Even more random thoughts

bills w: elasticCatching up on a few items...

Seeing the bonuses and salaries that some CEOs are making these days—regardless of their performance—gets people pretty riled up where I come from. Many Wall Street executives, for example, are earning as much as pop singers and professional basketball players. Time for a reassessment of our values.


As I’ve said before on this blog, in my rock & roll days I never had to deal with a “bad boss”—or any boss for that matter—given the disregard that bands have for authoritarian leaders. But since that time I’ve had to coach more than a few managers whose abrasiveness has estranged direct reports and put a dent in their productivity. So I was delighted to hear of an organization called The Boss-Whispering Institute which is dedicated to taming the unruliest of managers. But I know what you’re thinking: where were these boss-busters when you could have used them to handle your last clueless rage-aholic manager? Well, at least now you know where you can go for help. Actually I’ve been doing boss-whispering for decades—but I wasn’t clever enough to call it that.


A brilliant line I heard at the Boston Book Festival a few weeks ago by technology writer Nick Carr, commenting on the future of hi-tech: “You won’t have a job but you’ll have a REALLY cool umbrella.” Nick seems to have diminished expectations for our collective imagination, while I take a more optimistic view of the days ahead. I grant you won’t have a job, but you will have your favorite classic rock song playing in your ear, selected by eye movements.


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is at it again, railing against American “cannibals” this week, apparently in reaction to the UN resolution calling for his regime to be referred to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. If KJU continues to fulminate against decadent Westerners, I’m thinking that with my deep experience in coaching psycho-despots in business I could offer some valuable dictator-whispering the next time I'm in Pyongyang. (I would explain to him that unlike every other American I don’t eat human flesh.) But of course there are others who are a better fit. In fact, I don’t understand why the US government doesn’t send over its crack diplomat, Dennis Rodman. (Ok, that wasn’t the best choice of words.) If Rodman is unavailable, the Communist leader is also a big fan of Eric Clapton. (Eric honed his diplomatic skills decades ago with his rock band Cream, mediating fights between Ginger Baker and the late Jack Bruce.)

Dennis Rodman of course is the former all-star basketball player and rap ambassador who became KJU’s BFF last year while apparently tutoring the five-foot-nine servant leader in how to dunk. (See my earlier post on DR & KJU here.) A return to the psycho ward that we call North Korea might be just the right career move for Rodman, who could use a foreign policy success to divert attention from his latest antics (whatever they are) AND to position himself for a run for US President. If you laugh, you’re obviously not following US politics, where several governors and congressmen with as firm a grasp on foreign policy as Rodman’s are actively considering a 2016 run. Hide the children.

If you’re interested in seeing an amusing clip of Kim Jong-un from the movie The Interview, check this out.

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  1. For the first time ever, I'm not entirely sure what we're talking about.

    Could be me. I've been easily confused lately.

    I will comment, though, on my continued confusion about what anyone would do with enough money for 200 lifetimes. A single million would let me live out my days in what I consider the lap of luxury. One hundred forty-two of them each and every year would become an inflammatory hazard, metaphorically or literally.

    I wonder if Souki would give me the interest on his bank account for a couple days.

      1. Or, perhaps, someone apolitical missing the full impact of political humor. Er, commentary. Though I found your book most amusing, but then, I was alive back then.

        Wait; now I'm not making sense.

  2. i've worked for many tyrants in my career. i'm not sure that whispering in their ear would have solved the problem tho.

    your humor seems to be getting more obscure, but it still retains a thin thread of comprehensibility.

  3. How can you provide boss-whispering for a small business owner or all powerful CEO who doesn't think that he (or possibly she) has a problem to begin with? That person is never going to hire anyone to work with him on an issue he's in denial about. The worst cases will never get help.

    1. "How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?"

      "Just one, but the light bulb has to want to change."

      The worst cases should be dealt with by attrition. Unfortunately, much of the working force thinks that showing up every day to a job they hate working for a sociopath is the only way to make a living because they've been conditioned to believe it their whole lives.

    2. Well, it depends who is doing the hiring. I've run into more than a few technically smart— but not so socially smart—managers who bark at their subordinates all day but won't ask for help because they don't see a problem. But THEIR manager may recognize there's a problem and hire me to do some "whispering." That senior manager will then have to let the junior manager know there IS a problem before I can do any meaningful work. Managers aren't motivated to change their usual behaviors unless they recognize that there's a negative consequence to those behaviors.

      With a small business owner it's a trickier situation because there may not be anyone that s/he listens to who would make a similar suggestion. Sometimes it takes an insurrection by the workforce to get the owner's attention.

  4. As a footnote to this post, Kim Jung-un saw the comedy film, The Interview, in which he's roundly spoofed, and said the movie is an "act of war." You can't get better free promo than THAT.

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