Tag Archives: business

Learning

Curveballs. I’ve never hit one. I learned that my college sisters were all lefties so our team was Lefties, Inc. No-one who mattered ever showed up to challenge us so we ended up in the finals without ever playing. Yes, we lost. I was the pitcher and a switch-hitter. Ambidextrous is the word.

While my husband thrived on mechanics, how things worked, science and math I looked at people. Soc/psy was my bailiwick. Perhaps that’s why we get along so well, we’re different, smart thus somewhat similar.

Let’s just say that I choose art museums and he chooses others for planes or motorcycles. We both learn when we go together but getting him into an art museum is a chore.

Know how to meet and greet your neighbors. Who is best at that task? Old dog Zoe. Everybody knows her and pets her. Years ago when an old elected official tried to hit on me I asked how daughter Sally was doing in art school, and how is his wife Judy? It was so good to finally meet her. If you want to nip something in the bud without saying anything about it, I found it was the way to go. Learning about life. And politics.

Life and consulting can be different. Often there are different factions, the Board that hired you and the administration who has to deal with you. My new car was keyed, then when the miscreant was named executive director he fired me and took my key to the office. The next day he called me and demanded everything I had on the organization including confidential data I promised the Board I would never disclose without their approval and me in the room. I said “I’m fired. I don’t owe you anything.”

A few moments later I was at the Chairman’s office and we laughed. The guy was gone at the next Board meeting. That’s learning. Both of us learned. The Chairman played everything and everyone and I ended up on the Board, working hard for free. That was probably part of the plan. He got canned and I got “knocked up” to supervise the enterprise that is thriving today. It is difficult changing from consultant to Trustee. But I’m a proven multi-tasker. Ask my husband, who is not.

Another story. I told my park woes to a confidante so he made me a VP of another board, one where the chairman spent meetings reading mail. Snore-fest, indeed. It was over lunch-time so everyone had to bring their own and there were some sodas and iced tea. My hips are getting better but I don’t know if or when I’ll be back. Pass it around the room, spend ten minutes of my day. Let’s get to an agenda. Let’s do SOMETHING.

I learned to formulate off-the-cuff motions and order them. Second. All in favor. Passed. For years the Minutes show that I made all motions when ripe. My favorites, J, K and S agreed and seconded. Unanimous votes followed. I re-wrote their by-laws, spent months of “free time” and they were passed after significant opposition by an opponent. That is how I spent my single life. With a dog and two cats. Now I’ve a husband and an old dog and things will change once again after 16 years.

Before I went to those park meetings I would de-compress in a free museum nearby, upon which my recruiter and fellow VP friend was on the Board. I sat in a room with my favorite Italian altarpieces and just breathed for 15 minutes before the Board meeting. Then I could be gracious to those who denigrated me.

My husband always says that my life was easy. He has to deal with profitable organizations. He doesn’t know the half of it. Non-profits can be really good, or snake pits. They keyed my car. Dee

 

 

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Making a Difference

Some do it in a subtle way, our family does not. Stand out there on the diving board without knowing how to dive, then just do it, That is what we do.

We create and help existing non-profit organizations help themselves. They don’t like or embrace change. If it gets done (funding) it’s their win. If they refuse it is our loss of a client. That’s the way it goes, from a small theater to a huge computer company.

It doesn’t stop us from making a difference. I was once told by a client who made $39 on a three-day run of a children’s performance (they were great) that I could fill the house on a local business, get free press and enhance the youth program.

I now have a program on my wall that is signed by all the child actors. The Manager told me that $39 was more than $2,500. That is how businesses go bankrupt. We kicked up attendance and youth enrollment and it was all because of an idea I had in a dream and awakened at 3:00 a.m. and wrote it down.

Change. It’s scary but must be embraced as a fact of life, I don’t look like the gymnast I was at age fifteen. That is change. Businesses reject change even though they need it.

