Question : Who is accountable or responsible when a false accusation or false report results in the death of a person?
Brown University student Sunil Tripathi was wrongly tied to the Boston Marathon bombing. The result (may have been) his death. There are indications that he may have died before the bombing. The questions still remain.
It is as simple as that and as complicated as that. We are disconnected from each other. The relationships that we have are finely strung interwoven webs of very fragile connections. The connections are fragile because of all of the miscommunication. Even when we stand in front of each other today and talk person to person we are still communicating less effectively than we did years ago.
People in all walks of business are becoming more increasingly angry and frustrated and as a friend puts it we are all suffering from some form of “disaster fatigue.” As I watched the news last night, and we wrapped up and closed the latest great tragedy that will surely get a name and a conspiracy theory assigned to it, I was troubled by the thought that all we seek is closure (quickly). After 4 days and exhaustive efforts and incredible detective work, it is finally over. Oh thank G-d it is over! Now we can move onto the next great tragedy and forget about this one unless we want to make some great point in a position paper or argument. The media is disgusting at times. There is no such thing as journalist integrity anymore, shame on them. Shame on us too, because we watch it and we let them entertain us with their constant barrage of tragedy and despair. They keep us on the edge of our seats and then wrap up people’s lives like it is a novel.
I most appreciated and still have the images of the “experts” smiling as they discussed this case and the situation. I am not being too sensitive, the world is no longer sensitive enough. It is desensitized and disconnected. We are turning into a culture of racing changes and closure. It is as if in our lives we are rocks that are being skimmed across a pond. Every surface contact is the experience of a major event or situation only to end sunken and somewhere.
It isn’t as if humanity is new or that we haven’t experienced changes or tragedy in the history of our world. It seems as if there is just more for us individually to consume at a faster rate and more knowledge to handle in multiple levels of thought and conscience. It is overloading people on an individual level. What happens is they effectively shut off noise. Noise may be important but can’t be handled. It takes time to deal with noise and we have no time.
When you walk into your bosses office and you ask to talk to him or her and they are reading their email or texting or doing something else other than paying attention to what you have to say, it becomes personal to you but isn’t to them, they are simply filtering. The problem is that this is our world. This is what we are morphing into. A noisy place with no time to think and no time to listen. We get less than half of a story and it needs to close so that we can move on to another story.
When Martin Richard, 8, Dorchester, Massachusetts was murdered in cold blood by the senseless act of these young men in Boston, will you remember Martin next week? For his family, my heart hurts today. It is true that my heart hurt yesterday for the senseless Newtown killings but as far as we are concerned (mostly) it is over and behind us. How many of the children do you remember? How many were killed? What were their names? Do you know? What about 911? How many were killed? What were their names? Time heals all wounds except the ones that are everlasting. The everlasting wounds that run deep in the families of those who have lost or the left over feelings that are underlying in our hearts. The undertone of despair and sadness that we carry with us. Only to be added onto by the next tragedy and the next and the next. Never forget, always remember but if you do forget in your mind, you may not forget in your heart. What do we do when we feel so much? We disconnect so that we don’t have to feel. We don’t need our tears anymore because we don’t have the capacity to manage all of our feeling input and we have nothing left in our emotional tanks that would allow us to cry. Although there are times when someone is close enough to us that we will be compelled by overwhelming emotion to feel. We are mostly.. away.
The only point I will add here is that this behavior and situation impacts us at work beyond the obvious. Since we are failing to communicate effectively, we are augmenting our communication with explicit and highly technical surrogates. One of my areas of work and great concern is Knowledge Management. Why is KM one of the top concerns of leadership around the globe today? Because knowledge is happening faster and change is happening faster and everything is happening faster. The demands for fast and short term solutions and short term thinking and short term closure of issues is driving organizations around the world to dismiss the criticality of the long term and strategic thinking. This speed need is creating demand for the 15 minute manager, the short term rockstar, the idol (American) or other. The quick win. Snatching the bird from the hand and forgetting that there are a few in the bush. Lack of patience, lack of quality, lack of service, lack of value, lack of kindness and other mass effects.
