Safety First

Sometimes safety is taken for granted in the workplace, but there are some simple things that will add to the health of all involved:


  • De-Stressing is a Primary Goal

  • Keep On the Ball by Taking Short But Regular Breaks

  • Maintain Clear Access to Emergency Exits

  • Report and Repair Unsafe Conditions

  • Stay Alert

  • Stay Clean and Sober

  • Use Machinery and Tools Properly

  • Use Mechanical Aids for Awkward and Heavy Moves

  • Use Your Back and Legs Properly

  • Wear Safety Equipment Properly

A Mother’s Story
I recall a time when my son was about 18 months old. I had him strapped into a backpack and was rushing to catch the bus. Apparently I stepped wrongly and fell down an entire flight of stairs (13 to be exact). I was bruised and bleeding and had torn my jeans … but my main concern was, naturally, for my child.

My fears were alleviated, though, when from behind me I heard a gleeful giggle followed by, “Again!”

Giving It All


One winter, in his leaner days, Henri Matisse decided
to paint a picture of a woman seated at a table, on which
there was a bowl of fruit.

Having spent what was for him a fortune on the fruit, the artist was determined to make it last until the canvas was finished. He let the fire burn itself out and opened the windows. The temperature in the studio plunged.

Matisse donned his hat and overcoat, pulled on his stoves
and applied himself to his task. At the end of the day, he was pleased to note that the fruit had scarcely changed color. The same could not be said for the model, however. Her rosy
complexion was tinged with blue.

Making the Most of Your Life


Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison before becoming the first President of South Africa to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. During his time in jail, he kept a scrap of paper in his cell that contained the words of a poem by William Ernest Henley, entitled “Invictus.” It ends with the famous lines, “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”

To make it through times of extreme adversity, you need to embody these words. Take responsibility for the results you create in your life, and keep agreements with yourself.

They are at least as important as agreements with others.

Tidbits of Wisdom

simms_wisdom simms_wisdom

Quote of the Day…
“Overall, the philosophy is to attack the availability problem from two complementary directions: to reduce the number of software errors through rigorous testing of running systems, and to reduce the effect of the remaining errors by providing for recovery from them. An interesting footnote to this design is that now a system failure can usually be considered to be the result of two program errors: the first, in the program that started the problem; the second, in the recovery routine that could not protect the system.” — A. L. Scherr, Functional Structure of IBM Virtual Storage Operating Systems

Term Of The Day…
From Generation X by Douglas Coupland:
Overboarding: The overcompensating for fears about the future by plunging headlong into a job or life-style seemingly unrelated to one’s previous life interests; i.e., Amway sales, aerobics, the Republican party, a career in law, cults, McJobs, etc.

Those Questions…
- If Americans throw rice at weddings, do Chinese throw hot dogs?
- Was Robin Hood’s mother known as Mother Hood?
- How do you know when you run out of invisible ink?
- What do they call a coffee break at the Lipton Tea Co.?
- How do you explain counter-clockwise to someone with a digital watch?

One Way To Do Things…
When Albert Einstein and his wife visited the Mount Wilson Observatory in California, Mrs. Einstein pointed to a particularly complex piece of equipment and asked its purpose. Their guide said that it was used to determine the shape of the universe. “Oh,” she said, not at all impressed, “my husband uses the back of an old envelope to work that out.”

The Wisdom of Management


A man stands on a factory floor looking around aimlessly. The CEO comes up and asks him his salary.
The man replies, “5000 a month sir.”

The CEO takes out his wallet and gives the man 15000 and tells him: “I pay people here to work and not to waste time… here’s 3 months salary. Now get out of here and never come back!”

The guy leaves. Then CEO asked another worker,

“Who was that guy anyways?”

The worker replies, “Courier boy, sir…”

Observation is Key


Bob was born without ears, and though he proved to be successful in business, his problem annoyed him greatly. One day he needed to hire a new manager for his company, so he set up three interviews.

The first guy was great. He knew everything he needed to know and was very interesting. But at the end of the interview, Bob asked him, “Do you notice anything different about me?”

