On Forgiveness

What is Forgiveness?

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Stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/forgiveness

Mustering up genuine compassion for those who have wronged us, instead of allowing anger toward them to eat away at us, is the course of action recommended by most psychologists.

http://www.wikihow.com/Forgive

Forgiveness is the renunciation or cessation of resentmentindignation or anger as a result of a perceived offence, disagreement, or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution.[1][2] The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as ‘to grant free pardon and to give up all claim on account of an offence or debt’. The concept and benefits of forgiveness have been explored in religious thought, the social sciences and medicine. Forgiveness may be considered simply in terms of the person who forgives including forgiving themselves, in terms of the person forgiven or in terms of the relationship between the forgiver and the person forgiven. In most contexts, forgiveness is granted without any expectation of restorative justice, and without any response on the part of the offender (for example, one may forgive a person who is incommunicado or dead). In practical terms, it may be necessary for the offender to offer some form of acknowledgment, an apology, or even just ask for forgiveness, in order for the wronged person to believe himself able to forgive.[1]

The Forgiveness Problem

I recently read a book authored by Harold S. Kushner called How Good Do We Have to Be?  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/133804.How_Good_Do_We_Have_to_Be_

The context is that my grandmother passed away and her sister provided me some valuable and powerful insight that allowed me to sleep on and think deeply about forgiveness.   My objective is not to offend anyone here and it may happen as I have allowed my frustration and anger to bubble up to the top in order for me to just deal with it.

An Excerpt from How Good Do We Have to Be: A New Understanding of Guilt and Forgiveness by Harold S. Kushner

Rabbi Harold Kushner proclaims that God’s forgiveness enables us to accept our flaws and the failings of others. In this excerpt, he writes about transformation or to be whole before God.

“To be whole before God means to stand before Him with all of our faults as well as all of our virtues, and to hear the message of our acceptability. To be whole means to rise beyond the need to pretend that we are perfect, to rise above the fear that we will be rejected for not being perfect. And it means having the integrity not to let the inevitable moments of weakness and selfishness become permanent parts of our character. Know what is good and what is evil, and when you do wrong, realize that that was not the essential you. It was because the challenge of being human is so great that no one gets it right every time. God asks no more of us that that.

“The philosopher Immanuel Kant once wrote, “Out of timber as crooked as that which man is made of, nothing perfectly straight can be carved.” He is probably right, but the lesson to be learned from that insight is not to give up on humanity, but to give up on the search for perfection. Maybe human beings can’t fashion anything perfectly straight. But maybe what we are able to fashion, with its curves and knotholes, will be more interesting, more satisfying.

“Life is not a trap set for us by God, so that He can condemn us for failing. Life is not a spelling bee, where no one matter how many words you have gotten right, if you make one mistake you are qualified. Life is more like a baseball season, where even the best team loses one-third of all its games and even the worst team has its days of brilliance. Our goal is not to go all year without ever losing a game. Our goal is to win more than we lose, and if we can do that consistently enough, then when the end comes, we will have won it all.

“In the beginning, in the infancy of the human race as in the infancy of an individual human being, life was simple. Then we ate of the fruit of that tree and we gained the knowledge that some things are good and others are bad. We learned how painfully complex life could be.

“But, at the end, if we are brave enough to love, if we are strong enough to forgive, if we are generous enough to rejoice in another’s happiness, and if we are wise enough to know that there is enough love to go around for us all, then we can achieve a fulfillment that no other living creature will ever know. We can reenter Paradise.”

WOW 

We aren’t perfect.  In fact we do bad things to each other to get what WE want.  My friends that are religious and have deep faith will have a solid position on forgiveness.  In fact, most people I know that I have spoken with have a very clear position on forgiveness.   I thought that I did until I read this book and now that I did, I am backtracking.    When I say backtracking, I mean reassessing forgiveness.

