Archive for the ‘Mish-Mash of Wisdoms’ Category

The Fitz Files, Gus, and Note 31 which becomes a Catch 22!

In General Mish-Mash, Mish-Mash of Wisdoms on October 31, 2011 at 3:25 pm

The Fitz Files  is entertaining to read, although it has a bit of the smart-alec tone.

Peter Fitzsimons, the writer, wants to astonish us with his wit and judgement. I am sure he wants us to laugh – and I often do. Every Saturday he ridicules, berates, lampoons and occasionally he gives a pat on the back.

The Red Bandanna Gang

It’s divide & ridicule! You either stand on his side admonishing some foolish profiled person – or you find yourself feeling the splash of the spray.

He seems to have that “you’re either with me or agin me” credo. A credo often surfacing in team sport.

Create a strong bond within the playing group – an unbreakable sense of duty to each other, potent emotional connections – and you have a powerful force. Some do this in ways that are inclusive and constructive. Others by exclusion, defining the entire rest of the world as a common enemy.

Fitz shepherds people into gangs that are out to own the morally high ground and to whip up indignation over anything he deems is deserving. Derision, outrage, and ridicule replace gang violence and street battles … but he does want you to join his gang.

In this weeks Fitz Files, Gus Gould is in the crosshairs. Here is the piece – Rabs! Gus! Your pokie rant’s a bit suss.

Which is interesting because Gus’ MO is very similar to Fitz’s – you’re one of us or you’re one of them.

His teams bond strongly.  They also develop a shared consciousness that the rest of the world is out to kill them.

Not just the opposing teams.

Anyone who is not pulling on a jersey. You’re either in the team or you are an enemy – enemies include administrators, accountants, boards, the sales teams, sponsors, events organisers, the media … you name it, if it can be a distraction, it is an enemy. There is a rich harvest for “motivation by seige”.

Of course by “team” I actually mean the more exclusive and restrictive modern sports entity  – “the playing group”. A concept undoubtedly developed because the “team” is far too inclusive … and far too restrictive when looking for enemies that can catalyse potent responses.

As I said, in the Fitz File world – you are either part of the lampooning and derision … or you are, by default, being lampooned or derided for not taking part. Gus has been “Fitzed”!

Gus can fight his own battles – very, very well. In a euphemistic nutshell, Fitz thinks Gus’ position as spokesperson on mandatory pre-commitment is imprudent and untenable. Undoubtedly Gus would disagree. It’s worthy of an argument I guess.

But, by firing bullets at Gus, Fitz also fires bullets at Panthers. He does this by a misleading and unfair misuse of numbers. This is how myth gets created. Fitz quotes Panthers 2010 Annual Report – creating a sense of credibility – what can he say, it’s Panthers own figures. So let’s look at the figures he uses:

2010 Revenue: $154m – Fitz Files got this right.

2010 Revenue from Poker Machines: $91m – another tick for Fitz.

2010 Profit/Loss: nearly $11m loss. The figure is correct. But the outrage from Fitz – “How on earth can this happen?” – is over the top. The losses are explained in the report and, and anyway, it is not unusual for businesses to post losses – even as high as around 7% of revenue. Especially when they have massive amounts allocated to depreciation.

Clearly, it is not good position … but “how on earth” can this be a jaw dropper given the information contained in the report.

And he doesn’t mention, of course, that these figures represent the aggregation of figures from 14 different venues across the state.

And then he comes out with this:

“What on earth falls under the $18.65m annual report entry “other expenses”.?”

I guess the red bandana momentarily slipped over his eyes and he did not see the “31” at the intersection of the row labeled “other expenses” and the column headed “Notes”. So, he did not look up Note 31 which lists 28 items that contributed to other expenses. Note 31 tells you “what on earth”, Fitzy.

