The “art” of every business deal comes down to the negotiation. Which can sometimes reach and stand-off and stare down.
The key then is to introduce some new leverage against the other party.
A recent personal experience shed light on a new negotiating tactic that had never occurrrd to me before.
Wait until the person you are negotiating with is trying to pa…ss a kidney stone and make your final offer along with promise of trying to help relieve the pain.
I know if someone had done this to me I would have signed anything put in front of me during that 2 day period if I thought it would help.
Me (without a kidney stone) can out-negotiate Donald Trump with a kidney stone.
And you can too.
By all accounts the gathering of grassroots conservatives for the American Conservative Union’s CPAC event in Prince George’s County, Maryland offered the right mix of hot rhetoric and new faces; reflection and assessment.
CPAC is often a good way to get a sense of the state of the conservative movement but more important, the state of its relationship with the Republican Party.
For many conservatives, that’s a tenuous relationship on a good day. As Erick Erickson, co-founder of RedState.com, noted, “I think CPAC is really RPAC these days and is as much, if not more, lobbyist oriented than grass-roots oriented. It is like church homecoming for the Republican Party.”
As the weekend proceedings wrapped up with a rousing call-to-arms by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, some basic questions remain for a movement in transition: Coming into the 2014 elections, are conservatives gaining strength or treading water? And how does any of this really translate to the rest of the country?
Polls show political conservatism is still very healthy despite liberal wailing to the contrary. In terms of electoral politics the conservative base and liberal base basically cancel each other out, with each side striving to reach enough independents in the political center to win nationwide or statewide elections. So, for the most part, it’s a draw.
But some of the polling of the CPAC attendees also reveals some interesting challenges and opportunities for conservatives. For example 41 percent believe marijuana should be legalized and taxed for recreational and medical use (21 percent believe marijuana should be legalized only for medical purposes when prescribed by a doctor) while 31 percent say it should remain illegal.
Similarly, 78 percent cite their most important goal is to promote individual freedom by reducing the size and scope of government, while only 12 percent cite promoting traditional values by protecting traditional marriage and protecting the life of the unborn as their most important goal. Such findings are consistent with the libertarian leanings of the participants (46 percent of whom were between the ages of 18-25) but also are a sign of a changing demographic within the conservative movement itself.
While themes of freedom, faith and family were echoed throughout the weekend, speaker after speaker seem to have in mind those changing demographics inside and outside the hall as they came repeatedly back to strategy and what it will take to win in 2014.
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich cautioned “we must stop being the opposition movement, and we must become the alternative government movement that will help make the life of every American better so that they understand what we would do that would be right, not just what the left is doing that is wrong.” U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx), a Tea Party favorite, urged conservatives to stick with core beliefs to win elections. “They say if you stand for principles, you lose elections. That is a false dichotomy.”
Governor Chris Christie (R-N.J.), insisted conservatives embrace a governing agenda that would help Republicans succeed this November and beyond. “We don’t get to govern if we don’t win. So please, let us come out of here resolved not only to stand for our principles, but let’s come out of this conference resolved to win elections again.”
And it is winning elections that has proven elusive since 2011. The lack of a cohesive message to voters, struggles over the “conservative brand” with its Tea Party base and the poor standing of the Republican-controlled Congress have all taken their toll (for example, 51 percent of CPAC attendees disapprove of the Republican Congress).
But many conservatives, like Sen. Cruz, feel in the end the failure of 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to effectively draw stark contrasts between his governing policies and the Obama agenda stands as an example of watered-down conservatism. As the Senator would make clear in his speech, “All of us remember President Dole and President McCain and President Romney — now look, those are good men, they’re decent men, but when you don’t stand and draw a clear distinction, when you don’t stand for principle, Democrats celebrate.”
But it would be another Tea Party favorite, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), who would warn against purging centrist Republicans, saying, “we as conservatives have got to be far more engaged in finding converts than in discarding heretics.” Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) drove the point even deeper. “You may think I am talking about electing a Republican. I am not,” Sen. Paul said. “I am talking about electing lovers of liberty. It isn’t good enough to pick the lesser of two evils. We must elect men and women of principle, and conviction and action that will lead us back to greatness.”