In the recent past,  I was asking a very religious friend of mine to forgive someone else for his transgressions.  I asked for my friend to consider that this other person has grown up a lot and experienced new life altering events and that this person is essentially a newer version of himself.   My friend looked at me and said “I don’t have to forgive him , G-d forgives, not me.”   I argued my position (which was different) but ultimately religion itself is a boundary or barrier to conflict resolution and he would keep his stance.  As a matter of perspective aren’t most wars about religion?  Most conflict can be tied one way or another to religion and even if you seek religion as a crutch you may become bound by it.   Even the very basic 10 commandments is open to multiple interpretations http://www.godstenlaws.com/ten-commandments/#.UisuUWR4Zhk  

I have started to think that forgiveness may be a wolf in sheep’s clothing for humans. I said “for humans” because I am starting to think that forgiveness isn’t for us holistically.   Forgiveness is an activity.  You have to do something to forgive and you have to be aware of why you are forgiving.   You have to be able to put what bothered or hurt you behind you.   It is about closure.    I read the book and I spent some time thinking about it.  Frankly, it wasn’t days or weeks but it was enough for me to start to pull ideas together that were powerful to me.   I sat down and wrote to my aunt.    My thoughts were clear and literally poured out of me very quickly.   While I was writing, I discovered that ignorance was connected to forgiveness.  It was Kushner himself that pointed this out in the story of Adam and Eve.    I wrote this to my aunt:

Do I have forgiveness in my heart?  I have forgiveness for people that make an effort and a choice to be better.   When Rabbi Kushner advised the woman to forgive her father(for abandoning her), I found the idea that she should forgive him ridiculous.    Would you morn for Hitler?   The constant barrage of emotional abuse and destructive behavior is a holocaust on a persons emotion and psychological condition.   It forever changes that person.   We should forgive the deed of the rape but not condemn the rapist for he is human and people make mistakes.   If he never were to rape again and repent for his ways and realize that what he did was wrong.. we should forgive him not for him but for ourselves because we shouldn’t carry this anger.  It is destructive to us.    When I was a child, I was quick to forgive and I realized that forgiveness allowed for me (us) to move on.  The reason why it did was because there was closure.    Closure is an end to these feelings that you have about something and that you put those feelings behind you and move forward with a clean plate, a new start and a clear perspective.   Allow me to offer you a different idea on forgiveness.   What if forgiveness was tied to ignorance?   I would guess that you have never seen the movie Memento but in that movie a man has no short term memory.  He was left only with his long term memory in place and he is on a quest to solve his wife’s murder.   He marks his body with tattoos to tell himself the story of where he is when he forgets what happens to him.   He has to interpret the markings every time he forgets.   He loses his memory within minutes of an event.   In the end, WE find that he sees the world differently than the world sees him and that his view of the world as unkind as it is, it much kinder than the reality of the world.   I think that is ground truth.   We are ignorant of most things and when we get to see the truth, it is mostly unkind.  That is not to say that there isn’t good in the world but that reality is much harsher than our ignorance allows us to perceive.   There is good in not knowing.   If you knew that you were going to die a painful and un-purposeful death tomorrow what would you do today?  After all faith itself is belief without knowing.   I would like to think that my grandmother loved me very much, my knowledge of her tells me she didn’t and my ignorance tells me that she could have.   If I stick with my ignorance, the less I know about her the more I could embrace and love her.  The more I could find myself forgiving.  I could close the door and start fresh, except she is gone now so there isn’t anything new to start.
Forgiveness is not for the person or people who hurt you but for you?   We should forgive and not forget.  That is another statement that I love.   We should forgive but not forget because if we forget than we could allow for history to repeat itself.   Forgiveness is like the thing that we would like to achieve but never seem to get there.    Do the Native Americans forgive the people who took their land and destroyed their lives for generations?  Do the African-Americans forgive the people who enslaved them?   Do the Jewish people forgive the people who have sought to exterminate them?   Shall I continue?   We don’t forgive.  We seem to pretend to forgive but we carry our anger and our hate with us through the generations.
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What if you didn’t know to hate?   The picture above was posted by my friend Kimani on Facebook one day ago.  What if the knowledge tree was the curse?  I am angry but not a G-d.  I am angry at man.  If a person does something over and again and exhibits consistent unrelenting behavior, should we forgive them?   We should forgive the person and not the deed itself?   I have written about conflict on this blog in the past.   An oversimplification of the work (in conflict) is that intractable conflicts are extremely complex in nature, so complex that it is difficult to sustain a mental map of factors that influence the conflict.  We act to simplify conflict, and, in fact, the tendency is to over-simplify, to reduce the conflict to a simple us/them, pro/con, I’m right/you’re wrong.  The complexity of the conflict is too much to handle cognitively.  Once the conflict is simplified, opposing forces can dig in, increasing intractability.

