“Root Cause”

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large, updated 3:17 PM ET, Thu March 11, 2021

The following blog opinion comments on a CNN Politics article entitled “What the immigration ‘crisis’ debate is missing”, from CNN’s “5 Things”, 3.15.21. Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large, updated 3:17 PM ET, Thu March 11, 2021

Excerpt from the article: “One effort that was discussed at a White House press briefing this week is an effort to address the “root causes” of immigration (these are the push factors I mentioned earlier). Ambassador Roberta Jacobson, special assistant to the president and coordinator for the southern border, said the administration wants to spend $4 billion over four years to do this (one big question to keep in mind about this: We’ve heard other administrations say they’re going to do this before, too — and they’ve tried. What could the Biden administration do differently this time?”

And it is not about border guards.

From the blog: I can tell Biden what the “root cause” of the immigration mess is on the Mexican border for far less than a $4 billion dollar, 4 year study. The root causes”, there’s more than one, are simple. It is all about seeking a better life. People are hoping for better living conditions, improved health, education, and medical care. And look for opportunity, and relief from inept governments, poverty, crime, and corruption that exist in in Mexico and Central American Countries. The root causes. Are there criminals among those seeking entry, sure. Probably some. But good processes might eliminate most.

Spend the $4 billion on finishing the wall and to hire some talented executives to put in place a process to manage immigration that can be applied at any border. Clearly, the USA has yet to find the talent to do that. And I can’t imagine the size of the government payroll that is tasked with immigration management and that supports the inability to solve the problem.

Government !

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The Importance of Staying Creative

One of the things I miss about working in a global business is the energy, motivation, and enthusiasm that is shared by engaged professionals across the company. It helps with spawning creativity and innovation. 

Even when you have hung up your full – time working life… It is important to stay motivated and innovate in a way that keeps you fresh and prevents you from appearing to others like an innate lump.

From Fast Company (1/24/2021) ….  working or retired, one can avoid being an innate anything!
From fastcompany.com … do-these-5-things-and-youll-never-run-out-of-new-ideas

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Changes at Amazon

From Fast Company  2/2/2021

By Harry McCracken*

(Note:  I believe this is good stuff! That is, as long as it does not become micro  management leadership.  And based on what I have read about Andy Jassy, Amazon’s next CEO,  I very much doubt that that is his style.

“In 2017, Jassy told me that groups within AWS have plenty of independence. But he also stressed that effective management is in part about knowing what’s going on at every level of the organization. “One of the mistakes that leaders make sometimes is that they get too far away from the details of the business,” he told me. “And the reality is that every business is always going to have things that work and things that are not working. And that’s okay. You can fix the things that aren’t working, as long as you have visibility to them. And you can course-correct relatively quickly. But if you get so far away from the details and you don’t have the right mechanisms to inspect what’s happening, finding out about issues that are 6 to 12 months in the making makes it much harder to correct them, because the hole is deeper.”

Andy Jassy, 6 Things to know

*Harry McCracken is the technology editor for Fast Company, based in San Francisco. In past lives, he was editor at large for Time magazine, founder and editor of Technologizer, and editor of PC World.

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Trump’s Trade war with China … just more Stupidity!

(an operating note to our new president)

Trump’s Trade war with China … just more stupidity!

A policy of nationalism is just plain inept business thinking and leadership.  It is a global world and global economy. It’s highly unlikely that any nation can grow and prosper on its own, internally.  China is the world’s second largest economy.  We should be working toward partnership not punishment. Why would the country want to alienate the second largest economy in the world? Sure China has some big issues  … human rights, technology and intellectual property infringement to mention some.  But the USA can’t cast any stones, we have got our own messes.  Punish China, to the extent the US can, the US punishes itself.  Better to “partner up” for shared economic advantages and work on the other issues separately, leveraging a good relationship.

Read about the damage from Trump’s trade war with China:  From the Brookings Institution

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Team Building – a different way.

How do you know that your team building event will be successful?  Why are they successful?

  • The experience will be unforgettable. It will be an event, fancy isn’t necessary
  • It will be the subject of stories told by those who were there, for years
  • It will mold, bind, and forge team member relationships
  • It will be different from all those other “team building” exercises offered commercially, externally. It will put the team in situations that most of them are unfamiliar with or have not experienced for some time
  • So much fun, memorable.
  • Over time, it will build anticipation and expectations for the following year.
  • You are receiving emails months in advance from members searching for advanced information.
  • When you are receiving emails from high potential professionals, who have yet to reach a position level to be included in the meeting, wanting to know how they can participate (Responses need to handled carefully).

