Leadership Series:  Juran’s Rule and the Call Center

We have a problem, speaking plainly and simply; this problem is that a truth has been bent to escape responsibility.  Tribus (n.d.) was plain and stated:

WARNING: In presenting the reasons for change, the leader should accept the responsibility for whatever is wrong.  Remember Juran’s rule:
WHENEVER THERE IS A PROBLEM 85% OF THE TIME, IT IS IN THE SYSTEM, ONLY 15% OF THE TIME WILL IT BE THE WORKER [emphasis in original].”

Please allow me to note that I have regularly advocated that Juran underestimated and personally have found that 90-95% of the time, the problem is the process, not the workers.  This is my opinion, and I am not here to convince you but merely to help clarify Juran’s rule and provide some clarity on the writings of Tribus (n.d.) as well as build foundational understanding.

The Situation

A client company has a problem where managers are not holding their people to productivity standards.  Deep diving into the situation, we find several fundamental issues, in no particular order:

    • Human Resources tells operations what production goals can be.
    • No production goal can be set where 75% of the workers cannot easily meet the goals set.
    • Goals cannot be changed without HR approval, a lengthy research process, and a legal team review.
    • No productivity goal is published. Feeder metrics, KPIs, and so forth are not communicated or standardized.
    • No standard work crosses from one geographic location to another.
    • Facility leaders might receive training in other facilities, but the training is broken and disjointed, and the regional managers charged with holding leaders to a standard lack standards and feeder metrics to hold facility leadership accountable across regional areas.
    • Currently, no region or facility is meeting any goal regularly or uses a process that can be replicated.

Interestingly, this situation has existed for more than 15 years, and none in higher management remember a time when this situation was different.  But, every manager will quote a version of Juran’s rule to explain why they are hunting for operational processes to review and change.

Conflict vs. Contention

At its most fundamental level, conflict is about helping spur growth and development and bringing about change in an organized and logical manner.  However, I cannot stress this enough; conflict is NOT contention.  Conflict is not born of pride and a desire to feel better about yourself through violence.  Conflict can be observed in a disagreement or difference in opinion, but conflict does not include emotional hyperbole (pride).  Conflict should be about mental disturbances spurred by people seeking greater ideas and ideals, personal growth, or team development.  Does conflict lead to contention?  Yes, but only because pride entered into the disagreement, emotions were injected, and desires to be right at any cost dictated, it is time for violence.

Let me be perfectly frank, contention and conflict are not the same.  While the terms are close, they are distinct and tell different sides of the same story.  First, contention is an act of striving or an assertion.  Contention is a violent effort to obtain or protect something vehemently!  There is effort, struggle, and exertion in contention; there are violent efforts, and the core of contention is pride.  Pride breeds animosity, animosity breeds struggle, and struggle is contention, where pride demands that violence is acceptable to achieve the desired end goal.  When contending, “The ends justify the means.”

Contention is animosity personified into action, effort, and desires become evident as contention unfolds.  We cannot forget these facts about contention.  Consider the following; I went to work in a hostile atmosphere; due to a contract signed, I could not quit and find a new job, and reassignment was not going to happen.  Jealousy and pride entered because I was very good at my job, and violence followed like the sun rising after a moonless night.  Contention was born and festered, violence was perpetrated against me, and the violence was acceptable to the organizational leaders as it gave them feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction.

The violence was justified because I was “too good” at my job, made “decisions above my paygrade,” and “I needed to be taught humility.”  The result was four disastrous years of struggle, incredible stress levels, and mental torture, with physical acts of violence thrown in to spice up the environment.  I am not bemoaning my fate nor holding myself up as an example of anything, merely hoping to convey that contention stunted organizational growth in everyone unlucky enough to experience this organization during this period.  Contention is pride expressed through violence and justified to fit the individual’s desires.

Conflict is a tool; like all tools, it can build, enhance, strengthen, and create when used appropriately.  If the tool is improperly used, destruction, damage, and chaos are spawned.  Conflict happens; what a person chooses to do with that conflict and how that person considers conflicting occurrences is how the labels “good,” “bad,” “valuable,” “beneficial,” etc., are applied.  McShane and Von Gilnow (2004, p. 390) postulated, “conflict as beneficial [when] intergroup conflict improves team dynamics, increase cohesiveness, and task orientation.  [C]onditions of moderate conflict, motivates team members to work more efficiently toward goals increasing productivity.”  The sentiment regarding conflict as a tool and beneficial is echoed throughout the research of Jehn (1995).  Jehn (1995) reflected that the groups researched labeled the conflict as beneficial, good, bad, etc.  Based on the group’s dynamics and the conflicts faced and settled, the groups formed an integrated model for organizational conflict.  Essentially, how the conflict is approached and used by the team members individually and collectively dictates how beneficial the conflict is for the team and the organization.

Rao (2017) built upon previous researchers’ shoulders, perceiving conflict being a tool, and provided vital strategies for leaders to employ conflict.  Rao (2017) provided that conflict builds character, whereas crisis defines character” [p. 93].  Rao (2017) recognized that conflict labels are an individual choice.  In organizational conflict, one team could label the conflict as valuable and beneficial, while another department could label that same conflict as damaging and horrible.  When the conflict in an organization has disparate labels, understanding why conflict is disparately evaluated remains more important than changing the label.  Important to note, conflict is not competition, although occasionally used synonymously, there are important and distinct differences, important enough for a different article.

Thompson (2008) raised significant points regarding conflict, beginning with a real-life example of how conflict spurred organizational change and growth for the H. J. Heinz Co.  Thompson (2008) calls those who actively work to avoid conflict as those taking “trips to Abilene;” included in those making trips to Abilene are those who take conflict personally and choose to become offended, as well as those who choose not to see conflict as a method of ignoring conflict.  Thomas (1992) again captured how individual choices about the valuation of conflict open or close the door to the productive use of conflict.  Ignoring conflict, avoiding conflict, and other strategies of not facing conflict form the most dangerous people to be around, for when conflict grows beyond a point where it can no longer be ignored or avoided, that conflict that can destroy people, places, and things.

Thomas (1992) echoes Jehn (1995), Lencioni (2002), and Thompson (2008) in declaring the distinction between conflict as a process and the structure in which the conflict process occurred is critical to how beneficial the conflict will be for the team, business, or society.  Consider, for a moment the structure of the organizational environment.  Conflict is the mental thinking, adherence to operating procedures, and individuals working who become the instigating factor, which threatens what is known or done at the current time.  Hence, Thomas (1992) provided a keen insight into conflict as a tool, purposeful initiation of a process (conflict) to improve a structure (organizational environment).

When people recognize the power of conflict and purposefully employ conflict, everyone receives the potential to improve through conflict (Lencioni, 2002).  Thus, conflict continues to be a tool, nothing more and nothing less.  The disparities between organizational conflict labels are critical to understanding the chasm between teams evaluating conflict as the process and business structure.  The gap in understanding conflict’s results can create inhibitions to future organizational conflict and create unnecessary additional conflict processes, all while undermining the organizational structure.

Tribus – Changing the Corporate Culture

Juran’s rule is prescient but based on several foundational situations underpinning their understanding; the following applies regardless of whether the organization is building a learning society or merely keeping the money tap flowing.

    1. Operations, and by extension, operational goals, productivity standards, and processes for producing a product or service, are the sole domain of operations personnel. Does this preclude Human Resources from having a seat at the operations table; NO!  Having HR dictate operational goals to operations is akin to having a bullet tell a shooter how to aim.
    2. Training is a process. Training requires standards to judge performance as a means to declare training exceeded.  However, the quality of training, and the proof of trained personnel, is not an HR function, nor is the trainer the sole person involved in judging the efficacy of producing trained personnel.
    3. Organizational hierarchies are a process, the business culture is a process, learning is not training, and both learning and training are processes but have two different controlling entities; accountability and responsibility are a cultural extension of the process of organizing people into a functioning business organization.

Consider the fibers of an interwoven rope.  Each fiber is twisted with other fibers, then these twists of fibers are turned into more twists, repeated until eventually building a finished rope.  The same goes for these preceding foundational aspects.  Operational principles make, like many fibers twist, into a rope that can secure a multiple hundred-ton ship to a pier.  How the ropes are used is an operational process, but the core of the ropes are these essential aspects.Cut Rope with Rope - The Prepared Page

Some have argued, to their demise, that too many companies with this mindset are suffering from silo-mentality; when the obverse is true.  Each department of a functioning business organization relies upon processes similar to these foundational fibers.  Operations managers should not go into another business unit and expect to use the same tools from successful operations in those different business units.

For example, while I have been a successful operations manager, the tools I use in leading software teams are decidedly not the same tools I would employ on a production floor, even though both business units are expected to produce a product.  The people are different, their approaches to problems are different, and the environments conducive to product delivery are dynamically opposed.  Similarly, the tools HR would use to solve production issues are not opposed but definitely not employed similarly to those used in troubleshooting a problem in legal or accounting.

