Rules for Achieving Production Goals

Knowledge Check!Some may scoff, others may scowl, but I will tell you an open secret, if you are not quality first, production goals will never be achieved.  Sure, a company may hit a target now and then, of course a quarterly statement might come in on target, but reliable production cannot be achieved without quality focus and the following rules.

With more than 20 years’ experience in manufacturing, supply chains, logistics, call centers, and much more, the following production rules are at least a moment of your time for reading and two moments for consideration.  Yes, there are a lot of people who will claim they have the path to success mapped and if you follow it, you to can achieve success.  I am not one of them!  I have tried and true lessons, I have common sense approaches, and I offer freely information that when combined with your knowledge, and the people you have working for you, solutions can be generated to achieve success.

  1. Quality is everyone’s job! – Tell me; whose job is it to pick up trash in the parking lot? How much litter is in your parking lot, trapped against the fence, collecting around the dumpsters, and crowding the floors of your facility inside and out?
    • A colleague states the following:
      • I can tell you within five seconds after arriving the quality mindset of the facility I am visiting, by looking at the parking lot.”
    • My colleague is correct; every facility I have visited that has had a clean parking lot, where employees and managers are picking up after themselves, has a quality culture worth emulation. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true!
    • What does your parking lot look like?
  2. Never take your customer, employee, shareholder, vendor, etc., where YOUR brain has not traveled first! – I sat in a meeting where the leader openly admitted, after telling the new strategic focus, goals, and mission plan, when answering questions about this plan regarding implementation, stated, “I haven’t thought that far ahead.” That company is bankrupt.  Not because they did not have good products, customers willing to buy, or great service, but because the leadership took the business places they had not personally already traveled in their minds.
    • How can you expect any goal to be achieved if you cannot answer implementation questions?
    • How can people follow if you do not know where you are headed?
    • Where are you going and has your brain already traveled there?
  3. Data will be misinterpreted if specific explanations are not included! – New manager, fresh from school, knew all the lingo, had all the buzzwords memorized, was handed a sheet of data, and failed to comprehend what the data meant. Worse, he led others into ruin by misinterpreting data.  If data is not explained, if the why behind data is not clearly understood, if the data story is incomplete, the data is useless, meaningless, and valueless!
    • What is your data story?
    • How do you train others in your data story?
    • Can other people explain the why behind the data, or do they have to come to you for that explanation?
  4. When in doubt, trust your people! – Time does not allow me to relate even a tenth of the stories where the people have proven the data wrong, have gone above and beyond expectations, and achieved miracles. Yet too often the people are the first ones cut in a crisis.
    • Juran’s Rule – When something is going wrong, 90% of the time it is the process, not the people. Yet, how many times are the people blamed for bad processes?
    • Appreciative Inquiry – The theory that states that when you have a problem, the people already in the positions doing the job, hold the answers needed to fixing the problems. Yet, how many times are the people the first one’s lost in crisis?
  5. Data lies; humans live! – Recently the data stated that the problem in a facility was in a specific area. The specific area was encouraged to perform better.  The management thought, “Problem solved.”  Production goals were missed, more counseling to this specific area, more encouragement to achieve, more focused spending to target pain points.  Still missed production goals.  Nobody looked beyond what the data said was the problem, and the data was suffering from a pretty severe case of GIGO (Garbage In = Garbage Out).  There was no production goal problem in the area specified, the problem was on the other side of the plant, and because of the investment in the wrong area, it took longer and more resources to fix the proper area.
    • When data is purported to have “concluded” anything, first give it a reality check!
    • Data is only as good as the inputs.
    • Humans live in the real world, whereas data lives in an altered reality that mimics (rarely) the real world.
    • Never forget, data lies. Data can, at best, only support a decision direction.  Data cannot conclude, prove, or justify anything.
  6. The Rule of 6-P’s – The Rule of 6-P’s is known in various forms and words, but the sentiment is always the same, “Proper, Prior, Planning, Prevents, Purely, Poor, Performance.” Yet, how often is planning done without proper prior activities?  How often is poor performance blamed on everything but poor prior planning?
    • Do you know what proper prior planning looks like as an activity?
    • What is involved in prior planning, and how do you tell the difference between proper and improper prior planning?
    • Who is involved in prior planning and why are they there?
  7. Celebrate small achievements! – Here is another open secret, rarely implemented, always discounted, but remains the single most powerful tool in a leader’s toolbox, praise! That’s it.  Praise is better than cash gifts for the brain, research and fMRI imagery support this conclusion.  The research is fascinating.  Yet, honest, regular, sincere praise continues to be the most overlooked aspect of leadership in business today!
    • Praise is celebrating achievement with someone else.
    • Celebrating success is imperative to moral, discipline, and enthusiasm in the workplace.
    • When was the last time you showed genuine praise for your people? When was the last tangible “Thank you” witnessed?  Who witnessed that gratitude, praise, and celebration?
    • Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Issue praise!  Celebrate all achievements, but most of all celebrate the small achievements.
  8. Success is a choice, but you need everyone making this choice! – Find me a successful team where one team member is not fully and wholly committed to achieving success, and I will show you a team that missed achieving the highest success. Production goals are the exact same thing, if everyone on the team does not know the goal, know the why, and are committed to achieving the production goal, that goal will be missed!
    • How do you find the person not interested in achieving the production goal; who is dropping trash and not picking it up?
    • What do you do when the person is identified; that depends, are you a learning organization or a money pit? If a money pit, that person is fired.  If a learning organization, then it is time to ask questions, discover reasons, and explore options.
    • How do you choose to lead, carrot or stick?
  9. Success is designed; who is drawing the lines? – One of the most egregious problems in today’s world is the delegation of authority to those not worthy or capable. On a consultation the boss had delegated his role to an author of a book.  Every question asked of the leader, he grabbed this author’s book and looked for an answer.  The book is a good resource, but the lack of application to direct business problems was not the author’s intent and was beyond the authors ability.
    • Who is drawing the lines designing what success looks like?
    • Why?
  10. The Pyramid Analogy – Use it, Live it, Love it!