He compares the percentage of “other expenses” with other clubs … but what he should be comparing is the item “other expenses” that appears in note 31 … that figure was $2.475m or 1.6% of revenue. Fitz’s figure had it at 12% of revenue. The exaggeration to create affect is only 650%.

Next he makes the amazing comment … amazing because he has already alluded to a big loss.

“And how come with all that moolah only $617,000 could be found for the juniors.”

Ahem! All that moolah!! Didn’t you just tell us they lost 11 million smackeroos? So, if losing money gives you heaps of moolah to spread around in acts of largesse, why would anyone worry about a GFC? Or stock market crashes. 

And your suggestion Fitz, would be to what?

Provide the juniors with $1.6m and post a $12m loss instead of an $11m loss. Geez, if that is so easy, why not give the juniors $50.6m? What’s an extra few mill between friends. I guess by your logic this will mean they have even more moolah to toss around.

You belted Panthers for making a loss and you belt them for not giving away more. That’s some catch that Catch 22! 

Maybe Panthers could have stopped the support for initiatives in the regions of Bathurst, Port Macquarie, Newcastle, or Albury and shift that “moolah” so the kids of Penrith benefit?

Jesus, how does Panthers get out of the iron grip of admonishment cast by someone whose arguments have the logical progession of the paradoxical works of M.C. Escher.

Ascending? Descending? Both - The Fitz Files in Art.

And it is not just Fitz who suffers from this …

Just about every argument about clubs these days has an extraordinary skew – almost to the point of being paradoxical. The skew mainly comes from looking at the revenue figures and treating them as profits.

If rational dialogue is to be had about the relevance of clubs in our communities, then this skewing has to stop. Any business needs to be modelled in a way that is sustainable and one that can be planned around – this can’t be done by creating myth.

Back to the Fitz attack:

Fitz, there is plenty of ammunition available to fire at Panthers. Why pull blanks and he dress it up as live ammo. I can’t understand it, there are exocet missiles just laying around waiting to be armed and launched.

Interestingly, again there is a similarity in the way Gus has approached the mandatory pre-commitment issue that has got under his skin enough for him to get under everyone else’s skin. Gus’ preference seems to be to throw rocks at the enemy. In this case those who advocate pre-commitment as a salve for problem gambling. Again, surprising because Gus is capable of delivering powerful and coherent argument. Instead he weakens his position by resorting to playing the man (and woman) instead of the issue of finding solutions for gamblers.

It would serve everyone better – especially problem gamblers – if commentators, these 2 included, examined the facts more carefully and toned down their exaggeration, personal attacks and histrionics.

The Challenge: Tent (sans instruction) or Unknown Territories.

In General Mish-Mash, Mish-Mash of Wisdoms on September 18, 2011 at 8:30 am

From my previous two posts, it should be easy to draw a conclusion that I see organisations as facing two fundamentally different types of challenges, needing fundamentally different approaches.

The challenges are those that are:

  • well-defined, short term, measurable, failure or success is quickly known or
  • long term, seemingly nebulous, not clearly defined, and difficult to find a metric that describes success or failure.

The sorts of challenges faced by companies are invariably complex but the first type has a clear set of rules, or at least some well-defined metrics and parameters that contain the challenge. The second type have no such boundaries or containment.

A far more eloquent and evocative description for these challenges are provided by Lauren Pollack & Katherine Wakid:

  • the tent problem – imagine having all the pieces needed to put up a tent, but no instructions.
  • the Lewis & Clark problem – named after the 2 explorers who blazed the trail to the west coast of the USA in the early 19th Century.

Pollack & Wakid are part of Jump Associates, a US firm offering help to organisations who have identified a need to address this second type of problem.

Essentially their thesis is that organisations are generally well placed with resources and know-how to handle the “tent problems”. Basically, because – like putting up a tent, even with no instructions – we know what good looks like* and there is a finite and defined path that will result in achieving the required result.

The sort of problems that might fall under the title “tent problems” are:

  • making a operations more efficient,
  • optimising supply,
  • refining product mix.

