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31 Jul



Marine Corps Marathon, Training Tips

July 31, 2007 | By | 2 Comments


Your Business Blogger and me

running the Richmond Marathon We are training for our third marathon. And this year The Dreamer will be able to join us.

She has done a triathlon, so she knows training and preparation and, well, pain, I think. A child’s pain, is always more painful to parent than child.

Which makes this marathon doubly painful. I got mine. I got hers.

Jack is a pain…sometimes. And sometimes not.

So we have the hurts and the runners’ high at the same time. Highs and Lows. Contradictions.

Except I’m not sure just how much pain she’s in. The Dreamer has not been running for a decade yet. (One track coach said she had natural talent. The only thing her parents could do was mess her up…) At the track, she laps her parents with ease.

So we don’t really know her pain level, but we do know ours. And knowing the pain will be a-coming, the hardest part is getting started. We are using the Jeff Galloway training program and he has advice for GETTING STARTED,

Those who run for 20 years or more tend to have the following things in common:

They enjoy most of the miles of almost every run.

They take extra days off from running to recover from aches, pains and burnout.

They don’t let goals (and training schedules) interfere with running enjoyment.

Or any of life’s enjoyments. With all of its contradictions:

Life is solidary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.


Life is Good.

On our New Balance we’ve had more of the latter than the former.


Thank you (foot)notes:

This is an unpaid advertisement/endorsement – From Running Getting Started by Jeff Galloway.

Nasty, Brutish and Short is not a law firm. But there is a very good blog Nasty, Brutish & Short, Penned by legal counsel, of course. Jack and I share a passion for ellipitcals with the lawyer at NBS. Both the trainers and reasoning, I guess.

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Three Duties of a Mentor

August 14, 2006 | By | One Comment


Jesse Brown A mentor, like a good Board of Directors, offers the CEO (that would be you, the mentee) three talents:




Black Belt Productivity reminds us that,

The word “Mentor” originally comes from Homer’s epic The Odyssey. When Odysseus went to fight in the Trojan War, he handed the reigns of his kingdom to Mentor. One of Mentor’s most important duties was to oversee the education of the king’s son, Telemachus.

So what does this education look like in today’s business climate? How can you help your mentor help you?

A seasoned mentor has a fat rolodex (whatever that is) and an extensive list of contacts and links in the good ol’ boy network. A phone call or two and the best mentors can introduce you to anyone, anywhere you need. If an advisor won’t open his data base — he is not a mentor. I’ve dealt with this; the non performing mentor, as you will also someday. Don’t bother to train. Leave.

A wise old man, an experienced guide makes the best teacher. I like my mentors old and gray and grizzled. If your company or personal data-base doesn’t have one of these, go buy yourself one. Warning: They are frightfully expensive, if purchased on the open market. Try exchanging favors in your warm body network. For example, one of my mentors served on the Board of Avis in its early days. His advice was so good, I married his daughter. What a deal. Now I get free consulting.

Access to capital is a necessary trait for a board member — especially a start-up. But a mentor doesn’t necessarily mean money; a direct cash transfer. What a competent mentor does is to guide the mentee on the strategies on how to get bigger bucks: How to earn W-2 $’s. And how to negotiate the office politics to get a bigger budget to advance your agenda within your company.

Your Business Blogger has been blessed with a number on mentors and advisors over the decades; some were paid, most not.

One of my all-time favorite mentors was Jesse Brown.

Jesse Brown, passed away 15 August four years ago. He was my friend and business partner. He was only 58. I dedicated my inaugural post on Labor Day 2005 to honor his memory and his work.

He was wounded by enemy fire in Vietnam leaving his right arm and hand partially paralyzed. This never slowed him down. A Marine who knew how to make a buck.

I once asked him when he was at the pinnacle of his career what drove him to work so hard. Money, I thought; status, celebrity? No. “I just want to help my friends,” he said.

His passion for service helped him become the Veteran’s Affairs Secretary for Bill Clinton.

And yet he helped me, a nobody who worked for a Republican governor.

Jesse is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, not far from my dad. Two warriors to whom I owe so much.

