You forgot but I remember and frankly it will cost you or make you rich.

Do you remember when you were boycotting Netflix?

America the land of the forgetful, we are supposed to remember when people do things that aren’t cool but we don’t.  We forget and then someone makes millions from our poor memory, it’s like we have cultural amnesia.   How about we talk a little about a company named BP.  Let’s look at some numbers..

Now the figure below doesn’t look like a company that America has punished as a matter of fact if you bought stock in June of 2010 you would be pretty happy right now.









We could go over many examples of this kind of behavior but the bottom line is that we Americans forget. Now with all the companies we deal with and all the social media how are we going to handle when something or someone does something wrong?    SO, with all that said here is my advice to you if you are reading this blog today, this is time-tested and proven advice….. ready??? Consider buying stock in Carnival Corporation CCL if I am right people will forget that one of their cruise liners just crashed and they have already forgotten about how many people have gotten sick on cruises!   When you make your millions just send me a note..

You’re welcome..


What the “means” means/

Ron Batdorf is a leading DoD Civilian who brings new fresh ideas to the DoD.  Ron believes in helping people and he practices helping one person at a time.   Here are some of his thoughts!

Ron Batdorf thoughts:
Humans have always judged what is normal and looked for answers to why we have discrepancies from normal and at what point do these discrepancies/errors/conflicts, etc. need to be addressed. How do we define normal? For most of us it is the steady-state of our environment or in systems speak it is what the system was designed to perform (range or specifications) that fit within a normal distribution curve. The means of the normal curve is the optimum performance of the system and the closer we can get to the means the better our specification are for consistent performance and a better steady state environment.
The question we all have to ask is “what is included in our environment” or “system”. Let me redefine the term I am using as “system”. To me a system whether we are talking about one human being or an organization, or for that matter, whole cultures’ can be summed up as a “system”. The rationale I am using is similar to what has to happen in order to have a capability, which I am very familiar with. It entails the cause/effect or fishbone diagram. Simply put, all systems whether cultures, organizations or down to one human being, have to have at the center the fishbone which includes a human in the loop; materials (physical or non-physical) which usually are stated as machines and the expendables [energy, raw materials (elements), information, etc.]; and, finally the methods/logic/processes, etc to make all of the other components work towards a single capability.
I have found these same attributes exist in every area of professional work. For example in Information Technology the person is replaced by the user interface; the methods or processes by business logic; machines refer to infrastructure; and, materials are directly related to data. All these components of the fishbone diagram affect our notion of normal or steady state?
Do others have normals that counter our normal or do they parallel ours? What happens when other “system” (again using systems in the broader context explained above) enter our boundaries or our environment? For example if we breakdown very large “systems” we would be able to see what our own inputs and outputs for the merged system’s entails. What we are beginning to realize is for organizations to be agile we need these individuals’ inputs and outputs functioning separately but still able to be a part of the larger system. This is where the term loose coupling has been suggested in Information Technology circles.
As we strive for perfection which from a knowledge standpoint in normal is the means (the point of the Alpha and Omega of the system at its apex of performance) we know that we will never reach it but instead have to have some acceptable variation or for us humans’… a tolerance level where we don’t reach deadly conflict. This measure has been defined in statistics as sigma. When we are at the switch of going from positive to negative or vice-a-versa we then know and understand our choices and how they will affect the direction and possible outcomes. Our perfect world is distorted because we have choices. This is what impacts the universe around us and what the Creator put into motion when He created it. When we stop having choices we cease to exist and I believe we pass to another world where gray areas (errors to normal) are not gray any longer but where we see the means and can tell with clarity what is black or white.
This quote was attributed to Aristotle however I could not verify it: Virtue is the means between extremes. This is a very sage statement relevant to our own times today and into infinity and please don’t confuse means with moderation.

“Shut up”..! That was the best advice I got this week.

About a month ago I changed jobs.   I went from a military component organization to a DoD component organization.  Don’t know the difference?  Don’t worry it doesn’t matter, that much.  Well, at least that is what I think after a month or so.  I am not writing about the job though as much as I would love to start putting key to board on my thoughts.  I am writing about what one person told me this week that I thought was interesting and important.

