Government Efficiency

Recently I got a letter from a court with an update on a legal matter. Problem is, the letter is referencing events that occurred two months ago. And to top it off, it appears that I actually paid more to the court then I had to and in order to get the extra money back my attorney might have to file a petition.  The letter stated that if I had a question, that I was not allowed to call, but rather I had to write and send a letter in the mail. How’s that for customer service? In the 21st century with online technology, cell phones, emails, and text messages the idea of being notified of something two months late is preposterous.   There’s a simple explanation – it’s the government and it has no competition, no customers and no reason to innovate because no one will put it out of business, unfortunately.

Contrast that with my bank. On a recent trip out of the country I used my debit card to pay for a guided tour.  My bank, noticing that I had made a purchase outside the USA, sent me a text message to notify me of the fact that my debit card had been charged and then requested that I verify the transaction. It took me all of three seconds and my bank knew that I was alive and well and in control of my debit card. Now that is efficiency.

Like many people I have an iPhone and my minutes and data are provided by AT&T. I can login to my AT&T account and see how many minutes I have used and how many more minutes I have to go before I would get charged an extra fee. The same thing applies to my data usage. Instant, real-time information.

You couldn’t have a more stark contrast. Up-to-the-minute information available as needed on demand vs. getting a letter in the mail with information that’s two months old, and cryptic at that.What amazes me, is that some people think that government can run healthcare better than private organizations. Sadly, it appears that they may get their wish. The problem is  that when government, which has no competition, no customers, no incentive to change or improvise or innovate is the one making health care decisions for 360 million people – it’s going to be nothing but an absolute nightmare.  On the other hand, it might be kind of fun to watch the shock people are going to have when health care is as efficient as the legal system……

Celebrities Do Politics

Sorry, but I just can’t take it.  I don’t really like to post about politics but at some point you hear something that just demands a response.

Charlie Sheen should stick to acting. Today he called himself  a “Constitutional Republican” – as if there was any such thing. The idea of a Constitutional Republican is a textbook definition of an oxymoron – something we all learned about in 10th grade English. The Constitution enshrines human freedom and limits the federal government to specific tasks intended to protect those freedoms.  Those freedoms include being able to put into your body what you want and having control over the most intimate decisions in your life. It also includes being able to engage in peaceful commerce with anyone that you want to, regardless of where they were born or where they live.   You won’t find a Republican, at least not one that elected to federal office, that believes or supports anything like those simple concepts. All you have to do is look back a few weeks to our current president’s attempt to take baby steps to normalize relations with Cuba. Republicans want none of it. They are very happy to punish regular people people, who just happened to have the misfortune of being born in Cuba, in order to fulfill some kind of political fantasy. Do they really believe that if the US government just keeps applying a de facto blockade of Cuba another day or two that the Castro brothers will disappear and Cuba will become a constitutional republic? I believe it was Aerosmith that said “Dream on”. But realism or taking into account the economic condition of real human beings – again those who happened to have been born in Cuba – is not part of the current Republican concept of governance. Nor is the idea that you and I ought to be able to decide for ourselves what we eat or put into our body. Every Republican supports the DEA and its war to punish and imprison people who get caught with a little bag of leaves or powder on them.   Never mind that the war on drugs has resulted in grenades being thrown into babies cribs or children being hit in the head with rifles – such things are immaterial to Republican thinking. The Republican attorneys general of Oklahoma and Nebraska are even suing Colorado because the citizens of Colorado voted to legalize marijuana! And I thought Republicans were in favor of states rights, limited government, personal freedom and individual responsibility??!!   What a pathetic joke. They would rather blow holes in infant’s chests then let people decide for themselves what they can smoke. Could anyone describe a person holding such an opinion as a “freedom lover”??  It is utter nonsense. Republicans are no more in favor of freedom than Fidel Castro is. At least Fidel tells you where he stands. Although I despise communism, socialism, fascism or any other philosophy that exults the state over the individual, at least Fidel is honest about what he believes and why. I’d rather deal with an honest communist than a lying Republican – at least one of them is willing to tell you what he really thinks. The other one will argue until he is blue in the face about beliefs and concepts that he either doesn’t understand or doesn’t believe in.

