Saturday, November 29, 2008
Lately, it's been worrying to see a convergence of libertarian and liberal economists on many major economic policy issues. Yikes, does that mean it's so bad that there are no other options? I wonder what would happen if an economist constructed a Misery Coefficient: the extent to which the opinion pages of The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times agree on such matters as government bailouts for the financial and auto manufacturing sectors and fiscal stimulus spending. Perhaps it should be called the Panic Index. Would we be at a historic high? And if so, what does that imply?
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
As the third woman to be Secretary of State, Hillary is not breaking new ground for American women. Still, I'm thrilled that she will likely become the most high profile and effective Secretary of State in a generation and that women in developing countries have much to gain with her ability to affect development policy.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Perhaps our new Presidential couple can help set an example for our conflicted sex-obsessed yet Puritan culture. Ebony magazine nominated the Obamas in 2007 as the sexiest couple of the year. Photos in the French press lately confirm this view. I will try to scan photos from the print editions of Paris Match and post them. They are electrifying. See post below "La Force D'Un Couple".
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Some that oppose Hillary simply want big change and a much more progressive agenda. They are going to have a rough ride in the next year as I predict many more disappointments to come. Let's be realistic, not much is possible in a financial meltdown and with a President who has said that he is Pay as you go (or would be in more normal times). Get your antacid ready.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I double-checked. Time magazine features a photo of the very same moment from a different angle. The affect is completly different. The Obamas look like a pleasant middle-aged couple who get along with ease. It's caption reads, "Yes, they can. The President-elect shares an embrace with the future First Lady. The couple have promised their children a White House puppy."
I know we Americans are puritans, but really: a puppy?
The French narrative about Barack Obama glorifies his passion for his wife and attributes at least some of his political success to his passion. It seems that Americans, in their demand for family values symbolism, throws cold water on our leader's passions, and their marriages for that matter. What kind of model is that?
After many years of marriage, our most ambitious hope is a puppy.
The Obamas appear to have an electric relationship and we should be granted the ability to embrace them. Let's see if the American media can get it right next time.
The Obamas have a lot of hopes pinned on them and I have another hope to add: maybe, the Obamas can restore faith in marriage.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
“some critics used adjectives like "triumphant" and "seminal" to describe the book while others... eviscerated her ideas. The battles she ignited are still being fought, and the criticism was perhaps inevitable, given that such an ambitious work was produced by somebody who had not finished college, much less become an established professional in the field. Indisputably, the book was as radically challenging to conventional thinking as Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring," which helped engender the environmental movement, would be the next year, and Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique," which deeply affected perceptions of relations between the sexes, would be in 1963.” NYT 2006 obituary
Like Jane Jacobs, my friend has many admirers who call her their “hero” in thank you notes and e-mails. She also had a critic who said she had run a negative campaign (with no specific examples) and cited her “blind ambition” in a complaint. This tempest in a teapot has me thinking about the nature of controversy.
There's no question that my friend was running for office to gain power to implement her ideas. And there will always be those that disagree with a candidate’s ideas. We can’t be so naive to believe that seeking power and shaking up the establishment will always be met with smiles and approval. The only way we will enjoy smooth sailing is if we field candidates who wait in line and have few fresh ideas that would disrupt the status quo.
When we have critics, we must listen for the kernel of truth that they are so desperate, if ill-equipped, to convey and we must adjust our tactics where appropriate. We must also plow forward and loudly encourage those with ambition and vision, who while perhaps imperfect, are our engines of progress and reform.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Yes, I'm talking to you. A Gallup study in 2003 found that only 28% of employees were fully engaged in their jobs. (more on Gallup with citation below).
First, a good metaphor.
In their book, Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath describe Stephen Covey’s sticky metaphor for job satisfaction. It is based on a poll of 23,000 employees drawn from a number of companies and industries. Findings are:
·37% said they have a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve and why.
·Only one in five was enthusiastic about their team’s and organization’s goals.
·Only one in five said they had a clear line of sight between their tasks and their team’s and organization’s goals
·Only 15% felt that their organization fully enables them to execute key goals.
·Only 1 in 5 fully trusted the organization that they work for.
If, say, a soccer team had these same scores, only 4 of the 11 players on the field would know which goal is theirs. Only 2 of 11 would care. Only 2 of 11 would know what position they play and know exactly what they are supposed to do. And all but 2 players, would, in some way, be competing against their own team members rather than the opponent.
Below is a simple test drawn from the Gallup Q12 instrument (a survey designed to measure employee engagement. It has been used on thousands of work units and millions of employees):
The Q12 Index
1) Do you know what is expected of you at work?
2) Do you have the materials and equipment to do your work right?
3) At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?
4) In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work?
5) Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person?
6) Is there someone at work who encourages your development?
7) At work, do your opinions seem to count?
8) Does the mission/purpose of your company make you feel your job is important?
9) Are your associates (fellow employees) committed to doing quality work?
10) Do you have a best friend at work?
11) In the last six months, has someone at work talked to you about your progress?
12) In the last year, have you had opportunities to learn and grow?
(From the Gallup Management Journal, “Feedback for Real” Author: John Thackray)
Do all your team members reply “Yes” to these questions? If not, use your lifeline.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
In a 19 year study of 215 Fortune 500 firms, Roy Adler shows a strong correlation between a good record of promoting women into the executive suite and high profitability. Three measures of profitability were used to demonstrate that the 25 Fortune 500 firms with the best record of promoting women to high positions are between 18 and 69 percent more profitable than the median Fortune 500 firms in their industries.
What's going on? Some have said that profitable firms are more able to experiment with promoting women. I would guess that companies with more women in senior positions have higher employee retention rates and promote more from within - great indications of well-managed companies.
In any case, the data support the huge benefit of having women in the highest ranks. Sounds like a pull, not a push.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Another opportunity to drive women's devotion to the Democratic ticket is upon us: senior hires in the executive branch. Will President Obama do better than past Presidents in his appointments? Keep your eye on www.change.gov.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
As a co-founder and Founding Executive Director of Emerge America, the premier training program for Democratic women, I have met with many wonderful candidates for
public office across the country. Sophie Hahn is special among them. She has inspired my work at Emerge over the last seven years and I have often thought (out loud with my board of directors) "How would this program help women like Sophie Hahn represent us?" This election represents a unique opportunity to elect someone who sees every aspect of Berkeley within a broad long-range vision for the city. There are few people who have Sophie's unique combination of gifts: her top caliber education and work experience, her passion, vision and leadership, and her deeply felt caring for her community. People like Sophie don't step up often enough. This is a unique opportunity for Berkeley.