Man’s Inhumanity Towards Man: Shifting the Leadership and Customer Service Paradigm

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Recently, I was asked, “What does customer service mean to you?” The question continues to reverberate in my mind. Drawing upon several recent experiences, let’s discuss why customer service continues to be useless, debilitating, and demeaning. Finally, let’s imagine a way forward, a new paradigm for understanding the relationship between people as human beings, customers, and employees, who all deserve the best customer experience we, the professional customer-facers, can provide.

For the record, my wife considers the first example a genuine customer service success and remains a pleased customer. Since the first example concerns both of us, I see the customer service provided as a fail and will explain in greater detail below. According to my wife, this example is a win because of the treatment and ease of concluding her part in the customer service example. This separation of beliefs highlights another reason why voice-of-the-customer surveys (VoC) should not be a knowledge performance indicator (KPI) for service professionals. Service delivery is ambiguous, and as the disconnection between my wife and I represents, service value is in the eye of the beholder.

The first example begins with Amazon.com. The end user received their order for a product (the customer was served), which also contained two items not requested, not ordered, and not paid for (an additional hassle for the customer). The customer service department, at Amazon.com, was consulted and the agent informed the customer, “Since the cost to return the products did not justify shipping the products back to Amazon, the customer could keep the products” with Amazon’s blessing. This is not a good customer service experience for several reasons:

  1. The customer now has to dispose of new products not needed or wanted.
  2. The only justification for not returning the products was the cost, e.g. inconvenience, to Amazon.
  3. The underlying problem, receiving parts not requested, did not come with a solution that served the customer; nor, did the option to keep the parts improve the customer experience.

While the customer-facing agent was kind, considerate, and per the company guidelines acting in all good faith to the customer, in the interests of the company the customer was not served even though a solution was generated and the customer went away. Consider the person who was supposed to receive these parts. They will have to call and either receive a bill credit or the parts need to be shipped, thus delaying the other customer as well as not serving that customer by respecting their time, resources, and honoring the customer’s commitment to using the retailer Amazon.com. With both customers not being served, how can Amazon.com, or any business organization, dare refer to these customer interactions as “service.”

Regarding the next two examples, I am purposefully vague about the entities committing the customer “dis-service” at this moment, for a reason. I do not want distractions, e.g. reader bias, to interrupt or interfere with the focus upon the incidents by naming the organizations. The second example comes from an infamously poor government office that has a reputation for providing poor service to their customer base. The third example comes from a truly infamous retailer who is already struggling but generally has much better customer interactions. The second and third examples’ names will be provided later in this article.

While dealing with a large government entity, both in person and over the phone, three separate and divergent answers to the same problem were received over the period of five different opportunities to assist the customer. By stating this experience happened with a government entity, many people already are presuming the experience was bad. It was, and this is an acceptable and reasonable policy for bureaucrats to exemplify. I disagree most heartily that any government office can produce poor customer interactions and skate by blithely. Since all governments cannot operate without forced taxation, the government entity should be providing better, not worse, customer interactions than those found in the private sector and the need to hold the government to a higher standard is sorely lacking. More to the point, the original problem remains unresolved more than 15-days after the problem was promised a solution within 5-business days. What amazes me the most in this affair is the nonchalance, non-interest, and forthright noncommittal that government employees are allowed, nay encouraged, to get away with in customer interactions with those same taxpayers, who both need help and pay the taxes to keep the government employee employed.

Third, a recent example occurred during this now past holiday season; a customer approached a company representative for directions; the company representative did not have any pressing duties to occupy his/her time and can leave his/her assigned post to aid customers in improving the customer experience. I know this, as I checked with the manager and witnessed the customer service provider playing on a cell phone moments before being asked a question. The company representative gave a broad hand, and arm gestures yelled at the customer and appeared in all appearances to be inconvenienced by the customer’s request for directions. The company’s policy states the company representative is to walk the customer directly to their desired destination and await the customer’s pleasure to return to their original post as the only method to handle this type of service request. When this was brought to the manager’s attention, the manager acted shocked in front of the customer raising the complaint, and then took no action, as the additional action was deemed “not warranted” per the manager’s murmured comments to other employee’s in the vicinity. More to the point, the manager took the opportunity to bad mouth the customer raising the complaint and presented the complaint to other employees, who “snickered” at the language the manager used to describe those making complaints, while falsely thinking the customer who is raising the concerns was not paying attention.

Finally, a recent example from a major fast food franchise, while Burger King as a corporation should not be held accountable for the work the franchise performed, the customer service example remains priceless in showcasing the uselessness of serving the customer and the need for training customer interaction professionals. While using coupons, the customer became confused in the “legal print, ” and the order took longer to place and pay for than normal. The cashier at this point does three things: 1. Assumes the confused customer cannot hear; 2. Bad mouth the confused customer to the next three customers who were waiting patiently; and 3. Blames the customer for taking too long to order their food. Later, the cashier approached the confused customer, blamed the incident on him, offered a faux apology, and walked off muttering about stupid customers not understanding the reality of fast food restaurants.

In the third example, do not be distracted by the poor leadership being presented by the manager. Focus instead on the customer interactions: two different customer experiences, both deemed “acceptable customer service” by the powers that control the experiences. Neither customer was served nor was the problems solved. The first customer found a more helpful company representative who followed the company policy, and the second customer interaction with the manager only strengthened the customer’s resolve to continue to avoid the retailer. Two opportunities to grow a new relationship, enhance a new paradigm upon the customer, and promote goodwill and loyalty with the local customer base were missed. Customer interactions can and should be held to a higher standard, and the following defines my position that focusing solely on customer service is useless along with steps to improve.

Focusing solely on “serving the customer” is useless as all the customer receives is a meeting of their stated needs. In the third example, the customer received directions; thus, the customer’s need was met, and service was provided. In the first and second examples, the customer needed information and a plan of action to overcome the situation experienced. Even if the work resulted in the customer needing to take more action, the customer was “technically” served. In the fourth example, the confused customer received his food, was able to use a coupon, and was thus “served.” Is it apparent that merely serving the customer is useless?

The service to the customer, while technically meeting the customer’s needs, remains not just poor but pointless; all because the focus of the organization is honed to simply provide “service” or meet the customer’s stated need at the lowest cost, the fastest interaction, and the least amount of effort for the company and those employed to provide customer service. Sometimes all that is wanted by the customer is to resolve the problem quickly and efficiently and courteously and move forward with their lives. This is yet another reason why freedom is needed in customer interactions to serve as needed for each customer making contact. Customer facing professionals deserve better from their leadership than simply “providing service to customers.” Customer facing professionals need leadership, guidance, and freedom to develop the rapport necessary to shine their personal, professional pride into the customer interaction, all with the intent of not merely “serving a customer’s needs,” but providing opportunities for the customer to be motivated to brag about their unique customer experience.

In practice, the following steps should be the underlying governing principles to move from service to professional pride.

  1. No matter the method for customer interaction, make the time to show genuine interest in the customer. This will require making conversation, employing reflective listening techniques to ensure mutual understanding of the customer’s position, and representing the company with professional pride. For the customer-facing employees to show pride in the company the company leaders need to ensure the “What” and the “Why” is known to the employees’ so the employee can exemplify the “What” and the “Why” to customers. Leadership is key to communicating with a purpose and promoting the spirit of reflective listening in an organization. Make the connection of mutual understanding and most of the customer problems shrink in size.
    1. Active listening is good, but it doesn’t make the grade anymore.
    2. Reflective listening is all about making sure mutual understanding has been achieved.
    3. Mutual understanding provides one interaction resolution, goes beyond simple servicing needs, and displays the pride and professionalism of the company’s commitment to customer interactions.
    4. Reflective listening can be employed in voice, email, instant message, and face-to-face customer interactions and reflects an easily attained step up from only actively listening.
  2. Promote the customer experience by not differentiating between external and internal customers, treat them all as valuable customers deserving attention, focus, eye contact, and validation that their concern is justified and worthy of attention. Act in a manner that the customer deserves the best, and the spirit of customer interactions will infuse all the customers with a commonality of desire, hope, and professionalism. As a customer interaction professional, how much better do you offer superior interactions with customers when you, receive excellent customer interactions from the company you spend time representing?
  3. Remember to make the human connection in human interactions. Using reflective listening, focus on the clues, the body language, the tone of voice, and acknowledge these communication streams through competent action. For example, if the customer is perceived as stressed and is speaking in a clipped and hurried manner, respond kindly, but through accurate and speedy action acknowledging the customer’s stress and meeting the customer’s need by respecting their time. Human interactions are improved through human connections that reflect respect and that embody this principle in every human interaction, and the customer-facing employee becomes a customer’s hero. Using the information above, are we not all customer-facing employees; yes, we certainly are!
  4. Freedom to think and act in the interest of the customer, based upon sound critical thinking skills, is exemplified at the time of the interaction without second-guessing after the interaction. This happens more often in call centers, but every customer-facing employee has had this occur to them. At the moment, the decision appeared the best course of action, but after the interaction/interference of a manager or a quality assurance (QA) employee has second-guessed and provided “advice” that does not provide value to future customer interactions, doubt is planted removing confidence in acting appropriately in the future. Does this mean allowing poor judgment to survive? Absolutely not; it does mean that the “advice” needs to model and reflect value for future decisions, not cast aspersions upon the previous decisions.
  5. SMART Training. Everyone knows the axiom for SMART Goals; training should also embody the principles of and reflect SMART, “Specific, Measurable, Applicable, Realistic, and Timely.” If the training does not meet SMART levels, the training is not valuable to the persons receiving the training. Make the training SMART, and the potential for improving professionalism in customer interactions grows exponentially.
  6. Never stop learning, never stop reaching, and never stop growing. How often does training cease for employees after the new hire training concludes? How is a new employee supposed to meet the demands of a constantly changing customer population without ongoing training? More specifically, should managers, team leaders, directors, VP’s, and the C-Level leaders also continue to learn and receive training in their positions, roles, and company? If the front-line customer-facing employees need constant refresher training, then every customer-facing employee needs constant refresher training that meets the SMART training guidelines and provides value to the individual using that training.
  7. Stop wasting resources on unproductive goals, e.g., serving customers with excellence. Serving customers, even with “excellence,” remains a useless and wasteful activity; eradicate the term “customer service” from the company vernacular and memory. Begin by realizing the opportunity provided in customer interactions to grow the business, supporting customer interactions through reflective listening where mutual understanding is the goal, and by acting upon the mutual understanding achieved.

