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Aliens: The Aliens Amongst Us Have Reappeared in the Big Easy

Hey fellow Earth humans. To my surprise, the Aliens Amongst Us didn’t actually return permanently to their Home Planet. I intercepted them in New Orlins, just hanging out like real people. As you might expect, the setting was pretty noisy and a lot rowdy so listen carefully. The conversation is well worth the extra effort it takes to listen.

A Tale for Aspiring Super Heroes

Do you aspire to be a super hero? If so, this is a tale for you. If not, you may want to listen anyway since sometimes we may have super powers that have escaped our attention. Your best bet is to press Play and have a listen.

A Failure of Nerve

Friedman, Edwin H. A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix. New York: Seabury Books, 2007. The more my perspective broadened, the more confirmed I became in my view that contemporary leadership dilemmas have less to do with the specificity of given problems, the nature of a particular technique, or the makeup of a given group than with the way everyone is framing the issues. In any type of institution whatsoever, when a self-directed, imaginative, energetic, or creative member is being consistently frustrated and sabotaged rather than encouraged and supported, what will turn out to be true one hundred percent of the time, regardless of whether the disrupters are supervisors, subordinates, or peers, is that the person at the very top of that institution is a peace-monger. By that I mean a highly anxious risk-avoider, someone who is more concerned with good feelings than with progress, someone whose life revolves around the axis of consensus, a "middler," someone who is so incapable of taking well-defined stands that his "disability" seems to be genetic, someone who functions as if she had been filleted of her backbone, someone who treats conflict or anxiety like ## mustard gas--one whiff, on goes the emotional gas mask, and he flits. Such leaders are often "nice," if not charming. What counts is the leader's presence and being, not technique and know-how. … A leader must separate his or her own emotional being from that of his or her followers while still remaining connected. Vision is basically an emotional rather than a cerebral phenomenon, depending more on a leader's capacity to deal with anxiety than his or her professional training or degree. For the endeavor to gain more regulation over one's own reactive mechanisms requires commitment to the lifetime project of being willing…

Aliens: Reds vs. Blues in the Capital City – Audio TidBits Podcast

I’m just down the block from the JLXX newsroom where the Capital City is back to normal after last night’s kerfuffle. Most of the Capital’s citizens are busily taking care of business with little notice of the disruption. It’s just status quo for them.   You can hear the usual hustle bustle with everyone having things to do and places to go. It’s just another day in the city.   Since the egg heads figured out how to keep the battle going without drawing more than a little blood, the red and blue forces can duke it out without interfering with the life of the city. Back when actual citizens were collateral damage, the red and blue thugs were more of a focus for the public but now it appears that almost no one much cares what the Capital City Leader and the reds and blues from the hill do so long as they just keep attacking each other.   Skip, I think you can hear the battle going on out there in the distance. Some of the action gets up this way now and then but mostly it stays out there where regular citizens don’t have to be bothered with it. You may be old enough to remember when the reds and blues worked things out in smoke filled back rooms but come to think about it, neither of us is that old.   I suspect the good old days are gone and aren’t coming back anytime soon. The shoot out just goes on and on.   It’s good that normal humans don’t have to understand what the deal is, or deal isn’t as things actually stand right now. The reds and blues along with the leader in the Capital City all claim that they are pro dreamers and…

Making The Cut – Audio TidBits Podcast

Do you recall when you were young and the leaders among you picked and chose when choosing sides in a game? Some kids were chosen first and a few were usually last to be chosen. If the number of players on each team was limited, some children didn’t make the cut at all. Things have not changed all that much since those days. Making or not making the cut still applies at work, in clubs or other organizations, when dating, anywhere teams are the order of the day, with who is and who is not seen as a friend, and on and on. In this episode of the Audio Tidbits Podcast, I share six tips for making the cut. Please listen and consider using the tips whenever making the cut is important to you.

The Great Tax Cut?

I am hearing that there is going to be a great tax cut, maybe even the greatest tax cut of all times. Unfortunately, that is the limit of what I hear of any substance. I guess I am expected to reflexively believe that a tax cut of any kind is good and that the current taxes people pay are excessive and unwarranted. Since I get no details, I might as well go ahead and comment on what we know very little about. I hear politicians and political pundits do that daily and as best I can tell, they don’t know much about what they are talking about either. I have some questions. To start, why do we need any tax cut at all? I hear that unemployment is low and getting lower. I hear that corporate profits are high and getting higher. The stock market keeps reaching new all-time highs. The economy is chugging along at a quite respectable pace. Our President tells us that the economy has never done better than during his first year in office. So why do we need a tax cut to stimulate the economy? Let me suppose that we do actually need that great tax cut. I don’t understand why we need it but can our politicians be wrong? Let’s assume that they cannot. I hear that the great tax cut will create more good jobs, will boost production and improve productivity. There will be more for all of us. What’s more, all that stimulation will actually lead to more tax revenue. People will have more and will thus pay more. It’s magical. Taxes will go down and federal income will go up. If you are from the same planet as I am, paying more is a tax increase, not a great tax cut.…

Been There | Done That – Audio TidBits Podcast

Have you been there and done that? What is your take on going back and doing it again? It's all a matter of perspective. Listen and see how you come down on the question.

