1. Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
2. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
3. Sleep is the best meditation.
4. Spend some time alone every day.
5. We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.
6. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
7. We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.
8. Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
9. If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.
10. The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis.
The XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet: Photo by: Phil Borges / www.philborges.com
A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.
Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the coffee.
When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups have been taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.
Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups... And then you began eyeing each other's cups.
Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live.
Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee.
Savour the coffee, not the cups! The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Peter Senge, Peter Drucker and Jim Collins...the best business minds in the world. Jim Collins' classic book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't is a must-read for all who lead organizations whether public or private, business or non-profit. There are cogent lessons in it for everyone. If you need convincing, here is a telling and inspirational excerpt from Good to Great:
The coaching staff of a high school cross-country running team recently got together for dinner after winning its second state championship in two years from good (top twenty in the state) to great (consistent contenders for the state championship, on both the boys" and gorls" teams).
"I don't get it," said one of the coaches. "Why are we so successful? We don't work any harder than any other teams. And what we do is just so simple. Why does it work?"
He was referring to the Hedgehog Concept of the program, captured in the simple statement: We run best at the end. We run best at the end of workouts. We run best at the end of races. And we run best at the end of the season, when it counts the most. Everything is geared to this simple idea, and the coaching staff knows how to create effect better than any other team in the state. For example, they place a coach at the 2-mile mark (of a 3.1 mile race) to collect data as the runners go past. But unlike most teams, which collects time splits (minutes-per-mile running pace), this team collects place splits (what place the runners are in as they go by). Then the coaches calculate not how fast the runners go, but how many competitors they pass at the end of the race, from mile 2 to the finish. They then use this data to award "head bones" after each race. (Head bones are beads in the shape of shrunken skulls, which the kids make into necklaces and bracelets, symbolizing their vanquished competitors.) The kids learn how to pace themselves, and race with confidence: "We run best at the end." they think at the end of a hard race. "So, if I'm hurting bad, then my competitors must hurt a whole lot worse!"
Of equal importance is what they don't waste energy on. For example, when the head coach took over the program, she found herself burdened with the expectations to do "fun programs" and rah-rah stuff" to motivate tne kids and keep them interested--parties, and special trips, and shopping adventures to Nike outlets, and inspirational speeches. She quickly put an end to nearly all distracting (and time consuming) activity. "Look," she said, "this program will be built on the idea that running is fun, racing is fun, and winning is fun. If you're not passionate about what we do here, then go find something else to do." The result: The number of kids in the program nearly tripled in five years, from thirty to eighty-two).
Before the boys team won the first-ever state cross-country championship in the school's history, she didn't explicitly set the goal or try to "motivate" the kids toward it. Instead, she let the kids gain momentum, seeing for themselves--race by race, week by week--that they could beat anyone in the state. Then, one day out on a training run, one boy said to his teammates, "Hey, I think we could win state." "Yeah, I think so too," said another. Everyone kept running, the goal quietly understood. The coaching staff never once mentioned the state championship idea until the kids saw for themselves that they could do it.
This created the strongest culture of discipline possible, as the seven varsity runners felt personally responsible for winning state--a commitment made not to the coaches, but to each other. One team member even called all of his teammates the night before the state race, just to make sure they were all getting ready for bed early. (No need for coaches to be disciplinarians on this team.) Hammering through the last mile, passing competitors ("We run best at the end!"), each kid hurt, but knew it would hurt a lot more if he had to look at his teammates in the eyes as only one who failed to come through. No one failed, and the team beat every other team at the state meet by a large margin.
The head coach began rebuilding the whole program around the idea of "first who." One of the assistant coaches is a 300-pound ex-shot-putter (hardly the image of a lean diatance runner), but he is without question the right who: He shares the values and has the traits needed to help build a great team. As the program built momentum, it attracted more kids and more great coaches. People want to be part of this spinning flywheeel; they want to be part of a championship team; they want to be part of a first-class culture. When the cross-country team posts yet another championship banner in the gym, more kids sign up, the gene pool deepens, the team gets faster, which produces more championships, which attracts more kids, which creates even faster teams, and so forth and so on, in the infectious flywheel effect.
Here is a quick summary of Peter Drucker's famous 2005 article in The National Interest, "Trading Places."
