If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Except that sometimes you will appear to be stubbornly persistent and at others persistently stubborn. Which is which?

Some people see persistence as good and stubborn as a mere blink away from stupid. Take me, for example. I think I’m persistent. I see myself as carrying on against all odds and in spite of obstacles. Yet my wife thinks I’m stubborn. She would, I suppose, because stubborn means unreasonably obstinate, unyielding and inflexible.

So I’ve decided to make sense of these two tricky terms, to help me cope with friend and foe alike.

Persistence is a behavior. Stubborn is an attitude.
Persistence aims at a future outcome. Stubborn clings to a past position.
Persistence kicks in when conviction is involved. Stubborn is triggered when the ego is at stake.

Now, which will you be today?

You can also listen here to the radio version of Stubbornly persistent or persistently stubborn (10 most recent radio files)

© 2012 James Henry McIntosh – nonsenseatwork.com

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I love being a man in America. It’s pretty cool being a person in America, but it is so much better being a man.

Consider this modern-day example. If you are a woman and pregnant, you may not be discriminated against, but you may get fired. Hey, it’s perfectly legal. You see, pregnancy is not a disability! You may not be fired for having a disability, but you may be fired for having a baby.

Here’s the amusing bit. The same bright sparks who make this law legal are the same bright sparks who tell us that this country’s future depends on women producing little bright sparks.

There is something really funny in penalizing someone for producing what so obviously is the future of this country. Funny peculiar, not funny ha-ha. Very peculiar how these men stay in power now that women have the vote.

Here’s hoping that your boss knows the law is an ass.

You can also listen here to the radio version of Fired for producing little bright sparks (10 most recent radio files)

© 2011 James Henry McIntosh – nonsenseatwork.com

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We keep hearing ridiculous statements from so-called leaders about how they feel our pain. And that they know where we’ve gone wrong and how we should now behave.

Nice of them, to be sure. And annoying because they don’t really know, do they? So we’re tempted to say, please don’t judge others until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. That’s what we think is a good way to develop empathy, to gain a different insight – walk a mile in their shoes.

Well, it’s not that simple. What exactly would you feel if you put your feet into someone else’s shoes? You would be so distracted by the alien shoes, so uncomfortable, that you would not spare a thought for the owner, only for your poor feet. And forget about walking that mile.

So my advice to wannabe leaders is this. You don’t understand my pain. Please keep your advice and stay in your own shoes.

Listen to the radio version of Keep your shoes on (10 most recent radio files)

© 2011 James Henry McIntosh – nonsenseatwork.com

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Years ago, before caller ID and cell phones, I met with a manager when his office telephone rang. He ignored it. Being polite, I suggested that he answer it. “No”, he said, “You took the trouble to come to me. This caller can wait or also make the effort to come to me.”

Recently I attended a meeting as an outside adviser. A cell phone rang. The meeting faltered as almost everyone grabbed at a cell phone. I looked at the CEO. He shrugged.

These anecdotes highlight the meaning of ‘important’. The manager in the first story knew that if the call was important, the caller would find a way through. The participants in the second story knew that the CEO was not important. No wonder their company was already in trouble.

So, the next time you tolerate cell phone interruptions in your meeting, acknowledge what it reveals about your importance, your power and your future success.

Listen on the CNO’s website to the radio version of The ring tone of success (10 most recent radio files)

© 2012 James Henry McIntosh – nonsenseatwork.com

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Albert Einstein was wrong at least once. He said that people love chopping wood because in this activity one immediately sees results.

Well, I chopped wood recently. I swung my axe again and again, yet the immediate results that Einstein promised me were not to be seen. Results were relatively slow (Ouch! Sorry about that) in coming.

I wanted badly to blame my axe but the ghost of my father watched over me. He had taught me much about woodwork and, of course, something about a bad workman blames his tools.

As I tended to my blisters I remembered something I read recently: Give an industrious programmer a 10-year old computer, and she will get much more done with it than a lazy programmer with the latest and greatest technology.

Yes! Relatively speaking (ahem!), real results still hinge on aptitude and attitude.

Listen on the CNO’s website to the radio version of Axing your relative results (10 most recent radio files)

© 2012 James Henry McIntosh – nonsenseatwork.com

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Here’s a lesson for any limping leader, one from a Mister Vladimir Lenin. That’s the one, the guy who led the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Oh, come on, people! I know he was a Marxist and a communist, but a good lesson is a worthy lesson. Don’t discriminate your learning. That’s taking political correctness too far.

Here’s the lesson. At the start of the Big Revolution that was supposed to propel him into real power, Mister Lenin realized that his Communist Party was not going to win. The people had lost confidence in him and the party. So what did Mister Lenin suggest? In his own words, sort of: “It will be necessary to get a new people.”

Hang on, I’ve just realized something. Our capitalist business leaders have been doing this for ages – finding themselves new people when the old ones don’t work well any more. And now our politicians are doing it.

Oh, boy!

Listen on the CNO’s website to the radio version of Get yourself new people (10 most recent radio files)

© 2012 James Henry McIntosh – nonsenseatwork.com

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