The Soul of Leadership

Chopra, Deepak. The Soul of Leadership: Unlocking Your Potential for Greatness. New York: Harmony Books, 2010. We all have a still place inside us that is the source of everything that gives our lives meaning. This is the soul, and it is the place great leaders turn to for their inspiration, and for the answers to all their important questions. Leaders and followers co-create each other. Followers express a need, and the leader supplies a response. Just as individuals grow from the inside out, so do groups. The group's needs must be met wherever they are. Sometimes a group needs a parent or protector, at other times a motivator, healer, or spiritual guide. The outcome of any situation is defined in advance by the vision that goes into solving it. The responses shared by leaders and followers are built into us, guiding us to evolve and progress. The soul is aware of how to unfold our evolution to produce the highest and best outcome in any situation. … Needs are designed to evolve, and a leader must be aware of this in order to foresee the future of the group and anticipate its needs. In rising order the group's needs are for safety and security, achievement, cooperation, understanding, creativity, moral values, and spiritual fulfillment. For every need, a leader must play the right role. The need for security calls for a protector; achievement calls for a motivator; cooperation calls for a team builder; understanding calls for a nurturer; creativity calls for an innovator; moral values call for a transformer; spiritual fulfillment calls for a sage, or seer. Leading from the soul means giving of yourself. It means you supply trust, stability, compassion, and hope. You spend time investing in relationships with those who turn to you for answers. No matter…

Our 2020 New Year’s Resolutions (A)

I resolve to quit avoiding dealing with conflict, disagreements, and difficult issues for fear of upsetting someone. That doesn't mean that I'll just start charging ahead insensitively or inconsiderately. It means that I'll be dealing firmly with whatever the issue or concern is while remaining sensitive to the feelings and interests of others. I resolve to take the initiative more and to be less cautious and more willing to take a chance on me. I'll still be cautious but without becoming paralyzed by the potential downside of speaking up or taking action. I'll pursue my goals and interests continuously but incrementally, testing and evaluating my progress. I think this approach will better assure moving toward my goals without exposing myself to unnecessary and avoidable jeopardy. I'll no longer simply play it safe but will play it cautiously. I won't proceed haphazardly or impulsively, risking not giving myself time and opportunity to process, analyze, predict, evaluate, and modify actions and circumstances. By being cautious while taking reasonable chances, I'll give me my best shot at being the me I want to be. I resolve to take the advice of Dag Hammarskjöld to heart. He told us to "Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step; only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find the right road." I'm going to put most of my time and energy on staying on the right road, on reaching my goals. I'll be spending less time and energy worrying about unlikely contingencies and maintaining the status quo. That means less time worrying about things getting worse and more on the possibility of things getting better. My new strategy will lock my focus on the here-and-now. I'll minimize my obsessing over static or irrelevant data, thus enabling me…

Surprising Others

Sometimes a surprise is a good thing and sometimes not. How would you like six ways to surprise people in that special good way? Please listen. They are here for you.

Children, Sexual Abuse, and Truth

Whether responsible judgements can be made about things that did or did not happen based on interviews with very young children is a topic that receives a lot of attention. Specifically, the question is whether pre-school children can tell us when they have been sexually abused and whether what they tell us can be believed. This is a complex issue and cannot be answered in simple yes/no terms. Rather, it requires an understanding of child development, an understanding of the kinds of events that prompt concern, and the process that leads to seeing events from the child's perspective. The development of children is multidimensional and continuous from birth through adolescence. "Children have a physical, doing dimension. It incorporates their physical bodies, their potentials and capacities to do and behave, and most of what is visible in terms of their actions and activities. Part of each parent's role is to help his or her children grow to respect and appreciate their physical abilities and skills, to know how to behave in a variety of situations, and to recognize and utilize their physical capacities and potentials. This physical, doing dimension starts at infancy and is central to kids' adjustment throughout their ongoing, on-growing journey to adulthood. "The same level of importance holds for the emotional dimension of children. Here are found feelings, fears and frustrations, sadness and joy, disappointment and excitement, love and hate, fun and futility. Growing children experience all of these emotions and need to learn how to interpret them, how to express them, and how to manage them. For example, kids must learn to express anger without having tantrums, to deal with despair and disappointment without becoming destructively depressed, to express love and joy without getting into harmful or inappropriate relationships. Within this dimension, children must learn to deal…

Survival Is Not Mandatory

"Since changes are going on anyway, the great thing is to learn enough about them so that we will be able to lay hold of them and turn them in the direction of our desires. Conditions and events are neither to be fled from nor passively acquiesced in; they are to be utilized and directed." It's not surprising that Dewey bases his approach to change management on active learning. Since change is a fact of life, you might as well make the best of it. Learn as much as you can about the changes in your life and then use them, as much as possible, to your advantage. William O. Douglas suggested that success in using change in your best interest depends, in large measure, on adjusting your thinking to conform to today's reality. "Security can only be achieved through constant change, through discarding old ideas that have outlived their usefulness and adapting others to current facts." Francis Bacon also agreed that you need to take charge of change and mold it to your purposes. "Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly." However, there are cautionary voices as you slide into the driver's seat of your life. For example, Ellen Glasgow said, "All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward." Distinguishing good change from the not so good is an important aspect of the learning Dewey recommended. Arnold Bennett also raised the voice of caution, "Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts." Nonetheless, G. C. Lichtenberg submitted what is likely the take home point here, "I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better." The…