The Lewis & Clark type of challenges don’t have the luxury of a well-defined “what good looks like”, they are likely to have an infinite number of approaches or methods that can lead to one a multitude of results, they are fuzzy by nature, and may lead to dead-ends, failures, backtracking, deletions, and changes.

The types of problems that may fall under this title might be:

  • how do we grow our business,
  • how do we deal with generational change in our market,
  • how do we overcome stagnancy,
  • what do we do about the decay in our brand.

Even describing these types of problems is somewhat blurry but they are no small challenges nor are they lacking importance. But not all organisations can adequately manage this type of challenge. Indeed, organisations that can consistently do seem to be a rarity. The title Pollack and Wakid’s paper describes the sort of company that copes.

Thriving in Ambiguity: Lessons From Exploratory Organizations.

Just what are those lessons? In brief, Pollack and Wakid say organizations that deal best with the Lewis & Clark, ambiguous type of challenge have the following characteristics:

  • they foster empathy with their customers
  • they are not afraid to let answers emerge over time
  • they reward learning not just results
  • they create a culture of teamwork
  • they hire hybrid thinkers who can connect seemingly disparate disciplines and ideas.

Familiar characteristics, I’m sure.  Perhaps the last one might be a new expression. But despite their familiarity and their positive qualities, few organisations demonstrate any consistent application of them.

In fact, most organisations seem intent on ensuring that they confront only the well defined, contained challenges. Perhaps they even extend this restriction to a belief that they should either know:

  • the answer to the problem they face or
  • know the way to get the right answer or
  • both the above.

There is no room for error, no room for discovery or experimentation. There is no time to wait for potential solutions to percolate. There is shame or humiliation in back-tracking after finding a dead-end.  There is no tolerance for ambiguity. Opportunities could be – probably are – missed because of a lack of capacity to deal with challenges other than those where you can tick the boxes.

Creating the space for experimentation and discovery comes from knowing that you don’t know – admissions of ignorance.

(Note for self: we are back to Nassim Nicholas Taleb here – focusing on what we don’t know rather than what we do know.)
If anyone else is reading this my apologies for that interruption.

This article – Thriving in Ambiguity – has finally given some meaning to some psychometric testing I did years ago. The testing showed, amongst other stuff, I had a high tolerance for ambiguity. For years I have wondered about this description – and now I have a reference point.

Anyway, the article is worth a look. It is also worth having a look around the Jump Associates website, it holds some interesting and enlightening work.

Note: * credit for the terminology “what good looks like” has to go to my mate Bob Adamson who came up with this expression while implementing innovative business systems project at Panthers. Or maybe it was while have one of those lengthy after-work discussions involving our colleagues Johnny and Jim – Walker & Beam, respectively.

Pareto’s 80:20 – 02:08 s’oteraP

In General Mish-Mash, Mish-Mash of Wisdoms on August 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm

I’m numerically capable, I don’t have a problem dealing with ratios – I know how to work out a lowest common denominator, and I’m pretty good with percentages.

But there is a ratio that upsets me. Well, it’s not the ratio but the principle or law derived from it that is the problem. The principle named was named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto has always had me unnerved – given me the shits, really. I had no real idea why. Had not really thought about it much, until the other day. But, I do know that I shudder just about every time I hear it quoted.

Until recently, I thought Pareto was a mathematician – which may explain why mention of the “principle” put me in a state of quiet disquiet. Had I known he was an economist I may have spoken up.

And I definitely would have moaned loudly had I known that the principle was devised not by Pareto but by a business management consultant.  He was honouring Pareto, certainly … but the principle is nothing more than a simple ratio in a social phenomena, boldly transformed into a law and applied injudiciously (maybe even promiscuously) to all manner of stuff.