Juran understood these foundational situations, Tribus understood these foundational situations, and the best corporate leaders understand these foundational situations.  However, Tribus made clear something dynamic, leadership is not management, and management never achieves anything.  The dichotomies between leadership and management could not be more explicit in today’s business operations.Leadership versus Management - Entrepreneur Caribbean

Tribus (n.d.) calls upon the words of Homer Sarasohn, stating [emphasis in original]:

“THE LEADER MUST, HIMSELF, BE AN EXAMPLE OF THE CHARACTERISTICS HE WOULD LIKE TO SEE IN HIS FOLLOWERS.”

“Managers must practice what they preach.”

“DON’T SAY, “FOLLOW ME; I’M BEHIND YOU ALL THE WAY”
(IT MAKES EVERYONE GO IN CIRCLES).”

Application

What do we find in my client; managers who first do not know the work their operational employees do.  Managers who are disconnected by good jobs to the point they never engage in the better and best jobs their positions of trust demand.  The managers are not led but are managed and never were trained for their current positions.  These three items are why the client company is a dumpster fire of potential (blue money), where the bottom line evaporates, and nobody can explain why.  However, like in the Shakespearian play, “Much Ado About Nothing,” a lot of noise is made but goes nowhere fast!

Unfortunately, the much ado about nothing is worsened, not improved, by Kaizen, Six Sigma, Agile, and Lean efforts at process improvement.  The core problems are considered “untouchable,” “too dynamic,” or “too extensive” ever to be improved upon, and the new manager settles to change an operational process instead of core problems.  Essentially proclaiming, “Follow me, I’m behind you all the way,” the operational employees keep circling the drain.

What is the solution?

Solution generation for my client company begins with understanding the compelling evidence there is a problem.  Right now, the client thinks, “We are big enough to absorb these insignificant issues in the name of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.”  This is where every business begins its failure; no business can long survive dumpster fires of potential (blue money).  People leave, and this has a high replacement cost.  People work slowly or below their potential, which is a tremendous cost in green (cash) money and potential (blue money).  Operational costs increase, increasing customer costs and the loss of customers is a dynamic cost to the business.Estimating Startup Costs

After admitting a problem, the next step is envisioning an end state.  Since I began to lead men and women, I have advocated a lesson I learned as a teenager, “Never take your body where your brain has not already traveled.”  If you cannot envision the result, do not start trying to make changes until you have envisioned an end state.  I sliced my fingers badly with a knife while cutting onions.  Why did I slice my fingers and not the onion?  I did not understand the end state and assumed I could start cutting and reach an acceptable end state (diced onion).  I should never have started cutting; between the loss of the onion and the damage to my fingers, the lesson was not “Never cut onions again,” but “never begin something without a clear end state (goal) in mind.”

The third preparatory step to building a solution is START!  The client has this problem of always wanting clear instructions, plans, and supplies on hand before beginning.  The speed of business requires action, not plans and instructions.  Take the first logical step and begin!  Tribus (n.d.) makes this clear with the assurance, “There is a sensible first step,” take that step!  I will reiterate a point Tribus (n.d.) makes, employees work IN a system of processes, and the manager should work ON the system of processes, with the employee’s help.  A manager should be analogous to a mentor, who, like a leader, after understanding the vision, looks sideways and builds people to meet their level before taking that next logical step into the darkness.

Conclusion

The simple truth is that Juran’s rule has been used as an excuse to dodge responsibility in too many operations, businesses, and organizations.  Like my client, the good news is that change is possible with the people you have right now.  My client is not a bad company; your company is not inherently bad.  People are intrinsically good, and when we better understand the fibers that help tie Juran’s rule to reality, we can employ reframing to shut down the noise and move from much ado about nothing to effective management and leadership.  How do we reframe:

    1. Establish legitimacy and shift from passive to active.
    2. Bring outsiders into the discussion, but do not shift responsibility for developing the solution or owning the goals.
    3. Get the stakeholder’s definitions in writing – Common words, AREN’T. Common understanding; is a goal to strive towards.
    4. Ask what is missing
    5. Consider multiple categories, seek out those subject matter experts, and add them to the discussion as equals
    6. Analyze positive and negative data equally without bias
    7. Question the objectives, focus on the future and keep moving forward.

As we, the leaders of call centers, strive to change our understanding, realize our roles, and build people, we will build people, not processes, to meet the future.  The first step is committing to the decision framed in the question, “Is your company a money tap or a service to the greater good of society?”

References:

The references are included if you want to further research conflict as beneficial.

Amason, A. C. (1996).  Distinguishing the effects of functional and dysfunctional conflict on strategic decision making: Resolving a paradox for top management teams.  Academy of Management Journal, 39(1), 123-148.  doi:http://dx.doi.org.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/10.2307/256633

Baron, R. A. (1991).  Positive Effects of Conflict: A Cognitive Perspective.  Employee Responsibilities & Rights Journal, 4(1), 25-36.

Brazzel, M. (2003).  Chapter XIII: Diversity conflict and diversity conflict management.  In D. L. Plummer (Ed.), Handbook of diversity management: Beyond awareness to competency based learning (pp. 363-406).  Lanham, MD: University Press of America, Inc.

Du, F., Erkens, D. H., & Xu, K. (2018).  How trust in subordinates affects service quality: Evidence from a large property management firm.  Business.Illinois.edu. Retrieved from https://business.illinois.edu/accountancy/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2018/03/Managerial-Symposium-2018-Session-IV-Du-Erkens-and-Xu.pdf

Jehn, K. A. (1995).  A multi-method exanimation of the benefits and detriments of intragroup conflict.  Administrative Science Quarterly, 40, 256-282.

Lencioni, P. (2002).  The five dysfunctions of a team: A leadership fable.  Hoboken, NJ.  John Wiley & Sons.

Lumineau, F., Eckerd, S., & Handley, S. (2015).  Inter-organizational conflicts.  Journal of Strategic Contracting and Negotiation, 1(1), 42-64.  doi:10.1177/2055563614568493

McShane, S. L., & Von Gilnow, M. A. (2004). Organizational Behavior, Third Edition.  Boston: McGraw-Hill Companies.

Moeller, C., & Kwantes, C. T. (2015).  Too Much of a Good Thing?  Emotional Intelligence and Interpersonal Conflict Behaviors.  Journal of Social Psychology, 155(4), 314-324.  doi:10.1080/00224545.2015.1007029

Rao, M. (2017).  Tools and techniques to resolve organizational conflicts amicably.  Industrial and Commercial Training, 49(2), 93-97.  doi:10.1108/ict-05-2016-0030

Thomas, K. W. (1992).  Conflict and conflict management: Reflections and update.  Journal of Organizational Behavior, 13(3), 265-274.

Thompson, L. L. (2008).  Chapter 8: Conflict in teams – Leveraging differences to create opportunity.  In Making the team: A guide for managers (3rd ed., pp. 201-220).  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

© Copyright 2022 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Quality in a Warehouse – Reimagining the Process

Working DollarOver the last 20+ years in and out of warehouses, it never ceases to amaze and horrify the quality department operations and the waste of resources spent in either making up for failed quality or haphazardly running quality programs, thinking they are a waste of time.  Even those companies who focus resources on quality never seem to understand the trifecta of operational integrity (Product in, Quality, Product Ship) that quality could bring to an organization.  The reality is simple, quality is either your focus, your company is growing, or quality is a nothing burger, and your company will eventually be purchased or bankrupted.  There is no third option; we need to be clear on this point; quality is this important!

In quality and part of many compliance requirements are counting to ensure inventory is correct.  The counts break down into three types:

  • The Hunt – goes by many names but generally requires a person to count everything in a specific inventory location, e.g., shelf, rack, drawer, bin, etc.
  • Cleaning Inventory – is almost always called a cycle count, and its main job is to take the errors found in the hunt and clean them up, resolving specific issues.
  • Correcting Inventory – goes by many names but is generally used as a specific action where research is required, combining the hunt and the cleaning to find particular errors, lost product, and specific SKU issues.

If the counts were ordered by a financial institution instead of the quality department, the processes for clearing the errors might differ; the names often vary.  Yet the categories are pretty generalized to cross industries and remain applicable to a general discussion on operational improvement and excellence.  Specific companies will change names and processes, but I affirm the categories are sufficiently described to be practical and applicable.

Money

A fact of life, inventory is expensive, counting that inventory burns blue money, and those funds are generally not recoupable!  When speaking about money, colors of money are critical to a discussion.  Unfortunately, too many business leaders are either too concerned with green money or not cognizant sufficiently of the other colors to see how they all play roles on the bottom line’s performance.

  • Blue Money: Potential Money.  For example, buy a hammer with green money and invest $20.00.  But, in the hands of an experienced tradesperson, that hammer is worth thousands of times this amount of money over the life of the hammer.  The inverse is also true; in the hands of an inexperienced tradesperson, the potential for loss of money is incalculable!
  • Red Money:   Specifically, debt where interest is owed, on top of the principal, and other cash outlays.
  • Black Money: Dead Money!  Dead money cannot earn interest, cannot be spent due to fear, and cannot be used anywhere.  For example, drop a $10.00 bill into the sofa, and that money is as dead as yesterday’s fish!  Worse, once found that capital is usually in someone else’s hands.
  • Green Money: Cash!  Plain ol’ greenbacks.  Be those digital dollars, actual paper money, change, etc.; this is money that can still be invested, spent, and transferred for products.  Generally representing the bottom line.