Thesis: The world is divided into four economies—information, money, multinationals and mercantilism; the US will remain a huge player in this economy, but is not the single, dominating economy.
Economy of information. 5 Points:
1. The internet makes information both universally available and multi-directional.
2. Information is something to be made public rather than kept private.
3. Most important impacts are those on “mentality and awareness.”
4. Tariffs are unable to protect a domestic producer’s price.
5. The WTO spends more time dealing with agreements on regulations and subsidies than on tariffs.
Economy of Money. 3 Points:
1. Next major economic crisis will be a crisis of the US dollar in the world economy
2. Bretton Woods agreement (1944) established the IMF and the World Bank. The US dollar kept these two organizations going.
3. US defense spending is causing huge spending deficits (no mention of the effect of entitlements 2-3 times as large as the defense budget) that force a dependence on foreign purchases of US debt, thereby making the US economy vulnerable if those nations are forced to sell off the debt
Economy of Multinationals. 3 Points:
1. Multinationals account for 80% of world’s industrial production
2. A multinational is no longer a domestic company with foreign subsidiaries (Coca Cola), but more often is a domestic company with foreign partners. Organized by products and services, vice geography.
3. Not dominated by US or American companies
Mercantilism. 5 Points:
1. Originally developed by keeping imports low and subsidizing exports.
2. System is developing into blocs (EU, NAFTA).
3. Blocs are competing against each other, wooing others into blocs. Becoming protectionist against the outside.
4. System will die if no one imports, due to protectionism.
5. New mercantilism is exporting regulations, trying to force costs onto US by establishing international agreements.
If you ever wondered how difficult it is to cancel a defense program, the V-22 Osprey is one of the best cases-in-point. Christopher M. Jones' article, entitled Roles, Politics, and the Survival of the V-22 Osprey may well be the best account of the V-22's turbulent evolution. Here is a summary-excerpt of that article....
GENERAL: The V-22 Osprey is designed to replace the Marine Corps’ aging helicopters. Despite a long and troubled development and testing period, including two fatal crashes in 2000, the Congress, Marines, and private sector have repeatedly joined forces to ensure the Osprey remains a viable weapons procurement program. The aircraft stands as a powerful example of how difficult it is to stop a weapons system once it is under development.
THESIS: To understand the coalition’s effectiveness over time, this study examines the period 19890-1992, when the Osprey survived its greatest challenge—four years of intense opposition from OSD. …Argues that organizational mission provides a compelling explanation of the participants’ policy preferences and the politics that shaped a decision with significant fiscal and military implications.
The V-22 program absorbed $8 billion in federal funding without producing a single plane for regular military duty.
The events of 2000-2001 placed the plane’s future in jeopardy. The cohesiveness of the coalition of diverse but durable political actors ensured its survival as a viable weapons procurement program, and can be attributed to a common policy goal that the participants strongly supported for different reasons.
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Program initiated during the Reagan defense build-up. George Bush (Sr.)’s administration (SECDEF Cheney and David Chu (PA&E) tried repeatedly to cancel the V-22 by removing the program from the president’s budget—said it was too costly and not cost-effective. Still, each year, Congress, USMC and the primary contractors (Boeing and Bell-Textron) fought jointly and effectively to restore it. Congressional budget authority was critical for its success.
The Bush Administration’s search for budget savings was driven by the reality that the massive defense spending of the Reagan era could not continue. OSD’s officially prescribed role is to “provide oversight to assure the effective allocation and efficient management of resources consistent with [administration] approved plans and programs.” Given OSD’s position, the Marines were prevented from lobbying publicly on behalf of the plane—but neither did OSD dispute the fact that the USMC helicopters needed replacement…OSD also admitted that the V-22 was superior to existing helicopters. The budget authority of Congress, however, overshadowed that.
The Army decided to leave the program in 1987—so it wouldn’t be the multi-service, multi-mission aircraft it was intended to be. DSD Atwood ordered the Navy to remove it from their production contracts…more attempts at transferring, deferring, and rescinding the V-22 appropriations. OSD even refused to spend the money Congress appropriated for the V-22. Congressional members announced that DoD was illegally impounding $790 million…suggested that they’d go to court. OSD said they weren’t trying to be difficult, just couldn’t implement the next portion of the appropriations act. U.S. Comptroller General sided with Congress. Said he’d release $1.5 billion to build 6 planes. Pentagon took 3 actions that upset Congress: first, ordered the Marines to reexamine their medium-lift requirement and suggested performance standards could be lowered. Second, the JROC decided that the medium lift replacement didn’t need to meet all of the original requirements (long range Special Operations and CSAR capabilities). Third, JROC rejected the USMC statement of requirements and retained a statement about existing helos being good enough.
