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Becky Fisher
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as a P.S., it felt a little creepy to read through how wefeelfine.org collects their data. "Big Brother" has methods of watching us that I had not considered!
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2010 on Displaying data at PERFECT CANDOR
In this, the "information age", we are innundated with data from every possible source. It certainly helps to have charts and diagrams that visually communicate the important facts. I was particularly impressed with the gapminder.org site's interactive graphs. Can one learn how to produce such things via a graphic arts course?
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2010 on Displaying data at PERFECT CANDOR
Even deeper is the issue of motivation in each of the above scenarios. It makes me sad that money is the deciding factor for so many personal and organizational decisions, including levels of performance. Is there something we can do to encourage people to give their best, at whatever they do, out of personal integrity or pureness of heart and not just because someone with a checkbook is watching? ... I'd hate to think that's an impossible goal.
How does one organize such a large number of "owners" to the point of agreeing upon how we want our government run? This question has long puzzled me and seems to be at the root of so many of our national problems. Both sides of the above debate make valid points but where are the clear suggestions for solutions? Complaining isn't the same as fixing.
Toggle Commented Sep 18, 2010 on Reinventing Government at PERFECT CANDOR
I love the idea of accountability, the concept of measuring the value of a public service, but the author is correct: how to do so is a huge challenge. Since the government is involved in so many different kinds of services, one method of measurement can not conceivably apply to all the categories. I'm afraid that, in a country of staunch individualists with a wide variety of opinions, we will be hard pressed to develop a clearer set of guidelines against which to measure any public value.
Toggle Commented Sep 18, 2010 on Defining Public Value at PERFECT CANDOR
I just discovered that this chart also appears on page 158 of our text with a few paragraphs of explanation. We weren't assigned to read this section (chapter 7), but it came up as a reference when reading chapter 11.
Conflict, as briefly mentioned above, can be constructive. When people are brave enough to share ideas that don't fit the norm, a wise leader checks his/her temptation to immediately respond defensively and instead works at objectively considering the unexpected perspective. Monotonal teams may work smoothly, but I'll take the beauty, depth, and reach of a well-conducted symphony any day! Guess you'd call me a fan of a balanced transactional/ transformational leadership. :)
Gandhi said "be the change you want to see in the world" but that's often easier said than done. I appreciated the incident shared above about the executive that made the tough decision to start his corporate change by changing himself. Now THAT's leadership by example.
I assume this grid came with ideas regarding how to reach the upper right hand corner (blue block) of the chart? The middle (yellow) would at least be an improvement over the other three corners.
I suspect that this author offers his proposal partly "tongue in cheek" but it's not a bad idea and he's right: in the proposed scenario both ends of the spectrum would likely be more interested in helping the other prosper. However, I have to ask a deeper question: When did "you can't take it with you" become outdistanced by "he who dies with the most toys wins"? Is there anything we can do to redirect the collective American focus on material goods -- and the money that buys them -- back (or forward) to placing a higher value on intangible things like family, community, nature, etc.? That's a proposal I could get behind.
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2010 on Executive Pay at PERFECT CANDOR
Leaders are often attacked and those attacks reverberate to injure the people they lead. Were I in Ritter's position, I would find it bitter to be under such scrutiny, but exceedingly sweet that the organization shows every sign of surviving regardless of the outcome of the investigation into his personal conduct. The truly selfless life says "crucify me if you must, but you can not negate the healing that I have imparted to others or the subsequent impact they will have on those to come."
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2010 on Covenant House at PERFECT CANDOR
God Bless Mr. Canada and all those supporting his work. I can imagine his vision, but I find it hard to fully comprehend the commitment, energy, and hard work he must invest and maintain daily, along with the heartache that he must experience constantly as he works "in the trenches" to battle such huge, longstanding, and complex problems. This is good reporting and inspiring to those of us who want to make positive changes in our own corners of the world.
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2010 on The Harlem Children's Zone at PERFECT CANDOR
Contrary to popular belief, and apparently to Wilson's mindset, God will not violate any person's free will. Plus, we were given good brains and are responsible to use them. I find it hard to accept that someone entrusted to negotiate for our entire country did not have a backup plan or the foresight to consider the diversity of thought he would encounter. Our lives and our society are what we make them. The lesson to my life is in the concluding paragraph of this article.