The Pyramid Analogy

Consider the triangle from geometry, there are six different classifications, all of which demonstrate production goal attainment, but only the equilateral triangle makes up the pyramid, and only the equilateral triangle can report success in production goal attainment.

Right Triangles:

Right triangle - WikipediaA right triangle has one 90° angle.

The Acute:

Acute triangle | Acute angled triangle
The Acute Triangle has three acute angles (an acute angle measure less than 90°).

The Obtuse:

Obtuse Angled Triangle | Formula and Properties | Solved Examples & Practice Questions
The Obtuse Triangle has an obtuse angle (an obtuse angle is more than 90°).  Since the total degrees in any triangle is 180°, an obtuse triangle can only have one angle that measures more than 90°.

The Isosceles:

Properties of Isosceles Triangle - Definition & Solved Examples
The Isosceles triangle has two equal sides and two equal angles.

The Scalene:

Scalene Triangle (Definition, Area, Perimeter & Examples)
The Scalene Triangle has no congruent sides. In other words, each side must have a different length.

The Equilateral:

Properties of Equilateral Triangles | Brilliant Math & Science Wiki
The Equilateral triangle has three congruent sides and three congruent angles.  Each angle is 60°.

The Pyramid is an interesting shape, it is self-replicating from a single equilateral triangle.  The pyramid is a five-sided object that represents one of the strongest shapes in the galaxy, with integrity to flex without breaking and being destroyed.  Did you know that if you drew straight lines inside the equilateral triangle, and bent the triangle along those lines, a pyramid would take shape?

Volume of a Pyramid - Assignment PointConsider the production environment and the variables generally fall into three categories, inbound, or products needed to make something for a customer; outbound, the product shipped to a customer; quality, the need to ensure the product is acceptable for the customer.

Using a right triangle, if outbound is the 90-degree angle, your quality is way out of reach, and inbound inputs and outbound deliveries are not being properly reviewed by quality.  Thus, the production environment cannot function to its fullest potential, because all three, inbound, outbound, and quality, are not working equally together.

Bobblehead DollTake any other triangle and the story is exactly the same.  When the inbound and the outbound are not equally bound to quality, and quality is not equally bound to inbound and outbound, resources are not properly shared, time is wasted, and production goals will never be met!  Arrange the variables anyway you prefer, and if the pattern is not an equilateral pattern, there is a problem in the production environment and production goals will be missed, opportunities, lost, and money follows potential right out the door.

Follow the rules and watch production meet goals almost by magic.  Fail to follow the rules and production will continue to struggle.  Production goals are effort incarnate, humans pump efforts in, looking for results.  The goals are statistical symbols reporting success, failure, and percentages of improvement towards goals.  At then end of the day, the human element is the only variable worthy of consideration in meeting production goals, and quality is the badge of honor in human efforts.  Thus, quality is the tool that promotes production goal attainment.

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

Do We Understand?

