Promoting From Within

During my management classes, I will ask a question about whether leadership should promote employees from within, or hire someone new from the outside of the organization. Usually students will focus on one side of the discussion or the other. It is alway better to hire from within, some will say, while others say it is better to get a fresh set of eyes on the subject. I then point them to the solution of “it depends.” Some situations require promotion from within, while other situations deem fresh blood. According to research, however, promotion from within is the most cost effective.

Accept error can be minimized by promoting from within. Reject error can be avoided by focusing on known entities. Accept error, in other words promoting the wrong person into a particular role, can have a devastating affect on an organization. This is such a serious problem that Cisco Systems has developed a program to help mitigate this problem.

The program is called Talent Connection, and seeks to “identify passive candidates, qualified employees who aren’t necessarily looking for a job.” The reason for this activity is to find that diamond in the rough, thus saving the company money. “Since 2010, about half of Cisco’s 65,000 employees have created profiles on the website, and more have used it to search for jobs,” thus saving Cisco several million dollars in searching fees.
The reason Cisco does this involves the benefits of hiring internal candidates. University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School “found that external hires were paid some 18% more than internal employees,” but consistently performed at lower levels than internal personnel. The difficulty of integrating new employees is often underestimated by organizations. The data also demonstrates that this phenomenon happens at all levels within the organization.

“Chief Executives hired from outside the company are twice as likely to be forced out as those promoted from within.” Between 2009 and 2011, companies dismissed 35% of outsider CEO’s compared with just 19% of insider ones. Although CEO seem to be getting fired more frequently, insiders last about a year longer than outsiders. There could be many reasons for this, but the fact is insiders seem to have a bit more longevity.

Maybe if companies decide to promote from within approval ratings for company leadership will go up. 60% of all employees feel their companies are well led, and this number is trending down, which means 40% do not feel good about leadership. With the amount of money being spent on leadership classes one would think that the trend would be different. Maybe if promotion from within became the norm, then people would feel better about their companies, which means productivity would skyrocket. We can only hope.

And that is my thought for the day!

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Lessons On Leadership From Powell and Assad!

I just purchased Colin Powell’s book. “It Worked For Me: In Life And Leadership” is a simple but enlightening book. The chapter on the Street Sweeper was an excellent discussion about blooming where you are planted.  Powell’s thoughts are an interesting contrast with the Syrian fiasco and the atrocities initiated by the minions of Assad.

It is unclear, at least to me, whether Assad is ordering his people to be killed. However, it is very clear to me that he is not stopping it either. Therefore, this horrible abuse of leadership must be laid at the feet of this Syrian leader.

How many people must die before Russia stops protecting this leader who continues to ignore, as the Israelis call it, the United Nothing (UN). 150 people killed, 108 people killed, and whole cities wiped out, yet Russia refuses to budge on its support for Assad.

The Middle East is sensitive teetering on a tenuous balance which requires international leadership. The Syrian conflict is threatening to boil over into Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Therefore, leadership is a critical requirement for this event. Assad continues to lie to diplomats. Yet, we hope he will change. Does this sound like someone else the world experienced? Adolph Hitler promised to stop his aggression, while he continued to conquer Poland, Austria, etc.

I for one have a hard time understanding how a leader can destroy his/her people. I guess I view power differently then a Hitler, Assad, or an Ayatollah. Colin Powell is an excellent example of what power and leadership is all about. An example of this is found in the Powell Doctrine.

“My concept of the Powell Doctrine begins with the premise that war is to be avoided. Use all available political, diplomatic, economic, and financial means to try and solve the problem and achieve the political objective the President has established. At the same time, make it understood that military force exists to support diplomacy and take over where diplomacy leaves off.”

I would call this John Wayne leadership. John Wayne was a cowboy in the movies. No matter what character he played the story line was similar. He was a leader who knew how to be diplomatic, but could fight if he needed to. He knew there was a time to stand strong and was not afraid to do it. When the time to fight was evident he did it.

In these two examples of leadership we learn what to do, and what not to do. Assad is an evil man. He is destroying his country to maintain personal power. He will lose. Powell is expressing social power and leadership. He served this country in a leadership role to make a difference, not to create a platform for his own rise to power. Powell is a leader, Assad is a loser.