While other colors exist, the focus is on these four types specifically.  Let’s use an analogy here for a moment.  A warehouse company hires a person to count inventory (green money outlay).  That inventory person invests time to count inventory (blue money) errors in stock could be red, black, green money errors, based upon how the inventory problems are resolved.  If no inventory problems exist, only the blue money was spent potentially finding the mistakes.  However, if errors were made and inventory errors exist but were not found by the inventory counter, more potential money has been lost than green money.  There is a blue, green, red, or black money loss on top of the original investment to have the inventory counted.

There is an axiom pertinent to quality in every industry, “Burn enough blue money, and green money evaporates with no trace.”  Hence, if the quality people are burning too much potential money to find defects in inventory, green money (cash) will disappear off the bottom line without anyone ever knowing or tracking the loss.  This brings the conversation back to types of counts and the problems in quality operations.

Fundamentals of Reconnaissance

Anyone who has ever conducted reconnaissance will know and understand the connection between quality and inventory in a warehouse and reconnaissance.  For those not familiar, here are the fundamentals of reconnaissance.  Reconnaissance is all about observations and reporting, communicating and making decisions about intentions, forecasting, and deciphering to make the best decisions while passing relevant information to leaders.  Guess what; The same is true of quality departments, especially in warehouse inventory.  The seven fundamentals of reconnaissance are:

  1. Ensure continuous reconnaissance occurs
  2. Do not keep reconnaissance assets in reserve
  3. Orient on the reconnaissance objective
  4. Report information rapidly and accurately
  5. Retain freedom of maneuver
  6. Gain and maintain enemy contact
  7. Develop the situation rapidly

Essentially, in civilian speak, the fundamentals of reconnaissance boil down to initial observation, data collection, data analysis, response to data, and response assessment (evaluate actions with an eye to the improvement of response).  Repeating only for emphasis, every employee in a manufacturing or warehouse environment is part of the quality chain of events.  They need to know how their actions individually lead to group (business) success.  Case in point, a stock person stocks a bin with a product; if that bin is crammed full, the product is going to fall out, become damaged, and create problems for the next person to look at that inventory location.  If in a manufacturing environment, if stock feeding machines are not uniformly loaded into the machines, damage, injury, and death potential are maximized.Inventory Quotes Humor. QuotesGram

It is important to remember that this is part of the first step in reconnaissance, observing what is currently happening.  Observation is also part of the most basic type of count, the hunt.  Knowing what the inventory looks like, how to access that inventory, maneuvering on a production floor, personal safety, and equipment knowledge and safety are all part of properly observing, collecting, and reporting data.  A person I know once told me, “Keep throwing spaghetti at the wall until something sticks.”  What is not mentioned is the need to prepare the spaghetti so it will stick when thrown.  Observation is where preparation occurs, and the business skipping preparation will always fail to capture the data for analysis accurately.

Counting Inventory

The hunt represents the counts with the least return on investment and a need.  Hunting inventory errors is akin to hunting game only with a camera.  You might get good pictures, but hunting with a camera will not fill your belly if you are hungry.  Personally, I despise the hunt and have long advocated for these counts to be removed from the quality department’s count types or be redesigned to become more valuable.  Simply counting inventory for the sake of hoping to find an error is anathema to good business sense and propriety.Inventory Quotes Humor. QuotesGram

Remember, a paradox occurs when two items are compared, and at first glance, they are opposites, when in reality, and with consideration, the truth is revealed they are more closely related than they are opposing.  The same is true to counts that hunt for inventory defects and proper observation, providing why I despise the hunt counting.  Preparation is a prerequisite to revelation, knowing where the inventory is, how to maneuver in a warehouse, and reach the stock; all this and more are essential.  Yet, when counting inventory, I affirm there must be a better way than endlessly sending people out to count, hoping to find defects.

Some companies have mixed inventory hunting counts with shelf maintenance and bin cleaning defects.  Warehouse rash, trash, litter, dirt, and debris in a warehouse remain a significant safety issue and should be cleaned regularly.  However, if the stock person is not already cleaning and stocking bins and shelves properly, the quality assurance person sent out to hunt for defects will become demoralized and stop cleaning up after the stock handlers.  Whether those stock handlers are pickers, packers, pullers, stockers, etc., the title is less important than the role they play in quality for handling the inventory, keeping a steady strain on the cleanliness of the shelves, bins, and storage locations, and correctly placing the stock into the inventory locations.

Several colleagues who are part of the quality control group in warehouses express similar sentiments to the following: “My job in quality would be a lot easier if those stocking shelves and those pulling stock to ship would pay more attention to how they handle the stock and the inventory locations.”  To which my answer is always the same, “Are all your people aware of the role they play in quality?”  By the comments answering my question, it is fundamentally clear that there is a Grand Canyon-like chasm between those not officially in quality and those in other roles, and fixing the problem, and eliminating the useless hunt counts, is all part of bridging this chasm!The Crazy Work Related Moments (51 pics) - Izismile.com

Hunt counts do one thing valuably, they provide an innocuous way for quality people to learn the inventory and observe conditions generally, which sounds like two separate actions, but in reality, they are the same action.  That’s the entire value in hunt counts; these counts cannot clean inventory defects; they can only take a picture and report that picture to begin another warehouse process.  The frequency of errors in the inventory hunt process forms a view that reports how clean or dirty a warehouse’s inventory process is; but, this report can be related with greater accuracy without the hunt counts.  Unfortunately, because the data reported is shared in numerical values, individual bias in the statistical reporting tools can be manipulated and often is misrepresented by conscious or unconscious bias.

Hence, we can conclude that the hunt count by itself has little to no value (green money), is expensive (blue money), and will heavily influence the acquisition and maintenance of red, green, and black money.  What is a person to do?[2020's] Top 11 FAR CPA Exam Study Tips - Pass on Your 1st ...

Possible Solutions

Possible solutions are aptly named because no warehouse is exactly the same, no company is exactly the same, and the quality department mission will always differ from one business unit to another and between businesses that compete.  I admit I am heavily biased against hunt counts in the warehouse and manufacturing industries.  However, I am also heavily biased about removing something that works for something untried in the hopes it will replace a flawed system.  Thus, the solutions proposed remain possible solutions to initiate the spark to a future conversation and obtain input from smarter minds.

  1. Since the hunt counts are basic, and the roles of stockers and pullers are very similar to an initial role in quality where learning and observing inventory is a prerequisite, make the entry-level job for stockers/pullers/quality all the same position—cementing the need for everyone to play an active role in quality while also removing lines that separate.
  2. Fundamentally change the hunt count to focus not on inventory locations that appear clean but those in chaos. Chaos in an inventory location should be the primary focus for correction, not simply a mindset that everything will eventually be counted, so invest in useless counts to make work.  Hence a stocker or puller would approach an inventory location with problems and count that full location while cleaning and straightening that location and reporting that location as problematic for corrective remediation with the last person who visited that inventory location.
  3. Stocker/pullers will not be able to correct defective inventory; this is a Sarbanes-Oxley headache for compliance, but this is a good thing. A level two quality associate could then be dispatched to that newly cleaned, organized inventory location to perform inventory correcting actions, thus speeding the corrective inventory action and providing better data on associate activities.
  4. Part of reconnaissance is using data more wisely; this includes capturing data details, improving training, promoting quality as a mindset for every employee, and analyzing the data for specific corrective actions the business can initiate in inventory locations, shapes of packaging, and handling stock more efficiently to prevent damage. Follow the data path to root causes and act on correcting root causes.

Final Thoughts

Knowledge Check!Qualitative data is almost useless by itself.  Quantitative data is practically meaningless by itself.  Thus, operational reports must contain both types of data to provide a clear picture of events and be the most useful in improving decision-making.  More to the point, mixing both types of data individual bias and subconscious manipulation of the data is more difficult, thus mitigated.  Reconnaissance is all about communicating and capturing data for analysis.  Why should a business leader only have quantitative data to base decisions upon; hence the need to understand data and use data more wisely.  Never settle for only one type of data in a report, never settle for what has always worked in the past, and never allow business processes and procedures to live longer than 18 consecutive months without a full review and torture testing to check for better ways and means.  It cannot be emphasized enough, “If you do not try the impossible, you will never achieve the possible.”

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

The Power Found in Restraint – Appetite Control is Freedom!

Exclamation MarkThere is a principle in life, “If you are not whole without something, you will never be whole with it.”  Modern psychology will not teach restraint to gain freedom.  It will often try to encourage a person to continue to do self-harm through their lifestyle while at the same time trying to find inner peace through the same lifestyle causing inner turmoil.  Yet, natural law and common sense declare if what you are currently doing is causing you distress, stop what you are presently doing first.

