2. New Orleans Saint RB George Rogers when asked about the upcoming season: “I want to rush for 1,000 or 1,500 yards, whichever comes first.”
3. After hearing Joe Jacobi of the ‘Washington Redskins say: “I’d run over my own mother to win the Super Bowl,” Matt Millen of the Raiders said: “To win, I’d run over Joe’s Mom, too.”
4. Torrin Polk, University of Houston receiver, on his coach, John Jenkins: “He treats us like men. He lets us wear earrings.”
5. Football commentator and former player Joe Theismann: “Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.”
6. A senior basketball player at the University of Pittsburgh: “I’m going to graduate on time, no matter how long it takes.” (Now that is beautiful)
7. Bill Peterson, a Florida State football coach: “You guys line up alphabetically by height…” And, “You guys pair up in groups of three, and then line up in a circle.”
8. Boxing promoter Dan Duva on Mike Tyson going to prison: “Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter? He went to prison for three years, not Princeton .”
9. Stu Grimson, Chicago Blackhawks left wing, explaining why he keeps a color photo of himself above his locker: “That’s so when I forget how to spell my name, I can still find my clothes.”
10. Lou Duva, veteran boxing trainer, on the Spartan training regime of heavyweight Andrew Golota: “He’s a guy who gets up at six o’clock in the morning, regardless of what time it is.”
11. Chuck Nevitt, North Carolina State basketball player, explaining to Coach Jim Valvano why he appeared nervous at practice: “My sister’s expecting a baby, and I don’t know if I’m going to be an uncle or an aunt.”
12. Frank Layden, Utah Jazz president, on a former player: “I told him, ‘Son, what is it with you? Is it ignorance or apathy?’ He said, ‘Coach, I don’t know and I don’t care.’”
13. Shelby Metcalf, basketball coach at Texas A&M, recounting what he told a player who received four F’s and one D: “Son, looks
to me like you’re spending too much time on one subject.”
14. In the words of NC State great basketball player Charles Shackelford, ‘I can go to my left or right, I am amphibious.’
15. Amarillo High School and Houston Oiler coach Bum Phillips, when asked by Bob Costas why he takes his wife on all the road trips, Phillips responded: “Because she is too damn ugly to kiss good-bye.”
Opinions are sharply divided about the origins of Valentine’s Day. Here is a portion of rather extensive information and related materials provided by
. You may wish to check out other resources also provided there, including three rather interesting videos.
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Every February, across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and why do we celebrate this holiday? The history of Valentine’s Day — and its patron saint — is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.
One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men — his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first ‘valentine’ greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl — who may have been his jailor’s daughter — who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed ‘From your Valentine,’ an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It’s no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.
While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial — which probably occurred around 270 A.D — others claim that the Christian church may have decided to celebrate Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to ‘christianize’ celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia festival. In ancient Rome, February was the official beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification. Houses were ritually cleansed by sweeping them out and then sprinkling salt and a type of wheat called spelt throughout their interiors. Lupercalia, which began at the ides of February, February 15, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
Here is an excerpt. If you wish to read the complete article, please visit
Virtue is supposed to be its own reward, but according to an emerging line of thought, it’s profitable too. The Pfizer (PFE, Fortune 500) case is the kind of object lesson that permeates the gospel of Dov Seidman, a Los Angeles-based management guru who has become the hottest adviser on corporate virtue to Fortune 500 companies.
A trained moral philosopher, Seidman has built a highly successful business on the theory that in today’s wired and transparent global economy, companies that “outbehave” their competitors ethically will also tend to outperform them financially.
More than 400 companies, including Pfizer, Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500), and Procter & Gamble (PG, Fortune 500), have hired Seidman’s firm, LRN, to analyze their corporate cultures, rewrite their codes of conduct, and give ethical-compliance training to their employees. “Dov has done a terrific job of focusing companies on the question of how we behave,” says Pfizer’s Kindler. “He’s right that how you behave and operate can be a real competitive advantage.”
Seidman’s vision challenges conventional wisdom on many levels. Don’t nice guys finish last? Since when has success in business been about goodness rather than earnings growth? To paraphrase the 13th-century management theorist Genghis Khan, isn’t it more about crushing your competitors, seeing them fall at your feet, and taking their horses?
The world has changed, Seidman argues, and winner-take-all strategies are obsolete. He contends that the rise of information technology has made good behavior more important because it has become increasingly hard to hide bad behavior. (Ask Wall Street.)
To read my review of HOW, click here:
Time has a terrific overview, with some insightful analysis, on the Toyota meltdown: Behind the Troubles at Toyota by Bill Saporito with Michael Schuman and Joseph Szczesny. Here are three key excerpts:
“The big deal is this question, Does an organization know how to hear and respond to weak signals, which are the problems, or does it have to hear strong signals? You have to listen to weak signals. By the time you get to strong signals, it’s too late.” (Steven Spear of MIT, author of Chasing the Rabbit: How Market Leaders Outdistance the Competition and an expert in the dynamics of high-performance companies).
