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Welcome to ProcessImprovement.Me.  Each week we will post between one and three blog posts on change, how to improve at something in life or business, or learning something new.  Please join us and participate in the comments.  We would really like to hear your thoughts.  You cannot post a comment on the home page (just the way they set up the site.) All the other pages do afford the ability to post comments. We recommend you use the Blog Page for this.

Please join us, have fun, and interact with others in the same kindness that you would like others to interact with you.

What Are You Waiting For?

We all have ideas, and we all want to see our plans work out. And yet, many of us do not reach out and attempt to turn our dreams into reality. If they are our dreams and desires, I think we would work harder on our dreams than most of the other things we do in life. It turns out that’s not always so. And yes, there are scientific reasons for that.

When I worked at a contract manufacturing facility, one of my additional duties was working on the Safety Council. In some areas of our plant, we built electronic systems into racks. The racks had casters and could be pushed from station to station. Depending on what the customer ordered, the racks could grow large and heavy.

One of the tasks I had to do was to measure the force it took to start an electronic rack rolling. I also had to measure the force it took to keep an electronic rack rolling once it had started. Anyone who has studied physics will have no shock or surprise when I tell them it takes more energy to start something moving, then it does to keep the object moving.

This brings me to several conclusions about our topic today. First off, it takes a lot more energy to start something, then it does to keep it going. And, our dreams are no different. If we don’t get out and make an effort to start something, our dreams will fade, and all of our plans and up as a could’ve been.

Our first take away is, ‘Nobody will do it for us, so we need to get out there and make our dreams work.’

The next thing I realize in looking at this scenario is the more massive the object you’re trying to move, the more energy you spend in trying to get it started, and you have to expend more energy trying to keep it going. This is true not only for physical objects; it’s also true in trying to bring your dreams to life. Many of the biggest and wealthiest companies on earth started in a garage here or there. They grew slowly until they caught on. Part of this is because it takes more energy, capital, and backing to start a larger idea. Start small, and build your way up.

The second take away is ‘When you start small it takes less initial energy to start moving, and once your dream is moving, it takes less energy to keep it moving.’

The other take away that I got from this is that nobody can start your dream moving except for you. If you want it to get started, you have to put in the initial force to start the movement. If anybody else does it, they are not powering your dream, they are now powering their dream. Those who don’t step up to try, and up only standing on the sidelines, watching everyone else.

The third take away is, ‘If you want it you are going to have to provide the force to make it happen.’

Please consider these ideas when you start to dream.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Power Your Project

It is incredible how much we can do if we put our mind to it. Many people come up with ideas, and some of those ideas are excellent thoughts. Unfortunately, many of those neat ideas fail because the people who have them are going to get them done. They talk about the ideas they mull it over, they make it sound good, and they will get to it… Eventually.

The trick of ‘eventually’ is the fact that it never comes. Eventually is something like a carrot on a stick. The stick is strapped to your head and eventually dangling out there in front of you, just out of reach. Every time you take a step forward trying to get towards eventually, it moves that one step away from you.

So, the question becomes, is this a game that’s rigged for the bemusement of others? Is this some cosmic scam to make us want more and yet keep us in our place? Why should I play the game when it’s fixed? These are all excellent questions. Unfortunately, they are the wrong questions and are on the wrong track to getting things done.

Don’t eventually get something done. Get it done. Do it, figure out what goes wrong or what could make it better, and then do that. Every time you do something to make your idea better and more tangible, evaluate your work. You need to know what is working with your thoughts and projects and what is not. Plans are like a plane, they need to be flight worthy.

Just like a plane, your project cannot get off the ground carrying a bunch of excess weight that doesn’t add to the lift or speed of the project. Your aircraft cannot immediately go from ground level to 40,000 feet. It will fall back to earth. Aircraft need to take a slow, smooth rise from takeoff until they’ve gathered enough power to start a climb. When they have the ability, and everything is stabilized, then they can begin to gain altitude and climb higher. We have seen it before where some pilots try to fly at too steep an angle when taking off and end up crashing back to the ground. Unfortunately, we have seen many small businesses do the same.

The trick is to start small and then build on what you know and what you learn. The Wright brothers did not attempt to develop a DC-3 and launch it from Kitty Hawk. They started with essentially what was a powered kite and built from there. In the beginning, every time they flew, they learn something new. It was that painstaking step-by-step learning curve which allowed them to get better. That same learning curve moved on to the marvels we have today. Imagine less than 70 years after their flight, we had grown to the point where we put men on the moon.

70 years from powered flight to a man on the moon. If you give your project the time it needs and work at it, think of where those projects might take you.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

And Yet It Continues

When I started this series on Monday, I was focusing on shootings and violence in America. Attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, which happened overnight prove once again no one on earth is spared from this heinous violence. I am very saddened by these acts and pray for all affected by this outrageous and undeserved massacre in such a peaceful and loving nation.

From space, there are no borders. We are one world, and one people. We do not live in domes separated from everybody else, and what happens anywhere in our world tends to have an effect on all of us. We do not deserve these attacks. We cannot blindly accept these attacks, wherever they happen, blindly, believing that that is just a new way of life.

