Go for the Gold

“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”  George Burns  Whenever my dad decided something, you could pretty much guarantee that he would not change his mind. He was stubborn, to put it mildly.  I remember an opportunity that arose when he was about 85 years old requiring him to modify his thinking – just a tad – to try something new that would make a huge difference in his life. He would have nothing to do with making a change.  One day when visiting him, … [Read more...]

Just One Person

“Life is one indivisible whole.”   Mahatma Gandhi It’s not the first time to get a splinter in my finger. I am working on a project at the street level of our multi-level condo at Orange Beach.  Being downstairs means a needle is not readily available. Since it is just a small inconvenience, I continue on with my work.  Not a good decision. Every time I grab a tool, I feel the irritation. Even when I feel no pain, I find myself thinking about this annoyance.   I make a conscious effort to not … [Read more...]

Routines Are Not Routine

“It’s not the will to win that matters – everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”  Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant Have you ever noticed the routines that golf professionals go through as they get ready to make a shot?  There are a number of common steps that most pros will perform. Checking with the caddy for distance to the hole, paying attention to current wind speed, and identifying hazards, are some of these elements. While steps in these routines are common among the … [Read more...]

The Non-Electronic Man

“The human spirit must prevail over technology.”  ~ Albert Einstein Do you ever wonder if something is missing in this electronic world?  What did we do before now?  Actually, I grew up during a time when it was very different. Today, changes are rapid; we see a new world every few years. Even the speed of change is becoming faster.  I have a friend, Sammy Wilder, who works in sales and does not use the internet.  You can email something to his office where an administrative employee will … [Read more...]

There No Longer are Any Secrets

“What you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say.”   Ralph Waldo Emerson Today I am reading an advertisement in the newspaper about a home management system, available at Lowe’s, that works using your smart phone. It provides home security and a lot more. You can use the system to lock or unlock doors, control temperature settings and record and watch video when an alarm is tripped. It is truly amazing what a person can do with a smart phone in today’s world. I turn on … [Read more...]

We Build Great Ships

“The worst crime against working people is a company which fails to operate at a profit.” ~ Samuel Gompers In the early years of Hackbarth Delivery Service, the company that my wife, Carol, and I founded, we are the first drivers making deliveries. Bayou la Batre, a small town in south Alabama, is one of the destinations for some of those shipments. This quaint seacoast community is home to shrimpers, boat builders and companies that provide coastal services. On this particular day, I am … [Read more...]

First Figure out the ‘Why’

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born . . . and the day you find out why.”    Mark Twain “Just one thing,” was the reply of the boss of the cattle drive.  He was answering the question he had posed to the cowhand.   This pivotal scene came from the movie, City Slickers.  Actor Jack Palance played the boss and Billy Crystal played the city slicker, who was now a cowhand on a vacation that provided a real experience of a cattle drive. The question he had posed was, … [Read more...]

PAUSE . . .

It is a dark night. My cousin and I are driving in our hometown, Birmingham, Alabama.  We are cruising along in the downtown area where Interstate I-65 is being built. There are lots of cones, signs and equipment, typical at a major construction site involving a federally-funded highway. Somehow, we have lost our way and the next thing I know, we are on that Interstate yet to be open for traffic.  I am not thinking about whether or not the road is open, or that in this particular area it is … [Read more...]

A Short Course in Effective Measurement

Measure what is Important. You lose credibility if you select little things that do not matter, or, fail to choose those that do matter. Use an Objective System. People will know if you are unfair. Unfairness promotes sabotage, which can be as subtle as just not working as hard as possible. Be Time Efficient. Use tests that take the least amount of time while still being effective. Be Cost Efficient. The cost of the test should be small compared to the cost of performing the task being … [Read more...]

The Female Advantage

I grew up surrounded by women. I had three sisters and no brothers. I remember in the second grade one night preparing for my reading assignment in class next day. Brenda, my oldest sister, was listening to my practice. She said, "Robert, whenever you have an exclamation point, you should add excitement and passion in your voice. That's why you have an exclamation point." When she said this, I got it immediately. In class next day, I read like I have never read before in my life. The … [Read more...]