Change is good for our government too.

As I was reading an article on Yahoo and then began reading the comments associated with the article I came upon a few excellent words of wisdom.  I felt as though one in specific was important enough to pass along and save for future sharing as well.  Here is what I read:

REAL CHANGE will ONLY happen if WE make it happen!!

Politicians, ALL politicians will not serve the common people of this nation until they ARE common people of this nation. Politicians are RICH to begin with or else they cannot run as an “effective” candidate. They do not relate to common people and speak only in euphemistic idealism and platitudes of populist idealism. None of which they have any intentions of following through with. Bush did it. Clinton did it, Obama is definitely doing it. There will be NO CHANGE with him, or anyone under the current “system” of government we now endure!

The truth is simple: REAL CHANGE will ONLY happen if WE make it happen!!

Time for us to get control of the incredibly dysfunctional form our government has devolved into and hit the “reset button.” This will require an effort equal to what happened in Egypt and Tunisia, and trying to happen in Libya. Until we have common people in the legislature and running the government, you are just going to change the faces but NEVER SOLVE THE PROBLEMS. You may think these are unrealizable goals, but then, how realistic was it when the Colonial Army took on the British in the war for independence? We won that one, too, in case you’ve forgotten….

Here’s were we begin “budget reform”….

Congressional Reform Act of 2012

1. Term Limits.
8 years only, one of the possible options below..
A. Two 4-year Senate terms
B. 4 Two-year House terms
C. One 8-year Senate term and Two 4-Year House terms
D. One 8 year term for Supreme Court Justices
If term limits are requisite for the President, Vice-President, and State Governors, then they most certainly are equally imperative based on the same principles for ALL of our legislators and even the judicial high seats.

2. No Tenure / No Pension.
A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.

4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make these contracts with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

9. Make all lobbyists and special interest groups illegal. They have no basis or rights for their existence except the greed of the oligarchs they represent. This is the heart of our dysfunctional government system. This is “legal bribery” in America and the Supreme Court has sanctioned it.

10. All campaign contributions, corporate or private, cannot exceed $250 max. No candidate can use their OWN money to campaign with. This violates the constitutional principles of equal opportunities for ALL people in the nation. If candidates qualify for federal campaign monies, then that is what they can use. Otherwise, they hit the trail like everyone else for the last 200 years.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

This was written by a poster named Triad (I want to make sure to give credit where it is due).  I believe that our government, for all it is run as a corporation, needs some serious restructuring, process improvement, ethics and cultural training, leadership development, and constant 360 feedback processes.  Triad’s posting speaks to that eloquently, and I think as the American people we need to take the responsibility back for running our own government if we want to see real improvement.

Lessons Abound for Businesses in the Wake of Civil Unrest

With the number of major world events happening over the last 6 months, I have to believe that people are starting to take notice and ask why. In many cases perhaps there is no reason to ask why, such as the overturn of the Tunisian government, or the similar situation in Egypt. Even as we speak the unrest in Libya is building to a crescendo, with people around the globe starting to feel the impact at the gas pump and in the stock market. Not to mention there are plenty of people, myself included, that are waiting to see the outcome, and what it means for not only the Middle East and African countries, but for all peoples and countries around the world. Business should take lessons from these situations as well, not only of the impact to them, but for what it means in the country of “YourBusinessToday”.

We often look at situations in foreign countries and think that it could never happen to us, and what we certainly don’t think about are the similarities between a country and a business. Any time you have a population of people being governed by a body who has greater and greater power and control in the eyes of those people, you really walk a fine line. It is the responsibility of those in power to take a step back, listen to their people, and ensure that not only do they understand them but are working on their behalf to make things better for them. Without people to lead, and people who want to follow you, you have no authority and can and will lose much. Whether that much is a company or a country is based on your situation, but the result is generally still the same.

In tribes such as the Trobriander and others around the world they have this concept correct. There are even companies such as Gore that get it right. You have to keep groups small, allow the people to have a voice, base authority on merit, and truly have your people’s best interest at heart because your people are you and you are your people. When you create a hierarchical system, giving greater and greater authority while separating the leaders and people from each other, you often end up playing a huge game of telephone to understand what is really going on with the people. Authority and respect needs to be earned by leaders, and voluntarily given by followers. When you try to force it, or demand it, you degrade the entire structure of trust and communication. We see this when we look at world leaders who are killing their citizens to maintain control, or taking money out of their pockets in one form or another to fill their own, or even in the case of working over their people’s heads and behind their backs on “diplomatic policies” that are really about making the leaders power and money greater (sometimes at the expense of the people they serve).

Unfortunately we fail to notice, or do anything about, the actions of business leaders that are equally egregious. We as human beings tend to view it as a greater tragedy when bad things happen to a people of a country, but accept it more when it comes from a business. While business leaders may not be mowing down their employees (and who knows, perhaps some do!) there are certainly cases where they are making deals for their own benefit, and lining their own pockets because “they earned it”. I’m sure that many of the world leaders out there being overturned and ousted believed the same thing at one time or another.

The time may not have come yet, but I believe that if current events are any indication, the time will come when people around the world will begin to become infected with the pandemic virus of “we won’t take it any more”. As this day draws near businesses better take heed and make changes, because as the global economy changes, the global environment changes, and one only knows how many governments change there will certainly be the possibility of a target being painted on the front and back of every business leader. Again, we’re not there yet, but that day may not be too far in the future.

Supported Communication Patterns Thrive in the Workplace

Something I have noticed in the different organizations I have had the pleasure (or in some cases nightmare) of working with are the different communication patterns. This is a topic that I believe sits on the mind of many across many different types of organizations (clubs, associations, committees, businesses, etc.). Just think for a second, how many times have you ever made a comment like “we never know what’s going on” or “you better be careful what you say around here…the walls have ears.” These kinds of statements are precisely the indicators to watch for to signal that there is a major communication problem.

When I say that there is a major communication problem, perhaps a more correct statement would be that there is a major problem with the communication environment. The only way that problems in communication can really get out of hand in the manner that causes the aforementioned statements, is if the people in the environment support an environment that allows it to thrive.

So how do you change the environment, especially if you are not one of the decision-makers? First, a simple discussion with your supervisor, if possible, would be a good start. Clarify your concerns and possible solutions. As with anything, include the benefits to the business, group, employees, members, etc. as well as the issues that the current environment is causing. It’s important to have real examples as much as possible.

The second thing to do is practice what you preach. By simply modeling the behaviors that would create improvement you can infect others 360 degrees and hopefully start an epidemic. What behaviors would be represented here? Not allowing gossip and backbiting to occur. Simply help break that chain of information by not listening to it, or passing it along, no matter how interesting or tempting. Make sure that as much as possible you keep those around you in the loop, and ask for the same in return. This truly should be an expectation. If you find yourself in a situation where people are bypassing each other and getting supervisors involved when not necessary, or you find people attempting to pull “power plays” call it out and make it unacceptable.

It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that the work environment is a happy healthy place, and that includes in the communication arena.