And that is my thought for the day!

Vulture Capitalism

Last week I was having a great time in South Dakota with a bunch of Warner Pacific Students. We also drove down to Fort Robinson in Nebraska. It was just outside of Crawford, NE that I saw an interesting sign. It stated, “Don’t blame me, I voted for the American.” The implication is that President Obama was not born in the U.S. This goes back to the controversy over his birth certificate. This is symptomatic of bigger ideological issues dividing our country.

I could discuss the moral issues confronting us, or the struggle over gay marriage, but where I want to focus my efforts today is in the area of government size. Do we want to have a large federal government or a small one? This is a huge ideological discussion.

Kimberly Strassel does a good job of highlighting this reality in her article in the Wall Street Journal. Friday’s Opinion section discussed “Vulture Capitalism? Try Obama’s Version.” She points out that even though Obama does not like Romney’s form of capitalism, do we as a country need his (Obama’s)? “All those Republicans grousing about the president’s attack on private equity might instead be seizing on this beautiful point of contrast. Obama has found enough time in his day, not only to run the federal government, but also act as “CEO-in-Chief of half the nation’s industry.”

Which vulture capitalism is worse? One that is based on a profit-driven economy, or one that is based on big government? I would want to put my money on a profit-driven economy fueled by a sense of service, not an economy based on cronyism. Strassel is arguing that Obama exercised cronyism by giving tens of millions of dollars to Solyndra, and in order to ensure his reelection gave millions to the automobile industry. I am not too sure I would agree with that point.

The fact is a free enterprise market is preferable to one that could be considered Socialistic. Big government, including a CEO-in-Chief is not the best way for us to run our country. Lets get government out of business, but lets do business in a manner that keeps government from feeling like they need to get involved.

And that is my thought for the day!

Back To Work

I apologize for the gap in my blog postings. I have been traveling in the Midwest and am now ready to begin writing again. I spent nine days on the PineRidge Indian Reservation and three days in Kansas City with my SIFE team. Two distinct groups of students, yet in both cases I am very proud of what we accomplished. This is an inside joke with the SIFE team.

I wrote down some comments after the second day in South Dakota. The comments I initially wrote down had been confirmed repeatedly during the nine days of ministry. During our days on the reservation it was evident that the warrior mentality of the Lakota male has evolved into despair and alcoholism. The fact that men on the reservation have few opportunities to provide for their families leave them with a sense of helplessness. The only problem is the women on the Rez are tired of excuses, and are taking matters in their own hands. (Sound familiar? The same thing is happening in the white world too. Women are tired of men playing nothing but video games.) Three women spent some time with us and told us they are tired of excuses.

Rocky is working at a youth corrections facility. She has a career and is moving forward without a man in her life. Joni and Marie are Rocky’s sisters and have jobs that provide a stable life for their families. They were raised well by Eula their mother. Each of these women are standing up and taking care of business.

There is also a group of seven women in the town of PineRidge that have done the same thing. Autumn Two-Bulls and her comrades are attempting to make a difference. They were part of a group that helped close down the Sioux Nation, a locally owned super market that is a part of the affiliated foods midwest coop. The reason for the closure was the selling of bad meat. The women are tired of tribal corruption and want to see change.

The fact is the men have lost their way. The Oglala Lakota’s are one of the seven tribes that make up the Teton Sioux. Robert Ruby captures to dilemma of these people well in his book “The Oglala Sioux: Warriors in Transition.” After telling his readers that sentimentality is not what these people need, he states, “The Oglala Sioux Indians of today are not like their ancestors of one hundred years ago.” Although this book was written in 1955, he words are just as true today. The Sioux resisted the federal government longer than any other tribe, “their lives, attitudes, and practices are a mixture of primitive habits, sifted through modern teachings and customs, which has produced a complex tribal personality.” The draw of the Rez is strong and a reality for these people. They are the only ones that can fix, if you want to use that word, their situation. The question in my mind is what needs to happen?