Senators Lee and Paul are closer to the truth for both conservatives and the Republican Party: It is a false choice we sometimes make between core principles and good governance.
But many conservatives stand on the precipice of conservatism, ready to throw each other off because of such false choices; feeling they have lost their grip on what conservatism means and who is best positioned to articulate it.
As conservatives and Republicans assess their leadership, their strategy and ultimately the impact they will have on American politics in 2014 and beyond, they would be wise to heed the advice of the late conservative icon William F. Buckley Jr.: “Nominate the most conservative candidate who is electable.”
I always marveled at the way time sped up and slowed down while we were traveling. A few days could easily feel like a century and a few weeks in a new country could in retrospect seem like only a couple days. It seems that the mystery of time has caught up with me again as I realize we have been back “home” for six months. The blog has gone silent and the trip feels like decades ago rather than just half a year. What have I been doing and why haven’t I written?
The short answer is catching my breath, and pinching myself (did this all really happen?).
The long answer is, processing. I have been decompressing from the rush of the last three years. During our travels, we packed up our bags and moved every three to four days. So, it has been quite an adjustment to be in one place for the last six months. As we catch up with friends and family it’s hard to explain the lapse of time and all that has happened in our lives and theirs.
Reconnecting with friends and family after so much time away is the best part of being back. Me and my brother as we biked 300 miles across our home state of Minnesota just one week after I returned home.
I often yearn for my traveling life, I miss the extreme freedom, the anonymity and the constantly changing tomorrows with an unknown around every corner. However, operating in my native language, having a comfortable bed to sleep in with a
refrigerator of familiar food in the next room is not a bad trade off. What I miss most from the road is the child like wonder and excitement in achieving even the smallest of goals.
Perhaps never again in life will getting on the right bus or receiving the dish you thought you had ordered be considered a victory. However, when you are navigating in a foreign language and have little to get your bearings these small achievements are the equivalent of winning the lottery. It’s also possible that never again will an 18 hour bus ride be as fascinating and eye-opening as it was when we were on the road. The prospect of a new place when the bus stopped often made the time pass much faster.
Without these experiences on a daily basis I spend much of my time wondering “what’s next”, but also celebrating our journey. Time is once again playing tricks on me as I try to stay in the present moment, but seem to be caught in processing the past and planning for the future. A wise friend of mine, whom lived abroad, shared the following with me as I prepared to come home, I couldn’t have possibly known at the time how true her words were:
“The question you will be asking yourself after your return will become “what would my life be like if I hadn’t done what I did?” We can only imagine … I’ve done it dozens of times, but only with true appreciation that I actually did step out of the mold and do something different. Your life will be so rich because of it … and you will enjoy the memories for the rest of your lives.”
I share these same words with you to remind you that no matter how you pass your time, you will always be glad that you lived life on your terms by making conscious decisions and chasing your dreams rather than by looking back and regretting what you did with that time.
I switched and what the “switch” meant to me
After switching from a PC to a Macbook Pro, I have made other changes in my life
Instead of wearing a blue blazer and khaki pants, I put on a camel hair jacket and dress jeans.
I wear tasseled loafers instead of dockers
I use a larger screen Samsung Note phone instead a smaller screen iPhone
I drink lemonade instead of diet Coke–because I like lemonade better
I buy art that stands out rather than art that blends in
I say what I really believe more often instead of saying what I think the other person wants to hear.
I say no more often –instead of yes– when I mean no.
But switching to an Apple Macbook isn’t really about switching computers. It’s also not about making some hip lifestyle change. And isnt even about Apple –or having to use an Apple product.
It is instead about turning on the light switch in the dark room upstairs where you can be who you really are.
And being able to walk out of the room and mentally leave the light switched turned on.
Beware of random collisions with unusual suspects. Unless, of course, if you want to learn something new. In that case seek out innovators from across every imaginable silo and listen, really listen, to their stories. New ideas, perspectives, and the big value creating opportunities are in the gray areas between the unusual suspects. It seems so obvious and yet we spend most of our time with the usual suspects in our respective silos. We need to get out of our silos more.