Bobblehead DollOne of my closely held beliefs is that we will be held accountable for the heritage left us by those who have fought and bled, and came before us.  When I see the farrago that has become Afghanistan, the ineptitude of Vietnamese legacy, the current condition of the White House, politics in America, and the politicians refusing their jobs. I am always left asking, “What will our forefathers say?”  With hundreds, possibly thousands of Americans abandoned in Afghanistan by the sitting US President, a complicit Congress, and the spineless Joint Chiefs of Staff, I cannot help but wonder what the President Generals of the United States will say to these people.

Before we hear from the US President’s, let us first clear our minds with the following from Mark Twain.

The statesmen will invent cheap lies, blaming the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself the war is just and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.”

The fraudulent president, Joey, and his Joint Chiefs are in this position right now.  They are deceived, they deceived themselves, and if America is not careful, their self-deception will mean enemies on Main Street.  No hyperbole, no scaremongering, no warmongering; simply truth simply stated.  Joey and his Joint Chiefs are blaming America for being in Afghanistan for too long, and the chaos in leaving is America’s fault.  Their self-deception should not be our problem, our lie, or our “conscience-soothing falsity.”Angry Grizzly Bear

President (Colonel) Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt has the next word, and he declares and details our problem precisely:

Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people.  From these great tasks, both of the old parties have turned aside.  Instead of instruments to promote the general welfare, they have become the tools of corrupt interests which use them impartially to serve their selfish purposes.  Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government, owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.  To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day” [emphasis mine].

Do we understand the problem?  Are we clear about the issues facing our nation?  Is the mission clear?  The current crop of politicians have purposefully turned from their roles, like dogs to their vomit, and refused the people who elected them for personal power and individual success.  Well, what do you do when you catch your dog rolling in its vomit?  What do you do when you find a toddler crayoning the walls after telling them no?  Will the adults in the room, please stand? You are needed!photo_slideshow_max

President (Lieutenant) John F. Kennedy provides a caution pertinent to this discussion, and a word of timely caution is worth gold and silver to those who heed and follow its counsel:

The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in ensuring our nation’s survival if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is a very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. …
For we are opposed worldwide by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence–on infiltration instead of invasion, subversion instead of elections, intimidation instead of free choice, and on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system that has conscripted vast human and material resources into building a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific, and political operations.  Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed” [emphasis mine].

There are lots of questions about who has been pulling Joey’s strings.  Who is president right now, as senile Joe is not in charge, Kamala is not in attendance, and Pelosi is silent and retiring shortly.  The Afghanistan farrago is humiliating, devastating, and despicable; yet, none of the politicians are willing to be publicly outspoken, convening investigations and using their powers to lead and rescue Americans.  Why?  Congress has the War Powers Act; they can act independently of the US President and demand that the US Military enter Afghanistan, rescue US Passport holders, and destroy American hardware, munitions, and other war materials.  Congress could depose the US President legally, through impeachment proceedings, and install a new president.  Yet, nothing is happening.  Why?Plato 2

President (General) George Washington provides guidance, counsel, and direction worthy of consideration in the following panacea of quotes:

    • “The power under the Constitution will always be in the people. It is entrusted for certain defined purposes, and for a certain limited period, to representatives of their own choosing; and whenever it is executed contrary to their interest, or not agreeable to their wishes, their servants can, and undoubtedly will, be recalled.” … “Be Americans. Let there be no sectionalism, no North, South, East, or West. You are all dependent on one another and should be one in union. In one word, be a nation. Be Americans, and be true to yourselves.”
    • “Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society.” … “It is impossible to govern the world without God. It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits and humbly implore his protection and favor.”

Herein is a call to action, from a general mustering both his troops and citizenry, calling all able-bodied people to learn two great truths.  First, we are the owners of government and hold the reigns of power.  Second, we cannot make the changes needed without the help of almighty God,  regardless of the name we call Him.  For too long, we have been divided on the first and not allowed to perform the second, and it is time to end the power that divides and separates.The Duty of Americans

While not a military president, his cunning mind is a powerhouse of wisdom that provides essential ideas and insight, and I am pleased to quote President John Adams.  Again we find a panacea of quotes:

    • Every problem is an opportunity in disguise.” … It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them a habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives.”
    • Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

Are we allowing the suicide of the American Republic through the groveling in the infancy of our children’s minds?  Look at K-12 education and how ideas from the late 1800s and early 1900s continue to shape your child’s classroom experiences — producing functionally illiterate products at state-run schools, abusing your child of their God-given potential, and robbing them of a lifetime of learning through labels, invented science, and drugging them into submission.Angry Wet Chicken

Yet, President Adams is correct; the problem of K-12 education is an opportunity in disguise.  The opportunity to learn is an individual one; it is an opportunity for the community to step in and demand the politicians go away; it is an opportunity for citizens to awake and arise and refuse the cruel gruel of oppression and require the fruit of liberty be fed to their children.