In my opinion the solution involves spiritual, economic, and social actions. The colonization of early missionaries is still having an impact on the Lakota people. Therefore, contextualized ministry is critical. The Lakota people need to meet Jesus Christ and then minister to each other. Indigenous leadership is critical. The ethnocentric elements of short term missions needs to change. The white church does not have the answers for the Lakota, but Jesus does. All we need to do is walk along side the Lakota.

The second step involves economic actions. Unlike other reservations the Lakota have not found oil. Also, the location of this Rez is not convenient for gamblers. The Prairie Winds Casino is nothing like Spirit Mountain in Oregon. The Lakota cannot even buy underwear on the Rez. So money that could benefit the Rez goes to Rapid City, Gordon, or Chadron. Therefore, corporations need to look at the Rez as a marketing opportunity. However, this means that tribal leadership must look at this a bit differently.

The third step is social. The social systems of the Rez actually work against the youth. Gangs, drugs, and alcohol are prevalent and a destructive influence. A twenty year old man committed suicide while we were there. Suicide is far too common on the Rez. Men must be convinced that being a warrior means providing for their family. It is no different today than it was before the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. This means tribal leadership needs to look at the Rez as a system, and then pursue a change that involves serious adjustments to the configuration of the Rez social system.

The Lakota are the only ones that can do this. I asked many people on the Rez if they saw the Diane Sawyer report on the four children in PineRidge. Many said yes, and several said they had heard of it. Every person said they felt it portrayed the Lakota negatively. However, the time is now to change stereotype. The only people that can pursue this change is the Lakota themselves.

And that is my thought for the day!

Earned Success Versus Learned Helplessness

Arthur Brooks is the president of the American Enterprise Institute. AEI is a think tank in Washington D.C. that researches various topics. In today’s Wall Street Journal Brooks discusses the value of Earned Success versus having something given to you free gratis. After reading this I am convinced Brooks has something to say.

The comparison of Europe to the United States is an ongoing activity. However, Brooks is an individual who move here from Europe, and having lived in Europe had first hand knowledge of the political slot machine resulting from a government functionary.
Brooks stated that he was from Spain. At 19 years old he was a French Horn player in the Barcelona Symphony. According to Brooks this was considered a government job, and had what the Spaniards called “lifetime work status.” People who had these jobs stayed in them for their whole life. “Nobody ever left these jobs, except with lavish disability packages.”

Eventually Brooks and his wife left Spain and moved to the United States, which their friends thought was a mistake. Brooks’ in-laws gave them a gold bracelet which could be pawned if they ran out of money. The gold bracelet was not necessary because when they got here Brooks was able to earn an Economics degree while his wife found a job teaching English. Brooks stated something that all of us should hear, “In the end, I concluded, what set the United States apart from Spain was the difference between earned success and learned helplessness.”

Learned helplessness is the result of living on handouts, while earned success is based on someone having an internal locus of control. In other words, one believes they have control of their own destiny. I know that Albert Bandura has done a lot of work around the subject of self-efficacy. I also know that Daniel Goleman has researched emotional intelligence, but I did not know until today that Martin Seligman has researched the concept called “learned helplessness.” It appears if rewards and punishments are not tied to merit, then people give up and stop trying to succeed.

Seligman observed, “when people realized they were powerless to influence their circumstances, they would become depressed and had difficulty performing even ordinary tasks.” Brooks finishes the article by stating that learned helplessness is what has happened to social-democratic Spain. “Excessive welfare spending have pushed unemployment to 24.4%, with youth joblessness over 50%. Nearly half of adults under 35 live with their parents.”

I don’t have a problem with wearing pointy shoes like the European. And I don’t mind driving a BMW or Mercedes, wonderful European cars. But I do mind our government creating a welfare state that drains my pocketbook, just like the European. Don’t get me wrong we need to care for the poor, but we need to help the poor and disenfranchised to learn what it means to earn success. Creating large government will only drive us into a state of learned helplessness.

And that is my thought for the day.

Lessons For The College Graduate!