All people are precious. All people have a right to exist. And no people should have to tolerate being preyed upon by evil, no matter what shape it takes, or what superficial reasons are given. This is not a pipe dream. This is something that is fundamental to the core of every living being on earth.

The work to subdue lethal violence will not be easy. There are many hard obstacles to overcome. And yet look at everything the world has done in the last 5,000 years. Look at how far we have come as a people and what we have learned to do. We can overcome this and learn to coexist peacefully. We just need to set it as a significant priority.

Destruction like the one last night in Christchurch, the devastating attacks in Paris, the Canadian Parliament, in England, in Spain, in New York, and the Pentagon and everywhere else in the world cannot go on. Innocent people going about their daily routines should never be turned into targets of opportunity for madmen and empire seekers using the innocents in a vain attempt to garner attention for their misguided plans.

All it takes is enough of those innocent people to get together and say no. Refuse to accept the commonplace, and refuse to give in, and something will have to change.

This one-week thought process on the subject of violence is not the end of my work. It is merely the very beginning. I am looking for a way we can have a discussion on this and maybe share ideas and thoughts. Each person stands as one. Together we stand as many, the more we have, the better to share thoughts and make positive inroads to making lasting changes for the good of all. Not to take anything over. Not to proclaim ourselves as the way. Just to stand there together and help shine a light on positive changes that can help the entire world.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again soon.

Everyone Has A Viewpoint

This week we have been talking about curbing violence. It seems that the main reason for violence stems from fear, bullying, demoralization, and degradation of oneself either internally or by others. We have discussed that taking guns away will not help. Guns are tools, and unfortunately, any tool (gun, knife, rock, pitchfork, glass bottle or anything else,) can become a weapon.

So we’ve worked our way through to ‘how.’ For stopping the violence, first, we have to believe it can be done. If you try to do something that you think you can’t accomplish, the chances of that ever happening are greatly diminished. This is why we need mean old master sergeants. Mean old master sergeants don’t think something can be done, we know things can be done.

Imagine that you went up to our founding fathers and told them something you knew was going to be true? ‘Mr. Jefferson sir, your new nation will put a man on the moon within the next 200 years.’ True or not, that fact would probably not be fathomed in that day and age, and you might be locked in the stocks for your own protection until you came back to your senses. The truth is anything is possible as long as you believe you can.

So how do we do this? We could become farmers. We plant seeds of belief in other people that this can be done. Some people are hard and set in their ways. They will not listen. Some people have no depth for the roots to grow. They will agree with your idea today, forget about you tonight, and be on a totally new thought tomorrow. Some people will realize what can be done, and grow fast until others start putting them down. The wind from all that negative talk blows them over, and their belief whithers. And yet, it is hard to keep the truth from being heard. If you plant the seeds of sincere belief and nurture them, you can grow a forest.

How do we stop violence? First, we need to believe it can be done. Then plant the seeds of belief in others, knowing that some will fail and others will grow. We nurture the belief in others, and the positive fruits of our endeavors will come forth.

In a culture where we blame inanimate objects for the actions of people, we need to make a change. We can start this change with a new generation. We can get to the heart of the matter and tackle bullying, belittlement, hubris, and anti-socialism. Easy? No. Achievable? You bet. If we go to the moon, and if we can go to Mars, we can do this.

Thanks for being with me today. I hope to see you again tomorrow.

A New Generation

Back in the late 1960s, America was changing. The Air Force knew that it had to change its ways also. There was a need for better management and leadership systems and better leadership training for the enlisted men and women.

I joined the Air Force in 1972. I was part of that new Air Force generation and benefited from excellent training. The old guard of senior noncommissioned officers (NCO’s) was still in place. They were always respected by the rank-and-file, and their orders were always followed. As a new member of the Air Force, I had a career of leadership training before me. I went to leadership schools and other events every few years. I went to an NCO Academy for 6 weeks in Texas. And, I even took a Senior NCO correspondence course while working in the Azores.

The big thing that I learned from this was the fact that you can teach a new generation and have them succeed without first getting rid of the old guard that came before them. I think that is an important thing to know. We honor our past, even as we learn new ways to do new things.

This week I have been writing on trying to curb violence in America, especially deadly violence. Today I start to look at the ‘how’ to get it done. First off, we come from a long legacy, and we must recognize that and honor it. The next thing we need to realize is that as the world changes, we need to learn and adapt our ways to meet new needs. I do not mean to make this sound like a contest. It is merely a fact of life. Those who learn, grow and succeed. Those who stop learning and stay with only what they knew up to that point, stagnate and fall behind.

We need to develop new ways to engage people from many backgrounds, lifestyles, and societies. We need to find ways to learn from each other, and we need to find ways to understand and empathize with one another. We do this while honoring those who have come before us and taught us their ideals, and at the same time recognizing that for us to grow and succeed we must also find and develop new ways where all can equally benefit.

Maybe we need to forgive and be forgiven for old sins and felt slights. Perhaps we need to reach out in understanding and realize we are really one planet with one people who have a very diverse past. As we celebrate our diversity, we should remember that we are, at the core, one people.

