Category Archives: On People

Observations on being a human and interacting with other humans who may be from other planets.

Why express personal gender pronouns in an email signature?

 

Why express personal gender pronouns in an email signature?

The world changes.  The ways we learned long ago may become obsolete. Yet new ways can be odd, foreign and difficult to comprehend.  One positive change has been the onward march towards greater rights for more people.  It was over 100 years from our nation’s founding until women gained the right to vote in 1920. Another 45 years passed before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 protected the rights of minorities to vote.  Since the year 2000 public opinion about people’s right to diverse sexual orientations has become increasingly accepting.  Laws ensuring the rights of laborers, people with disabilities and others have been enacted to further human rights.

These positive changes come with much struggle and the support of fellow citizens, especially people from groups that already enjoy the privileges sought by the marginalized persons.

When I was growing up many decades ago I had never heard of a transgender person or knew such a thing was possible.  Fortunately,  I’ve been educated by friends, co-workers and others.  Today, I am friends and relatives with people who are transgender.

It takes an adjustment, and open mind and heart to accept changes to our worldview.  And it is worth it for all of us.  Some of the forward-thinking organizations with which I work encourage this practice of stating one’s pronouns. To show solidarity with our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, I have chosen to demonstrate my Personal Gender Pronouns in my email signature.  He/his/him. Perhaps you would like to do the same.

Why is it important to respect people’s pronouns?

Excerpted from University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee website

It is a privilege to not have to worry about which pronoun someone is going to use for you based on how they perceive your gender. If you have this privilege, yet fail to respect someone else’s gender identity, it is not only disrespectful and hurtful, but also oppressive.

You can’t always know what someone’s Personal Gender Pronouns (PGP) is by looking at them. Asking and correctly using someone’s personal pronoun is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their gender identity.

When someone is referred to with the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, alienated, or dysphoric (or, often, all the above.)

 

Trump, Clinton, Humans, Personality and Bias

Politics is always about power, this year is no exception.

Politicians seek it, citizens are affected by it.  And, we develop strong opinions and biases about the candidates.  We hate them, we love them.  Or, in the absence of hate or love, many choose among the least of evils, or the worst thing in my opinion; withdraw or make a protest vote.  In any case, we become unable to see the good in the one we hate and unable to see the bad in the one we love.

There has been much name-calling and mudslinging (e.g. crooked, narcissist) in this fascinating presidential race (there always is). The American Psychiatric Association has explicitly asked its members (Psychiatrists) not to diagnose the candidates without a proper professional process.  But many factors influence our behavior, including our inborn personality, physical and psychological wellness and illness, the context we are in, the persona we put forth, and the skills and knowledge we have developed in our lives.

In his timely essay, personality expert Ross Reinhold objectively reveals the normal psychological roots he has inferred about these two presidential candidates, Clinton and Trump.   I’ve worked with this personality model a long time, i value it and I espouse it.  It helps us to understand and appreciate other’s perspectives, values and priorities.  I respect Ross’s credentials and skills here.  He has the theory and analysis right.

But, as I read his thoughtful analysis, I realized that I did not want to normalize the candidates and view them objectively.  I’ve already chosen and did not want to see the good in the bad, nor the bad in the good.

My mind was made up; not open to further input.  This makes me normal, maybe just like you.  Read this and see if you can see the good in the bad, and the bad in the good.

http://www.personalitypathways.com/article/trump-clinton-mbti-type.html

 

My Friend Died Today

 

My friend died today.

A year ago we agreed to get together to plan our retirements.

How we would enjoy our golden years.

My friend died today.

He never retired.

 

He was a busy man.

Helped a lot of people; supported and comforted them.

He was a very smart man, an educated man.

A family man, a community man.

And a thoughtful man, and a private man, in a sea of people.

 

We did not spend a lot of time together.

He was not my boss, nor my customer, nor my coworker, nor my pastor, nor my student, nor my teacher.

We were friends.

He was a year older than I.

His life is done.

I live another day.

 

We got together a few times.

We enjoyed rich conversations together about life and love, fathers and sons, learning and work and play, and death.

We listened and we understood.

 

They say he had been ill, I did not know.

I wondered when we would have coffee again.

Suddenly,  death took him away.

I should have spent more time with him when he lived,

I should be more like him,

I should do the right thing more often.

Self-recrimination.

 

But no, he would say not that, but rather,

We do what we can in our brief moments of living.

 

You lived,

You loved,

You worked,

You served.

You are a light in my life.

Rest in Peace friend.

Vision and Mission

What is the focus of Scott Savage Consulting?

My Vision
A society where business, other organizations and the human beings who work in them achieve their parallel goals. A world in which joy is maximized and suffering is reduced by enhancing ourselves, our work and our workplaces. I help create this by supporting the growth of leaders, individuals, teams and organizations.

My Mission

  1. To enhance organizations’ (business, nonprofit, government, education) productivity, profit or  surplus, and individuals’ fulfillment and satisfaction through education, development, vision and conscious choice.
  2. To support individuals, teams, leaders and organizations to be clear about their choices, to increase the range of those choices, and to stand up for them with accountability.
  3. To utilize principles of change and growth in support of performance, learning and satisfaction in the workplace.
  4. To help organizations maximize their impacts, implement their values and differentiate themselves from others.
  5. To help individuals take the driver’s seat in their work and their lives.