An easy way to simplify intractable conflict is to forgive.   What if we don’t seek to forgive?  What if we can’t forgive?  What if forgiveness itself doesn’t matter?   How about we turn forgiveness over to G-d and we just realize that for most of humanity that forgiveness is something we would like to aim for but depending on the deed in question may never attain.

Ignorance = ?

I wouldn’t say that ignorance is bliss per se but I would say that if we put less effort into having to forgive and more effort in having to forget then maybe we would simply be happier.   Maybe the demons that keep you up at night wouldn’t haunt you if you didn’t know they existed.    I told my aunt that the punishment for being disconnected is being forgotten.   Think about this.. in less than a few generations it is very possible that YOU will be forgotten.   All of your good and all of your bad could be nothing but a moment in time that no longer exists that no one knows of.    The interesting thing about this is that if you carried hate, love or indifference those tacit inside feelings and emotion may itself convey.  This historical narrative of people will carry across the generations.   Where is forgiveness there?

FIN

 

Howard’s Holocaust

The Most

I have been writing and posting now on this WordPress site for about three years.   Most of the things I write about are a little generic.   In a sense, I have sought out ways to help people by looking to subject areas of interest and providing some insight and maybe a little abstract thought.  Today I am doing something different.

I lost most of my explicit memories in a tragedy of significant  proportion.   On more than one occasion, pictures, videos, music and writing that I had saved was lost.   Most of this was out of my control but some of the loss I did to myself by not taking action.  This very weekend I was driven to clean out some of the things that I did save.   I have very little from my youth and when I find something, I normally examine for a hint of who I was.    As I have written many times in the past, I am a kid from The (DA) Bronx.

The Bronx offered an intercultural, wide variety of ethic diversity.   It was a place that represented the best and worst of blending communities.   In my youth, my ignorance was learning about what made people different as opposed to why we should focus on our commonality.   In high school, I was a white Jewish boy with mostly black and hispanic students (friends).   There was hate and there were trials but in person these challenges were overrun by teachers and other students that could see through the color of our skin and reach into our hearts.  In other words, we always focused on building a community of acceptance.   I am not the person I was then but the kid I was still lives in the background.   I don’t look at people as a kind or a race.  I look at people as individuals and judge them by their actions.

Transition:

Today we are facing the same issues that we did over the history of our country and human kind.   This weekend in particular I have seen a lot of people writing and speaking of the past 50 years of civil rights.  While reading this and watching the news I was sorting through old tapes that I managed to keep.  I found one labeled “Howard’s Holocaust.”   I had no memory of this tape.  Even when I found a tape player to put it in and heard the sounds of a younger me  I didn’t remember this conversation.

The recording was made sometime between 1987 and 1989, most likely my second year at University Heights High school located in the Bronx at 181st and University Ave.  As a Jewish kid, I understood the Holocaust from a culture of remembrance and an integration of pain and suffering into the daily vernacular of my people.   That being said, I was emotionally disconnected.   I had seen the branding serial numbers etched into the arms of my neighbors.  I had seen and heard the stories of people jumping from the trains.   I had lived with a man whom I love that was buried at night as a child to protect him from the Nazi’s.   All those things and I was still not connected or maybe partially connected.  Not in the way that it would rattle my soul today.  It was an immaturity that was innocent.   I was honestly incapable of connecting the dots in a way that deeply allowed me to better myself as a human.

I understood what things meant, I think that I just didn’t allow myself to live in my understanding of this history.  In fact, I didn’t know that I was myself living in history just by interacting with witnesses and victims of this great inhumane and painful series of events.  Someone tried to wipe an ethnic and cultural line of people from the planet.   This within itself doesn’t take anything away from any other tragedy or traumatic events of our time but it is a stain that can’t be washed away.   What pains me the most is that we still allow genocide and the young disconnected me knew that it would happen again.   I knew as a disconnected child that our world was not healing.

From what I can tell, I was asked to read a book by Elie Weisel http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elie_Wiesel that had to do with the holocaust.   Since I don’t remember what I read or didn’t read, I can only guess that I did a half ass job of reading.  I didn’t have a keen interest in education as teen.  I became much more passionate later on.

There is an interesting ignorance as well that is wrapped into the conversation.    This is probably the most revealing post I have ever made.   It deals with the fact that as a youth I had values that were similar to my values today but I was lacking in information and ability to rationalize what I didn’t know.    I am sharing this today because I think generally the public is doing the same thing.