My advice to Mr. Sheen: Don’t quit your day job. Oh, and when you get a minute – read the Constitution and tell me where you find the war on drugs, a military that conducts operations in nearly half of the countries on the planet and the authority to collect and store the private communications and banking transactions of every American, possibly every soul on the planet. You will find those things easily enough in the speeches and votes of our elected Republicans.  I have yet to find any of them in the Constitution. Until you can locate these things in the Constitution, decide if you will be a supporter of the Constitution or a supporter of the Republican Party. You can’t be both.

Pictures From Antigua

My son and I had the opportunity to go to Antigua in January 2015. It was the first trip to Antigua for Sam Junior, but I have been there three or four times in the past. It was beautiful, stunning and relaxing as always. We stayed at the Jolly Beach resort and had the opportunity to take a couple of boat rides. One of these boat rides took us all the way around the island over the course of a day.

 

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Lake Chelan 2014

It is no secret that Lake Chelan in Washington state is one of my favorite places in the world. For those of you not familiar with it, Lake Chelan is a natural lake, not like the reservoirs in Texas that are man-made, in Washington state that is 50 miles long in the mountains of Western Washington. It is one of the clearest, cleanest and deepest lakes in the US, if not the world. I have been privileged to spend a lot of time at the lake. There are many recreational activities that are generally associated with large bodies of water such as boating, to being, water skiing, canoeing, paddle boarding etc. But it is also a very beautiful place to hike. There are many trails that go into the mountains that are excellent places to fish and enjoy the mountains and other lakes as well. One of those lakes is called Domke Lake.  It is a small lake possibly a mile long by about half a mile wide. But it is nestled into a valley in the mountains and so it is exceptionally clear and clean. There is a town at the head of the lake called Stehekin.  It’s a small town boasting a year-round population of approximately 70 people. I’m not sure I would want to spend a summer in Stehekin, but it’s a magnificent place to spend a few days. There are trails, rivers, Rainbow Falls, which is a magnificent 300+ foot waterfall and a hometown bakery with ice cream, fresh pastries and homemade pies.  For a weekend excursion it’s certainly second to none.

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Manager’s traits that Sam Congdon has

For someone to be a manager or a chief executive officer, it means managing and dealing with people and other resources so that the business can succeed. To be a successful manager, there are some traits that one should have. Sam Congdon has spent his life during college and after collage managing business. Below are some of the traits that he portrays.

Time management

Managing requires being in charge of so many responsibilities in the business. Time is valuable in business. A successful manager knows this and manages the time appropriately. This should allow time to run the business and to leave time for family and other interests. Sam Congdon must be a great manager of time as shown in his balancing of business, family and fun. He is able to achieve the goals of the business.

Delegates effectively

The managers delegate work ensuring that they empower the employees and they help them to grow and not just dumping work on them. This way, the staff can improve their job skills. This can be seen on Sam Congdon painting work where he had to train and support employees. As the general manager, he helped other managers achieve success on the summer job. It is also evident that he supports the employees on other management jobs because of the success they achieve. A manager cannot succeed without the input of employees and should therefore create time for them.

Understands motivational triggers of other people

Managing people is a challenging task. For a manager to succeed, he or she needs to understand what motivates other people in his team. This can be used to improve productivity of the employees. For instance, when Sam was managing other managers he realized that a particular manager had no goals and therefore would not be motivated to do extra work for more money.

Excellent interpersonal skills

Managing can be very difficult if the manager does not know how to relate with people. To manage means networking with people and public relations. This ensures that employees are doing their work as required. The manager should know how to inspire team members by being an example.

Consistency

Managers should be consistent in their roles in order to succeed. They should use their energy in the right things because success does not come in doing something once, but in doing it repeatedly. This is one skill that Sam Cangdon has that enables him to succeed in the businesses. If the role is to develop a marketing strategy, this should be done often and not just once a year with the rest of the time being spent saying that the sales are low.

Getting out of comfort zone

The business world keeps changing. A manager who wants success should adopt these changes instead of holding on to the old ways. This may require moving out of comfort zone and taking the challenge head on. For instance, in the current age, businesses need to be automated. A manager should not let a business remain un automated simply because of fear of computers. Sam Congdon ensures that the businesses that he runs are automated to keep up with the changes.