Several times in my life, I have had the pleasure of working with people who have been in this crisis.  All of these people are good people; I make no judgments about their lifestyle choices, moral codes, or desires.  Simply making observations as compared to the principle under discussion.Bait & Switch 2

Person 1, male, arrives onboard the USS Barry, an American Aegis Destroyer about the same time as I.  Works as a cook.  A hard-working person expresses his innermost desire is to obtain a tattoo. It has always been his dream to have a single tattoo.  He thinks it will make him tough.  Upon return to America, he gets a tattoo, then another, and then several more.  He gets off on the pain, but with every tattoo, his soul becomes more and more distressed and anguished, and he begins to hate his appearance simultaneously and desires more tattoos.  Because he was never a complete person mentally, he will never be complete with a tattoo without a tattoo.  He does not understand why something which gives him pleasure through pain is also causing him more mental and spiritual anguish.combatindex.com: DDG 52 : USS BARRY

Person 2, female, sailor from the USS Barry, born and raised in a Christian home, always harbored doubts about religion but never voiced them.  She always considered religion to be a restraint on freedom.  She joins the US Navy, cuts ties to the religion of her youth, and claims she has never been freer.  Her promiscuity is the stories of legends told in the engine rooms and back passageways of the ship.  Her friends on board are scared she will crash and burn on some port visit and find a dead body where their friend used to be.  This sailor thought sex would be the ultimate expression of freedom.  Instead, it became the chains of her demise mentally, physically, and spiritually.  When  I met her, very little remained of the modest and good person she had been as she was growing up; by the time I left the ship, she was unrecognizable.

Two very good people, quick to help, hard-working, people of different backgrounds, but essentially the same.  They discovered the same truth through two very different means, and the truth had nearly broken them when I left the ship.  I grieve for my colleagues and their friends.  By not knowing who they were and understanding their potential, the added freedoms and responsibilities of becoming adults were not the freedoms they expected but chains by which they bound themselves to paths of pain and destruction.

The Paradox

Carl R. Rogers Quote: "The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can ...A paradox is anything that initially appears to be two opposing forces, but when studied, they are not opposites but are closer related than opposites.  For example, one of the principles in understanding oneself and enjoying freedom is accepting restraints.  Case in point, using person 2, had she exercised the modesty discussed in the religion of her youth, she would have found that sexual relations are improved with restraint, not ruined with discretion.  Lies spread in society since the 1960s have claimed that sex is free, has no consequences, and can be engaged in without concern.  All of these are absurd lies leading to the destruction of everyone who listens and becomes engrossed in the lifestyle of free sex.  Hence, sexual restraint is a paradox; practicing restraint in sexual relations improves sexual relations, not hinders them, a contradiction, and freedom is found in restraint.

Person 3 has been observed the longest and is a family member, one of my younger brothers, to be precise.  He has lived his life in a manner that has seen him restrained by external forces because he refuses internal restraint—losing good companions as wives, relationships with children, friends, and colleagues along the way.  All of which has been difficult to witness, but the real tragedy has been the hero-worship heaped upon my younger brother by other more youthful siblings, leading them into dangerous and difficult paths.  Hence, you could call Person 3 an amalgamate of four of my younger siblings, all of whom have chosen paths of appetite fulfillment instead of appetite suppressant.Remember

By choosing to engage in appetite fulfillment, each of them has chased his one preferred appetite, to the exclusion of other all else, usually to the detriment of spousal relationships, children relationships, familial bonds, and responsibilities to society and themselves.  Worse, the shell of these people forms a prickly wall around genuinely good people, who, if they would choose to learn, could be taught appetite suppression.

Training is Contingent Upon Choosing to Learn

One of the most difficult lessons I have learned is that those who choose to learn will, and those who choose to refuse to learn will as well.  Nothing a teacher can do will change a student’s mind once it is made to refuse to learn.  Unfortunately, this means that the teacher will witness a lot of struggles in the student, watch the student experience consequences, and be harmed physically and mentally from the choices made to refuse to learn.

Andragogy - LEARNBelieve it or not, appetite control is a choice and begins with a desire to learn.  The paradox in training is that when the desire to learn is stronger than the appetite to remain ignorant, the learner will produce the effort to change through learning.  This is why appetite control is such a critical and fundamental topic for understanding.  Desire is appetite, an appetite is a tool for good or ill, and bridling an appetite is every person’s job if they choose self-mastery as a means of self-regulation and self-improvement.  When we choose self-mastery, we choose to become free!

Freedom is a paradox of bridled appetites to the greater realization that through suppressed appetite and controlled desires, a person can enjoy more, not less.  Can learn and experience more, have more, become more, and realize more potential.  Long have I been fascinated with racehorses, and the story of Black Beauty is one of my all-time favorites.

How Black Beauty Gave Animals a Voice - ilovehorses.netHow are the best racehorses made?  Sure, breeding helps.  But, training is as, if not more, crucial.  A good animal does not become a great animal until they are placed into the hands of a good trainer who puts restraints upon the animal.  A bridle, a harness, a saddle, wrap their legs to protect against ligament strain, shoes on their feet, and much more.  Then over time, the animal learns that the restraints, which at first were chafing and fought against, become the tools by which the horse achieves greatness.  The same is true for humans, every human, and those who, throw the restraints, never achieve freedom, never achieve excellence, and refuse their potential for momentary happiness, all because of appetite.

Living in a representative government, the citizenry needs to understand this lesson and monitor those elected for people who refuse restraint.  Those who refuse restraint will gather everyone who chooses to take a lazy route to their side, and in doing so, will ruin the representative government and destroy liberty for all.  The debt so many representative governments face right now, which has reached critical mass stages, is due to unbridled appetite and appetite fulfillment for the masses when the government needed appetite restraint instead.  The world’s problems in Afghanistan where rampant appetite fulfillment for the masses when appetite restraint was required.  Terrorism is nothing but an unbridled appetite mixed with modern weapons and a desire to watch the world burn, more unbridled appetites.

Knowledge Check!Do we understand that only through restraining our appetites can we personally enjoy freedom?  Do we teach appetite restraint to our children, knowing that when they control themselves, they can enjoy freedom, and help them to understand why appetite restraint is a good thing?  Do we exemplify appetite restraint in society in speech, clothes, manners and encourage others to do similarly?  If not, why?

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

Monk and Mental Health

Tony Shalhoub played the defective detective in the police drama “Monk” from 2002 to 2009.  Monk is obsessive-compulsive and has a list of 312 prioritized fears and phobias.  But, as the main character, everyone is expected to see and find his mental health challenges somewhat humorous.  However, I like the show Monk for another reason, all the other mental health issues swimming around Monk that nobody understands or even recognizes due to Monk’s fears and phobias being so over the top.monk tv show cast - Google Search | Monk tv show, Mr monk

Monk started a mental health conversation in America, reflecting that even those with mental health issues can be productive members of society if given a chance.  For example, Captain Stottlemeyer, for the majority of the show’s run, has anger issues, and yet he is considered capable and competent as a Police Captain.  Lieutenant Disher struggles with his identity as a person and his value to the organization.  The supporting character’s mental health problems create the drama.  Monk provides comedy and allows the supporting characters to be accepted for their mental health issues, which is essential in this discussion.

TV Reviews - TV Liveblogging: Some Episode Of Monk - KittysneezesSharona struggled with being a mother, her boss was driving her crazy, and her mental health issues stemmed from both her boss and her nursing responsibility.  Sharona plays a problematic role; does she provide nursing care for Monk or provide living assistance as a counselor?  Concluding that stress can be a mental health issue when taken to extremes.  Natalie Teager struggled with loneliness and a desire to be her own person outside of her family.  Both mental health challenges that many people struggle with silently.  Other supporting characters had substance abuse issues stemming from mental health concerns and personal choices, thus Monk’s subtlety and genius.

When Sharona, his nurse, leaves the show, Natalie Teager provides a lesson on mental health, the difference between coddling and helping a person with mental health problems.  Sharona, for all her care and concern, never saw Monk as capable without assistance.  Natalie Teager saw Monk as competent but needing some assistance.  The difference is subtle but very real.  Monk’s behaviors and mental health problems lessen when Natalie Teager enters the show, and the story becomes richer.

Perception vs. Reality in Care Support

Image result for monk tv show cast | Monk tv show, Mr monk, Adrian monkAre you weak to admit you have a mental health problem?  Per society, not as much anymore.  Per yourself, who knows.  Perception versus reality is critical in the person with mental health concerns and in the care-providing staff surrounding that person.  Now, I suffer from PTSD, Anxiety, and Depression, as mental health concerns; but, I thank God for my support (spouse) and those characters in my life that provide the drama, while my mental health provides the comedy.  Not a single person who knows of my mental health struggles has ever treated me capable without assistance, and this makes all the difference in how I approach the world.

The pattern of admitting the mental health challenges, coping with those challenges, and the consequences of those challenges have been made bearable because my supporters never waiver from the foundation that I am capable but occasionally need assistance.  Monk taught me that it was okay to have mental health issues, to see those issues in others, and a pattern of living and approaching others with mental health issues.  The perceptions of the supporting people become a reality in the mental health challenges of the person suffering.

Monk (S1/F12) im TV Programm: 22:35 - 08.11. - Universal ChannelIt is not easy supporting someone with mental health issues, and while mental health sufferers get the attention, Monk taught the world that the mental health of the family and friends is as important to the cure as well as the problem in mental health patients.  Consider the two different approaches of the psychiatrists on Monk, but never forget two other principles in mental health, change is hard, and change is beneficial.