Lack of connection… lack of a real true connection. The ultimate result is that there is no trust. No trust = failure.
How Many Know Me?
How many know me? My passion, my hopes, my dreams? How many know my intent? How many trust me? I am connected.. I am connected digitally to a lot of people. I don’t even know a number to tell you but let us say a lot.
So, as I said in the beginning it is simple and simply complicated. It is not about unplugging ourselves and disconnecting from the world. It is about taking steps to engage and listen to the noise and to turn it off when someone is standing in front of us. It is about, responding to those who reach out to us and building trust where we can and when it makes sense. It is about love and looking for small simple small acts of kindness within ourselves without any measurable expectations.
We need to manage our connections and make time to disconnect. We certainly can’t hold the world in our hands but we can grab a piece of the world when we need it, put it back on the shelf when we don’t and trust that the rest is beyond us.
I work with a lot of people that have expertise in many areas of defense. One of my friends (colleague) is a subject matter expert on counter terrorism and other areas of warfare. Let us call her Mrs. M. Mrs. M asked me to think about and discuss the Boston marathon situation relative to counter terrorism. I had considered thinking about what she had written to me and doing some additional research and writing on the subject but once I thought about it a little more it occurred to me that I should just post her thoughts for question and commentary. The following words are hers. She is speaking from an authoritative perspective based on her expertise but I think there is room for asking questions and holding a discussion. Maybe it is just something to consider. Here goes Mrs. M!
The objective of terrorists is to control and influence people through fear. I understand the importance of capturing the terrorist suspects in the attack on the Boston Marathon; however, locking down 4.5 million Bostonians is feeding right into the hands of the terrorists. Police would never typically lock down a city when looking for 2 suspects. Rather than live in fear, glued to the news, the best thing Bostonians and Americans can do is to continue living their lives as normal. I understand the need to be vigilant and aware of one’s surroundings, but the best thing the average Joe can do to combat terrorism is to go to the store, see a movie, attend a sporting event, go for a run, heck – sign up for a local race or next year’s Boston Marathon!
The success of terrorist actions is also heavily influence by the battle of the narrative. Rather than post 24 hour coverage of the suspects, bombs going off and victims. I would like to see more stories of inspiration, acts of kindness, strength and generosity.
At first glance the thing that I pick up on is that close to half the work force will be filled by the people in this generation.
I think we will need to consider some things outside the normal conversation as factors.
This generation grew up with reality tv as part of their lives
Social considerations like “say anything to anyone is the new normal”
Emotional intelligence and progressive thinking with relation to immediate feedback from human to human or human to machine relationships should be considered.
Supply and demand will dramatically shift the way companies operate internally.
These factors should be considered in addition to others as we participate in the changing workforce. The fact is that the GenXr’s are such a thin layer of workforce (http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/generations-workplace-united-states-canada) that there will be a great drop off once the baby boomers leave and the bulk of the workforce will be weighted to Y and Millennial. For the Generation X workers that will flip their “normal” upside down. It makes sense that industry is looking to figure out how to deal with the Y and Mils but it also makes sense to take into consideration the push and pull on the X’ generation. Why? because these guys still may have 20 plus years in the workforce. The other thing is that Generation X traits have characteristics and traits that represent stability and a memory of parents and grandparents that lived through histories more recent and difficult times (X traits).
I remember people that were part of the holocaust don’t click here if you can’t take it –>(horrific) and the great depression Migrant Mother 1930. I heard their first hand stories. When I tell my oldest son who is part of the millennial generation, he looks at me in a way that tells of confusion and disconnection. The closest he has to seeing and experiencing these kinds of events is 9-11. If you think that my perspective may be a little harsh, I will concede that it may be and further that I may be discounting some other events like the Gulf war and the long Iraq and Afgan conflicts. Although, that being said I have been working with the military for many years and the media surrounding war seems a lot different from it did 20-30 years ago.