About People
Most people want to do good. We want to use our talents in service of something. And we are imperfect, though we may wish to be perfect. We each have talents, and we lack in other areas. We may speak loudly, but listen poorly. Or, we may listen well but share little. We may have undiscovered talents, and may not appreciate those we have.

Life and work are best when we find a place in a system which fits us.  There can be a symbiotic relationship between the person and the system;  each contributes to the others’ success.

A Point of View

Just like a dozen times before, I settled down into a cozy chair in a small town library in Wisconsin. When on the road I find that libraries provide a comfortable and productive place to work, writing, emailing, attending webinars or wasting time on the internet.

As I plugged the cord of my laptop into the electrical outlet, an elderly man, probably in his seventies, muttered accusingly to me, “you are stealing. ” He pointed at my power cord plugged into the wall socket.

I was unprepared for this minor assault. Fortunately, I have learned to manage my knee-jerk response by pausing in a week-long 5 second pause. I thought several things: “What!, Why are you bothering me?”, “Get a life”. (I do not use ‘old man’ as an insult, since someone said that to me not so long ago, but that guy was a punk (haha). Then I took on the fault, “could he be right?” Seemed unlikely, but who knows? I thought of inviting him to go ask the library authorities to determine who was right; but figured he might lie about it. I considered ignoring, him, and just getting to work. But what if he was right, and the library did not want me ‘plugging in’. I know another library where a guy can bring his laptop, but is prohibited from plugging it to a power source. After all, this place with the cozy chairs is the periodical reading room, populated entirely by folks age 70 and up, getting out and catching up on the news (i.e. these folks at the reading room may not be users of the internet).

So I went to check. I asked a librarian. She said, “of course, that is not a problem”. Later, I noticed a long table in the next room, complete with power outlets for folks just like me to plug in and use the library’s free wi-fi. And free electricity. I was relieved. I returned to the cozy chair by the power outlet and I held back my feelings, saying to him only, “you are mistaken, they tell me it is fine”. He said nothing, but looked away.

As my brain rested, I wondered about this event. What was his motivation for this? Why did he affront me about this seemingly ridiculous action?

I can only makeup a story to explain what happened. Here is man, likely of limited income but perhaps significant wealth, who is accustomed to watching his money carefully. Maybe he is a local official or gadfly watching the use of tax dollars. Perhaps he sees computers, and people like me (I have a gray beard, but am still a long way from 70 years) as incomprehensible, wasteful and maybe even threatening. Maybe he is grieving and angry because his wife of a lifetime has passed away, or left him for a nicer person, or because his adult child doesn’t speak with him, or he has learned that he is dying.

I really don’t know, and I didn’t believe that he was interested in discussing it. Neither was I. So I got to work, the stress hormones gradually retuning to a normal level. The man and I had a short adventure together. And he went about his day. I wonder what he did next?

Look-it me!

I was in one of those business networking meetings recently. It was a nice event, a small group of pleasant business people going through the agenda. We were doing a focus on one fellow’s (Alex) business with the goal of increasing our understanding of what he does so we can refer business to him. For a few minutes it went well, then the disruption occurred. Another guy, let’s call him John, started to drill down . He asked more and more probing questions. And then began dispensing advise, “you ought to, here is what you can do, etc… ” Continue reading

You can’t see what you haven’t seen…

The times wore heavily on Tim’s face. Like many of us, he feels trapped. He is happy to have a paycheck in this tough economic year. However, his spirit is sapped by the limits placed upon him by the organization. A senior manager, he’s been told, in not so subtle ways, that he needs to pull back his goals. His ideas for improvement are not welcomed at this time and this place.

Given Tim’s significant experience, training and talent, I suggested that other organizations would welcome his creativity and drive, and that he might want to start ‘looking around’. Perhaps a place that is younger, smaller, not so set in its ways. There must be a company that really seeks to evolve, to get to the front of the pack, to build its culture in a pro-active and profitable direction.

“This is the only corporate experience I’ve known,” he told me. Given his lack of other experience, Tim couldn’t imagine that a business exists that would welcome his talents and vision. He could only see that everywhere was like where he was. I was shocked that he was stuck like this. Over the years we’ve worked together, I’ve developed a great respect for Tim’s abilities. But under the current circumstances, he has lost his ‘mojo’. He is trapped by his view of his circumstances, and the nagging self-doubt that has grown from the steady drumbeat of rejection in the job. It’s as though the company learned too well from Nancy Reagan’s “Just say no.”

Tim is the face of a challenge many people, including leaders in organizations are dealing with. In the last six weeks, I’ve heard this pattern from four different people, at various levels, ages, colors and indifferent industries and businesses. When we haven’t seen something else, and haven’t experienced it, we easily fall into a rut. A rut, someone has said, is just a grave with the ends kicked out.

So we give up, and put up, and our talents and excitement wither on the vine. What to do? If you are in this pickle, look for inspiration and encouragement.  Talk to people, get out of your box.  Use the Internet.  In the career management field, we recognize that folks lose sight of their unique gifts, simply because they come easily to them. We forget that there are organizations and people that value what we do, and would be happy to bring us aboard to add competitive advantage to their business. But we forget that.

If you are a leader, you’ll want to pay attention to this phenomenon in your people and find ways to re-engage them. You can ask, “How is our organization throwing a wet blanket on the initiative and creativity of our contributors?” Heck, you can even ask them directly, although they may be shy to answer truthfully. Then work to modify the structures, processes and behaviors that cause the problem.

Is this type of leadership easy? Not always, and not for everyone. Does it pay dividends through increased retention, morale and productivity? You bet it does.