Change and Mental Health

Monk was stuck in a rut, and a change in the insurance policies spurs Monk to change.  As the show develops, change is witnessed as beneficial and challenging.  When Sharona left, Monk experienced quite a shock; the different care styles provided by nurses spurred complex and healthy changes in Monk. Differences in approaches by the psychiatrists produced more changes and spurred growth in Monk and the other supporting characters.  Hence, as a mental health patient and as a care provider, another pattern is produced: am I looking for changes?  Am I open to helping others engage in change?  Do I embrace both the light and dark of change?

Pin by Smeesmii R on MONK | Monk tv show, Mr monk, Detective monkAdaptation is the only constant in life.  We adapt to the people around us, the social environments, the emotions, and the influences of peers, employers, family, and so much more.  Yet, we often try to control everything to prevent change, even though every new day brings change.  Monk showed he could not handle change, mainly because he and his brother had never been taught to handle change.

Patterns in Family Rearing – Mental Health Challenges

As a kid, I was told that I would never amount to anything since I was raised in poverty and abuse.  I had teachers who made this comment often enough that I got mad!  Nobody was going to curtail my abilities and shoehorn my potential.  Their reasoning was the research that showed those in poverty as children stay in poverty as adults.  That abuse is generational, and that abuse will always influence those raised in abuse to perpetuate abuse to the next generation.

Monk (TV Series 2002-2009) - Posters — The Movie Database (TMDb)Monk showed me differently, proved that individual choices could change preset patterns, and end captivity.  Sure, Jack Junior and Ambrose are typical examples of the generational nature of abuse, leading to mental health issues.  But, Monk overcame, chose, and in choosing and sticking with his choices, he endured and conquered.  Monk overcame even with his mental health challenges, not because of, or as an excuse, but with his mental health challenges as a companion.

While it is true how a child is reared, does dictate how that child will approach the world as an adult.   Individual agency, moral choice, and the choice and consequence cycles also play fundamental roles in that person’s life.  Thus, one cannot, and should not, place blame upon how one was raised for the failures in one’s life; this position negates the agency inherent in each person, and shifting the responsibility of choices is not healthy mental health practices.  More lessons learned from Monk about how to face the world, even if you might not have had the best family environment as a child.

Did you notice that when Jack Junior makes his appearance, Adrian (Monk) has changed enough to know not to gratify and indulge his step-brother in his poor decisions?  Despite the differences in mental health problems, Ambrose, Monk’s other brother, was also not pampered, although he was given special care.  Cementing the theme that people with mental health problems are capable, have potential, and need only the opportunity to show who they are and what they can become, just like everyone else.

I am not my handicap

I have disabilities; disabilities do not have me.  I am not my handicap!  Monk taught me this lesson in spades.  When Monk gets his badge back, he realizes he has learned this lesson as well as learning what his abilities as a disabled person are.  Another subtle theme in Monk worthy of exploration.  Adrian Monk was not “Obsessive-Compulsive, Mentally health challenged, Adrian Monk.”  Adrian Monk was Adrian Monk who lived with obsessive compulsion, fears, and phobias.  The distinction is subtle but essential to living with mental health challenges as a companion, not a ruler!

I am forever grateful for the lessons learned and still being learned from Monk!  I encourage you who read this to ponder the themes herein; change is beneficial and hard, but critical; family and family life is not your life; you are not your handicap or illness.  These themes and more can help open your eyes and mind to new possibilities, freeing you from your captivity of mental health challenges, but only if you choose to open your eyes and mind.

Finally, remember your support staff.  Have you thanked them lately for their support, care, and kindness?  If not, start there, express gratitude to and for the care received from those who live with you, work with you and desire your success.  Never forget, on your bad days, your support staff is still there trying to help, and they need support too.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

The Proper and Improper Role of Government – Part 3

Bait & SwitchThere many ideas I embraced as a child that brings me short mentally and cause some discomfort.  The biggest of these was the support of labor unions.  As a kid, I thought labor unions were the best thing since sliced bread.  I learned in K-12 how the labor unions had ended child labor, gave us weekends, Federal holidays, and the 8-hour day, among other tremendous and notable accomplishments.  Until I lost my job to a labor union guy who took four times as long to complete work, complained horribly and sent me to the unemployment line.  I never understood what he had to complain about, times were hard, and I lost a good job to a labor union member.

ApathyBecause of the hold, the Labor Unions have on government, the line between government policy and labor union influence is generally so blurred that confusion is bred as to why things work the way they work in government.  Unfortunately, every country with a representative government and labor unions has the same problem.  Labor unions are entirely Marxist in their ideology, but to keep the masses happy, instead of communism, we get rampant socialism instead.  J. T. Murphy writes specifically eloquently on the ties between socialism and the labor unions.  Frankly, I have never understood how a labor person can swear they love freedom and America while supporting tooth and nail their labor unions’ Marxist and socialist agendas.

Inflation and Socialism, plus the Captivity of Debt

Public Employment Retirement Costs Are At "Tipping Point"Public-sector labor unions are the number one reason many states in America have seen their credit ratings drop.  The debt of the retirement packages and pensions is a millstone around every state’s neck.  This is an absolute reality proven time and time again.  The pension crisis is so large that Forbes keeps coming back to this topic several times a year.  If you would like a primer on the public pension crisis, go here.  The public pension crisis is mentioned solely because it remains the number one budget item for too many states.  With that much money owed, the debt runs the state’s fiscal decisions, not people, and brings up the captivity of debt.

Look up the principle of “usury” in historical texts, and you find usury occurs when interest is charged on money borrowed, which creates captivity.  TheWalletcoach.com eloquently details how debt is captivity.  The oldest of historical texts, the Old Testament, is vehemently against charging usury of brothers and family members, but strangers being in debt captivity was okay.  Today, the confinement of debt, specifically the public pensions, leads the politicians like a goat to slaughter. But, unfortunately, none of the politicians can find the time to formulate a plan, gather their fellow politicians, and fix the problem.  Debt, to the height of the public pension crisis, creates inflation and leads to socialism, as the government runs out of other people’s money to pay for the failures of previous politicians to be fiscally literate and fiscally responsible.  Add in the labor unions’ consistent sticky hands, and the local and state governments are in deep trouble.  Add in the Federal Government’s debt obligations, and money trouble is a catastrophe!  Please note that catastrophe is not an “If” or “when;” it is a current issue right now!National Debt Graph + Bush-Reagan Voodoo Video - zFacts

16 March 2019, Tom Del Beccaro, writing an opinion piece for Fox News, produced the greatest missive I have ever seen tying the principles of debt captivity to inflation and governments becoming socialized!  Historically speaking, Mr. Del Beccaro is 100% correct that the socialization of Greece and the fall of the Roman Republic are both tied to government debts. However, the Founding Fathers in America knew history, were literate, and they feared what would happen to this Free Republic (if we can keep it) when the government is allowed to rack up debts!  Every single publication I have on the Founding Fathers, and the Founding of America, come back to the bondage of debt and the problems with government debt. However, when the population demands “free benefits” from the government and uses their voting power to elect only those who keep the “Gravy Train” coming, socialism has been achieved in all but name!Government Largess

That fact alone should scare every member of the American Experiment into correcting their government!  Yet, what do we find, the exact opposite!  Frightening does not entirely cover my feelings here!

Socialism, Taxes, and The Workplace

Gravy TrainReturning to the pattern discussed on 16 March 2019, Tom Del Beccaro, writing an opinion piece for Fox News, discussed how taxes are a knee-jerk reaction to “keep that gravy train running.”  Therein lay the root causes for how socialism has been promoted in the workplace and how high taxes will eventually go!  I have written about this relationship for a long time, but please allow me to refresh memories.

In the United States, the Government Agency tasked with employment, employment laws, and employer responsibilities is not the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB); by statute, it is the Department of Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  The NLRB is only there to handle labor unions, labor union growth, and labor union law.  The IRS defines what an employee is vs. a contractor or knowledge vendor.  Worse, the IRS rigidly protects this relationship as a key to preserving the government’s interest (tax dollars) in keeping socialism in the workplace.  Some of my earliest articles deal with these exact principles and the socialized employee structures in which each worker and business is demanded to participate.Gravy Train 2

Upset with how your employer treats you, both on and off the employer’s property, there is only one place to put the blame, the IRS.  The IRS states the employer can invade your privacy, in your home, as an extension of “Risk Control” because your employer agreed to the IRS’s demands to pay taxes.  Your rights, freedoms, and liberties are curtailed, culled, and clipped in the workplace because the IRS demands the employer play ball with them, and your liberties are the price you pay for a paycheck.  Every time I see a labor union complaining about how the employer treats them, I want to shake the stuffing out of the leaders, for it is not the employer but the IRS that should be struck down and disbanded!  Yet, the NLRB will always side against the employer, and the labor union, a Marxist organization, wins, the IRS wins, and the employer and non-union employees lose. As a result, socialism in America becomes more powerful and influential.

