S4 E41 — Admiring Ancient Sinaqua and Anasazi Cultures

As we began running out of steam along the cement sidewalk, me with my Trekking poles in anticipation of exploring Sedona in a couple of days, Jay turns to me with a puzzled look that came over his face after staring at Montezuma.  “They really got the shaft, didn’t they?”

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Knowledge ATMs 

A peak behind the scenes of self-publishing, crowdfunding, and working for yourself

Table of Contents

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s 41st Episode in Season 4 of  Our Disruptively Resilient Year” on this 15th day of May in the spring of 2022.

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll

    • @KnowLabs suite of 36 digital magazines, according to my analytics, grew from 12943 this week to 12982 organically grown followers.
    • Orange County Beach Towns 204 viewers stopped by the week before.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Context

Ever searching for connections and patterns, I fell back in time while staring up at Montezuma’s Castle. 

Back to our adventure in Mesa Verde.

The ranger said to visit the museum and the Spruce House since we could visit without tickets or a guide. 

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Not until we hiked down to the Spruce House, did I begin to appreciate the severely shortened stopover. We climbed down into a Kiva and then I forgot about our time constraint.

Like I was transported into a different world, a different time. I could begin to use my imagination. 

Here at Montezuma’s Castle access to a similar experience could no longer be allowed.  And hadn’t for decades because of the growing deterioration.

It would make sense that just like in Colorado, if warring tribes or other threats challenged the ancient Sinaqua’s existence, they moved to the cliffs for protection. 

In Mesa Verde we barely had enough time to take in cliff dwellings that now appeared in the shadows across the canyons from a turnout. 

We stopped and photographed like so many other tourists before and after us — until the rain moved in. 

The centuries of inhabiting this area begins to sink in when you stand here next to our SUV with digital cameras in hand and gaze out across the canyon to the complex of early Anasazi cliff homes — what, some 1400 years before the first European explorers laid eyes on the territory – or even stepped on North American shores!

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Maybe Mesa Verde felt grander because, well, it is and you can climb through it and view it from across the mesa.  

I remember the Anasazi people — Ancestral Pueblo-ans — lived for roughly 700 years in Mesa Verde, having migrated from the Four Corners region. 

That’s three or four times longer than the United States has been in existence.

The heart of the Anasazi region spanned northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado —a land of forested mountain ranges, stream-dissected mesas, arid grasslands and occasional river bottoms.

So, here we are in Arizona and I wonder how the Sinaqua are related to the Anasazi, or if they are.

Because in the 12th or 13th century over a period of one or two generations the Anasazi vanished from that mesa. They left no written records, so their story is incomplete. 

Image Credit: Mesa Verde National Park

At Montezuma Castle the Southern Sinagua flourished in the Verde Valley, just as for thousands of years hunters and gatherers had preceding their period of agriculture and architecture.  Apparently they were influenced by the Hohokam and the Northern Sinagua in southern and central Arizona.  Hohokam moved north into the valley between 700 and 900 CE (Common Era) and grew corn, beans squash and cotton in irrigated canals.  

Northern Sinagua culture in Flagstaff featured above ground masonry dwellings something around 1125.  Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot villages reached their maximum size in the 1300s while remaining occupied for another 100 years.

Why did the Southern Sinagua, like the Anasazi, migrate away from this area by early 1400s? Both mysteries remain.  Both may have resulted from overpopulation, depletion of resources and diseases or territorial wars.

But it is the pueblos of Arizona and western New Mexico and those of the upper Rio Grande drainage that greeted the Spanish expeditions into the Southwest in the 16th century.

What began as a small trickle grew into a flood as several million Europeans and their descendants forced their ways upon the indigenous people of the New World over the centuries to come.

For four centuries, from 1492 — 1890, Europeans convinced the “heathens” they found, to adopt their ways.

In 1539, for instance, Franciscan Friar, Marcos de Niza, followed by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado’s Spanish expedition first came looking for trade routes to the orient and Seven Cities of Gold, as well as to colonize the New World.

Disappointment over the lack of physical riches soon was replaced by Spain’s legendary missionary zeal.

And the Spaniards were sorely tempted by the wealth of the American Indian souls ripe for conversion. 

So, by the end of the 16th century Juan de Onate officially had claimed this area for Spain.

It certainly seems clear, that while the Anasazi had abandoned the mesa before the Spaniards came, they had mastered community living — taking advantage of nature by building their homes under the protection of overhanging cliffs. 

Apparently, analysis of the ruins and excavated artifacts point to a civilization using rectangular shaped sandstone blocks held together with cement made from mud and water. 

It says  in the official park brochure that their rooms averaged about 42 square feet and housed two or three people. They stored crops in isolated rooms and in the upper levels.

Ironically, garbage heaps, from years of tossing over food and broken tools — knives, axes, awls, stone and bone scrapers, and pottery — have yielded the most knowledge about the Anasazi. 

I’d hate to think what story a lifetime of garbage would tell future archeologists about me!

But from their’s, we know they farmed beans, corn, and squash crops. They hunted deer, rabbits and squirrels and domesticated turkeys and dogs. 

Before they learned how to make pottery, they had mastered the art of basket making using a spiral twilled technique for hauling water, storing grain and perhaps even for cooking. 

And a thousand years before the Spanish conquistadors and missionaries arrived, around 550 A.D. pottery obsolesced basket weaving. They created pots, bowls, canteens, ladles, jars and mugs. 

They stored and cooked in them. Rituals and ceremonies incorporated them. 

They managed to produce a surplus of goods that gave them an advantage in a trading economy — stretching all the way to the Pacific coast, as evidenced by seashells.

In similar fashion, the Southern Sinagua mined salt deposited a few miles from present-day Camp Verde nearby, and traded salt widely throughout the Arizona region.

They also fashioned stone axes, knives and hammers and “man’s and metates” for grinding corn.  Beyond survival they Made bone awls and needles, cotton-woven clothes with shell ornaments together with turquoise mixed with a local red stone called argillite.

Back in Colorado, about five hundred years after their first pots appeared — by 1100 to 1300 – the Anasazi entered the Mesa’s classic period when about several thousand tribal members concentrated in compact villages with many rooms, kivas, and round towers seen today. 

We know more about their history than we do about the Southern Sinagua.   Most of the Anasazi cliff dwellings were build from 1190 to 1270, ranging in size from one-room house to 200-room villages — Cliff Palace. 

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

With a kiva — a Hopi term for the ceremonial room — underground chambers in which they performed healing rites, prayed for rain, luck in hunting or for good crops in the upcoming seasonal harvest. 

 

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

And kivas may have been the community center where weavers and potters gathered to practice their craft. A small hole in the floor, called a sipapu, is the symbolic entrance to the underworld. 

But, they lived in the cliff dwellings for less than 100 years. By 1300 Mesa Verde had become a ghost town. Why?

At Montezuma Castle, the Southern Sinagua reached their maximum size in the 1300s and were occupied for another century, until they too migrated away in the early 1400s.

Probably due to a draught, scientists theorize. Crops may have failed. Or after literally hundreds of years of intensive land use the soils, the forest and their animals may have become depleted resources. 

Or maybe the political and social climate made it intolerable for the tribe to remain. 

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

What remains today at Mesa Verde in Colorado are three major cave dwellings on Chapin Mesa. The Spruce Tree House. Cliff Palace. Balcony House. Driving the loops of Ruins Road from canyon rim vantage points can see other dwellings.

But whatever the reasons, they traveled south into what is now Arizona and New Mexico becoming reacquainted with relatives already settled there, right?

As we already found out in Arizona, some of the Pueblo people and other tribes in the region are direct descendants of the cliff dwelling Anasazi. 

And we already know that those Pueblo tribes chafed under Spanish occupation, especially in New Mexico – culminating in the 1680 Pueblo Rebellion. 

“Are you alright?” The question Emma the Baroness asked snapped me out of my memory of the Anasazi cliff dwellers. 

Oh, yeah I told her and asked if she too remembered our Mesa Verde adventure?

Sure how could I not was her answer.

As we began running out of steam along the cement sidewalk, me with my Trekking poles in anticipation of exploring Sedona in a couple of days, Jay turns to me with a puzzled look that came over his face after staring at Montezuma.

“They really got the shaft, didn’t they?” Jay says rhetorically.

“The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book”

Table of Contents

“5”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): “A habit has served you well for a very long time, and yet you can do much better. This you’ll find out as you make the switch to less costly and more fulfilling options. Eventually, the new choice will come easily to you.” Pisces

We concluded the three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed — during the “normal” pre-pandemic year compared to the pandemic year, and more recently to the paradoxically normal year. 

Season Four continues now within domestic and global chaos.

Previously in Season Four, The Disruptively Resilient Year

S4 E40Don’t Bet Against Montezuma or the Yavapai-Apache Nation; S4 E39Closing in on Uncle Billy’s Lynx Creek Mining Claim; S4 E38Billy and Buckey Blow My Brain in Whiskey Row’s Palace 

Related from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E41What’s Up with Telluride or Humboldt County or Bodega Bay?; S3 E40How Stealing Your Sign Led Me to a Nobel Prize; S3 E39Ready for Your Big Leap Forward?; S3 E38Sliding on a Super Slippery Slope to 2nd or 3rd Cousins 

Related from Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E41A Pandemic End to Real Estate and Consulting?; S2 E40The Profound Impact of the Pandemic on Nouns ; S2 E39The Best Tau for the Pandemic Year, Don’t You Agree? ; S2 E38What Should You Do If You Stumble Across Loaded Information?

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E41The Dream Was Over, Long Live the Dream; S1 E40Nothing to See Here, Keep Moving On; S1 E39What’s Up with Facebook?; S1 E38Day 38 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E37Day 37 of My 1-Year Experiment

Evidence

“4”  Steve Zahn, 51: “The enemy of communication is noise. To increase the clarity of your signal, you need to eliminate everything that is not the message. Being succinct and direct will earn you respect and status.” Scorpio

I get your message and will work on editing down what isn’t relevant about these two ancient people who seemed to flourish around the same time and in the same manner.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Today’s Holiday Birthday: 

Love in many forms will fortify and support you. You’ll find yourself on a mission so important, you’ll tune out the rest of the world and anything distracting from your goal. You’ll push past the point when others would have given up. Good fortune rains on you as you reach the mile markers at extraordinary distances.

So mile markers and extraordinary distances, could be twisted to mean our roadtrip only enhances to love that has flourished between Emma the Baroness and me.  I like to think so, even if today’s birthday isn’t one either of us can claim.

“4”  Steve Kerr, 54: “Morning brings a strong inclination toward the things that will make your life better. Evening brings a strong inclination toward ease. So, what can you do to make a desired behavior easier to accomplish, no matter what time it is?” Libra

Hmm.  This is one of those questions that requires a little solitude while pondering the answer.

“5”  Steve Aoki, 41; Steven Spielberg, 74: “It’s a long way to the end of a project, and trying to extend your mind all the way there might produce feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. Instead, think about the next 10 minutes, and then the 10 minutes after that.” Sagittarius

Unless I’m misreading these two, aren’t they in direct contradiction?  This TauBit is one I subscribe to the most.  Just power up this MacBook Air.  Put aside the feelings which come when you consider the crippling magnitude and focus instead on what’s directly in front of you to make incremental progress.

“5”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): “A habit has served you well for a very long time, and yet you can do much better. This you’ll find out as you make the switch to less costly and more fulfilling options. Eventually, the new choice will come easily to you.” Pisces

I’m associating your TauBit with this very long and by extension very, very long passion project.  I’ve mastered a template which greases the whole process along efficiently, but I’m feeling twinges of pivot opportunities.  Maybe this vacation serves as a catalyst into something else entirely which I’ll find less costly and more fulfilling. I’m looking forward to an easier decision.

Long-Form

    • “Here, Right Matters: An American Story” by Alexander Vindman. “We’d long been confused by the president’s policy of accommodation and appeasement of Russia, the United States’ most pressing major adversary. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, seizing the Crimean Peninsula, attacking its industrial heartland, the Donbass, from the capital, Kyiv. By 2019, little had changed, Russian military and security forces and their proxy separatists continued to occupy the Donbass. The biggest change was to Ukraine’s importance as a bulwark against Russian aggression weeks earlier, the White House had abruptly put a hold on nearly four hundred million dollars.” 
    • David Enrich begins his book with a suicide in “Deutsche Bank Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction” and then meticulously details the bank’s Russian money laundering operations. Deutsche’s Russian business surged after revenues had fallen 50% due to the 2008 financial crisis. Putin’s Russia, poured in to Deutsche from deals it did with VTB Bank, linked to the Kremlin’s intelligence apparatus. Deutsche positioned itself as a crucial cog in “The Laundromat” by doing what couldn’t be done — processing cross-border transactions for banks that were too small  and didn’t have offices outside their home countries.
    • “Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy” by Jamie Raskin recalls one tragedy no parent should endure — the suicide of his son — and then a second tragedy at almost the same time — the insurrection on January 6th 2021, that terrified he and his congressional peers who were tasked by the Constitution to routinely oversee the orderly transfer of power from one former president to the duly elected new President. 
    • “A Warning” by Anonymous (Miles Taylor) written prior to the January 6th Insurrection as an insider’s account documenting how frequently the former President’s behavior and rage without any “guard rails” showed just how far he would go to win the next election at any cost while spinning lies and misinformation on top of each other.  
    • “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa provides anecdotes, stories and inside reporting documenting the controversial last days of Donald Trump’s presidency, as well as the presidential transition and early presidency of Joe Biden. 
    • “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Nationalist Uprising,” by Joshua Green tracks the money behind the scenes leading up to the 2016 presidential election and the growing influence of Steve Bannon’s network of extreme nationalists.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

S4 E40 — Don’t Bet Against Montezuma or the Yavapai-Apache Nation

Still not remembering that Mesa Verde National Park is in Colorado, not Arizona, I noted the Montezuma Castle was constructed on the face of the cliff here in the Verde Valley created by the Verde River.  

