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Friday, July 27, 2012

Who might you meet in my Book?

Are you wondering if you are going to be in my business management project when it gets published? Well. Maybe! Volume #1 is complete and ready for an agent and//or publisher. There are many characters in volume #1 and most likely there will be many more added in volume #2. Those anecdotes are in progress—not as I type here (still with only two fingers, but two more at rest just waiting to take the first two’s place should the need arise).

Here is a short run down of several of the characters you might meet, remember or know very well (entries in no particular order):

Tommy Wilson and his moose (Platoon clerk and chocked full of excitement)
David Fitzsimmons (Fitz) (2nd Platoon clerk and the hardest at working to impress)
Frank Lefevers (Best 2nd right hand anybody could ever have)
Alan Grant (Platoon sergeant and professional)
Donald Jenkins (Pillsbury Dough Boy – enough said)
Joseph Guarino (trouble from day one)
Martin Snyder (Best ration sergeant in the United States Army)
John Workman (The other best ration sergeant in the United States Army)
Marvin Craighead (Always looking for the next challenge and never afraid to take on a problem)
Ron Acuff (My platoon’s 3rd Class II & VII Section Leader and good at it)
Larry Wilson (My platoon’s 2nd Class II & VII Section Leader and 2nd POL Officer – a great guy and a good friend)
Dave Elberfeld
Vince Festa
Ted Kuchta (My platoon’s 4th POL Officer)
Doug Brown (My platoon’s 3rd POL Officer and a former NCO with a good head on his shoulders)
Pat Phillips (A tragic loss that came way too soon)
Vince Fuentes
Roger Issacson
Stan Pearson
Peter Burbules (My Battalion Commander during some hard times with great struggle)
William Krukemeyer
Phil Rivard (My boss during a challenging time of change)
Ed Armatoski (The guy that pushed me toward Alaska in the first place)
Denys Danley
Pat Crumbliss
Howard Kerr (Important mission on the coldest night of the year)
James Maggard
Chief Maynes
Sgt Stone (Never knew his first name – probably was sergeant for all I know)
Thomas Steel (One of my most trusted NCOs during the years I spent at Fort Bragg)
SFC Torric (The source of some hard lessons – both taught & learned)
Warren Sanford (Another one of those 2nd right hands that made my job easier)

These and many more will be revealed during the course of my story telling and advice rendering. The title as it currently stands is “There’s a Moose in the Guard Shack – He’s gonna kill me!

Look for it soon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What is Leader’s effect on Attitudes, Beliefs and Values?

Can you as the leader of an organization have any effect on the attitudes, beliefs and values of those that report to you?

It all depends. Right, you knew that, didn’t you? A quality leader heading the organization in the right direction with a specific goal in mind can definitely have an impact on the thinking of his//her subordinates and, to some degree, those laterally and vertically in the organization.

Everybody knows that managing people is not easy; but when you also have to deal with attitudes that are a little different, beliefs that are not your own, and values that don’t come near matching yours; it becomes a real chore. Most experts will tell you that you can change these three areas of individual viewpoint only the slightest. While this is generally true, it doesn’t always have to be.

Supposing that you can’t change the thinking. If this is so; where does that leave the leader in today’s “split down the middle” workplace? I repeat; it’s a chore.

People come into the workforce with a whole bundle of preconceived attitudes, beliefs and values. Their choices have been developed over long periods of time and passed on by those that they have most likely have held dear to them. There is no room for these outside influences in your workplace; but because they are there and exist no matter how hard you might try to ignore them, they can not be set aside. You must face them straight on.

What you can do is weaken those influences by setting an example that can not be competed with. The strength of the outside influence is the only thing appropriate to challenge.

I have always found that the best attack is to establish skill sets within the workforce that encourage the individual to be just that; an individual. This step is only the beginning. Time is not on your side; but the longer you have their attention, the better progress you will be able to achieve.

Comparatively speaking, attitude is probably the easiest of the three to influence. A positive attitude is contagious and takes very little work to propagate. Just project that attitude everyday. The spreading effect is on your side. The example you set here is extremely important. Don’t ever let down. The slightest setback can undo a world of progress.

When set backs do raise their ugly heads, make the most of each setback by turning it into a learning experience and expand the knowledge of those affected by the happening. Never miss an opportunity for the group to learn.

Don’t forget: slipping backwards is a lot easier than going forward; its just human nature to do so. People have to be removed from an undesirable environment for a long period of time for real change to take place and hold on.

Beliefs can only be changed by success and it has to be continued success at that. Short term success will have very little impact on beliefs. Beliefs that come over time will be set in stone; that’s the same way they developed their preconceived beliefs. Don’t look for miracles and be especially pleased with minor advances.

Stress is the biggest deterrent to allowing progress to be maintained. Look for ways to release stress as it builds. One of the best ways to combat this that I have used over the years is the group lunch. People tend to open up more over food mixed with camaraderie than any other situation I have found. Try it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Currently Editing

Heading into the weekend, I am still busily editing the What-I-Took-Away approach to my business management project There’s a Moose in the Guard Shack—he’s gonna kill me! This process is not the easiest. I already know what’s on the page and reading through the verbiage is difficult as my mind is probably five or so words ahead of my eyes. It’s not that my mind is that quick. It’s just a fact that it already knows what is coming.

This state of recognition plays a old dirty trick on me by suggesting that my mind knows a better way to say what I have already spent numerous hours trying to get it down as best I can and currently believe that I have it close to perfect. Still, I go about changing the sentence I am working on. Then there it comes. Right in the very next sentence sits exactly the fact, the statement, the sentiment, whatever… that I just changed the preceding sentence to include. Why is this? Is it my mind that plays this trick or maybe the Literary Giants of yesteryear? Would Twain, Faulkner, Thompson, or Fitzgerald go out of their way to pick on me. I could understand it if it was one of the Marx brothers. I’m for sure that I am not in their league. So, for what possible need would they see fit to pick on me?

 Mark Twain
 William Faulkner
 Hunter S. Thompson
 F. Scott Fitzgerald
 No, not those Marx!
 Karl Marx
Maybe it isn’t the Giants picking on me. Maybe the task of editing is meant to be hard. Getting the rough draft into memory isn’t near the problem that editing seems to be. Well, maybe changing the original direction to the What-I-Took-Away concept has proven to be much more difficult than I originally thought it would. I have now been at this for some time and still have more than several chapters left to work. It does seem to get a bit easier as I move from one to the next. The task goes on.

I have put behind me: Tommy’s encounter with the moose, CPT Love’s camping encounter with artillery shells landing all about him, the Florida 500 lb bomb, more mess hall trucks than one ever wants to imagine, hunting snowshoe hares and my relationship with the Cosmos.

Still ahead is the Pillsbury Doughboy, spare tires, Jack’s House, terrifying plane rides and the great ping-pong ball drop.

I can hardly wait to get started again.