Tomorrow, I will talk more specifically on some of the ‘how’s.’ I am also wondering if you have any ideas on how this could be accomplished. If you have any, please let me know in the comments. I would be glad to share any thoughts or ideas I receive.  Until then, I want to thank you, my blog readers, for being here with me. No one person ever does anything alone, it always takes a team.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Before It Is Too Late

Today we continue a useful discussion that we started yesterday on ways to curb violence in America, and hopefully many other places as well. This is no easy task. And it’s not for the faint of heart. The one thing that you did not and will not hear from these writings would be that it is impossible. Nothing is impossible if we really want to do it.

We have a few mountains we have to take down. Mountains that were never intended to be there and yet were built over time. There is an old musical that tried to bring light to the divisions between different peoples. This was done in the hope of having everyone realize the errors of the divisions and attempt to reverse them. The song talked about having to learn before it’s too late. It went on to talk about hating all the people your relatives hate. I believe this was a tongue-in-cheek song meant to show the audience how wrong hate is.

We have to learn before it’s too late. We have to learn that everybody is the same. We are all people built out of Stardust. With various colored hair and eyes, and different skin and languages. And, within each of us, we are all the same. I do not tell you this because it sounds good. I say this because it’s the truth. Until we see each other as the same as we view ourselves, we go nowhere. Until we fix the way we look at each other, fear, loathing, and hatred will continue. And these are three of the pedestals that violence sits on. Remove those three foundations, and violence fails.

Often you hear the argument that we fight for God. We need to remember that there is a difference between God and religion. I say this not to cause ire within many people. I say this because if you look at the major religions in the world, the God of all our fathers is actually the same God.

Languages may be different, yet the feelings and emotions are the same, as are the thought patterns. We may celebrate different holidays based on our culture, but we all celebrate holidays. Everyone loves a party.

I think it’s time for me to tie the first part of this together. If you can remove fear, loathing, and hatred, violence doesn’t stand a chance. If you can help everyone see each other as equals with similar goals and aspirations, fear goes away, and peace can gain a foothold.

So, our question for tomorrow becomes how. We’ve already discussed the ‘what’ shootings. The ‘who,’ people who fear and therefore hate. The ‘how’ is going to be the most essential piece. How do we get people to set aside some fears and hatreds that may go back thousands of years? How do we help everybody to see a better way? How do we even get this noticed and brought to the forefront? This is a question that may end up taking more than one blog to examine an answer. Yet until we have the ‘how’ figured out, it will be hard to know where and when.

I want to help everyone understand that we need to replace hate and violence with caring and togetherness. Violence only leads to more violence. Hatred, fear, and loathing only produce more of the same, and you end up with more violence. It would be great to give everybody in the world a timeout, just to think of this for a few minutes, I am just not sure how to do that, yet. If you have a good idea as to ‘how,’ please let me know in the comments section.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

It Is Time to Talk

 

Everyone likes to talk. Not necessarily just gossip. There are debates on many issues. I don’t think that there is a debate more important than stopping the violence in America’s cities and protecting our children in school. This week, with your permission, I would like to explore the topic of shootings.

There are many thoughts and ideas on shootings in America. We do tend to leave the world in this type of violence. Before everybody gets defensive, I would like to suggest that we keep this an open and honest debate that we can all participate in equally.

According to Pew Research, Homicide by firearm is actually down about half of what it was in the 1990s. And, suicide by gun is double that of homicide. Homicide by firearm is between 11,000 and 12,000 annually.¹ When I first heard this, I thought it was a low number. Yet, I believe it’s probably somewhere between 11,000 and 12,000 too many.

Taking guns away is a non-starter. Too many people use guns as tools. People in the Southwest that must protect themselves from rattlesnakes, people the southeast must work in or around swamps, and cowboys who work in Montana and the Dakotas need protection. In many other places, a firearm is a legitimate tool. Having said this if you need a semi-automatic hunting rifle with a 33-bullet clip to put food on the table, you probably need to take more lessons at the local shooting range.

I also have to tell you that guns don’t jump up one day and say let’s go shoot somebody. Quite often what causes the trigger to be pulled is someone with low self-esteem which has been bullied and harassed, or believes they have been, and are looking for revenge. And, I think this is the target that we need to fix.

This will not be easy, for it’s been going on for far too long. How long? I believe that the first family on earth had a problem with someone feeling bullied or harassed, or let his ego get away from him. Because of this, I believe that the first family on earth lost a son.

I believe that lowering our homicide rate, especially in mass shootings, will not be a one-step fix, and it will not be easy. Yet I have faith, because we are the people who put a man on the moon, and we are the people who are looking to go to Mars. I do not believe that ‘easy’ is a qualifier for us to do anything that we want to happen.

The mean old Master Sergeant is on board with me in this endeavor. He’s going to initiate, starting next month, the Mean Old Master Sergeant’s No Bullying Books.

I don’t mean to be writing you an encyclopedia about this. Yet, with your permission, I would like to use this week to discuss the problem and some actual ideas of what may work. Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

[1] Krogstad, j.m., Oct. 21, 2015, pewresearch.org, Gun Homicide steady after decline in ‘90s; suicide rate edges up,

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