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

The Knowledge Path | Know Laboratories | Knowledge Banking | Knowledge ATMs | Western Skies and Island Currents | Best West Road Trips

Knowledge ATMs 

A peak behind the scenes of self-publishing, crowdfunding, and working for yourself

Table of Contents

Hi and welcome to Saturday’s 40th Episode in Season 4 of  Our Disruptively Resilient Year” on this 14th day of May in the spring of 2022.

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll

    • @KnowLabs suite of 36 digital magazines, according to my analytics, grew from 12880 this week to 12943 organically grown followers.
    • Orange County Beach Towns 204 viewers stopped by the week before.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Context

Jay’s smashes avocados and whips them up into his secret recipe for an awesome breakfast of avocado toast. About 45 minutes later Jay switches to Elle’s Lexus SUV and I ride shotgun while the chicks gab in the back. 

But this time they want the air conditioner to work.

Image Credit: Apple Maps

Pulling out of their shared driveway and winding downhill we escape into the Verde Valley southeast of Prescott.

Maybe an hour later, Jay pulls into the Cliff Castle Casino grounds operated by the Yavapai-Apache Nation Indian tribe on our right. 

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard Copyright 2022

We then we immediately turn left,  winding down towards the national monument. 

Almost simultaneously all four of us realize that we left park passes at home or in the other SUV without backseat air conditioning. 

At the bottom of the hill Jay commandeers a parking slot up close to the main entrance immediately after a Camry exits. 

Some people have all the luck. 

Welcome to Montezuma’s Castle. 

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard Copyright 2022

But still following COVID space protocols there’s a limit to how many can occupy the combination souvenir store, history displays and the ticket counter. 

So, Jay does the talking about our forgetfulness as he has in other situations when he used to ask for professional courtesy as a fireman to talk his way out of speeding tickets or to explain why he’s driving without a California Driver’s License.

Getting up there in age with a bum knee getting bummer from climbing ladders, he no longer can get away with appeals for firemen favors, but he does have away about him, and we all pass without pay.

We pick up a folding brochure and a white map with black lines showing “Highways & Public Campgrounds” with a squared in “Points of Interest” legend showing the US Forest and Arizona State Parks camp grounds if that was our mission.

But it wasn’t.

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard Copyright 2022

Emma the Baroness and I both gazed over it quickly enough to see a dark thick black line labeled I-17 meandering from the upper left boarder (with an arrow to Flagstaff) down to the near middle page terminating under the corner of the legend square (with an arrow to Phoenix).

Near the mid range meandering above the legend “Points of Interest”  we saw a thinner, but dark line all squiggly yet paved road (89A) with an arrow pointing west towards Prescott.

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard Copyright 2022

Since this wasn’t inside South Coast Plaza and we weren’t standing next to the directory map, it took a few moments longer to zero in to “You Are Here” in this case Montezuma Castle National Monument.

“ WTF?” I muttered to myself.  I didn’t know what I expected as we strolled down a cement sidewalk through a clump of trees until they parted revealing the side of a cliff wall.

These are the Mesa Verde 5-story cliff dwellings, only not here in Arizona and not called by the right name.

Don’t take my  word for it, try Wikipedia:

When European-Americans first observed the ruins in the 1860s, by then long-abandoned, they named them for the famous Aztec emperor Montezuma in the mistaken belief that he had been connected to their construction. 

Having no connections to the Aztecs, the Montezuma Castle was given that name due to the fact that the public had this image of the Aztecs creating any archaeological site.

In fact, the dwelling was abandoned more than 40 years before Montezuma was born, and was not a “castle” in the traditional sense, but instead functioned more like a “prehistoric high rise apartment complex”.

Still not knowing where we were exactly, I asked our local European-American couple —Jay and Elle —who hosted us and drove us here, if they had been to Mesa Verde National Park which lies south of Durango on 1-160, where they used to live and we visited twice, once before they moved in when we explored the Balcony House and the Cliff Palace?

Elle flicked a fly that buzzed around her face and said she and Jay had talked about it, but didn’t.

Still not remembering that Mesa Verde National Park is in Colorado, not Arizona, I noted the Montezuma Castle were constructed on the face of the cliff here in the Verde Valley created by the Verde River.  

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard Copyright 2022

“Mesa Verde” and “Verde Valley”  and “Verde River” have to be connected, right?  I mean look up at the five stories main structure with about 20 rooms built over the course of three centuries.

Oops, I now recall it was the Anasazi people — ancestral Pueblo-ans — that lived for roughly 700 years in Mesa Verde, having migrated from the Four Corners region.

Here in Camp Verde, Arizona, built by the Sinagua people:

A pre-Columbian culture closely related to the Hohokam and other indigenous peoples of the southwestern United States, between approximately AD 1100 and 1425.

Like it was way back then, the Verde River is one of Arizona’s last free-flowing river systems. But, now like the I-17, the water flows to over 2 million people in the greater Phoenix area. 

Mesa Verde, now that was like the Trump Towers compared to Montezuma’s Castle.  

The first time we visited Durango, Colorado we left the Grand Canyon and came to a fork in the road.

Image Credit: Google Maps

East takes us past Mesa Verde National Park, on 160 towards Durango.

Bummer. 

We’re twenty minutes away from the first set of Mesa Verde ruins and the ranger told us they close in an hour. We lost an hour during the time change — something we hadn’t counted on. And, that put us into the park entrance later than we wanted. 

Image Credit: Mesa Verde National Park

That means that the Balcony House and the Cliff Palace tours would be closed. 

Where did we mess up? We plotted our route taking us near Mexican Hat to the 666 and towards Cortez,

I didn’t even consider a time change for Mesa Verde and Durango. 

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard Copyright 2022

This has been one trip with a lot of driving. All I had thought about is next stop the Mesa Verde and then 45 minute drive to Durango, our outpost for three nights and two days before pressing on to Denver. 

But this time, here now at Montezuma’s Castle in Arizona Jay is doing all the driving.

Turning Montezuma’s Castles brochure over sitting in Jay’s passenger seat I noticed Sedona in the upper right hand corner.  First we’d spend a day in Jerome, and then bid goodbye to our Prescott friends and end our vacation in Red Rock country.

“The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book”

Table of Contents

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “New communities and circles intrigue you. You can’t tell from the storefront what this is all about; you have to go in and feel the vibes. You’ll know within the first dozen interactions.” Scorpio

We concluded the three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed — during the “normal” pre-pandemic year compared to the pandemic year, and more recently to the paradoxically normal year. 

Season Four continues now within domestic and global chaos.

Previously in Season Four, The Disruptively Resilient Year

S4 E39Closing in on Uncle Billy’s Lynx Creek Mining Claim ; S4 E38Billy and Buckey Blow My Brain in Whiskey Row’s Palace; S4 E37Racing a Little Wobbly on Whiskey Row

Related from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E40How Stealing Your Sign Led Me to a Nobel Prize; S3 E39Ready for Your Big Leap Forward?; S3 E38Sliding on a Super Slippery Slope to 2nd or 3rd Cousins; S3 E37Tell Me More Lies I Can Believe In

Related from Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E40The Profound Impact of the Pandemic on Nouns; S2 E39The Best Tau for the Pandemic Year, Don’t You Agree?; S2 E38What Should You Do If You Stumble Across Loaded Information?; S2 E37How Deep is the Chasm? What Do We Do?

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E40Nothing to See Here, Keep Moving On; S1 E39What’s Up with Facebook?; S1 E38Day 38 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E37Day 37 of My 1-Year Experiment

Evidence

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “New communities and circles intrigue you. You can’t tell from the storefront what this is all about; you have to go in and feel the vibes. You’ll know within the first dozen interactions.” Scorpio

Let’s see now.  We’ve visited Durango, Colorado twice.  The last time when Jay and Elle lived there.  Of course we spent almost two weeks with Jay and Elle on our anniversary vacation in Italy, when they had moved back from Colorado to Mission Viejo, but struggled to keep the documents flowing for closing escrow in time for their current home, here in Prescott.  

So yes, new communities do intrigue me, especially the history. I love to imagine what things were like in the past.  And of course, I wrote the series, The Knowledge Path: Live, Love, Work, Play, Invest and Leave a Legacy which I’m now describing as Volume One all about the “where” — and two of the books drill down into the “how” of finding the best quality of life communities for you in California and in Colorado.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Today’s Holiday Birthday: 

You’ve faced a lot of challenges that conditioned your grit. Now you’ll put that knowledge to the test on a wondrous challenge. You will create yourself. Through actions, wishes, exercises, work and reflection you’ll become someone navigating a life you once only dreamed about. Your support system and your family tree will expand.

“4”  Steve Kerr, 54: “As the sign of balance and fairness, you are keenly aware of how the quest for justice often leads to injustice. And yet, you still try to make things right, a mission that will absorb some of your hours today.” Libra

Well, if you scroll down near the bottom, you’ll see how I’m stuck on “accountability” and the shrinking “justice role” so prevalent today.  What my dear friend Jay calls conservatism and the Baroness and I call selfish, shady, corrupt and definitely not good business as one of her sorority sisters described the former president.

“3”  Steve Aoki, 41; Steven Spielberg, 74: “You’re exciting because you entertain risky ideas, not because you always do them — that would make you foolhardy! What you’re cooking up in that playful mind of yours is making you very attractive to someone.” Sagittarius

I’m chalking this up to wish fulfillment.  If you’re like Jay you don’t favor anything that threatens a status quo — taking something away.  Or entertaining ideas like AI or quantum physics or any of the trends and forces influencing the direction and opportunities available to those of us who pull our heads out of the sand.  There, I said it.

“4” Steve Nash, 45: “This role you took on no longer feels like a good fit. Now what? Well, this script you’re going by is not the Ten Commandments. It wasn’t written on stone tablets. You can change it without a chisel.” Aquarius

What we’re talking about here is what I cover in “Volume Two Manuscript”.  How in your work life, if you now realized the misfit and are pursuing a better fit, I’ve got you covered. Of, course this also applies to how a one-year natural experiment turned into the 4th season and dragged me into the middle of it kicking and screaming.  Wink.

“4”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): “It will be challenging to lead others to your purposes today. The key is to be consistent and repetitive. People will learn and dance to your rhythm, but first you have to start banging that drum.”Pisces

Bang. Bang. Bang.

Long-Form

    • “Here, Right Matters: An American Story” by Alexander Vindman. “We’d long been confused by the president’s policy of accommodation and appeasement of Russia, the United States’ most pressing major adversary. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, seizing the Crimean Peninsula, attacking its industrial heartland, the Donbass, from the capital, Kyiv. By 2019, little had changed, Russian military and security forces and their proxy separatists continued to occupy the Donbass. The biggest change was to Ukraine’s importance as a bulwark against Russian aggression weeks earlier, the White House had abruptly put a hold on nearly four hundred million dollars.” 
    • David Enrich begins his book with a suicide in “Deutsche Bank Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction” and then meticulously details the bank’s Russian money laundering operations. Deutsche’s Russian business surged after revenues had fallen 50% due to the 2008 financial crisis. Putin’s Russia, poured in to Deutsche from deals it did with VTB Bank, linked to the Kremlin’s intelligence apparatus. Deutsche positioned itself as a crucial cog in “The Laundromat” by doing what couldn’t be done — processing cross-border transactions for banks that were too small  and didn’t have offices outside their home countries.
    • “Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy” by Jamie Raskin recalls one tragedy no parent should endure — the suicide of his son — and then a second tragedy at almost the same time — the insurrection on January 6th 2021, that terrified he and his congressional peers who were tasked by the Constitution to routinely oversee the orderly transfer of power from one former president to the duly elected new President. 
    • “A Warning” by Anonymous (Miles Taylor) written prior to the January 6th Insurrection as an insider’s account documenting how frequently the former President’s behavior and rage without any “guard rails” showed just how far he would go to win the next election at any cost while spinning lies and misinformation on top of each other.  
    • “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa provides anecdotes, stories and inside reporting documenting the controversial last days of Donald Trump’s presidency, as well as the presidential transition and early presidency of Joe Biden. 
    • “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Nationalist Uprising,” by Joshua Green tracks the money behind the scenes leading up to the 2016 presidential election and the growing influence of Steve Bannon’s network of extreme nationalists.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

 

S4 E39 — Closing in on Uncle Billy’s Lynx Creek Mining Claim

“Stop” I yell as movement to my right catches my eye. Jay slams on the brakes.  He’d been glancing off into the trees on the left side of the road. “What?”

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

The Knowledge Path | Know Laboratories | Knowledge Banking | Knowledge ATMs | Western Skies and Island Currents | Best West Road Trips

Knowledge ATMs 

A peak behind the scenes of self-publishing, crowdfunding, and working for yourself

Table of Contents

Hi and welcome to Friday’s 39th Episode in Season 4 of  Our Disruptively Resilient Year” on this 13th day of May in the spring of 2022.

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll

    • @KnowLabs suite of 36 digital magazines, according to my analytics, grew from 12880 this week to 12943 organically grown followers.
    • Orange County Beach Towns 204 viewers stopped by the week before.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Context

Jay began to twitch.  He needed to stretch his legs and he had more on his mind, like the agenda for our afternoon sightseeing before we hit the road for Sedona in a day and a half.

Elle and Emma the Baroness were all for it, but first they wanted to check out where the music came from near where the cyclists entered Whiskey Row to our right as we walked out the front door of The Palace.  