The principle? Oh! – There are generally 2 names applied, often both in the same breath:

  • The Pareto Principle is the name honouring Pareto (ahem! Yes. Obvious!)
  • And the 80:20 Rule is its alternate name and most often it is
  • Pareto’s 80:20 Principle.

Pareto studied landholdings in Italy in the early 20th Century and discovered that 80% of Italian property was owned 20% of the people. Undoubtedly this was an illuminating and serious discovery and not one to be scoffed.

But declaring this ratio a principle is a big step. And it has the potential trap those who it as gospel.

For example, how often you been told that:

  • 80% of your sales revenue is generated by 20% of your products or
  • 80% of your profit comes from 20% of your effort.

Let’s look a bit more closely.

If 80% of profit comes from 20% of the effort then there is a great trade-off just waiting to happen – forgo that 20% profit, and save the 80% of your effort for something else.

Put that effort into being  creative, writing, painting, sculpting, take up the piano, or just loll about the pool sipping cocktails.

But here is the thing: – if I do forgo that 20% of profit and gain that 80% of effort, does the principle apply to what remains? It must. It is a principle, after all!! So let’s sacrifice the 20% profit again … what happens then?

I think it might be best using real measurements of time and reward.

Imagine you were working 50 hours and making $100 profit.

After your first sacrifice of profits you’d be working 1 day a week for $80 profit.

After your second exchange, you’d be at it for 2 hours for $64 profit … you could keep that going forever if you had time and money metrics that were sufficiently accurate at exceptionally micro levels.

… but assume you made just 4 such decisions, well you’d be plying your trade for around 5 minutes and raking in $41 profit.

And just one more sacrifice would see your profit drop to $32.77, but you’d get that with less than a minute’s worth effort.

In summary:

  • Starting Point:  50 hrs effort gets $100 profit.
  • Pareto Sacrifice 1: 10 hrs effort, $80 profit.
  • Pareto Sacrifice 2: 2 hrs effort, $64 profit
  • Pareto Sacrifice 3: 24 mins effort, $51.20 profit
  • Pareto Sacrifice 4: 4 mins 48 secs effort,  $40.96 profit.
  • Pareto Sacrifice 5: 57.6 seconds effort for $31.77 profit.

This is not quite reductio ad absurdum but it is getting close.  I don’t think anyone would seriously mis-use the principle in such an obvious way. But …

How does this principle influence the decision-making framework in businesses … or anywhere for that matter?

I suspect, it has been responsible for helping frame some, ostensibly, very sensible decisions … and decision processes that have iterated and reiterated until …

Someone wakes up, looks around and realises they have gradually, but effectively, Pareto’d themselves out of value and quality … they have lost the spark that ignited them, lost their point of difference, their beauty, and lost what was amazing about them.

Anyway, what brought on this bit of mish-mash? It was a talk given by software developer Mike Lee. I was recommended to have a listen to it by my good mate Minski. Minski is an irreverent, iconoclastic, card playing, straight shooting computer geek.

Mike Lee’s take on the Pareto ratio, in a nutshell, is that we should shift it about 80:20 – and focus on The Second 80%.

The quality, the art, the beauty, the uniqueness, the thing that makes something amazing emerges by using that second 80% to its limit. This is where you get that spark, the cred and coolness, the characteristics that cannot be replicated by some set of dodgy operators wanting to make a quick buck.

If you want to produce stuff that people will pimp for you, then you need to produce stuff that provokes comments like:

“Hey, check this out, it is sooo cool!”

This means using up the whole Second 80%.

You know we might  take an even simpler approach. And this one comes from designer Giles Kershaw. My interpretation of one of Giles’ principles is pretty simple – do what it takes to get it 100% right. Now, that is an elegantly designed solution that applies to many problems/opportunities… just add the 80 and the 20 together, and voila!!

Pareto Principle? Pfft! Kershaw’s Lemma Rulz!!