I changed positions not only from one company to another but from one government organization to another, I started to look, listen and learn about the culture, the job itself, the organization etc.   In my head I started to see a picture, it was becoming clear and I was convinced that my coming in would CHANGE things for my new organization.  After all, I have experience with my ABC’s and 123’s.   Where I left people would say “ask Howie” and I would come to meetings with my trusty notepad and pen with various process and methods to help whomever has a problem.   You could say that I was there long enough to be a known commodity.  I have spoken and written about Joint Forces in the past, it is no secret that the Joint world has a certain flavor / culture that is based on the Joint lexicon and taxonomy and fundamentally like the rest of the world you are who others perceive you to be.   In other words,  if someone in leadership says “that is the smart guy” then that is the smart guy.    Now, I wasn’t the smartest guy in the room and I wouldn’t pretend today that I should have been labeled as such.   What I did have was “trust credit” which means that leadership knew if I read something or wrote something or better yet attended a meeting, that they would get my honest opinion but I would back my perspective with some facts (where possible).   This is important, because YOU have this too in some degree.

I left my position at what was Joint Forces because I felt strongly that I can help more people from the DoD enterprise.   What I didn’t count on was that it is going to take a long time.  

I thought I would come in and start looking at the situation, perform analysis, make assessments and start to ask questions that would challenge my new leadership into thinking in ways previously undiscovered.   What I found was different from what I thought.   It doesn’t really matter why but it has really challenged my thinking in ways that were previously undiscovered.

I miss my friends and co-workers at what is now Joint Staff and I miss the others that have since left and moved on to other positions due to the Joint Forces disestablishment.  Looking at my work today, I see connections between what I did and what I do.  I have asked both my current leadership and my past leadership if I can find and bind these connections and thankfully they both agreed.   Which brings me to this past week.

There are days that I am sitting in my old office not far from where I used to sit, hanging around the people I grew up with career wise.  It is nice to see them and spend time with them knowing that they mean a lot to me and that I mean something to them.  This past week I had some things to do in the office and went down to take care of them.   One of the civilian leaders came down and saw me sitting there.   Immediately he was interested in what I was up to and sat down to have a chat.   I explained that I am working hard and running on the old hamster wheel trying to figure out the best ways I can help my new organization in ways that made sense to them.   He knows me pretty well and he understood clearly what I was going through.   He looked at me and said “You know what your problem is?”  “No sir” I said .  Then he paused and said “shut up.”    He went on to explain that I have been in my new position for a very short period of time.   He said “I know you, you are a great leader and after 27 years I know who will be leading and who will be left behind.”  He continued “You need to listen for at least 90 days, you need to LISTEN not speak, not write, not know, just listen.”   My first class when I took my MBA was about “effective listening” and of course, he threw me back there in a blink.   I thought I was listening and taking note and looking and learning, but maybe not.   It wasn’t a punch in the face or anything, it was simple truth and I like to say that when I am talking to people who I am giving them the same.  It was a good dose of my own medicine and I think I needed it.   He didn’t just leave it at that, he gave me a plan to execute after the 90 days and he asked me to follow-up with him to see how I was progressing.   I have that plan written and I have my listening ears on.  All this time, I thought I was going to just go in there and help them but really my helping them is helping me.

I don’t know what the results will be 90 days from now for the people I am currently working for but I do know that 90 days from now I will have practiced better effective listening skills and I will look make every attempt to “shut up” unless there is something I have to say.   With all the talking and communication we have to do today it does seem that we do a lot of this wha wha wha something important wha wha wha something something and really the only thing we needed to say was the something important part.  All the wha wha’s are just to hear ourselves.

“Wha Wha”




What do you do with 41cents?