We make statements and assumptions on areas of complicated matters that we have trouble deeply understanding.  The facts alone are not enough information to provide good insight.   It also points to something else.   We need to take personal responsibility to help each other and learn about each other.  We can’t know each others pain but we can mirror and reflect our understanding to get close enough.

I am sharing three audio files, each are about 15 minutes long.  I tried to clean up the audio a little but I didn’t edit the content.  For me personally there was a story at the end that I didn’t truly understand then (age 15-16) that I deeply understand and associate with now.   Most of the audio is the teacher interviewing me on what I think about the holocaust with some role playing.

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Howard’s Holocaust Audio

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1d5aphuc4wxpvja/c429P7PUL4

Personal KM and The Brain – Context Tools and Perception

Personal KM – What we think we know. 

Personal KM is now becoming an area of great interest for a number of reasons.   We are creating more information than ever before and from a business perspective it is difficult to understand and manage this information in context.  That being said, information and “data” is of great value.  A few years ago my team introduced some simple patterns of collaboration in order to scope and provide additional context on information relative to a project or program.   One of the first activities of the information management and gathering process is to set out and “discover” what is going on.  Where are we in the organization? What people are involved in a project?  What are the considerations relative to governance?  What is the project or program looking to achieve?  What does a successful outcome look like?   It is a lot of questions but fundamentally the questions drive more questions that will eventually shape what all of the information may mean to YOU(perception).   How are you affected(perception)?  What role and responsibility do you really have relative to what the project or program believes(perception)?  What can you do (perception)?   What tools can you use(awareness)?  What information in available to you(awareness)?  More and more questions and answers. When I start showing people architectures representing these concepts, they overwhelmingly respond in a similar way.   They seem to feel that for their specific work, that they don’t really need a pattern or that they already understand where they are relative to the program.  This is where Personal KM and perception comes into play and how important it is to people as individuals and the organizations they work for.  The next few areas of this blog will show you why.

Awareness:

This isn’t new but if you haven’t seen this please take a look at this 1 minute video before moving on.

What you think you know and what you know:

If you have watched the video, you may now be wondering.. what else am I missing? Once your brain has been notified that other things are happening in your world that you need to potentially pay attention to, you can be aware of these hidden ghosts and start to deal with them.   The key to awareness is knowing that we aren’t aware and looking for mechanisms and others to help raise our level of awareness.  At this moment in our humanity, it isn’t likely that we will be fully aware of any given situation.

Personal KM – Tacit Exchange:

When we learn something on a personal level we file it away and may not feel a need to share it with others.  Research indicates that Organization Knowledge Management (OKM) starts with Personal Knowledge Management (PKM). HKPKMResearch further indicates that “The basic concept of formalizing software agents to mediate the work processes usually handled by the human counterpart is by having the human counterpart to delegate the tasks to a software agent or multiple software agents. The conceptual model for agent-mediated research work processes commonly handled by human knowledge worker”  This is what the figure above is showing. The bottom line is that we are looking to automate or transfer as much information as we can to a system or systems of systems for reuse.  Additionally, people must enter information that they may not believe (perception) would be important and further they may not have incentive to share this personal information.  Keep in that we as people only know what we think we know and we may also know things that we may not realize that we know. 

More Tools:

I am asked often what tools I use for PKM and why I use them.  Going back to the original discussion point concerning the collaboration pattern, if I didn’t use tools and techniques , the pattern and information associated would be less valuable. The information becomes more valuable because of the conversion of information from tacit to explicit and because the explicit information is further validated by more than one person.  This increases the likelihood of greater awareness.  I generally use a few tools but the primary tool is “TheBrain.”Howietodacenter The Brain is a PKM tool that enables users to take traditional mind mapping to new level. This tool specifically allows for users to define objects and relationships quickly and tag those objects textually and visually. The focus on the “Plex” which is the main interface that allows the user to focus on the relationships on the central node. The central node is the place where the user pays attention. The relationships branch off in parent, child and jump relationships that can have one to many or many to many connections. Additionally the user can create “link types” and differentiate linkages by visual and textual methods. Through the use of tagging, visual line thickness, color and pictures the view in the Plex allows users to have a better understanding of the meaning behind the relationships. The Brain tool enables a multidimensional visual representation of objects and their relationships through a 2 dimensional interface. This interface allows for “stacking” which can increase the actual extensibility of the user experience into the 3rd dimension. This is important to understand because the relationships you see in the plex on a node or object may have other relationships behind them. When the human interacts with the interface and changes the view, the nature of these hidden relationships is revealed. Steve Zeoli has a great blog about his use of this tool (Welcome to Sherwood) where he makes very clear points on the brain and its uses.  Steve notes:

 Here are the ways you can associate information to a single Thought in TheBrain:

  1. Link child Thoughts — topics that flow from the Thought.
  2. Link parent Thoughts — topics from which the Thought flows.
  3. Link related or jump Thoughts — topics related in an unhierarchical way.
  4. Add notes in the Note tool.
  5. Attach as many URLs as you’d like.
  6. Attach almost any type of file: spreadsheets, text documents, PDFs, pictures, etc.
  7. Give the Thought a Type — make all urgent Thoughts red, for example.
  8. Give the Thought multiple Tags — Tags allow you to quickly find Thoughts that share a Tag.
  9. Use the calendar to associate date-specific events.
  10. Use links to define special relationships among the data.

Falling Short…

More context is always needed.   I have to always add tags and link types and relationships. I have used a blend between freemind or regular mind maps and The Brain for many years. Mind maps and Concept maps show a map view as if we are looking at a road map from the top down.  The Brain is almost like a GPS, where you are in the map and driving through it waypoint to waypoint.  For me, it doesn’t go far enough and there is a gap between my needs and what is available.  I would like to see or identify a node and from there in that view I would like to develop or define relationships as many to many or many to one.   I would like to query on that node to further define context or visually move the node and either perform some “what if” analysis or just visually see the connections from any x y z axis perspective.  I would like nodes themselves to be three dimensional, with the ability to pin relationships on any one area of the node.   I would like the tool to essentially show mapping over time and have more integrated functions with the calendar.    There are other areas that are gaps like when you cut and paste information or import /export.   I could go on about what I would like to see but with all the gaps in capability, it is the best thing for me to use right now. It does help me identify or become aware of connections that I would have previously overlooked.

Visual Understanding Environment 

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VUE LINK

changefatigue example

http://www.studygs.net/mapping/ Concept mapping –

Concept maps have their origin in the work of David Ausubel
(advanced organizers). The technique of concept mapping was developed by Joseph D Novak at Cornell. “Concept maps have their origin in the learning movement called constructivism. In particular, constructivists hold that prior knowledge is used as a framework to learn new knowledge. In essence, how we think influences how and what we learn. Concept maps identify the way we think, the way we see relationships between knowledge.” Grayson H. Walker, Concept Mapping and Curriculum Design, Teaching Resource Center, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

I use concept maps:

It is always (people, process, methods and tools) but I do love tools.  I use VUE in the same way as these guys use CMAPS at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, Pensacola Fl, 32502.

I also use a lot of other tools (as needed), if you want a list or have questions please email me.  

Back to the start:

If you are interested, here (KM Institute Final) is the hand out we gave during our talk at the KM Institute.  It talks a little about the collaboration pattern and our use of  The Brain.

We need PKM and we further need to filter and publish relevent information to our businesses or organizations.   This is very important to understand because WE ultimately decide what we are willing to put into the system and what WE are willing to share.  This is all about perception and perspective relative to the information.  I can think of many reasons why people would choose to hold off on sharing.  These are the concepts that we need to consider moving forward.   Most importantly, we need each other help validate what we think we know relative to what the group may think or what the facts are.

I want to point out that I believe an understanding of awareness, behavior modification, km drivers and tools as enablers will help increase real data value.  Personal KM and Perception enhancement may be a next step to KM!

This behavior brings a new level of fidelity to knowledge management and will help us deal with what is as opposed to what we believe.

Personal KM to Public KM (Do you like cold liver?)

We are even greater than the sum of all our parts  (Downloading our minds to machines) This will solve the problem.   What problem are we looking to solve again?

Have you ever thought or said words that can’t convey how you feel?

How does it feel to watch your child win at baseball?  How did it feel to graduate?  When you walked into your first job what did it smell like?   How do these things factor into your life at work and home?  How do you convey these concepts to others?  Five steps to understanding your thoughts or 10 best practices for doing something aren’t going to always get the message across.   In knowledge management, most of the time everything boils down to a list.  That is great!  What does it really mean though?  