Congress was outraged.
OSD realized that they lost and their position was irrelevant.
As the presidential election approached they White House seized on the opportunity to announce publicly that the V-22 would be built in large electoral states as well as the other states with V-22 plants
From 1989 to 1992, Congress was a firm proponent of the Osprey. Support in the House and Senate was not unanimous, but it was pervasive…conservative republicans as well as liberal democrats supported the V-22.
Primary goal of Congressional Members: in order to get reelected, secure benefits for their constituents. Offered benefits to their districts and states. Protect and expand employment locally. 10,000 jobs tied to subcontracts alone from Boeing and Bell. 25 states had purchase orders or letter contracts.
Some congress members with limited or no stake in the program simply supported the V-22 because they were proponents of a strong national defense. Some legislators supported the program on the same basis that OSD opposed it (20 year life cycle of the V-22 was most cost effective in their view). Other congressmen claimed that its technology would revolutionize domestic air travel…improve civil aviation.
In 1992, the HASC decided that for every month appropriations went unspent the Pentagon comptroller’s budget would be reduced by 5%!!!!!
Congress had the formal authority to control the budget authorization and appropriation process and, therefore the ultimate fate of the V022. Legislative backing would not have remained as cohesive and well organized without the USMC’s unwavering commitment to the program and the political skill of the contractors.
The Marine Corps
The Marine Corps first defined a requirement for a replacement helicopter in 1968. Two decades passed before the V-22 was approved in 1982 and full-scale development contract was awarded in 1986. This delay made the USMC desperate for the plane. They had lots of problems with their existing helicopter fleet (limited speed, noise, maintenance problems, inability to transport tonnage req’s) and they were drawn to the V-22’s impressive capabilities.
Marine Corps General A.M. Gray told Congress: “The V-22 is the most important advance in military aviation since the helicopter…It is my number one aviation priority.”
USMC offered to forego the M-1 tank to save the V-22.
Strong desire to acquire a weapons system that would enhance its mission as well as distinguish it from the Army at a time when the services were competing for post-cold war duties.
Not only critical as an over-the-horizon strike force, but essential to the USMC’s existence.
Given the level of congressional support, however, the Marines were confident they could refrain from public lobbying and the program would survive.
The Marines have a larger congressional liaison staff than the OSD contingent.
Senator John Glenn (Senate Armed Services Committee) and Senator Jack Murtha (Chairman of the subcommittee on defense and appropriations) were supporters of the V-22 and former Marines.
Marines “Underdog” image also helped on the Hill.
The Marines engaged in a vigorous, behind-the-scenes campaign on the Hill.
The official Pentagon position was accompanied by an unofficial Marine Corps stand in favor of the plane.
The manufacturers (Bell Helicopter Textron and Boeing Company) were the most aggressive proponents of the V-22.
Saw it as a way to guarantee profits and employment in an era of shrinking defense budgets.
They made a concerted effort to control development and production costs. Began without a contract and with its own funds in 1985, reducing the government’s up-front costs and demonstrated the company’s long-term commitment to the project.
Arrangements were made by Boeing and Bell to transfer the financial risk of development to the contractors. Both companies had the ability to manufacture the entire plane…allowing them to compete for production lots. Improved their efficiencies on the assembly line.
They widened the V-22’s domestic constituency. Distributed subcontracts to nearly 2000 companies. Labor unions involved. Got FAA backing (Critical in the long-term) and they even got the FAA to co-sponsor a civil tilt-rotor study and to participate in the test program.
Public Relations Activities. Congressional awareness program…tilt rotor appreciation day…landing on the Mall.
Used every conceivable justification…even proposed that it would be an attractive export.
Despite four years of ardent opposition by OSD, Congress won the programmatic and constitutional battles related to the Osprey. Congress had enough formal authority through power of the purse to control action channels and therefore the ultimate fate of the V-22.