There he was in the flesh.  Kind of like the Greeter in Laguna Beach, only instead of a Scandinavian named Lars, it was a local costumed in Wyatt Earp cowboy with dark pants, a holstered revolver, a billowy white shirt with a dark vest, handlebar mustache and Stetson.  

He nodded.  

We nodded. 

We crossed the street, retraced our steps to the left of the old white courthouse past Buckey O’Neill’s statue and to the street parallel to Whiskey Row.  Picnickers stretched out on blankets on the green grass in the shade under towering trees.  Some leaned their bikes against the trunks.

Just like how the Prescott streets were barricaded for the race the area in front of the bandstand so too was with an orange mesh barrier that sagged and with traffic cones.

Image Copyright 2022 Stephen G. Howard

The message was clear.  It was a pay to hear them play.  Jay twitch returned.  He negotiated with Elle as only husband and wife can out of earshot.  Elle directed us across the intersection to jump into their SUV for the continuing tour.

“Where we going?” I asked Jay after resuming my post riding shotgun in the passenger front seat.  

“You’ll see.”

He took us on a tour of the Prescott suburb so we could see luxury homes overlooking distant vistas and the lush fairways and greens in the valley below.  

Elle suggested stopping in at the Club as the sun began casting long shadows where she would host a Derby-day party for members on the day we headed out.  But, an ‘80s themed party was just started which meant only partiers were allowed.  

Now what?

“I know,” Jay said.

We hit the road for the wilderness.  

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard Copyright 2022

“I think we can get close to where your Uncle Billy worked his 400 ft. claim at Lynx Creek.”  

Surprisingly it wasn’t that far in the late afternoon.  Soon we meandered down an asphalt road deeper into the forest. 

Oops.  We encounter a road closed sign.  Fire threat.

I crane my neck as we begin to turn around down to where Jay had pointed towards Lynx Lake.

But, except for the place you can rent boats I couldn’t see through the trees to anything that would fuel my Uncle Billy imagination.

Moments later I turn to look straight ahead.

“Stop” I yell as movement to my right catches my eye.

Jay slams on the brakes.  He’d been glancing off into the trees on the left side of the road.

“What?”

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A half a dozen deer clear a fence on the passenger side road and leap in front of Jay’s black SUV and down into a wooded meadow.  Three more do the same behind our vehicle

Through the one-way street maze which throws Jay into a frustrating loop we just can’t seem to find our way through to our destination.

Wait, there’s a city truck with workers in yellow safety vests hanging off the back end grabbing orange cones which allows Jay to navigate through two malls side-by-side.

We only half to walk a block and a half to the entrance of El Gato Azul.

At 316 W. Goodwin, EL Gato Azul’s reputation was “Preskit’s Quirky, Cozy, Friendly Place to Meet!” and known as “Southwest Inspired Tapas & Cuisine”

El Gato Front pic painting

The small yellow building with a blue door framed by a variety of flowers in a dark purple and gray containers in wood and cement.

Our waitress doubles as bartender, she tells us.  El Gato Azul is by popular restaurant standards.  And that equation translates into a small, cramped kitchen and bar.  

Our hostess leads the way to our table.  Not known for ambience, a sheet of plastic separates our table from 3 tanks of propane.

Looking up and out onto the street, we see couples and groups of couples returning from the square which we sense is closing down — party over.

Instead of passing in front of the restaurant, they follow a path down a green overgrown slope onto what would have been a creek. 

Jay says it’s a shortcut to a parallel street behind El Gato Azul.

We pass on any hint of dessert, I pick up the check and we climb up to the street from the restaurant’s entrance, turn right and make our way back to the strip mall’s parking spot.

Before the night is over I describe the article about Prescott, prefacing it with how infrequently Siri finds something for me in Apple News.  

“We know her.”

The headline read, Aggressive coyote attacks woman walking dog — and nips at others, Arizona police say” and, get this it ran in The Kansas City Star.

Jay’s daughter, who lives in Northern California,  saw it too and sent it to him.  Elle said she’s a fitness instructor and used to getting out on the trails around their community.  

Joe stood up, poured more wine from the bottle we brought as we continued to relax on their back patio and then he put more wood in their outdoor fireplace to take away the chill.

“Adding insult to injury” Elle said .“She had to get all of those rabies shots too.”

“It’s pronounced like ‘Havelina’” Elle corrected me.  Like La Hoya instead of La Jolla she suggested as I brought up the other Apple News story about a Javelina in Sedona, “Hungry Javelina Gets Stuck in Car, Goes for a Ride in Arizona” from Chedder News.

Image Credit: WikiMedia Commons

They have a family of Javelinas that pass through in their back gravel and rock “yard” into their neighbors.

We thought they were a wild pig or something, but apparently they are their own species, they said.

In Sedona the Javelina rooted around in an empty vehicle, knocked it out of gear into neutral and took a joy ride.

Not quite as accomplished, nor as notorious as the Lake Tahoe bears, we trade stories about bears demolishing cars and trucks and breaking into kitchens usually through Tahoe garages and hibernating under second homes while unintended.

The next morning I swore I heard that Javelina family outside our window in the guest bedroom, but now I believe it was just Jay sweeping dust off his sidewalk and front entry.

The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book

Table of Contents

“5” Steve Carell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: “You’ll notice you’re of a different mind entirely from where you were last year. You’ve dispelled a few myths and course-corrected accordingly. You’ll get a chance to go back and pick up something you lost along the way.” Leo

We concluded the three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed — during the “normal” pre-pandemic year compared to the pandemic year, and more recently to the paradoxically normal year. 

Season Four continues now within domestic and global chaos.

Previously in Season Four, The Disruptively Resilient Year

S4 E38Billy and Buckey Blow My Brain in Whiskey Row’s Palace; S4 E37Racing a Little Wobbly on Whiskey Row; S4 E36Big Rigs, Skull Valley and Yarnell Hotshots

Related from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E39Ready for Your Big Leap Forward?; S3 E38Sliding on a Super Slippery Slope to 2nd or 3rd Cousins; S3 E37Tell Me More Lies I Can Believe In; S3 E36Placebo, Meaningful Coincidence or Just Feeling Lucky

Related from Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E39The Best Tau for the Pandemic Year, Don’t You Agree?; S2 E38What Should You Do If You Stumble Across Loaded Information?; S2 E37How Deep is the Chasm? What Do We Do?; S2 E36Turning Lemons into Margaritas

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E39What’s Up with Facebook?; S1 E38Day 38 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E37Day 37 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E36Day 36 of My 1-Year Experiment

Evidence

Holiday Theme for Friday the 13th:  

Many tall buildings avoid naming the 13th floor and go right to the 14th (or more conspicuously to “12B”) in hopes of getting around the bad luck. There are airports without a 13th gate and teams without a player No. 13. What superstition do you keep alive to avoid bad luck or engender good luck? Is it working?

“4”  Steve Zahn, 51: “Some say everything happens for a reason. Others say life is random. You’ll have a little evidence for both arguments today and whatever you get you’ll leverage into a tidy chunk of good fortune.” Scorpio

Okay, this appears to be sufficiently mysterious.  Yes, my mother after something bad happened would say, “Everything happens for a reason.”  She never could tell me why.  Now I should wait for my good fortune to appear, right?

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“5” Steve Carell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: “You’ll notice you’re of a different mind entirely from where you were last year. You’ve dispelled a few myths and course-corrected accordingly. You’ll get a chance to go back and pick up something you lost along the way.” Leo

Wait, isn’t this all about how events conspired to entice me to drag this natural experiment into four seasons now? But, what was it that I lost along the way? 

“4”  Steve Aoki, 41; Steven Spielberg, 74: “There will be pressure to take life at a hurried speed. Push back — change lanes or remove yourself from the race entirely. You’ll be happier going at your own pace.” Sagittarius

Well, I am an introvert.  And like all introverts, our brains are wired differently.  It just takes more time to process what’s being shot at us through a firehose of events.  Is that why I’m an advocate for anticipating how the convergence of trends shapes our futures?  So I have more time to plan contingencies?  And at the slightest hint of a pivot or a new direction required I’ve anticipated enough that I can activate if this, then that plans.

“4”  Steve Harvey, 62; Stephan Patis, 53;  Stephen Hawking (1943 – 2018): “‘No matter how brilliant your work may be, it won’t play in the wrong crowd. Do your research, find out what appetites you’re dealing with, and aim your efforts to serve those desires.” Capricorn 

This just seems to be a lesson I still haven’t learned the hard way.

“5”  Steve Nash, 45: “It’s weird, but it does happen… people can be good, enjoyable company and yet be, nonetheless, bad for you. For whatever reason certain people bring out a side of you that you’d rather keep in. Noted!”Aquarius 

I don’t know if it is arrogant or from a streak of elitist in me, but just like Ian one of my clients told me, “I don’t suffer fools” easily.  If you’re asking my opinion, I believe our former President took advantage of the ignorance of his followers like PT Barnum had all those decades ago.

“4”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): “You have something that the others need. Position yourself to be available to those who have best earned your offering or those who most desperately need it.” Pisces

Except for making myself available for people one-at-a-time I don’t seem to command a wide enough audience for those who desperately need something from me can find me.

Long-Form

    • “Here, Right Matters: An American Story” by Alexander Vindman. “We’d long been confused by the president’s policy of accommodation and appeasement of Russia, the United States’ most pressing major adversary. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, seizing the Crimean Peninsula, attacking its industrial heartland, the Donbass, from the capital, Kyiv. By 2019, little had changed, Russian military and security forces and their proxy separatists continued to occupy the Donbass. The biggest change was to Ukraine’s importance as a bulwark against Russian aggression weeks earlier, the White House had abruptly put a hold on nearly four hundred million dollars.” 
    • David Enrich begins his book with a suicide in “Deutsche Bank Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction” and then meticulously details the bank’s Russian money laundering operations. Deutsche’s Russian business surged after revenues had fallen 50% due to the 2008 financial crisis. Putin’s Russia, poured in to Deutsche from deals it did with VTB Bank, linked to the Kremlin’s intelligence apparatus. Deutsche positioned itself as a crucial cog in “The Laundromat” by doing what couldn’t be done — processing cross-border transactions for banks that were too small  and didn’t have offices outside their home countries.
    • “Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy” by Jamie Raskin recalls one tragedy no parent should endure — the suicide of his son — and then a second tragedy at almost the same time — the insurrection on January 6th 2021, that terrified he and his congressional peers who were tasked by the Constitution to routinely oversee the orderly transfer of power from one former president to the duly elected new President. 
    • “A Warning” by Anonymous (Miles Taylor) written prior to the January 6th Insurrection as an insider’s account documenting how frequently the former President’s behavior and rage without any “guard rails” showed just how far he would go to win the next election at any cost while spinning lies and misinformation on top of each other.  
    • “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa provides anecdotes, stories and inside reporting documenting the controversial last days of Donald Trump’s presidency, as well as the presidential transition and early presidency of Joe Biden. 
    • “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Nationalist Uprising,” by Joshua Green tracks the money behind the scenes leading up to the 2016 presidential election and the growing influence of Steve Bannon’s network of extreme nationalists.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

S2 E109 — Rebuilding Trust Doesn’t Happen Overnight

Tomorrow they drop a bomb on the organization — the closing of 6 regional offices and the recombination of the key personnel into one location in Phoenix (over a two year period). They spent a lot of energy on crafting the announcement, but none on what they would do as follow-on actions to manage the shock.

“5”  Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: Sometimes, it’s as though you can read minds and tell the future. But right now, it’s better just to ask people what they are thinking and to respect the future as a question mark.” Leo

Hi and welcome to Saturday’s Episode 109 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 5th day of September in the fall of 2020.  

“The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book”

Table of Contents

Season One and Two are a two-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed during the “normal” pre-pandemic and then in this unfolding pandemic year.

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E108Why Our Reinvention Efforts Failed (and Yours Will Too); S2 E107Leaving Us Adrift in a Sea of Change;  S2 E106How We Brainwashed Curmudgeons

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E109Do All Introverts Take the Long Acetylcholine Pathway?; S1 E108After So Many Defeats is it Time to Catch a New Trajectory?; S1 E107How Do You Rate Your Sense of Curiosity?; S1 E106 — Attempts to Upset 9 of My Life Stages Apple Cart

Context

This is a continuation of “Volume Two Manuscript — WorkFit” a work-in-progress.

In previous episodes we described Start Up, Emerging Growth, Rapid Growth, Sustained Growth, Maturity, Decline and now Reinvention stages.  

Reinvention without Decline

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

We described a mini-case of a major decline,  Part One, Part Two and Part Three. And, before that we profiled two mini case studies about what it was like working behind the scenes at a mature company in a financial, in a consumer industry and two more in another century-old university system — Part One and Two. 

Now turn from our 3-part Reinvention mini-case operating from within a technology company,  Part One,  Part Two and Part Three to a different industry with similar needs, but from a consulting assignment.

Reinvention

27. Knowledge Management — Brand Company  

A Strategy and Brand Consultancy. 

Part One

At Think!City a boutique consulting firm we crashed our models together — learning and development, knowledge creation, media production, internet communities, strategy, advertising and marketing. 

We worked together in a highly creative environment within a corrugated metal building designed by a local architecture firm in Laguna Beach, on a curve in Laguna Canyon Road. 

I fell headlong into sharing new knowledge that springs out of new innovations.

We pioneered a way of capturing the essence of a brand on digital video, searched through audio tracks for the touch points and reused portions of the interviews for orienting new coders hired at accelerated rates. 

From our studio we continued internal and external branding with clients ranging from startups to Fortune 100.

This is about our work with a Fortune 100 Mature Real Estate and Relocation Services, similar to the financial case already described.

After conducting knowledge labs for two disruptively innovative fast companies, the opportunity presented itself to apply what we learned to a mature, bureaucratic company responding to the internet threat.