Semper Fidelis


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Thank you (foot)notes:

See Reasoned Audacity for more on the Arlington National Cemetery.

09 May



Job Interview: 3 Questions for Your Prospective Boss

May 9, 2006 | By | 4 Comments

In your job search you are prepared to answer many questions.

But there are questions you should be prepared to ask. Questions for your possible new boss. And not just the trite and true, “Tell Me How You Came To XYZ Corp.” My questions are to (dis)qualify him. You may not want to work for him. And if you really, really need the job, you at least won’t be blind-sided.

1) Love. Does he love me? I was humbled to have Jesse Brown, the former Veteran’s Administration Secretary for Bill Clinton, as a business partner.

“Does he love me?” was Jesse’s one rule for taking on a new client or a new job. “If the love’s there, all else will fall in.” Look for; get the feel for the love. Yes, yes, I know it’s an emotion. But so is misery. Look for the love.


The Honorable

Jesse BrownJesse was an honorary campaign manager for the Al Gore presidential race. Which meant he was a $100K contributor. And could have any job he wanted. So I asked him why he gave the money, he wasn’t going to take a position in a new administration. “I wanted to help my friends get jobs.” He didn’t need anything for himself; he sincerely wanted to help others. Including me. And no, I was not about to take any Gore job. Please. But he could have made it happen.

2) Strategy. What would you do if you hit the lottery? Or the IPO is successful, the rich uncle dies. What would your potential boss do if he had a sudden windfall of piles of cash? I asked that in a job interview and was surprised. The hiring manager leaned back, and with a far away look in his eye talked about opening up a marina. His big dream. His big dream was not in that building and I wasn’t a part of it. I didn’t feel the love.


JJ Abrams with Tom Cruise

Credit: Stephen VaughanThe right answer is seen in JJ Abrams, the director of Mission Impossible III with Tom Cruise. He was recently asked what he did with all his money and about his work,

Next up for Abrams is a “Star Trek” movie, now in pre-production, which will unleash his inner geek as never before. He’ll also be working on “Lost,” trying to ensure the show doesn’t splinter into so many directions that it chokes on itself or stops moving.

There’s not a lot of talk from him about downtime.

Asked if he has any plans for his money, he seems confused.

“What money?”

You know, the money you get paid for all this incredibly lucrative work.

He thinks for a moment, then tilts his head and points to his locks.

“Hair care,” he says.

The reporter’s question was met with a joke. JJ Abrams really didn’t think about the money, didn’t think about the stuff it could buy. Or taking long vacations. He was consumed with his passion of making movies. The Love.

If you had the wealth of Solomon you should be doing exactly what you are doing now. The right answer from your potential manager is, “If I struck oil in my front yard, I’d still be doing what I’m doing now.” And he is really saying, “I love it here and so will you.”

3) Tactics. What classes are you taking now? Continuous learning is, well, continuous. Life-long-learning is the hallmark of leaders.


Benjamin Franklin“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest,” said Benjamin Franklin. An outstanding prospective boss is reading a compelling book, just finished a seminar on international business etiquette, or studied parallels on initiative between business units and military units for a board presentation.

Education and continuous improvement is the one thing every boss should care about.

I was surprised to learn this.

Your Business Blogger once acted as the COO of a Fortune 350 size organization. In my first meeting with the human resource directors, I asked them what was the one thing our employees wanted.

I thought it would be more money. More time off. Vacations days. Sick leave. The typical union demands.

Nope. The nine HR professionals, who happened to all be women said, unanimously, education. More budget and time for improving knowlege, skills and abilities. More opportunities for studies and credentials. (Then they’d clamor for increased pay based on increased efficiency. Clever buggers.)

So we opened attendance for adult education programs at local universities and community colleges. And squeezed out budgets for fancy business consultants to teach advanced management skills. Everyone was happy. Our employee retention rate improved.

If your new manager doesn’t care about adult education for himself, he won’t care about it for you.

So you are now armed with three qualifying questions to test your next boss. Or try them on your current boss if you are looking for an excuse to leave. But get a new job first.

And let me know how it goes.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Jesse Brown passed away almost 4 years ago. I still miss him. My inaugural post was dedicated to him.

