I often think hospital billing offices make the general process way too hard to figure out. There are some things that can be put into place or enacted upon pretty easily that will help them long term.

My cubicle, updated
Ben Mautner via Compfight

The thing is, not all of them are directly related to medical billing; that’s the easy part. A lot of it has to do with leadership and working with other leaders within the hospital.

Other than the first thing on this list, which is specific to medical billing, the rest of these principles will work for all businesses… so y’all need to read this as well. 🙂

A. Alpha split versus insurance specific

Although I said this one is specific to hospital medical billing, I have a feeling there are other industries where this type of thing might be prevalent.

As it regards hospitals, I’ve always believed in the rule of numbers based on staffing. If you have a small staff, which means less than 10 people, it makes more sense to set up your office based on the letters of the alphabet than on specific insurance types. There aren’t all that many insurance types, and it’s known that some insurance types, such as no fault, are going to have fewer claims than others, such as Medicare. It also helps to have more people who know how to handle every type of claim so that the department isn’t overwhelmed if someone is out sick or on vacation, or if staff is short for some other reason.

When you have a larger staff, you have a lot more choices on what you might want to do. Alpha split within the teams you set up is still the smart way to go for a proper distribution of work, but you can create teams based on the amount of work or the type of work, such as inpatient versus outpatient.

B. Division of work; how much is too much or too little?

This is a much different issue than the one above. This one makes you be more managerial in determining the strengths of your employees, their individual talents, and who can actually handle the workload you might have to impart on them.

It’s not all about numbers when you get to this level. You might have some really talented people who can handle things that are a bit more complicated, rather than those people who can produce great output if you lay everything out perfectly for them.

Business Meeting
Creative Commons License thetaxhaven via Compfight

C. How much do your employees need to know, and what do you trust them to do?

I’ve never been one of those leaders who was worried that someone working for me might know more than I did. What I figured out at a certain point was that I would know more about strategy and procedures but the employees would know more about processes and what was actually going on with the system, since they did the work.

Because of that, I was always willing to share whatever I could with them. However, I know in many businesses that leaders either won’t or can’t do the same thing… most of the time “won’t”. This leaves employees doing things the best they can without all the knowledge they might wish they had, but knowing that the rules say they do their part in the process while someone else is responsible for another part, like certain types of factory work.

D. Is it best to go to other directors or employees in their department?

This is a tough one that depends on the type of business you’re in and the kind of trust you’ve built up. I was lucky in that I was allowed to talk to anyone based on the type of work I did, and I was fortunate that everyone would talk to me because they all knew I treated everyone fairly, no matter what work they did.

This is important for more than one reason. Sometimes other directors don’t want you to ever talk to their employees. Sometimes you know you need to talk to the employees because they’re actually doing the work that impacts your department. Thus, it behooves you to have a great working relationship with your peers so that you can easily move between everyone when you have to make sure you’re getting the proper information you need.

E. The patient isn’t always right, but they’re always the patient

I’m using patient because I started out talking about health care, but everyone else can use “customer”.

Sometimes you have to disagree with the people who you’re really working for who aren’t your employers, while at other times you might have to tell them something you know they don’t want to hear.


No matter how they take it, you have to work hard to remain professional instead of losing your cool or being sarcastic towards them. This doesn’t mean you have to suffer abuse that’s unwarranted. I once hung up on a patient three times because he began each conversation by calling me a profane name without knowing me.

The fourth time he called he asked me if I was going to hang up on him, to which I replied “Not if you don’t call me names and give me a chance to help you.” Five minutes later we were best buddies because I’d taken care of his problem.

All most people want is a bit of respect and some attention to the reason they’re calling you. Without these people you might not have a job; how much does it take to treat them with some respect?

F. What does upper management know about what you do?

If I’ve learned anything about upper management in all my years, it’s that they really don’t know what most of their department directors do. I’m not saying that to indicate that these aren’t intelligent people; it’s just that many of them have people who report to them that do things they’ve never seen or done.

In health care it comes down to a lot of the technical work. The departments that report to CFOs all do work that almost no CFO has ever done and probably hasn’t seen. Most of the departments that report to either the COO or Nursing VP do work that those folks have probably never done or seen.

Outside of health care… well, we know that the CEO of Wells Fargo just resigned because many of the employees were creating false accounts and basically stealing money from many of their clients to do it. He said he never knew it was going on, even though a letter showed up telling him that there was a possibility it was going to happen.

If you look at his background, you’ll see that he spent the overwhelming majority of his career in leadership positions all over the country, sometimes overseeing multiple departments at once. When you’re that kind of leader, it’s strongly possible that you don’t fully understand the type of work that others are doing to know whether or not it should be allowed.

From my perspective, I vacillated between how much I wanted to tell my CFOs. I needed them to know the good and bad things that were going on and how effective I was, but I didn’t have the time, nor did they, to go into the nitty gritty of the daily work unless it affected budgets and cash. Still, I had to make sure they knew what was going on since that’s how I was going to be evaluated on a yearly basis.

