed after God knows what else. And that's a sad statement about a much bigger picture, the education of our societal fabric, you know? Speaker 1 00:23:34 Yeah. Those stories were sort of legendary that teacher, that coach who working with the family to see if they could help with something. And yeah, I can't imagine, I couldn't imagine someone doing that today. It's just, it's a different environment, much riskier. Speaker 2 00:23:47 Right? Right. And it all boils down to risk, you know, financial, emotional, physical risk involved in expressing one selfie, you, a teacher, or just Joe, the average American citizen. You have to be very careful about what you say to not find yourself, all the rails, you know, in society. And that's that sort of fortunate factor that keeps us from dialogue. And that was the other thing saying, they said is there's a fundamental difference between dialogue and discussion. When people discuss an issue, they come at it from, this is my perspective, and this is why it's right. And you need to accept it in a dialogue, a true dialogue. You come to the table, you throw all of your perspectives on the table, and then you dissect them together. It come out with a core set of perspectives that are well-rounded because of the different inputs that came to the table. We don't do that anymore. We just hurl insults at one another. You know, Speaker 1 00:24:41 I remember. Do you remember the start date is named Daryl Davis is Speaker 2 00:24:45 A musician. Speaker 1 00:24:47 He's a, he's a, like a, I'm looking at his website, blues, boogie-woogie blues, rock and roll. He's probably our age. He's been around a long time, but he's the guy you've probably heard the stories, his black man who befriended KKK members decades ago, he was planning he's on a break between sets. And he strikes up a conversation with a, with a white guy there who turns out to be a KKK member at the time. But the way that Daryl handled the conversation, didn't inflame anything. Now he's operating at a handicap from the start, Speaker 2 00:25:25 Right. Speaker 1 00:25:26 But didn't inflame anything in the way he interact with, at interacted with the guy, made the guy think, I like this guy. I like this guy. And they struck up a friendship. And when he would go back to that town, they would meet well. And then over time he met more and more guys. And the famous part of the story is he's got, I don't know, a dozen or two K K K uh, outfits in his possession that guys gave him and said, I'm done white guys in the cloak. And the hoods saying, you know, walking away from that in part, because of the relationship they had or came to have with him over time. And he talks about in his speeches, how he listened, Speaker 2 00:26:13 Right. Speaker 1 00:26:14 How he, he, how he interacted with them. That was part of what I think we could, what we could use today. When, like you said, not opening up with your opinion about something, but in the dialogue listening, not that you don't have a view and not that you shouldn't express it, but there's gotta be this way. We do it so that we're trying to achieve a greater objective than just we're we're, we're, we're skins and shirts teams, and I'm trying to advance my team and you're trying to advance yours. Fuck. Right. What kind of objective is at anymore? Speaker 2 00:26:46 Exactly. Exactly. You know, as, as a age, you know, you look back at things you heard truisms. And one of the ones that my mom used to say to me all the time, you know, which she probably should've listened to herself more, was it, God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. And basically that's a simplistic way of saying if the input you're receiving is not at least twice the output you're giving, we're probably on a wrong path, right? Because you know, when, when I was in charge of adult education and cable or wireless, you know, we, we were running seminars across the nation about movies to the digital age. And what are the things that I would always open with an ice breaker is, you know, what I know about this subject is a small fraction of what I want to know about this subject. Speaker 2 00:27:31 What I want to know about this subject is that even smaller, if I shift what there is to know about this subject, what that means is you keep yourself open to learning. Because if you stop for five minutes, what you were talking about five minutes ago has changed, especially in the digital world that we live in today, right? So we have to constantly open ourselves up to input to, to refine our own perspectives and come together again. And that dialogue century focus per day, national and personal prosperity. And we're not doing that because a, our lives are very, very busy and B the powers that be, and the control factors that cover that don't want us talking at that level. Speaker 1 00:28:14 That's true. But let's talk about the psychology of that. There's something comforting or certainty feels comforting. Certainty feels good. Certainty feels safe. This is the psychology of it. And the idea of learning almost means could, it could feel to some people like, well, is everything relativistic? Is there always, there's always more learners. Always. It could feel unmoored, unanchored, UN unstable. I love what you said. I live that way. I don't find it disturbing or troubling. Uh, I like to take in new information and I don't worry about if it challenges something I was already thinking, Right. I could just adjust what I'm already thinking and line it up with new information. Cause I'm always thinking about the larger principle, if it's in business or if it's in relationship, right. There's a larger principle that I want to aspire to, that I want to honor. And everything else is a means to the end. And if I learn new things about the means or about myself learning something about myself, that I'm like, ah, I didn't know. I sounded that way or came across that way or, okay. That's not my intent because my goal is to have the communication, to be clear, pretty productive B you know, be, be respectful. So I changed the means sure. Region. And so just what's your just react guard, react to that. Speaker 2 00:29:45 Well, to begin with it, when we started to have discussions with individuals in society, family, friends, or just feel you spend on the streets and, and you start to espouse your position about a given subject, the impetus today is for the other person to interrupt you and not let you finish your thought, because if you finish your thoughts, you might actually make a point, you know, so rather than let you finish what you're saying, you know, interrupt you and start with your own. And then at that point, dialogue stops, right? Because now you've become that polarized, you know, interaction. I don't know how we get past that, you know, but I think you, you know, from, from my own past, getting back to what we've talked about, prejudices and, you know, and how they continue to pervade our, our, our current and future, you know, you know, when I was 19 years old, but what about my best friend, you know, was shot to death in the parking lot. Speaker 2 00:30:40 You know, my best friend was black. I'm a white American, you know, uh, that he was shot by a white supremacist. That, that is all bided, his own prejudice thought that there might be a possibility that this individual could do so their role and, and the end result was horrific for, for both, you know, Harold's family for me as an individual. And the worst part of it for me beyond watching my best friend die, you know, right. There was a couple of weeks later having to stand up in front of a large population of his family and friends as a white American and explained to them why we're not all bad, you know, and how colors should not define us. Yeah. I mean, people always want to go back to that famous quote of Martin Luther king about the character of, was it self rather than the color of their skin. Speaker 2 00:31:30 Right. And we talked about that, like at some capacity, well, let's sit down and really think about that and then try practice it. But it never happens because we are again, so polarized and so busy that we don't have time to learn from one another. And so now we've got to change that because we could see the results clearly all around us right now from not being a dialogue shift. Cause a Ford focused citrus populace, you know, if you're not a Democrat, you're, you're wrong. If you're not a Republican, well, you're wrong. If you're a libertarian, right. You know, so it's end of the day we get, you know, we can say, okay, that was fun, but what did we really do? Right. Speaker 1 00:32:13 I wonder, I wonder if say you're at an airport, you're at the gate. You're just talking to somebody. You don't even know, never met them before. Maybe never see them again. And this conversation comes up, which you know, could be divisive. And if you just approach it differently and asked more questions, then then offered more opinions. I've done this in different settings. You can see the conversation, uh, go in a different direction. You can see it unfold in a different way than if you're, then if you're tossing opinions at each other, I know you for 20 years, you've been preaching dialogue, whether it was about politics or a project team, chronic, what's your experience. When you saw the conversation, you knew it could go in an unproductive way and you saw by how you listened to others, ask questions. It shifted. That concludes the first of two episodes. Dan and I recorded join us next week for more I'm putting aside what Dan called individual control factors, for honest and open dialogue, the need for dialogue about long-term solutions, not just what the left or right want today and ways to shift our thinking and perspectives in order to open up dialogue, we need for the long run.