The keys: Team building is homemade, creative, and unique. Retaining a professional meeting planner can be helpful for ideas and support.  There is great detail, the greater the detail the better. The meeting is a mix of business meetings, outside guest speakers, and the team building exercise.  The team building exercise portion of the meeting needs to be designed so all participants, regardless of age and physical condition can fully engage. A dedicated, agreed upon budget needs to be an integral part of the annual financial plan if leadership is serious about team building.

The value: Team building gives participants a non-business basis experience upon which to build working relationships.  Why would that be important? Most stress in the business and working world is caused by managing day-to-day issues.  Non-issue experiences provided by great team building experiences can help.

Usually annually: Dates are communicated months in advance which accomplishes a couple of things. (1) It clears calendars, and (2) begins to build expectations and conversation about the meeting. Expectations can be high if previous team building experiences have been successful. And, it commits the business to the event.

A new or different experience for most: The usual consulting firm based team building sessions are OK, but they are not unusual, unforgettable, and are not long-term bonding and conversational “pieces”.  And usually they are not memorable and laughter-filled experiences that last long into the future.  Team building has to be “an experience” to be successful!

New member inductions: the first evening is ideal, after dinner. These indoctrinate / welcome participants new to the team. These, as one might imagine, are met with great anticipation by new members and are absolutely loved by existing team members.

Your top leadership team is important: Its support is paramount to successful, dynamic team building.  I was lucky enough to create and build team building experiences over a period of 10 years as I had bosses that supported them, so much so, that they asked for the sessions each year.  We actually developed a reputation for these events in the corporation. True we had substantial budgets, depending on the unit. In some units leadership team members / participants hailed from as many as 13 different countries.  But the same experiences can be designed and built for the smallest team and do not need to be exorbitantly expensive.  Creative and unique do not necessarily come with big price tags.

Team members referenced in this posting include: The boss and key operating and support leadership positions. 

What were the EVENTS?  They usually consume one afternoon and evening of a two day or three day business meeting.  Some examples: afternoon at the races (we purchased go carts; resold them after the meeting), rafting, boat building, Olympics, over-night canoeing, and others.  New member inductions: vikings, the chief, not your usual hayride, the theater, comedians, and others.

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Wanted: Global Thinkers and Leaders

CNN’s “5 Things”: October 7, 2020:

$67 billion. “The value of America’s trade deficit, its highest level in 14 years, according to the Census Bureau. The deficit has ballooned from $37 billion in February, (and that was) before the pandemic sunk the US economy.”


We need Globalists as leaders in our government. The phrase, “Think globallyact locally“, in environmental circles, urges people to consider the health of the entire planet and to take action in their own communities and cities. Long before governments began enforcing environmental laws, individuals were coming together to protect habitats and the organisms that live within them.

The phrase is very powerful when applied to having an international business strategy as well. There ARE countries that believe in and follow “Think globallyact locally“. From an economics standpoint, leaders who encourage and sponsor a global economy, call it a “model”, build trade deals to market their products and services world-wide. And their focus is making the products and building service industries in their home countries. The result is a strong home-country employment base and a relatively stable and flexible economy. And, they just might benefit from a stable tax base to have the funding to invest in and support needed infrastructure, education (STEM), and technology development.

Providing support for the country’s corporations is important as many corporations are globalists and know the value to the business and to their employees of having an international strategy and markets.

This blogger believes we have nationalists running the country, a government that drove corporations overseas, and has more of a focus on corporate control than benefit.

We need globally-minded strategists as leaders. We don’t have any. We have “leaders” who believe tariffs are the way to do business with aggressive economic policies of other countries, never mention global strategies to build the economy, have a mindset of corporate control, never mention addressing the national debt, and spend time focused on petty party politics.

Just think for a minute who the leaders are of our Congressional bodies — it is a scenario that presents a one way ticket to nowhere.

Then think of where we would be if we had the talent the caliber of our corporate leaders leading the country. We would not be here.

And then there was the great leadership shown in the presidential debate a week or so ago… I call it, “The Greatest Show on Earth”. I posted an opinion on “LinkedIn” about that debate. A friend of mine from Australia commented: “Certainly comical (sadly) from an international perspective. Now the “Denier* in Chief” has COVID-19. What a !@+! show!