Hey, if you want to have a listen to Mike Lee’s talk – called Pimp My App – I’m sure you’ll get plenty out of it. The link is below. But BE CAUTIONED –  the first bit (2’30”) is dedicated to a vulgar joke that has minimal relevance. If you want to avoid the joke (it is about a bear violating a hunter), skip to around that 2’30” mark.

Here is the link to Pimp My App.

The entire talk is about 47’40” but  … sighing, shoulders shrugging.

Damn that Pareto!

The real crux of the talk is the 9 or 10 minutes starting from the 4’40”. That’s, roughly, 20% of the talk. Damn that Pareto Principle – it just pops up everywhere, don’t it?

Now, this is a challenge for the sensible …

In Mish-Mash of Wisdoms, Uncategorized on July 10, 2011 at 4:45 pm

JIm Morrision, on The Doors’ The Soft Parade, a voice growing in sarcasm & ridicule, repeating the thought that you can “petition the lord with prayer” finally stops dead, silence … and then a full blooded scream of rage …

“You CANNOT petition the Lord with prayer!!!”  

Jim Morrison

The truth of Morrison’s rage cannot be tested by me or probably by you.

And there are millions upon millions, perhaps billions, who pray daily. Many believe they are praying to a “lord” of some description. And many have an adamant belief that their prayer is heard – even when their petition is (seemingly) ignored.

Is there any right and wrong in how you perceive prayer? Do we cower to Jim’s rant or revere the soft supplications of the many?

God knows! (he he he)

What follows may be disappointing to you, fair reader. If you have read this far you may be looking for some irreverence or perhaps a deep insight, revelations of the very core of meaning in life. No! (But if you want that can I recommend you go to Leonard Cohen’s Live in London, put on Tower of Song and listen right through to the very end … Dah Doo Dum …)

Leonard Cohen

No, my thinking about Jim’s rant was triggered by something far more pragmatic and profane.

The pragmatic – the concept of customer loyalty. Well, … any type of loyalty.

The profane – the anger that comes from the disintegration of such a noble concept as loyalty.

You see, in thinking about loyalty, I felt like screaming in Morrison-like anger, sarcasm, & ridicule:

You CANNOT petition loyalty by demand!!!

You CANNOT earn loyalty with payment!!!

You CANNOT be gifted loyalty when you offer reward!!!

With all three you may get behaviours that may look like loyalty, feel like loyalty … but, in most cases, are not loyalty. They are obedience, compliance, or a simple transaction

That feeling of frustration, that sense of something noble and valuable disintegrating behind the rattle of an demand, or the tinkle of a coin … that was how I got to thinking of Morrison’s scream. To me, Morrison is saying much the same thing – the act of praying is far too sacred and precious to be diminished by the act of petitioning.

But, this thought about loyalty also led me to a prayer. A prayer seemingly “petitioning the Lord” but really requiring individual growth, integrity, and responsibility. A prayer that contains (IMO) immense wisdom, and is spoken by millions around the world every night.

I was reminded of it recently when it was listed as the favourite quotation in the Facebook profile of a good mate of mine.

 God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

How could this connect with pursuit of customer loyalty … well, I will come back to that another time. Meanwhile, it is at least worth of some thinking.

Who knows, think enough, and standing next to Sun Tzu on podiums of business philosophy, you may see the author of the The Serenity Prayer – whether it be Aquinas, St Francis, Cicero, St Augustine, Reinhold Neibuhr … or whoever.

Niebuhr - Serenity Prayer Author.

Now, wasn’t that a mish-mash.

AFL, NRL, Western Sydney – War?? What is it good for?

In Mish-Mash of Wisdoms, Uncategorized on June 30, 2011 at 10:20 am

Last night on the news I saw Graham Annesley (ex NRL COO, current NSW Minister for Sport) handballing a Sherrin to Andrew Demetriou – part of the AFL’s announcement that one of its premium events – the Draft – will be held in Western Sydney, backyard of their newest franchise, The GWS Giants.

