Archive for March, 2008

A few months ago, the anniversary of the events of september 11, 2001 took place

A few months ago, the anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001 took place. That day marked the beginning of a sea change for the world. And change is hard. We’ve had a chance to reflect over the past six years, to become introspective on a number of fronts.

It is easy to hate those who transgressed against us, and generalize our hatred to those whom we all too easily put in the same basket as our transgressors.

We generalize because of a human trait called closure. When we don’t know something, we automatically fill in the blanks with negatives of our own making, not positives. It’s a protection mechanism that keeps us from getting hurt. We automatically tend to think worst case scenarios. As a result, it becomes easy for us to focus our hate on any group different from us (or similar to our attackers).

We don’t know what’s in the Koran or the Torah or the Bible so we automatically assume that their God is different from our God, that their God is telling them to do nasty things to those of us who don’t believe as they do. It’s amazing. Although the stories are overlapping but different and customized, the message in all of these texts is basically the same: love thy neighbor; respect your elders; care for the sick; fear a just and righteous God; etc. – the very same message.

Extremists in all religions use both their ignorance of others’ principles and the inability of their followers to read their own texts to hold their God up as the one true God; superior to others’ Gods; more legitimate. Call me naive (I’ve been called that before), but the way I look at it, we are all on this island earth together whether you believe God created man or vice versa. There’s no other place to go. We can only get so far away from people different from us. Sooner or later we will come face to face with others – their stories, their beliefs, their variety. I’m certain that at that time, we will discover that the differences are microscopic compared to our similarities. For while variances exist, we are all human with a common set of predictable behaviors.

The languages may be different. The cultures may be different. The beliefs may be different, but people are all the same. They have the same needs (security/safety, food, shelter, prosperity, and the hope for a better life – however that’s defined in the minds of the individuals).

Immediately after September 11, 2001, we became a country of re evaluators. We reevaluated our lives, our relationships. It became a wake up call of self-evaluation, both as a nation and as individuals. We decided for the moment to move closer to one another both at home and at work: more collaboration; more teamwork. In Minnesota, for example, instead of cocooning for the winter, we visited our neighbors and friends more frequently, checked on one another for well-being. As human nature unfortunately predicts, we’ve moved away from that closeness as time has passed. We felt vulnerable after September 11, but have reacted (some would say overreacted) to where we are feeling somewhat less vulnerable again. At work, interest in teamwork and collaboration briefly increased . . . and now, just a few years later, it has generally decreased.

We’re chasing the bad guys. Not all of them, just the ones we want to get even with currently. Once this threat is vanquished, another will take its place. It’s human nature for some group feeling disenfranchised to take some bites out of those they can easily target for their own misfortunes.

Currently, we’re the most visible, so we’re it. We will continue in this vicious cycle until the point where the people of the world, with all their variety realize that we have more to gain together than apart – by helping one another out.

Much of the world scoffs at our (the USA’s) efforts as “too little or too late”; it’s group think. While others want us to give more, they forget we already give more to others in need than any other country. We are collectively the most generous people on the planet. Some give out of the guilt of having, some out of the genuine desire to help others. We should be proud of what we as a nation stand for, what we have accomplished and the role we’ve assumed globally.

Sure, the events of 9/11 made us all more introspective. It’ll pass (that, too, is human nature). But as we look inside, do not fall into the trap of self-blaming. Rather than say that we are at fault for all the world’s ills, look at the hope that we bring to those who live in repression. Again, I’m not naive enough to believe that we don’t all have some repression going on in our lives, self or other initiated. On balance, though, the world looks to the example set by our people in how we treat each other (capital punishment aside) and what, as a nation, we stand for.

Make no mistake about it, we are a beacon of hope for others in need of such hope. Be proud of the fact that the relative freedom and relative democracy we enjoy is a draw for much of the world. Some don’t like us because of this and look for ways to hurt us or bring us down. They, too, shall pass. Please, have hope for a brighter future on this island earth for all human beings. I do.

As for business and our work, it’s time to get back on the collaborative track. The more information that flows, the more effectively we listen, the fewer turf wars we fight internally – the better off we’ll be over the long haul, ourselves, our companies, our nations, our world.