Their greatest challenge was to convince survivors and potential survivors to stick around as the East Coast headquarters called the restructuring shots.  Their situational challenges mirrored those of the Engineering and Construction company in decline — history of miscommunications, changes in top management, merger of two different operating units, a move to Phoenix and the closing of regional offices. 

I received an update from Gasper about our potential engagement. 

Steve,  I was unable to connect with Bob in New York (about our Start Up consulting project there). He was shuttling around two candidates who were being interviewed: a potential VP of Product Marketing and the new VP of Marketing. I will connect with him tomorrow.  Meanwhile, I have a meeting with Steve of Prudential at noon tomorrow to further explore the relationship — get enough information to propose something. 

He has gaps in his organizational development plans. He is running an “agenda for change” and wonders why it is scaring the shit out of everyone. Tomorrow they drop a bomb on the organization — the closing of 6 regional offices and the recombination of the key personnel into one location in Phoenix (over at two year period)

They spent a lot of energy on crafting the announcement, but none on what they would do as follow-on actions to manage the shock. 

Gasper

From the outside it was obvious that in the real world, in their industry, no one was framing their actions by asking:

How would a great company handle this major transition, so in before, during, and after the move it is easy to attract, retain, and develop key talent?  

    • Requires talent transition team of key influencers from day one with this charter, and an open invitation for employees at large to contact, question rigorously, and contribute ideas.  
    • Self-selection out and in.  
    • Manage unintended consequences.

PRERS divisions never really formed a common identity – their cultures so different.  One culture lost their beloved leader as a result of the restructuring.  

The surviving CEO attempted to reengineer a solution, but it never took.  He had a vision of what a wired future would look like and attempted to lay the foundation for closing the gap between their current dysfunctional culture and the desired state by launching an agenda for change. 

However, without any real leadership, 5 teams set out to identify core competencies and to make recommendations about how to close the gaps.  

    • All five teams eventually reported their findings, but nothing substantial happened as a result.  
    • Except, the top 2 executives left the company.  
    • The chairman and vice chairman inherited the baggage. 

Fear Uncertainty and Doubt

It began with what was supposed to be a 2 year advance announcement to give everyone affected plenty of time to consider their options — move, retire or stay and look for another job in Orange County.

That was the intended message. 

    • But we found out “the suits” got a hold of it (lawyers) on the East Coast, and rewrote the bulk of the announcement to protect the corporation from any liability. 
    • What was communicated was loaded with buzzwords and phrases like consolidation, without any details.  So the only real message received triggered negative implications. And watercolor estimates about when will the other shoe drop?  
    • After several of their false starts, we proposed a campaign of communications releases in a variety of formats to help reshape the culture, to support the transition to a new desired state, and to support thinking and acting more innovatively. 

We Started Immediately 

Crazy creative Dave with his digital video gear and I drove to San Diego to meet with volunteers from the other division who were attending their regional meeting — which included, by the way, an afternoon check in session in which employees could talk about any and all issues they’re challenged with by working remotely.

Since one half of the organization had already successfully navigated the transformation from working out of an office to working out of a home office, cut off from former social ties, we interviewed a dozen “experts” who had been there and done that.  

And they were eager to advise those about to confront what they had to years earlier:

    • One woman remembered how she felt others working in the office would assume she was loafing at home.  So she put in longer and longer hours in her home office at her computer, until she burned herself out.  No one felt she was slacking off.
    • One analyst told us that he wanted to make the FedEx guy his new best friend.  Everyday he’d deliver packages and pick up packages for work, but declined a cup of coffee and a danish each time.
    • One vice president told us on camera how he was in shock when word came out that he wouldn’t have a luxurious office with all the other senior executives.  “I mean here I pushed and pushed and climbed up each rung of the ladder, and then what?  They want me to work at my new townhome’s kitchen table?”
    • Others told us how they had to mimic their office routines.  In the morning after coffee and a light breakfast, for example, some would walk, or jog, or work out at the gym before returning home.  Then they’d shower, change clothes, and commute from their second floor to their first floor office and close the door.
    • Mothers told us they established the same routine basically, but still had to monitor what was going on with their kids in another room, even when grandma helped babysit.
    • Some said they carried the office routine to extremes by locking their office door in the evening.  As a reminder to them, that work was over and even if the computer pinged or the office phone rang they weren’t falling for it.  That took extreme effort to avoid the temptation to return.  But, they learned how to manage customers and bosses about their hours.

Those digital video interviews spawned two newsletters full of tips and tricks, video tapes for review in meetings of those eventually moving to Phoenix, and set in motion a series of on-camera appearances by the chairman and vice-chairman which helped them formulate their new leadership messages.  

We (they) had a long way to go, building trust doesn’t happen overnight. 

Evidence

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“3”  Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69; Stephen Colbert, 56: “Today, you’ll learn how badly you want something. Either you won’t get it and you’ll use that loss as a gauge, or you will get it, and your subsequent satisfaction will teach all.”  Taurus

One can only hope, right?

“5” Steve Howey, 42:Bad moods are caused not by what happens, but by two culprits: negative thoughts and distorted thoughts. Everything that occurs is an opportunity to practice your interpretive skills.”Cancer

Not necessarily for today, but Part One, boiled down to countering how poorly the East Coast description of what was about to occur over the next 24 months triggered.

“5”  Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: Sometimes, it’s as though you can read minds and tell the future. But right now, it’s better just to ask people what they are thinking and to respect the future as a question mark.” Leo

Not necessarily for today, but when Crazy creative Dave and videoed the San Diego survivors of forced remote work we learned more tips and tricks and advice than what we could have created to share with the other division.  Plus, real people, sincere people shared secrets that worked for them.

“3”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61:As you relate to family, help friends, get after work projects and do more, you’ll notice that everything you take on is a little easier than it was only a month ago. You’re just better.” Virgo

As far as the Pandemic goes, sure we’ve figured out our routines so we don’t catch the virus.  As far as this passion project goes, yeah, but, Duh!

“3”  Steve Kerr, 54:Though you feel emotionally bound to the people and projects you care about, it will benefit you to ask this thought exercise: What if your only real duty is to your own sense of adventure?” Libra

Probably sound advice, but today I’ve got more than enough things to think about!

“5”  Steve Aoki, 41: There’s a new goal to strive for, but you’ll accomplish it with the same approach that’s worked for you in the past. You’ll start with a sketch — an outline of a general vision — and then fill in the blanks.” Sagittarius

So, I have this pandemic to thank?  It’s given me time to sketch out and fill in this work-in-progress at least.

“4”  Steve Nash, 45:There are many situations that are helped by black-or-white thinking, for instance, when you have to assess quickly, act decisively, commit deeply. But for most things, allow for as full a range of color as you can.”  Aquarius

Am I wrong or as a nation don’t we have this inverted?  The black and white thinking which should be objective, is really what passes for red and blue polarized extremes.

“4”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): You might not like the information that comes your way initially, but it will be good to know, as it will deepen your understanding of the scene you’re in, thus giving you more power in it.” Pisces

Information is one thing, misinformation — not mistaken, but politically motivated is another entirely.  Why do we as a country have to politicize everything?  Dealing with this pandemic is more than enough, right?

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @knowlabs followers of one or more of my 35 digital magazines organically grew from 4906 to 4990.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

    • Saw the movie, didn’t realize that one of my favorite authors, Michael Connelly — his detective Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch book series and Amazon Prime series — also wrote, “The Lincoln Lawyer” which I just finished. Gotta tell you I can’t not see his lead character (Mickey Haller, Bosch’s half brother) as anyone else but Matthew McConaughey. 

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

The Knowledge Path | Know Laboratories | Knowledge Banking | Knowledge ATMs | Western Skies and Island Currents | Best West Road Trip

S3 E51 — What Do Cult Followers Lack?

“Let’s face it” the host said, “They just lack critical thinking skills.  Not everyone who fell down the rabbit hole of social media stormed the capitol.”

“4”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): “Freedom isn’t always a process that takes forever. Sometimes, it’s a state of mind that can be achieved in an instant. The way out may be just to get out — to rise above and find something different to care about.” Pisces

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s Episode 51 in Season 3 of  My Paradoxically Normal Year” on this 23rd day of May in the spring of 2021 — which is a three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed during the “normal” pre-pandemic year and then in the pandemic year, and now months after.

The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book

Table of Contents

Previously from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E50 Swinging with Systematic-Professionals, Sorta; S3 E49 Stealing Your Sign Without Doing the Time; S3 E48 Is That an Ace Up Your Sleeve or Are You Just Glad to See Me?

Related from Season Two, The Pandemic Year

S2 E51Let’s Agree to Make Things Worse, Shall We?; S2 E505 Fundamental Uncertainties; S2 E49Navigating Waves of Disruption When You’ve Lost Your Bearings; S2 E48Tracking Millennials from One Resort to Another

Related from Season One, The Normal Year

S1 E51Brief, Broad, Fast, Wow and Delight; S1 E50The Bias Brothers or Just Plain Losers?; S1 E49 — Magnetize the Version You Imagine; S1 E48Holiday TauBit Trumps Funk

Context

CNN’s cohost commented on the defense of one of the arrested insurrectionists by dismissing the attorney’s claim he was a victim of “Fox-itus” a type of brainwashing.

 “Let’s face it” the host said, “They just lack critical thinking skills.  Not everyone who fell down the rabbit hole of social media stormed the capitol.” 

Critical Thinking 

I fell down the rabbit hole called “stack-itus” like when I searched through background experiments in graduate school.  I grew curiouser and curiouser tracking one to another.  

“Critical Thinking” led to “Reasoning” to “Executive Decision Making” and led to the “Cerebellum and the Central Nervous System” with a brief philosophical stop at “Socrates” and then onto a severe right hand turn shockingly back into my history to Donald Broadbent, “the influential experimental psychologist.”

What in the world triggered all this?  

The missing topic for the “Conclusions” section in my 1-Year Natural Experiment Report — Critical Thinking, 

The process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion.Wikipedia

Here’s the so-what definition that matters to critics of Q-anon, the MAGA crowd and the traitors who stormed our capitol, from Wikipedia:

The analysis of facts to form a judgment. 

Socrates established the fact that you cannot depend upon those in “authority” to have sound knowledge and insight.

He demonstrated that persons may have power and high position and yet be deeply confused and irrational. 

Socrates maintained that for an individual to have a good life or to have one that is worth living, he must be a critical questioner and possess an interrogative soul.

He established the importance of asking deep questions that probe profoundly into thinking before we accept ideas as worthy of belief. 

Socrates established the importance of “seeking evidence, closely examining reasoning and assumptions, analyzing basic concepts, and tracing out implications not only of what is said but of what is done as well.” — Wikipedia

Reasoning, which seems to be in short supply:

Is the capacity of consciously applying logic based on new or existing information … associated with acts of thinking and cognition, and involves using one’s intellect. Reasoning, as a part of executive decision making, is also closely identified with the ability to self-consciously change, in terms of goals, beliefs, attitudes, traditions, and institutions, and therefore with the capacity for freedom and self-determination. — Wikipedia

Evidence

And, then there’s this from Holiday Mathis’ Forecast for the week ahead: 

It’s been suggested that there are those who observe how things are and ask, ‘Why?’ and then those who dream and ask, ‘Why not?’ But these needn’t be, and usually aren’t, two different groups. The best thinkers, both diligent and imaginative, bounce between both questions, taking what they can from past conclusions as they move forward to build the new world.

And, so the circle is closed with “Holiday-itis.”

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“4”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): “Freedom isn’t always a process that takes forever. Sometimes, it’s a state of mind that can be achieved in an instant. The way out may be just to get out — to rise above and find something different to care about.” Pisces

So, the unless your Holiday Tau applies to domestic terrorists spouting liberty and freedom as their excuse for January 6th’s insurrection, what are you getting at today?

“2”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61:Since what you seek is also seeking you, all this shifting you’re doing only makes it harder for the thing to catch up with you. Be still. Stop searching for it and let it find you.” Virgo

Try as I might today, Greene and Guttenberg, your Holiday Tau feels confusing.

“2”  Steve Kerr, 54: “Confucius said, ‘To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.’ Arguably, some offenses are more memorable than others. You’ll be judicious about which grievances to carry.” Libra

Is your Confucius Holiday Tau just as confusing as G&G’s or what? 

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @KnowLabs suite of 36 digital magazines jumps from 8203 to 8218 organically grown followers.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life 

Long-Form

    • “Why?: What Makes Us Curious,” by Mario Livio. “… socially shared myths, rituals, and symbolism were most likely the first sophisticated responses to nagging why and how questions and were therefore the fruits of curiosity. The chain reaction that resulted from the positive feedback between curiosity and language turned Homo sapiens into a powerful intellect, with self-awareness and an inner life.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

The Knowledge Path | Know Laboratories | Knowledge Banking | Knowledge ATMs | Western Skies and Island Currents | Best West Road Trips

S4 E38 — Billy and Buckey Blow My Brain in Whiskey Row’s Palace

He was a sheriff, newspaper editor, miner, politician,Georgist, gambler and lawyer, mainly in Arizona. His nickname came from his tendency to “buck the tiger” (play contrary to the odds) at faro or other card games. He later became a captain in Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, and died in battle.

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

The Knowledge Path | Know Laboratories | Knowledge Banking | Knowledge ATMs | Western Skies and Island Currents | Best West Road Trips

Knowledge ATMs 

A peak behind the scenes of self-publishing, crowdfunding, and working for yourself

Table of Contents

Hi and welcome to Thursday’s 38th Episode in Season 4 of  Our Disruptively Resilient Year” on this 12th day of May in the spring of 2022.