There are two pieces of wisdom passed to us from President Thomas Jefferson also apt for this discussion:

    • Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.”
    • If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”

Knowledge Check!With these thoughts, we come to the brief conclusion of this article, but not the conclusion of the need for learning, teaching, and action.  The destruction of America has progressed sufficiently that none of us now living have experienced the tempestuous sea of liberty due to the calm lakes of despotism that has overtaken our land.  Desire something you have never had, real liberty, and let’s be willing to do everything we need to possess this gift for ourselves and pass something better to our children!

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

NO MORE BS: Oh Say, “What is Truth?

moral-valuesJohn Jaques (1827-1900) wrote a poem that several Christian religions have turned into a hymn by this name, “Oh Say, What is Truth.”  The sentiments of the poem/hymn/song strike me as a worthy pursuit and a commitment for life.  Here are the words of the poem.

Oh, say, what is truth? ‘Tis the fairest gem
That the riches of worlds can produce,
And priceless the value of truth will be when
The proud monarch’s costliest diadem
Is counted but dross and refuse.

Yes, say, what is truth? ‘Tis the brightest prize
To which mortals or Gods can aspire;
Go search in the depths where it glittering lies
Or ascend in pursuit to the loftiest skies.
‘Tis an aim for the noblest desire.

The sceptre may fall from the despot’s grasp
When with winds of stern justice, he copes,
But the pillar of truth will endure to the last,
And its firm-rooted bulwarks outstand the rude blast,
And the wreck of the fell tyrant’s hopes.

Then say, what is truth? ‘Tis the last and the first,
For the limits of time, it steps o’er.
Though the heavens depart and the earth’s fountains burst,
Truth, the sum of existence, will weather the worst,
Eternal, unchanged, evermore.

What is truth?

Dont Tread On MeDefining truth may appear utterly elementary, but I beg your forbearance, dear reader, with all the plastic words thrown “hither and yon” across the earth, knowing the definitions and being able to discern truth are two different processes.  Truth is defined as a quality or state of being true and something true in accordance with fact or reality.  Thus, true is defined as accurate, exact, without variation, loyal or faithful, and honest.

Would it surprise anyone that one of the words most needed in language has a global decline in usage since 1850?  I find this disconcerting and will elaborate further later.  I want to spark a thought at this moment.  With all the need for truth in the world, why is the word in decline?

Discerning Truth

Detective 4An analogy might help to improve understanding.  Using statistics, injecting a certain bias, and a low confidence level (signifying that the statistics are verifiable), I can claim that the sky is purple!  But, you will run to your window and find different colors, blue being predominant.  However, I can still justify the sky is purple and not blue.  Proving two points clearly: statistics do not prove anything, and truth depends on more than just statistical inquiry.  Mark Twain is oft-quoted as claiming a significant truth about statistics, “There are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics.”  Yet, data, especially statistical data, has replaced words and ideas in decision-making and been used to hide truth purposefully, even though statistics can be used to lie with confidence, as demonstrated by the analogy above.

During my undergraduate statistics course, the instructor was a math lover and held a Ph.D. in math.  Great instructor, amazing class.  We took a single data set of numeric, quantitative data during the eight-week course, proved our hypothesis right, wrong, and twisted the data until even we had trouble understanding our own data.  The lesson, do not solely trust numeric data.  I mention all of this as part of the discerning process in understanding truth, recognizing truth, and embracing truth, all of which is part of the discernment process to test a fact to reach a truth.

Detective 2Please note: one of the modern problems where truth has been plasticized is making truth a reality.  For example, my statistical data is my reality; thus, I exist in a state of truth.  Which is all well and good, except as we just proved, believing in your statistics is a great way to delude yourself into believing a lie.  Worse, elements of truth make lies more convincing and improve the successful liar to a deceiver.  Hence, the process of discerning truth must contain other elements to work correctly.

The following are elements of truth:

      1. Truth does not change over time. For example, an anchor will sink to the length of the chain or bottom of the water body, which does not change over time or between fresh and saltwater, and anchors have been a facet of ships and shipping since recorded history began noting humans setting sail.  Hence, we may safely conclude anchors are a needed tool onboard a vessel and vital to shipping.
      2. If it is true for one person, it will be true for all people. Consistency is a paramount virtue of truth.  For example, electricity is carried worldwide in copper cables, shielded, and designed to carry electricity safely.  Copper doesn’t only work for moving electricity in Russia, and the Greeks have to rely upon titanium, while the Arab nations use Gold, and America uses silver.  Even though these metals are good conductors of electricity, copper shielded lines remain the consistent standard around the world.
      3. Truth advances knowledge. For example, a dropping apple helped spur lessons in gravity.  Lessons in gravity have led to space flight, airplanes, and a lot of other physics-based discoveries.