An image full of irony.

Demetriou & Annesley - Partners in an Ironic Dance

There has been much talk for some time about the war (or imminent war) between AFL & NRL over Western Sydney. Phil Gould, Penrith Panthers RL GM is reported to be trying to spark the NRL into military action against the southern insurgents. I even saw on one forum some Panthers fans up in arms about the fact their local newspaper devoted their front page to a story about the Penrith Rams Aussie Rules team.

The battle, I guess is a distraction and the subject is a fairly emotive point of discussion … at least for NRL supporters. The AFL nor its fans and supporters seem to be talking about “war”, they seem to be focussing on how they can make things work better for them.

I think the AFL would be happy the NRL, its clubs, and NRL strategists, feel they are in a war. While they strategise about what they should do to combat the AFL,  the AFL strategises about how they can do things better.

The question is where will this “war” take us (us=RL) – my guess is that, if “war” really is the driver of either the clubs or the leagues, then it will use up a lot of resources for very little benefit to anyone. War implies a focus and attention on your opponent. That sort of focus in business can be disastrous.

The most recent war for Rugby League was the civil war. It started in 1995 and, 16 years leter, the scars have not healed.

Imagine what a great position the game would be in if the (in excess of) $1b spent during that war had have been spent on improving the game, its administration, its grass roots, its strategic position, its standing and profile. Imagine the state of our game now if Packer, Arthurson,, Murdoch, Ribot, and all the other players had sat down and said lets work out where we all want to be in 10 years time (or 20 or 50) and then design a pathway to that goal.

But, they each focused on the other!!! When they should have focussed on the game!

The moment your focus becomes your opponent, and your intent becomes destructive, that is the very moment you should be doing a bit of self-examination and looking at what you can do to improve yourself (irrespective of there being any opposition.)

Interestingly enough, it seems to me that it is the NRL who see themselves at war (or that war is imminent). They see themseleves as being invaded and think its is time to defend their turf. Well boys, guess what???

You are too late!

The invasion has happened and the only way you can win the so-called war is to improve yourself. Not one solitary cent should be spent with the intention of disarming or destroying the other side.

The AFL seem happy to co-exist, to acknowledge the value and position of Rugby League. They even had some of their players pay homage to the Blues in State of Origin – some may see this as somehow devious but the fact is that it did, and does, pay respect to the premium NRL event. I doubt the NRL would ever allow their players to make such a complimentary gesture.

My god, even the choice of colour and jersey design for GWS was a huge compliment to Wests Tigers. It paid great homage to Wests Tigers – it makes an inference that those colours, those brand elements, that belong to Wests Tigers best represent Western Sydney. What an opportunity for Wests Tigers to leverage. What could come from a strategic relationship between Wests Tigers &  GWS? A partnership aimed at strengthening the Western Sydney sporting, cultural, and economic juggernaut. And, simultaneously building and deepening their own influence in the region.

Working together with GWS those Wests Tigers colours would be identifiably Western Sydney in less than a generation. And it would be difficult for that to happen without GWS, perhaps impossible.

So, in typical NRL fashion, The Wests Tigers blew up and threatened legal action. Just as Packer, Arthurson, Piggins etc blew up when Murdoch entered the equation in 1995 – opportunity lost.

My first thought at Penrith was to approach GWS and work out ways we could work together to make Western Sydney a stronger region, but there were some internal barriers. Parramatta could also work them in constructive ways. But the opportunity for Wests Tigers was (and is) much bigger.

Nah! I am afraid the NRL boys haven’t learnt a great deal and are looking to throw more money in a war. And worse, they have identified the wrong enemy … who is the real enemy? Well, I might broach that question another time.

Failure counts … So do mistakes!!

In General Mish-Mash, Mish-Mash of Wisdoms, Quick Mish-Mash on June 26, 2011 at 8:20 pm

I came across this Manifesto a couple of years ago – it was constructed by Bre Pettis & writer Kio Stark. Amazingly they got in done in only 20 minutes – I guess adhering to the manifesto!!