We are lacking in passing on inherently tacit information.   We aren’t converting personal knowledge to public knowledge.   There are books and books on mechanisms associated with these concepts but I am writing today to simplify the message and bring some clarity of the situation out for YOU TO CONSIDER.

We are gathering lists today in organizations across the world to share information to make things go faster, work better, work smarter, increase a person’s knowledge, skills and abilities in short order.    Yet, with all this great and valuable information we are finding ourselves still missing something.  We are overlooking people themselves.   How can we communicate faster, better, more effectively, more efficiently..etc ?  Make a list!

Ok.. here is a list

Context = Food

  1. Go to store
  2. Get food that is yummy
  3. Put food in cart
  4. Place food on conveyor belt
  5. Pay for food
  6. Take food to vehicle
  7. Take food out of vehicle
  8. Get food to house
  9. Cook food
  10. Put food on table

Result = No one in the house likes undercooked liver and collards.

I will solve this problem RIGHT NOW

I am calling Microsoft and buying me a Sharepoint!

Here I go!

Cost (MILLIONS OF DOLLARS)

What did I get?

A secure place to store, organize, share, and access information from almost any device.

OH.. .so … umm did I just buy a place to err umm build lists of stuff?

Now I didn’t solve my problem..  What do I do?

Well, you see if I define the words or classify the list better.. I will solve my problem!

huggingwordsTCP

What is a Taxonomy?

A classification into ordered categories — see the link for more details

http://www.computerweekly.com/feature/A-guide-to-developing-taxonomies-for-effective-data-management

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/xbrl-for-dummies-cheat-sheet.html

What it really means?

Spend more money..

How about now, did I solve my problem? NO? What do I do?

Add a search engine with semantics!~

Now I can search my lists better with more fidelity and I can even get lists of lists! I can even bring lists together and build new lists automatically!

What it really means?

Spend more money… 

How about I add a little to this..

Why does it matter?  Further, why does it matter to business? 

I heard recently that for some companies “everyone is disposable and/or dispensable” (Narcissist

For the Narcissist-You are Disposable

Each human being is unique. No one will ever be born who is exactly like you. Each human life is a precious mystery. There are many people who appreciate the special qualities of individuals.

Within families, it is fascinating to observe, that although the members share many common genes  and were born to the same parents, they can be very different in every way: physical constitution, temperament, disposition, physical stamina, attention span, sensory acuity, psychological resilience, emotional expression, empathic qualities. Appreciating and celebrating the uniqueness of each person is an integral part of our being fully human.

For most narcissists, one person is interchangeable with another. Everyone is disposable. The narcissist is only interested in what your uniqueness brings to his table. If you don’t fill the bill, he or she will find someone else. In his world everyone is expendable. He is the unique irreplaceable exalted being. Narcissists use people up. Their constant demands, cruelties and demeaning behaviors cause incredible stress to those who are living with them, especially spouses and children. Many of those who share close quarters with narcissists suffer from a variety of stress disorders: insomnia, anxiety, depression, digestive problems, headaches, backaches. If the narcissist is given free rein, he or she can make you physically ill, mentally confused and psychologically distressed. It is up to you to decide that you deserve much better than this.

When the narcissist has used some one up—he has gotten everything he wants from an individual—valuable social and business contacts, property, access to wealth, entrees into circles of power–you will be discarded. The narcissist knows when the time is right for him to show you the door. After you have been thrown away in a cold and calculated manner, you are shocked, hurt, enraged; your life has been turned inside out. The narcissist doesn’t spend a moment on your psychological and/or financial demise. You are a non-person for him, not even a glint of memory. He has moved forward to embrace his next human narcissistic supply.

www.thenarcissistinyourlife.com

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Now the people making the lists and putting lists in your Sharepoint sorta feel that they are worthless!

What problems am I solving now? 

What it really means?

Spend more money… 

OK.. Howie.. .I get your point.. enough already …  !~

Nope..  Let me add some other stuff here for you to consider.. Now to really make matters better you start a CHANGE initiative.  So, now you throw in big big changes over short periods of time.  Also, you are hiring new people who are young and fresh out of school.  There isn’t a lot of time to get them trained so you ask the older generation to hurry up and make lists!   While they are making these lists you are asking them to change, change, change and work longer hours and take pay cuts and also understand that they are actually worth less because they are replaceable.  They are old and they aren’t as valuable to the organization as they once were.