When weak signals started coming out in 2002, Toyota’s top management wasn’t listening.
Complexity is the enemy of any manufacturer, and rapid growth increases it.
We’ve already posted a couple of times about Toyota’s failed crisis management (its “dreadful crisis management,” says the Time article). It is clear that they knew of their problems long before the current crisis. The Time article points out that the first National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigations came in 2003.
I keep thinking about the counsel I get consistently from the best business books, and one clear and oft-repeated message is this:
stop, look, pay attention, spot problems, and open your mouth loudly to call attention to these problems!
Here’s a quote that might put it in simple English:
The design thinker, in the words of novelist Saul Bellow, is “a first-class noticer.”
(from The Design of Business by Roger Martin).
The process really is simple. Make sure you have a number of “first-class noticers” in your company, encourage them to notice things, and listen to them, actually listen to them, when they tell you something.
Toyota had these “weak signals” coming at them, but they did not pay attention. I suspect that workplace segregation played a key role – the people at the top just simply do not interact often enough with the rest of the people in the real world, from employees to vendors to customers… (Note: “interact with” means have conversations with means listen to…) And, as the Time article says, “by the time you get strong signals, it’s too late.”
So it seems to me that this rather old and well-worn advice could have been pretty helpful:
Stop – look – listen.
Whatever the nature and extent of the given negotiations, be they conducted internally or externally, Anirban Dutta and Hetzel W. Folden recommend for consideration what they characterize as a “non-positional bargaining approach.” In Winning $trategies: Secrets to Clinching Multimillion-Dollar Deals, published by John Wiley & Sons in 2010, they suggest a six-step process:
1. Acknowledge the other party’s concerns: Provide a reassurance of understanding and a validation of feelings (if not empathy)
2. But do not endorse those concerns: Your objective is to establish a climate of good will and mutual respect despite differences of values and perspectives (i.e. agree to disagree, with style and grace)
3. Highlight the situation: Acknowledge the complexities and consequent challenges of the given issues, thereby suggesting a realistic approach as well as appreciation of principled discussion
4. Focus on the other party’s issues: Position yourself as someone who understands the difficulties as well as the importance of addressing and resolving the other party’s issues
5. Focus on what the other party has to gain: “Learn – in a tactful way – what these executives are being measured against, and then craft your solution to those parameters.” Enhance the appeal of resolution in terms of the benefits to them.
6. Seek genuine help in championing your efforts: “There is no shame in asking the other side for help. Try to understand what the other side is trying to achieve, and ask them to help you develop a mutually satisfactory solution.”
If I understand Anirban Dutta and Hetzel W. Folden’s explanation of the non-positional bargaining approach (and I may not), the core concept is to suggest – with body language and tone of voice as well as by what is said – that you are a collaborator rather than an antagonist.
Friedman recommends a four-step process of exploration and discovery of the relative importance in each of four domains in life (i.e. work, home, community, and self) in order to determine (a) whether or not the goals pursued in each are in synch, (b) in synch with goals in the other domains and (c) and how satisfied we are with what is happening in each and all domains. More specifically, here are a few of Friedman’s key points.
According to Friedman, “total” leaders possess great strength because they do what they love, drawing upon the resources of their entire (four-domain) life. By acting with authenticity, they are creating value for themselves, their families, their businesses, and their world. By acting with integrity, they satisfy their craving for a sense of connection, for coherence in disparate parts of their lives, and for the peace of mind that comes from strictly and consistently adhering to a code of values. Meanwhile, they “keep a results-driven focus while providing maximum flexibility (choice in how, when, and where things get done.) They have the courage to experiment with new arrangements and communications tools to better meet the expectations of people who depend on them.”
At the same time, a “total” leader does everything she or he can to help others (at work, at home, in the community and for themselves) to become aware of whatever changes may be necessary within her or his own domains; to have a sense of urgency about making those modifications; to decide to commit to appropriate action that will create for each a different, better future; to solve whatever problems encountered when pursuing the giving goals, meanwhile sustaining commitment despite any barriers, delays, distractions, etc. Total leaders also ensure that “people who depend on them” have the support and encouragement they may need by celebrating incremental successes while resisting “slippage.”
Obviously what Friedman advocates is much easier said than done. Consider the concept of “balance,” of “integrating” what is most important in each of the four domains. Let’s assume that someone achieves that. For most of us (including corporate CEOs), a proper balance on weekdays usually differs (sometimes) substantially from a proper balance during weekends. Moreover, obligations, objectives, and opportunities in the work domain, for example, change during the progression of a career. That is, our proper balances on weekdays and weekends frequently change, and that is also true of each of the other three domains. The key to effectively responding to these changes is to think and feel one’s way through a four-step process.