Had heard, xingguo county is known far and wide, “mat grass professional county”, there is growing grass seats of traditional techniques, weave a straw mat, exquisite craft, known as “village kinds of seats grass, and every household to hear machine sheng” laudatory , while the county jiang pui pui tsuen, zhenjiang is a straw mat, a pearl on the town

    Had heard, Xingguo County is known far and wide, “Mat Grass professional county”, there is growing grass seats of traditional techniques, weave a straw mat, exquisite craft, known as “village kinds of seats grass, and every household to hear machine Sheng” laudatory , while the county Jiang Pui Pui Tsuen, Zhenjiang is a straw mat, a pearl on the town.

August 10 morning, I attracted to Jiang Pui Tsuen. In the village cadres under the leadership of Mao came to the original group, walked along the road, he saw many farmers at home are placed in the mat.

I went to several homes of villagers, and found that they are also busy finishing seats or woven grass mats. After talking with them that XI grass is the village’s traditional industries, from the last century, 70 years, the seats grass from Zhejiang spread to rejuvenating the country and has more than 30 years history.

At this time, a car seat has been equipped with more than half of the truck parked on the grass roadside, a few people down from the car, pick up the speaker shouted: “Please put your villagers move to sell the car seats grass edge, We unified the acquisition. “As the speaker sound spread, the villagers after another of the seats to put their own grass to wait for transport to the car side of the acquisition.

It turned out a few mats processing plant is a prosperous town employees, last year, they plant and the village of 200 farmers signed the order, and now they are to acquire seats grass. Mat plant is a prosperous town and village seats grass industry, according to the introduction of enterprise, covers an area of 6600 square meters, with straw mats to the textile machine 60 sets, with annual sales of more than 6 million yuan, all over the country more than 30 sales outlets, formed the cultivation, processing, marketing, and service pattern.

Accompanied by village cadres said that, now I planted grass per mu can be profitable more than 1600 yuan, is the cultivation of rice four times to five times, and will not delay the two rice-growing season, if the deep processing compiled mats and efficiency even more impressive. A few years ago the town to revitalize the mat industry, promote the cultivation of Pui Tsuen Jiang Xi grass, the kinds of grass as I adjust the planting structure, development of new industrial task. At that time, because the grass I can not sell, farmers have not planted, in order to allow cousin assured that the town I introduced grass plants, and to “company + farmer” mode to ensure that the interests of the villagers, while sending cadres to Min – , Guangdong and other places to broaden the market. Under the guidance of the Government, through the “company + farmer” model, and now the village farmers planting grass seats grown to more than 800 households, planted area of 1800 mu, the per capita income 600 yuan, Jiang Pui Village mat industry has returned its former glory.

Reading business books: a must-do for entrepreneurs

Reading Business Books: A Must-Do for Entrepreneurs

As a business owner, one of the most important things you can do to boost your business and improve your professional skills and knowledge is to take the time to keep up with the latest business literature.

As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to feel like the challenges you face every day are unique to your situation. However, it is very likely that other professionals have faced, and overcome, many of the same challenges. There are so many great publications geared toward helping entrepreneurs just like you learn to deal with the day-to-day personal and professional challenges they face. Time you spend keeping yourself current with business literature is definitely time well spent. It is an investment in your business and in yourself.

Whatever your challenges are, you are likely to find great business publications, authored by successful professionals and consultants, that can provide valuable insight into dealing with whatever business challenges you are facing at any given time.

Suggested Topics Include:
The following list represents just a few of the many types of business literature that can help you hone your professional skills.

Business Networking: Books such as Million Dollar Networking and Nonstop Networking by Andrea Nierenberg provide great ideas for improving your business by learning to expand your network of business contacts.

Conflict Management: When you own or manage a business, dealing with conflict is an inevitable part of your job. Books such as the national bestseller Crucial Confrontations, written by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler, provide sound guidance for learning how to deal effectively with conflict.

Entrepreneurship: Dive Right In, the Sharks Won’t Bite by Jane Wesman is a great resource for those who are in the process of starting a new business, as well as for those who want to continue to improve their existing businesses.

Hiring Employees: Every time business owners are faced with adding a new employee, they wish they knew more about how to make the best choices from among the pool of applicants. Hire With Your Head by Lou Adler provides invaluable information about how to build great teams by using performance based hiring strategies.