*as used here, people who deny the legitimacy of the scientific evidence.

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New Job … Expectations and Windows

A friend of mine has a shot at a Director’s job; obviously mucho younger then me. I had just commented to him that, within the scope and expectation the corporation has for the job, when your new you have a window of time to change it into what you want… so to a greater extent it is not so significant as to how the job was previously done. 

Clearly the boss has a “list” of  pluses and minuses as to how the previous incumbent did the job… so at the least he/she is probably looking for less minuses. 

From experience, the window of time, for example, six months, maybe a year on the outside, is when executives and subordinates expect any significant changes… that window of expectation diminishes as time wears on.  And it goes without saying that introducing significant change usually takes a period of introduction and conditioning to improve the probability of acceptance.

The one thing the corporation never abandons is the need for more… ya gotta laugh or you’d cry !

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On Wiping Out Racism in the USA…

My heart goes out to the people who suffer from racism and discrimination in the US.  It is sickening. But all the protests in all the cities and Washington, DC is not going to fix the problem.  Violence won’t work either, in fact, just intensifies the division and divisiveness.

You have heard this from me previously but it is worth repeating.  One needs to address the root cause to get the wheels back on the wagon.  

All those who suffer from this issue, and the rest of us as well,  need to fix it through legislation, change the law.  That start of the solution is to force Congress (both parties)  through the threat of voting action, to change the 1st amendment. Changing it so, by exception, it clearly outlaws the existence of groups that by broadest definition and behavior, have now or historically, demonstrated a racist and/or supremacist platform or tendencies. They need to be  eradicated. They should not be supported under freedom of speech, right to protest, and other amendments or laws. As long as the USA’s basic amendments and constitution can be interpreted to support racist and supremacist behavior, it is not likely we will smother the hate and ugliness in this country.

The 1st amendment Protects freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and the right to petition the government.  

It took an amendment, the 13th, to abolish slavery!

And, the 19th for women’s suffrage rights.

It will take changing the 1st amendment to start eradicating the hate.

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Absent the Ability to Learn

So when I posted the “Very Unusual Boss” entry, it came to mind that I had something to say about Patrick Herbert’s quote.

Brian Patrick Herbert (born June 29, 1947) is an American author who lives in Washington state.

So how would you describe people who do not have the wherewithal to learn? Would the following make your list (not intended to be inclusive) :

  • Self-centered
  • Think they know
  • Not so smart
  • Probably not popular
  • Poor team players
  • Maybe not respected
  • Sought out as mentors, coaches?
  • Short on some key Behavior Competencies *
  • Possibly big on ego?
  • Might not be the best employee

Obviously the above is not intended to apply to those who have learning disabilities or other types disabling challenges.

Posted under Success, Why? Just turn the list into positives statements.


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A Very Unusual Boss…

My friend had boss that was “heavy duty” into leadership. They operated a business that was $800 million with thousands of employees spread over many countries. Here is my friends mini-account of his leadership trip with his boss.

Brian Patrick Herbert (born June 29, 1947) is an American author who lives in Washington state.

The boss was all about performance to objectives, metrics, being responsible, demanding accountability, making sure that the leaders, his 8 direct reports, drove the business to the same standards and goals. They all had something to learn from the boss.

He was an unusual boss. He was experienced in finance, manufacturing operations management, engineering, customer service, internationally experienced — he lived and ran business in other countries. He could always ask the right questions.

He would stand up for a person, his people. He believed in family first. Recognition was a management tool and he used it frequently in many different forms and formats. He believed in pay for performance. He promoted good performers.

He believed that it was easier to close a manufacturing facility than to fix it. His default mode was fixing it. He was skilled at it, proven.

He didn’t suffer fools. He could be hard on people; did not shy away from embarrassing a subordinate or management above him in public. Not necessary! Costly in the long run.

He would purchase books for his staff to further educate them in business. He even found leadership lessons in Dr Seuss’s, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.”

He drove talent renewal. Invested in it. Created an annual process that was tracked and measured. Insisted that it was owned by his direct reports.

There many types of leaders and bosses around. It is always good to take people for their strong suits, looking for opportunities to learn. Glean the best from the best. Stash away the experiences that will remind you that is NOT how to do it, need to avoid that. Learning from poor examples is still learning. You can learn from good bosses and the other type as well.

This post listed under “success” as people’s behavior usually offers something to learn.

Love the quote from Herbert!

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