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08 Nov



Donald Rumsfeld's Rules: Advice on Government, Business & Life

November 8, 2006 | By | 2 Comments

Be able to resign. It will improve your value to the president and do wonders for your performance,

One of Rumsfeld’s Rules.

Rumsfeld is resigning. He doesn’t know it, but he was one of my teachers.


Donald Rumsfeld and

Charmaine Yoest Your Business Blogger served a tour of duty in government years ago. Unlike most bureaucrats, I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t even pretend.

Not that anyone noticed anyway.

But when I was appointed, the first Rules I got from a friend were Rumsfeld’s. I kept them in a notebook and referred to them daily.

Rumsfeld’s Rules

Many of these rules, reflections and quotations came from my role as chairman of the “transition team” for President Ford and my service as White House chief of staff. Others came from experiences as a U.S. naval aviator, a member of Congress, ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, secretary of defense, presidential Middle East envoy, business executive, chairman of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Threat Commission,…Credit is given where known.

Serving in the White House

(for the White House chief of staff and senior staff)

Don’t accept the post or stay unless you have an understanding with the president that you’re free to tell him what you think “with the bark off” and you have the courage to do it.

Visit with your predecessors from previous administrations. They know the ropes and can help you see around some corners. Try to make original mistakes, rather than needlessly repeating theirs.

Don’t begin to think you’re the president. You’re not. The Constitution provides for only one.

Know that the immediate staff and others in the administration will assume that your manner, tone and tempo reflect the president’s.

I knew the following rule, and used it to confirm my usual dazed looked,

Learn to say “I don’t know.” If used when appropriate, it will be often.

Rumsfeld says that bad news doesn’t get better with age,

If you foul up, tell the president and correct it fast. Delay only compounds mistakes.

Read More

12 Oct



Media Alert: Center for Military Readiness on C-SPAN

October 12, 2006 | By | 2 Comments


The Center for Military Readiness is having our Eleventh Annual Celebration, this afternoon, Thursday, October 12, 2006 in Washington, D.C.

C-SPAN has confirmed to cover the event.

The Celebration will be held at the National Guard Association of the U.S. Building — Hall of the States, on

One Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington D.C. 2002, one block west of Union Station.


Elaine Donnelly, President, Center for Military Readiness, will preside. I will MC.

CMR Issues Briefing

4:00 PM — 5:45 PM

The CMR Issues Briefing panel will discuss the question Respect for Women: Where is the Military Taking Us?

In addition to CMR President Elaine Donnelly, guest panelists will include:

Kate O’Beirne Washington Editor of National Review, author of Women Who Make the World Worse, and former member of the 1992 Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces

Charles W. Gittins Noted attorney, USNA alumnus and former Marine naval flight officer and lecturer who has successfully defended many men who have been caught up in high-profile legal and cultural controversies at the service academies and in the military

Karin L. Agness Founder and President of the Network of enlightened Women (NeW), which helps female college students to confront radical feminists and liberals on fifteen college campuses. Ms. Agness is a Phi Beta Kappa member and student of law, University of Virginia.

CMR Celebration Reception 6:00 PM — 8:00 PM

2006 Honorees, 7:00 PM

“CMR Spotlight Award” Janet Parshall, Salem Radio Network

Ambassador Robert D. Stuart, Jr. of the Stuart Family Foundation


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Your Business Blogger is proud to serve as the Vice President of CMR. The Center for Military Readiness is an independent public policy organization that specializes in military personnel issues. Information about issues of concern to CMR can be seen on our website, More at the jump.

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Center For Military Readiness Issues Briefing, 12 October

October 5, 2006 | By | No Comments

Friends, be sure to attend

CMR’s Eleventh Annual Celebration

Thursday, 12 October 2006 in Washington, D.C.

The Military Is Not a Conservative Institution

It Is On the Cutting Edge of Liberal Social Change

Where Is the Military Taking Us Now?

Please join the Center for Military Readiness for our Eleventh Annual CMR Issues Briefing on October 12. We will explore the following questions and more:

Charges of sexual harassment or violence against women are in the headlines constantly. Is the military encouraging respect for women, or just the opposite?

Do female recruits know that rules regarding women in land combat have changed and put them at greater risk, or are not being observed at all?

Is violence against women OK — as long as it happens at the hands of the enemy?

Should the Defense Department give more money and power to professional “Victim Advocates” schooled in anti-male ideology?

Is it necessary to violate the due process rights of men in order to “protect” female “victims,” even with little or no evidence that a crime has been committed?

Are gender differences irrelevant, except when feminists demand special treatment or “Double Standards Involving Women (DSIW)?”