Socialism and Mothers in the Workplace

As a means to improve the strength of the family in society, several religious organizations would love to see mothers provided the power to stay home.  Yet, socialism, as a fundamental operating principle, that all able bodied people must support the state, K-12 educators can rear kids, and the government acquires drones who do as they are told.  High fuel prices are no longer discussed on the nightly news because the government needs every able-bodied and disabled person working and asked the media to find something else to discuss.Plato 2

Why does the current president keep ducking questions about inflation; because the higher inflation goes, the higher prices are demanded, and the more people will rely upon the “Government Gravy Train.”  Unfunded liabilities (kited checks) are acceptable to socialists as a means of controlling the populace and keeping people in the game.  Higher taxes from inflation are good when it controls those in society who would raise their heads and ask questions under the thumb of totalitarian control.  If mothers returned home, how fast would demands for improved schools become the big issue in local politics, again?Gravy Train 3

My wife, a single mother due to divorce, while raising her two kids, relates stories of gathering mothers in Seattle to fight the school board and win.  Bewitched (1964-1972), the TV show reflects several times where Samantha got involved and changed local politics.  It used to be expected in local politics for mothers to have the ultimate last word on worthy politicians for whom to vote.  Yet, by increasing prices, mothers had to go to work.  It is now standard for politicians to get elected whose only desire is to keep socialism going, stealing liberties and freedoms while pontificating that the other party is at fault for your suffering.

Knowledge Check!I repeat, only for emphasis, the IRS remains the most influential, nefarious, and deadly threat to America.  America, what I am proposing will be a culture shock. It will turn many people onto their heads. It will appear anathema, all because we, the citizens, have watched the government become stronger and us the citizens weaker for so many generations.  But, the reality remains, we own the government, the government has been abusing us, and the time of big government to solve all the problems from a broken shoelace to fixing the weather has to end!  We must believe, gather knowledge, and act as a conjoined whole to make the necessary changes.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: CHANGE! – Let me Explain

Bird of PreyAs a fourteen-year-old, I was wandering around an office supply store in Belfast, Maine, and came across a bookmark I thought had an interesting statement on it:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I thought that saying was pretty neat, and it helped me begin a process in my own life of learning how to learn and challenging change.  Over time, I began to suspect something out of place in the pattern that quote/prayer was claiming; I do not believe there are things I cannot change!  I know that if a person refuses to change, I can do nothing until that person chooses to change.  But, I remain convinced that there is nothing man has made that cannot be changed.Leadership Cartoon

As a building contractor, I learned that the same tools I am using to destruct a building are the same tools I will employ to construct a building.  An important point where change is concerned, structures can come down, structures can be built, but the human element rests upon their own decision to change or not.  However, many times the structures can influence the individual to change.

Detective 4In the US Army, I noticed something powerful; when living in a Korean War-built Quonset hut, my fellow soldiers and I had moral problems, experienced depression, and struggled.  But,  when we moved into new barracks, many of these problems ceased almost immediately.  Thus cementing a lesson, the environment plays a role in personal feelings and influences desires to change.  In the US Navy, this was more poignantly learned.  I slept in Crew Berthing Three, the rest of the engineering department slept in Crew Berthing Two, and I hated going in there.  Between the smell, the lackadaisical attitude towards maintenance, and the general disorderliness of the compartment always left me feeling depressed.  So, even though I slept in the same berthing as Deck Department, which included the Boatswains mates, the berthing spaces were neater, cleaner, and better all around.  Environment matters and influences personal desire to change or not to change.

As my injuries have worsened with age, my ability to rebuild engines, build or destruct structures, and operate heavy equipment has been reduced dramatically.  But, the lessons taught have remained, there are people I cannot change, but there is nothing that I cannot change.  My wife asks me all the time why do I write articles for a blog.  My answer is rooted in the Serenity Prayer quoted above; there is nothing I cannot influence to change.

Andragogy - LEARNToolsThere are people who I have met who will never change.  One comes readily to mind, I was homeless on the streets of Auburn, Washington, after leaving the US Army in S. Korea.  I had a job but no place to stay.  One night while wandering to keep warm, I met a homeless man who refused to change.  He was homeless by choice, not because of any drinking or drug problem, not because he was not smart enough to get a job and improve his living conditions, but because he chose to be homeless.  He said, “I am who I am, and I refuse to change just to please society.”  A very intriguing thought occurred to me then and has repeated often, am I choosing to be homeless, or am I choosing to grow?

I choose to be a lifelong learner; this commitment sprang from this conversation with this homeless man in Auburn, Washington.  I committed to several principles knowing that I could more greatly influence my environment as I changed myself.

      1. Be Curious
      2. Focus on Active Looking
      3. Review and Redraft
      4. Improve memory and recall
      5. Change your perception

Because there is nothing I cannot change, I know the power of small pebbles in a landslide.  I know the power of tiny snowflakes in an avalanche.  I understand how a small rudder can turn an enormous ship for good or ill.  Nothing man has made that man cannot unmake, remake, fix, correct, or influence change.  There are people no one will ever influence due to moral agency, individual perception, and the valuation of consequences.  But, the environment around that person can be changed, and opportunities provided to encourage a different mindset.

GearsCase in point, an engineering shipmate of mine, was kicked out of Crew Berthing Two for smelly feet, which led to smelly shoes, which upset a lot of people in Crew 2.  He was forced to come live in Crew Berthing Three.  Why did he have stinky feet, a fungus was growing on his feet, and he had never been taught how to care for his feet.  He could wash them 100 times a day, but because he did not know how to care properly for his feet, nothing would change, and his feet would stink.  When my shipmate chose to change, we taught him about foot care, he went to medical and got some fungal cream, and he purchased new shoes and socks.  Why were his feet not a problem in Crew Three; we had better, and took better care, of the ventilation system than Crew two.Courage

Those engineers in Crew Two could not understand that the environment influences behavior, and the influence of behavior led to negative consequences.  The move to Crew Three changed the environment physically and led to an eventual change in mindset for the person.  Could Crew Two have had better ventilation; absolutely, if the members living there desired it.  Since they individually decided not to have better ventilation, the consequence was a smellier and more nasty berthing space.  Environment plays a role in behavior and influences people for good or ill.  We can affect the environment, but we cannot force change upon people who refuse to change.Behavior-Change

Leading to the final thought, why do we need “wisdom to know the difference?”  I  can change the environment around me.  I can change me.  I cannot change other people, but I can change other things and influence the people after changing those things in the environment, causing problems.  Let us examine this from the viewpoint of the Department of Veterans Affairs.  The administrators (people) are causing moral issues and distress in the employees.  Some of the employees like being morally repugnant. Others are ethically obtuse because of job security. Others remain true to themselves and stay in the system to help affect change.

Life ValuedHow does a person change a system built by man; start with the environment, which in this situation are the processes, procedures, and methods of conducting work.  A leader arrives and begins influencing people through how they perform their work.  Then begins the fundamental operations of training to new standards, including ethical, moral, and logical processes and procedures written down.  Then, that leader begins holding people, not written processes, accountable for their actions.  Shortly every person will be faced with a choice, change or leave.  Hence, cleaning and correction become a natural function of the environment, and change is made where many have claimed; change will never happen.

Knowledge Check!As an industrial and organizational psychologist, I know this is the path forward as I have applied these lessons in my own life.  Changing people, like destructing and constructing buildings, does not occur magically.  Plans are made, planning is carried out, and fundamental change occurs through the environment.  Use the pattern:

      1. Be Curious
      2. Focus on Active Looking
      3. Review and Redraft
      4. Improve memory and recall
      5. Change your perception

Watch what happens!  It is amazing to see and possible to change.  Nothing cannot be changed; only people choosing not to change cannot be changed.  But people are not the environment, and the environment can influence people!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Some People Change

Bird of PreyMontgomery Gentry sings one of my all-time favorite songs, “Some People Change.”  If you pay attention to the song’s lyrics, you hear about people who make a conscious decision about how they will live in the future.  Leaving me with the question, how am I doing?

As a fourteen-year-old kid, I remember standing at the bus stop, in the February cold of Morrill, Maine, shortly after my birthday, and committing to leading a life where the chains of abuse and the history of violence in my family stopped with me.  From that day to this, almost 40-years, I can say I have failed and succeeded, but I am still in the fight.

Mother Teresa is a person I look up to.  Kindness personified, even in the midst of the most desperate of human circumstances, she kept emptying the ocean one teaspoon of kindness at a time.  There are times when I hope to be as kind as Mother Teresa, and then I realize that will require a lot more work.  Mother Teresa has several quotes that I enjoy that apply to our times:

      • Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.
      • Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
      • Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.

Finest HourMy mother-in-law was a scrapper; born to an alcoholic and abusive father who stole her wages for the ability to drink; my mother-in-law came into this world fighting mad and swinging.  A knuckle-busting, streetfighting, hell on heels kind of gal.  I swear my mother-in-law could have scared Kitty Leroy into being an honest woman!

In her late 80s, she had a run-in with a high school football player who a grocery store employed; the player cried after getting her tongue lashing.  Their relationship improved over time.  When my mother-in-law passed from this mortal plane, she was kind, considerate, and angelic.  Her last five years or so were spent being 100% helpless from a fall where she broke a bone near her hip.  When I hear Montgomery Gentry sing their song, I thank the powers that be for having witnessed such a tremendous change in such an incredible woman.