It is human nature to surround ourselves with people who are exactly like us. We connect and spend time with people who share a common world-view, look the same, enjoy the same activities, and speak the same language. We join clubs to be with others like us. I want to belong to the non-club club. The only tribe I want to be in is a tribe of unusual suspects who can challenge my world-view, expose me to new ideas, and teach me something new. Our tribe of unusual suspects can change the world if we connect in purposeful ways.
As an “accidental bureaucrat” over the last six years I had a front row seat to observe the silos in action. Every week went something like this; On Monday I met with the health care crowd, on Tuesday it was the education crowd, on Wednesday the energy crowd and so on, you get the idea. This cycle repeated over and over again. Each crowd was comprised of the usual suspects, well-intentioned people rehashing the same discussion incessantly. The scene is right out of Groundhog Day. Most of the participants were there to represent institutional perspectives and to protect their respective interests. In each crowd there are always a few innovators that want to change the conversation but they make little progress. At the end of each week I always came away with the same conclusion. If only we could take the innovators from across each of the silos and bring them together to enable more random collisions.
Maybe we could change the conversation if we connect the unusual suspects in purposeful ways. Maybe then we can make progress on the real issues of our time, little things like health care, education, and energy. It will take cross silo collaboration and breaking down the boundaries between industries, sectors, and disciplines.
People always ask me how I could have worked in the public sector after being in the private sector all of my career. Doesn’t it move too slowly? I don’t know about that. I worked with many large companies, during my road warrior consulting days, and I don’t remember them changing so quickly. You are right, I would say, government agencies move pretty slowly too. I can’t resist adding, I am certain that academic institutions move the slowest of all! The point is few organizations across both the public and private sector have the capacity to innovate and change because they are working hard pedaling the bicycle of their current business model and trying to stay alive and competitive.
In this heads down mode, public and private organizations staying within their silos, do not work and play nicely together across boundaries. Collaboration is an unnatural act. Attempts are mostly under resourced and under supported by sponsors. That’s a shame because the issues we deal with as a community including, health care, education, and energy, will only be fixed it we can experiment with new system approaches that cut across all of our protected silos. We need to think and act more horizontally.
Maybe we don’t need institutions to be the catalyst for change. Maybe in the shiny new networked world we live in, with mega bandwidth and social media platforms, we can self organize to design and test new system approaches that deliver more value to the patient, student, and citizen. It is time to try more stuff and take advantage of the disruptive innovation potential of all the technology we have within reach. We have more technology available to us than we know how to absorb. It isn’t technology that gets in our way. It is our fault. Humans, and the organizations we live in, are both stubbornly resistant to change.
Institutions are moving too slowly. Most were designed for a different century. We have to catalyze change ourselves. Let’s go.
Wanted: Innovators to join a non-club club and tribe of unusual suspects. Bring on more random collisions.
Hope you didn’t miss it! I was there!
Some people are really into watching a solar eclipse ….other people are in to staying up late to observe a meteor shower.
I like staying up late twice a year to personally live through –wide awake– Daylight’s Savings Time.
To each his own, I suppose.
At least you can’t burn out the rods and cones in your eyes with Daylight’s Savings Time.
This…right now…is where it gets a little crazy for an hour or so as we transition to the complete loss of an hour.
No one really knows what happens or how it works or even if it is 2am or 1am or 3am (except a few know-it-all-types but they rarely stay up this late) —but you get my point.
We don’t even know if it is a good idea for the modern world…but twice a year getting to experience an hour appear out of nowhere and then 6 months later disappear like a puff of smoke, is well worth the wait and an awe-inspiring event to behold.
With the right mind set. And low expectations, of course.
But as with all great natural thrill–and cheap unnatural thrills– there is the letdown or downside. I have to now go to reset all my clocks and my watch.
But it sure was cool while it lasted. And I can’t wait until 6 months from now when I get to do it all again.
Tomorrow we lose an hour— “spring forward.”
That makes me sad for tomorrow. It is unlikely that it will be as productive a day as the other days this week (which each got to have an additional hour).
In an effort to to be fair to tomorrow, I have decided to totally waste exactly one hour today.
Actually, since this realization of the unfairness about tomorrow only having 23 hours just occured to me today (one day before tomorrow), in an effort to equalize the productive hours of each day this past week, I am going to waste 6 hours today.
Because it is the right thing to do.
So far today I am off to an impressive start.