Those close to or over 40 years old are already actually economically challenged (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/15/generation-x-has-suffered_n_1600178.html) they may be forced like a lot of Boomers to stay in the workforce longer.  That means if they will have to be on their best while doing the job and they will need to shut up and color as well.

What it really means?

Whether a business is a large corporation, mom and pop, military or other, they need to STOP FOCUSING ON TOOLS and START FOCUSING ON 

Final Thought:

Can technology enable?  The answer is emphatically (YES)  

The technology can’t be the driver, it has to be an enabler…  I am not against Sharepoint or any other technology but I am against wasting untold amounts of money, time and effort on process, methods and tools that ignore people.

Enjoy your liver. 

Angry and Disconnected

Increasingly we are disconnected.

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?inmap

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.

The Proper Care and Feeding of Employee X … I mean Y and Z.

Forbes Infographic

Those are some stats but.. what does it mean?

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 seems as 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.

GenYandM

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 FEELING that 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 INTENT in 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?

Forbes author Jenna Goudreau writes in Surprising Ways to Motivate Millennial Workers that employers should (could) motivate this younger generation by doing these things listed below.

1) Explain The Company Vision

“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?

Douglas Hubbard has written a book called “How To Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business.” The book is available here.
“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”
Information Economics Approach

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?

Further examination.

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…  🙂

cohentext

Am I LinkedIn™ or LinkedOut?

Hampton Roads is taking a beating when it comes to jobs.  I guess that isn’t news to anyone but the folks getting let go.  People that work for the government are getting furloughed.  The current news reports that the days that government workers will have to take off will be reduced; it still has an impact on them that in some cases will be very harmful.    The defense industry work force that supports the government is getting cut not furloughed.     Defense workers are getting pay reductions, two week notices or less.

Whether you are sympathetic to this situation or not within itself doesn’t matter.   The reason is that it may and most likely will affect you.    In my post (https://cohenovate.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/of-mice-and-weeble-wabbles), I linked to a congressional report that estimated over 2 million jobs being impacted.   I think those estimates are themselves short sighted.  Let me give you an example, if I am buying a book today, I go to Amazon or B&N online or another online store.  Those items that we are buying are not part of our local economy.   It is certainly reasonable to think that the loss of a few jobs or diminished income for a few would have little impact on the many.   It is unreasonable to think that wide sweeping job loss and income reduction would not impact other areas of the US and potentially other markets.

I have no idea what the real net impact will be but frankly, I know that I myself alone can’t change the economic and political climate.   What I do know is that I have a network.   It is a network of friends, family and work acquaintances that I made through my years of work.    What I have been able to do through this network is help individuals find work and/or at least an opportunity for an interview.

What is different today?

Normally, we have to look out for one or two people and what that may amount to is a phone call or a simple email.   Today is different; there are a lot of people coming off contracts, and being cut.   As an individual, I alone can’t manage as a recruiting, retention and transfer service.   Additionally, dealing with recruiting services has some of its own challenges.   I am thankful that they exist but also understand that in a lot of cases, they are a last resort.   For the record, there is nothing wrong with headhunters or technical service providers.  They provide a service to their clients and labor respectively and they are normally upfront about the conditions of the service.    The bottom line here is that under these circumstances and conditions we need to start pulling our networking efforts together and shift into a new gear.

LinkedUp?

In December of 2006, I joined LinkedIn™ and I started using it as I believe it was intended.   When I meet people or if I have a relationship with them already, I ask if they are on LinkedIn and I connect with them.  I check LinkedIn on a regular basis and I update my status.  I have LinkedIn™ connected with Twitter and I am a part of many groups including a group that I have on IT concerning the defense oriented computing.   I also started the Forge.Mil group when I worked with the team supporting DISA on that effort.   All in all, I have a professionally established network on LinkedIn™ of over 1000+ people.   In the past I have referred to Dunbars Law which states that people can only manage about 150 relationships with any real depth of context or tribal type of relationship. Seth Godin talks about this on his blog at (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/10/the-penalty-for-violating-dunbars-law.html) if you have any additional interest on this subject.   I have in previous posts linked an authoritative source for this study.   Essentially, you can know of a lot of people and you can have a large network but it is not possible to push the relationship boundaries for normal people over the 300 person mark.   What this means is that on LinkedIn, the people that I know who have chosen to use this service are mostly acquaintances.   It doesn’t matter if I met them at a party and they got the essence of Howie, they mostly don’t know to care much more about me than somebody that they used to know (there is a joke in there Goyte http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UVNT4wvIGY ).

