Category Archives: Capability

Better Late Than Never, or Better Never Than Late?

Labor Day weekend 2013 is upon us as is also the statistical peak of the hurricane season. Somehow the coincidence befits the times as it may well be a different type of statistical peak for labor. The Labor Department defined …
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Good or Grief, Charlie Brown!

Reality can be harsh, particularly when it shatters imagery we’ve valued. There is imagery and perceptions that are aligned with the beliefs we’ve
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I’ll Take That Message Medium, Please

When the author, Marshall McLuhan wrote the phrase “The medium is the message” he was articulating the powerful interrelationships that exist between the two. It’s a good illustration of the Yin-Yang symbiosis across our world. The Gutenberg Bible broke the constraints of the intellectual slavery the early church imposed on members who could have no access, redefining the nature of the message and its impact by creating an accessible medium. The medium and message play critical roles in world changing history. In 490 BC, during the first Greco-Persian Wars, a runner (the medium) ran from Marathon to Athens to warn the fellow Greeks that they had won the battle and to resist the Persian fleet (we might be speaking Farsi today if he had failed). In 1862 a package containing Gen Robert E. Lee’s orders to his generals was discovered in a field by a Union soldier, something that would have likely reshaped the direction of the war (with perhaps two governments incapable of managing their spending).

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Pass the Herring Muffin, Please

I’ve wondered what a red herring and muffin breakfast sandwich would taste like.

This week’s story about the US Department of Justice’s fiasco over the cost of muffins and coffee at conferences made headlines over most newsfeeds. More fascinating was the outrage of congressmen about the costs and the call for heads to roll in order for the issue to be resolved. OK, so maybe they were expensive, but they are a miniscule bump on the back of an ant when measured against the levels of imbedded waste in our Federal spends. To continue debates about debt limits and keeping government moving resemble the chest pounding of gorillas on the opposite side of the river … lots of noise, but nobody’s going to actually get wet. I, for one, have lost much confidence that the folks accountable for spending on my behalf are capable of changing the game and reducing waste.

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Opportunity in Every Storm

Five years ago this last Monday, Katrina struck along the Gulf Coast. Its aftermath still lives with us, the 9th Ward in New Orleans still devastated with diminishing hope. The Katrina experience was transformative along many dimensions. It graphically illustrated the execution rigidity borne of planning and responsiveness that comes from leadership gained through cronyism and political machines. Lives were lost and value was destroyed in an experience that put light on our soft underbelly. In fact, 1836 people died and 135 were missing and financial losses exceeded $108 billion. The aftereffects from looting, violence, and losses to the economies would fill scores of books. It reshaped the local economy, created a diaspora of resources and cast doubts globally about our values.

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