The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective


Archive for April, 2015

April 20, 1999 never forgotten…

Sixteen years ago today, my hometown experienced the terror that two teenagers, feeling a sense of hopelessness, brought to their high school, their community and our nation.  It was considered a rare event back then – unfortunately, it has become increasingly more common today.

Life is hard and can often seem hopeless for all too many youths in their teens and twenty’s.   If you have a son or daughter; grandchildren; nieces or nephews; or neighborhood kids; hug them today; hug them all today.

Tell them you love them and will support them as they make their way in the world to adulthood and self-sufficiency.  And if they are struggling to make ends meet – give them a few bucks.  Help them find a job.  Help them feel they belong.

Let’s reverse our society’s violence.  Let’s use our power of self confidence to increase the sunlight for those heading towards darkness:

It takes the sun to create a shadow – accept that the dark and the light live side by side in all of us.

Chellie Campbell

It’s not just my home town of Littleton – We are all Columbine:

May you feel peace – and share the power of peace with others – today, and everyday!


April showers…

Ahh, April; springtime in the Rockies!  What a wonderfully eventful time of the year.  Monday it was 75° in Denver; in the 50’s yesterday ; snow today.  Never quite sure what Mother Nature has in mind for us in April, true?

According to Wikipedia, the month of April has progressed in a very eventful way:

April was the second month of the earliest Roman calendar;

…before Ianuarius and Februarius were added by King Numa Pompilius about 700 BC. It became the fourth month of the calendar year (the year when twelve months are displayed in order) during the time of the decemvirs about 450 BC, when it also was given 29 days. The 30th day was added during the reform of the calendar undertaken by Julius Caesar in the mid-40s BC, which produced the Julian calendar.


April is a very eventful time in the sports world, too.  The NBA is winding down their regular season and gearing up for the playoffs; the NHL too.  Winter sports you say?  Well, those winter sports haven’t ended in the winter season since last century.  The NFL stays relevant in the spring with their college combine followed by the college draft.

April holds opening day for Major League Baseball in cities across North America.  My beloved Cubbies even hosted the first game of the season at venerable Wrigley Field Sunday, April 5th.  They lost – shut out by the St Louis Cardinals 3-0.

Now to be a Cubs fan is saying something about optimism (and hope!).  The Cubs last won the National League pennant in 1945 (70 years ago); and they last won the World Series in 1908 (107 years ago).  No wonder we are referred to as “die hard”!

Of course, April 15th was the deadline day for filing our income tax returns – there’s an annually eventful ritual for American taxpayers!  Even Hillary Clinton chose the month of April to announce her presidential candidacy.  Let the season of political commercials commence.

But mostly, April weather and the spring season remind me of my Chicago roots; of optimism; and of hope:

Life in Chicago 

60° above –   Floridians wear coats, gloves and wooly hats.  Chicago people sunbathe. 

50° above –   New Yorkers try to turn on the heat.  Chicago people plant gardens. 

40° above –   Italian cars won’t start.  Chicago people drive with their windows down. 

32° above –   Distilled water freezes.  Lake Michigan’s water gets thicker. 

20° above –   Californians shiver uncontrollably.  Chicago people have their last cook-out before it gets cold. 

15° above –   New York landlords finally turn up the heat.  Chicago people throw on a sweatshirt. 

Zero –    Californians fly away to Mexico.  Chicago people lick the flagpole. 

20° below –   People in Miami cease to exist.  Chicago people get out their winter coats. 

40° below –   Hollywood disintegrates.  Chicago’s Girl Scouts begin selling cookies door-to-door. 

60° below –   Polar bears begin to evacuate Antarctica.  Chicago’s Boy Scouts postpone “Winter Survival” classes until it gets cold enough.

80° below –   Mt. St. Helen’s freezes.  Chicago people rent some videos. 

100° below – Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.  Chicago people get frustrated when they can’t thaw the keg. 

297° below – Microbial life survives on dairy products.        Illinois cows complain of farmers with cold hands. 

460° below – ALL atomic motion stops.     Chicago people start saying, “Cold ’nuff for ya?” 

500° below –  Hell freezes over. The Cubs win the World Series!

 Unknown Sage

Hang tough, fellow Die Hard Cubs Fans.  2015 is our year!


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Business Travel oh yea…

I just returned from a business trip to Montreal.  There and back; safe and sound; but I’m reminded of the grind business travelers face today.  If you’re a Road Warrior and reading this little ditty – I salute you!

I’ve been off the road and have retired all my 1K; Platinum; Gold; Premium; Preferred badges of honor.  Believe it or not, back in the day business travel was actually enjoyable.  Meals; upgrades; overhead compartment space; leg room!  Even the flight attendants had a sense of humor:

During a flight on a small airplane, the Flight Attendant asked a passenger if he would like to have dinner.  “What are my choices?”, the passenger asked.  “Yes or No”, the Flight Attendant replied. 

