Friday, June 30, 2006
Talkin’ bout my Generation! Two years ago I had the privilege of managing an Air Force Gymnasium for an entire year. I actually held two jobs, one high-tech (Intel Corp) and one funky-tech (a stinky gymnasium).
The generation gap (sub-culture) story goes like this. On the weekends there were hoards of basketball players waiting to play full court basketball (b-ball). I know for a fact or maybe just a figment of my imagination, that I saw Hooptie Hooperdink and Basketball Jones hanging around my gym more than once.
Quick Fact: Actually, the military picks up a lot of great b-ball players out of 2 and 4 year colleges. When I say “jump” you say, “How high.” Let’s just say “Slam Dunk.”
To my utmost amazement, some of the younger basketball players in my generation (X) and older generation (Y) were wearing their shorts down around the top of their thighs (Major Sagging). Personally, I had to smile and laugh to myself as they ran down the court and pulled off a jump shot. Can you picture it? You run behind the ball carrier and he jumps into the air. Where does this motion place his sagging shorts? Those shorts are right in your face. Distasteful and disgusting as it is, the players kept on playing.
I tried to understand the trend, I really did, but I came to the conclusion that sagging basketball shorts can’t be understood. I thought to myself “who in their right mind would want another basketball player’s sweaty, nasty, boxer shorts not to mention booty at nose level? HELLO! Seems like a no brainer to me.
If a woman’s thong hanging out of her clothing is called a “whale tail,” then I imagine a basketball player’s nasty boxer shorts, must be called “Smell tail!” Thankfully, I believe this nasty trend is dying. I hope and certainly desire sagging to die a quick death. However, there are still those few individuals that want to keep the boxer-showing trend alive.
If there is one sagging individual, there is one too many. This includes whale tails ladies.
So what did I do? I used the loud speaker. “Attention in the gym, attention in the gym, if your booty is out of your shorts, you are out of my gym!” On the first call no one seemed to hear. So I walked out into the middle of the court and stopped the game. I had all ears and quite a few mouth’s flapping. Loose lips gain no ground. I said in a commanding voice, “If your booty is out of your shorts, you are out of my gym!” Unbelievably, I might have had one or two seconds of silence before a generation (Y) got in my face and claimed freedom of expression. I quickly retaliated with “I will grant you freedom of extraction.” For some reason military police love to remove people which can not comply. You’re free to express and I am free to extract. Keep the piece in your shorts and you will keep the peace.
Common decency requires one to think of others over themselves…
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
To receive a local schedule for all the Albuquerque intercultural course offerings with open enrollment contact Mike Kline at 1-505-284-8108.
Contact Marian Stetson-Rodriguez to find out how you can schedule this class and other fantastic intercultural courses at 1-925-931-0555 or visit her website at www.chariscorp.com
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
We're on this merry-go-round just once. The least we can do is get to know the people we're riding with.
- Tasha Knight
Mazel, Ella.(1998),“And don’t call me a racist!” A treasury of quotes on the past, present, and future of the color line in
Library of Congress Card Number 98-74108
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Saturday, June 24, 2006
GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE!
Have you ever volunteered for something outside your comfort zone? Try dressing up in a feathered chicken suit to meet and greet 900 daughters and their parents on "Take your Daughters to Work" day (April 27th, 2006). Super Fun!
Disclaimer: There is another day for bring your sons to work.
Friday, June 23, 2006
My Uncle flew into town from
What is Common Decency? It is conformity to a society and the social and cultural standards of conduct and speech. Decency requires us to hold up a correct attitude with proper behaviors, including modesty, politeness, and manners. A good reputation is achieved through an acceptable standard of living. Each person must display respect for each other regardless of their life experience on the diversity wheel. As individuals, if we place ourselves first, we can not practice common decency, and yet, today’s society is telling us it is okay to have a lack of concern for others. Our society seems to openly and blatantly offend others as a matter of norm, it is okay.