We, the professional customer-facing providers, can and should be able to onboard these principles and lead the eradication efforts to remove customer service from our focus and professional labels. The importance of not serving the customer, but elevating the customer interaction, cannot be understated. The customer experience needs to be elevated with reflective listening and prompt action to mutual understanding and a sense of mutual growth as partners in using the company’s products and services. The customer is too important to continue to waste resources only to serve. Make the opportunity to deliver and elevate, and the bottom-line will take care of itself abundantly. The organization in the second example is the Department of Veteran Affairs. The organization in the third example is Target.

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© 2017 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved – Image Copyrights used under Fair Use and are not included in the authors copyrighted materials.  AZ Quotes retains image copyrights.

The 3-E’s of the Employee/Employer Relationship: Is your Organization Practicing all Three?

The 3-E’s, early, eminently, and equality, thus forming the fundamental principles of the employee/employer relationship.  Too many times only early is practiced, and the problems emanating result in reduced employee morale, purposeful negative actions, and disruption of the business by both customers and employees acting in a resentful manner.  In order to fully understand the power of combining the 3-E’s, we must first detail, define, and describe.

Early is often considered as akin to new, fresh, and initial; yet, the better application for this topic is in timeliness, punctuality, and promptness.  For example, when a problem occurs, the earlier it is addressed the faster and less damaging the problem becomes to the business as a whole.  Not taking precipitous action leaves the problem festering and infecting eventually leading to organizational cancer (Dandira, 2012), low employee morale, and managerial inertia slowing business processes and increasing the damage.  Hence, prompt, punctual, and timely action to address a situation early enough to affect positively the outcome remains the order of the day and the strongest power business leaders can take with the 3-E’s, but early action is not enough.

Eminent is often considered as akin to celebrity, paramount, and superior; yet a more preferred definition for this topic is often conspicuous and influential.  When an eminent action is taken, the action tends to supersede current policies, procedures, and overlaps or drowns normal work.  Overlaps and superseding are dangerous actions leading to increased costs, lost work, customer complaints, and a general lack of trust in business leadership to properly prior plan and produce positive performances from the business structure.  These thoughts are fed with celebrity-like marketing on new policies, business leaders, and changes, which are not fully understood and appreciated by the employees most affected.  Hence, the need to be frequently engaged, seen being influential in the lives of employees, and known as a person who cares remains the key leadership quality developed by eminent action; yet eminent actions, even if conducted early, are insufficient to properly influence and meet the demands of business.

Equality is often considered as sameness, fairness, and uniformity; yet, all of these definitions fail to capture what equality truly is and the power of equality.  For this topic, consider the following:  equipoise, parity, and concurrence.  Employees are individuals. They might have similar job titles and responsibilities, but the individual approach to the position provides power and separates the individuals and does not collect, compress, and concentrate into carbon copies.  Hence, the same approach of uniform application is not meeting the needs of the employees nor is it meeting the definition of fair.  Thus, the employee needs equality that treats them as individuals concurring in practice, but are individual in approach, and brings parity into treatment as an expression of equipoise.  While early is good and early mixed with eminence is better, but without early, eminent, and equal combined into an action, the employee and the employer suffer in an environment of disaster fed by chaos, corruption, and cancer as detailed by Dandira (2012).

Consistency remains key to employee/manager relationships.  While the principles of 3-E’s are important, all the work of the 3-E’s can be wasted if consistency is not honored and observed by the employees.  Consistency requires flexibility, firmness, and fungibility to meet the demands of creating success in using the 3-E’s appropriately.  The main factor in employee/employer relationships continues to be the individual nature of each employee, not the requirement to make all employees the same carbon copy of another employee or an “ideal” of the desired employee.

Putting these principles into practice requires asking questions, such as “Are employee communications being expressed early, eminently, and equally?”  “Are actions taken by business leaders being perceived as meeting the 3-E’s?”  “Do the trend lines in application indicate consistency or inconsistency?”  While employee perceptions can and often remain hidden, except through properly capturing actionable data in key performance indicators, the answers to these questions and more are evident.  Look at the employees, who show up to work excited, enthused, and enthralled.  Ask them why they possess these qualities.  Then, ask those employees not possessing them and hone in on the differences.  Will employees change from day-to-day; probably, but the answers continue to be important indicators as to whether communication in the organization is occurring.

Sinek (2009) offers that asking why and truly listening to the answers being returned remains the most effective question and action series employers can take from day-to-day as the pulse of the organization.  Gitomer (1998) adds that leaders after asking “why” should ask “what” to empower change and drive motivation.  Consider for a moment, an employee is asked “why” they feel the way they feel, then “what” would that employee like to see changed to aid in feeling differently, and project the employee’s reaction to having been heard.  Project that employee’s reaction if they see the changes they offered implemented into business practice.

Are all employee suggestions implemented; no, this is not feasible and the employees know this when making suggestions.  Yet, when employee suggestions are implemented, this changes the employee dynamic for all employees.  Ask yourself, when was the last time an employee suggestion was implemented and marketed to the other employees?  If the time is longer than 6-months, the program is not consistently being implemented and there is a problem with using the 3-E’s.

Steenhuysen (2009) reported on research discussing the power of praise.  Where praise is offered genuinely, praise has the power to change, and the research supports that the power of genuine praise operates on the same reward sections of the brain as cash. Anecdotal evidence shows many employees appreciate genuine praise, sometimes more than cash.  As a business leader or employer, ask yourself, “When was the last time I caught someone doing good and offered praise?”  If the answer was not yesterday, there is a problem with the 3-E’s, and consistency will be needed to rectify this problem.  Are you setting the goal to not leave the office without offering genuine praise?  Remember, Steenhuysen (2009) is reporting that praise is its own reward.  The research and anecdotal evidence present praise as being as good as cash to the brain.  Hence, praise is its own reward; can objects be added to potentially increase the reward, yes.  But start with praise, honestly provided and employing the 3-E’s.

Case in point, I have worked with a VP of Customer Service Operations who carries with them yellow and purple post-it notes.  The purple are for catching people in the act of good.  From simple actions to amazing calls, they all get recognition on purple post-it notes as a very noticeable action the business leader can take to catch and praise the good.  The yellow post-it notes go to the team leader when training is needed.  Consistent action over the years has developed a spirit of competition to earn and be caught doing an act of good.  The yellow notes are not remembered at bonus time; more serious infractions have a set process to follow, and the less serious yellow post-it notes are simply a means of providing timely feedback employing the spirit of the 3-E’s.  Upon starting this program, almost a full year passed before the employees caught on and the word of this action spread.  Let consistent action be seen, not marketed, and let the word spread by enthused employees.

The best part of the program from an employee perspective is the highest earners of purple post-it notes eventually began earning additional non-cash rewards also presented in a quiet manner.  The rewards ranged from leaving an hour early with pay, longer lunches or breaks with pay, to movie tickets and dinner cards.  These extra steps were implemented when trends reflected some employees were taking extra efforts to be caught thus necessitating a need for other levels of reward to keep the interest of the employees in acting and performing to a higher level.  Never are these employees recognized openly, e.g., at a company meeting, marketed to other employees, e.g., in a company newsletter, and receiving the purple notes is not a competition.

These purple post-it notes are an expression of gratitude from a person in leadership to an employee working hard.  Quiet, consistent, application of the 3-E’s provided a failing business unit new life in employee interactions with each other and the external customers.  The actions taken here should not be rare or the exception in employee/employer relationships, but the standard and personalized to each business and business leader.  What can we learn here to apply to all business units and organizations?

  1. Whatever is done consistent action remains critical.
  2. Simple, quiet, and direct remain key to affecting positive results on a personal level. Be brave!  Be honest!  Be courageous!  Be seen acting as you would see all employees act.  These will provide an impetus for others to emulate actions taken and good will develop.
  3. Know the 3-E’s, whether you are currently an employee or a business leader of hundreds or thousands. The 3-E’s are a two-directional action possessing power for positive results.  Use this power to drive a solution that can be consistently applied.
  4. If what is being tried is not working, do not act abruptly. Quietly adjust until positive actions can be seen and verified through trend lines.  What is being done currently might simply need more time or more quiet publicity to be discussed by the employees.  Make small adjustments and act for the interest of individuals; the whole population will catch on.
  5. A word of caution. Never use this program for self-aggrandizement; this will kill the program faster than a bullet to the 10-ring.  Do not enter into this program and offer non-genuine praise or false and ambiguous words and canned phrases.  Be specific and capture the incidents exactly, ask questions if needed, but be genuine and specific.

 

References

Dandira, M. (2012). Dysfunctional leadership: Organizational cancer. Business Strategy Series, 13(4), 187-192. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/17515631211246267

Gitomer, J. (1998). Customer satisfaction is worthless – Customer loyalty is priceless. Atlanta, GA: Bard Press.

Sinek, S. (2009). Start with why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action. New York, NY: Penguin Group.