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2010 on Op-Ed piece on Wilson and Freud at PERFECT CANDOR
How can we not agree that "a greater sense of the common good" is critical to the survival of our country? It was founded and built on "sustainable values." It seems, however, that today's leaders often grapple with -- and are in confusion about -- the practical application of this principle. Society must then respond by instituting legislation to clarify the boundaries of acceptable behavior ... and enforce those laws with swift and decisive consequences for those who do not honor the standard.
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2010 on Adults only, please at PERFECT CANDOR
"...the LOVE of money is the root of all evil ..." (I Timothy 6:10 KJV). These articles are powerful reminders to guard our own attitudes against the lure to worship the almighty dollar at the expense of innocent people -- and to demand that others in our society do likewise. I doubt, however, that the juries in these cases had an easy job of sifting through the incredible complexity of these situations to determine levels of guilt. On another note: does anyone recall a report regarding how Kenneth Lay died? He was only 64.
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2010 on Enron, WorldCom and Madoff at PERFECT CANDOR
I've known, for a long time now, that mercy and grace were important companions to rules. However, this is the first time I've reviewed empirical studies that quantify the results of such an approach. I now have a more clearly outlined checklist for effective supervising: 1) determine when sanctions can be withheld (be nonpunitive), 2) be available and approachable, 3)provide help and grant requests when possible, 4) allow subordinates adequate time and space to accomplish their jobs as they see fit without my hovering, 5) communicate/share information I receive, 6) be truly sympathetic, 7) provide adequate work challenges along with opportunities to consult within the team, 8) back them and protect them. ... again, all these points are no-brainers when we really consider them, but it's helpful to have them so succinctly presented.
Toggle Commented Sep 4, 2010 on The Role of the Supervisor at PERFECT CANDOR
If I understand correctly, true Montessori style schools encourage exploration and experimentation. This article helped me make the connection regarding why those I know who were educated this way are quite successful in their subsequent endeavors. Now I want to learn more about Maria Montessori and begin a campaign for all schools to be radically changed to utilize the principles she preached.
Toggle Commented Sep 3, 2010 on Building Learning Organizations at PERFECT CANDOR
It's been said that for every 10 people who decide to no longer do business with your company, only 1 will actually complain and you'll never know why the other 9 left. Smart leaders value negative feedback because it gives them an opportunity to consider what improvements can be made. Now if only we could be that logical when it comes to criticism regarding our personal thoughts and performance! Emotions aside, such "negative" comments can provide a goldmine of insight toward personal growth. Personally, I constantly work at maintaining this type of open mindset. Sometimes I succeed.
I've used a diagram of Maslow's hierarchy of needs in presentations I've made to illustrate the necessity of taking care of the basics if one would build toward the highest level of existence the natural human can reach. Here's a copy-and-paste internet address to a diagram/visual of this concept for anyone who might appreciate a refresher: http://igplotzk.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/maslows_hierarchy_of_needs1.png
Toggle Commented Sep 2, 2010 on Human Motivation at PERFECT CANDOR
As I shared in class, the quote I often recall (when such incredible need is brought to my attention) goes something like this: You can't do everything and you don't want to be overwhelmed by all there is to do ... but do something.
Toggle Commented Aug 28, 2010 on Amazing Grace - Kozol at PERFECT CANDOR
The concept in paragraph 3 stating that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts is inspiring, but contingent upon the success of the informal organizational structure. That's a valuable key to remember when attempting to build or guide a team or group for any express purpose.
Toggle Commented Aug 28, 2010 on THE CONCEPT OF FORMAL ORGANIZATION at PERFECT CANDOR
I have to wonder whether the outcomes of these research studies would have been affected by controlling for the Introvert/Extrovert orientation of each of the workers studied ...
Toggle Commented Aug 28, 2010 on The Social Structure of Work Group at PERFECT CANDOR
Our work team was fortunate to have two excellent student workers this past year but I've supervised previous student workers and, in those previous workers seen the embodiment of the following quote from the above article: "If employees lack the skills to assume responsibilities, or if they receive no incentive to exercise their skills in the pursuit of organizational objectives, management will also find it necessary to restrict the scope of their discretion." I often use verbal encouragement and praise as incentives, but we have very little else we can offer them. Even with incentives, some employees do not respond with a higher manifestation of motivation.
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Aug 28, 2010