Let me tell a story about my mother-in-law and her fighting spirit.  As a kid, my wife and about 14 of her classmates caught polio.  My wife was headed for split leg muscles, an iron lung, and a reduced lifespan.  My mother-in-law fought the doctors, did a lot of research, and through her convincing ways, 14 of those classmates, including my wife, walk today, had families, had long productive lives, and have experienced joy-filled lives post-polio.  The one classmate whose parents were convinced by medical professionals suffered greatly for her short life.Foghorn Leghorn - Medication

When I think of some people who change, President Abraham Lincoln comes readily to mind.  While he might not have made the dramatic changes my mother-in-law made, the changes he made were more fundamental and led America through some tough times.  Consider President Lincoln’s most famous executive order, “The Emancipation Proclamation.”  One of the few times in American Presidential history where I agree with the use of executive orders to make fundamental social change.  A true shame is that the Congress of the United States refuses to make this part of official law in America.  Like Mother Teresa, President Lincoln has said some things which I enjoy and motivate me.

      • Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
      • Whatever you are, be a good one.”
      • America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
      • I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me, and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.”

I often quote my experiences with Miss Murphy, Principal of Governor Anderson Elementary School, SAD 34, Belfast, Maine.  I am who I am today because Miss Murphy influenced me in a primary manner that changed my life.  Two people had a tremendous impact on my life, Miss Murphy and a family friend who became my best friend.  Two people from paradoxical backgrounds chose to invest in me as a person, above and beyond the typical call of duty.  Miss Murphy had a poster in her office, it was of a forest of pine trees, with a path that wandered into the background, but the caption on this poster has stayed with me since the first time I saw it:

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”

I did not know why, the first time I saw that poster, I liked it.  But, after enough years of thoughtful consideration, I understand why I love that poster.  How many times have we wanted a friend but got a follower or a person who wanted to lead; I do not know about you, but this has happened too many times.Friends Quote

To the bigots ignorant of history, please keep your yap shut!  Another person I recognize as a great leader, amazing person, and someone who personified the saying, “Some people change,” is General Robert E. Lee.  A man known to walk through his Arlington fields where Confederate and Union soldiers were laid to rest who prayed for those entombed.  The US Congress thought to punish General Robert E. Lee by seizing his fields for a National Cemetery, but in the end, the seizure was not the punishment the US Congress thought; that is the character of the man.  General Lee makes several points the world would be wiser to heed.

      • We failed, but in the good providence of God, apparent failure often proves a blessing.
      • I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself.
      • Obedience to lawful authority is the foundation of manly character.
      • The education of a man is never completed until he dies.
      • Never do a wrong thing to make a friend or to keep one.

A “Liberty FIRST Culture” recognizes that truth comes when people change.  People can choose to change, and in changing their minds, change the world.  Never give up on people!

Dont Tread On MeThanks to the brave!  Some people change!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Revisiting Change vs. Knowledge

ToolsRecently, I wrote about Change vs. Knowledge, and I have received some push-back on this topic and wanted to explain and expound a little to assure and address some concerns.  The basic premise remains, in Christopher Paolini’s book “Inheritance: or the Vault of Souls,” the main character Eragon answers a question about change, saying, “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.

In basing the premise on this quote, I am not excluding anything in the learning process.  Education does come in many forms, including academic, informal, experience, and even through epiphanies where knowledge comes from sources greater than those we can understand with our limited senses and understanding.  I fully accept that the great warrior Joan of Arc received heavenly manifestations and was guided in her battles by these manifestations.  Hence, I acknowledge that people continue to be influenced in like manner and accept this as a form of education.

Detective 4Along the same vein, desire remains crucial to seeking knowledge and acquiring knowledge through the long struggle as a motivating force.  Thus, desire remains a tool of motivation in empowering change.  Provided the desire is not abused into appetite suppression, which leads to excess, abuse, and chaos.  For example, during the initial phases of the Spanish Inquisition, the desire was the unification of the population.  The Spanish Inquisition soon turned ugly and began persecuting Jews because the people leading the inquisition desired the Jews to either convert or leave Spain.  Thus, the conclusion that desire can quickly turn into appetite suppression can cause chaos, destruction, and severe abuses.

Let us be perfectly clear; education remains a vital proponent in boosting change in a population.  Teach a population to read, write, and perform mathematics, and you will significantly change a population within a generation.  Consider the post-Civil War era in America; the children of slaves went to school, learned reading, writing, and arithmetic, and then began to spread out as influential people.  The same occurred with the American Indian tribes, and this pattern repeats throughout all of history and never wavers.  Thus, we can safely conclude that formal education boosts changes in society, cultures, and people who then create change in their environments and communities.Grit - Defined

What is wisdom?

Wisdom is another term that everyone knows but has various components that aid in fully detailing the term.  Wisdom captures the quality of experience, education (formal and informal) as knowledge, and couple’s good judgment, or the ability to make logical and sound decisions.  Wisdom also encapsulates the appropriateness of actions and decisions where experience, education (formal and informal) as knowledge, are applied to a situation.  Wisdom is also the body of experience, education (formal and informal) as knowledge in society.  Unfortunately, wisdom has been plasticized, and emotions and emotionally powered logic have been installed as erroneous variables creating confusion and aiding in language’s tyranny to exert undue pressure on people.  When Speaker Pelosi (D) can be called wise, the tyranny of plastic words becomes evident!

Choice vs. Perception

Remember, the premise “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.”  We choose whether we will allow change to be good or bad; we decide whether or not knowledge will be helpful or not.  The choice is based upon how we choose to perceive the world around us.  For example, I grew up in a house where smoking was considered tough, manly, and cool.  I smoked in high school but quit in the US Army during Basic Training; let me tell you, that’s tough!  But the perception of smoking, even with all the knowledge of the harm smoking can do, I still have to fight my perception of smoking’s image as I continue to be a quitter.

LookIs the relationship clear; as a kid, the perception was powerful that smoking is a good thing; as an adult, I must fight that perception because I choose not to be a smoker.  Even though for 10-years after quitting, I could walk through second-hand smoke, and my pulse would race, my brain would demand a cigarette, and I would have to choose to remember why I quit smoking consciously.  While the choice has become easier to keep in the now 20+ years after quitting, the power of the perception that smoking is cool remains as bright as ever.

The choice and perception variable remain a potent force in everything we, as humans, choose to do, see, become, and what we teach to others.  Worse, the choice and perception variable is evident in behaviors, cultures, social groups, and political choices.  Consider how many times Senator McCain (R), Senator Obama (D), Senator Robert Byrd (D), Speakers Schumer (D) and McConnell (R), etc., backpedaled, back dealt, changed positions, and still was able to convince citizens to vote for them.  Speakers Paul Ryan (R) and Nancy Pelosi (D) have had the exact same problem their entire time in the US House of Representatives.  Look at any politician who has been around for longer than three terms, and you will see choice and perception as significant variables in why they continue to win elections.

Never Give Up!Hence, when we take this article’s premise, “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful,” we must factor in the choices and perceptions of those around us as a collective society.  When we understand choice and perception, we more thoroughly understand behaviors, trends in actions, and we grasp at the power and danger of the premise that “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.

What we choose is not simply contingent upon what we know but also our perception and our valuation of past decisions on this topic.  Consider the quandary Robert Solomon has experienced by persisting that emotions are a choice, a judgment, and a socially influenced action consciously made.  The entire psychological world threw back their heads and howled, fighting, screaming, and becoming illogical, and yet emotions are as much a conscious choice as the clothes we wear each day, our hairstyle, and the foods we choose to eat.

LinkedIn ImageAs we choose a “Liberty FIRST Culture,” we must understand the why, the perception choice variables, and embrace the premise that, “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.”  Doing so will require we first look at our world views, knowledge, perceptions, choices and decide if these are bringing us closer, or taking us further away from, a society where the US Constitution lives as the paramount “Rule of Law.”  Are we actively choosing to draw ourselves closer to freedom through our Republic, or are we part of the problem?  Individual choice will drive change, provided we are conscious of our choices, educating ourselves, and actively working towards improving society.  As the fundamental building block of the American Republic, the society that matters most is inside our own homes; build that society!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Change vs. Knowledge

Guns and Liberals - A Pipe DreamWhile reading Christopher Paolini’s book “Inheritance: or the Vault of Souls,” the main character Eragon answers a question about change, saying, “Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.”  Long have I maintained a similar approach to change and the desire for knowledge.  What I find most interesting is how often truths become clear when I am not particularly looking for them but remain open to new thinking on old topics.

What is Knowledge?Detective 2

Knowledge is a formula:

Knowledge = Education (Formal +Informal)*Experience*Time

During the knowledge process, change happens.  Even when the decision is to reject knowledge, refute change, or deny change is occurring, the process of knowledge continues.  The problem, knowledge is gained and lost, proportional to our desire to obtain new knowledge.  I love the show “Married with Children.”  In one show, the daughter Kelly learns something new and forgets something old, in a constant cycle.  The same philosophy is found in the movie “Glory Road,” the coach says, “You know what, Shed? You’re like a duck. You wake up in a new world every day.”

What is change?

