Monday, 16 November 2009

The Andy School of Management


As a kid, I managed to watch every single episode of Andy Griffith. As an adult….I repeated the experience about fifteen times per episode.

I look back at all the attempts the Air Force made in training me to be a manager or leader….and the truth be known….the ‘Andy School of Management’ probably had more success than any of the Air Force’s attempts.

I went through around half-a-dozen University of Maryland and Louisiana Tech classes in management skills….and none came within a mile of the ‘Andy School’.

How can this be? Well….the Andy method was to approach each person with a slightly different view of their situation. What works with Barney….just doesn’t work with Aunt Bee. What worked with Opie….could never work with Gomer. So you have to really start to know people….their vision….their problems….their attitude….their personality conflicts.

The Andy method requires that you start with a full-gallon of patience. If you lack patience, then the method will never work. You are basically walking out to the pond with a two worms for the entire day….and hoping that just one of these will be enough to do the job and bring a fish home.

The Andy method dictates that you prioritize problems. You can’t fix fifty in a day. You fix the most important stuff, and then leave the rest for tomorrow. Unless you were intending to depart the Earth in a pine box tomorrow….there’s no reason to rush.

The Andy method requires you to fix what you can fix, and for those problems with no fix possible…..you accept it. Don’t whine. Don’t drink yourself into a fit for the next ten years over what you couldn’t fix or accept. It’s a done deal….either it’s fixed or you learn to accept it.

A leader over difficult people with impossible personalities? The Andy method is simple….you bring them in….and have an eye-to-eye chat. The amount of pain or woes or terror they are inflicting on your team or group…isn’t going to be accepted. You show a slight grin as you announce this to them….as if in a poker game and you know the cards in your hands and theirs. Then you give them an indicator of friendly persuasion. You want them to proceed to a middle-grounds of sort. They need to come up for a bit of fresh air and grasp that most folks just aren’t buying into their act anymore.

The Andy method dictates little acceptance of gossip or its pretended value.

The Andy method meant two minutes of friendly chat with folks...to give them the time of day and at least offer to console them on a tough afternoon or a rough morning.

The Andy method requires seriousness at times...but can flex to meet a situation with a bit of humor or a moment of wit.

The Andy method isn’t precise. Sometimes….you just have to take a fishing pole and hope for a natural answer in the end.

So when you’ve tired of all the various methods of management….and you’ve got problems that need a different approach….maybe it’s time to pull out the Andy method and see if a different approach works.

Madness in America

My co-worker’s brother-in-law....an Army guy....twenty-five years old....was shot and killed over the weekend near Nashville. The guy went out to some nightclub....said something that triggered some guy to go with his three buddies to a car. A round was fired....killing the young NCO.

A local paper put up the basic story....then pasted the four pictures of the guys arrested by the cops. All of them are from the Nashville area.....all are 19 to 21 years old. One guy will be the trigger guy and get a twenty-five year sentence out of the deal. I’m guessing the three guys...if they are lucky...might walk free if they point out the trigger guy.

It’s a waste of life....going out to some club....and then killed for some comment you made in the club. You look around, and there’s probably fifty guys killed every Saturday night now in the US....at bar’s and clubs.....just because they said the wrong thing.

Something’s wrong with this picture. You go back thirty years ago.....there would have been a fight and one guy would have been given a black eye for his stupid comment. Today.....you got to shoot the guy.

This is something that I’ve missed here in Germany. Folks don’t get shot like this. You might have a black eye or get beaten severely....but this shoot-them-up game just isn’t played.

The Fort Hood Shooter & Army Values

From the 14 Nov 2009 edition of the Washington Post…came a great article by Colbert I. King. From the aspect of evaluating the Fort Hood shooter….Mr. King came to one important conclusion….there are seven values held by every single member of the US Army. Major Nidal Malik Hasan failed all seven values….miserably:

Loyalty? Hasan wore the uniform but he did not bear true faith and allegiance to his fellow soldiers. His devotion was to himself and his version of his beliefs. He had no loyalty to the Army.

Duty? He wanted to renege on his obligations and abandon his responsibilities. He said yes to medical training, but no to being part of a team deployed overseas.

Respect? He claimed not to get any, even as he failed to treat others with the dignity and respect due them. Thirteen caskets and 38 victims with bullet wounds tell the tale.

Selfless service? "Go a little further, endure a little longer, and look a little closer to see how you can add to the effort" is the way the Army puts it. The country's welfare matters. Hasan put his own above that of the Army or his comrades.

Honor? There was no honor in what he did. Hasan sat in the readiness center, deceiving others into believing he was one of them.

Integrity? His piety was demolished by his immoral, criminal and hate-filled behavior.

Personal courage? It took no physical courage to open fire on the unprotected. Where is the moral courage in seeking refuge in Miranda protection after a murderous rampage?

It’s difficult to imagine some guy making it into the Army….then disposing of every single thing that they taught him….and then becoming an absolute threat to every single member of the US Army.

I’ve come over the past week to have zero respect for the guy, and his religious beliefs start to become a major issue in my mind. He allowed a religious belief to overcome the safety of those around him….which is something that no man in uniform can allow. If you have such a strong belief and you can’t play “airman”, “grunt”, “sailor”, or “Army”, then you fold up the tent and just quit. He wouldn’t do that….which makes him lower than dirt.

Playboy Spiraling?


In the next week or two....the December 2009 issue of Playboy will come out. The key article? They've done an entire article on taking down Fox News and an "honest" survey of Glenn Beck....to mention every single fault...but less of any positive things the guy may have done.

To be honest, I haven't touched a Playboy magazine since January of 1998...the period of my deployment to Turkey...living in tent city....and the military tradition of guys buying magazines for everybody around the tent to read.

For that brief period where I might have read three or four Playboy magazines...I kept wondering why I ever read this in my younger years at 18 or 19 years old. The gentlemanly fashion....the style of living in LA....the technical garbage on stereo selection....and the 1-star interviews of the publication....were a joke.

I remember a serious discussion that erupted at my old TV room at Rhein Main Air Base in 1979...where four guys sat there....three in mostly negative view of the publication. I was the sole neutral guy...just voicing the idea that it was a gentlemen's magazine. I was quietly put down and assured that it was for wussy guys with no real appeal to real women.

I paused here to ask my learned friends for a description of "real women", and was assured that the description mostly fits a big-boobed gals, who wore tube tops, uttered mostly four-letter words, drink beer from a bottle, knew twenty rules about professional football, never listened to opera or classical music, and could tell a good whiskey from a cheap whiskey.

They urged me to lay down the Playboy magazine and come to the dark side....mostly Hustler or just hanging out on the third floor "C-wing" with the hotties who resided there. I questioned their logic. Shouldn't a guy be the cool Playboy type? Shouldn't a gal appreciate a gentleman who uses the right colors of clothing, listens to jazz and knows how to make amusing Italian dishes with shrimp? Their response was simple....what kind of woman adores a guy like that?

I became a lesser gentleman of sorts....reading less and less Playboy from that point on. By age 30, I probably read one issue a year and by age thirty-five had switched to more informed reading vehicles.

Today? Playboy is dying. It is a publication that is barely surviving today. This article? It'll be read by maybe 250,000 readers at the most. How many are Republicans who will dump their subscription? Probably thirty percent.

The sad thing? Their top article for the month? Joanna Krupa from Dancing with the Stars. Yeah....that's it. That'll help the publication sell. Yeah. Their trash job on Fox News and Glenn Beck...didn't even make the top bit of the cover....some gal from Dancing with the Stars is it.

I'm thinking Playboy has three years of publication left.