Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Schoolhouse Rock Moment...

Just to preface this post, this is post is no way reflective of a political leaning in either direction.  I usually don't discuss politics in this format.  This is instead a reflection of a childhood memory and how it impacts me today.

I remember as a kid watching Saturday morning cartoons.  While some of the cartoon characters stick in my mind, what I remember most are the shorts under the Schoolhouse Rock umbrella.  They were a catchy way to remember english, history, science, and math.  The one that I have been thinking about the most is the short that taught about the formation of our country and the preamble for the United States Constitution.  This is something that I think that politicians these days have really lost sight of.

As a reminder, the preamble says this....

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

In my opinion, the United States was established as a union of colonies that aligned themselves against British rule.  Taxation and religious freedom issues were key issues for early colonists.  Early Statesmen understood that aligning resources towards a common goal was the best recipe for success.  At the end of the day, while there may have been much discussion and dissent they understood that their goal was to "form a more perfect union".  The "how" they would form a more perfect union lay among the rest of the preamble as these were the basics for the remainder of the constitution.  Government's purpose was to:

  • Establish justice
  • Insure domestic tranquility
  • Provide for the common defense
  • promote the general welfare
  • secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves
  • posterity for all colonists
To understand what our forefathers were attempting to establish as their goal was something much different than what was occurring on the European continent.  In Europe, remember that each country could easily be considered a state.  Thus the creation of the United States of America was a union of colonies united together to form that more perfect union of states on the North American continent.

Over the past 224 years since George Washington was first inaugurated as our country's first President government has been transformed based upon interpretations of the constitution.  At the end of the day, what has been at the root cause is the interpretation of states rights versus the role of the Federal government in the lives of the citizenry.  Government in the beginning served to create a common law of the newly formed nation and provide defense against those who threatened the union of states. 

In my opinion, regardless of political affiliation, we as Americans need to get back to the basics of how we came together as the United States of America.  The role of government in the affairs of the citizens needs to be reexamined.  Our government, defined as all three branches of government, are not meeting the constitutional expectations as outlined in the preamble of the constitution.

In business, if organizations are not meeting customer needs, or the needs of their shareholders, leadership changes occur.  In our government, there are far too many in the legislative branch, regardless of party affiliation, who do not have real accountability back to their electorate.

Just some food for thought for the week.... Take look back at the Schoolhouse Rock series.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


What is passion?

The word is used most frequently when one talks of love, or hate.  One definition would say that it is the object of an intense desire, ardent affection, or enthusiasm. 

Can you have passion in the workplace?  Most HR professionals would encourage love in the workplace to not occur, however, I would argue that in order for businesses to thrive and grow, you need to have passion.  You need to have a love of what you are doing, just not love those in the workplace as HR would frown upon that.

As a leader, it must be understood that passion for doing the job right got you to where you are today.  Does that same passion or love still exist for you in the job. 

Teachers are a great example of a profession where there are many passionate teachers when they land their first classroom position.  For some, distractions and political agendas replace a love and passion for educating young minds, with a passionate hate for coming to work.  Even the most passionate and energetic educator succumbs to the negativity at some point.  It is those teachers who are able to keep perspective about why they are in the profession that are able to make careers out of the classroom.

Office politics frequently will breed complacency and stifle the innovation and passion of individuals.  Perseverance and vision stimulates the love for the job and allows for positions to develop into careers.  It is important for individuals who lead others to always demonstrate PMA - Positive Mental Attitude.  By doing so as a leader you are rising above the politics and providing vision. 

I am passionate about the work I do.  I wake up each day excited about what the day holds.  I have a vision about how to accomplish what needs to be accomplished.  I understand that politics exist in the workplace, but I also understand that if I don't have a better solution, it is not a hill worth dying on.  Battles must be selective, because once you have become war weary, your passion for the job, turns to a passion for survival.

Some questions to think about...

Is your current position a job or a career?
Why are you in your current position?
Where are you going?
Does your organizations values align with your values?
Would you do your current job if there was no monetary incentive?

If you can answer the last question, the money question, with a "YES", I would argue that you have passion for your position.  I love what I do and understand that what I do adds value to others. 

I haven't written a post in almost 2 months, and I realize that I love writing, but it hadn't become a passion for me...yet. 

Take some time to look introspectively and create a positive direction for yourself, if you are feeling less than satisfied with where you are.

Have a great week!