My generation saw change that was unending, dramatic, compelling and extreme. We saw the Berlin wall come down and we saw genocide in many countries, we witnessed the worst of racism and the beautiful hearts and minds of those that fight it. There are so many things that the Gen X’rs have seen and dealt with through the past 30-40 years that it is mind-boggling. It seemed as if this generation had the greatest accounting for firsts. First this or that. I know that well before there were gen X’rs there were many firsts and many milestones but it seemsas if the Boomers plowed the field and framed out the roadway and their parents (Tom Brokaw’s Greatest Generation or GI Generation) felt the great pains of a torn and weighted nation. The burdens of our parents were always hanging in the background. There was an echo of all these voices that were full of pain and sorrow that held a constant undertone in our lives. There was greatness that rose up through the noise and the sorrow. It was inspirational. It was also the beginnings of a world that would be sheltered for some and further creating fear. Generation X saw the birth of the data explosion and they were the generation that had to not only absorb the wave but learn how to ride it. So this generation has been run through sociological and human condition changes that test and try an individuals mentality.
How did we respond?
We are more flexible and we are more open but we still harbor the pains of deep seeded confusion about who we are.
Our children were more sheltered and out of touch with the world.
Our children stay home and don’t wander the streets until the street lights come on.
Our children don’t get kicked out to play all day (for the most part).
Our children have a global view and are “worldly”
Our children are sophisticated in electronic communication.
Our children have no patience and demand immediate feedback.
I can go on all day with this list. From the perspective of a business what will this mean?
As fast as things are changing now, things will move faster. Further, explicit information and data is king and the primary means of communication. More specifically, we will be moving further and further away from human to human interaction in person because it is simply not needed.
Maybe in the FUTURE we will hear sayings like “I wish I could content tag all my words” or “context is like my personal theme song”
We are starting to sift big data and watch trends and we are missing the spaces between the words. If you look at music on a page and read it, will it give you the FEELINGthat makes you love the song? We are starting to break the rules of effective communication and companies like Yahoo, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Best Buy are already responding by limiting the flexibility and telework that these employees are already DEMANDING. Companies will have to either force culture change on this younger generation or this younger generation WILL change the way business operates.
Put that in your database and sift it.. are you getting it?
In the meantime, Gen X’rs will be riding, surviving, flexing and rolling with the great changes. They are the key to bridging the gap between the “digital divide” , that chasm that exists between where we are today and where we are heading. There is no question we are already dealing with a divide, it started snowballing in the 1970’s and look at where we are from then to now. It is less than a blip in the time of humanity and yet folks like Ray Kurzweil are actively talking about machine intelligence and transferring our consciousness into machines.
The question of INTENTin communication and business management has to be on the table.
Going on.. we are guessing on “HOW TO” motivate the millennial, discounting the Gen X’r and disregarding our humanity. Here is a list of “surprising” ways to motivate millennial workers?
“If you can explain the whole picture, it connects the meaning to the person,” says Jeremy Kingsley, leadership expert and author of Inspired People Produce Results. Millennial workers are more likely to look for meaning and impact in their work and aren’t satisfied simply punching a clock. Helping them understand their role in a larger plan gives them a clearer sense of purpose. ”It makes them feel valued, which in turn boosts productivity,” says Kingsley.
2) Prioritize Community Service
A comprehensive study by the Pew Research Center in 2010 found that millennials place a higher priority on helping people in need (21%) than having a high-paying career (15%). Dan Epstein, the CEO of business consultancy ReSource Pro who has a staff comprised of 90% millennials, says allowing employees to form committees and use company resources or time to organize their causes meets their desire for social consciousness. Whether it’s weekends with Habitat for Humanity or time off to run in charity marathons, the company’s encouragement helps them feel good about the company. “In order to tap into their creative energy,” Epstein says, “we need to be respectful of the things they care about.”
3) Develop In-Between Steps And Titles
More than their Baby Boomer parents or Gen X older siblings, millennials are especially eager to progress in their careers and less willing to wait three to five years for a promotion. “By developing in-between steps and titles, managers can meet their desire for career progression,” says Epstein. “It also provides incremental training and experience that will aid them later with larger career advancement opportunities.”