Basil’s Blog has a Picnic.

Mudville Gazette has Open Post.

03 May



The Business of the NFL: Growing a Customer Base

May 3, 2006 | By | 3 Comments


Coach Will Lee

giving a life lesson We were anticipating watching the National Football League draft. Then THE CALL comes. From the NFL. They want The Dude. Charmaine and I were ecstatic!

And relieved. I had already spent his signing bonus.

But I wasn’t expecting THE CALL so soon. The Dude’s only eleven.


Junior Player DevelopmentThey suggested The Dude come out for something called Junior Player Development. JPD. Sponsored by the NFL. For kids about to enter junior high school.

No signing bonus.

The program is designed to get the young people ready for life. But it gets me ready for football. With my boys.

Lifetime customers. For the NFL. And everyone wins.


Warm up drills;

emphasis on discipline There are 160 young players at the Laurel, Maryland site. Notice the individual player bags in the background. Dress/Right/Dress. In a straight line. A Drill Sergeant would be proud.


The Dude on the field The 21 coaches at this site take this seriously. And so does the NFL. Each coach goes through an extensive background check and 60 hours of training.

The JPD football camp is a three week program. At no cost. All equipment is provided at no cost. Retail price on a comparable camp would range from 600 to 1,000 dollars. An NFL investment. In the kids’ character.

My guess is that the NFL does not want to become anything like the NBA.


Motivational cardsThe NFL learning points are handed out to each player as a take away.

The NFL pro’s are, well, pro’s. They have outlined

The 7 Guiding Principles of NFL Youth Programs. Adults should use them. Businesses should use them,

1. Make It Fun This is the primary objective and cornerstone of the entire philosophy.

2. Limit Standing Around Many professional coaches put a major emphasis on fast paced and interactive practices that eliminate downtime.

3. Everyone Plays Football at the youth level should be an inclusive experience.

4. Teach Every Position To Every Participant Don’t pigeonhole kids in one particular position because of their physical size and/or ability.

5. Emphasize The Fundamentals Build a foundation that will never crack by properly teaching the basics.

6. Incorporate A Progression Of Skill Development For Every Participant Regardless of a player’s skill level, it is your responsibility as a youth football coach to teach every kid on your team.

7.Yell Encouragement, Whisper Constructive Criticism Keep it positive. As a youth football coach you should never tolerate negative comments from your players, parents, coaching staff.


Coach Will begins and ends each

practice with a life lessonCoach William E. Lee is the site manager. He’s worked with the NFL’s JPD for seven years. He tells the young athletes, “My life is your life.” The youngsters know the coaches care. Coach Will emphasizes obedience to make “A good impression of who you are.”

This isn’t that feel-good self-esteem nonsense taught in some public schools.

These kids are knocking the snot out of each other.

And when the helmets crash, you should hear the yelling and whooping. From the parents.

There is hope for America yet. Coach Will and the NFL and the kids. God Bless them.

So we didn’t get drafted and didn’t get the big money. But our boy is getting character development — something better that will last for generations to come…

…I’m still getting an agent.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

For more on youth football, see Winning With Your Heart. And visit Laurel Hurricanes Maryland State Champions.

Looking for a cool web site’s navigation to copy? Visit the NFL. Even if you don’t like football as content, you’ll like everything else.

More at the jump.

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A Wise Old Man: Henry Hyde

April 29, 2006 | By | No Comments


Henry Hyde “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is asked of children. And adults.

As for Your Business Blogger? When I grow up? I want to be a Wise Old Man.

Just like Henry Hyde. (He’s made fewer mistakes than me.)

Charmaine and Your Business Blogger saw Congressman Hyde again at a DC event this week at the Willard. He was being honored by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC).

Hyde, the 82-year old Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is a warhorse who sometimes bucked his own party.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council wrote,

When he first introduced his amendment to cut off federal funding of almost all abortions in the immediate aftermath of Roe v. Wade, it seemed to many people in the political world that abortion was “settled law.” Both Houses of Congress were firmly in the hands of liberals who supported abortion. Even the Republican Ford administration had decided that the federal government should pay for abortions–because the Supreme Court had ruled them legal.