My family went on an adventure this evening to IHOP.   The food was normal for IHOP and the deal was good because the kids eat free after 4 or something.   Sometimes on the rare occasion that I take the brood out we go there because it is family friendly.   After we ate dinner we paid with a gift card that one of our dear friends provided.   After the meal was rung up 41 cents remained.  My wife asked if we could just get the 41 cents and of course they said “no.”   This is the icing on the cake for a wonderful day of great customer service.  DEERS the military personnel system was down all day and I sat and waited for hours.. I mean HOURS and it never came back up.   When I was driving home talking to my wife and others my phone dropped calls……..every call.   We bought some stuff at Sears last week and they were supposed to make a price adjustment but that couldn’t happen because “the system” couldn’t do it today.  We have to wait until next week.   What the hell has happened to this country?  What the hell has happened to customer service?  Since when does the machine rule us?  We don’t have to wait for the Terminator scenario, our lives are already controlled by the machines.

I am a technologically oriented guy and still I think it is ridiculous.  You want to know what happens when you put machines in place of people?  You spend more money.  Companies look to save more but they wind up spending more.  Think about DEERS today, it was a worldwide outage.  WORLD WIDE outage and people still went to work and went to the pass and visitor offices to get their common access cards or whatever they needed and the system was down.   It was like a snow day for the DoD personnel associated with CAC or anything that had to do with DEERS.   How much did all the labor and travel cost?  I know it cost me money, it cost me travel, time and I had to buy lunch and moreover I get to do the whole thing again tomorrow!

We really need to think about the costs of trying to save money and create efficiencies.  We really need to think about customer service.. oh yeah.. customer service.   We really need to think about people.  I can tell you that my day wasn’t limited to just this idiocy, there was more.  We need to think about the cascading domino effect of how we touch people and we need to take individual responsibility to make things better.   If we don’t start changing our behavior.. this will only get worse.

Mind Mapping Resources, Tools, and Tips

Here he goes again with the mind mapping…

Happy New YEAR!  It is Sunday January 1st, 2012 and I have to share with you all that I kept my resolution last year and managed to blog throughout the year.  It is important to share information and I believe that it is even more important to write outside of the office in order to keep your thoughts and writing fresh.    With that, I am writing today to bring back a subject that is near and dear to my career which is Mind Mapping!

There are many ways to express information but what I find most valuable is a thought tree with node (thought) connections, linkage types and the relationships in context.   Essentially it is a visual way to write what you think which further enables you to go back and look at your writing from a graphical perspective.

Think that is not important?  Guess again.. Infographics are becoming more familiar because the grouping of concepts and information with graphic representation is more natural to consume.  You know “a picture is worth a thousand words?”   How about a picture with words will save you thousands!  If you start with the words in an image it helps pull things together for analysis and saves time in re-work.

Something simple


Something a little more complicated

Something more practical

I practice mind mapping almost every day and I even generate documents from the maps I build.   You can use Freemind to do this but I like the MindJet interface.   For high level mapping and document generation I use Freemind and for deep dives and what I call “node traveling” I use Personal Brain.  Below are resources provided by but I pasted them here for ease of travel.   If you have questions on how you can use mind maps or you want more information, let me know!

Free Software

mapping your mindFree Mind – the premier java-based mind mapping software known for its quick, one-click “fold/unfold” and “follow link” operations.

Wisemapping – “Visual Thinking Evolution”, offering free web based mind maps you can share anywhere on the web.

Mindplan – mind mapping and project managementcombined with Lotus Notes.

Mindomo – an online mapping application offering both free and paid premium accounts.

Recall Plus – enhance your learning power with the downloadable software for free, or upgrade to Plus for full functionality.

MindMeister – collaborative online mind mapping with free basic, premium, and team plans.

Mapul – online mind mapping using Ajax and Silverlight web technologies.

DeepMehta – software combining open-source and interdisciplinary research for knowledge management. – a simple and free application that allows users to brainstorm and share ideas online.

Mind42 – manage all your ideas in a collaborative, free browser based software solution.

Compendium – created by the Compendium Institute, with an open online forum for continued support.

Gliffy – easy, free, and fun way to draw and share diagrams on the web.

Wikka Wiki – a flexible and lightweight, php-driven wiki platform designed for speed and security.

IHMC Cmap Tools – designed to construct, share, and criticize mind and concept maps.

Semantik – a mind mapping tool designed for document generation, especially student reports and thesis.