Steenhuysen, J.  Praise as good as cash to brain: study. (2009, February 26). Reuters. Science. Accessed from: http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSN2343219520080424?feedType=RSS&feedName=scienceNews

© 2016 M. Dave Salisbury

All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

Confirm thy soul in self-control – Thy liberty in law!

From “America, the Beautiful” by Katharine Lee Bates (1913) comes the principles of this post and its title. This phrase comes from the second verse of the song after requesting “God” to “mend thine every flaw.” While many will consider this either religious or political, the principles being discussed transcend labels and form the bedrock of good followership, which is simply being a good leader without the title and responsibility.

The principles of self-control are paramount to living in any society, but especially in the American Society consisting of a Constitutional Republic. For example, rules and laws exist in a society as they do throughout the universe because there is no right or wrong without them, and tumult, discord, terror, and chaos in the absence of rules and laws result. The principles of self-control will prevent those laws from ever needing to be enforced provided control of selfish desires are properly employed. According to Webster, self-control is all about controlling one’s own emotions and desires or the expression of those desires in one’s behavior.

Self-control is the foundation to freedom. There cannot be any society without self-control of the individual members and that requires a sense of morality. Lack of self-control forms barbaric societies where the biggest/strongest get their needs and appetites fed and everyone else can suffer. We see this style of thinking with President Bill Clinton and the long list of sexual appetites displayed, and President Obama through his long list of vacations, foods, and family trips, along with many other federal, state, and local politicians; lack of self-control leads to barbaric actions, feeds one’s own appetites to the detriment of all other societal members, and ultimately concludes with the frustration and destruction of society as a whole. Rome was a nation that tried to curb appetites using law not moral action, refusing to stress the need for individual self-control in all citizens as a paramount virtue, including its politicians, and fell gloriously. To avoid falling, America needs to remember self-control and the liberty created through proper self-control.

The concept of law being liberating is as foreign to many as saying, “War is kind,” a concept from the poet Stephen Crane. The concept of law as being liberating stems from the foundational principles of self-control and the lessons of Alexis de Tocqueville, “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.” John Adams said something very similar, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion… Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other;” thus, driving home the point that self-control is the first foundational building block of a moral society, the chief cornerstone, and the mortar upon which laws are cemented into the resulting society. If the mortar of self-control becomes cracked and splintered, the entire construction of society crumbles.

Consider ENRON and the debacle that occurred with this organization, which began with flaming success and crashed and burned into abject horror and misery. The business was originally built upon self-control, good leadership, and correct principles. Then, a new leader came into power who lacked self-control, refusing to follow established accounting principles, preferred to be a barbarian feeding individual appetites and lining his own pocket, and launched a meteoric rise in ENRON while also launching the demise and destruction of the same. When leaders lack self-control, followers will abandon self-control and follow the leader into destruction.

Self-control is difficult, but liberating. Self-control is a challenging taskmaster, and choosing to exercise self-control remains the chief lessons of childhood. Consider the story of the “Affluenza Teen;” because the parents did not teach self-control, self-restraint, and consequences for poor behavior, the child abandoned any sense of wrongdoing, and society now must take responsibility to teach the child how to behave. The “Affluenza Teen” learned that a lack of self-control is a good thing from the only teachers available, his parents. This is a replicating story in millions and millions of lives every single day in America currently. Lack of parental involvement advocating a lack of being held accountable and the only lesson learned being feed your appetite without restriction caused the “Affluenza Teen” less liberty, less freedom, and less ability to thrive. Appetites, desires, and passions must be controlled to enjoy liberty and freedom and discover other life enjoyments.

There remains a strong connection between self-control and liberty, so before God “may mend thine every flaw,” we must learn and teach self-control as the true path to freedom, as the only path to liberty, and as the main responsibility of societal members to other members in the same society. This means a return to morals and ethics as taught by religion; no, this does not advocate one religious belief system over another, as freedom of religion is a right. This means advocating for a return to religion from the wastes of “free love,” popularized in the 1960’s flower power generation, that has stripped America of much of her beauty. Those lacking self-control created multiple generations of Americans, who prefer to speak about “Rights” without shouldering any of the “Responsibilities.” Hence, self-control was the first victim of the 1960’s “Hippie Movement,” and self-control remains in the hospital on life support while society has crumbled, wilted, and died in the ensuing period of time.

In short, the chains of not possessing self-control are strong and choking the life out of American Society. We have lost liberty to government and bureaucrats of government. Those lacking self-control are honored and immortalized, e.g., “Kardashian’s,” “Clinton’s,” “Pelosi,” “Obama’s,” and so forth, while those with honor and integrity are scandalized and harangued, e.g., “Ronald Reagan,” “Benjamin Franklin,” “Robert E. Lee,” “Margaret Thatcher,” and so forth. Leaving politics and political affiliation out of the discussion, those with the most self-control enjoy the most liberty and those with the least self-control enjoy less liberty.

Some erroneously make the argument that they are freer for having less self-control except that the items being pointed to reflecting liberty are nothing more than selfish desires of the individual wanting the same appetite fulfillment. For example, according to tabloids and media, the “Kardashian’s” are symbols of sexual immorality and are filling this appetite. Sexual immorality is the epitome of enslavement and remains highly addictive. Sexual impropriety is life threatening. Sexual impropriety is an insatiable appetite, consuming everything good unless bridled, and controlled; but worst of all, sexual impropriety is mind altering leading from one perversion to another until the person is left an empty shell, damaged goods, unable to distinguish between right and wrong.

Where is liberty to be found? Control of appetites and passions has been handed down from the 1960’s as immoral, immaterial, old-fashioned, and out dated. Engaging in immoral, uncontrolled sexual permissiveness often leads to unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Planned Parenthood’s success rates are an indicator. How often does lack of sexual self-control lead to sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s)? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a special website just for STD’s. The symptoms of no sexual self-control are all around us. Media companies advertise alcohol and sex with no control or limitations as a good thing and warn in the same commercial break of rampant problems from the lifestyle lacking self-control.

There is no freedom without sacrifice, no self-control without making decisions, no liberty without moral convictions tried and tested in the fires of unpopularity. The freedom and liberty found in self-control are not boring or uneventful, simply different from those lacking self-control. Those lacking self-control might find pleasure in the moment, but how pleasurable are hangovers from too much alcohol? How happy is an unwanted pregnancy? How happy are those with STD’s whose lives are permanently changed, affected, or outright destroyed? Let us take the words of this beautiful piece of music to heart, “… confirm thy soul with self-control” and find “… liberty in law” then we can rely upon “… God to mend thine every flaw.”

© 2016 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved

Organizational Diversity: Is Your Business Diversity Commitment Only Skin Deep?

I absolutely agree diversification of people improves organizations, communities, and society. I agree that including many minds makes a better professional and personal environment, organizations can become more flexible in thought and action, and ultimately better members in a society are trained and built. Increasing diversity, improving inclusion, and inspiring multiculturalism all wrap around the same three principles, trust, agency, and freedom. Inherent to agency is the ability to choose, the freedom to choose, and the responsibility for the consequences of the choice validated or judged by societies, even when choosing wrong according to one person or another. People must be able to choose wrong and suffer the consequences demanded by society without government insistence to build diversification programs that possess intrinsic value to a business.

Having seen organizations that pride themselves on being culturally diverse and skin-tone accepting, the management more often than not tend to be very exclusive of new thinking, new ideas, and loyal opposition. I have experience with several organizations that claim inclusion, and practice exclusion at every opportunity while preaching, marketing, and advertising their diversity. Thus, the question remains, “Is your business diversity commitment only skin deep?” An example of “skin-deep diversity” is on display when reading Bruno’s (2008) article on bias covering The Chicago Tribune. Labor unions pride themselves on marketing their inclusivity and diversity; The Chicago Tribune also prides itself on being multicultural, but both organizations represent the worst kind of exclusion while promoting in word a spirit of inclusion. This is witnessed and exemplified by Bruno (2008); the claims made towards The Chicago Tribune and many Labor Unions remains justified and applicable as learning opportunities.

The first question regarding deeper diversity a company should ask is, “Why the reliance upon legal requirements to force multiculturalism and diversity if diversity and multiculturalism are so good for the organization (Greenberg, 2004)?” People, all people, regardless of age despise being told what to do; but advocating the removal of laws specifically designed to force judicial and legislative fiat in diversifying an organization encourages rejection, scorn, and disparagement towards the advocate. The two sides of the same coin are the legal demand to diversify while being told it will make your organization stronger and a refusal to diversify beyond skin pigmentation and personal lifestyle choices. A sealed and closed mind is more damaging than an undiversified organization; surface level commitment to diversity embodies a sealed and closed mind.

Legal or governmental fiat of forcing people to work together is most detrimental to the morale, confidence, and disposition of the workforce; yet, governing bodies all insist upon using force to achieve that which logic and free markets can regulate but have not been tried. Nowhere, in any country, where free market principles attempted to change the hearts and minds of companies to embrace diversity. The power of judicial action and legislated demands forced diversity as “… yet another program to add to hiring agendas for businesses forced upon business decisions.” While I believe and support the power of organizational conflict as a means to improving engagement, I also realize that good organizations must be honest and forthright in addressing concerns and eliminating conflict among stakeholders, including employees. Like rampant undirected change, conflict, has the power to overpower and destroy because of a lack of self-control. The same is true for rampant diversification programs that scratch the surface, e.g., pay lip service to diversity but never actually diversify minds and thinking.

