With regard to his athletic career, all I expect from him (and from any other competitor) is a best effort within the rules and regulations of the given sport.
I also think that the brief micromanaged program earlier today, widely covered by the media throughout the world, was inappropriate to Woods’s best interests: salvaging his marriage and parenthood as well as his self-respect.
Apologies should only be made in private and only to those to whom they are owed.
I wish him and his loved ones well. For me, personal details in weeks and months to come are neither desired nor welcome.
5 to Work On and Think About (write better; speak better; promote your ideas, not you!; be more productive; and don’t be an idiot!) — some quick reads
#1) Learn to write better
• and then, check this out: Good Writing is a Recession-Proof Skill
#2) Learn to speak (present) better
• check out: see above!
• and this: 3 Things to never “be” in a presentation
#3) Promote your ideas, not “you”
• check this out: The Art of Shameless Self-Promotion
#4) Realize that the rules for productivity are changing – they are different for knowledge/information workers – (the longer view is more telling than the daily view)
• check out: Everything You Know About Productivity is Wrong
#5) And – Don’t be an idiot!
• check this out (and be astounded/sickened/shocked/disgusted!) — The Kids Today
We got a résumé today from someone who graduates in May. In the “skills” section, she listed “the Internet” and “e-mail.” I’m curious. Should I just assume that her skills also include “pen” and “paper”? And what about “the telephone”?
* * *
The promise of the meritocracy has not been fulfilled. The talent level is higher, but the reputation is lower. Why has this happened? I can think of a few contributing factors.
First, the meritocracy is based on an overly narrow definition of talent. Our system rewards those who can amass technical knowledge. But this skill is only marginally related to the skill of being sensitive to context. It is not related at all to skills like empathy. Over the past years, we’ve seen very smart people make mistakes because they didn’t understand the context in which they were operating.
Second, this new system has created new social chasms. In the old days, there were obviously big differences between people whose lives were defined by The Philadelphia Story and those who were defined by The Grapes of Wrath. But if you ran the largest bank in Murfreesboro, Tenn., you probably lived in Murfreesboro. Now you live in Charlotte or New York City. You might have married a secretary. Now you marry another banker. You would have had similar lifestyle habits as other people in town. Now the lifestyle patterns of the college-educated are very different from the patterns in other classes. Social attitudes are very different, too.
It could be that Americans actually feel less connected to their leadership class now than they did then, with good reason.
Third, leadership-class solidarity is weaker. The Protestant Establishment was inbred. On the other hand, those social connections placed informal limits on strife. Personal scandals were hushed up. Now members of the leadership class are engaged in a perpetual state of war. Each side seeks daily advantage in ways that poison the long-term reputations of everybody involved.
Fourth, time horizons have shrunk. If you were an old blue blood, you traced your lineage back centuries, and there was a decent chance that you’d hand your company down to members of your clan. That subtly encouraged long-term thinking.
Now people respond to ever-faster performance criteria — daily stock prices or tracking polls. This perversely encourages reckless behavior. To leave a mark in a fast, competitive world, leaders seek to hit grandiose home runs. Clinton tried to transform health care. Bush tried to transform the Middle East. Obama has tried to transform health care, energy and much more.
There’s less emphasis on steady, gradual change and more emphasis on the big swing. This produces more spectacular failures and more uncertainty. Many Americans, not caught up on the romance of this sort of heroism, are terrified.
Fifth, society is too transparent. Since Watergate, we have tried to make government as open as possible. But as William Galston of the Brookings Institution jokes, government should sometimes be shrouded for the same reason that middle-aged people should be clothed. This isn’t Galston’s point, but I’d observe that the more government has become transparent, the less people are inclined to trust it.
This is not to say that we should return to the days of the WASP ascendancy. That’s neither possible nor desirable. Rather, our system of promotion has grown some pretty serious problems, which are more evident with each passing day.
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David Brooks’s Op-Ed column in The New York Times started in September 2003. He has been a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, a contributing editor at Newsweek and the Atlantic Monthly, and he is currently a commentator on “The Newshour with Jim Lehrer.” He is the author of Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There and On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense, both published by Simon & Schuster.
I am, like an ever-growing number of Americans, a free agent, an independent contractor, piecing together my income in a multitude of ways – in other words, I mainly work alone.
Oh, I have all sorts of alliances. Karl Krayer and I conduct the First Friday Book Synopsis, and I do many things under the umbrella of Karl’s company, Creative Communication Network. And I work with Larry James of Central Dallas Ministries, especially on the Urban Engagement Book Club. And I have a growing life in and among non-profits, all through connections made through Larry James, and the expanding circles within these connections.
But if I am not in front of an audience speaking – in other words, when I am sitting at a desk, in front of my computer, or with a book in my lap, I am working alone. Literally, there is no one else around me.
(OK – not quite alone. It is a home office, and in another part of the house is another home office, where my wife also works alone. But she works with other Real Estate Agents, so there is not a lot of “working” together, there’s just together together.
So, last week, I was telling Jeannie (that’s my wife) about the book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits. Especially its counsel to have regular meetings – daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly or yearly. Here’s the purpose of these meetings, from the book:
• meetings overview:
• daily & weekly – execution
• monthly – learning
• quarterly and annual – setting strategy
• the daily meeting, an imperative — the agenda: what’s up, daily measures, and where are you stuck?
• the weekly meeting
• more issues oriented
• to succeed, it must be after a week of daily meetings
(they need each other/feed off of each other)
• five minutes: good news
• ten minutes: the numbers
• ten minutes: customer and employee feedback
• 30 minutes: a rock, or single issue
• closing comments
• the monthly meeting – agenda is learning
A little later, she came back in and said, “so I guess I need to have these meetings every day/week/month – with myself.”
And I thought – that is really right. If you work alone, you still need to practice the habits and routines that successful companies practice – even if you have to do them alone. So, I need to get intentional about having meetings with myself – daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly or annually.
Yes, there are ways you can bring others into this mix. For example, the monthly “learning “ meeting could be at an event with others. (I think the First Friday Book Synopsis might be perfect for this monthly meeting). But I suspect that the daily, and weekly, meetings have to be with yourself.
So – I’m going to start. Next Monday morning. I’m going to try to master this particular Rockefeller Habit as a sole practitioner.
I welcome any suggestions on how to do this most effectively.