A lie cannot stand the test of time, the test of application between cultures and people, nor can it advance knowledge.  Worse, a lie, even when it contains particulars of truth, cannot long survive scrutiny.  One of the most important lessons I have ever learned in improving decision-making has been to scrutinize information.  When lies are embedded in truth, the scrutiny makes the lie stand out like a bloodstain on a white veil.  For example, when President Obama was promising that under ObamaCare, you could keep your doctor, the adults in the room had doubts, and when the law was passed, we had our suspicions proved correct.

Image - Eagle & FlagThe same pattern is available to every person who chooses to dedicate themselves to finding the truth and living the truth.  If someone is offering you the “True Truth,” be suspicious, use the elements in discerning truth, and report your findings.  I have found that the more we share truth, the less lies can deter, confuse, and hinder progress and growth.  The first step in a truth-filled, truth-centric life is knowing that statistics cannot tell the truth, ever!  If we rely solely upon statistics, we live a lie that will eventually trip us up and, like the leaders of ENRON or Bernie Madoff, finds us in jail!

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

NO MORE BS: Literacy and Freedom – Understanding the Connection

Freedom's LightLiteracy is defined as the ability to read and write and is the competence of knowledge in a specific area.  The links between literacy and freedom continue to be hotly debated among scholars, especially those scholars who choose to be revisionist historians.  One of the essential distinctions in scholars is those centered around revisionists.  No matter the flavor of a scholar, revisionist scholars always support a policy of revision or modification, or worse, advocate for the same.  Revisionist scholars are always looking to revise a topic’s history to fit a political bend for personal gain and political profit.

Literay ArtsThe most egregious example of this is found in the revisionist historians who derive from journals or other documents the sexuality of a historical figure, based upon the scholar’s agenda, political flavor, and the understanding of today’s culture.  During the summer of 2020, America saw many revisionists trying to rewrite history where statues and historical reasoning for erecting those statues were concerned was blatantly attacked by ignorant savages!  By changing history, the culture shifts ever so slightly, and it is only a few degrees of separation across time that can eradicate truth and leave myths instead of fact.

All of which is mentioned because currently, literacy and the links to freedom are being revised heavily to reflect less need for literacy as a means of curtailing expectations of freedom.  Kaestle, Damon-Moore, Stedman, Tinsley, and Trollinger (1991) authored “Literacy in the United States: Readers and Reading since 1880, and the first topic in chapter one is discussing the revisers of history and the downplaying of literacy in early (Preliterate) Greece.  While Kaestle et al.’s. (1991) is more of a scholarly work, the point remains that there remains a significant amount of debate on a logically understood topic.

Detective 4The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints reveres “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ” as scripture.  In that book, there are two accounts of people who did not have records to teach reading and writing in their respective populations, which, when taught reading and writing, gained economically, financially, and developed new thinking and acting methods.  One of the first points in “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ” the point is made that without written records, people’s memories cannot be passed down, historical lessons are lost, and art, culture, craft, industry, and so much more stem from the ability to read and write and records are critical to human understanding and growth.  While I am not here to debate religion, the historical underpinnings of needing to read and write as social customs with power are well established.  Consider the Old Testament and the Jewish culture and society, and the same pattern is discovered, when the people know how to read and write, they are different from those who do not know how to read and write.

Hence, from a purely anthropological perception, reading and writing are essential keys in society forming and development from hunter/gatherers to tool-wielding crafting and agrarian societies.  While the scholars will debate causation until everyone is confused, the links between literacy and social development cannot be separated without twisting logic and ruining the historical facts found in ancient writings held by religion.  Causation and the connections between one topic and another remains an area ripe for abuse by the researchers’ personal bias.  I fully admit sufficient peer-reviewed sources are supporting and denying literate societies’ links and freedom to bury an ocean liner in paper.  Mark Twain is quoted as, “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run. Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned.”

Reading - A JourneyMark Twain is also quoted as, “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”  These quotes point to the specific problem facing America.  In every society globally, literacy has been purposefully designed to be worth less to people by conspiring leaders who want and need drones instead of people.  The world is poised on the knife blade’s edge of history, pushed there by those conspirators, and every person is now faced with a choice, stand and learn, or remain ignorant and fall.  If we fall, we will fall an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle, and our graves will be cursed by those who come after us.