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll

    • @KnowLabs suite of 36 digital magazines, according to my analytics, grew from 12880 this week to 12943 organically grown followers.
    • Orange County Beach Towns 220 viewers stopped by the week before.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Context

As we strolled around, waiting for the cycling race to slow down so we could safely cross Whiskey Row without altering the race results, I wondered who that statue represented — somebody like Wyatt Earp? 

Image Credit: https://www.visitarizona.com/

It would makes sense, because Prescott tourism definitely played up the Old West Themes.

“No,” Jay said as we entered the dark wood old west bordello and saloon-themed restaurant “he’s a Rough Rider named Buckey somebody who was a mayor.“ 

Turns out a little later on Wikipedia I discovered  Bucky O’Neill was a man of his time like Wyatt Earp — a Permanently Temporary.

He was a sheriff, newspaper editor, miner, politician, Geologist, gambler and lawyer, mainly in Arizona. His nickname came from his tendency to “buck the tiger” (play contrary to the odds) at faro or other card games. He later became a captain in Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, and died in battle.

But, a Georgist, WTF? Not a typo? I never heard of that and it can’t be a version of his name like Esquire, right? 

Single tax movement, is an economic ideology holding that, although people should own the value they produce themselves, the economic rent derived from land—including from all natural resources, the commons, and urban locations—should belong equally to all members of society.

He believed in what today’s Representative to Congress from his district, Paul Gosar, would openly consider as socialism.

But, I couldn’t contain myself once my eyes grew accustomed to the dark interior having passed the famous western bar — brown wood walls with dark wood trim — and pictures and paintings and drawing on every wall. I browsed one wall after another.

After we ordered some appetizers to share and I took pull on a long neck bottle of Corona I excused myself to visit more history on both sides of the hallway to the lavatory.  Once in the head standing at the urinal I couldn’t help but laugh.  

Image Credit: WikiCommons

Not everyone remembers William Boyd aka Hopalong Cassidy a stable of cowboy westerns filmed around WWII and later shown on television in the ‘50s, but there he was with his white hair in black hat and black shirt and pants looking down at me in what seemed like a 4-foot poster astride his trademark white horse.

“Anybody remember the name of Hopalong Cassidy’s horse,” I teased Jay, Elle and Emma.  Jay had it on the tip of his tongue.  I then said, “Champion and I’m pretty sure I peed on his feet.”  They laughed and Jay announced he wanted to see for himself. 

Anyone driving towards Mammoth Mountain for a ski holiday slows down to 35 mph while passing through three small towns before accelerating back to 70 on Hwy 395.  

Is it Independence?  Or Lone Pine? I should look it up, right?

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard Copyright 2022

Each time we pass we tell ourselves we should stop one time and explore the museum dedicated to all those western movies filmed in the Alabama Hills, including those staring William Boyd.

As Betsy, our dyed blonde server sauntered over in her corseted costume with a knife in a sheath fastened over the small of her back, you know like you’d expect for sex workers here at the faux brothel upstairs, I noticed a little history on the menu.

The Palace is the oldest frontier saloon in Arizona, and the most well-known and historic restaurant and bar in the state.  Past patrons include Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp, Doc Holliday and Big Nose Kate. Virgil was Prescott’s Town Constable.  Originally built in 1877, The Palace was destroyed in the Whiskey Row fire in 1900.  Patrons moved the bar and lower back bar across the street and drank and watched Whiskey Row burn to the ground.  It was rebuilt in 1901.  Today, The Palace maintains its history, grandeur and old west atmosphere, is a favorite for locals, and attracts visitors from all over the world.

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard Copyright 2022

Sitting at our round wood table I glanced at the wall almost directly behind Jay’s shoulder.  A glass display of mining tools used back in the day caught my eye. 

But immediately to the left of the display I saw a small brown framed black and white picture with a brass black below the photo, 

 

“Yavapai County, Burro Man Circa 1890s.”

Two seemingly unrelated factoids tumbled in my mind and came together like a conspiracy theory.  

Could it be?

In the photo a gold seeker in a broad-brimmed hat kneels next to a small makeshift wooden sifting structure.  To his right you can see two pails and a home made scooper — a short wooden handle attached somehow to a metal can.

I vaguely recall pieces of a family story about someone my father’s aunts wrote about in a newsletter which told the story of our extended family ancestors.

Image Credit: WikiCommons

And something I discovered about O’Neill.

O’Neill arrived in Prescott in the spring of 1882. There he rapidly progressed in his journalistic career. Starting as a court reporter, he soon founded his own newspaper, Hoof and Horn, a paper for the livestock industry. He became the editor of the Arizona Miner weekly newspaper in 1884 to February 1885.

That’s it.  Uncle Billy ended up in two Prescott articles and with a little research I discovered one story appeared in the Arizona Miner.  Is it possible Bucky interviewed Billy?

Roughly five years apart Uncle Billy made both the Arizona Miner and the Prescott Enterprise.  Seems as though my great, great uncle’s letter got published in the Prescott Enterprise in 1871.

In the summer of 2005 here’s what I wrote about him in, Uncle Billy, the Earl of Dunraven, Pearl Street & Emaciated Mountain Goats 

He wrote it to the Honorable S.C. Miller telling him he is living in Castle Rock in Douglas County, Colorado. Uncle Billy wandered from Osage County, Missouri sometime after the 1850 census listed him – as it had Confederate War casualty Nathan – my great, great grandfather.

That got me thinking about Samuel Clemons who began his writing career by sending letters to newspapers signing them “Mark Twain”.  Like Mark Twain, he was drawn to the West to find his fortune working mining claims. 

Twain roamed California and Nevada, while Billy mined his 400 feet lode on Lynx Creek in what is today a quaint vacation spot near Prescott, Arizona – north of Phoenix and south of Flagstaff.

Did he strike it rich? 

Like almost everybody else, he made and lost a fortune in the Gilpin County gold leads. 

In an 1871 report on mining, he’s described as “… a fine specimen of a Western Pioneer, one of the men who have always kept in advance of railroads, and who doesn’t feel well unless separated from civilization by hundreds of miles of Indian country.

Indian country before trains, huh?

Continuing in the 1871 Arizona Miner interview he describes an incident while going from Prescott to Walker’s Camp, at the head of Lynx Creek. 

Near Yellow Jacket Gulch, he sees a huge fire and rising smoke. He says parties recently from Skull and Kirkland valleys “report Indians aplenty down that way. They are around, sure, and there is no telling when or where they will strike the first blow.

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard Copyright 2022

So, I’m not saying that photo on the wall next to the glass display is Uncle Billy, but I do know we passed through Skull and Kirkland valleys on the way to Jay and Elle’s Prescott home.

And, the timing is off by a decade or more for Bucky O’Neill to have interviewed Billy, like it sometimes is when you do any ancestry research.  

In letters he wrote back home to Missouri he describes the struggle between guarding against Indian attacks, robbers and the long distance he has to travel for supplies. 

Before Bucky sauntered into Prescott, I’m fairly certain Billy had pulled up stakes already.

Forced to move on due to bad luck, he tries his hand mining in the Black Hills and tries settling for a short time in Castle Rock, before finally returning to his family farm in Missouri.

The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book

Table of Contents

“5”  Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69; Stephen Colbert, 56: “Everyone is not on the same page. Some around you are not even in the same book. For this story to go right you must establish common ground and build from there.” Taurus

We concluded the three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed — during the “normal” pre-pandemic year compared to the pandemic year, and more recently to the paradoxically normal year. 

Season Four continues now within domestic and global chaos.

Previously in Season Four, The Disruptively Resilient Year

S4 E37Racing a Little Wobbly on Whiskey Row; S4 E36Big Rigs, Skull Valley and Yarnell Hotshots ; S4 E35Prescott Pitstop Knocks Me Off Balance

Related from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E38Sliding on a Super Slippery Slope to 2nd or 3rd Cousins; S3 E37Tell Me More Lies I Can Believe In; S3 E36Placebo, Meaningful Coincidence or Just Feeling Lucky; S3 E35This Ain’t No Zemblanity

Related from Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E38What Should You Do If You Stumble Across Loaded Information?; S2 E37How Deep is the Chasm? What Do We Do?; S2 E36Turning Lemons into Margaritas; S2 E35Was this Pandemic Year a 1-Off or New Way of Life?

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E38Day 38 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E37Day 37 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E36Day 36 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E35Day 35 of My 1-Year Experiment;

Evidence

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Today’s Holiday Birthday: 

Your victories will be satisfying and numerous. Through the next 10 weeks you work unwaveringly, with unshakeable focus and resilient intelligence. A complicated relationship irons out. As a result of your efforts to broaden your intellectual horizons, your earning potential will increase.

Ten weeks you say?  That’s ending sometime after the middle or the end of July, but I shouldn’t get my hopes up because this is probably your birthday and not mine.

“5”  Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69; Stephen Colbert, 56: “Everyone is not on the same page. Some around you are not even in the same book. For this story to go right you must establish common ground and build from there.” Taurus

Well, so far so good.  Elle and Jay have been long-time friends even having traveled to Italy for our anniversary vacation.  But, in terms of politics I don’t hold out any hope that we’d be in the same chapter.  Common ground, yeah that’s the ticket.  Fingers crossed. 

“3”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61; Stephen King, 72: “You may decide to do things differently from how your predecessors did because new tools are available. Experimentation takes time and the risk doesn’t always pay off, but you’d be remiss not to try. The future is for the brave!” Virgo

So my predecessors wrote long-hand letters, but my mother typed all of hers and posted them by mail.  She included clipped articles from her newspapers or magazine subscriptions.  Me?  I didn’t want all the clutter from paper and files, so I always looked for digital alternatives.  But, even now I feel I can’t keep up.

“4”  Steve Kerr, 54: “As for the one who doesn’t understand what you’re doing… it could be a perceptual limitation of theirs, but it could also be that you’ve yet to effectively impart the vision. How can you explain it differently?” Libra

So true, I’m in the weeds on most of my passion projects.  And, because I’m one of those endangered introverts, at least by percentage of similar temperaments, I get how most (95 to 97%) won’t understand what I’m doing until I can simplify and simplify some more.  Am I getting closer?

“5”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): “Here’s an argument for keeping it simple: If the issue at hand grows more complex, and the stakes are raised too, the analysis of choices will consume more energy, which may lead to decision fatigue and delays.” Pisces

WTF have you been eavesdropping?  I couldn’t put it any better than that.  Nailed it!

Long-Form

    • “Here, Right Matters: An American Story” by Alexander Vindman. “We’d long been confused by the president’s policy of accommodation and appeasement of Russia, the United States’ most pressing major adversary. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, seizing the Crimean Peninsula, attacking its industrial heartland, the Donbass, from the capital, Kyiv. By 2019, little had changed, Russian military and security forces and their proxy separatists continued to occupy the Donbass. The biggest change was to Ukraine’s importance as a bulwark against Russian aggression weeks earlier, the White House had abruptly put a hold on nearly four hundred million dollars.” 
    • David Enrich begins his book with a suicide in “Deutsche Bank Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction” and then meticulously details the bank’s Russian money laundering operations. Deutsche’s Russian business surged after revenues had fallen 50% due to the 2008 financial crisis. Putin’s Russia, poured in to Deutsche from deals it did with VTB Bank, linked to the Kremlin’s intelligence apparatus. Deutsche positioned itself as a crucial cog in “The Laundromat” by doing what couldn’t be done — processing cross-border transactions for banks that were too small  and didn’t have offices outside their home countries.
    • “Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy” by Jamie Raskin recalls one tragedy no parent should endure — the suicide of his son — and then a second tragedy at almost the same time — the insurrection on January 6th 2021, that terrified he and his congressional peers who were tasked by the Constitution to routinely oversee the orderly transfer of power from one former president to the duly elected new President. 
    • “A Warning” by Anonymous (Miles Taylor) written prior to the January 6th Insurrection as an insider’s account documenting how frequently the former President’s behavior and rage without any “guard rails” showed just how far he would go to win the next election at any cost while spinning lies and misinformation on top of each other.  
    • “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa provides anecdotes, stories and inside reporting documenting the controversial last days of Donald Trump’s presidency, as well as the presidential transition and early presidency of Joe Biden. 
    • “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Nationalist Uprising,” by Joshua Green tracks the money behind the scenes leading up to the 2016 presidential election and the growing influence of Steve Bannon’s network of extreme nationalists.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

S2 E102 — Caught by Surprise in a Major Gut-Wrenching Decline

My head began to swim and I felt sick to my stomach when the caller told me the guy who hired me was just fired by him. Now what am I going to do? His words increased the panic and anxiety in my mind.

“5”  Steve Kerr, 54:You are unique. To whatever extent you can, set up your environment to flow in a way that supports your particular needs, preferences and thinking style.” Libra

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s Episode 102 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 23rd day of August in the summer of 2020.  

“The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book”

Table of Contents

Season One and Two are a two-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed during the “normal” pre-pandemic and then in this unfolding pandemic year.

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E101The Story of Strange Bedfellows Saving the Day; S2 E100Live, Love, Work, Play, Invest and Leave a Legacy; S2 E99Why Pay Over $100,000 When You Don’t Have To?

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E102Why Is It Always Hidden in the Fine Print?; S1 E101From Saint to Soul Mate and Trusted Friend; S1 E100Running out of Determination and Grit by the 100th Day ; S1 E99What’s in a Name? Baby Boy Names?

Context

This is a continuation of “Volume Two Manuscript — WorkFit” a work-in-progress.

In previous episodes we described Start Up, Emerging Growth, Rapid Growth, Sustained Growth, Maturity and Decline stages.  But, each with the emphasis on how a specific stage provides another better fit opportunity for one or more of 16 Talent Profiles.

Consequences of Not Mastering Growth Crises

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

We described two mini case studies of what it was like working behind the scenes at a mature companies in a financial, in a consumer industries and in another century-old university system — Part One and Two.