The core lining of common decency falls into
That's me in the corner,
That's me in the spotlight,
I'm Losing my religion
Trying to keep up with you
And I don't know if I can do it
Oh no, I've said too much
I haven't said enough…
By losing our Religion, do we lose our common sense of decency? If we strive for pluralism, is there any commonality? Is there any society and cultural glue? What is common about a pluralistic society? If there are no absolutes and nothing is wrong, then “If it feels good, do it.” For some reason I don’t get it or see a reason to uphold a common respect for others, if anything and everything is okay. Is pluralism another word for anarchy?
Where is the proof that we as society are heading down the right path? Has any pluralistic city been successful at taking care of the homeless, the poor, the sick, and imprisoned? Has the crime rate fallen in cities claiming pluralistic values?
As America struggles to undue our more traditional values, including the “Golden Rules,” we must ask ourselves this question, is it together we stand, divided we fall or divided we stand and together we fall?
As I looked around for Common Decency, this is what I found:
Radio stations use offensive profanity and most television shows exhibit profanity in their programs. Movies portray indecency. I see individuals throwing cigarettes out of car windows with no concern of others and the fire danger that could impact others drastically. I see offensive bumper stickers everywhere. Some cultural fascination for urination and the use of the middle finger stand out. People desire to blatantly offend. We live in a time where it is all about “me!” There is no us in me.
Our society as a whole has too many individuals, no longer thinking of others before opening their mouth and/or acting.
If it feels good to “you,” do it! If it makes “you” happy, do it! Is common decency a deciding factor in either one of these statements? I ask, “Where has common decency gone?” A few lack of common decency examples include: shopping carts not being returned to a safe place, road rage with negative verbal and nonverbal Communication, and even an incident at Sam’s Club, a shopping incident. I was in a long line and the lady at the front had two baskets of goods to buy. This inconsiderate lady had emptied one cart onto the conveyor belt and then realized that she had forgotten an item. This lady (too nice of a term) left her items and basket and everyone in line behind her, to go retrieve a forgotten item. We all waited. The humor of it all is that she forgot an item called Preparation-H. Prep-H is used to relieve one’s itching hemorrhoids. I smiled and thought to myself, “Lady, you better rub that ointment all over your body, as you yourself are definitely a pain in everyone’s bum.” I laughed out loud.
Rules, customs, mores, traditions – they are necessary and worth keeping if they give guidance and continuity to life; however, if they block the regard and respect, including trust of others, we must change them.
People, all people must come first.
Diversity demands tolerance, but we can’t allow tolerance to become a beast of intolerance. Is there hypocrisy in diversity?
Hear my cry: Practice Common Decency!
Practicing common decency isn’t easy. This practice requires the use of self control. Self-control requires great inner strength that most Americans may or may not have. I urge you to practice common decency. Look for ways to build up rather than tear down.
Globally (culturally), "Losing Face" is inappropriate and yet the Western world seems to thrive on it, in a lack of common decency...
Thursday, June 22, 2006
You've got to be taught to hate and fear.
You've got to be taught from year to year.
It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear.
You've got to be carefully taught."
"You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made
And people whose skin is a different shade.
You've got to be carefully taught."
"You've got to be taught before it's too late.
Before you are six or seven or eight.
To hate all the people your relatives hate.
You've got to be carefully taught."
- Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II (from South Pacific)
Monday, June 19, 2006
What message are we sending and allowing our international counterparts to receive through our American gift giving policy and procedure?
Note: In the Western world, gift giving is rare in business. In fact, culturally, it may even carry negative connotations. Gift giving may even be construed as an attempt to bribe. However, this is not the case in other global cultures, which we are frequently interacting with more and more around the world. For example, some global corporate business requests actually do conflict with U.S. standards causing ethical concerns. A few items of interest include international business partners asking for houses and beautiful mistresses. Obviously, global corporations can not get involved in this too deeply, however, certain global corporate exceptions to the other cultures gift giving requirements can and should be implemented. Each corporation must determine their own limits. Surely you are familiar with the statement, “When in China, do as the Chinese.”
