Looking Out the Window

August 28, 2013

If you happen to be reading this blog at work, stop right now and get back to your inane emails and preparations for those boring meetings. I don’t want to be responsible for trying to question the bedrocks of corporate culture – endless emails and meetings.

This is what work has become in the modern age of technology and corporate culture. Studies have shown that 25% of the work day is taken up responding to emails and meetings devour precious time that could be used to enhance productivity. The Dutch have a name for endless office meetings – they call it meeting sickness.

Slowly but surely the corporate world is beginning to recognize that emails and meetings have gotten out of hand. Some bosses have started to see that giving workers time to think, free of emails and meetings, is the best way to get new ideas, new products, new strategies. If workers are to be productive they need time to dream, and should not be criticized or ostracized for pushing the delete button.

Changing the corporate culture has worked well in some companies and visionary leaders have embraced the dream approach to productivity. Bill Gates of Microsoft takes two weeks off and heads to his cabin in the woods to think and Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, called his downtime ” looking out the window time.”

Perhaps my favorite quote about the proper work ethic comes from Ronald Reagan. Never a slave to work, Reagan once said, ” It’s true, hard work never killed anybody, but I figure why take a chance.”?

Please don’t get out of your cubicle and stare out the window for an hour or angrily press that delete button announcing the next boring meeting. Most of the corporate world has not admitted that there is a disease called meeting sickness, at least not yet.

But it is time to have a serious discussion about email overload and meeting sickness and begin to give employees the opportunity to think and plan and develop a vision free of all the office minutiae.


October 15, 2012

There’s been a considerable amount of liberal/Democratic ink used in recent days concerning billionaires whining about the Obama administration and what could happen to this country if he were to be reelected. Jack Welch, former GE CEO claimed that the unemployment numbers were “cooked”, Donald Trump predicts the downfall of American capitalism, Steve Wynn of Las Vegas is worried about creeping socialism and the Koch Brothers of Texas are so anti-Obama that their heads nearly explode at the mention of his name.

So why are these super-rich guys so upset with Obama and predicting dark days ahead if he gets four more years. It couldn’t be because corporate earnings and profits are down – they’re in large part on an upward path. It couldn’t be because the stock market has tanked – it has regained much if not all of its pre-meltdown position. It couldn’t be because the housing market it in the doldrums – most signs point to a real uptick in housing. And it couldn’t be because we are in a recession or a near recession – no economist worth his/her salt is talking about a recession, only a steady but slow recovery.

So why all the whining? Well you probably guessed it already. These guys, these billionaires are worried that Obama and the Democrats will make them pay millions more in taxes. It’s all about them and their wealth, not about fairness, not about attacking the debt, not about the fact they made a tax windfall the last ten years. No, its about paying up and losing what will likely be a miniscule portion of their billions.

Someone ought to tell these guys that there is no whining in politics.  There is reasoned arguments,  policy studies, independent analysis, not conspiracy theories, bogus socialism claims, and predictions about the end of America. Anyone who reads what these guys are saying can quickly see what their game is. It’s not about the fiscal health of the country, its about protecting their wallets. So much for the common good.

In St. Mark’s gospel yesterday, Jesus talked to the rich man and asked him to give away his wealth to the poor and join him. Then Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of an needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. If Jesus was right, these billionaires may have a lot to answer for down the line.