We now shift to a fourth example of a century-old mature organization, a multinational engineering and construction company, but this time caught by surprise which led to a major decline and gut-wrenching restructuring.

22. Internal Consultant MD&T 

Part One

What became a multinational engineering and construction firm began in 1890 by three brothers in Oshkosh, Wisconsin as a saw and paper mill. Thirteen years later the  company was renamed Fluor Bros. Construction Co.. It didn’t set up shop in California until 1912 when John split from his brothers, moved to Santa Ana for health reasons and in a classic story began Fluor Corporation out of his garage.

To to be closer to its oil and gas clients, Fluor’s headquarters were moved to Alhambra, in 1940 before moving again to Orange County, California in the 1960s due to concerns about the cost of living and traffic.

New Profession, New Career

I just wanted to trade working with developmentally delayed clients sporting a range of IQs from 10 to 16 to working with very bright employees in an industry with a bright shiny future of high technology.

From the Outside

Can looks be deceiving? A couple of big shiny glass boxes with “turrets” on each corner and another seven or eight stories tall glass tower represented the future to me — working in them would make a year-long career transition well worth it. 

You couldn’t miss them in the corner of partially developed commercial property at the corner of the San Diego Freeway (405) and Michelson Drive.

Getting the position

My ASTD board role was strategic.  Although I worked 75 miles away from Fluor’s new headquarters I created the association’s position referral function.  I reviewed every new training and development position about to be advertised in our newsletter as a service to corporate education and human resources departments.

The president of our volunteer training organization phoned  me with news he  became the Director of the Management Development and Training group at Fluor and needed to hire some professionals.  He asked if I knew anybody who might be interested.

John Brunstetter fell for my transitional skills, knowledgeable pitch and grew to trust me. 

I met with him taking a sick day in the same office where  I had first introduced myself to Mike Blackmore a few years earlier.

Rotations to Higher Positions

Brunstetter had replaced Mike Blackmore, who took on a more senior level position in Human Resources in the Corporate Tower before leaving for another opportunity. 

Managing Change

Looking back now, as a then undiagnosed 113 Idea Packager, I continued to research and develop “my body of knowledge” accumulated in two prior careers, but needed to find a better paying and more challenging new career.  Several times I became disappointed when the reality didn’t match the potential opportunity.

All my research and information interviews pointed me to training and development.  An awful lot of teachers from my generation had already made the transformation out of the classroom full of kids to classrooms full of adults in corporations.

Finally, my luck changed!

First Change

Then the phone rang.  

Some guy named Dutch was on the other end.  I’m pretty sure most if not all of my personal property had been boxed and a little farewell lunch had been scheduled.

My head began to swim and I felt sick to my stomach when the caller told me the guy who hired me was just fired by him.

Now what am I going to do increased the panic and anxiety in my mind.

I had already accepted his offer, gave my two weeks notice and counted down how many days  until I didn’t have to drive 1 hour and 30 minutes down and back each day.

My blood drained out of me as I sunk into a deep depression.

In Shock

His voice sounded like it echoed through some distant tunnel through my phone at work.  Then, I heard him repeat, “Your job is not effected by this.” 

Actually, he must have picked up on the long speechless pause on my end.  He must have said it two or more times to reassure me and confirm he looked forward to meeting me personally on my first day.

Between a rock and hard place

I wasn’t sure.  And, I didn’t know what to expect after the first day.  Fluor like the University of California in Irvine commanded a prestigious reputation in Orange County. And I’d save on gas and wear and tear on our Volvo.  But, who knows what happens after the first few weeks or months?  I desperately wanted to know why he was fired.  And, if that act meant something bad was happening in the not too distant future

Misjudged the Opportunity

Did I misjudge the situation I found myself in at the end of my career transition?  Yes and no.  Tantamount on my mind was a shift from providing services to client populations suffering from brain injury caused low IQs and vocational services to less educated with back and stress issues to employees with advanced education — in this case engineers, mostly civil and structural — generally a mix of 112 Loyal Survivalists, 110 Analytical Specialists, 114 Brand-as-Experts and 116 Institutional Traditionalists.  

But, the shiny glass buildings and corporate tower might have tipped me off if I had known any better.  Was it a high tech company on the inside? 

Imposter Waiting to Be Uncovered

But, Fluor was a big change for me compared to what I had been doing.  It was scary.  I didn’t have the confidence coming into the company since I felt I was impersonating a professional but was really only faking it until I made it.

I had no feel for what was going on.  I just knew we had no leader for 30 days.  But we were a group of internal consultants and classroom trainers.

I absorbed everything I could from the rest of the Management Development & Training staff.

Just a Number

Right off the bat I didn’t like what the HR rep said during the on boarding process about essentially keeping your nose to the grindstone and you’ll do well.

It kind of echoed what Blackmore told me,  “We don’t air our dirty laundry on the clothesline.”

What’s that old saying?  Why are employees like mushrooms?  Employers feed them shit and keep them in the dark.

Internal Consultant 40,000 Employees

For five years I “faked it until I made it” as an internal consultant in the management development and training.

Other than my college and university experience, this was my first taste of working in a large organization — 40,000 employees at its peak with 6,000 in the corporate office.  

Building

The company the old-timers told me everything changed when they had moved from a military-looking, defense contractor set of building from all over Los Angeles into Irvine’s high-tech looking glass-mirroring compound. 

As soon as they did everyone began dressing up into ties and three-piece suits and had to wear photo id badges.  Kinda like when the raw recruits emerged from the barbershop in basic training and couldn’t recognize everyone.

Everything was new.  Every floor looked the same when you exited the elevator, until you noticed subtle color variations in the carpet and wall decorations.

Confidentiality Location

Our office entrance was on the first floor just before everyone took the escalator down a level to the open cafeteria and enclosed, but open aired patio.

Our group’s location may have been intentionally planned so managers and employees could seek confidential meetings for advice in sticky situations without calling too much undue attention.  Like a sign of weakness. Or a signal that someone was waving dirty laundry.

Strong Command and Control Under Glass

They still kept their strong control and command management style while they were able to fit everyone into the glass compound, except one division — the Advanced Technology Division.  Everyone in the high potential poll of future executives, no matter the location, congregated monthly for high level leadership presentations in our building.

One year a helicopter had flown in some well-known, well-healed politicos who made their entrance from the stairwell in the middle of the open aired patio into the normal eating area, except it was late afternoon and this was the supervisors club meeting — and the Secretary of State on this one occasion was addressing us in a barely distinguishable heavy accent as a favor since he had been on retainer to the CEO.  

He pontificated on the world’s global events and by extrapolation which business opportunities Fluor should strategically capitalize on. 

Here’s What I Didn’t Know

In short order big changes were  coming my way after accepting an offer to work for a growing, mature company in the engineering and construction industry with 45,000 employees worldwide and 6,000 in Irvine, mostly in the Southern California Division.

The executive team misread the length of an industry-wide recession which plunged the mature engineering and construction into a prolonged decline. 

In three years Fluor’s backlog went from $16 billion to $4 billion and reported $633 million in losses which triggered years of difficult restructuring.

I felt my new career slip away. Except another consultant and I saw an intrepreneural opportunity to advance what he had been piloting already and to provide services for hundreds and maybe thousands about to get their pink slips. 

Internal Outplacement 

That might have been a coincidence, or an omen, but one of the first major projects we urgently began developing was outplacement.  Luckily, I knew enough from my Univance work to be dangerous and Tom had already been introducing Career Development Planning as a pilot project.  But, the shit was hitting the fan.

It was a hard sell to executives who knew nothing about outplacement.

They wanted to know how many people took advantage?  They were laid off, right?  Wouldn’t they feel like they had the scarlet letter — “L” on their forehead? And wouldn’t people walking the halls notice them with job-finding binders which would negatively effect morale?

Surfaced Their Resistance, Dumbed Down Our Aspirations

So, we convinced top management to allow us to offer a three hour seminar and a binder covering the best overlooked ways to find a new job.  And then follow that up with more in-depth workshops and counseling — all on site.  

That bite sized chunk turned out to be much easier for them to swallow.  And, working everything out comprehensively gave us the advantage of anticipating almost all of the failure points to avoid.

CEO Blunder

The Orange County Register published an interview with Fluor’s CEO who said, primarily for stock market investors, they were getting rid of the deadwood.  

Word got around fast.  Out of 20 or so attendees in the first seminar only one or two didn’t bring a copy of that article with them.  

It felt like the villagers armed with pitch forks storming the Frankenstein laboratory.  I had to throw out the seminar agenda and improvise on the spot.

Our party line was to focus on finding a job now, because the job market wasn’t booming and they’d need every tip, trick and luck they could muster. 

“Then if you still feel the same, sue later.”  I said that last part in a whisper.

After the first 45 minutes of them venting how unfair it was and recommending lawyers who would take their cases, as engineers they pointed out that they didn’t fall asleep at the helm of the ship and didn’t underestimate the duration of the industry downturn.  

All my partner and I could do was to nod, tell them we feel their pain (knowing they would look at us while thinking we were less valuable to the company then they were), and steer them back to “Here’s what you need to know, how to sign up for workshops and one-on-one coaching.”

Which woke me up to life in the fast lane as I processed hundreds through our internally run outplacement programs adding a staff and scheduling one-on-one advisory sessions, while reaching out to human resources recruiters in southern California companies needing talented people.

Evidence

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“4”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “Routines are like train tracks; once established, you can chug along to your destination without too much drama. Routines will help you do things that would be very hard otherwise.”  Aries 

And that works both ways, right?  When routines and habits become too entrenched they become so hardened that it’s nearly impossible to choose another track. The insidious thing, is we don’t know what we don’t know.  Good stuff gets screened out as the world flies past our window.

“4”  Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: If you can’t say a thing succinctly, that only means you’re still trying to work out which part of it is important. The principle holds true in any pursuit. Economy will come with experience.” Leo

Is that why as an introvert  (INTP) I need to let things cool down and spend an ungodly amount of time processing what just happened?

“5”  Steve Kerr, 54:You are unique. To whatever extent you can, set up your environment to flow in a way that supports your particular needs, preferences and thinking style.” Libra

Hmm.  So you’re saying holed away in my office, away from everyday distractions helps my thinking style?  That would be 113 Idea Packager aka INTP?

“3”  Steve Aoki, 41: “Today, you’ll be doing the typical you thing but on an atypical scale. Working much bigger or much smaller than usual will highlight your talent in such a way as to teach you where your strengths and weaknesses lie.” Sagittarius

Wow, if you say so.  Either this is so profound and I’m so dense, or I’ll have to get back with you at the end of the day.

Holiday Forecast for the Week Ahead:  

An argument can be made that humans, like ants, bees and termites, are eusocial creatures. It follows that, like ants, bees and termites, most individuals do not do well on their own. 

They need the support of the swarm in order to thrive. For this reason, most humans have a visceral reaction to things like noninclusion, shunning and other forms of rejection. 

While rejection may not be physically harmful, it hits at a primal level. For humans, to be ostracized from the group has historically been a fate akin to death and, indeed, would often lead there. 

Without the protection of the tribe, one person in the wild is vulnerable and constantly challenged, so it follows that a fear of rejection is a normal and useful part of socialization. 

Since most people fear and avoid rejection, those who go the opposite way are regarded with admiration. And those who risk rejection often become somewhat immune to the otherwise crippling effects of rejection-fear. More and greater options are open to those who are unafraid to try for them.

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @knowlabs followers of one or more of my 35 digital magazines organically grew from 4733 to 4807.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

    • Saw the movie, didn’t realize that one of my favorite authors, Michael Connelly — his detective Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch book series and Amazon Prime series — also wrote, “The Lincoln Lawyer” which I just finished. Gotta tell you I can’t not see his lead character (Mickey Haller, Bosch’s half brother) as anyone else but Matthew McConaughey. 

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

The Knowledge Path | Know Laboratories | Knowledge Banking | Knowledge ATMs | Western Skies and Island Currents | Best West Road Trip

S4 E37 — Racing a Little Wobbly on Whiskey Row

Over the loud speaker we heard, “And, here comes #32 Alan Lars.” The cyclists ended their race at the intersection to our right.  Jay told us across the street were Prescott’s historic buildings, including The Palace, Arizona’s oldest restaurant and bar.

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

The Knowledge Path | Know Laboratories | Knowledge Banking | Knowledge ATMs | Western Skies and Island Currents | Best West Road Trips

Knowledge ATMs 

A peak behind the scenes of self-publishing, crowdfunding, and working for yourself

Table of Contents

Hi and welcome to Sunday’s 37th Episode in Season 4 of  Our Disruptively Resilient Year” on this 8th day of May in the spring of 2022.

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll

    • @KnowLabs suite of 36 digital magazines, according to my analytics, grew from 12880 this week to 12943 organically grown followers.
    • Orange County Beach Towns 220 viewers stopped by the week before.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Context

By the time Jay and I returned from inspecting their property in a cookie-cutter suburb that might have been a stereotypical community in California, except instead of anything green for this spring time of year, all you could see was Palm Springs-like decor but without the palm trees.  

Like at Jay and Elle’s house smaller and larger rocks filled in their landscape.  At least in their front dry-rock gulch instead of a lawn, trees shaded their entryway.  Not so much at their house they had intended to flip or rent to other California investors.

There, the sun reflected off the street, the dry rock landscape and brownish block walls adding to the morning temperature without a breeze.

Image Credit: https://www.visitarizona.com/

As Jay navigated through The Dells (Granite Dells), on each side of the road made up of large boulder granite outcroppings that have eroded into a spectacular appearance of bumpy rock features, we talked a bit about his former career in firefighting, but more specifically about the Yarnell Hill Fire years before he moved to Prescott.