You’re probably familiar with the rather over-used cliche of technology-impaired adults being at the mercy of youth. The pre-teen rolling her eyes as she tries to teach her mother to text, the intern showing the executive yet again how to log in to Outlook. Mind you, there are plenty of us who are quite capable of more sophisticated tasks (especially now that we’ve figured out there’s a youTube tutorial on doing just about anything).
But it is generally true that the younger generation is more comfortable with technology – they don’t know a world without portable computers & smart phones. (It’s hysterical watching toddlers treat a television like a mobile device, trying to change channels by swiping their hands across the screen. And while I’m not sure how I feel about all these devices for young kids, boy, do I appreciate those iPads when I’m on a plane with young kids!)
I have learned quite a bit from my sons, whether it’s the proper use of ‘twitter’ vs. ‘tweet’ (one is a noun, one is a verb), or how to reboot our cable/internet connection when it goes down at least once a day. My 17-year-old son runs his own youTube channel and is pretty savvy (he’d seen Gangnam Style before it hit 100,000 views!); when I was wondering whether my own youTube videos were doing well, he kindly reassured me by saying, “Well, Mom, anything over 100 views is viral for old people.”
My boys were the ones who turned me on to “Cards Against Humanity” (an off-color, totally inappropriate and hysterically funny variation on category games like “Apples To Apples”). This self-described ‘party game for horrible people’ was launched via Kickstarter, a crowd-funding platform. Notice, I can now use terms like ‘crowd-funding’ and ‘platform’ and sort of sound like I know what they mean!, but in case you’re wondering, crowd-funding is basically a cross between layaway, Renaissance art patronage, and PBS pledge week. Artists and inventors finance projects by soliciting backers, who pledge varying amounts of money in return for ‘rewards’, varying from a copy of a CD or game to a custom-designed song, video, or food item. And you can find all sorts of projects – indie films, steampunk-themed cupcake sprinkles, graphic novels, medieval guitar music, and more.
I’m jumping in, producing an album of ‘greatest hits’ from my weekly songs, and hoping to prove that people over 30 can play in this new playground too, including those of us who grew up without computers, who remember the first ‘car-phones’ that were the size of suitcases, and who actually know the meaning of an “E ticket’ ride at Disneyland.
So I invite you to try out Kickstarter, or IndieGoGo or other similar sites, to see work by inventive people of all ages. (Or at least by a bunch of youngsters plus one feisty 55-year-old who can’t lie about her age because her kids will rat her out.) The project pitches themselves are often very entertaining, and at least in the case of mine, you can amuse yourself by imagining the double dose of hate mail I’m likely to get from my title.
Check it out here.
Click here to purchase his first book
Because my first book, Musings from the Middle, was such an unqualified non-disaster, I’ve decided to offer a follow-up book in late May titled–surprisingly–Musings from the Middle II (or possibly Musings from the Middle 2….or maybe just “More Musings from the Middle” or perhaps “A Tale of Two Cities,” unless that one is already taken)
Anyway, I hope sales break into the low three digits like my first book.
Which is the cool thing about being a self-published author. Even if other people aren’t really excited about you publishing a new book, you still can be. Like I am right now.
Here’s the opening Musing from Musings II:
“It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair
But mostly, it just is what it is”
OK. That’s not really one of my musings. I stole most of it and just added the last line myself and hoped no one would notice.
I checked to see if the title “A Tale of Two Cities” was still available, and of course with my luck, it’s not! But it turns out to have a pretty catchy beginning that I tried to crib but felt guilty about and am coming clean now.
But my new book will be all mine with lots of lines like the last one I added to A Tale of Two Cities introduction–that will reinforce this new book’s place among other self-published books that are deemed true non-disasters.
Editor’s Note: Last summer, 13 year old Ethan Kadish was struck by lightning at Goldman Union Camp Institute in Zionsville, IN — the camp at which my wife and I met, as well as where my parents met. Here’s the story of the horrible event. Ethan’s camp buddies, Nathan and Asher Moskowitz are celebrating their Bar Mitzvah this weekend by making a tribute to their friend and raising money for his health care. Here are their stories:
Sometimes in life we don’t stop and think about what we are thankful for. With the sacrifice of well being our ancestors were forced to take a moment, appreciate their blessings and give thanks.