Public Speaking: Does the thought of speaking in front of a group of people make you nervous or even terrify you? As a business owner, cultivating powerful presentation skills can be an excellent way to promote your business in your community and via the media. Publications like The Confident Speaker by Harrison Monarth and Larina Kase can help you learn how to overcome your public speaking fears.

Tip for Fitting Business Reading Into Your Busy Schedule
Entrepreneurs are notorious for taking care of everything and everyone except themselves. Most entrepreneurs will benefit greatly from making the time to focus on their own physical and mental well being, and most are also adept at multi-tasking. Since you’re probably already very good at juggling multiple tasks, why not put some of that ability to work for yourself? It’s fairly simple to combine the exercise your body needs with acquiring knowledge that can help you lead your business in an even more successful direction.

Get a treadmill or elliptical trainer, and set aside thirty minutes each day for yourself. While you are exercising, listen to the latest business books on your MP3 player, or read if you are coordinated enough to handle a book and the exercise equipment at the same time. Your health and your stress levels are likely to improve dramatically, and you will be maximizing the use of your time!

Picture a roaring campfire in the wilderness with the scouts or adventurers gathered round listening to the person in charge doing what leaders do

Picture a roaring campfire in the wilderness with the scouts or adventurers gathered round listening to the person in charge doing what leaders do.

They build fires.

Everyone trusts that they know what they’re doing, not only because they’re in charge, but because they’ve seen them build fires before. In this moment they have proof.

We can use the analogy of the fire because it demonstrates first hand that a leader doesn’t just have the knowledge about how to do something; they’ve done it. The fire can also be used to symbolize 5 characteristics of leadership.

1.    Heat and Light = Comfort and Clarity

Comfort isn’t a detached or random idea that finds itself lumped into one situation or another. Every endeavor of conscious thought has an element of comfort attached. We naturally think in terms of finding comfort and the heat from a fire in the woods at night satisfies that need.

Apart from the light of the fire we would have limited vision at night especially if trees block the starlight. The fire is both the clearly defined mission and the source for further endeavor.

Providing the focus and the vision are both necessary for true leadership. Ensuring that people are comfortably confident in what is required of them is what leaders do.

2.    Wood and Flames = Goals and Results

As the wood slowly burns to glowing embers the plan to build the fire is put into action. The goal of creating flames requires more wood. As the new wood catches and starts to burn, the vision is restored along with a sense of accomplishment.

The leader would look silly dancing around a bunch of smoldering embers, but the entire company has cause for celebration when the fire is once again roaring.

The concept is simple enough, but far too often leadership fails because the celebration isn’t initiated when even the smallest goals are accomplished.

3.    Rain and Wind = Difficulties and Obstacles

The obvious forces of nature can have devastating effects upon our mission to keep the campsite warm and well lit. We expect rain and wind when we’re outside. The person in charge prepares for such conditions.

Likewise in business or education by anticipating the difficulties and obstacles that get in the way of productivity and progress, we adapt and overcome. The exercise of identifying and addressing problems is what leaders do.

4.    Gathering and Building = Leadership and More Leadership

When the mission is broken down into the specific actions necessary for success, we see that leadership is essential to each component.

The fire needs fuel and it isn’t usually stacked by the fire pit when we arrive in the woods. Nor do we find a fire completely assembled waiting for a match.

This example is a good one because not everyone reading this has had an opportunity to build a fire, which means they probably wouldn’t be able to identify the best hard wood to burn.

Not everyone who surfs the internet has had an opportunity to build a website.

Before anyone ever learns to build a fire, or a website, a leader has learned it first. Leadership depends upon initiative and encourages this character trait in others.

5.    Talking and Listening = Sharing and Learning

Sitting around the campfire sharing ideas and telling stories predates conferences and seminars. One of the reasons scouts are taken on these types of outings is to remove kids from the normal distractions and hopefully instill something beneficial toward their character development.

Speaking and teaching is dead without listening. How many times have we heard that the only dumb question is the one you didn’t ask?

When the fires of desire are burning brightly we’re eager to discover what is hidden in the darkness. Bringing things into the light helps every mission in life. That’s what leaders do.

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