Labyrinth – a lightweight mind mapping tool written in the Python programming language.

View Your Mind – a flexible tool used to generate and manipulate maps which show your thoughts

Mindraider a semantic web outliner, connecting the tradition of outline editors with emerging technologies.

Pimki a personal information manager loosely based on Instiki’s Wiki technology.

Planfacile – software designed to help people organize complex ideas into coherent documents.

The Brain – over 65 features in a dynamic visual interface and information organizer.

Resources – the most complete resource for mind mapping software on the internet, covering most freeware, open-source, and proprietary software.

iMindMap – unleash the other 99% of your brain using the power of the iMindMap.

About mind mapping – and basic introduction to the concepts and benefits if mind mapping.

Wikipedia on mind mapping – the usual Wiki-style treatment of the subject that you (and Google) as grown to love.

Mindtools – lots of articles and resources to develop excellent skills for an excellent career.

JCU Study Skills – an essay wring resource that discusses using mind maps in preparation.

Mind mapping training & resources – resources provided by Llumine training, the world’s leading provider of Mind Mapping training for business.

Mind mapping strategies– get more done with less time, and turn your data into knowledge.

Mind mapping resource center – InnovationTools – Innovation, creativity and brainstorming resources from InnovationTools.

The Graphic Organizer – covers topics related to mind mapping including concept maps and graphic organizers.

Mind Map Options – resource that is the doorway to the mind map universe.

Professional Training

Visual Strategist – founded by Kyle McFarin to assist Entrepreneurs and Organizational Teams in Strategic Management.

MindMap Training – visual mapping and mind mapping training solutions to manage information and visualize your successes.

Blackbelt mind map training– become a trained black belt in the dark arts of mind mapping.

In the News

Mainstream Matters – insights and intelligence from the analysts of Freeform Dynamics.

Mind mapping on the iPhone – if you thought your iPhone was cool before, imagine what it will do once you have a mind map application?

Helping children learn with mind mapping – the sooner your kids learn the technique, imagine how much they be able to accomplish?

Mind mapping in meetings – Lifehacker shows you yet another method of increasing your productivity.

Makers of mind-mapping software visualize success – CNN Money covers the release of Mindjets’ MindManger software.

Examples of Mind maps

Mind map template – a blank map to help get you started on your first ever mind map

Inconsistency of Laws Mindmap – example of a software generated mind map that’s easy to read and digest.

Learning Power mind map – wonderfully illustrated map about how to build your “LP”.

Motivation mind map – another example of different software mind map generation, with graphics.

Art & design mind map – beautifully hand drawn map related to art and design, a work of art in itself.

Banking Mindmap – mindmap about money and consumer information in a entertaining, comic-book style of illustration.

Mind mapping mind map – a very simple example of mind mapping that discusses the actual properties of the technique.

Relativity mind map – clean, basic map made with software that uses simple colors and shapes to get the points across.

Goals mind map – everyone should have one of these, if you plan on accomplishing anything in your lifetime.

Planning a party mind map – if you’ve never planned a party, it can be tougher than you think; keep this colorful map around for inspiration.

Peter Russell mind map – a mind map of the various teachings and techniques used by Peter Russell himself.

Tony Buzan mind map – a great map discussing the ins and outs of a specific book from the man himself, Tony Buzan.


The Mind Map Book: How to Use Radiant Thinking to Maximize Your Brain’s Unlimited Potential – written by Tony and Barry Buzan, it’s THE book you’ll want to pick up if you’re new to mind mapping.

Mapping Inner Space: Learning and Teaching Visual Mapping – Nancy Marqulies and Nusa Maal discuss various concepts related to visual note taking.

Use Both Sides of Your Brain: New Mind-Mapping Techniques, Third Edition (Plume) – Buzan does it again with step-by step instructions of how to use the potential of your brain.

Idea Mapping: How to Access Your Hidden Brain Power, Learn Faster, Remember More, and Achieve Success in Business – Jamie Nast explores using that hidden brain power to grow your business.

Mind Mapping: How to Liberate Your Natural Genius – Michael Gelb talks about how to organize your thoughts in such a way that is uniquely your own.