Over the weekend the people in Greece and France made sure they were heard. The only problem is what they are saying may be problematic. Greece’s ruling coalition was soundly defeated during parliamentary elections. Riots have been the norm as the Greeks struggle to find an answer to their economic problems.

The French have also decided they needed a change. Newly elected Hollande is the new President of France. He will be inaugurated on May 15th. Hollande, a Socialist, “won on a center-left agenda,” defeating sitting President Sarkozy. His agenda included, “forcing banks to separate their investment and savings businesses, increasing taxes on bank profits by 15%, introducing a new top bracket on income taxes for people earning over [one million Euros] ($1.3 million) a year and hiring an additional 60,000 civil servants during his term.” This is indicative of how the people feel about austerity. They don’t like it and don’t want it.

In both of these examples we see the struggle between how much we make and how much we want to spend. All of us want to live a champagne life on a beer budget. However, the reality is that not all of us have the capability to make enough money to live the way we want. Therefore we need to adjust. The Greeks are probably going to leave the European Community. Many writers say it was a mistake to let Greece in the union. The French may not get along with the Germans. We’ll see!

The fact is we need to live more frugally, which is the lesson from both Greece and France. The lesson is very similar to what Bret Stephens told the class of 2012, recent college graduates. He stated, “Attention Graduates: Tone down your egos, shape up your minds.” The world is not waiting for the college graduate, it will go on with or without them, which is a fact of life.

It is reported that the class of 2012 is the least knowledgable graduating class in history. I don’t know where that information comes from, but if true it is an indictment of our current educational system. Another point involves the current level of competition for jobs. It is no longer national, but international. Don’t whine about it, shape up. Another fact involves the need to be truthful. Yahoo will probably lose another CEO for listing a degree on a resume that he did not have. Do not embellish, be truthful. Learn to think! There are always jobs for people who can think.

What are the lessons can recent college graduates learn from the Greeks and the French? Live below your means, continue to learn, prepare for stiff competition, and be truthful. Life has changed, and no one is going to give you a free ride. Time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. These comments seem axiomatic. I think Benjamin Franklin may have addressed this years ago.

And that is my thought for the day!

The PineRidge Reservation

Today’s blog is totally different than what I thought I was going to write about. One week from today I and six students will be heading to Rapid City, South Dakota and then on to Allen and the PineRidge Reservation. In preparation I am reading a book by Ian Frazier entitled “On the Rez.” I am not too sure what to expect when we get back there. The church we normally stay at is in a turmoil. It is always exciting to go back there, and see what has or has not happened in the last year.

We do know that the 555 mission is no longer there. We will be serving lunch on the street in White Clay, Nebraska. With the average life expectancy of a Lakota sitting at 48 to 50 years old, it will be interesting to see which of the men who had lunch with us last year are still around.

Ed Breeden from Anderson, Indiana will meet us at the airport in South, Dakota. He will be our guide. Over the last three years Ed has become my Kola, which is friend in the Lakota language. Our goal for this year is to paint a house, while training a Lakota couple “to pay it forward.” They will go with us to another house and help work on that house. We were going to repair a floor, but the tribal leadership said the inside of the house is their responsibility. I guess they wait until someone falls through the floor before they fix it.

With my school year being so busy it is hard to think about the Lakota during the year. However, when the end of the spring semester rolls around I begin to focus, and start thinking about what to do on the rez? How can we help the Lakota help themselves? How can a people steeped in a culture of alcoholism, unemployment change? Especially with the rez being in the middle of nowhere? That is the $100,000 question.

The Lakota were proud fierce warriors that were able to defeat the US army. How has this culture fallen to a defeated people living to die? How can this people regain what it lost within the boundaries of federal sovereignty? Life changed for the Lakota over 100 years ago and they have had a hard time adjusting. It has been seven generations, maybe it is time to change? Maybe all we have to do is change one person at a time? Maybe it is a tribal leadership thing? Maybe they need to quit looking for the seventh generation savior?

I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know that they got a raw deal from the US government. I also know that focusing on past evil is not good. Every year when we go back there we meet new people. I know this year will not be any different. So please pray for us that God will help us make a difference, one Lakota at a time.

And that is my thought for the day!