4) Give Encouragement And Regular Feedback
“This generation responds well to encouragement and immediate feedback,” says Kingsley. “People need to know they’re being noticed.” The good news? It’s free. A simple “thank you,” “congratulations” or honest, supportive feedback from a manager can make all the difference, fueling their motivation to produce results. While the millennial generation has been criticized as being needy or wanting undue rewards, Kingsley says there’s a balance to be found. Make it clear from the beginning that you reward good work, and then keep an open line of communication to let them know how they’re doing and how they can improve.
5) Offer More Flexibility
Work-life balance is one of the most significant drivers of employee retention among millennials. This tech-savvy generation is essentially able to work anytime from anywhere with an Internet connection. Thus, seemingly arbitrary work hours or having to sit at a desk all day is less appealing to them. A 2012 study of the generation by Griffith Insurance Education Foundation discovered that millennials will sacrifice pay for increased vacation time and the ability to work outside the office. Offering flexible scheduling, occasional telecommuting or even unlimited vacation time—provided performance remains consistent—can meet their desire for flexibility while also showing your trust.
6) Provide Education And Professional Development
According to a 2012 survey by staffing agency Adecco, 68% of recent graduates identified good opportunities for growth and development as one of their top professional priorities. “Most in this group are hungry and want to advance,” says Kingsley. “If you do not provide development, it’s like a slap in the face.” Assigning stretch projects, bringing in speakers or sending employees to leadership conferences will be especially helpful for those millennial workers interested in learning and growing their skills.
7 ) Give Them Time For Personal Projects
“On a regular basis, allow team members to work on whatever they want,” says Tim Elmore, the founder and president of Growing Leaders, a non-profit dedicated to youth leadership development. Progressive companies like 3Mand Google have had success offering employees time to work on a project of their choosing, helping them feel more engaged and in control and also boosting innovation within the company. “This allows young employees to take initiative, be creative and produce something on their own.”
Are we SOLVING the Wrong Problem Precisely?
How are we measuring and documenting “the space between” the intangibles?
“Often, an important decision requires better knowledge of the alleged intangible, but when a [person] believes something to be immeasurable, attempts to measure it will not even be considered.
As a result, decisions are less informed than they could be. The chance of error increases. Resources are misallocated, good ideas are rejected, and bad ideas are accepted. Money is wasted. In some cases life and health are put in jeopardy. The belief that some things–even very important things–might be impossible to measure is sand in the gears of the entire economy.
Any important decision maker could benefit from learning that anything they really need to know is measurable.”
He goes on to explain in detail how to measure intangibles, including sections on how to clarify problems, calibrate estimates, measure risk, sample reality, and use Bayesian statistics to add to available knowledge. He also describes his Applied Information Economics (AIE) Approach that ties together several threads of his ideas:
“The AIE approach addresses four things:
1. How to model a current state of uncertainty
2. How to compute what else should be measured
3. How to measure those things in a way that is economically justified
4. How to make a decision”
Do you know my ?
or my ?
Are we going to content tag our lives?
Will Sharepoint give us the information and tools that we need?
How are we going to recognize when we are succeeding?
Are we going to step on Generation X or step over it?
Do we look to turn change from an unending marathon to a series of sprints? –Change Fatigue?
How do we define success for our future workforce by dollars alone or by time for an individual + stability?
How do we quantify and qualify individual intent?
How do we convey intent?
How to we rationalize and manage intent?
How do we introduce emotional intelligence into the workplace?
How do we build and manage trust with our workforce of the future?
How do we escape judgement from businesses via Facebook? (Am I my Facebook account from now on?)
How do we convey that we “feel”? How can we tell the machine that we “feel”?
How does the machine know when it provides raw explicit information back for analysis what the undertone or underlying context is?
While we are moving towards automation of a great many things. We are still human today. We still need to see, feel, hear, smell, hug, hold, embrace, and sense. Technology should never be the driver, it should exist to enable. The hammer does not build the house.. maybe the 3d printer will but for now, it is a human and he can identify a problem just by senses and caring. These tacit knowledge components must convey to the next generation and as the Boomers are leaving.. it is the X’rs that will carry this torch.