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February 10, 2022 00:58:20
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Communication And The Art Of Project Management. Or Is It The Other Way Around?

My friend Joe Launi has been in the project management business for 35 years. He's been a team member, project manager, and trainer. And if you ask him the secret to project management success he'll tell you it revolves around communication. He'll tell you there's more to it than that. But he'll also tell you every project challenge can be worsened by poor communication or managed by good communication. In this episode, Joe talks about getting on the same project page from the trenches, not the textbooks. Yes PMs need to know how to build a work breakdown structure and a dependency laden schedule. But there will be no getting on any project management same page without skills such as listening, asking good questions, being humble, and growing your team. Skills not unique to project management. Here are a few of my favorite ahh-ha! moments:   3:11 - Did you make the bed? Getting on the same page as a communication challenge. 8:20 - I'm not vaccinated: COVID, subcontractors and seeking to understand, then to be understood. 20:48 - Team rules rule... if the team writes them. 30:09 - The Project Management Body of Knowledge v7: Is your PM a servant-leader? 41:06 - Leaders are responsible for results, not for knowing everything. As a leader, can you get out of your own way to let people work? 49:31 - The story of the client who loved that his software ran faster without having to ask - but did have to ask why the other $10M of software he bought didn't run faster, too. ...

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August 09, 2022 00:48:58
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Getting On Some Uncommon Same Pages: Mentoring and Mergers  

  When Cal Shintani and I discussed recording a podcast episode, it was clear to me we'd talk about mentoring. Cal has a long mentoring background and described some ideas about the same page mentors and proteges get on that I wanted to record. Cool.   Then he mentioned his merger and acquisition experience. M&A's are common in the Federal contracting community. What's not common is for a consultant to be involved in several. And what's even less common is for a consultant to connect mergers with mentoring. But Cal had. He'd added mentoring to mergers and learned some valuable lessons about getting two organizational cultures on the same page while connecting individuals to the newly emerging culture. To the merged culture. Very cool!   In this episode, Cal discusses his experience getting people on the same mentoring and merger pages, and what he did when people couldn't get there. Here are a few of my favorite ahh-ha! moments:   3:57 - Building trust and relationships through the mentoring program of a government-industry IT professional association - ACT-IAC 6:58 - A mind-bending exercise - you be me and I'll be you 8:40 - The same page mentors and proteges should get on 11:50 - Resisting the temptation to advise as a mentor, and how it can change the conversation ...

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March 23, 2022 00:47:16
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Designing A Better Workplace Roots Out Bias. And It's There For You To Find, If You Look.

Mika Cross is passionate about people and missions. Especially about figuring out the best way for people to deliver a mission. From her military and civilian service to her consulting today, Mika's mission is to help organizational leaders get that right. And this year's International Women's Day theme - #BreakTheBias - is the perfect backdrop for our discussion about how to position people to contribute their best work - or not.  Bias is in the news a lot, today, with coverage of it in law enforcement, education, hiring and compensation, hostile workplaces, emotional intelligence, and unconscious bias and training, generally. Much coverage shows a bias about bias (sorry) conflating it with prejudice, moralizing about it, or scorning the moralizing. While that might or might not be deserved, it skews a basic point (again, sorry!): Experience wires our brains in ways which ready us to act in ways which can be biased. Apart from intentional bias, whether or not we're unintentionally biased depends mostly on how aware we are of what we're doing, and why. Awareness is key and Mika describes a solid way to become aware of bias in the workplace - data. She shows how knowing your data will reveal patterns in hiring, firing, promoting, pay, telecommuting and more, which might be the result of bias. You'll only know if you look! Mika also brainstorms ways to change the conversation with data to learn what will give employees the best way to give you their best work. Here are some of my favorite ahh-ha! moments: 4:32 - The pandemic highlighted equity issues organizations can address now, as they plan post-pandemic "back to office" strategies 9:26 - No matter what percent of ...

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