The second question a company seeking deeper diversity should ask is, “Why are governments and judges not good at diversifying businesses?” Boler (1968) provides wise counsel on the application of individual and personal agency and the power of agency in organizational design and leadership. When people choose to embrace diversification as a personal commitment, instead of being forced to embrace diversity required by a judge or legislator, the personal investment and individual interest increases the likelihood that the change in thinking will be more than surface deep. By being more than surface deep, a diversified workforce can then unleash the powerful effects of diversification as promoted by Greenberg (2004).

Agency alone is not enough; trust becomes the next greatest factor an organization can embrace (Stawiski, Deal, and Ruderman, 2010; & Tan and Liddle, 2011). Trusting first in the self to act ethically and for reasons beyond the individual desires and personal values, Bjorn (2011) provides guidance on building the moral courage as a foundation to trust by trusting in the persons dealt with on a regular basis to do their job to the best of their ability (Bjorn, 2011). To reciprocate trust within the organization, empower people to build relationships built upon trust and drive that trust relationship into time. Finally, trust the competition to compete fairly, including honorable action, to build a better future. Agency and trust go hand in hand in this endeavor, and through agency and trust, the freedom to act does not have to be litigated, legislated, or lost for the forced acceptance of obscure principles or to honor legislated diversity programs.

Freedom to choose embodies the accountability and responsibility to act, building upon the moral fiber of the individual to be seen and doing that which society claims is “right and proper.” People, all people, regardless of culture and country, want to be seen by their peers and fellow professionals as acting appropriately. The shift from barbarism to civilized society means force is not needed to ensure compliance, and the individual being left to act will naturally act in a manner that will be recognized by free market principles and rewarded. Hence, government fiat and judicial action were not only erroneous but continue to impede diversity programs. Unleashing the power of diversity releases the individual and the organization from acting out of fear and acting for honor and respect from society; through trust, the power of agency and freedom to choose determine a prevalent and cohesive workplace environment.

Taking the prescribed action does presume people are honest and free of prejudice or are willing to release themselves of fear and prejudice out of a desire to be seen as honorable. Although that is an ideal presumption, reality proves it can be problematic from top-down mandates in organizations. Assuming the ideal, the principle of hiring only those, who are qualified by education, experience, character, and ability to work with others at any level, settles the issue whatever diversity the applicant represents. It will automatically happen from top down. Respect shown for others should be included, however, and respect must be earned from top-down with leaders engaging in exemplifying the desire to diversify thinking through action, not simply words printed on a diversity mandate.

© 2016 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved

References

Bjorn, K. (2011, March 03). Moral courage: Building ethical strength in the workplace. Character First: The Magazine, Retrieved from http://cfthemagazine.com/2011-03/moral-courage-building-ethical-strength-in-the-workplace/

Greenberg, J. (2004). Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits, Challenges and Solutions. Retrieved November 18, 2014, from http://www.multiculturaladvantage.com/recruit/diversity/diversity-in-the-workplace-benefits-challenges-solutions.asp

Stawiski, S., Deal, J., & Ruderman, M. (2010, April 1). Building trust in the workplace: A key to retaining women. QuickView Leadership Series – Center for Creative Leadership (CCL).

Tan, J., & Liddle, T. (2011, March 31). Board diversity the key to rebuilding trust and improving governance: Women Corporate Directors. Retrieved November 18, 2014, from http://www.kpmg.com/sg/en/pressroom/pages/pr20110331.aspx

 

Hopelessly Confused: “Peace Be Still.”

I was casting around for a topic to write about and came across regarding leadership and decision-making when two topics, combined into the same single strand, thought, came into focus. Addressing the question, “how does one change their mind?” From one of my favorite authors, Robert Fulghum, author of “Everything I need to know I learned in Kindergarten, Uh-Oh, and several other books” comes a thought, “Hopelessly Confused.” This was a sign a woman was holding in Mr. Fulghum’s neighborhood witnessed by the author several times over a period of days/weeks and discussed the book referenced.

The other topic comes from the final phrase in James Allen’s “As a Man Thinketh” (1903) treatise on the mind, how the mind matters, and philosophy of thinking. Mr. Allen discussed the “tempest-tossed souls,” “whose thoughts are controlled” by the winds and storms of life instead of the other way round where control of thinking improves the steadiness and serenity of the individual. The idea is that one’s thoughts influence outcomes and becomes reality.

For many months, I have had as a status on my student profile at the University of Phoenix, the following, “Thoughts become things. QED how we think determines success.” I taught a class where we discussed this exact topic. Thoughts leading to words, words becoming actions, actions producing a product, and that product in turn, generating more thinking, thus fulfilling the cycle and moving the soul further down a path, regardless of whether that path is valued as good.

James Allen adds another interesting aspect to this puzzle, “Serenity is the last lesson of culture; it is the flowering of life, the fruitage of the soul.” “Peace be still!” Bringing to point the idea, choices and thinking remain relevant to the one who would enjoy serenity. Peace is a choice; thoughts, properly controlled, are choices; developing that choice, protecting, harboring, and controlling the ability to choose drives the choice and the result is serenity.

If the thoughts driving action are based upon choice, then “hopelessly confused” was a choice. The woman holding the sign chose to be confused, and the endless running of that thought placed her in a position to become “hopeless.” Let us take a moment to explore these two words for a moment. “Hopeless” as defined by Webster includes the terms “inadequate; incompetent; feeling despair.” Confusion as defined by Webster, contains the following: “the state of being unclear in one’s mind, lacking understanding, and embodying uncertainty.” Hence, the reader is left with a state of mind regarding personal inadequacies or incompetence leading to despair.

Since confusion is a state of mind, correcting thinking on the individual’s part remains a concrete action to be personally undertaken to end the current state of mind and discover a new state of thinking and acting. Yet, what would be the impetus for beginning this process of mental change, choice. Some religions would call this agency or the individual’s personal ability to choose. Many choices remain transactional in nature; we as individuals see value in a different track or course of action, and from that desire for increased value comes the motivation to exercise agency and choose.

At this moment in the choice cycle, the individual does not know that value will come and improve the current situation. The individual has simply completed a mathematical formula and discovered potential for a higher value in a different course of action. The next step moves from inaction to action, from thinking to doing, taking the information gleaned and applying it in a fundamentally different way to realize the desired, but still elusive, potential. By taking action, the individual has shifted slightly and this shift, while ever so slight, over time has energy to achieve greatness.

A religious leader, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf (2008), himself a pilot, described the change as “a matter of a few degrees.” Using an airplane analogy, the young pilot is only off a minor tenth of a degree, then corrects the course, then drifts ever so slightly to a new heading. Over time, the plane is now several hundred miles off course and the young pilot in serious trouble. The same can be said for the confused person, the slight change in position, over time, brings innumerable changes in thinking, understanding, and action into a life. While failure to change, drives the same individual further and further down the path of “hopelessly confused.”

Regarding highways, the degrees needed to change from one highway to another without a cloverleaf is generally 10-15 degrees. Starting small, tenths of a degree, time and distance become the variables of great change. Provided proper planning for the lane changes are made, the movement from one highway to another can be done quickly, easily, and safely, without undue wear and tear on the vehicle at highway speeds, which places the next step firmly into the thinking process, planning. Proper prior planning of thoughts takes understanding the variables, naming the problems, and plotting change.

Planning new thinking entails knowing what the end goal should look like. For example, if the starting point is “hopelessly confused” and serenity is desired, then serenity is the end goal or state of mind. This holds true for all desired end states; to plot and plan effectively, one must first know where to go. The second step in planning is knowing that which motivates the change. For example, what condition is driving a desired change in thinking; name the variables or individual desires feeding the change. Planning requires understanding these motivators on a level deeper than intimacy. Finally, the best plans remain flexible but fixed. While this might sound like a paradox, it is not.

Fixed but flexible speaks to the desired end state, not the journey to that end state. While the desired end goal remains serenity, understanding that the journey will involve and necessarily require setbacks, reroutes, and difficulties. The end desired goal thus remains fixed, and the journey to that end desire will fluctuate. This is the same thinking military commanders use when attempting to overcome obstacles. Fluidity in planning and flexibility in application provides for making mistakes, for opposition, and is a learned thinking trait that must be trained into operational thinking.

Finally, James Allen provides the concluding actions in changing mental states. “Self-control is strength; right thought is mastery [of self]; calmness is power [to break the mental chains which bind]. Say unto your heart, “Peace be still.” The mental change does not happen overnight, rarely occurs with the first attempt, and will always resemble the pattern of an hourglass, but like the hourglass, moving between areas is possible, requiring both effort and time. As the narrow neck that limits change becomes closer, understand this constriction, sometimes experienced as restriction of choice, and lack of growth is only temporary. Change is coming and with change comes freedom. This hope for additional freedom is required to maintain that effort to change. Agency starts the adventure of change, hope sustains the journey, motivation and desire feed the fires of hope, and the power generated by hope’s fuel propels the change. To thy heart, “Peace be still.”

 © 2016 M. Dave Salisbury

All Rights Reserved

 

References

Allen, J. (1903). As a man thinketh. New York, NY: Grosset & Dunlap.

Fulghum, R. (2007). What on earth have I done? Stories, observations, and affirmations. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.

Uchtdorf, D. F. (2008, April). A Matter of a Few Degrees. Retrieved June 20, 2016, from https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/04/a-matter-of-a-few-degrees?lang=eng&_r=1

 

Leadership and Kipling: 7-Kipling Quotes to Consider

This following is a reflection on life lessons learned at the feet of a great writer, Rudyard Kipling. Below is the quote; then the life lesson. While not a post intended to be read alone or all at once, this message is designed for pondering, thinking about how these words impact your current life, how they echo deep in your mind, and relate to others the personal meaning. Consider this a weeklong journey of thinking and pondering, a mental exercise and imaginative journey.