Non Sequitur - ClassicChange is modification, alterations, replacing, becoming.  There is nothing to fear in change.  Yet, how often has someone made money selling books about helping people change, driving business change, improving people during change, and adapting and adjusting to change.  During my undergraduate degree program, I had an epiphany, “Do you know that every time a business obtains a new customer, they experience change?”  Research supports this epiphany, and I was shocked silly to come to this realization.  I shared my thoughts in the classroom, and I thought the instructor, and most of the class, would have a heart attack and die on the spot.

That week’s topics were all about change in the workplace, and I do not hold that change is an event horizon but a steady strain on a person to move them from where they are to who they might become.  Another shocking idea that scared the class and caused a riot.  Yet, change is nothing more or less than a journey of knowledge, where we choose to embrace learning in the hopes of changing and gaining knowledge.

Why is this important?Leap Day

To answer this question, I ask another, “What is it you want most?”  For that which you desire, you will change to acquire.  Using Shed’s character as an example, after being handed his bus ticket, Shed realizes that he cannot go home in shame, “I’ll never be able to look my daddy in the eye.”  His character does some soul searching, and he returns to fight for a position on the basketball team.  Shed learned that which he desired he had to become willing to acquire, then had to fight to acquire, and only through total commitment did he eventually acquire his desire.

A friend of mine related his experience with a husband and wife.  They were considering divorcing, had concluded they had done all they could, and were visiting my friend to discuss the problem.  This couple had forgotten what they desired and had stopped fighting to acquire what they desired.  My friend helped this couple remember why they originally married in the first place.  Over time, the couple stopped growing apart and began again to desire and acquired what they desired most, companionship with their partner.

Detective 4That which we desire, we will invest in acquiring.  As a kid, I wanted a book.  Not any book; I wanted a particular book worth $75.00.  I shoveled a lot of snow, raked a ton of leaves, mowed lawns, split wood, stacked wood, cut down trees, and did many other odd jobs to acquire the money for this specific book, eventually earning almost three times the money needed for this book.  Then, I gave the money earned to my parents to buy the book for my birthday.  I did not get my book; the money was spent on “other things,” and I was told to be grateful to have those “other things.”  Interestingly, as an adult, when I finally acquired this desired book, a change had come over me where this book was concerned, shifting technology changed the original reason to own the book, and the book now sits less used on my shelf.

Yet, the principle remains a valuable lesson; what we desire, we will invest in acquiring.  We will sacrifice much to acquire a desire.  Consider our fraudulent president; what has he, and his wife, sacrificed to acquire the presidency?  What has Speaker Pelosi (D) invested and sacrificed to acquire?  What has America suffered so the Clinton’s could acquire their desires?

Do we understand the caution in Change and Knowledge?

Change itself is neither good nor bad, but knowledge is always useful.”  Therein lay the caution.  Change is blamed when the consequences of desire are not as valued upon possession as they were before acquisition.  But, if we choose to allow it, the knowledge of that experience is always helpful as we plot future decision-making.  During my time in the US Navy, I learned the definition of a mistake, “A mistake occurs when everything learned, experienced, and achieved if given a chance to repeat, you would not repeat.”  Meaning that the knowledge acquired, the experience obtained, any achievement awards all lay as dross when compared with the original decision.

Never Give Up!Some journeys we travel are not enjoyable, but the knowledge is valuable.  Some journeys we undertake require too much, and we stop long before the lesson is learned, and in stopping, we lose what we thought we had gained.  Some journeys require a period of recovery before the lessons learned become apparent, and then we can choose to allow that knowledge to be useful.  Yet, change remains neither good nor bad; the consequences of our decisions are neither good nor bad; the knowledge is only useful when we choose to allow it to be useful.  You choose; choose wisely!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: “Which Way Are You Going?”

Difficult TimesJim Croce is responsible for the title of this article; he sings a song by the same name, with the following lyrics:

Which way are you goin’?
Which side will you be on?
Will you stand and watch while
All the seeds of hate are sown?
Will you stand with those who say
Let his will be done?

 One hand on the bible
One hand on the gun
One hand on the bible
One hand on the gun

 Which way are you looking?
Is it hard to see?
Do you say what’s wrong for him
Is not wrong for me?
You walk the streets, righteousness
But you refuse to understand

 You say, you love the baby
Then you crucify the man
You say, you love the baby
Then you crucify the man

 Every day, things are changing
Words once honored turned to lies
People wondering, can you blame them
It’s too far to run, and too late to hide
Now you turn your back on
All the things that you used to preach

Now it’s let him live in freedom
If he lives like me
Well, your light has changed, confusion reigns
What have you become?

 All your olive branches turned to spears
When your flowers turned to guns
Your olive branches turned to spears
When your flowers turned to guns

My parents are hippies; that is the simplest way to describe them.  A lesson learned from my youth is the essence of this song from Jim Croce; we all have to make a choice.  One of my parent’s favorite sayings, “You made your bed, now lie in it.”  Meaning, I made choices, and the consequences are now mine to enjoy or suffer depending upon how I choose to evaluate the consequences.

Detective 4For example, on my birthday in sixth grade, a school bully pushed me into the mud and called it my birthday present.  I was holding a math book and a borrowed clipboard; the mud ruined my book and clipboard.  I stood up and made a choice; in my right hand were the clipboard and book were used as a balance to swing stronger with my left and began beating the tar out of the bully.  I earned a seven-day vacation from school for fighting; the bully got a three-day vacation for pushing me, a bruised cheek, two black eyes, and a really fat lip.  All of which were still healing when I returned to school.

To this day, I do not regret beating that bully.  I had spent a year being bullied and was done.  No, I am not proud of the beating I gave him, but I was done being pushed at that exact moment.  I made a choice, and life has been significantly different ever since.

That is the point, the point we each need to understand and accept.  Carefully consider the words of the song above. We each have a choice to make. In making that choice, we have natural consequences, and how we evaluate those consequences determines our destiny.  Hence, which way are [we] going?

PatriotismWe have a fraudulent president, a congress that refuses to listen to the American people; we have legislatures, governors, mayors, and so much more working against the citizenry for political power and personal gain.  Well, America, which way are you going?  Will we step up and resist, or will we sit and lose?

Will we choose to see and understand the truth of this stanza:
Every day, things are changing
Words once honored turned to lies
People wondering, can you blame them
No, I cannot blame people for wondering, the world has been turned on its ear things are changing, words are being turned into lies, and the worst thing about it, is too few are willing to choose to see and not decide to do, and in failing to choose, they are choosing and the consequences are dire.

Grit - DefinedDo you understand the complex truth hidden in this stanza?
Now it’s let him live in freedom
If he lives like me
Well, your light has changed, confusion reigns
What have you become?
If a person chooses to allow the COVID vaccine, like a lab rat, we can now live in a “new freedom.”  But, in choosing that path, confusion reigns, freedom is lost, and the American light is shadowed.  What has America become?  Why did we allow freedom to be lost?

The Duty of AmericansHold one; why not shift the paradigm and change the questions?
Which way are you goin’?
Which side will you be on?
Will you stand and watch while
All the seeds of hate are sown?
Will you stand with those who say
Let his will be done?
Whose “will be done?”  The enemies of freedom and liberty or someone else?  I am not speaking theologically, philosophically, or metaphysically; I am speaking as a person who is observing, desiring a new set of consequences, and knowing that a different set of choices is required to make a change.

Therein is the problem, how does an entire population become motivated to make different decisions?  It is not just marketing at this moment in time; we must lose the political divisions and other divisive elements that have been falsely employed to create divisions and sow chaos.  I am talking about making a new conscious choice, logically deciding what we want, need, and desire.  The question spreads the spectrum from politics and government to media and food consumption and employment and shopping.

Theres moreI am done with both the Republicans and the Democrats; neither party is aware nor even listening to the citizens.  The extreme elements in the Democratic Party, the environmentalists, the LGBTQ+ community, the Communist Party, the Socialist Party, etc., all have made their choices and must live with the consequences.  However, this does not mean the rest of the country has to take the same path to death and destruction.

The Republicans have chosen to act without spine, reason, or even cohesion in thinking and doing.  Yet too often, all the political choices come down to Republican or Democrat, and there is less and less difference between them from day to day.  Why have we settled for just two political parties in America?  America has been through changes in the dominant political parties before, and we must do so again for the good of the Republic.  We, the citizens, must force a change by refusing the Kool-Aid, refusing the political madness, and refusing to lose the Republic.  Which way are you going?

Non Sequitur - DecisionsWhich way are you going?  How will you choose to move forward?  Do you realize that your emotions are your own choice?  That by taking control over your emotions, you become empowered to choose more powerfully and more logically.  The media, the politicians, and the bureaucrats all want to control your emotions, and they want you to be controlled by the marketing hype, the big pharma, big-tech, and big-box retail.  Do you realize that your privacy is invaded 24/7 by people tracking the products you buy, the websites you visit, and so many other methods and means, including your cellphone?  Why did we give up our privacy?

Which way are we going to choose?  As each of us makes an individual decision, our country will begin to change.  I offer the first choice, choose a “Liberty FIRST Culture!”Image - Eagle & Flag

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.