Are You Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution? Pfffffft!!!

In Mish-Mash of Wisdoms on June 14, 2011 at 9:40 pm

I heard it again today. A saying that drives me crazy:  “you’re either part of the solution or part of the problem” .

It wasn’t said to me but I seem to have heard it a lot recently, and I wonder what it is all about.

I read recently that it is a motivational statement. Really?

Every time I have heard it used – there is no way that is motivational!! In fact every time I have heard it used it has come from a leader who has has no real idea about how to lead his/her way out of a sticky spot. A leader – or a rather a person in a leadership role – looking for someone to blame.

When used by this type of “leader”, I reckon it is simply a statement to demonstrate power and authority. Not dissimiliar to a demand for loyalty or respect.

And they usually finish it off with “… and if you’re part of the solution your have nothing to worry about” . Motivational!!! Pffft!!!

Every time I hear it I have an ominous sense of foreboding. Whenever I hear it, I wonder about the distinction between leadership and despotism.

Now, if I had been in the USA in 1968 and old enough to understand, I would have heard this concept for the very first time. And it could have been really motivating for one group … maybe pretty threatening for another.

The full quote comes from a speech delivered by Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver in 1968:

“What we’re saying today is that you’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem.”

Cleaver’s speech was delivered in a specific social and political context – he was part of an oppressed sector of society battling against a system of entrenched inequality. His positioning of the problem/solution split pointed clearly to the need for conscious action to subvert the system. It also identified that not making a decision to take action against the system would be an action in itself – an action that endorses an unacceptable & dehumanising status quo.

It was a statement about the relationship between oppressor and oppressed in the social system, and the unified consciousness needed to transform that relationship and deliver a more human society.

It was a statement that enabled a dissident group to rise above the problem they encountered but had no institutional power to solve.

That is a whole lot different to holding the institutional power to solve a problem and then casting your eye around for people to blame for the existence of the problem.

So, when I hear this  part of the problem/part of the solution edict I conclude either:

  • There is a broad systemic problem that is being stonewalled by the people who have the power to change it, or
  • The leader issuing the edict is trying to assert power and authority rather than leading..

In both cases the leadership and the organisational structure really needs a close examination.  The organisational structure because it may be a strong determinant of the behaviour of the leader.

Of course, I could be reading too much into the edict but … well that is my thinking on it. Now, why I had to get that off my chest is anyone’s guess but there you go, it was part of today’s mish-mash.

Learn 3 Things from a Child and 7 from a Thief.

In Mish-Mash of Wisdoms on June 12, 2011 at 10:11 am

I was reading an interview with Bob Dylan (yeah, I know!!) last night and I came across this amazing quote from the interviewer (Jonathan Cott – Rolling Stone 1978). He got it from Rabbi Dov Baer, a Hassidic rabbi.

In the service of God, one can learn three things from a child and seven from a thief.

From a child you can learn:

  • always to be happy,
  • never to sit idle,
  • to cry for everything one wants.

From a thief you should learn:

  • to work at night
  • if one cannot gain what one wants in one night to try again the next night
  • to love one’s co-workers just as thieves love each other
  • to be willing to risk ones life even for a little thing
  • not to attach too much value to things even though one has risked one’s life for them – just as a thief will resell a stolen article for a fraction of its real value
  • to withstand all kinds of beatings and tortures but to remain what you are
  • to believe that your work is worthwhile and not be willing to change it.

I have no idea what it all means but it sure sounds profound.

Here is another, from the same source but, I think, from a different rabbi:

You can learn something from everything. Even from a train, a telephone, and a telegram.

From a train            – learn that in one second one can miss everything.

From a telephone   – learn that what you say over here can be heard over there.

From a telegram    – learn that all words are counted and charged.