We have at least three options available
Our first option is, we need to determine whether or not to challenge our ethnocentric U.S. policy around gift giving or we need to decide to leave this counter-culture battle alone and continue with our limited gift exchange policy. In other words, we go back to business as usual.
· Who cares what other cultures think?
· Who cares what other cultures think!
If we chose to refuse the gift giving policy change and an effort to challenge it by selecting option 1, we will continue to operate in the present one-size fits all gift giving policy and procedure. We need to remember, what is appropriate in the United States may be and is indeed inappropriate in many other gift exchanging cultures.
If option 1 is deemed ugly, then secondly, we need to determine a plan to challenge the status quo of the present gift giving policy. We need understand all the stakeholders, and rewrite corporate policy for a more global business etiquette which addresses the importance of meeting other cultures on their turf. Ultimately, this change will lead us toward becoming less ethnocentric in our U.S. policy. It will also enhance international respect and trust, leading to better global relationships.
In support of option 2, implement a global corporate perspective, in which, every individual is perceived as being important and that each person deserves to feel valued, respected, and included. This means we must take a closer look at other cultures and their way of doing things. We welcome with open arms, hearts and minds, and appreciate difference. At the end of the day, our global success as a corporation, and also as individuals, will come from our personal and professional ability to trust, engage, interact with, and support each other and global customs, including unique cultural ways.
In the Confucius Sphere, which includes China and Japan, serious gift giving is part of their culture, the gift is perceived as the beginning of trust and a long healthy relationship.
Our final option is number 3 or Thirdly, we implement the new policy, written in support of the second option by seeking approval and change through all stakeholders.
What is your Corporate Gift Giving Policy?
GlobeSmart Tool and Gift Giving
In order to highlight some of the different aspects of cross cultural gift giving etiquette a few examples may be obtained in the GlobeSmart tool.
Click on the GlobeSmart link www.globesmart.com
Navigate to China> Culture & Customs> Business Protocol> Gifts
Navigate to Japan> Culture & Customs> Business Protocol> Gifts
Navigate to Russia> Culture & Customs> Business Protocol> Gifts
The above are a just a few of the many examples of cross cultural differences in gift giving etiquette.
If you do not have a GlobeSmart license for your business, click here:
In my opinion, it is advisable for corporations to try and ascertain some facts about the gift giving etiquette in other countries you are working with and interacting with in global business. By doing so, we maximize the potential of the cross cultural encounter.
Global and Cultural Gift Giving Etiquette Involves the Following Points:
1. Who is receiving the gift? Is it a person or a group? What is the status of the receiver(s)?
2. What types of gifts are appropriate or inappropriate?
3. What is the protocol associated with gift giving and receiving?
4. How should the gifts be presented? When is the gift opened?
5. Should the gifts received be reciprocated?
6. Should we reciprocate if a gift is given?
Become very familiar with the term "Face." Losing face is inappropriate in other cultures.
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Meeting Adjourned Sounds
Elevator music! Some companies still use elevator music when a customer is placed on hold. A virtual meeting attendee at one of these companies with elevator music placing you on hold (trust me, it happens), as you facilitate a global meeting will totally kill the effectiveness of your meeting. Do what you need to do to keep this from happening. Be aware that many global locations are presently in the elevator music era.
Restroom Noises! In today’s advanced society, people can attend meetings while walking around. With back-to-back meetings, online "bio breaks" become part of your meeting. These sounds include, paper toilet seat covers, flatulence, falling water (if we may call it that), splashes of all sorts, and ultimately flushing noises, unless they are impolite and leave it for the next person.
How many times have you been in the stall and responded to what you thought was someone talking to you. Only to find out it was the other person on the phone.
Warning: I will flush multiple times if I see or hear you on a meeting in the loo, It's fun!
I have heard blenders blending, vacuums in action, dishes clanging, drive-thru-orders, snoring, laughing, private conversations, private criticism of the meeting, which is now public knowledge, radio noises and some singing along.
