Lubans Fable: What the Wren Saw, Repeated from 2019

Posted by jlubans on November 23, 2023  •  Leave comment (0)

Caption: The roof rafters of the outdoor stage at Latvia?s annual Dobele Lilac Festival.

A little bird, a wren, swooped into the rafters of an outdoor stage.
It was during a wind and rain-swept outdoor concert. He perched and listened.
Now and then, he?d flit off but always to come back, seemingly enthralled by and curious about the beautiful music on such a cold and wet day.
Singers sang to listeners under dripping plastic capes and umbrellas on backless wooden benches.
A half dozen instrumentalist - more exposed than the singers - supplied, with gusto, the melodies for each song.
And, each song got an appreciative cheer with applause and foot stomping on the wet grass.
The curious wren took this in and marveled.
Most of all, he took to heart the enthusiasm of the musicians and the audience.
The wren resolved - instead of hunkering down in the cold rain ? he?d sing his forest song evermore sweetly.
As a leader or follower, think of the wren in the rain.


ONLY a click away, in time for gift giving :

And, Leading from the Middle, is available at Amazon.
Copyright John Lubans all text 2023

How Far Has AI to Go?

Posted by jlubans on November 16, 2023  •  Leave comment (0)

Caption: AI & Homer Doing a Beer Mind-Meld

As mentioned in a previous blog about AI, I use, from time to time, Google?s Bard.
A while ago, I asked Bard about a football player?s ethnicity because I was curious if he was of Native American heritage.
In response, Bard gave me a 700-word lecture on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) but with no clue as to the player?s ethnicity.
Did the word "ethnicity" trigger Bard to take umbrage and consider me a racist?
I wonder if I went to a library?s information desk and asked the same question of a librarian, would the response be different?
It is supposed to be, according to professional standards and education.
More recently, I queried Bard about why two contemporary politicians have the same pacing, intonation, and inflection in their speech. Why is that?
Bard responded. Here is the first paragraph - with names left out:
"There are a few reasons why X might sound like Y when he speaks. First, they are both from the same region of the United States. X was born in New York City and raised (nearby), while Y was born in Hawaii, and raised (there).
People from the same region often share similar speech patterns, including pronunciation and intonation" (emphasis added)
Besides Bard?s outlandish claim that New York and Hawaii, 5000 miles apart, are in the "same region" it failed to take into account - apart from both being educated in elite schools - the ethnicity or cultural background or other influences on one's language and speech.
And, most certainly, it avoided the possibility that one may be slavishly mimicking the other.
So, I ask again, who is priming the AI pump?
Finally, Bard offers no listing of sources. Where is Bard getting the information for its answers?
My blog is copyrighted - it is my intellectual property; if Bard uses my writing, should not Bard abide by my request that anything I write if used by someone else must be acknowledged. This applies to anyone whose writing is used by Bard.

ONLY a click away, in time for gift giving :

And, Leading from the Middle, is available at Amazon.
Copyright John Lubans all text 2023

The Prince Gets Fired

Posted by jlubans on November 13, 2023  •  Leave comment (0)