 1.  Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. – Kipling

  • I first came across this quote during a difficult period where my choices and reliance upon words and phrases was creating the problems experienced. Long had the lessons of my youth regarding proper English, pronunciation, annunciation, and word choice been giving me problems socially, but I could not understand why. The words we choose become addictive. The experience of using those words to achieve provides a positive feedback loop sustaining word choice, and very carefully the mind closes, the heart congeals, and we begin to attract those just like us. Breaking the cycle requires choosing different words, expressions, and raising our consciousness to the power of expression. Make the choice to choose words more carefully and specifically, and then see where that choice takes you.

2.  We have forty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse. – Kipling

  • I had a football coach in Altamont, UT who said something very similar. When I discovered this quote several years later, I remembered that coach. More importantly, the lessons of working, striving, achieving, and failure came to mind as well. Failure is to be expected, anticipated, and even appreciated. Not for the excuses, but for the lessons, failure can either be a teacher and builder or ultimate destroyer. The choice to build or destroy remains lodged in the one person who can choose; you. Choose wisely!

3.  For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack. – Kipling

  • This could be the ultimate team quote, but I refuse to think of this quote that way. This is the ultimate society quote, as society must always remain cognizant of the power of the individual and the collective fit that individual has in society. As my injury and disability has grown year-over-year, the realization of this statement from Kipling drives ever more powerfully home. I have had the pleasure of working with some amazingly talented disabled people, who have been shunted to the side, abandoned, forgotten, but their power to impact lives was not diminished. I firmly belief our society or “wolf pack” is stronger for those struggling with disabilities. Embracing the philosophy that all can contribute empowers, supports, strengthens, and builds the wolf pack.

4.  Fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run. – Kipling

  • The best leaders I have ever been privileged to know never inspire people to engage in long tasks, but short bursts of power. Consider the movie “The Patriot” with Mel Gibson. In this movie is a scene where he asks the militia forces under his command not to fight for the whole day or even fire three shots, but simply fire two shots, implying the need to stand and act just long enough. This is the essence of the action discussed by Kipling. Large events hinge upon small acts, small efforts that were made by people filling 60-seconds of life with full effort and purpose. Leaders must remember to only ask enough and no more; enough is most often simply filling 60-seconds of life full to the brim.

5.  Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade. – Kipling

  • Acknowledging the “Power of Work” and the “Law of the Harvest,” which are two powers that change the world one engaged person at a time. Hard work is the investment upon which harvest is born. How often does a person refuse to do the work and then cries about harvesting bitter and useless fields? We see this in a lot of different places, people engaged in sowing hate, envy, strife, and discontent, then complaining that their harvest of bitter crops is too great to bear and wants a new harvest of honey and milk. Leaders must exemplify the need for hard work and the patience required to harvest fields of good crops to their followers. In training, the answer to understanding work comes and delivers its own lessons to be appreciated.

6.  I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble. – Kipling

  • Do we understand the power and conviction of this choice? Choosing to believe the best in another requires preparation and a desire to have the best in us be trusted, believed, and seen. Leaders, who personify the quote as internal characteristics, form the backbone of change, the foundation of good society, and reflect the courage needed in difficult times to thrive and build. The time for choosing is today, the need for choosing apparent, and with this single choice, America will never be stronger.

7.  If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten. – Kipling

  • The human condition is a condition of storytellers. Through stories, we teach, learn, and relate. The choice of words we use in telling the stories teaches values, ideals, and heritage in a most influential way, and most importantly our culture is relayed. Historical events are stories, Hollywood tells stories, books tell stories. Through these stories memories are kept, attraction to or detraction from the storyteller occurs, and language is preserved. James Allen reports in “As a Man Thinketh” (1903) about thought and purpose claiming, “Until thought is linked with purpose there is no intelligent accomplishment.” Continuing to further claim, “They who have no central purpose in their life fall an easy prey to petty worries, fears, troubles, and self-pitying’s.” History provides the link between thought and purpose; stories of history are the mold the character of a person is poured into. Hence, both the need to learn history and the requirement to tell history as a story for others to learn requires serious consideration.

Why undertake a weeklong mental exercise, the answer lies in the words of James Allen:

“Mind is the master power that moulds and makes,
And man is mind, and evermore he takes
The tool of thought, and, shaping what he wills,
Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills: –
He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass:
Environment is but his looking glass.”

Contained in these words is understanding, leadership in the current world requires both understanding thought and a commitment to preserving thought in those who follow. Consider and ponder upon these gems of intelligence. The power of these words from Kipling to guide, mentor, and build others cannot be understated. There is great need for leaders in America; leadership continues to be a choice. If we keep this in mind, the world would be a much better place!

© 2016 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved

 

Employee Practices – Or the Trouble Labor Unions Cause Part 1

Disclaimer:  For the record, this author is not anti-union.  I am anti-violence when used as the tool of ideological individuals to destroy private property, intimidate, threaten, and pressure as negotiating tactics.  I do not support individuals who intentionally work slow or damage machinery as a labor-negotiating ploy.  I do support accountability, responsibility, and reasoned negotiation by impassioned people to correct faults, improve safety, and raise the bar of excellence.  I fully support groups of people combining together to focus effort upon a problem and raise awareness in the public eye.  The moment this group of people become violent, raise their voices or fists in anger, and try to force someone else to do what they want or steal money or other resources for personal gain, the group of people have crossed the line and become a force not supported or worthy continued sustenance.  Thus, I am not anti-union; it is important to note this clearly in the beginning as many people have mistaken my stand on unions to be anti-union when this is inherently false.

To understand unions in the modern world of labor relations, solid historical perspective is required.  With the beginning of the industrial revolution, labor unions began forming.  The intent was to improve working conditions, standardize working hours, and reduce accidents.  With technology advances in the beginning of the industrial revolution, maiming, blindness, lung conditions, and many other machinery caused problems were horrific.  The use of children in labor camps, on-board ships, and in mills was a horrendous injustice, completely wrong, and desperately needed correction.

Some small local or geographically/industrially specific unions had organized prior to the 1880’s.  These unions were violent in nature, full of angry people, who felt justified in harming those running the large manufacturing plants where horrific injuries occurred with no chance for the common worker to improve working conditions.  While raising awareness, these violent unions also harmed their cause with violence thus defeating their purpose without changing anything.

Unions have been steeped in communism theology and continue this theology to this day.  The principles of labor for the worker come directly from the writings of Karl Marx and the ‘Communist Manifesto.’  The first large-scale attempt at unionizing workers to improve conditions on a national scale in America is found in the Knights of Labor.  .  The Knights of Labor rejected socialism, communism, and radicalism.  This attempt fails for a lot of reasons, mainly the lack of unified structure and political pressures.  Society was not ready to change in the 1880’s; so labor unions in the US changed tactics, leaders, and aims; many of the Knights of Labor who eschewed American ideals are found in and form the bulwark of the change in unionism tactics..

From this rebirth come the first recognized labor unions formed by Samuel Gompers.  Samuel Gompers is the titleholder for longest serving president in the American Federation of Labor (AFL) now known as the AFL-CIO.  Samuel Gompers is a radical socialist bent on forcing through an ideological agenda.  Between 1880 and 1940, several things occurred:  society shifts where child labor is concerned, violence in union strikes and boycotts catches national attention, and Gompers concludes a national organization of labor into small local bodies electing labor friendly politicians into the political landscape.  With the election of President Wilson, Gompers becomes a household name outside of union families, and WWI sees a growth in both union membership and union influence in all political forums throughout the US.

Another aspect to the emergence of labor unions and power was found in their cozy relationship with organized crime.  Prohibition brought to the US powerful families of criminals dedicated to smuggling alcohol and other illegal products.  These families brought organization, power, and violence.  The unions brought forced labor dues, manpower, and energy; and the meeting of money and organization fostered a relationship of blood, violence, and scare tactics that continue unabated today.  It is important to note that violence, strikes, boycotts, and the friendly relationship between labor unions and organized crime has only increased with time, not decreased.  FBI reports continue to document the connection between organized crime, mafia, and labor unions.  From Samuel Gompers to Richard Trumka, current president of the AFL-CIO, violently settling grudges, attacking innocent people to force union membership, and threatening business owners and destroying business property to force the adoption of a union or remain union continues.

Gompers set the standard for a two-pronged attack on business: (1) violently striking employees limiting production and breaking equipment and (2) employing the courts to harass, intimidate, and harangue business owners and individual employees.  The reason for the attack mattered not and someone else always paid the cost.  The attacks worked due to a mixture of empathy and sympathy combined with a desire for power and future election possibilities.  This pattern of attacking remains effective for the same reasons.  Politicians, hell bent on personal power with a desire to reign as an American king, cozy up to the union plate of money and political favors.

The IRS granted employers the ‘Right to Control.’  Labor unions stepped in and demanded the ‘Right to Control,’ and the employee was left in the lurch with no rights, no liberty, and no way out.  A simple process exists when employees desire union membership, while complicated in legal maneuvering; the process is fairly straightforward and simple. When labor union members wish to end their union membership, the process is through a court system of union-biased laws and union inflicted violence.  Federal Law becomes convoluted and myopic regarding union labor laws.  For example, “Closed Shops” might be against the law, but the practice remains strong.  In a “Closed Shop,” every job must be a union job and membership is prerequisite to employment.  If a union member should discontinue his membership in the union, the union member loses his job, “Closed Shop.”  Officially, this is a practice that has been stopped, but state and federal law is union-biased, so the practice simply shifts to under the table.  “Open Shops” come in two varieties, “Agency” and “Free Rider.”  These shops are anything but “Open.”