The wildfire near Yarnell, Arizona ignited by dry lightning on June 28, 2013. By June 30, it overran and killed 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. Just one of the hotshots on the crew survived—he was posted as a lookout on the fire and was not with the others when the fire overtook them. The Yarnell Hill Fire was one of the deadliest U.S. wildfires.

Jay vaguely remembered how the widows survivor benefits weren’t paid, getting tangled up in some sort of finger-pointing and counter lawsuits.  I thought the hotshots were independent contractors so they weren’t entitled to benefits.

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard copyright 2022

We pull into his driveway.  Apparently the two wives had run out of stories to share about us, so they’re ready jump into Jay’s dark blue SUV for a drive into historic downtown Prescott.

As a footnote, Elle points out Jays rearview air conditioner doesn’t work properly and  suggests we switch to her SUV for our next sight seeing adventure.

Jay and Elle point out a few restaurants and shops on the way down the hill towards the main town.  They discuss parking tactics.  Jay swings left and crosses a few intersections until he spies public parking lots near the destination he has in mind.

Image Credit: https://www.visitarizona.com/

The old courthouse.  The one where they have public rest rooms.

Negotiating the space, he tells us he’ll let us out on the passenger side, so he can squeeze in as close as he can to the cement wall.  Elle winces a little as he moves back and forth inching closer and closer to the wall.  She’s now glad he’s not driving her car.

From a distance, the town seems to be laid out like other western towns.  In fact, I’m reminded of a combination of Durango and Telluride in Colorado. Everything old time western radiates out from core frontier square.

My new, left knee replacement holds up well as we walk downhill two blocks and hear cheering, an announcer and gazed over to our left and notice where it looks like a bandstand had been set up and picnickers sat on blankets in front of it.

Wait, I remember the headline of an article that made its way into my Apple News feed before we hit the road in California.  

This must be that race known as the Cocodona 250.  More specifically, Here’s Who To Watch For At The Cocodona 250 – And How.  

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard copyright 2022

Over the loud speaker we heard, “And, here comes #32 Alan Lars.” And over there too must be where you can watch, right?

Jay picked up the pace heading towards a statue.  I joined him as instead of climbing the stairs to the courthouse straight ahead, he veered off to our right and trotted around the side to the back entrance and bolted for the door which said, “Men”.  

I joined him.

Having done our business, we mingled in among a crowd of cyclists and made our was to where the race was under way.

Between occasional cyclists the announcer chattered about how long he’d been calling the race, how you can listen to him and where you could catch his webcast I think.  Honestly it was hard to tell above the general din of supporters, spectators and tourists like us.

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard copyright 2022

I hung back a little scanning the row of cycling gear marketing tents and began to read a vertical banner hung on a light pole, like at a bus stop listing all the stops and transfers you should know before boarding.

I could only make out that this race, it was a race at all, included tiers of participants based upon I knew not what.  But, it burst my assumption about it being the Cocodona 250.

“What?”  I only faintly recognized Jay’s voice.

Jay had to yell out what he told Emma the Baroness and Elle for me.  “This is Whiskey Row.”

The cyclists ended their race at the intersection to our right.  Jay told us across the street were Prescott’s historic buildings, including The Palace, Arizona’s oldest restaurant and bar.  

The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book

Table of Contents

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “Maybe you feel your pattern is very predictable, but people around you still don’t seem to know what you’ll do next. There are advantages to keeping mystery alive as long as possible.” Scorpio

We concluded the three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed — during the “normal” pre-pandemic year compared to the pandemic year, and more recently to the paradoxically normal year. 

Season Four continues now within domestic and global chaos.

Previously in Season Four, The Disruptively Resilient Year

S4 E36Big Rigs, Skull Valley and Yarnell Hotshots; S4 E35Prescott Pitstop Knocks Me Off Balance; S4 E34Preconceived Notions Hit the Road for Prescott

Related from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E37Tell Me More Lies I Can Believe In; S3 E36Placebo, Meaningful Coincidence or Just Feeling Lucky; S3 E35This Ain’t No Zemblanity; S3 E34Why You’re Susceptible to Subliminal Suggestions Like …

Related from Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E37How Deep is the Chasm? What Do We Do?; S2 E36Turning Lemons into Margaritas; S2 E35Was this Pandemic Year a 1-Off or New Way of Life?; S2 E34Why Is This Kicking Off the 4th Industrial Revolution? 

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E37Day 37 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E36Day 36 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E35Day 35 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E34Day 34 of My 1-Year Experiment;

Evidence

Today’s Holiday Theme: 

Mother’s Day, a celebration of a commonality that goes beyond the human species. This tribute to the person who is, at best, a first friend in life, and at least the double-X chromosome contributing to our physical existence … children, playfulness and theatrics.

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51: “Maybe you feel your pattern is very predictable, but people around you still don’t seem to know what you’ll do next. There are advantages to keeping mystery alive as long as possible.” Scorpio

Haha I remember Jay asking if I was an influencer yet.  He had no idea what I described as phase two of my natural experiment which will lead to “The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

Today’s Holiday Birthday: 

Your magic formula for success starts with curiosity — a most alluring quality that will keep you in the best and brightest company this year. Ask questions, even if you think you know the answers. Thinking you know the answers is disadvantageous, but the rewards you find as you continue to clarify the world will make you positively rich.

Curiosity killed the cat. I’m glad I’m not a cat.  I’m sad. I so wanted to claim this birthday, but it’s not for me.  I hope it is yours.

“4” Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69; Stephen Colbert, 56: “You’re friendly and inclusive, and yet still careful about who gets into your inner circle. It’s not that you’re afraid, more like practical. It’s cleaner and smarter to keep some things on a need-to-know basis.” Taurus

We’re friends with Jay and Elle.  But, not to the extreme fear of an impending argument about politics, I know something may erupt to harsh our vacation mellow along divisive party lines.   

“3”  Steve Harvey, 62; Stephan Patis, 53;  Stephen Hawking (1943 – 2018): “‘Talk is cheap,’ they say… But if that were true, public speakers and spokespeople wouldn’t be paid nearly so well. Words paint mental pictures that inspire action. Yours are definitely worth something today.” Capricorn

That’s so flattering.  I’m not sure if I hit the 14,000 hours necessary to claim the ability to paint mental images to inspire you, but I’d lie if I weren’t aspiring towards the goal.

“4”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): “The secret to your success is that you don’t show up once or twice, rather you do so consistently over long periods of time. Good things are coming to you, hard-earned and well-deserved.” Pisces

I prided myself as a Executive MBA career advisor to be there for the students over the two years they attended, and to stay in touch with them after graduation to see how or if they actually applied what they learned, especially if I had matched them to a mentor.

Long-Form

    • “Here, Right Matters: An American Story” by Alexander Vindman. “We’d long been confused by the president’s policy of accommodation and appeasement of Russia, the United States’ most pressing major adversary. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, seizing the Crimean Peninsula, attacking its industrial heartland, the Donbass, from the capital, Kyiv. By 2019, little had changed, Russian military and security forces and their proxy separatists continued to occupy the Donbass. The biggest change was to Ukraine’s importance as a bulwark against Russian aggression weeks earlier, the White House had abruptly put a hold on nearly four hundred million dollars.” 
    • David Enrich begins his book with a suicide in “Deutsche Bank Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction” and then meticulously details the bank’s Russian money laundering operations. Deutsche’s Russian business surged after revenues had fallen 50% due to the 2008 financial crisis. Putin’s Russia, poured in to Deutsche from deals it did with VTB Bank, linked to the Kremlin’s intelligence apparatus. Deutsche positioned itself as a crucial cog in “The Laundromat” by doing what couldn’t be done — processing cross-border transactions for banks that were too small  and didn’t have offices outside their home countries.
    • “Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy” by Jamie Raskin recalls one tragedy no parent should endure — the suicide of his son — and then a second tragedy at almost the same time — the insurrection on January 6th 2021, that terrified he and his congressional peers who were tasked by the Constitution to routinely oversee the orderly transfer of power from one former president to the duly elected new President. 
    • “A Warning” by Anonymous (Miles Taylor) written prior to the January 6th Insurrection as an insider’s account documenting how frequently the former President’s behavior and rage without any “guard rails” showed just how far he would go to win the next election at any cost while spinning lies and misinformation on top of each other.  
    • “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa provides anecdotes, stories and inside reporting documenting the controversial last days of Donald Trump’s presidency, as well as the presidential transition and early presidency of Joe Biden. 
    • “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Nationalist Uprising,” by Joshua Green tracks the money behind the scenes leading up to the 2016 presidential election and the growing influence of Steve Bannon’s network of extreme nationalists.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

S3 E45 — Tacit Heuristics Blinding Fast-Track Teams

I’ve learned that I am really susceptible to the downsides.  But, I’m a sucker for that aha! experience, so naturally I’d latch on to a word (heuristic) that comes from the same root as eureka.

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): You’ll discover that a belief you held was wrong or incomplete — oh, sweet liberation! This levels the mental ground where you’ll be building something sturdier and more beautiful to dwell inside.  Aries

Hi and welcome to Friday’s Episode 45 in Season 3 of  My Paradoxically Normal Year” on this 14th day of May in the spring of 2021 — which is a three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed during the “normal” pre-pandemic year and then in the pandemic year, and now months after.

The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book

Table of Contents

Previously from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E44Make It Rhyme To Work Each Time; S3 E43Add a Little Foresight to My Misdemeanor Tab; S3 E42Greta, Juliette and the Partridge Family at Trestles

Related from Season Two, The Pandemic Year

S2 E45Wildcard What Ifs and Doobie Bros Bias; S2 E44Celebrating Emma the Baroness Tribal Quarantine Style; S2 E43See What You’ve Been Missing …; S2 E42It Was Short and Sweet, but Heart-Felt

Related from Season One, The Normal Year

S1 E45Day 45 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E44Google Me Some Chopped Liver; S1 E43Desperation on Such a Summer’s Day; S1 E42Love on the Run

Context

When knowledge management gained purchase as an emerging profession I attended a week-long online conference with early practitioners and discussed “distinctions” of what it was all about.  

It was too soon to define it with hard boundaries.  

One of the pioneers advocated heuristics as a practice for sharing and refining knowledge that wasn’t already explicitly in use. 

 I’d never heard of heuristics before, but I caught a flavor of his meaning for what he called tacit knowledge — what people on a team knew and shared intuitively with each other.

Team members learn something by bringing products to market like the one they’re up against the looming release date.  

The team is stumped.  

Someone pitches a solution based on a similar product she engineered in the recent past and it works. Crisis averted.  That solution is passed on again and again. 

More formally a heuristic is like a rule of thumb — a mental shortcut that relies on immediate examples that come to a given person’s mind.

I’ve learned that I am really susceptible to the downsides.  I’m a sucker for that aha! experience, so naturally I’d latch on to a word (heuristic) that comes from the same root as eureka.

If you knew me you’d know I always look for a simple procedure that helps me find answers to difficult questions —  adequate, but often imperfect as they may be to move forward. 

But,  now I’ve come to learn what I’m most likely guilty of is some kind of mental trick, a kind of a bait and switch without noticing.  

I  sometimes automatically substitute an easier question for a difficult one, answer it and congratulate myself on my brilliance.

As Daniel Kahneman says, “(A) lazy System 2 often follows the path of least effort and endorses a heuristic answer without much scrutiny of whether it is truly appropriate.”

How does it work? 

While l’m engaged in searching for an answer to one question, my “System 1” simultaneously generates the answers to related questions. 

Often it may substitute a response that more easily comes to my mind for the one that was requested and more complicated.  

“The heuristic answer is not necessarily simpler or more frugal than the original question, but it is accessible, computed more quickly and easily.” 

The answers are not random.  They are often approximately correct and frequently that’s all you need. 

As in technology heuristic of inserting a good enough product into the customers hands and get them to tell you about all the flaws so you can iterate and release new versions.

But, sometimes they are quite wrong. Which can come back and bite you in your own life if you’ve got a lot on the line.  

Evidence

But, Zahnny, am I wrong in assuming focus and concentration won’t short circuit my intuitive self no matter how flawed?

“3”  Steve Zahn, 51: “The work worth doing centers around your energy, perception and ability. Focus there, and so much else will naturally come together. Focusing elsewhere will be ineffective.” Scorpio

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

You know, Steve sometimes your Holiday Tau hits the nail on the head.  It wasn’t until these last weeks while working on the Conclusions section of my Report that I discovered heuristics, good as they may be in general, weren’t the end all and be all of knowledge management.  In fact they may have accounted for blinding fast-track teams under pressure to deliver tech products at a faster and faster pace.  Mea culpa.

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): You’ll discover that a belief you held was wrong or incomplete — oh, sweet liberation! This levels the mental ground where you’ll be building something sturdier and more beautiful to dwell inside.  Aries

Eureka G&G.  Here’s my take on this passion project at 5:45 am this morning. Looking back through the report I grow tired and weary because of the disconnects and disjointed sections.  My plan was to write the end and then go back to the beginning and clean up portions as I made progress towards the conclusion.

“5”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61:The interaction of opposing forces in your mind creates friction, hot moods and frustrating mental traffic jams. Alignment changes everything. Thoughts flowing in the same direction create momentous forward movement.  Virgo

Did someone say, aha! or eureka?  Count me in. Anything to distract me, like a squirrel does for a dog, from this ongoing national political disgrace.