In my Torah portion, the Israelites made a special offering called the sacrifice of well being. They slaughtered the animal, and then splashed the blood of the animal all over the walls of the altar. The kidney and the liver were then turned into smoke in front of the altar. Not the most pleasant – laws about sacrifice and blood. But for me, all this blood and smoke, is teaching us about how we give thanks.
For our ancestors, the forced sacrifice of well being made them appreciate the blessings they had. It was a way to stop and think about what was really happening and what they needed to be thankful for. Today, fortunately, we don’t make sacrifices. Instead, we have our prayers – and they are here to remind us of what is good in our lives. But also, what we can do more of. Just like the sacrifices, they help us think of what needs to be done in our world, like who might need our help.
For me, this entire bar mitzvah has made that happen. When I first thought of what my bar mitzvah meant to me, there were a few ideas that immediately popped into my head. Being a Jew, the importance of our Jewish tradition and that being up here tonight is part of our history. But there was one idea that had me thinking for a long time; that we have to work at making the world a better place and helping others. That’s the value that we have always learned as most important in being Jewish. And after what we experienced last summer, I knew we could live this Jewish principle for our b’nai mitzvah.
My Torah portion talks about the sin offering, a sacrifice that had to be made when someone did something wrong. It says that if one person in the community commits a sin, the entire community is responsible and has to make a sacrifice. The sacrifice made was a bull and if they didn’t have a bull, the community used a goat. Our ancestors brought the bull before G-d and then slaughtered it in the Tent of Meeting. Then they burned the animal’s blood in the fire.
When I first read this, I found how they dealt with sins in ancient times really weird and gruesome. Besides, how does sacrificing a bull and sprinkling bull blood fix our mistakes?
I imagine that the Israelites were concerned about giving up something as valuable as a bull, so maybe that would stop them from committing a sin. That fear would make them behave better. Though in my mind, linking this to G-d, doesn’t make a lot of sense. I don’t think G-d cared about someone’s sacrificed animal that was killed to make up for a mistake made. I believe that all G-d wants us to do, is that which is good and that we should work on fixing our world.
Yet what would happen if we could fix our mistakes and take back the wrong we did in such a simple and practical way? When I was at a temple retreat, one of the counselors asked “have you ever squeezed toothpaste out of a tube and tried to put it back in?” Well the thing is, it’s impossible. Once we do something bad – once we hurt someone, once we call someone a name, we can’t take it back. Now some people might think you can always just say, “I’m sorry.” But for me that doesn’t cut it.
Words aren’t enough. Even though as Hannah Montana taught, “Nobody’s Perfect,” and “Everyone makes mistakes,” our actions need to show that we care enough to work at the wrong we did, that we can redeem ourselves and do something kind to help and to make things right.
This got me thinking. There are moments when mistakes are made and we wish we could go back in time and fix them. But that’s really true with everything we experience, everything we might want different. Think about all the things we would change! I wish we were able to do this because then I’d get my friend Ethan out of the way so that lightning wouldn’t strike him.
Of course, that’s not possible. But I wish it were. I guess the lesson is that when things happen, even bad things, we can’t change them. But we can work to make things better. And that actually is connected to my Torah portion.
Like I said before, the whole community is responsible for the sin that one person committed. Yet, why is the entire community connected to what went wrong when only one person had sinned. I think that is the most important lesson here, that community means everyone is responsible. When things are good, everyone can experience the good. When things aren’t good, everyone can try to make things better.
Today we are part of Ethan Kadish’s community. To help Ethan, Nathan and I are doing a 5k fun run walk so that we can raise money for Ethan’s medical care.
Becoming a bar mitzvah means I have the chance to be more of a leader – for my temple community leading us in prayer and also celebrating a tradition that has been passed along to me. The most meaningful part of this is connecting with my temple, my family and my friends and bringing everyone together. And that tomorrow we will be a community that works together to help our friend Ethan.
Our friendship with Ethan is ever lasting. We played Ultimate Frisbee together and we even had our own handshake after one of us scored. I hope and pray that one day we will be able to do our handshake again. The day he was struck by lightning, all of us at camp broke into tears. That night a new tradition began as we sang the prayer of healing, the Misheberach, together as a community. We continued doing this every day for the rest of the session, dedicating it to Ethan. It gave us time to think about how we wanted to help him. On the day we left camp, on the car ride home, I said, “we have to do something for Ethan.”