Are the military service academies going overboard in “sensitivity training” classes that excuse or ignore DSIW(Double Standards Involving Women)?

Do college-age women support feminist ideology and extreme demands for “equality,” even in direct ground combat?

Are feminist attitudes hurting social relationships between men and women?

Sixty-six servicewomen, an unprecedented number, have died in Afghanistan and Iraq. Is this a step forward for women, or a step backward for civilization?

Why is it so hard for some military officials to handle issues involving women?

For answers to these questions, and more, please join CMR on October 12


2006 CMR Celebration Events — 12 October 2006

CMR Issues Briefing: 4:00 PM — 5:45 PM

The CMR Issues Briefing panel will discuss the question “Respect for Women: Where is the Military Taking Us?” In addition to CMR President Elaine Donnelly, guest panelists include:

Kate O’Beirne Washington Editor of National Review, author of Women Who Make the World Worse, and former member of the 1992 Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces

Charles W. Gittins Noted attorney, USNA alumnus and former Marine naval flight officer and lecturer who has successfully defended many men who have been caught up in high-profile legal and cultural controversies at the service academies and in the military

Karin L. Agness Founder and President of the Network of enlightened Women (NeW), which helps female college students to confront radical feminists and liberals on seven college campuses. Ms. Agness is a Phi Beta Kappa member and student of law, University of Virginia.

CMR Celebration Reception: 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Following the Issues Briefing, CMR friends will gather for hors’doerves, “adult beverages” and good conversation. During the reception CMR will present the CMR Spotlight Award to popular Salem Radio Network personality Janet Parshall of Janet Parshall’s America, and recognize 2006 Honoree Robert D. Stuart Jr., of the Stuart Family Foundation.

We will also provide background on finalists for the Inaugural CMR Patsy Award, which will go to An Official Whom Feminists Have Used to Impose Their Policies on the Men and Women of the Military. There is a lot of competition, and you will want to be there to learn who the “winner” is.

Presented by: Elaine Donnelly, President

The Center for Military Readiness

What/Times: CMR Issues Briefing 4:00 PM — 5:45 PM

CMR Celebration Reception ($50 per person) 6:00 PM — 8:00 PM

Announcement: Inaugural Patsy Award 7:00 PM

Date: Thursday, October 12, 2006

Where: National Guard Association of the U.S. Building — Hall of the States

One Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington D.C. 20002

Contact: Please RSVP to me

Contributions to CMR are tax-deductible.

There is no charge for the Issues Briefing, but the reception immediately following is $50 per person. Please RSVP by return e-mail to me, Jack Yoest, at, or make your tax-deductible contribution.

Even if you cannot attend, please consider becoming a member of the Host Committee by sending a generous tax-deductible contribution as follows: Benefactor, $2,500 or more; Patron, $1,000; Sponsor, $500; Friend, $250; Host, $150. All Host Committee names will be published in the event program and CMR Notes.

This is our main fundraising event for the year, and we hope to make it the best ever.

Thank you for your help — We hope to see you on October 12!


19 Sep



The FireDrill: Practice Success to Avoid Failure

September 19, 2006 | By | 4 Comments


The Diva

and Dancer at the

Air Force Academy Not long ago Your Business Blogger was advising a boss on a product roll out. His team had never done anything quite as large. I suggested a ‘FireDrill.’

It consists of three parts:

1) FireDrill; The plan

2) The Drill, and

3) The Fire

The Plan is a checklist, The Fire is the execution, But The Drill, the practice is the toughest. Because teams need dry runs to learn because things will always, always go wrong. Your team will gain wisdom and judgment through simulation. And learn. Today, permit me to be Your Drill Instructor. And learn how I was surprised by a pilot project.


The F-14 Tomcat

Your (Army) Business Blogger had no business in the cockpit. My instructor was a Vietnam vet with MigKlr license plates on his truck.

He said the F-14 was a “Man’s Plane.” He sounded sexist. He explained that the old-generation hydraulics required real strength — after a couple of hours, even the manliest studs needed two hands on the stick.

No place for girls.

Or so I thought.

But I was wrong, again.

I bring the Five-kid Penta-Posse to Oceana Naval Air Station to show them how macho military men (like their father) defeated Communism.

We get invited to some F-14 training. I climb in the simulator. No photography is permitted. And a good thing, too.

The instructor guides me through the take- off and some maneuvers. The room spins. The world spins.

And nobody was shooting at me. Although lots of people were yelling at me…

Time to bring the baby home. I turn. Lots more yelling. It might have been me.