“4”  Steve Jobs, (1955 – 2011): “Heavy topics and serious matters just don’t have appeal to you now, though you’re quite excited by novelty and the lighter side of life. This mood is perfect for building rapport with others.” Pisces

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @KnowLabs suite of 36 digital magazines jumps from 8138 to 8193 organically grown followers

Foresight

Quality-of-Life 

Long-Form

    • “Future Shock” by Alvin Toffler, a classic I feel which still holds up. As the pace of change quickens we experience self-doubt, anxiety and fear.  We become tense and tire easily, until we are overwhelmed, face-to-face with a crisis situation. Without a clear grasp of relevant reality or beginning with clearly defined values and priorities, we feel a deepening sense of confusion and uncertainty. Our intellectual bewilderment leads to disorientation at the level of personal values. Decision stress results from acceleration, novelty and diversity conflicts. Acceleration pressures us to make quick decisions. Novelty increases the difficulty and length of time while diversity intensifies the anxiety with an increase in the number of options and the amount of information needed to process.  The result is a slower reaction time.
    • Daniel Kahneman’s, “Thinking Fast and Slow”describes two different ways the brain forms thoughts: “System 1” which is meant as a fictional shorthand — not as a brain system or structure: Fast, automatic, frequent, emotional, stereotypic, unconscious. “System 2”: Slow, effortful, infrequent, logical, calculating, conscious. I’m learning a lot about my energy levels first described from within an introversion frame now, from within differences between System 1 and the harder working, energy depletion System 2.  Self-control, for instance is hard and takes a lot of energy to accomplish.  When I write the concentration requires effort until I can find the “flow.” Implications for True Belief — it’s easy to stay in System 1 vs. critical thinking — System 2.  Set some marketing and working on the business goals — System 2 and then ignore them by following the lateral thinking and associative thinking  which Leo da V invites me to do — System 1.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

CENTER FOR KNOWLEDGE CREATION AND INNOVATION

The Knowledge Path | Know Laboratories | Knowledge Banking | Knowledge ATMs | Western Skies and Island Currents | Best West Road Trips

S2 E100 — Live, Love, Work, Play, Invest and Leave a Legacy

Not all my Executive MBA students hailed from large, mature healthcare organizations.  If they did, they weren’t confident that they could crack the glass ceiling, nor did many physicians really want to.  

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51:You’re an excellent student of life because of your genuine curiosity. You are interested in more than just memorizing what you need to know for life’s various tests. Your longing for deep knowledge will be sated.” Scorpio

Hi and welcome to Friday’s Episode 100 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 21st day of August in the summer of 2020.  

“The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book”

Table of Contents

Season One and Two are a two-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed during the “normal” pre-pandemic and then in this unfolding pandemic year.

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E99Why Pay Over $100,000 When You Don’t Have To? ; S2 E98 Why Your Company Simply Won’t Make It Out of Puberty ; S2 E97Frame Blindness and Decision Traps

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E100Running out of Determination and Grit by the 100th Day ; S1 E99What’s in a Name? Baby Boy Names?; S1 E98Why Can’t I Leave 26 Orphans for a Well Deserved Vacation? ; S1 E97 My Top 19 Reasons for Failing

Context

This is a continuation of “Volume Two Manuscript — WorkFit” a work-in-progress.

In previous episodes we described Start Up, Emerging Growth, Rapid Growth, Sustained Growth and Maturity stages.  But, each with the emphasis on how a specific stage provides another better fit opportunity for one or more of 16 Talent Profiles.

We described two mini case studies of what it was like working behind the scenes at a mature companies in a financial, in a consumer industries and in another century-old university system.

33. Advisor — Executive and Healthcare MBA Program 

Part Two

The business school recognized it had to compete more aggressively for students and slowly shifted emphasis to digital leadership.  The heart of their marketing told prospective Executive MBA students they’d be able to think creatively and strategically about business challenges of the future.

Separately the University launched “The Cove” to fill the Orange County start up vacuum.  More of the Executive Students I advised, even in Healthcare, felt its magnetic pull particularly to commercialize ideas flowing from medical device, biotechnology and other research laboratories. I felt it too and developed relationships with its leaders. 

Here’s what we were up against.  Most residents in Orange County with college bound young adults, if their ambitions were to turn your ideas into a business you didn’t want to attend a campus in the UC System In fact, your best fit would be the Cal State System. You don’t want research and theories,  but you need tools, tips and practical guidance.

The business school’s pitch went something like this:  We have a long tradition of training professionals to succeed at the executive level.  Are you prepared to lead transformation and embrace opportunities for innovation in your industry?

Four Talent Profiles Attracted to Systematic-Professional Organizations

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Clearly pitched at Systematic-Professionals like ourselves, the value proposition promised … you will build a general management foundation complemented by opportunities to further explore the healthcare space, enabling you to apply your understanding of business to the changing healthcare industry.

Our program maximizes your return on investment by: 

    • Delivering relevant knowledge and skills, 
    • Valuable connections with peers in other industries and
    • Prestigious credentials to accelerate your career and organization.

That’s where our group came in.

My project was so different than what my colleagues were providing that  I could independently create a unique suite of services customized for executives. Their “customers” were  students who just graduated with little or no work experience. 

For  the first five years as a Systematic-Professional 113 Idea Packager I flourished reporting directly to the Executive Director working autonomously while establishing services from the ground up as an intrapreneur: 

    • Launched the Executive to Executive mentoring program by recruiting and maintaining  a core of 45 to 50 VP and C-Suite Executives
    • Matched 35 to 45 executive students with mentors each quarter based on type of organization and stage of growth.  
    • Included 5 to 7 industry contacts. 
    • Hosted quarterly mentoring breakfast meetings. 
    • Held panel discussion with alumni and industry leaders for students.
    • Recruited entrepreneurs and alumni for frank Q&A exchanges with students considering a startup.

Not all Executive MBA students hailed from large, mature healthcare organizations.  If they did, they weren’t confident that they would crack the glass ceiling, nor did many physicians really want to. 

They wanted to figure out why certain decisions had been made for business reasons that had impacted them.  Or, they had well researched ideas they wanted to advance, but needed a better understanding of how top executives prioritized their decisions.  Still others felt certain their start up ideas could be winners.

In a way the Healthcare Executive MBA students wanted the same payoffs as did the majority number of students in the Executive MBA program.  

As I met with each one individually before matching them with the best mentor I could find we pinpointed where they found themselves in their current situation.

We’d determine how they rated themselves in terms of high degrees of:

    • Independence or Affiliation
    • Speed or Mastery
    • Disruptive Innovation or Sustained Improvement
    • Emerging Knowledge or Embedded Knowledge

Four Organization Types

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Using myself for example I preferred higher degrees of Embedded Knowledge, Independence and Mastery.  So on face value the blue box (Systematic-Professionals) would be a better fit for me.

But, not all Executive and Healthcare EMBA students were currently in the “color box” they preferred.  One decision they could make was to switch for a better fit — say, “Blue” (Systematic-Professionals) to “Green” (Emerging-Entrepreneurs).  The right mentor-match could prove to be helpful.

Next we’d explore curriculum choices:

Work For Themselves

    • Start a Business
    • Buy a Business or Franchise
    • Launch a Consulting Practice

Work for an Organization

    • Create an Intrapreneurial Position
    • Advance in Your Career
    • Change Your Career
    • Master a Career Disruption

For Executive EMBA students who worked at the same employer for several years which seemed to be plateaued compared to their competitors we would discuss reasons starting with their assessment of which growth stage they’ve stalled in.

Recognizing we haven’t profiled what works and doesn’t work in decline and reinvention stages yet my advice was to ask questions about how to address the crisis most likely constraining their employer and their career in each of the classes and from other students.

Consequences of Not Mastering Growth Crises

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Of course another source would be matched to a mentor who had met those challenges successfully.

180 – Degree Shift in Success by Stages

Growth Stage Key Success Factor Leading to a Crisis New Success Key
Start Up Loosen Leadership Tighten
Emerging Tighten Functional Loosen
Rapid Loosen Autonomy Tighten
Sustained Tighten Repetition Loosen
Maturity Loosen Control Tighten

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Unless those students were career junkies like me who worked in each of those growth stages or consulted with clients confronted with artificial barriers to their organization’s growth, most only needed to focus on the edge of one box and determine what was necessary to jump into the next box for a few years.  

Managing 180 Degree Shifts Required for Each Stage

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Those students encountering the most difficulty when it came to changing their careers had spent  decades in a Systematic-Professional Organization Type or a long-term company in the Maturity phase.

Returning to Organization Types, we’ve already covered 10 of 16 Talent Profiles.  If you think about a company’s culture, it is made up of more of a mix of talent profiles (4) and as people come and go each organization tends to recruit  the same type.

16 Talent Profiles by Organization Type

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Let’s say you value high degrees of Embedded Knowledge, Independence and Mastery aka the talent culture you’d find at a university in the “Blue Box.” 

As one of my Executive MBA students, say a researcher on campus in biotechnology, you most likely would not flourish in the opposite “Green Box” known as Emerging-Entrepreneurs.  

Of course you could make it work, but it may feel too fluid with its focus on higher degrees of speed, emerging knowledge and affiliation.

Speaking of affiliation, the four talent profiles defining a “Tan Box” Sustaining-Associate Organization  favoring higher degrees of mastery and sustained improvement in addition to affiliation would struggle fitting into the “Red Box” of Paradoxy-Morons. 

So if you want to find a better fit, stay away from opposite color boxes.  If you’ve had it with your “box color” as in a career change, try probing an adjacent box to a medium degree of career satisfaction.

If you can’t handle the high speed, disruptive innovation “Red Box” culture, you might like the working in “Blue Box” Systematic-Professionals or the “GreenBox” Emerging-Entrepreneurs.

Two Systematic-Professionals Attracted to Maturity Growth Stage

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Summary

But, wait there’s more.  As in more options.

As you grow from start up to maturity as an organization my Executive MBA students the talent profiles can “break out” and add value to a specific state.  Two “red” profiles, 101 Breakpoint Investors and 103 Commercial Innovators are joined by “green” 105 Marketing Athletes.

If that Start Up jumps successfully into the first of two growth stages — Emerging Growth — two additional “green” profiles,  107 Resilient Product Teams and 108 Core Business Group, fuel further growth.

But as Emerging flips int Rapid Growth the first two of three Sustaining-Associate “tan” profiles, 111 Agile Tiger Teams and 112 Loyal Survivalists keep the wheels on the bus at higher speeds.  As Rapid Growth shifts into Sustained Growth the third “tan” profile joins the other two, 110 Analytical Specialists.

And, as we’ve already illustrated in these three mini case studies, as the company peaks and maintains their growth at the Maturity level, two “blue” profiles are required to keep the airplane routes synchronized, on schedule and systematically maintained — 114 Brand-as-Experts and 116 Institutional Traditionalists.

Where to Find the Best Fit

Talent Profile Growth Stage Organization Type
101 Breakpoint Inventors Start Up Paradoxy-Morons
103 Commercial Innovators Start Up Paradoxy-Morons
105 Marketing Athletes Start Up Emerging-Entrepreneurs
107 Resilient Product Teams Emerging Growth Emerging-Entrepreneurs
108 Core Business Group Emerging Growth Emerging-Entrepreneurs
111 Agile Tiger Teams Rapid Growth Sustaining-Associates
112 Loyal Survivalists Rapid Growth Sustaining-Associates
110 Analytical Specialists Sustained Growth Sustaining-Associates
114 Brand-as-Experts Maturity Systematic-Professionals
116 Institutional Traditionalists Maturity Systematic-Professionals

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Next up:  we leave organizations at the Maturity Growth and describe two talent profiles who specialize and helping “pilots” pull up from their premature Decline.

Evidence

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51:You’re an excellent student of life because of your genuine curiosity. You are interested in more than just memorizing what you need to know for life’s various tests. Your longing for deep knowledge will be sated.” Scorpio

Maybe this is why I’ve been drawn to figuring things out, what makes things work when it comes to accumulating knowledge and passing it on.  How to live, love, work, play, invest and leave a legacy.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“5” Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “Thinking counts as effort, but nothing comes into being through thought alone. Air must be moved, words spoken, written or sung, action and work of any kind completed. The more air that’s moved, the more real a thing becomes.  Aries

So that’s what this is all about?  Describing the air bending actions necessary to maneuver in Mature organizations? 

“4” Steve Howey, 42:It’s one of those days when you’ll do what’s good for you even though you don’t feel like it. It’s the sort of discipline that makes future decisions easier for you. Soon these things will require no discipline at all.” Cancer

Promises, promises. Let’s hope so…

“4” Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: Giving love the same way as usual is nice enough. But people get desensitized to typical experiences. When you give more and differently, it’s like stretching the elastic of your heart to a greater capacity for love and joy.” Leo

Now that’s what I’m talking about for this Friday night near the end of summer!

“3” Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61:You can be sweet, but too much sweetness is no fun. Sometimes, your playfulness can come out in swipes. Knowing how far to go with mischief is the essence of intimacy.” Virgo

During this pandemic don’t I get a pass or does it only serve to heighten the tension?

“3”. Steve Aoki, 41: “A whole new level of adulthood kicks in with the realization that others measure the world and themselves differently from the way you do. Accepting this nonstandard system is its own badge of maturity.” Sagittarius

Ok, riddle me this. Of what do you speak, this maturity badge?  Unique talent magnetized to this organizational growth stage, eh?

“4” Steve Harvey, 62:You know an excellent suggestion when you hear it. You’ll follow up and soon be onto an interesting project, one that seems to create its own momentum.”  Capricorn

Yeah, well that’s exactly what intrigued me over the years and is now unfolding with a life of its own. Or during this pandemic I can complete that jigsaw puzzle sitting on our dining room table. 

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @knowlabs followers of one or more of my 35 digital magazines organically grew from 4733 to 4807.

Foresight

Quality-of-Life

Long-Form

    • Saw the movie, didn’t realize that one of my favorite authors, Michael Connelly — his detective Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch book series and Amazon Prime series — also wrote, “The Lincoln Lawyer” which I just finished. Gotta tell you I can’t not see his lead character (Mickey Haller, Bosch’s half brother) as anyone else but Matthew McConaughey. 

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate

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