The debate of divergent ideas consumes the airwaves. It streams across the Internet in a multitude of bits and bytes; and it populates the pages of the print media. Most important, it occupies the time, energy, and resources of our leaders. So how is the debate working so far? Are you seeing results? The absence of respect – for the process, the opposition, and the people being governed – is a prime culprit in our failure to act and deliver results.
Southwest Airlines faced a dilemma early in its operation—a cash shortage was forcing it to sell one of its four airplanes. The implications are obvious—selling the airplane generates cash for operations and cuts capacity to generate future revenue. Government leaders are facing their version of this challenge in budget meetings across the country. Should we raise taxes and fees in a difficult economy, or do we cut services at a time when they may be needed most?
Public employee unions could significantly increase their chances for voter support by taking the lead – or at least working together with their opponents – on the following actions: 1. Take strikes, work stoppages, and slowdowns off the table. The public has a right to expect that its public agencies continue to function even if there is a disagreement over terms of the contract. In return for this, public employee unions should receive the right for expedited arbitration over violations of the contract.
The standoff between Republican elected officials and their Democratic colleagues over the roll and scope of collective bargaining with public sector unions has escalated to the point where rhetoric has overtaken reason. So let’s look at what this means and why public sector unions could become extinct.
Fourteen senators leave the state. 60,000 plus show up to demonstrate. And, the next thing you know there’s a national debate on the role of public employee unions in the state budget crisis occurring throughout the country. Those who support the unions see this as a not-so-veiled attempt to alter the essence of collective bargaining and limit the people’s right to protest. Union members see it as a fundamental challenge to their right to organize, and in some cases, a violation of their contract. The union leadership no doubt sees it as payback for supporting Democratic and pro-labor candidates. Those who support the various initiatives view this as a much needed step to reign in spending that is out of control. They view unions as – at worst - the enemy that have secured salary and benefits that are unavailable to them as private sector employees. “Why should government employees experience no pain when they are out of work,” they ask. There are probably even Republicans who view this as the perfect opportunity to weaken a political opponent. The problem with perceptions is that it only takes one act to prove you are right. As the saying goes, “All Indians walk in single file. I know that to be true because the one I saw was doing it that way.”
You may not think of Wisconsin as the epicenter of the labor movement. And yet, thousands of protestors converged on the Wisconsin state house in Madison. So let’s look at who’s wrong, who’s right, and what’s right as the battle over the Wisconsin budget crisis plays out.
Every crisis presents us with an opportunity to lead or shirk from service. It either paralyzes us from moving forward, or it pushes us to take action. Here are five actions you can take to lead your organization or team through tough times:
Training & Development Magazine ran a great article in its December 2010 issue titled "2010: Six Trends That Will Change Workplace Learning Forever." The first trend identified was the problem with leadership. Specifically, the article said that “consumers had a low perception of leaders and very little trust in corporate America.” The article makes an excellent case for teaching leaders how to act with integrity ... and then it bailed out.
The tradition of New Year’s resolutions dates back more than 4,000 years to the ancient Babylonians. Even then people were failing to turn intention into action. Very few of the good intentions professed as a New Year’s Resolution will ever come to fruition. The goals are noble, but the choices are wrong. For 2011, consider forgetting your typical resolutions and make this the year of better choices.
Your best employees are contemplating quitting. Some of them already have. Increased turnover always occurs after a recession. Pent up demand for new talent combines with pent up desire for something better, and the people with the best skills – your star employees – start listening to the offers for more money and opportunity. Are you vulnerable? Chances are the answer is yes if you are guilty of any of the following: