Monthly Archives: November 2017

Showing some gratitude…

Thanksgiving is here again, and it is good to show gratitude. Sadly, that seems to be lacking in today’s polarized world. But here are some things I am grateful for:

My parents — Although both gone, they poured their love into my brother and me, and offered us the encouragement to be whatever we wanted to be. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

My wife Friend, confidant, life-partner, and lover for almost 50 years. Without your support, I would not be writing about my consulting adventures. Thanks, Mary!

My sons —  You both make us proud, not only of your accomplishments, but also for the wonderful fathers and husbands you have become. Thanks Darren and Chris!

My grandchildren — You brought us joy, and the hope and promise of a bright future for the world. Thanks Raymond, Maxine, Thomas, Joseph, Chloe, and Charles!

My little mutt Who knew 18 pounds of fur could bring so much happiness? And who rescued who anyway? Keep wagging that tail, Sami!

My clients — It has been a sincere pleasure to work with you. Not only have you allowed me to live a dream life, you have taught me so much. Thanks to each and everyone of you!

My colleagues –– Your gracious sharing of information and ideas enhanced my abilities to serve my clients. Thanks especially to my late business partner Bill, may you rest in peace!

My advisors You guidance has kept me on the path to success and prosperity, which I now enjoy in my “golden years.” Thanks to all of you!

My friends — Last, but not least, thanks of all of my friends over the years – many who are in the above categories. Thanks for the simple gift of friendship!

In closing, here is a quote I recently ran across:

Gratitude, like faith, is a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it grows, and the more power you have to use it on your behalf.

If you do not practice gratefulness, its benefaction will go unnoticed, and your capacity to draw on its gifts will be diminished.

To be grateful is to find blessings in everything. This is the most powerful attitude to adopt, for there is a blessing in everything.

— Alan Cohen

Happy Thanksgiving to all! — Uncle Daryl

P.S. So what are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?

P.S. Here are three Thanksgiving related posts:

© 2017, All rights reserved.

Veteran’s Day 2017…

Just hung out the flag – something we do each Veteran’s Day.  We do so to honor our veterans – two in particular – my brother-in law, and a college friend. 

  • Rest in peace, Sgt. Melbye. You can read a tribute to my BIL – A Veteran’s Day Story.
  • Rest in peace, Pvt. Novak. Vietnam took you way too soon – hope you enjoyed the pivo we poured on your grave at our recent college reunion. It just seemed right.

Thank you to all who have served!

© 2017, All rights reserved.

The Law of Triviality…

Ever been in a meeting where some jackass wastes everyone’s time with trivial arguments? Just happened to me at a recent HOA (Home Owner’s Association) meeting. Thus, this blog post…

As consultants, it is often our job to keep meetings on track and to keep clients focused on the important issues — not the trivial.

This is not a new business problem. Way back in 1957, C. Northcote Parkinson coined Parkinson’s Law of Triviality, or PLOT. This is the same Parkinson who created the more general Parkinson’s Law. In essence, PLOT says:

People argue most about the things that matter least.

Also known as the “bikeshedding,” Parkinson observed organizations give undue weight and attention to trivial issues. He demonstrated this with two examples: the cost to build a bicycle shed, versus the cost to build a nuclear reactor. While experts on reactors are rare, everyone feels knowledgable about building a shed.

Thus, minutes may be spent on a critical decision on the reactor, but hours may be spent on trivial decisions on the shed. Not only that, the less informed often feel the need to compensate for their reactor-ignorance by spouting off on their shed-expertise – trivial though it may be.

So how does one handle that as a consultant? 

Robert’s Rules of Order can help. But even when following RRO, so here are some additional suggestions:

–Have a printed agenda – If somebody goes off topic, gently bring them back by pointing to the agenda

–Send the agenda in advance – Insist that attendees review the materials ahead of time.

Resolve in advance –  If issues can be resolved off-line, do so and report the results.

Highlight decisions that need to be made – This keeps the focus on the important issues.

Limit speaking time – If someone blathers on, politely shut them off. (I suggest three minutes, but be flexible.)

Ask why – This is particularly useful if someone want to ramble on about “sheds.” Ask “why is this relevant?” or “why are we spending valuable time on this?”

 Does all this work?

Much of the time, but not all of the time. But my asking “why” shut down a showboater at our recent HOA meeting. She was upset, and let me know, but several attendees thanked me later for politely cutting her off.

Finally, if you are running a meeting (or even just attending), remember Parkinson’s Law of Triviality. Don’t let some ignorant jackass spout off about bike sheds.

P.S. Here is Parkinson’s better known law: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

© 2017, All rights reserved.