Traits of a successful person that Sam Congdon could identify with

Success is not for everybody and those who have it feature some similar traits. Sam Congdon has his share of successes and can sure identify with some of the traits of successful people.

Hard working

Success does not come by luck. It is achieved through hard work something that successful people know. Most successful people start from the bottom and work their way up. Sam Congdon learned the fruits of hard work when in the farm as a young boy. He has used these lessons to build success in his life. He continued working hard in college and on the Student Works Painting, something that bore fruits because he graduated with a degree and ended up managing other managers.

Eager to learn and curious

Successful people study and learn new things all the time. They find out more information about everything. Sam could not have been a manager had he been afraid of learning new things. When he first started in the painting job, he knew nothing about it and he was willing to learn. His later jobs in managing hotels also required him to learn how they operate to enable him to manage them successfully and to automate.

Never quits and improves themselves

Successful people are constantly working on their lives in areas such as personality, management skills and leadership skills and on other areas of their lives. They fix flaws instead of tolerating them. Sam Congdon did not quit when the first summer job proved difficult, he did not quit when he was to manage managers that were undeserving of their jobs. He improved his management skills by taking a second degree and he continues to work on himself to be a better person.

Responsible and self-reliant

Those who take responsibility for their decisions without putting the blame on others achieve success. They do not complain but they move on. They take initiative and assume the responsibilities of success.

Sam has had to be responsible for the success of the business that he runs. He makes the decisions and does not complain or blame things on other people. This was seen when he was running the Compass services business that he had to lift to success so that it could be sold. He has also successfully managed the hotels to profitability by being the one responsible of the operations and the major aspects of the business.

 Creative

Success comes to these who question status quo and see the consistent things that they can change. They look for opportunities and possibilities, innovate and create things. They change the world. They do not accept things as they are. This can be seen in Sam’s ability to see the opportunities in Puerto Rico and to establish the hotel, something that brought with it other opportunities of running another hotel to success.

Not everyone is successful, simply because people are different and they view things differently. Successful people have similar characteristics or traits that are not in those who do not succeed. The list is not exhaustive because there are other qualities of successful people such as being relaxed no matter the situation, responding quickly and living in the present.

Successes and abilities of Sam Congdon

Many people aspire to be successful, but only few people manage to become that. Sam Congdon has many successes under his sleeves in areas such as owning and managing a successful hotel, running unprofitable businesses to profitability and managing Student works painting into profitability among other responsibilities.

Success is not only measured in business but also in other areas of a person’s life. In this case Sam is a successful family man who has a wife and a son. According to him, this has brought a lot of joy into his life and he values each moment he spends with his family.

He has maintained a balanced life such that he also gets time to travel and see places in addition to keeping fit. This shows that a successful person is not the one who stays in the office at all times without taking a break. To be a better manager of people and resources, one needs to have a balance. This is where you find that people without balance focus on success in making money, forgetting that they need an all balanced life. They are tucked in the office, in business travels and meetings, forgetting that they have a soul, a body and a family to take care of. Some do not have a social life because they have no time for it. This is something that Sam Congdon has realized and decided to combine his success in business and success in other areas in his life.

To achieve his business successes, he has applied his business running abilities that he has acquired over time. He has had a large variety of experiences that have helped him to build his abilities and skills, some of which he started learning as a young boy in the farm.

Strengths and abilities

Sam Congdon has had many business successes. To achieve this, he has used his strengths and abilities. These include being a successful CEO who has managed entire enterprises successfully by being responsible for profits and losses, human resources, marketing and selling, operations and human resources.

He is also good at managing people where he takes part in effectively recruiting, training, managing and motivating employees. His abilities include forecasting and budgeting where he creates revenue and budget forecasts, which he later achieves. He also possesses excellent communication skills, which he uses to speak and write intelligently, persuasively and effectively.

Nowadays, businesses cannot run successfully and efficiently without automation. Sam Congdon applies his skills in software to conceive and implement software solutions in automating business processes. He also studies business processes and determines how to automate or eliminate its steps and costs.

Success is measured, not just by how much wealth a person has accumulated, but also by the other successful aspects of his life. Sam’s success in business is complemented by success on other aspects of his life. He can find time to play ultimatum Frisbee, jump in water in Lake Chelan, feed giraffes in Fossil rim and still find time to run businesses to success while not neglecting his family.