We are brought in to change for the better. Sometimes it is embraced, sometimes not, it’s their choice. Our family always looks for the better. Dee

Why Do We Do This?

We are adamant about picking up our dog’s poop and throwing it away in a sanitary manner in eco-safe bags. People look at us as if we’re crazy, especially if there’s a bit of snow. Why bother? Why? Spring is coming, the snow will melt and there will be tons of poop. We always carry extra bags for an errant dog owner. “Hi, would you like to use this?”

That is what my father did, my brother and I do, and my husband does. Clean up after messes with businesses and non-profit organizations. We pick up the junk¬†everyone else doesn’t look after.

We come in when an organization, big or small, cannot handle day-to-day business anymore. We are the problem solvers, organizers, big thinkers and detail-oriented pro’s. Dad died recently and I didn’t have time to give him the “poop” analogy, but that’s what he did for over 60 years, God rest his soul.

Do clients thank us for this? No. Do they pay us? Sometimes. When an organization does not want change, the entrenched employees will just say no. If the higher-ups agree with them we’re gone and they lose. We go on.

Why do we do this? There is a problem and like a plumbing leak, we want to fix it. We want organizations to be healthy and not leaking like a sieve.

I am retired now but yesterday I contacted the city attorney’s office stating that a new crosswalk sign (no painted crosswalk) they put up last week is not attached correctly and will fly off and kill someone. They hung up on me after 30 seconds. I called the city and they gave me a transaction number which I gave to several interested parties for follow-up. I get things done. We are a neighborhood and all of us live here so why not work together. Teamwork, that’s how it goes.

With arthritis for 30 years I no longer walk about with 100 bags and pick up after every errant dog owner who will not pick dog poop up for him or herself. I can give a helpful suggestion and a bag. What they do with that information is up to them, I’m only a consultant. Cheers! Dee

Integrity

It’s a tough thing to come by. Luckily I met a man who had a bunch of it. So did I and it burned me out trying to help people from themselves.

That’s work and I’m married to that man. I’ve been many things, including a consultant for many years. Trying to do the right thing for a client is very difficult. They hire you to do the right thing then fight every step of the way to keep any change from happening.

Even in a small organization, it is tough when the board wants you and the staff does not. I’ve had my car keyed, lies spread about me and books cooked to assure I couldn’t revitalize a key program and make many times profit for the organization, not a penny for me in an effort, funds realized prior to the efforts, plus more bang for the buck for public and community relations and jump-starting a new education program that has thrived ever since.

When the new director came on board he took great pleasure in letting me go his first day. The next morning he called and demanded a meeting. I went. He asked for my keys then said he wanted everything in my brain and in my files (of course he had copies of everything I and the past development director had done) over the past three years. He really wanted a confidential study whose public results he had but the private data was, at the Board’s request, not accessible to them or anyone because the study was about them and their role in the future of the institution.

I told the new director he had all my documents and spreadsheets and should have asked me for all the development information in my brain before he fired me. Of course the confidential study is still locked in my files and I said I would have to be present at a Board meeting where they voted to give it to him. The first thing I did was call the Chairman and met with him briefly that morning and told him what had happened. He laughed.

At the next Board meeting, the new director was fired. I was brought on as a committee member and my audience development ideas approved by committee could be brought to similar management because these votes came from the Committee and Board. I was made a Trustee for a few years. It started out as a quarter million institution and is now much more flush and professional than that partially because I and others got hands dirty and did what needed to be done. Yes, I created FlexTix. Kids for Kids was my standout work. Revolutionary back in the day.

I’ve been a consultant and board member for a number of years. In my younger years, 20 of them, I also did hands-on work in no-kill animal shelters and spaying and neutering feral cats so I know of love and loss and caring for others and doing your best for them when they might not care a whit about your efforts.

In business, one learns to cajole, educate, inspire, always learn from everyone, progress, coalesce and make goals reality.¬† Then go out by a lake with the teams and make some burgers and have a beer. Perhaps there’s a guitar and we sing.

