Something to Aspire To

  • 1 Comment

Let’s stay on our theme of managers and management, shall we?

My story from yesterday had me thinking about the kind of manager I’d like to be one day.

Which reminded me of a post I did a few years ago.

Presented for your review, a (rather effective) management style that you won’t find in any college textbooks.


_________________________________

Management…hamburger style

Currently, at the building across the way, there are some gentlemen hard at work putting a new roof on the two-story structure.

Roofing has got to be some grueling, backbreaking work, and they’ve been toiling at this for a few days now.

About an hour ago, all work went quiet over there. I thought maybe they were on a break. They weren’t on a break.

It appears they were having a little conference. Seems there was a problem and they were having what they’d call in the corporate world, a “root cause analysis” discussion.

I suspect they discovered what, or rather, whom was at the center of the mistake, because I could then hear the supervisor of this project having a one-on-one mentoring conversation, loudly, with his employee.

Let’s keep this a family friendly post…for all the instances of the eff word, I will substitute a more appropriate word.

Oh let’s have fun with it, let’s use the word “hamburger.”

Here we go, a faithful recounting of this clearly very hands on and empathetic manager as he guides his employee through a big error.

Remember: hamburger = eff word

“You hamburgered up. You hamburgered this whole thing up. I didn’t hamburger up. All the rest of these hamburgering guys didn’t hamburger this thing up. What in the hamburgering hell were you thinking? You weren’t thinking and you hamburgered this hamburgering thing all to hell. What the hamburger, man?! What the hamburger happened?”

: sound of employee mumbling, trying to explain his reason for hamburgering everything up :

“You what? You what? Who the hamburger told you to do that? I sure as hell didn’t hamburgering tell you to do that! Now this whole hamburgering project is running behind and that costs hamburgering money? Do you get that? Do get that you’ve cost every hamburgering one of us some hamburgering time and some hamburgering money?”

: more mumbling :

“Aw man, what the hamburger. Get back to work!”

And with that, all the machines started up, the smell of tar once again filled the air, and the team of folks got back to roofing.

There you have it. Management by hamburgering around.






The Gift of the Magi – In short supply

  • 19 Comments

We three kings of Orient are/bearing gifts we traverse afar

So goes the lyrics of one of my all time favorite holiday songs. I belted it out with gusto during Midnight Mass through most of my formative years.

As the story goes, the Three Wise Men brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh on that first Christmas, thus paving the way for BlueRay players and gift cards and a Red Ryder BB gun.

I always thought gold was the good gift in that stack. Who knows what all that other stuff was? Wasn’t a gift of frankincense and myrrh like getting a fruitcake and an ugly sweater?

Yesterday, I read with interest an article in USA Today discussing how the Boswellia tree, a scraggly tree found mostly in Ethiopia, is facing quite a sharp decline. Like 7% of trees dying off per year and new saplings not maturing into full trees.

Frankincense is the dried sap from a Boswellia tree. Cuts are made into the trunk of the tree (called stripping) and then sap flows to heal the wound. When that sap hardens (called, appropriately enough, tears), the dried frankincense is harvested from the tree and it can be burned or oils extracted for perfume.

The trees are threatened for a couple of reasons, one is that the Ethiopian government has pushed people to relocate from the highlands to the lowlands where the tree is prevalent. This puts pressure on the ecosystem. The highlanders brought cattle with them, and the cows eat saplings. Also, the grasslands are burned to make it easier to get to the trees to collect the frankincense, but that also kills saplings.

In addition, the process of cutting into the trees leaves them vulnerable to attack by longhorn beetles.

Researchers are still trying to understand if climate change is also a concern.

In all, quite a fascinating bit of understanding about that gift from the first Christmas that I’ve so often sung about but not well understood.

Of course, as I read the article I thought “I betcha these trees would grow in New Mexico.” Well sure enough, there is a man in Arizona who is growing and selling Boswellia trees and they seem to do well in Southern California, Florida and parts of Arizona.

It’s too cold here in the Bay Area, but if I was back in New Mexico, I’d totally want to see if I could grow a Boswellia tree.




The Boswellia tree




Cuts are make into the trunk of the Boswellia tree to encourage the flow of resin




Hardened frankincense, also called tears



All images from LookLex Encyclopaedia.

This week’s Theme Thursday is (appropriately enough): gift