Reading PG Wodehouse's 1912 novel, The Prince and Betty, I came to an abrupt stop.
Wodehouse (1881-1975), the English language's greatest humorist, almost exclusively wrote humorous stories; think of Jeeves and Wooster. Plum, by nickname, could find humor in the most unlikely places, such as a despondent Dostoevsky or in his own harsh internment in France and Germany during WWII.
But, early in this book, there's a sobering page which stopped me. It's when John Maude (the soon-to-be-prince) is fired by his uncle, Mr. Westley.
This atypical departure from Wodehouse's farcical - good natured and goofy - lyrical style gave me pause.
I reflected, because, like for many in the work force, there comes a time when the grim issuer of pink slips might make a stop at your desk to fire, sack, ax, or discharge you.
In our hero's case, he's fired for going to a ball game instead of working. Well, actually, that's the excuse for Mr. Westley to kick John out the door.
What's different about this dismissal of a less than engaged worker?
It's not the termination as much as the way in which Mr. Westley bushwhacks John and shows him the door.
Here's the excerpt:
"It (John's dismissal) was so different from anything sudden, so essentially not of the moment.
(John) felt instinctively that it had been smoldering for a long time, and realized with a shock that his uncle had not been merely indifferent to him all these years, but had actually hated him. It was as if he had caught a glimpse of something ugly." (Emphasis added.)
I could not but wonder how many of us, when unfairly or shabbily dismissed, have felt likewise; that there was "something ugly", unexpressed.
In John's case, the uncle has hated him from birth because he hated John's father.
The uncle - who had raised John from an infant - never spoke to him about his simmering resentment. He never talked about how badly John's father had treated John's mother, Westley's sister.
Similarly, some folks are fired because of a petty boss' jealousy or envy of a star subordinate or for some other shabby, irrational reason.
Like I said, it's not the what, it's the how, especially if there are repressed, never discussed reasons that could have been aired and perhaps resolved. Instead, the resentment festers until it finally spills over and the recipient gets a "glimpse of something ugly".
ONLY a click away, :

And, Leading from the Middle, is available at Amazon.
John Lubans all text 2023

Lubans' Fable "The Cat, the Man, and the Flying Sausages." Repeat!

Posted by jlubans on November 07, 2023  •  Leave comment (0)


While looking on my hard drive for mention of Ralph Stayer's classic 1990 HBR article "How I Learned to Let My Workers Lead" (or, as I recall it, "Let 'em Taste the Sausage"), I ran into one of my fables: "The Cat, the Man, and the Flying Sausages" from May of 2015.
I was reminded of Stayer's article while reading "Legacy: What the All Blacks (NZs rugby team) Can Teach Us About the Business of Life" by James Kerr: "Shared responsibility means shared ownership. A sense of inclusion means individuals are more willing to give themselves to a common cause."
That pretty much sums up my Letting Go theory, a leadership principle I practiced my entire career.
I will write some more about Legacy and the All Blacks
but my cats and sausages fable takes whimsical priority.
Here it is again:
Once upon a time, a hungry man went to the store. He looked and looked; he was a fussy shopper. He picked a big package of sausages because it looked the best of all; it had happy faces on the wrapper that was in colors of gold and green. I said he was a fussy shopper not a smart one.
Well, after frying up a few, he put the rest away in the fridge. The sausages tasted terrible and looked even worse when cooked, all curled up like mottled intestines.
But, whenever he went to the refrigerator, he wondered what to do with those disgusting sausages? Being frugal, of necessity, he could not bring himself to throw them away.
When he offered them to his neighbor, she took a look and emphatically shook her head. No, thank you!
One day, looking out the kitchen window of his third floor apartment, he saw a raggedy white cat in the enclosed yard, a yard full of weeds and dandelions.
Aha! he thought, I bet that cat would like a sausage. So he tossed one out. Thirty minutes later, the sausage was gone; the cat must have scarfed it up. So, he tossed a sausage out the window each day until they were all gone. The man was happy.
The next day, he heard meowing below. The cat looked up at the man in the window, as if saying, "Where's my sausage?"
So the man went to the store and bought more sausages. Each day he would throw out a sausage. Those flying sausages, the man thought, must be like manna from heaven.
The man had very little money and soon it was all gone, spent on sausages. He could no longer buy food for himself. He died.
The cat, also died. Not from hunger, but from over-eating.
In Heaven, when they bumped into each other, the cat reproached the old man. "You are a kind man, but I have to tell you those were the worst sausages I have ever eaten. I only ate them because I like a tidy yard; after all it is where I live and hunt, under the vines up against the walls. I did not want the yard full of foul smelling sausages. When I meowed up at you that one day it was to tell you to quit tossing those damn sausages into the yard!"
The man was abjectly sorry. The cat flicked his tail, as cats will do, and went his way.
So think twice, my listeners, maybe try an ounce before buying a pound.
ONLY a click away, More fabulous wisdom:

And, my book on democratic workplaces has much to say about "Letting Go" Leading from the Middle, is available at Amazon.
? John Lubans all text 2015 & 2023