Other Interrupting Sounds
For example, multi-tasking noises like; typing, stapling, shuffling papers, desk drawers, running water, soap dispensers, paper towels, door noises, dogs barking, crying children, snoring (zzzzz), airport noises, checking in at a hotel, ice machines, eating, and slurping.
Although these lists are not all inclusive, they drive the need home for a mute button and the use of it in virtual meeting effectiveness.
Don’t forget about the number of time zones we operate in and the people inconvenienced by late and early meetings.
Our offices have invaded our homes.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Thursday, June 08, 2006
An American poet named, John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887) based the following poem on a Hindoo fable, which was told in
It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind
The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”
The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, “Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”
The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”
The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he;
“ ‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”
The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”
The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!
So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an ElephantNot one of them has seen!
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
You can’t feel a sense of community with someone you don’t know. The point is not that exposure makes us see that our similarities are more significant than our differences – that may not even be true in particular circumstances – but that it gives us a better understanding of our differences, which encourages acceptance or accommodation to them.
- Christopher Edley, Jr.,
Sunday, June 04, 2006
The Color of Fear is an insightful, groundbreaking film by Lee Mun Wah, about the state of race relations in
The sequel to the original Color of Fear, explores the intimate relationships amongst the men as well as answering the question, “What can whites do to end racism?” The answer to that question, and many others, are explored in this fascinating conclusion to one of the most explosive films on race issues in the
This is a hard film to watch, chew, swallow, and to finally digest. If you have not been privileged enough to self-reflect on your personal prejudice, you may not be ready to see this film. Thanks to a professor of mine, Dr. Brad Hall, at the
White people may in fact be offended by the attacks on them referred to as “White Supremacy” in the film. Be aware and open to the view points of the color of fear. Do not take the attacks personal, but rather digest them and entertain them to discover how other people feel. Take a moment to walk in the shoes of a Japanese-American, two African-American, a Mexican-American, and a Latino-American. Listen to the stories, the fears, the reality, of other individuals living in
Elizabeth Martinez defines White Supremacy as, “White Supremacy is a historically based,
institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations, and
peoples of color by white peoples and nations of the European continent, for the purpose of
maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power, and privilege.” This definition can be
rewritten many times. It appears to me that the human being regardless of ethnicity has a need
for hierarchy which perpetuates some form of supremacy. Here are four ethnic groups chosen
as they are portrayed in the film:
“African Supremacy is a historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation
and oppression of the African continent, nation, and African people… African supremacy is for
the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power, and privilege.” For example,
Africans sold other Africans into slavery.
“Chinese Supremacy is a historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation
and oppression of their continent, nation, and people… Chinese supremacy is for the purpose of
maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power, and privilege.”
“Japanese Supremacy is a historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation
and oppression of continents, nations, and people… Japanese supremacy is for the purpose of
maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power, and privilege.” For example, ask the
“Spanish Supremacy is a historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation
and oppression of continents, nations, and people… Spanish supremacy is for the purpose of
maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power, and privilege.” For example, ask the
American Indians with their feet missing.
All cultures and world continents are guilty of perpetuating some form of supremacy.
If you watch the full feature, you have accomplished a great thing. By watching the full 55 minutes, you will prove that you are able to objectively hear the voice of others (very important in cultural understanding). Whether you agree or not, is not the issue, it is the action you made to take the time to hear what others are trying to teach you. Awareness is the key to understanding.
My personal critique of the film includes the following. Where is the American Indian representation? Where is the American woman? Who are these men being portrayed? How were they chosen to represent there ethnic peers? What is their socioeconomic status?