The world freezes, the screen freezes. At a funny angle. In Real Life it would have been a $38 million mistake and DNA remains of Your Business Blogger.

My instructor: “Success. You did great!”

Me: ?

My instructor: “The seat is dry.”

Me: ?

My instructor: “No puke, no p!ss.”

Navy humor.

After my showing off, the Posse is not impressed. The Diva, age 6, female, issue-one-each slides into the (dry, thankyouverymuch) front seat sim. Confident. In control. And zooms. Flying circles around anything in the sky.

(I remember her as a little wee-one, who used to throw-up all the time. But not today, even on inverted rolls. Lord, where do the years go? Where did my baby girl go?) Practice is complete.

Perfect landing. “Just like PlayStation,” the Diva says.

I expected a few more years to pass before they passed by the Old Man. She had practiced. I didn’t.


The Diva

at a static display at

The Franklin Institute.

Entirely too comfortable

in the cockpit During the Drill no one is hurt. And we all process lessons and understand our capabilities.

And learn the limitations of the team.

And the boss. And the Dad.

A FireDrill will bring out the best in your people. And your managers.

Without the crash and burn.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Women are not permitted in land combat. Unfortunately, little girls (not much older than my Diva) are permitted to fly combat aircraft. The Air Force loses about 75 jets each year in routine accidents. The Navy budgets for the loss of two jets per carrier per deployment. The losses would be much higher, of course, absent intensive training, intensive practice.

Pentagon Lights

September 14, 2006 | By | No Comments


The Pentagon circa 9.11.06. Lit by 184 lights to commemorate each life lost there on 9.11.01

Credit: Unknown


What Were Feminists doing on September 10, 2001?

September 11, 2006 | By | No Comments

Following is background from Your Business Blogger in an article published just after 9.11. Things have changed since then. A little.

Booby traps at the Pentagon: Charmaine and Jack Yoest introduce you to the Pentagon’s babes in arms. What do they want? An “open dialogue” on breastfeeding. (Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services)

Originally published in The Women’s Quarterly; January 01, 2002;


Pentagon attack

ON SEPTEMBER 10TH, [2001] the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, the group most responsible for promoting women in combat, gathered in Pentagon Conference Room 5C1042. This civilian advisory committee, whose members have the protocol status of three-star generals, monitors the concerns of women in uniform. And what was the topic on the eve of the worst attack in U.S. history?

After briefings from representatives of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard, DACOWITS, as the committee is known, issued a formal request for more information on what they deemed a matter of paramount military significance:


As the terrorists prepared to hit the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon itself, our military leaders were directed “to engage in open dialogue” on lactation tactics.

The Defense Advisory Committee on Women celebrated its fiftieth anniversary last April. At the birthday party, President Bush’s deputy secretary of defense, Paul Wolfowitz, a man well regarded for his level-headed and conservative approach to military issues, lauded DACOWITS in his address as an outstanding organization” and told the assembly of earnest women that he “looked forward to [their] advice.”

Read the article.


California Conservative has Open Post 9.11

Getting Business Done On 9.11.01

September 9, 2006 | By | No Comments


Dad & The Dude

prepared for war

September 11, 2001

photo credit:

Charmaine Yoest, Ph.D. Just after 9am on 9.11, I was doing what all business owners were doing: selling something. I was on the phone with a client. Making a pitch to attend a series of seminars, with CNN on in the background. I was a bit distracted by the live feed of a burning building.

While making ‘the ask,’ it was clear that my customer was not aware that we had just been attacked. I wanted to say something, like, Turn on your TV and stare at real pain. It just didn’t look real. I continued instead with the conversation. Your Business Blogger is not normally so focused. In denial, perhaps. Disasters are not normally good for business.

There was work to be done. My next class was on September 19.

And I didn’t want the customer on the other end of the phone distracted until the sale was closed. Then we could go to war.

The deal done, I noticed my boy, The Dude, was concerned that the attacks would continue down to us in Charlottesville, Virginia. “We got to get ready!” he shouts and scampers around digging up my old uniform, boots, saber and his grandfather’s bayonet. (Old soldiers never die, they just file away. Apologies to MacArthur.)

The Dude spent the rest of the morning marching outside our front door. Looking out for terrorists. It must have worked.

Charlottesville was not attacked.

But we were affected. Everyone was. But I wasn’t sure that the bank was going to delay getting their money over a pesky act of war. I still had to earn a living.

How would the war affect business? Not the macro, but mine? I had a seminar and clients coming into town in little over a week and the world was on fire. Would anyone show up? Would anyone care?