In addition to LinkedIn™, I have an application that I use to manage relationships called “The Brain”, feel free to ask me about it but I have over the years advertised for them enough.  I just use it to tie people to areas of work or systems and other things.   In addition to this I have other social media outlets.   I try not to use Facebook for anything business related except that when I blog it does go to Facebook.  I also use Google+ the same way as Facebook.  I will say that Google+ does seem to appeal to me more.  All that being said, LinkedIn™ is the place where I expect to pull most of my professional network together and the place I can go where people keep their information up to date.

It Seems to Be Failing Me

It is taking me a long time to get here, I apologize.   LinkedIn is not working the way I expect.  Is it because I use the freemium version?   If Jeff Weiner CEO of LinkedIn™ wants to double tap me, I think not.  I am giving him content, in my view that content is worth more weight and value than the $240.00 a year that he expects me to pay them for the service.  As a matter of fact, he should incentify me to put information into LinkedIn™ by offering me something.     Last week was the first time that I have ever reached out to my whole LinkedIn™ network at one time for anything.  I didn’t reach out to them for myself; I did it for someone else.   When I put out a post asking for a response for a person who I know has skills that are in demand at this time, I got very little back.   When I say little, I will be clear (two likes and one email ).    In order to get some opportunity going, I had to work as hard as usual to make phone calls and send emails and do all of the things I would have to do regardless of LinkedIn™.    Maybe I am using LinkedIn™ incorrectly?  I get hundreds of appearances on search and I get about 7-10+ views over the course of a few days.  Most of them don’t amount to anything unless I initiate a conversation.  I could do that without LinkedIn™.    The discussion threads in LinkedIn™ are almost useless.  I said almost because I haven’t found the value in them for the most part.  On occasion there have been good threads or linkages.   Those occasions are fleeting.   In terms of social analytics or metrics, I wonder what the ratio of active engagement is relative to named use.    I digress.

Outside of LinkedIn™ and Beyond

If LinkedIn™ is just a resume service, I have one of those with VisualCV™ and that service does a better job of resume management within itself.   I get more responses or hits from Facebook and Google+ on my blog than I do from LinkedIn™.  Maybe Google+ or Facebook can replace it?

On Jobs

“It is very hard to be brave,” said Piglet, sniffing slightly, “when you’re only a Very Small Animal.”

If you are still reading this blog, I am going to assume you care about others.   I am also going to assume that you care about yourself.   In other words, there should be the realization that we are all connected and that those connections and tethers far exceed our ability to understand the cause and effect relationships in our current view.    I believe that it is our personal responsibility to help each other.  I am not talking about a charity or hand out.  I am not talking about a donation of GoodWill or a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving.  I am talking about helping each other with a micro transaction.   A little help can go a long way.  Do you know that (insert name here) they losing their job or getting cut?  Is (insert name here) a good person?  Is he/she competent?  Can he/she benefit another organization or group that you know?   If so, make the connection.  It is good for them and it is good for you.  It is a situation that is mutually beneficial.   I haven’t always been successful in these efforts but I am not going to quit doing it.  I am not a recruiter and I don’t make any money from my efforts.  I am no better a person than anyone reading this.  I simply believe that helping others is a responsibility and a blessing.   Helping others pays dividends, not necessarily to you or me explicitly but it may help that person in a big way and the world in ways that we can’t comprehend.

Howietodacenter

A lesson From Matt S (You know who you are dude)

Matt teaches “Howie, if you want people to do something, you have to tell them what you want them to do and it has to be actionable.”

If you see that I post something on LinkedIn™ or any social media outlet and I am referring to a person that needs some attention or help.  I want you to pass that on.  If I have 9 million people in my extended LinkedIn™ network, there is no reason why one person out of 9 million won’t have an opportunity to offer.    At the very least pass that name on and tell them when you pass it on that you don’t know the person but you have a second or third degree connection.    Results will vary but the effort itself as small as it may be is that something that you can do that will make a difference even if that difference is simply to you.