Unknown Sage 

Occasionally the pilots would join in:

Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with broken clouds; but they’ll try to have them fixed before we arrive. 

Unknown Sage

But traveling in 2015 is a whole new ball game.  Extra fees replace extra leg room.  Upgrades?  Forget about it.  BYO food and beverage.  And hope our checked bags eventually show up on the carousel.

Today’s travel is tougher for everyone; travelers and airline personnel alike.  My Montreal trip harkened me back to an era where nothing dampened the Road Warriors’ sense of humor – nor that of the airline employees working on our behalf:

After every flight, pilots fill out a form called a gripe sheet, which conveys to the mechanics problems encountered with the aircraft during the flight that need repair or correction.  The mechanics read and correct the problem, and then respond in writing on the lower half of the form what remedial action was taken, and the pilot reviews the gripe sheets before the next flight.

Never let it be said that ground crews and engineers lack a sense of humor.  Here are some actual logged maintenance complaints and problems as submitted by pilots and the solution recorded by maintenance engineers. 

(By the way, this airline is the only major airline that has never had an accident.) 

P = The problem logged by the pilot.

S = The solution and action taken by the engineers.

P:  Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.

S:  Almost replaced the inside main tire.

P:  Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.

S:  Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P:  Something loose in cockpit.

S:  Something tightened in cockpit.

P:  Dead bugs on windshield.

S:  Live bugs on back-order.

P:  Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.

S:  Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P:  Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.

S:  Evidence removed.

P:  DME volume unbelievably loud.

S:  DME volume set to more believable level.

P:  Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.

S:  That’s what they’re there for.

P:  IFF inoperative.

S:  IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

P:  Suspected crack in windshield.

S:  Suspect you’re right.

P:  Number 3 engine missing.

S:  Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P:  Aircraft handles funny.

S:  Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P:  Target radar hums.

S:  Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

P:  Mouse in cockpit.

S:  Cat installed.

P:  Noise coming from under instrument panel.  Sounds like an elf pounding on something with a hammer.

S:  Took hammer away from elf.

Unknown Sage 

Yes here’s to you, Business Travelers; and to the airline employees too; getting us there and home safe and sound; thank you all for all that you do.


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High Performance…

I enjoy observing and commenting on the parallels between sports performance and business performance.    April is a particularly active sports month – the University of Kentucky marching through “March Madness” with the prospects of completing a perfect season; the first major golf tournament of the year, The Masters; NBA and NHL playoffs; the start of Major League Baseball; very active.   And who can overlook NASCAR’s continuing race schedule, including the Duck Commander 500 April 11th at the Texas Motor Speedway?

The thing I like best about sports (and business) competition is the competition:

I’ve been up against tough competition all my life.  I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.  

Walt Disney

Of course in today’s sports world, we seem to be continuously inundated with the philosophy attributed to former professional wrestler Eddie Guerrero, “If you’re not cheating you’re not trying.”  Winning at any cost is not an admirable trait we should carry over into the business world, is it?  Yet, in the business world we occasionally see this approach; it’s even advocated in popular business books such as Inside the Tornado ©:

Some of the essential principals of tornado marketing:

1. Attack the competition ruthlessly.

2. Expand your distribution channel as fast as possible.

3. Ignore the customers.

Geoffrey Moore

I’m OK with points 1 and 2; it’s #3 that I take issue with; our customers take issue with it too!

Nonetheless, what I like best about high performance in the business world are the high performances from talented contributors in “average” roles.  Here’s one of my favorites (slightly condensed) from another popular business book, First Break All the Rules ©:

Jean P’s story illustrates both the irrelevance of average and the growth potential of talent.  

For data entry roles, the national performance average is 380,000 keypunches per month, or 19,000 per day.  Many companies use an average performance measure like this to determine how many data entry employees they need to hire…

… the top-performing data entry employees make a mockery of the national average.

Jean P. is one such employee.  When she was first measured, she averaged 560,000 punches per month – already 50 percent above the national average.  She was recognized (by her manager) for her performance…

Three months later she hit a million keypunches…  A couple of weeks (later), Jean checked… and saw that she had managed 112,000 keypunches in one day…     (She and her manager) put a plan together, and six months later she soared past 2 million.

Jean became a model for her role.  Her manager spent time watching her, asking her why she loved her work so much…  He designed a talent profile to find more like her and a compensation plan to reward her excellence.  Today, Jean’s personal best is 3,526,000 keypunches in a month, and the average of all the data entry employees working around her is over a million. 

Marcus Buckingham

Again, the national average in Jean’s field was 380,000 keypunches per month.  How would you like to have that level of high performance in your company (or attain that performance in your position)?  Jean’s performance is the epitome of competitive excellence, true?

All of the great companies in the world out-execute their competition day in and day out. 

Price Pritchett

Yes, high performance is a wonderful thing to observe – in sports competition and in business competition.

Our competition got me out of bed in the morning; paranoia is a wonderful motivator. 

Scott Deeter

OK everyone – rise and shine J  Especially the shine part!


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