Henry Hyde would rather be right than be popular.

Maybe life isn’t like high school.

Henry Hyde does what we all want to do: Make a difference.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Be sure to sign up for the Family Research Council email newsletter.

More on NRLC at the jump.

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13 Apr



Illegal Interview Question: Are You a US Citizen?

April 13, 2006 | By | 4 Comments


Hire the Best People,

but don’t get sued

The law is an *ss — an idiot…

Charles Dickens

Your Business Blogger once ran the Human Resource function for a 14,000 employee enterprise. The boss demanded, “Get the best talent!”

And don’t get sued. It was like playing defense. You can’t win it, but you can lose it.

Anyway, when interviewing job candidates, a series of trick questions are necessary to:

1) Get answers and

2) Stay within the Law

Sometimes mutually exclusive, because the law is, well, an *ss.

So. During the interview, I would say, not ask, to the job candidate,

“That is a beautiful ring [on the third finger on the left hand]…”

“I have the five best kids on the planet…”

“I love California! I was born in San Diego…”

“I’ve been married to Charmaine for 16 years this May…”

This work is best left to your anti-personnel, personnel department. The HR professionals have become as vital as lawyers. And can kill a contact or contract even faster.

Here’s more from our friends at,

Illegal: Are you a U.S. citizen? Where were you or your parents born?

Legal: Are you authorized to work in the United States? What other languages do you speak? This question is okay as long as it relates to the job you are interviewing for.

Illegal: How old are you? When is your birthday?

Legal: Are you over 18 years of age? Again, this question is considered legal if it relates to the job.

Illegal: What’s your marital status? Who do you live with? Do you plan to have a family? How many kids do you have? Do you have childcare arrangements?

Legal: Travel is an important part of the job, would you be willing to travel as needed?

Illegal: Do you belong to any clubs? What are your affiliations?

Legal: Do you belong to any professional trade organizations that you consider relevant to your ability to perform this job?

Illegal: How tall are you? How much do you weigh?

Legal: Are you able to lift a 50 lb weight and carry it more than 100 yards for this job?

Illegal: Do you have any disabilities? Have you had any recent or past illnesses or operations? If so, please list the dates of these operations.

Legal: Are you able to perform the essential functions of this job with or without reasonable accommodations?

Illegal: Have you ever been arrested?

Legal: Have you ever been convicted of a crime? The crime in question should be related to the performance of the job in question.

Illegal: If you’ve been in the military, were you honorably discharged?

Legal: What type of training or education did you receive in the military?

And this is why you will never hear back from a company about why you didn’t didn’t get that job. It is rude. But it’s not personal. It’s personnel, and

It’s the Law. It has made us all *sses.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Photo credit US Navy.

And this is why managers are socio-paths.

Basil’s Blog has a picnic.

Mudville has Open Post.

Mark Your Calendar for Best Friends and Best Men

February 20, 2006 | By | No Comments

best_friends_rock_and _roll_DinerGraphic.jpg

You are invited!


Three Dog NightYou are invited to Washington DC’s hottest rock and roll party.

The Best Friends Foundation presents

“Do You Remember When

Rock Was Young?”

6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 4, 2006

Marriott Wardman Park Hotel

2660 Woodley Road, NW, Washington, DC 20008

Featuring live performances by:

Three Dog Night:

Joy to the World,

Mama Told Me

Sister Sledge

with lead singer Kathy Sledge

We Are Family

Don’t miss this fun night of great music, great food

and great company which benefits the girls and boys

in the Best Friends and Best Men programs.

No speeches, no auctions. Just come dressed to dance!!

Proceeds from this annual event are the primary source

of funds for the Foundation’s elementary and middle school

Best Friends and Best Men programs and the high school

Diamond Girls Leadership and Best Men Leadership programs.


Sister Sledge with lead

singer Kathy SledgeSecretary of State Colin Powell says:

I always present the Best Friends program as one of the answers to the problems we have in our society…it is a winner, and I know that many more communities will be embracing it.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Read more about Best Friends at the jump.

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