Mark Twain points to the same problem discussed here, “The man who does not read has NO advantage over the man who cannot read. [emphasis mine]”  Knowing how to read does nothing if it is not practiced, knowing how to write does nothing if it is not practiced, and failure to read and write puts us worse off than those who have never been taught to read and write.  Why worse, because we make a conscious choice not to use the tools we have been provided, and the consequences are worse for knowing better and not acting in a manner that honors the tools we have been given.

PenmanshipLet the scholars argue about how to measure literacy in a person and a population, but for us, let us measure literacy by how often we read a full book, paper, or eBook and write.  Not just emails for work, but journals, blogs, our histories, and family histories.  The aim is not to get readers as much as it is to exercise the power of writing.

For example, my wife loves to write letters and cards.  She has a master’s touch on expressing through words her feelings, developed over her entire life of 80-years.  The receivers cherish her letters and cards, and I cannot count how many people write to her and express this sentiment.  I have all the letters she wrote me while I was in the US Army.  Due to my luggage’s theft at a Greyhound Station, I have very few to none of her letters written to me in the US Navy, which remains a great sadness to me.  Never having been professionally taught, my wife writes music, and I cherish the song she wrote for me that I have never heard.  Using experience and constant trial and error, my wife drew pictures for each of the grand kids.  Literacy is the power behind letters, arts, music, and so much more, even if the scholars disagree.

Non Sequitur - DecisionsJim Croce wrote a song asking a simple question, “Which way are you going?”  I know my direction; I am headed to a library, a bookstore, and then a computer to record my thoughts, for I desire more literacy.  Join me and let us make a “Liberty FIRST Culture” where literacy is cherished as the source of our collective mental batteries!

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

NO MORE BS: The War Against Dr. Seuss

LookLet me be perfectly clear, Dr. Seuss is not the only victim of the book burning and banning liberals, but as the latest victim and the most egregious victim to date, I am going to use Dr. Seuss as the example.  For the record, I am a bibliophile (book lover; lover of reading books), and I detest any book being castigated, derided, and depublished simply because a political party cannot stand the content.  Of all the dumb and irrational actions of the political left, book shaming is one that sees me get madder than a soaked chicken with a raging case of hemorrhoids.

02 March is my holiday!  In the United States, 02 March is National Read Across America Day, celebrated on Dr. Seuss’s birthday.  As one of my favorite authors, I like to serve green eggs and ham, read about the “Cat in the Hat,” remember all the places I will go and have gone, and enjoy books!  This year, the fraudulent president began by removing Dr. Seuss from National Read Across America Day because some people do not like his illustrations.

ReadingMark Twain has regularly been banned for using language, which in his day was acceptable, and which today is considered “offensive.”  I love Mark Twain’s sense of humor; his stories wrap me in imagination, daring, and fun.  Yet, the political left has deemed him offensive, and millions of children will never know his name.

Rudyard Kipling’s “Just So” stories made up my childhood, taught me important lessons, were a primer for living a better life, and filled my imagination and dreams with excitement.  Aesop’s Fables were classics in my home and also filled my imagination and mind with wonder, excitement and taught me the journey a good story can take a person.  Yet, schools have regularly removed both Aesop’s Fables and Rudyard Kipling from their libraries, the curriculum, and public libraries for various idiotic reasons.

Beauty of LiteratureNow, Dr. Seuss is being added to the banned books, and I could weep!  Shame on the fraudulent president for this foolish and disrespectful political action.  Shame on the political left who will leave Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf on the shelves of libraries but will remove Dr. Seuss, Aesop’s Fables, Mark Twain, Kipling, Roald Dahl, and thousands of other titles and authors, simply because of political choices.

Literary AttitudesDo not choose to misunderstand me; all books are not equal, and some books I detest.  But, I will never support the banning of books!  I will never condone stealing authors’ intellectual offerings from the public simply because politics demands those books be banned.  I read the “Captain Underpants” series; I did not particularly like or dislike the books, but to see the series banned is incomprehensible!  I loved Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, a Brave New World, Of Mice and Men, Goosebumps, The Catcher in the Rye, and so many other books that, as of 2019, have been banned, and I am embarrassed by the idiocy and the shameful behavior of the book police and the thought police.