“Agency Shops” are businesses where a majority of the employees have elected for union membership and even non-union members are forced to pay union dues.  These non-union dues payers have no voice in the union, no rights in the union, but have forced union representation, supposedly, if trouble arises.  In theory this works; in action many non-union forced dues payers are second-class citizens in these “Open Shops,” and the union could care less provided the money continues to roll in from forced dues.  “Free Rider Shops,” are exactly the same thing, only, the labor union cannot force non-union members to pay dues for union coverage.  The union coercion of the decision makers and of other employees to entice them into a union in “Free Rider Shops” is well documented.  Tire slashing, late-night threatening phone calls, intimidation, and threats of physical harm are also well-documented problems in “Free Rider Shops.”

The problem inevitably is money.  According to the union, if the employee wants union protection, the employee will pay for it.  The average union labor dues is around $400 annually, this is before the forced payment of healthcare cost, retirement, etc.  This number does not include the cost of operation the employer must pay to support the union.  Training costs are not included in the operating cost nor reflected in the dues cost.  All these variables are not fixed and add to the overall cost of unions. Adding in the intimidation factor, loss due to theft and breakage, loss due to strikes, etc., the difficulties unions cause and the overall cost to society to support unions is well past the unsustainable point.  More on the general overall costs of unions can be found here.

The fees involved in discontinuing membership in a union are hidden deep in the miasmic swamp of mouse print, but since the union member is technically given this information, the fees are legal.  The process usually requires the employee to hire a lawyer who specializes in contracts.  The union, who will employ contract and litigation lawyers, does not cover their own legal fees and passes them on to the union member in an effort to keep the dues money coming in.  Many people with similar horror stories, who relate the process of discontinuing membership in a union, can be located through an easy Google Search.  Discontinuing a union membership can become more difficult than a space shuttle launch, and the costs are always borne by the individual wanting to leave the labor union.

This remains America, the land of the longest living constitution in recorded history, yet the freedom ending labor unions are allowed to thrive due to the power of money in politics, the power of organized crime, and the thrust and parry of politicians and judges too concerned with continuing power perks to right the wrong.

Fear keeps unions living, fear of being a victim and fear of becoming a victim.  Fear of loss, fear of failure, fear to risk, all these and more drive the union machine.  Yet, the birth of freedom in a worker’s heart makes courage overpower fear.  The ability to work in partnership with a company breeds new freedoms, powers, and strength.  Fear is destroyed courage, confidence, and freedom.

The problems with unions can be eradicated by freeing the worker, by placing the ‘Right to Control’ back into the hands of the individual worker.  The saying went abroad that Michigan would become a ‘Right to Work State’ only when the fires of the sun cooled.  Yet, the impossible has occurred and Michigan is now a ‘Right to Work State.’  The impossible does occur.  Free the worker.  Shift the employment paradigm.  Let this process to truly ‘Free the Worker’ begin by removing the chains of forced ‘employee’ by allowing these workers to be contractors, consultants, and controllers of their own individual destinies.

© 2012 M. Dave Salisbury

All Rights Reserved

Shifting the Employment Paradigm – Or an Open Letter to the Politician’s of America

Pournelle and Sterling wrote an amazing Military Sci-Fi series of books under the banner of ‘Falkenberg’s Legion’ (1990) collected into a single title called ‘The Prince’ (2002).  In this series an interesting quote appears.

Every soul in his earliest stages of untutored awareness feels that the center of the universe resides within himself [or herself].  To learn that we exist and move for the most part in orbits, rather than preside at the focal point of even a minor cosmic system is a painful and difficult process for most of us…

So far in this series of writing, the origins of the current employment system has been uncovered and commented upon.  During this period of writing, the United States of America, a previously free Republic, has moved inexorably onwards in the path of less freedom, more chains of debt, and further into the dark abyss of history’s failed experiments.  This does not mean that hope is lost; it simply states for the record that leadership is needed very soon.  Toward this end, this missive is given.

The citizenry of the United States is comparable to a herd of anxious cows.  Let me explain.  No offense is intended; please do not choose to take offense.

Fear makes cowherds anxious.  Loud sounds, changes in temperature, atmospheric pressure changes, and even the simple desire to run have spooked entire herds into running, mostly into dangerous territory and always to the disgruntlement of the cow herders, ranchers, and farmers.  Ranchers have learned to make fences stronger, read the lay of the land, and place the herd into as tight an enclosed position as possible when the herd is put to sleep at night to protect the cows from harm.  Just before a herd breaks into a run, the signs of anxiousness are observed; the emptying of bladders and the evacuation of bowels makes quite a mess.  Other signs are apparent; the shaking of heads, the shifting of feet, the eyes roll back in the head, and restlessness or the shuffling of feet in every direction begins.  Finally, the most important sign is a refusal to listen to external leadership, i.e., cowboys/girls tasked to watch the herd.  The final straw before the herd breaks is usually not a major action but a minor inconvenience, which if it had occurred earlier would have been brushed off as nothing; but in the agitated state, the herd sees the minor as major and the herd breaks loose.  Once the herd begins running, those tasked with the herd’s care are forced into running beside the herd to try to turn the leading cows away from danger.  However, herd mentality has taken over.

The citizens of America are as restless as a herd of thunder struck cows right now.  Recent events in Hurricane Sandy, tornadoes in Alabama, the massacre in Newtown, the regulatory nightmare from Washington D.C., Libya, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Israel, China, etc., all are culminating into a nameless fear.  The leaders of the herd, or the politicians at every level, have been entrusted to care for the herd, to take limited resources and spend wisely on that which provides the best for American interests.  The pathways the Federal Government have lead us down are filled with enough good intentions and self interests to pave a four-lane highway from Maine to London and Seattle to Tokyo.  Yet, these same leaders are causing the people to err.  Herein lies the problem.

America was founded upon, has lived upon, and rests upon a single principle, confidence.  The US Dollar is strong because those people, who possess it, trade in it, and bet futures upon it, have confidence in the dollar.  America’s military is strong because the US Soldier/Airman/Marine/Sailor are all possessing confidence individually, in their leaders, and in the political establishment.  The American voter goes to the polls from an overabundance of confidence that the person they have selected is the best choice, but even in a loss, that same voter and nonvoter instills the winner with their confidence.  This confidence forms a sacred trust, an unbreakable vow, an eternal contract, between the politician and the voters.  Breaking this sacred trust hurts every institution in America at the core of confidence.

Look at the abysmal numbers of people who trust the House of Representatives, the Senate, or the President to do the right, plot a correct course for America, or simply to tell the truth, and it becomes apparent that the core has been shook, people are restless, and the herd is about to run.  People need a paycheck, need to know how big the tax bill is going to be, and need to know that the collected taxes are going to reduce the debt, that the politicians elected will honor the contract America made by electing them to office.

Compensatory spending is wrong now and was wrong back in 1946 when passed into law for the euphemistic purpose of ‘Full Employment.’  No government from Ancient Greece to Modern America can provide ‘Full Employment.’  Going into debt does not bring true prosperity.  The only reason compensatory spending was entered into law was to cover up the pain the Federal Government created through fiscal policy failures accrued during the Great Depression.  It took a globe spanning war, millions of deaths, thousands of mutilated bodies, the complete destruction of every civilization on the planet, along with millions of gallons of tears shed in pain and misery to lift the world from the Great Depression, and no society has recovered since.  Our current society is at best a farce, Kabuki Theater, to what it could be if the government left people alone, followed the law, and had not accrued so much debt.

Not once in all the discussion about spending has a single politician offered to apologize for the laws of 1946 allowing compensatory spending and offered to remove this horror from the legal code.  Not a single politician has said, “No more debt, we will live within our means.”  America is a rich country; we are not alone in this label.  The United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, China, Brazil, etc., are all rich countries.  Yet all these rich countries share the same problem with Africa, Australia, and New Zealand:  debt, cold, hard, and totally unsustainable.  The politicians tasked with the people’s trust have failed them by running up huge mountains of debt for little or no purpose.  The end result is simple.  More debt equals higher taxes, higher taxes means less freedom to the people and more power to the government.

Another truth, simply expressed; money is power.  Ever since people began forming societies, the need to trade goods and services has required something of value.  Possessing more of that valuable substance automatically equated to power, for the possessor could stop providing the resource valued and the entire economic structure would topple and fall.  A final truth:  actions have consequences.  The creator gave man the unalienable right to choose, whether he chooses right or wrong. While man can choose his thinking and actions, he cannot choose the consequences, and wrong choices cause pain.

Going back to the legislation of 1946, the politicians had chosen to meddle in financial controls.  The consequence was lost value, destroyed confidence, and the crash of the world’s economies.  This brought pain, suffering, despair, and a tremendous backlash.  The answer chosen was to increase the government.  Increasing the government meant more taxes to pay for bigger government.  Bigger government took that which was valuable from those producing valuable tools and gave to others in a vote-buying scheme unparalleled in any society known in history.  Now to retain power, those currently in power have a choice to make:  stop spending at unsustainable levels, reduce the government, and return power to the people where it rightly belongs; or, to try and continue on the unsustainable path and end 200 years of experiment in freedom.  America cannot and will not survive if the debt mountain continues.  The monies must be repaid, the debt satisfied, which will occur in either money or blood.  This is not doomsday scare mongering, but simple truth.

Look to history for this to be unfolded.  A single example:  when Ancient Rome experienced serious debt dilemmas, they conquered their creditors with their armies and navies.  Once Rome could no longer conquer their creditors, fighting began between Roman and Roman, civil war weakened the empire, and external enemies and creditors destroyed that civilization.  This pattern repeats itself time and time again throughout the history of the world.  When a government can no longer conquer their creditors or raise capital to service debt, the debt begins to be serviced by the blood of its citizenry.  The unfunded liabilities must be serviced, the debt must be serviced, and the service of the debt will be painful.  Reducing government to live totally within its means, even during natural disasters and war is the only solution.  This path is difficult, but the more difficult and bitterer pill to swallow is to see civil war break out again in every state of this republic.