We North Americans do business like we do war. We win. Donald Trump becomes Victor Davis Hanson. At 8 am on 19 September 2001, 86 professionals showed up and got down to business. A packed room.

The free lunch helped.

Even my business partner, Faisal Alam, came down from New York City to join us. He is Muslim.

The country was mourning, but on the move.

I started with a minute of silence in remembrance of those lost in the World Trade Towers.

Then we all got back to work. Each making the world a better place. Even with a war on.


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Thank you (foot)notes:


Basil’s Blog has open trackbacks.

California Conservative has Open Post 9.11.

To Die For

August 22, 2006 | By | No Comments


War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse.

John Stuart Mill

A person’s highest most prized value, most prized possession is that person’s idol.

To die for.


17 Aug



Hiring Super Stars vs Tolerating Turkeys

August 17, 2006 | By | 2 Comments

Microsoft has one real point measurement for hiring.


Your Business Blogger has hired (computer) coders, sales reps…and government bureaucrats.

When given the option of head count and budget flexibility, I always recommended to my managers to hire the most expensive talent possible — the Super Stars.

Even when hiring government workers.

Into Good and Evil reminds us that when talent really counts, when talent determines life and death, who would get hired? He points us to Professor Kingsley Browne in The Ace and the Turkeys,

“Given the cognitive and temperamental patterns required, it is not surprising to find that the ability to fly aircraft successfully in combat is an ability that not many have. Indeed, it is not an ability that even all combat pilots have. Aviation analysts recognize that the majority of combat kills are scored by a small minority of pilots. Mike Spick has observed: “The gulf between the average fighter pilot and the successful one is very wide. In fact it is arguable that there are almost no average fighter pilots; just aces and turkeys; killers and victims.”

Fighter pilots, like sales guys in a role playing exercise, can practice and give a passable presentation, but,

As one Air Force pilot stated, “Most guys can master the mechanics of the systems, but it’s instinctive to be able to assimilate all the data, get a big picture, and react offensively. Not a lot of guys can do that.”

But the Air Force has a challenge most sales managers don’t: Separating the Aces from the Turkeys,

Ideally, one would have only “aces” or “killers,” leaving the “turkeys” and “victims” to another career path. The difficulty lies, however, in the fact that there is no known way to separate the aces and the turkeys prior to combat. Unfortunately, many of those who will end up being turkeys often do not know what they are getting into. These pilots may have the ability, intelligence, and know-how to fly the plane well, but they ultimately lack the “fighting spirit” that they will need in combat. ”

(Buffalo Law Review,Winter, 2001, 49 Buffalo L. Rev. 51,Women at War: An Evolutionary Perspective By Kingsley R. Browne)

But the hiring manager does have an advantage over an Air Force Wing Commander, the civilian Ace has a track record of Kills.

The best indication of future performance is past performance. Our armed forces are hampered by looking only to recent combat or aerial engagements — and there aren’t that many of those dogfights. The hiring manager has different metrics of combat measures for top business talent. Eat what you kill. Who had produced the best numbers?

In this human resource practice and strategy, there are down-sides as Anita Campbell, my editrix at Small Business Trends citing the Trizoko Biz Journal mentions. She and others make the valid point that Super Star and Aces are nearly impossible to manage. And, indeed, can only be managed by Super Star managers.

But if these crazy iconoclasts can be harnessed, a big ‘if’ to be sure, big numbers are sure to follow. For example, when I had a modest software company, I learned the hard way that a one genius coder was worth a half dozen coders. And not because he (and he was usually a ‘he’) was faster, but that his work was nearly bug-free. Which saved me from hiring three coders just to patch.


With my sales teams, Pareto’s 80/20 Principle always played out. But the top guy, usually a deviant was always a standard deviation above the norm. My #1 sales guy was sometimes double the sales of #2, the rest of the sales team on the long tail. That #1 guy drove me nuts. But I loved his numbers.

And government bureaucrats? Goodness. I once had an agency head ‘lose’ a $100 million department. It was necessary to find it for obvious political reasons, but we only became aware of the lost unit because I was working the Y2K rollover and really needed to find all the laptops. We finally found it. Hidden away, quietly working away. And there were lots of good excuses why it was floating alone off on its own org chart, in its own universe. How they got paid is outside the scope of this post. I was assured that it was not illegal.

So Anita and Trizoko Biz are right, Super Stars are a pain.

But I wonder how many $100 million business units are lost. And could be found with a few dozen more IQ points.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Your Business Blogger’s columns appear in Small Business Trends on Tuesdays and Small Business Trends Radio on Fridays. Please tune in.