Detective 4Did you know the Holy Bible is regularly on the banned books list as a popularly forbidden book?  Yet, the Koran is regularly found in public school libraries and public libraries?  I first read the Koran in sixth grade because my school had a copy.  I read Mein Kampf in Junior High School because my school had a copy.  Neither book was mandatory reading; I just found them and decided I wanted to read them.  Plus, reading them made my parents so mad!  My parents are fans of banning “some books” due to content.  Yet, like liberty and freedom, no books will be allowed if all books are not allowed.  You cannot limit free speech and still have free speech.  You cannot restrict warrantless search and seizure without limiting every person’s rights to be safe in their papers and property.  Worse, you cannot grant liberty to one and steal freedom from another, that is the height of tyrannical behavior, and this pattern works just as well for books as it does for music, art, and every other human endeavor and government polity.

Reading - A JourneyMy tastes in books, like music, span the entire written spectrum offered.  Sherlock Holmes, Father Dowling Mysteries, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Mark Twain, Kipling, Roald Dahl, C. S. Lewis, Aldous Huxley, and so many more make-up who I am, why I choose, and how I grow.  I could not ban one book without banning all books, and I will not ban a book!  Books represent the soul of the author; the ideals written should live forever so people may have a choice.  If you are a book banning type, would you ban a book from the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe series?  If so, which one?  Would not a ban on one book mean you have to ban the entire series?

What about the Chronicles of Prydain, also known as The Black Cauldron series?  A magic pig features prominently in this series.  Do you ban all the books that have the magical pig not to offend people who view pigs as dirty?  The thought boggles the brain!

Freedom's LightBanning books is wrong, plain, and simple.  Admonishing long-dead authors because you do not like illustrations or phrases used is the height of cowardice and personal insecurity projected onto other people.  Frankly, banning books is the worst abomination of thought police possible, and I, for one, will always oppose your choice of mental disease!

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

Honest Praise – Catch Your People Doing Good!

My professional library has many books, from many authorities, regarding how to lead, leading in change, crisis leadership, and more.  Except that none of these books ever discusses the most critical tool in a leader’s toolbox, issuing honest, timely, and relevant praise.

I am one of those people who had to repeat a grade in school, and I am glad I did, for it provided an opportunity to meet Miss Murphy in the Governor Anderson Elementary School, Belfast, Maine.  Miss Murphy has a smiling face, but you know there is a stick hiding nearby if needed.  Miss Murphy laughed and smiled, and was the first principal I had witnessed behaving in this manner.  Miss Murphy had laser eyes that sparkled with mirth and could freeze rushing water.  Miss Murphy was a nun who went into the world to make the world better, especially for children.

As an energetic person, a person with problems with authority, and a guy, I spent an inordinate amount of time in the principal’s office in school.  Please note, I am not bragging here, just recognizing an “uncomfortable truth.”  Miss Murphy related a story to me, from her childhood, about how she had been called to be a student crossing guard, where she exercised her authority a little too much, and some kids cried, parents called the school, and complaints were issued.  Her school principal called her into his office, she could clearly see on his desk the complaint forms, but her principal spent more than 10-minutes praising her leadership ability, her genuine care for smaller kids, and other observations where her good personality had been witnessed.  Miss Murphy claimed she left his office forever changed.

The day Miss Murphy related this story to me, she praised me.  I knew that she knew, I had heckled a teacher mercilessly in an unwarranted manner.  I knew that she knew, I had committed several other offenses needing her judgment and punishment.  Yet, she provided honest praise, where she had observed quietly, and she concluded this visit to her office with the words, “From these observations, I know there is good inside you.”  I can honestly say, this was the worst chewing out I ever had in a school principal’s office.  I left her office that day, feeling small and insignificant like never before, but also feeling like a million bucks and dedicated to being caught more often doing good.  More to the point, I had discovered what a leader is and made a friend that I wanted, desired, and hoped I could receive more praise from.

To the leaders in business, I would make the plea, “Catch your people doing good.”  Catch them regularly, praise them honestly, issue the praise promptly, and you will shortly see new behaviors, attitudes, and cultures in your workplace.  I have published this plea previously and been asked some questions, below are the questions and some examples to get started.