“Why, yes, I couldn’t help but notice that you have no ears,” came the reply. Bob did not appreciate his candor and threw him out of the office.

The second interview was with a woman, and she was even better than the first guy. But he asked her the same question

“Do you notice anything different about me?”

“Well,” she said stammering, “you have no ears.” Bob again got upset and chucked her out in a rage.

The third and final interviewee was the best of the bunch, he was a young man who had recently earned his MBA. He was smart. He was handsome, and he seemed to be a better businessman than the first two put together. Bob was anxious, but went ahead and asked the young man the same question “Do you notice anything different about me?” Much to his surprise, the young man answered, “Yes, you wear contact lenses, don’t you?”

Bob was shocked and realized this was an incredibly observant person.
“How in the world did you know that?”, he asked.

The young man replied, “Well, it’s pretty hard to wear glasses with no damn ears!”

Funniest Book Titles


Jargon and nonsense assail us every day…if we bother to notice. The following are actual titles of published books…care to add your favorite?

  • Oral Sadism and the Vegetarian Personality
  • How to Avoid Huge Ships
  • American Bottom Archaeology
  • Highlights in the History of Concrete
  • Reusing Old Graves
  • Population and Other Problems
  • The Madam as Entrepreneur: Career Management in House Prostitution
  • Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice
  • Children Are Like Wet Cement
  • Keeping Warm with an Axe





Courage in Business


Wilde - courage

If you want to see more courageous action by your people, consider whether you’re modeling the 10 traits of courageous leaders:

  1. Confront reality head-on.  Ditch the rose-colored glasses and face the facts about the state of your organization and business. Only by knowing the true current state can you lead your team to a better place.
  2. Seek feedback and listen.  We all have blind spots that impact the way we interact with others.  Unfiltered 360-degree feedback is not always easy to hear, but it can breathe new life into your relationships and leadership style if you listen and act.
  3. Say what needs to be said.  Real conversations can be awkward and uncomfortable, especially if conflict is involved. Having crucial conversations helps cut through the smoke and move through issues. This also means having the courage to put your opinions on the table, even if they are unpopular.
  4. Encourage push-back.  Many leaders feel pressure to have all the answers. By encouraging constructive dissent and healthy debate, you reinforce the strength of the team and demonstrate that in the tension of diverse opinions lies a better answer.
  5. Take action on performance issues.  Confronting people issues is hard, which is why so many leaders ignore them until they become a toxic threat to the team or company’s performance. By taking swift action to reassign or exit underperforming employees, you are helping yourself, the team and organization.
  6. Communicate openly and frequently.   Keep the lines of communication open, even when you don’t know all the answers.  Courageous leaders refuse to hide behind jargon and wiggle-words – they use straight-talk and are not afraid to say “I don’t know.”  They also share information instead of hoarding it.
  7. Lead change.  In fear-based environments, it’s all about protecting the status quo. Envision a better way, a better solution, a better product – and approach it with determination and an open mind, knowing that it will be messy and that a mid-course correction may be necessary. Remember that you need to bring people along the change process for them to truly engage.
  8. Make decisions and move forward.  Especially in environments of fear and intense change, it feels unsafe to commit to a decision and move ahead. Avoid the crutch of ‘analysis paralysis’ and make the decision.  Forward movement is always better than being stuck in place.
  9. Give credit to others.  Let go of the need for praise and instead give the credit to those around you.  At first it feels scary – will I be rendered irrelevant or unnecessary if my people are doing all the good stuff? Remember that a good leader takes more than their fair share of the blame and less than their fair share of the credit.
  10. Hold people (and yourself) accountable.  Expect people to perform and deliver on their commitments, and have courage to call them out when they don’t follow through.  Remember that accountability begins with you – holding yourself responsible for modeling the behaviors you expect of others.

Susan Tardanico is CEO of the Authentic Leadership Alliance and Executive in Residence at the Center for Creative Leadership.  Follow her on Twitter @Susantardanico.