No-one knows anyone any more. Nanny told me years ago to make sure my husband took a long-term job at a company and got a gold watch at retirement. I told her back then I’d try (that was before she okay’d me as the wife and her as the only Nanny I’d ever known) but the world is not like that anymore.

There is no loyalty. Or trust. One could be let go tomorrow and have nothing. Sadly for people with our talents it is a buyers market, but lest you think businesses need no technology or process or other improvements it is at your peril. When it becomes our market you’ll pay top dollar or go out of business. It’s that simple. You’ll file Chapter 11 and we’ll be on the upside.

Our tax money bailed out banks and insurance and car companies and so many others that are still secret. That’s why you’re in trouble now, because you never fixed anything, just sent traders out with bonuses to buy new Ferrari’s. And how does that play on Main Street where the fire department does the fireworks and everyone goes out to sit by the lake? It’s no Wall Street outside of NYC.

My husband always looks for meaningful work where he can make a difference in the world. That has always been his, our dream. He can fix anything, from a bank trading system to a grain bin micro-switch. Physics and agile development. He taught himself the latter and has credentials, whatever that means.

As for Nanny, my husband/your grandson could buy himself a gold watch. He does not wear jewelry except his wedding ring as he has an iPhone. Yes, it tells time. I love you for everything you are to our family and all you want for your children, grands, greats. Integrity. We love you for instilling that in everyone. Cheers! Dee

Non-Person

I’m trying to consolidate existing accounts with which I’ve had phone relationships in the past, and no-one will talk to me unless I have my husband on the phone. This is ridiculous as I’m on every account.

We may be moving interstate or internationally and it is important to have our affairs in order. If my husband died, it would take hell and high water for his loving spouse (me) to gain access to our accounts and information regarding bills due.

If I were run over by a bus it would take him years to sort things out because he’s not paid a bill or done taxes in 13 years. Add that to making breakfast or dinner. He is a connoisseur of bacon, however. House-made, cinnamon apple maple or pork savory. Otherwise he’d eat BBQ or burgers. Or pizza, just not mine made with perfect 00 flour, whole milk mozz and freshly sliced pepperoni. Add some sauteed baby bellas and perhaps a sliced, also sauteed pepper.

I’ve worked all my life and then became a Mrs. who is taken around the country and the world. Now I have to deal with all these vendors, including MY bank where I had an account and added him to it upon marriage and now they will not talk to me, and I’ve become a non-person. That’s my next fight. Banks, big companies, you don’t know what you’re in for. Heads up, people. Women, we exist and need to be heard.

Zoe the dog will be OK no matter what, and so will we. Cheers, Dee

Utah “Snow Job”

We were brought here under false pretenses, packed up everything and left our home, then found out that my husband was only on a two week trial. No-one bothered to tell us that my high-tech software geek of a husband who I dearly love was on the chopping block in two weeks. He didn’t know then, went on and was hired full-time but that soured us on the people who brought us in when all of his buddies commiserated.

Nearly three years later he was part of 1/4 of the IT staff that got canned nearly a month ago. Keep trying to get companies in here, Utah. Keep trying to get talent from other states and countries. But you let these companies hire then fire hordes of people and do nothing to keep talented, especially IT, people around for the other companies you’re bringing in. That’s a big mistake. Bring me in and I’ll tell you why.

You promise low taxes and all kinds of building subsidies but when companies have mass layoffs what do you do? Deny unemployment for those who never took a week of vacation in three years because they were too busy on a project. My husband and I have never taken more than two long weekends per year over three years and he even took the overnight shift for the holiday week last year, only to be fired the second day back.

Why the second day? Because the first day the chairman of the company waited for his minions to come up with a list of people to let go while he cashed in over $3 million in stock before it tanked as the layoffs were announced.