Diversity films are similar to mathematical statistics as they can be skewed to represent the presenter’s case. However, I do not deny the fact that privilege is reality.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Back in history, baseball was a piece of the American Pie, but today it is on the fast track to becoming a privilege sport. As I was growing up, baseball was an everyday word, activity and necessity. Everyone on my block got together daily to play the game. If we had individual team practice we played as a whole neighborhood when we got home. The game was part of us. The game was fair and the game equipment easily available for pennies on the dollar. Everyone had a glove and we all shared the bats and balls.
In my opinion, the American spirit of baseball died in 1979 with the strikes and money greed! No need to unbury the hatchet.
Today, my son plays baseball as an incoming high school freshman. Below is my son’s equipment list to play the sport.
Equipment Needed to Play Ball
- A First Baseman’s Glove: Rawlings $29.00 to $200.00 plus
- A Pitcher’s Glove: $29.00 to $200.00 plus
- A DeMarini Vexxum -8.5 Bat: Baseball Bat: $179.00 to $379.00 plus
- Akadema Cleats: $90.00 plus
- Batting Gloves: $20.00 Plus
- Crotch Cups: $20.00 Plus
- Bat/Equipment Bag: $30.00
- Travel Costs to other parks (Vehicle, fuel, wear and tear)
- Uniform Costs:
Additional Costs: How Bad do You Desire to Play?
- City league costs: $100.00 per season
- USSSA Baseball Leagues: $500.00 Plus with weekly travel costs.
- Professional Coaching: $25.00 plus per 30 minute session
- Tournament Fees/Costs
- Hotel Fees
- Food Costs
- Coaches Fees
What is the real hard issue at stake? How do we keep Latin, Central and South American players from devouring our beloved sport of baseball? These international players are driven with an unusual passion. Life survival depends upon the individual’s success. How does a poor family rise above poverty? One way to rise above poverty is to have their son out perform everyone else out of a life requirement to survive, out of pure love for the game, for baseball, but most of all, their family.
Socioeconomic Impact of Change?
Socioeconomic impacts include new innovations and technologies in baseball equipment and instruction, driving the sport of baseball to become a privilege sport. Most American families, regardless of ethnicity, can not afford to compete in baseball financially under the new rules and requirements of the game. These new financial constraints regarding technology and professional coaching, has changed our American social attitude and norms regarding the sport. In specific cases, socioeconomics issues will necessitate identifying and understanding the cultural impact of these changes, the before and the after consequence of the intervention. Every action has a reaction and this can be positive and/or negative.In closing, baseball has joined the ranks of golf, la cross, rowing, polo, fencing and other privilege sports and there is not much any of us red blooded Americans can do to stop it. The game is gone! Basketball and soccer remain as two sports with fairly reasonable equipment costs, but they are next. Continual improvement drives new innovations. Technology and politics work closely together to change the world as we know it. Don’t get left behind!
Friday, June 02, 2006
Are you a Company of Choice
Companies need to remember that people are its greatest strength and weakest link. The key to company success is the diverse pool of people they attract, hire, motivate, train, develop, reward, promote, and retain. Everyone is searching for the best and the brightest. What makes your company a company of choice? I know what I bring to the table and it is good, why would I desire to work for you?
11 Questions Interviewees want to ask but don’t:
1. How much deadwood (worthless employees) is your company dragging along?
2. How many employees are retired on the job (retired on active duty)? If employees are not working and getting paid to do so, why don’t you get rid of them? Let those people go! Let them retire early, it is cheaper.
3. Are you a micro-manager? Do you empower at the lowest possible level? Do you trust your staff to make decisions?
4. Does this company value internal employees and promote from within?
5. Am I getting low-balled? Are you paying me what I am really worth?
6. What performance management tools are in place to reward outstanding ability?
7. Are you hiring me to work nine hours a day or to get the job done? Is every breathing moment scrutinized? How flexible is my schedule?
8. If I am expected to be loyal and give my all; will you also be as loyal to me? What about my intellectual property?
9. Does the company have a proactive hiring plan (continuous hiring to meet attrition) or an explosive, reactive, hire and fire plan?
10. How is informed risk taking perceived at this company?
11. What happens to employees that challenge the status quo?