Conflict is Inevitable, Happy Resolution Isn’t

I’ve been struck by the story of Samson found in the Old Testament Book of Judges, chapters 13-16.  With the gift of unusual strength, he was the spark to freeing the Israelites from Philistine domination.  Be he had a fatal flaw – a rampant narcissism – that lead to […]

One-Offs – or Why What You Want to Do is Not Going to Work

Years ago, I read a short crime story in a society that had a computer that could predict crimes.  One day it predicts that there will be two murders.  The police quickly start tracking where and who will be involved in the murders.  Meanwhile, a woman is directed to […]

Three Mistakes to Death

In the 1980’s, I had the opportunity to take a course on submarine design from CAPT Harry Jackson, USN Ret.  CAPT Jackson had participated in the design of more submarine types than any other US naval officer.  And while I could still design a submarine based on what I […]

Learning is the Ultimate Skill – Part II

We wrote last about how learning is important and that there are the traditional and new opportunities to learn.  Today, I want to talk about why learning is important.

There are two reasons to learn something new:

To gain knowledge
To gain a new skill

Knowledge is learning how the world […]

Learning is the Ultimate Skill

Long ago, I realized that my only hope to move ahead in this world was to learn something – anything.  In grade school, the only skill that enabled me to stand out was being able to catch the ball in dodge ball better than others.  But dodge ball has […]

Sexual Harassment – When the End Comes

You may not believe it – but there is a connection between the Falklands War and the sexual harassment of Harvey Weinstein.

I had the pleasure to hear the noted naval historian and analyst Norman Polmar speak on the Falklands war between the United Kingdom and Argentina.  One story has […]

Sexual Harassment, Why So Long?

The news is full of another powerful male’s fall from grace for sexual harassment and/or assault.  It’s a brutal and sad commentary – there’s not enough words to describe the revulsion that’s felt at the description of the events or enough tears to salve the hurt to the victims.  […]

Don’t Attribute to Malice What Can Ascribed to Incompetence

The title of this post is a reference to a quote by General Curtis Lemay about not being about to tell the difference between treason and incompetence – the results were the same.  And results are really what we deal with every day.  Something happens and we immediately start […]

Volunteers are Golden

I recently participated in the Artistry in Wood show sponsored by the Spokane Carvers Association.  It’s an event showcasing the talents of the wood carvers in the Inland Northwest.  This year, the Inland Northwest Woodturners (INWT) participated by having a single table with wood turned objects, mostly bowls, vases, […]

It’s Expensive Being Cheap

I recently received an email from a client that asked:

“Our quality teams are floundering. I’d like to do training for each team on how the team should function and the roles of each person on the team. I am sure you have a lovely infographic in your library of […]

In Disasters, Preparation is Necessary But Luck is Key

I’ve written before about emergency response and preparation here.  But there was one aspect of emergency response and preparation that I neglected to mention – luck.

I bring this up because in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, some Texas politicians are calling for people to NOT donate to the American […]

Persistence – or How to be Successful

When I was a young man, I would read Analog magazine – every issue. In one issue, there was an editorial by Robert A. Heinlein.  He wrote about a time he was invited to address the cadets at the US Naval Academy.  When he got to the Academy, he […]

Who’s REALLY to Blame?

Unfortunately, we’ve had a wonderful opportunity to see human behavior at its worst this weekend.  There’s no denying that any rational, emotionally feeling human won’t be repulsed by the events that occurred in Charlottesville with the deliberate murder and attacks on people doing what they are guaranteed the right […]

No, I Won’t – Why I Took a Hiatus

Over the past five years, my business partner and I have written more than 300 blog posts – more than one a week.  Usually we would post a new entry on Tuesday while having a Throwback Thursday re-post.  But we’ve recently skipped several weeks because our production system was […]

Where There’s Smoke

We’ve written about sexual harassment before – there’s no secret there.  But I would like to examine the economic benefits and costs associated with harassment today.  This examination is prompted by Bill O’Reilly’s firing by Fox after it was revealed that five women had been paid $13.5 million to […]

Waiting Rooms, Use Thereof

I’ve spent a lot of time in waiting rooms – especially since my wife had her stroke.  And while waiting rooms, particularly doctors’ waiting rooms, are not the most fun atmosphere, I find waiting rooms very useful because I’m always prepared.

How do you prepare for a waiting room?

I prepare […]

Secrets Aren’t Secret

Because I’ve spent a lot of time in the Washington, DC area working in and for the federal government, I’ve been asked frequently about recent news reports coming from the national capital.  Most of the questions are of the type, “Can the President/FBI/CIA/NSA/etc. really do ___________________ and keep it […]

When Things Go Wrong, COMPLAIN!

I generally encourage people to lower their voices and think before they speak – perhaps to not speak at all – it makes for more reasoned communication.  But there is one area that I personally violate that rule – when things go wrong.  And when things go wrong, I […]

The Misuse of Audits

Two things happened that involved me within the last 24 hours that concern audits:  I completed an audit of an organization and I read a column in the SpokesmanReview about audits in Medicare.

I’ve been doing audits, and their cousin, inspections, for more than 30 years.  I remember what it […]

Highly Satisfied

I’m a big fan of customer surveys.  Not of giving them because mostly the results are skewed by the apostles and terrorists – I’ll explain later.  I’m a big fan of filling out the surveys for several reasons.

First of all, so few people actually fill out the surveys at […]