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.


Seven-Eleven

July 18, 2011

No this is not a post about that corner variety store that sells Slurpies and cigarettes. No this blog is about Republican presidents, economic policy and conservative hypocrisy.

Seven is the number of times George W. Bush raised the debt ceiling, largely in order to fund an unnecessary war and because he really wasn’t a cost cutter or budget balancer. Needless to say, The W faced little opposition from within his own political party when he pushed the debt ceiling upwards.

Eleven is the number of times the iconic Ronald Reagan increased taxes while president. Yes, that champion of the free market and less government signed on the dotted line eleven times to raise taxes. After the tax cut of 1981 it became clear to Reagan that he was not able to get the revenue he needed, especially for the military and mounting entitlement programs. Despite all the conservative posturing, Reagan was averse to huge budget cuts as politically unwise. So he did what any sane politician would do, he raised taxes in order to get more revenue.

The legacy of Reagan and Bush is thus crystal clear – huge deficits, mounting debt, little reluctance to raise the ceiling and an affinity for tax increases to grab more revenue. The lesson here is obvious( except to current Republicans and extreme Tea Partiers) –  when adult GOP leaders were faced with debt and tax issues, they embraced the word RAISE.

Since this entire debt ceiling crisis is a manufactured exercise in order to please the extreme right-wing of the GOP, memories are short and the decisions of past leaders are conveniently placed in limbo. Compromise with a Democratic president is considered an act of treason.

Fortunately for the Republicans, most Americans have a limited understanding of history, especially economic history; they are quite rightly focused on the here and now and their dismal financial circumstances. But it is important to remember what George W. and Ronald Reagan did when they were faced with economic challenges. All that Americans have to remember are two numbers 7 and 11.