  1. Isn’t all praise honest?
    • No, all praise is not honest. A pernicious lie has been passed around that criticism can be constructive; this fallacy needs squashed forever and cast upon the bad ideas from history.  You cannot build people by criticizing them.  There is never anything “constructive” in criticism!
    • Honest praise is precisely that, honest and sincere. You mean what you say, and say what you mean.  Hence, when you feel thank you is insufficient, leave a note in a distinctive color praising the efforts observed.
    • For example, I witnessed a leader who used praise to help ease the pain of failure. A subordinate had worked hard to make a satisfy a customer and fix a problem caused by the company.  The customer refused the apology and swore revenge, making the efforts of this customer agent useless.  The leader recognized the efforts and issued praise for trying, for being a generally successful customer advocate, and for going above and beyond.  The customer agent never realized someone beyond their team leader had observed their efforts, and the employee broke down in tears of gratitude for the honest praise issued.  I personally witnessed renewed dedication from this employee, and the impetus for change was the note of praise.
  2. Timely praise; why does praise need to be timely?
    • Timely praise is all about recognizing and issuing praise while the events are still fresh, and when the praise issued has a real chance at affecting an individual’s future efforts. Timely is all about being engaged in that exact moment and stopping to recognize, through praise, the efforts, trials, and experiences of others.
    • I worked at a company for three years, in what became my last quarter, I was issued praise for actions taken during my first month on the job. Honestly, that praise was useless to me, and while I didn’t fully spurn the efforts at recognition, I certainly was not swayed, inspired, or even influenced by the praise issued.  However, other incidents where praise was issued timelier has been more influential; thus, the need for timely praise.
    • The employee mentioned above, the effort expended occupied time Monday through the disastrous conclusion on Thursday. The employee came in to find praise and recognition on Friday Morning.  Timely, honest appreciation, proved to be what was needed and changed a life.
  3. Why should praise be offered regularly?
    • Let’s be honest, issuing praise adds work to your day. You have to make observations, then you have to issue praise, and this is a generally thankless effort; especially when you have to “Wash, Rinse, and Repeat” countless times to visualize a return on your time and effort investment.  I guarantee this effort will not last, no changes will be realized, and this attitude will be observed to cause more problems, not less.
    • Let’s be honest, issuing praise is fun. Witnessing a person who has been caught doing good provides excitement to replicate.  Catching a person doing good provides me a pleasure valve release from the stress of meetings, monthly and quarterly reports, and the hassles of leading an organization.  Issuing praise allows me to get out of my office, make human contact, and enjoy the people side of my job.  I guarantee this effort will last, that deep life-altering impact will be felt by those working for this leader, and employee problems will reduce to the lowest common denominator.
    • Regular praise issuance means you are fully committed to giving praise, and this effort will be reciprocated in a manner unexpected. Like the contagious smile, issuing honest, timely, regular praise, will catch fire and the contagion will spread and permeate throughout the office like wildfire.  Your customers will even catch the disease of issuing praise.
  4. Isn’t issuing praise just “puffery” or building snowflakes?
    • No! A thousand times; NO!  Honest praise, timely issued, and regularly provided is not “puffery,” but a direct extension of how you feel towards another person.  A child brings their mother a dandelion.  Does the mother squash the flower as just messy, or takes the flower and doesn’t issue thanks to the child; no.  Why should workplace praise and gratitude be any different than the child and their mother?
    • Issuing praise and showing gratitude is treating others how you prefer to be treated. Do you like seeing your efforts recognized; then recognize others.  Do you like being provided expressions of gratitude; then pass out gratitude.  People take cues from their leaders’ actions more than their words; issuing praise and recognition is an action with monumental power.
    • Myron Tribus asked a question about the purpose of a business essentially asking, “Is the purpose of your business to be a cash spigot or to improve the world?” If cash spigot, you would never issue praise or gratitude, and the money is the only focus.  In this scenario, expect high employee churn, higher employee stress, and poor employee morale.  If the purpose is to build the world, why not start by building the internal customer?  Do you issue thank you’s to your customers; why not issue gratitude first to your internal customer, the employee?
  5. Do adults, and working professionals really need all this praise?
    • Mark Twain said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Yes; working professionals do need to be praised.  However, because they are adults, false praise, criticism couched as praise, and fake praise is easily detected, and the resulting consequences are terrible to witness.
    • While serving in the US Navy, I experienced a Chief Engineering Officer who faked praise, criticized through praise thinking he was constructive, and his efforts turned the Engineering Department’s morale from high to depressing in less than seven days. The Engineering Department went from winning awards and recognition to absolute failure in inspections, drills, and daily activities in less than two-weeks.  The recovery of the Engineering Department’s morale never occurred in the remaining two-years I had in my US Navy contract and featured a big reason why I left the US Navy.
    • Thus, to reiterate; YES! Yes, adults need honest, timely, and regular praise.  Yes, praise is a tool that can be wielded to effect significant positive change or can be wielded to decimate and destroy.  Choose wisely!

 

© 2019 M. Dave Salisbury

All Rights Reserved

The images used herein were obtained in the public domain, this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.