We’re blessed to be able to share Ethan’s story and ask everyone to make a difference in his life. It makes us feel good to know that our b’nai mitzvah is helping. And on some level, not only helping Ethan, but also reminding us how much helping there is to do in our community and in our world.
You want the latest when it comes to skis and other equipment, but do you look the part when it comes to your ski clothes?
Even if you’re not arriving via helicopter (à la Fiat Group founder Gianni Agnelli), there are plenty of ways to stay stylish on the slopes.
If you look like the Michelin Man when you ski, it’s likely you haven’t rethought your attire since the late 90′s. Fortunately, along with advancements in skis, poles and other gear, there’s a lot new in the style department with plenty of excellent options that serve both form and function. Ski-wear designers have been heavily influenced by the more fitted cuts on the runways. And new fabric technologies allow for close fits that still provide warmth and flexibility. Bottom line: you can project a flattering physique on the slopes while staying warm and maintaining mobility.
When dressing for the slopes, you should wear a baselayer, midlayer, insulating layer, and coat or shell. Below are my suggestions within each category, plus accessories.
A baselayer is skin tight (or close to), thin- to medium-weight, and synthetic or wool. For wool, try brands like Ibex and Icebreaker. And for a high-performance synthetic, check out X-Bionic products, which are moisture-wicking, anti-bacterial, and designed to optimize circulation. All three brands even make boxer shorts. (Better safe than sorry.)
A midlayer is a sweater, fleece or thicker base layer like a turtleneck. Dale Norway (above left) makes very sharp-looking ski sweaters. And for something sportier, check out the half-zip options from Kjus (above right).
This is a thin, light down jacket worn beneath your shell (note: this layer is not always needed in non-frigid temps and/or if your winter jacket is very warm; it can also be a vest as opposed to having full sleeves). I like Kjus for this, along with Peak Performance.
For heavy-duty insulated pants, try Peak Performance’s Supreme Aosta. They’re highly wind- and waterproof and also have ankle guards, which is good if you ski with your ankles together (most intermediate or advanced skiers do). A good-looking lighter-weight option with more stretch and ankle reinforcement is Frauenschuh’s Alex pant.
For your outermost top layer, you can’t go wrong with a Canada Goose duck-down parka (above left). If you’re not a fan of logos, Moorer (above right) makes absolutely gorgeous, luxurious (and splurgy) parkas that sacrifice nothing in terms of protection from the elements.
Gloves or Mittens
Black Diamond is by the far the highest-ranking winter company for accessories by outdoor enthusiasts. These mittens are warm in sub-zero temps, are fully waterproof, and have removal liners, which is great because you can use them on warmer days without the liners. Liners are key also if you’re skiing multiple days because you can dry and/or wash them more easily. For gloves, if you’re really popular, these are integrated with Bluetooth technology and a vibration alarm for incoming calls.
A single layer is best because it preserves the “micro climate” between your foot and boot, circulating air and keeping your feet warm. Go with 100% wool. DarnTough is great quality and has a lifetime guarantee.
You can’t go wrong with one of these in a color that coordinates with the rest of your gear.
Wear a beanie like this one above under your helmet.
In very cold weather, it’s nice to have something that goes over your face, like this face mask or buff. If you wear one of these, you may not need a scarf.
Smith I/O Recon goggles have a micro-optics display where you can view your speed, real-time jump analytics, weather and buddy tracking, GPS mapping, and even a music playlist mode.
A note on combining: don’t go nuts mixing too many colors. If you wear a pop of color like bright red or orange, have it be on either top or bottom, with the remaining colors in the look neutral and coordinating with one another.
PSA: make sure to wear sunblock when skiing. The sun reflects off the snow onto your face, so you need to take extra precaution. I like Armada Sport 70 for all outdoor activities.
Are you ready to hit the slopes in style? I’d love to hear what you’ll be wearing – let me know in the comments below. And if you’re more about hot chocolate than black diamonds, stay tuned for an upcoming post on one of my favorite activities to style: après-ski.