By tying employment to economic indicators, the Federal Government placed people in harms way.  Lose your job and suddenly you place the entire country at risk of debt default.  Mass unemployment means fiscal uncertainty for the entire world.  This is not right.  If the government provides more freedom to the electorate, the reward is longer terms in office to keep providing more freedoms to the people.  Be courageous, shift the paradigm, service the debt, and release the power of individuals by untying employment to the economy by annulling the laws of 1946 and 1976 that would free employees to become independent contractors capable of choosing their destiny, choosing those they want to work for, and choosing what they want to do.  Employers should not have by government intervention the ‘Right to Control’ free and independent people.  Employment should be the trading of time for something of value, negotiated between two free and independent parties with the intention of improving both parties.  Act now to rectify a wrong made by previous congresses; free the employee!

© 2012 M. Dave Salisbury

All Rights Reserved

LIC and the Labor Unions – Or Ideological Passion Drives Violence

Low Intensity Conflict or LIC is a misnomer; those who have become a victim of the barbarous cruelty of those practicing LIC find nothing “Low” about the experience.  The conflict is intense, the actions brutal, and the practitioners remain cunning adversaries using and employing willing dupes to hide the true depths of moral decay inherent in their societal destructions and depravations.  Many confuse LIC in trying to describe the actions of unbridled violence committed by ideologues under the banner of terrorism.  The US Military Joint Chiefs of Staff define LIC as:

“A limited political-military struggle to achieve political, social, economic, or psychological objectives. It is often protracted and ranges from diplomatic, economic, and psychological pressures through terrorism and insurgency. Low-intensity conflict is generally confined to a geographic area and is often characterized by constraints on the weaponry, tactics, and levels of violence (Tinder 1990).”

Some will proclaim loudly, mostly due to affiliation with or money from labor unions, that LIC is only limited to those more commonly perceived as terrorists, i.e., car bombers, hijackers, and rioters, and that labor unions are not terrorists, but are organizations with the sole purpose of “Protecting the Workers.”  This article will prove the lie behind this fallacy and the charade will fall.  I contend, if labor unions were truly for the worker, their names would be changed to ‘Human Resources,’ dues would never be mandatory, and the personal and political power of independent organizations would come to replace the useless and power hungry monstrosity referred to as labor unions.

As the definition demonstrates, LIC requires a “… Political-military struggle to achieve political, social, [and] or psychological objectives, ” along a “limited” front or axis.  Labor unions have always used the “Plight of the Worker” as their political and military casus belli.  As the basis for their actions, this excuse, the “Plight of the Worker,” also provides a limited but effective axis to justify their foul and loathsome acts of violence and degradation.  Throughout the history of the world, in every age, every society, in every single polity on the earth, children, women, men, all engaged in working conditions that were horrific, found themselves being exploited by power-hungry people, and/or were brutalized into serving others through war or other oppression.  These historical facts and political bents formed the modern labor pools the Industrial Revolution utilized to initiate the manufacturing of commodities.  By forming a collective, using violence to create news and through forced subscriptions, labor unions were born.  Upon forming an organized labor society, union members did three things: one, they changed working conditions in every organization employing people; two, they created the largest ‘Ponzi Scheme’ in history; three, they transformed politics into a beast which they can control by making a little news.  This took time, essentially from the late 1800’s to mid 1930’s.  The actions taken employed communistic literature, sympathetic rich people, and power mad activists to make a bad thing look good and appeal to the greater populace as respectable.  Taken one at a time, the following evidence is clear that the political-military struggle is all about power and not about employee health, wealth, or societal improvement.  Taken together, these three items showcase a dastardly design with the intended purpose of transforming a capitalistic society into a communistic community.

Changed Working Conditions

OSHA, MSHA, NLRB, Child Labor Laws, Education Mandates, and many other federal and state labor regulation boards were created through the insistence and political powers of labor unions.  This includes the most egregious law of them all, the Federal Minimum Wage Law.  By forcing the Federal Government to override state law, labor unions formed the first federal government overreach into the freedom power grab we face today.  Every single labor law, for good or ill, has been drafted, pushed, and violently fought through the actions of labor unions.  The very arguments swirling around the current president regarding class warfare, the individual mandate, and the freedom power grab have their beginnings in the labor union.  As stated, LIC must employ a three-pronged attack to justify the actions of those making violence, the fingers of the attack being political, social, and psychological.  For example, the injury of children working on looms was horrific and reprehensible and all societies now have child labor laws.  To pass child labor laws during the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, labor unions exploited children, who had been seriously injured, and those, who were young with mutilated bodies permanently deformed, by submitting their photos and stories to newspapers to begin the psychological war justifying the violence they created, such as destruction of private property, beating shop and business owners, and breaking laws with their organized crime efforts.  Enraged people then began the political and social war to change the laws.  But what laws did we get but forced federal governmental education of all children, and more power went from individuals and states into the federal coffers all in the name of “Protecting the Children.”  Parents were pushed aside, the needs of families thwarted, and child labor laws were deemed good for society as a whole.  The ‘Ripple Effect’ or the ‘Laws of Unintended Consequences’ meant that labor unions gained significant power, authority, and from these early gains, launched massive labor union growth, but not development.

Ponzi Scheme

Bernie Madoff has been given the title of running the largest ‘Ponzi Scheme’ in the world.  Yet, he is inconsequential compared with labor union organizations.  The Federal Security Exchange Commission FAQ’s on ‘Ponzi Schemes’ outline perfectly the points of this argument providing a wonderful base for the argument and can be found by clicking the link above.

Labor unions are organized as a ‘Ponzi Scheme’ with “Little or no legitimate earnings.”  Labor unions must finance themselves.  Labor unions do not produce a good or service for sale; so all monies generated originate from forced dues paid by members.  These members are people struggling to earn sufficient money through their employment.  Even when not working, many union members still have some dues mandated by the unions, which must be paid for membership to continue.  From the SEC definition alluded above we find this tidbit, “In many Ponzi schemes, the fraudsters focus on attracting new money to make promised payments to earlier-stage investors and to use for personal expenses, instead of engaging in any legitimate investment activity.”  Consider the incredible bill of goods sold to new union members about retirement benefits upon reaching the age of retirement.  Because the benefits of retirement are convincing, thousands of union members gladly pitch money into retirement; few of these union members will actually have a usable retirement fund.  The disparity rests in several factors, namely, fraud and theft of the pension, mandates and restrictions, and union leadership.  The number of pension managers getting caught raiding the pension accounts has grown and continues to grow leaving the pension bereft of funds and the retirees bereft of benefits paid for.  Union leadership receives big money as compensation for managing their unions.  For example, Andy Stern as head of the SEIU (2006) was earning $249,000 plus a lot of lucrative benefits while the majority of his union membership earned less than $30,000 a year.  Yet, every dollar Andy Stern “earned” came from the forced dues of his members.  Ponzi Scheme, the top and early investors get benefits and everybody else gets to pay for them.  The worst part of this entire scheme is that the Federal Government turns a blind eye to the scheme because of all the forced dues being pushed into political election campaigns.  If you doubt this, consider this tidbit:  SEIU, just SEIU, donated over $28 million to Obama’s election campaign in 2012.  This is not to single out any particular union, but considering all union donations, comparing leadership wages versus union worker wages and benefit packages is irreconcilable and practically impossible.

Transformed Politics

A major shift in politics took place in 1907; labor unions began making large inroads into the political arena.  While labor unions had been around in an on again/off again pattern since the early 1870’s, the American Federation of Labor under the capable leadership of Samuel Gompers began the most recognizable labor union model still in use today.  Coordinating strikes, creating coalitions, and banding under a single banner, many of the smaller less organized labor unions achieved political power.  While Samuel Gompers’s death and the ‘Roaring 1920’s helped reduce the power of organized labor, the Wagner Act brought organized labor into the federal government’s embrace in the middle of the ‘Great Depression;’ the labor union was reborn as a political powerhouse.  The Wagner Act is also called the National Labor Relations Act or NLRA.  This single piece of federal overreach came through the militant actions of the railroad union’s demand for, through force, violence, and political subjugation, many good and many bad items.  For example, the NLRA set forth what has become the standard 8-hour workday that some call “good,” and demanded an employer cannot interfere with the workers forming a union that many call “bad.”  By their unlawful actions, the NLRA stomped on states’ rights, removed individual rights, and set the stage for the current fiasco in Washington State where labor unions are forcing Boeing to transform their plant located in South Carolina, a ‘Right to Work’ state, into a forced union membership plant, transforming politics incredibly, innumerably, and ignominiously.

The next part of the LIC requirement to prove the case of labor unions being terrorists comes directly from the definition of LIC.  “… Often protracted and ranges from diplomatic, economic, and psychological pressures through terrorism and insurgency.”  Any Google search on the terms ‘labor unions and violence’ will pull down millions of hits on the correlation between labor unions and their violent beginnings, violent actions, and current levels of violence towards non-union members, non-union political leaders, non-union lawyers, and other members of society who speak against union membership and the compulsory dues.  Political leaders, judges, and high-ranking members of society all turn a blind eye to the violence committed by unions.  This violence is always organized, sanctioned by the highest leaders in the union organization, and applauded by these same leaders.  A marvelous example is the ABC World News Article by Alan Farnham entitled, “How Nasty Can Union Violence Get and Still be Legal.”  Another case in point is the illegal imprisonment or borderline kidnapping of security guards by the Longshoreman Union and violent activities during a recent strike in Longview, Washington.  Since the SCOTUS ruling in 1973, many courts have turned the proverbial ‘blind-eye’ to violence performed by unions during strikes and also performed during protests not connected to strikes.  Like a spoiled child screaming in a grocery store when told ‘No,’ unions move quickly down the chain from diplomatic actions to violent revenge, when told ‘No’ again.  Terrorist activity and labor unions are inseparably connected.