G. What are your language skills like? Are your employee problems derived from you?

I’m big on communication when it comes to talking to employees. I had to learn the hard way that sometimes terminology we get used to using in our profession isn’t always fully understood by the people who work for us.

When we don’t take the time to find out what our employees know and how they interpret what we’re saying to them, or if they don’t fully understand department goals, we’re setting them and ourselves up for failure. You can’t be too erudite nor condescending when you talk to people whose work your livelihood depends on. You also can’t be too secretive. If employees don’t understand what’s going on, trust me, it’s your fault if you’re the leader.

H. Conflicts are inevitable; what’s the best way to manage them?

This is a tough one for most people, but it doesn’t have to be. Although I always wanted to get to the truth, you’ll usually find that the truth is different when you have two people disagreeing about something.

In these instances I saw myself as a mediator. My first goal was to diffuse the tension; nothing could push forward until that took place.

My second goal was to get it resolved to MY satisfaction; the workplace isn’t always a democracy. If one person was wrong, I’d tell them so. If it was just a difference of opinion, I’d work with those who were involved to get to a resolution that was acceptable enough to get them back to work with expedience.

I don’t believe that most people working with each other have to be friends, but they certainly need to be coworkers and work towards a common goal if they’re working for me. Usually, by talking things out, the worst of tensions would be taken care of and there wouldn’t be any long term animosity. I’d like to think I did a good job because in all my years in leadership I had few people leave because of how I handled something… though it did happen here and there.

There you are, 8 specific things that might help you do your job better if you’re leading others. Please feel free to add to the discussion.

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2016 Mitch  Mitchell

(I originally wrote this in 2003 as one of my newsletters. It was seen by a member of the Workforce Diversity Network, who asked me if they could reprint it on their site at the time. At some point they removed the article as a true link and turned it into a pdf, which is fine and good except now no one can read it unless they know about the organization and the link. Therefore, this is a reprint of myself, because even though it’s from 13 years ago, it seems relevant again based on what’s going on in the United States right now.)




I keep running this word through my mind. The occasion of the word came weeks ago at a reunion I went to of former employees of mine at a luncheon on a Saturday afternoon. It had been a good day, seeing all these friendly faces from my past, and catching up with what was going on with everyone.

Then, while my wife had gone out of the room for a minute, one of my former employees was telling a story about something that happened with this “colored” kid, and that was the last thing I heard. It’s 2003, and there’s someone still calling people like me colored? She had worked for me and I never heard that in all the time she worked for me. Suddenly I felt like something less, like everything I had done and had accomplished with these people didn’t mean anything because she thought of me, or people like me, as “colored”.

This reminded me once again of just how powerful one little word or phrase can be in fostering the worst of feelings in people. As I write this now, I’m remembering that it was a whiles ago, and the word still hurts my feelings a little bit. If this is the case with me, and it’s a race issue, what inference can be made as to how inadvertent words uttered by a clueless person can stick with the known or unknown victim of those words?

It reminds me of an incident that happened to a friend of mine at his place of work. He was walking through one of the offices when another employee received email. Many people have sounds associated with receiving email, and this woman did also. However, the song that played, for which humming won’t work right now, was the tune to a song that begins “Mammy’s little baby loves short’nin, short’nin…” Enough said.

He stopped in his tracks and exclaimed something that can’t be repeated. However, it was loud enough and emphatic enough for another supervisor to come running, since he’d never heard my friend utter such a phrase in such a way before, to find out what might be wrong. Then he heard it and gasped himself. The woman’s excuse? She thought it was just a cute little tune, and didn’t realize it was offensive. My friend was angry for at least a week over this little faux pas, even though it was unintentional.


Every day in the business world people interact with each other. People are different; there’s no getting around that. Even people who may seem similar at a first glance are different; heck, twins are different. Where trouble often starts is when someone brings their petty prejudices or biases into the workplace. It can be something as innocuous as a perception of a person’s status (trailer park trash) as well as something overtly blatant, such as race or sex.

Before managers can deal with these issues they need to try to determine how many differences there may be to worry about. In this time of imminent war, when we see battle lines being formed even in our own country between those who feel war is justified and those who believe it isn’t, once again it’s highlighted that differences can come from anywhere, at any time. I have a list of things I’ve discovered on my own, and I never even thought about philosophical differences in my original list.

Here’s a listing of the kinds of things I’ve come up with:

A. Race
B. Religion
C. Sexual preference
D. Sex
     1. Same Sex
     2. Frequency
     3. Type
E. Ethnicity (what country you’re from)
F. Cultural (rich, poor, small town, large city, military)
G. Demeanor (nerd, jock, cheerleader type, moody and depressed)
H. Physical (heavy, skinny, bald, hairy, sweaty, tall, short)
I. Disabled (seen and not seen)
J. Employment status (administrator, director, supervisor, worker, surgeon, nurse, maintenance, housekeeping)
K. Age
L. “Look” (tattoos, studs, clothing, hair style, hair color)
M. “Self” (discrimination against people who are like you or remind you
of you)
N. Politics
O. Reverse discrimination; myth or reality?