Business should not forget “The proper care and feeding of employee X” ~
Forgive any misspellings and or grammatical errors. I was yelling and rolling around on my keyboard and I did this on my galaxy asdf in 140 characters or less in 2 minute spurts while walking through streets and grocery stores and stuff ignoring everyone around me like they didn’t exist and listening to music… 🙂
I normally blog every Sunday. The weekend gives me some time to reflect on the week and come up with something that makes sense to write about. As some of you know, I enjoy writing about concepts that can help others. To say that I write for myself is a partial truth. I write for myself and others.
I expect that this week, I will write twice and that this particular post will be just in place for last Sunday. You know how life goes… I work and come home or work at home and segment or transition from work life to home life. It is not a smooth transition, more like a switch.
All this week, I have been working on some exciting areas of Knowledge Management and working with new ideas and my passion for the work I am doing has swollen to the point in which I am just freaking happy. In the middle of this my “dad duty” calls and I have to transition to dealing with one kid crying and the other denying any wrong doing. That is pretty normal I suppose. We get dinner done and move to get my youngest into the bath and bed. It is just a regular day. My wife takes the other son to ball practice while I take care of the others and settle the youngest. I come back to my computer to finish up some work and there is a post on Facebook that I am tagged in. I open it to find one of my sisters closest childhood friends has died. Her name is Tanya and she was 38.
I am essentially stunned right now for a few reasons but most of all and the only thing I can think is that WE the world have lost. It doesn’t make much sense to me. It is just my thought. We the world are worse off for Tanya being gone. She was 38. I could seriously write pages and pages about her even though she was my sisters friend and not directly mine.
It occurs to me that I am crying alone and as if my heart hurts alone. It isn’t true and Facebook would tell you that many people are crying but I in fact do feel that I am crying alone. That is why I chose to write today.
In youth we trust our hearts and our youth is disconnected from the world that we can touch and connected through this electronic medium. It may be a bad time for me to put these things together but it seems that it is simple to me. We can’t be connected by these means alone. If we allow ourselves to be always connected by the electronic space between, then we can’t really share the other parts of us that make us human. I want to hug my sister right now and I want to cry with her because she deserves it and Tanya deserves it and others that love her deeply and know her deserve it. Maybe this is the right time to say this because I see this so clearly at the moment. It is a short life that we live. It is shorter than you know because you don’t know when you will die and even if you did because we all do, it will come as a surprise. Even more of a surprise to me, Tanya is the second person that I know that has died this week.
If we are to be human and carry on with our humanity, we have to consider when words are not enough and we must teach our youth .. our children that words alone and 140 characters are only a fraction of the story and of our interaction with each other.
Tanya Regan in Stacey’s words
It is with unimaginable sadness that I have to say good bye to my childhood and life long friend, my soul sister and ray of shining light, Tanya Regan. I cant believe it myself, but its true. Tanya passed away on April 10, 2013. While I dont have many details, I know that her death happened way too soon and I am hoping to find a way to take this all in. I grew up with Tanya and her folks. They were a wonderful family! I loved them all dearly. She was truly the foundation of my childhood. We lived in the same building and would spend endless hours together just having fun! Tanya LOVED life…and if you were lucky enough to know her..then you should know you have truly been blessed in life. If you are able to scroll through some of her photos here on FB you will be able to see just a piece of who she was…She was an amazing and positive adult with many dreams, hopes and goals. She LOVED to ride those rollercoasters..Just innocent plain fun! Tanya accepted people for who they were. It didnt matter the color of your skin or your weight..or how much money you had in your pockets. She was a positive, upbeat person who ALWAYS had a great big smile on her face. This is a terrible loss….a tragedy…and her beautiful life took an unexpected turn. Tanya, you are going to missed…and Ill always love you…and Ill never forget that great bright smile! XOXOXOXO Most humbly yours, Stacey