There are many talented people in UT who’ve been laid off and need work. No-one in Utah wants to help us stay here and now we’re being penalized for never taking a vacation. Even a little bit of what we’ve put in over many years would help now but we’re denied so we will have to leave the state and the income we bring to the state every year will go as well.

Also, you’re after us right now because of an error on our taxes and demanding payment immediately, nearly our entire refund from 2009, right after the layoff, Up ’til now I thought living in Utah was a blessing, now I’m thinking of it as a curse.

Sometimes in troubled times, a government has to look at other than bringing in business, and consider retaining talent. We are mobile, love it here but will go elsewhere in a heartbeat. You don’t know what you’re losing as your businesses decline and lay off many talented people. Not cheerily, Dee

Airline Miles

Apparently Continental and United don’t have their act together so they’re trying to get their frequent flyers to consolidate their own miles between the airlines. Perhaps they don’t know that a software engineer could write a program to do that, but they don’t want us to consolidate our miles because then they may have to honor a flight. Aye, there’s the rub.

American is even worse. I even bought miles on AAdvantage to keep from losing them and they killed them. Now they’re sending me emails every other day saying how they respect my business and my few remaining miles, all while their holding company AMD has gone to “penny stock” categorization and will be dumped from NYSE next week.

Empty promises. My father-in-law raises cattle and he treats them better than most US employers treat their employees. There is no employer/employee loyalty, nor is there any loyalty to valued customers. Yes, even a one-time customer should be valued in a company’s eyes because that may lead to a repeat customer. That is my view.

There used to be a gold watch at the end of a storied career with a company. Now people are commodities. When one moves a family to a new job, and doesn’t know that it’s a two week “test” that if it doesn’t work it’s catastrophic to the family who pulled up stakes, but is also to the company that perpetrated the fraud because word gets around and their reputation will be tarnished.

Airline miles are just that, pie in the sky. The airlines don’t ever think you’ll accumulate enough miles or actually use them. So when people started doing so they made it impossible to get seats.

If you treat your people well, they’ll treat your clients/customers well. Just as certain things roll downhill, in the right situation the good will can go uphill and make a company thrive.

When the customers are left out in the cold without reason, one must assume that the employees have a much larger burden to bear, all because of mismanagement.

To American Airlines. I don’t expect much of the miles we accrued this Thanksgiving weekend when you filed Chapter 11. I did hope to take a trip on the miles you confiscated. Please stop sending condescending emails that our miles are safe. You never sent me emails to tell me they weren’t before they were deleted. Thanks, Dee

Hey kid, get into politics

You can do whatever (and whoever) you want, flaunt the laws you pass, sell Senate seats and come out smiling in the end! All you have to do is start as dogcatcher or sewer commissioner and you’re on a roll.

I have worked over the years with a few leaders and good folks who take care of their constituents, even helped them get elected. But as I get older I grow more cynical about our representative democracy and the people who choose to run for these jobs we pay for. These used to be part-time jobs that teachers and others had in their communities. Now they’re all full-time.

It really doesn’t pay well, so there must be something inside the system, outside the system (illegal) or retirement benefits that lure candidates. As the health insurance package doesn’t apply to Congress I wouldn’t mind being voted in a term or two and serve my constituents well just so I have a pension and great health insurance my entire life.

So, if these people could be in business they’d be making money and couldn’t afford to run for office and lose that income. Lately, many rich people have financed their own campaigns so they could be their own person in office, yeah, right. Must one be a millionaire to run for office? Or a party hack who has paid the dues through HQ work, lit drops et al.

I’ve been in government, and unwillingly in politics and today I am not looking up at giants, but looking down at a field of players even I, as an eternal optimist, would not care to coach.

Can I do something about it? Run. Away, not for office. Or try to get other responsible people to run and vote. Always vote. Apathy is rampant in our country and smart people need to do more. Democrat or Republican, Green or Tea Party, we need to step up. We don’t have kids so it’s up to me in our family. My husband has to work for a living. Cheers, Dee