Power Tips for Mind Mapping software – supercharge your visual mapping skills with these tips, tricks, and best practices.

How to select the right mind mapping software – how to select the right mind mapping software to meet your special needs.

Mind mapping power pack – the advanced course that will explode your mind mapping skills into new heights and help you reach the goals of your dreams.

Articles On the Web

using your eyesMind mapping for project management – Innovation Tools discusses using mind mapping in regards to project management.

Mind mapping at 43 Folders – open thread with over 60 responses about the usage of mind maps.

Guerilla Marketing with mind maps– Squidoo lens discussing the 10 best small business marketing tips.

Mind mapping software resources – another lens discussing the best collection of visual mapping sources.

Mind mapping in 8 easy steps – the Innovation Networks quick-start guide to mind mapping.

Comparison of mind mapping applications – check out the pros, cons, and differences of the top freeware mind mapping programs.

The best external monitor for Tablet PC mind mapping – eric mack online discusses monitors for hardcore computer mapping enthusiasts.

Three web-based mind mapping tools reviewed – Web Worker Daily reviews 3 of the top mapping applications.

PDF Articles

Mapping the Mind – a Google book about about the long dormant view of the nature of human thought.

Mind mapping for web instruction and learning – 12 page PDF from Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Fabio Chacon, Ph.D.

Graphical Knowledge Display – 14 pages discussing the role mind mapping can play as efficient tools in mathematics education.


The Mind mapping software weblog – designed to provide businesspeople with a focused collection of resources related to visual mapping.

Beyond Mind Mapping – how to get the most out of mind mapping software for business uses.

Erik Mack Online – the personal blog of Erick Mack, discussing learning and information management through new technologies.

Idea Mapping – training readers to be more creative, more productive, and to become better learners.

The Mindjet Blog – the official blog of Mindjet, the company responsible for the

The Underlying Blog – Kyle McFarlin’s blog, a Visual Strategy Expert and Gyronix Certified trainer. Blog– covering software for mind mapping and information organization.

Eric Blue’s Blog – Eric Blue’s thoughts on technology, philosophy, and personal development.

Activity Owner – a forum for sharing notes, discussion, and solutions using various mind mapping software applications.


tony buzanTony Buzan – Wikipedia bio of one of the biggest names and promoters of mind mapping and mental literacy.

Dr. Allan Collins – the history and sometimes controversy surrounding the man who created mind mapping.

Dilip Mukerjea – owner and managing director for the Buzan center, an organization dedicated to the advancement of mental literacy.

Joyce Wycoff – president of ThinkSmart Learning Systems and founder of the Innovation Network,

Nancy Margulies – creator of Mindscapes, a system that uses pictures, visual metaphors, symbols, color and the space on a page to create a graphic representation of ideas.

Peter Russell – covering Peter’s topics of The Spirit of Now, of science, consciousness, spiritual wisdom, global brain, meditations, and the nature of reality.


Tony Buzan on Mind mapping – five minute video discussing how to maximize the power of your brain.

iMind Map Video Tutorial – a short four minute tutorial going over Buzan’s iMind mind mapping software.

Mind mapping for your business – a power-point video on mind mapping; have a can of Red Bull before watching!

Mind mapping with Brenda Mckinney – video of a class presentation of mind mapping.

Stephen Pierce – business optimization specialist discusses mind mapping.

How to draw a mind map – breaking out the markers and drawing a mind map from scratch.

Noteworthy Paid Software

Gyronix – a system used in conjunction with Minjet’s MindManager software for unit erupted productivity.

Mindjet – save time by visually capturing, organizing and communicating ideas and information effectively.

Concept Draw Mindmap – a business and personal productivity tool that provides versatile integration with MS Office.

Topicscape 3D – mind and concept mapping in 3D, available in both lite and pro editions.

Headcase – mind mapping application for Windows based heavily on ActiveX.

Inspiration – the essential tool for students to think, visualize, organize, and learn.

Nova Mind – “mind mapping at it’s best”, creating visually pleasing graphical mind maps.