Finally, we come to the most chilling part of the LIC definition and the terrorist connection to labor unions.  “… Low-intensity conflict is generally confined to a geographic area and is often characterized by constraints on the weaponry, tactics, and levels of violence.”  National borders formerly confined labor unions, but with the movement of labor unions being documented in the recent Egyptian struggle to replace Mubarak in power, we see geographic areas being violated.  The AFL-CIO is documented as having its hand in the recent spate of civil disobedience and unrest in the Middle East; this violence has left thousands dead, millions injured, and is employing levels of violence rarely seen outside of civil war.  Weapons, tactics, and levels of violence by the protestors and the government continue to escalate.  A mobster in Chicago from the movie “The Untouchables” is credited with this saying, “If they pull a knife, we pull a gun. They send one of our guys to the hospital; we send one of their guys to the morgue. THAT’S the Chicago way!”  This is also the labor union way of dealing with any and all obstacles to their agenda:  violence, more violence, and even more bloody violence.

It is important to always remember, labor unions are organized and sanctioned terrorists.  There is no difference between an ideologically driven person who straps on a semtex vest and explodes himself in a shopping area or airport and a labor union member.  No significant differences exist between these two ideologically driven individuals.  None!  Consider the recent violence in Michigan over the state moving from forced unionism to ‘Right to Work.’  The union’s disgruntlement turned violent, people lost resources, people were injured, private property damaged and destroyed, politicians threatened, “blood will be spilled,” and ideologically driven people become violent on demand.

Additional Links:

This article was compiled and presented on Michelle Malkin’s Blog, it has video’s and additional links to other sources:  http://michellemalkin.com/2011/09/05/happy-labor-day-top-10-union-thug-moments-of-the-year/

If the truth about LIC and Unions is not made clear above, this link has been certified and shows the case more clearly: http://www.unionfacts.com/crime-corruption/union-leader-fraud additionally links from this article span into election year activities and individual cases of fraud and corruption.

Finally, this article continues to deal with union violence and asks some good questions:  http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2011/08/22/why_do_we_accept_union_violence__99205.html

© 2012 M. Dave Salisbury

All Rights Reserved

Reference

Tinder, A. J. L. (. (1990). Low intensity conflict. Informally published manuscript, Air War College – Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Retrieved from http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA241060

Employee Practices – Or ‘More Top Down Government Control’

Over the course of time, the Federal government has exerted control over employment.  Each time control has been exerted, freedoms, money, and precious resources have been squandered, wasted, and lost forever.  The following is a high level overview of the legislation and the costs involved.  There are no political leanings contained herein, simply facts about the costs and the freedoms lost.  Tied to each of these pieces of legislation is the utopian ‘Kool-Aid’ goal of full employment previously discussed.

In brief review, modern employment, as we know it, began with a small change.   Soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen coming home after being drafted to go to war, wanted and needed jobs.  Thus, the Federal Government changed some rules, wrote the legislation, and veteran preference in hiring began.  Sounds good, right?  Everyone loves veterans, so this is going to be a good thing all around; not quite.  By carving out exclusions for veterans, other people wanted to possess special treatment.  These people found lawyers to argue their cause, and special classes emerged for all types of people.  Entire industries have been built to identify, find, and pressure for special classes in the law.

This is not to say some of those people desiring special treatment did not need to have awareness of their particular plight become more known.  For example, people with physical disabilities needed awareness raised to advance hiring practices and level the playing field, but this should not have been a matter for federal legislation.  Each state in the Republic of America was considering laws for physically disabled people.  By forcing federal legislation, states lost the power to dictate, employers lost the freedom to act independently, and those with physical disabilities became second-class employees.  Instead of pride in accomplishment, which was desired while raising awareness, serf-like attitudes and complacency have become the order of the day.

Let us review three federal laws that emerged from these circumstances described above and which influenced employer/employee relations.

Americans with Disabilities Act  – 1990

  • Has its seminal beginning in 1973 Section 504 making it illegal to discriminate against those with disabilities if the organization receives Federal Government subsidies.
    • “No otherwise qualified individual with handicaps in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance….”  (ED.gov, 1995)
    • Classifies disabilities by disease.  Includes “Hidden Disease[s],” is changed constantly to update diseases covered, and dictates the only requirement for the disease is that the disease have a material effect on one’s ability to perform a major life activity.”  (Ed.gov, 1995)
    • Costs to business mostly occur in ‘soft’ costs, i.e., changing procedures, reasonable accommodations, etc.  Something to keep in mind though, “… noncompliance can cost an employer. In fiscal year 2006, for example, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) resolved 15,045 disability discrimination charges and recovered $48.8 million in monetary benefits for workers who did not receive accommodations to which they are entitled under the ADA…”  (Woog, 2008)  Thus, monetarily speaking, noncompliance costs more than compliance.

Monetary issues are not the only costs involved, and the ‘soft’ discrimination of people with disabilities is reported to remain an ongoing problem.  Regardless of size in the organization, employers report a general consensus:  if the costs of compliance are under $500, it “makes sense” to comply.  If more than $500, the employer and disabled person will be at loggerheads.  The reason so many people have problems with compliance is that disability compliance is difficult to prove in the current employee/employer environment.  Shifting the paradigm and hiring by skill set allows the individual to set the work site accommodations, own the solution, and drive relationship.  Pride in accomplishment is lost when government mandates compliance, forming yet another cost.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

  • Begun with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
    • Foundations are discovered in Executive Order 8802, signed by President F. D. Roosevelt, demanding no discrimination based upon Race, Color, or National Origin.  This is the same president with war camps rounding up Japanese descendants and forcing those of German and Italian descent underground, but I digress.
    • Civil Rights Movement forces onto the worldwide stage the disparity between those of color and national descent.
      • Funded by the USSR and other communist and Islamist nations
      • Feeds into the current mindset that those of color should be coddled
      • Strips pride of accomplishment, desire to improve, and need to become better from people of all color, race, and national origin
      • Age discrimination has been added to protected classes against discrimination and the following statistics are known:

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Charge Statistics for 2008. Private sector discrimination filings with the EEOC for 2008 (95,402) surpassed 2007 (82,792) by a staggering 15% – the biggest jump in the federal agency’s entire 44-year history.

  • Legal fees for lawyers, litigation costs pre-trial, and costs for compliance monitoring and training are substantial outlays for all business organizations regardless of size.  Compliance costs do not include ‘soft’ expenses and, as shown above, compliance costs are never about money alone, but many companies place total costs for compliance in monetary figures between $100,000 to $500,000 depending upon business organization size per claim.

Societal costs are staggering and unsustainable.  The need to both protect against litigation and meet the hiring quotas has, instead of bringing together a unified melting pot, broken the nation along more racial and national lines, pitted the experienced against the inexperienced, slandered age, and destroyed knowledge attainment for political connections.  The death of merit, honor, and dignity has been pronounced if changes to employment cannot occur soon.

Affirmative Action

  • This disaster has lead to such ambiguous terms as “Reverse Discrimination,” “White Guilt,” etc.  Affirmative Action was expected to be a temporary measure, but like all governments everywhere nothing is more permanent than a temporary measure.
  • Empowering judges to litigate from the bench to “correct wrongs.”  While the courts straddle the line about applying affirmative action and EEO, specific mathematical formulas detailing compliance are frowned upon, making compliance costs soar.
  • Closely tied to the utopian use of money to sway society.  Local, state, and federal government call this “investing in minorities and women” by spending prescribed amounts of money solely on business organizations owned by minorities and located in minority areas, all based upon quotas and political leadership.

Affirmative action, more than any other piece of legislation, accrues higher compliance costs.  Most of the legal problems will end in the Supreme Court where the basic price tag is $1 million.  Again, the entire cost of this legislation is not found in dollars and cents, but in mindsets, attitudes, and societal shifting.  The government costs for abiding by their rules is staggering; yet, the costs for businesses, schools, non-profits, etc., is worse.  Disney produced the movie, “Remember the Titans;” in this movie, the head coach and his assistant coach are having a conversation with direct merit to Affirmative Action.  The head coach tells the assistant that he “… [I]s crippling the young black kids… by coddling them.”  Society, since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has crippled black society into being what they are currently, crippled white society, and forged iron chains of captivity around the hands and feet of all Americans in and out of the workforce.

These are but three of the many pieces of legislation stemming from the idealistic desire of the ‘Employment Act of 1946’ and the 1976 revision ‘Full Employment and Balanced Growth Bill.’  Top down government mandates only work in the US Military, and then only rarely work well.  America must re-embrace free enterprise, recognize that knowledge builds value, and exercise the freedom to choose including the inherent responsibility and accountability for consequences.  Until then, employers will continue to be forced into compliance, employees will lose, and politicians at the federal and state levels of government will award winners and losers unequally.

We, the citizens of America, must force the issue of change and reign in government spending, both of which can be accomplished through shifting the employment paradigm from employer/employee relations to an employer/independent contractor model.

© 2012 M. Dave Salisbury

All Rights Reserved

References

Ed.gov. (1995, January 01). The civil rights of students with hidden disabilities under section 504 of the rehabilitation act of 1973. Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/hq5269.html

Woog, D. (2008, August 22). What is the real cost of ada compliance?. Retrieved from http://hrpeople.monster.com/news/articles/1073-what-is-the-real-cost-of-ada-compliance