The truth is that within each category above we’ve covered every single person in the world. The nuances of dealing with each person as it relates to the category are not in your favor most of the time. These are issues every single employee needs to deal with.

Mitchell as a diverse leader

If you’re at a management level you’re at a major disadvantage in dealing with the same issues because now you’re responsible for the actions and statements of someone else making comments outside the realm of what’s supposed to be work appropriate.

There’s a phrase which has developed a negative connotation amongst many people, but I consider it a positive phrase: “political correctness“. Some people feel they should have the right to express their feelings and say what they want to say. Outside the office I may tend to agree with you, whether I like it or not. Inside the office… that’s another matter.

I believe managers who share ideas with their staff and gain input from them is the best way to run things. However, the business office is not a democracy; there is no concept of free speech in the office regarding issues like these. People get sued for this kind of thing; people get into fights; people kill. Do I have to say anything more?

What you have to deal with are three issues.

One, where do you fit in on the list above? You fit in more than one category, that’s for sure. Which end of the spectrum are you considered as, and is that negative or positive based on the thoughts of the general public?

At this point we’re not talking about your feelings as much as what the general populace feels. You have to be honest with yourself when evaluating this one. I’ve had people tell me they see me as they see anyone else; that’s not being realistic, and doesn’t help you as the manager or worker at all.

Two, what about your personal feelings. How do you perceive those on the list above who fit into what’s considered the negative end of things? For that matter, how do you feel about those who fit into the area where you are?

That’s an interesting question, one I bet most people have never considered. Can you separate your feelings and thoughts from the work place? Do you treat everyone fairly regardless of your personal feelings, if you have any kind of negative feelings whatsoever? Can you always identify your negative feelings?

Three, have you helped to foster the kind of work environment that is free of the stress of differences, or have you fostered a hostile work environment because either you participate in the “harassment” of other employees or ignore the harassment as if it’s not happening? If you say you hadn’t noticed I consider that as ignoring what’s going on in your office and feel you’re as responsible in that case as if you were ignoring the issues on purpose.

As a manager or as a worker, you help to establish how the office performs its duties. You as the worker or manager helps to foster how people are going to be treated within the work place. Just as ignorance of the law is no excuse, ignorance of what may be offensive to the people you work with in the office is no excuse for insensitivity, no matter where it’s coming from or who it’s directed at.

Every person needs to be held accountable to have a professional demeanor when they’re in the work place. In diversity education I’ve performed, I stress that I don’t try to change any person’s ideas when it comes to their personal feelings about whomever based on a listed criteria from above. I do try to change how they may treat people at work based on those feelings, because that’s where the problems occur.

If you’re able to change your demeanor at work, you just may change your demeanor on the outside, and you may never make the mistake of calling someone something like “colored”.

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2016 Mitch  Mitchell

Last week one of my friends asked me this question on Twitter: “Do white supremacists and KKK members, current or former, deserve to have jobs?” My response was “If the employers are ready to handle the potential fallout from those connections, no problem.”

Dan Mason via Compfight

For me, that was a pretty easy question to answer because he didn’t ask me if I’d hire those people. Then again, he probably knew better; race is my hot button topic. Anything racial, sexual, or any other kind of “ism” is something that’s hard for me to forgive.

Yet, there was George Wallace, the 4-time elected governor of Alabama. The first iteration of the governor was as a staunch segregationist who actually tried to block black children from going to school, luckily being overruled by the federal justice system and having it be enforced by the National Guard. Yet, the last time he was governor of the state he’d renounced his past, said he’d become a born again Christian, apologized for his previous stance by visiting civil rights leaders and, once elected, appointed a record number of blacks to state positions and added two black people to his cabin.

In other words, he atoned, apologized, reached out to those he’d oppressed previously, and then walked the talk. Intriguing isn’t it? It’s hard to maintain anger at such a legitimate turnaround; he gets a break.

Suffice it to say, the last week in both politics and entertainment has taken a very interesting twist. Out comes a recording of a particular presidential candidate saying some pretty vile things about women and the things he can get away with because he’s a star, with the other participant of the video being someone who laughed and agreed with this same candidate, was a much younger man at the time, and just recently signed a large contract with a major network to host a show mainly geared towards women and run by women… wow…

The presidential candidate apologized for his words and then decided to go on a rant against the other presidential candidates spouse by saying he was much worse, and pulling a number of women from the former presidents past as examples of it. On its own that’s pretty stupid, considering that the current presidential candidate is facing charges of raping a 13 year old girl; glass houses are abundant this year in politics.

On the other hand, we have this TV personality who’s now on suspension, and it’s possible that it might be permanent. He apologized and pretty much disappeared, probably because the powers that be who hired him asked him to step away, then decided to increase the pressure based on the response from women who voiced their opinions from all over the country (more than a million responses against from what I read). All that from a conversation 11 years ago.

The question that some people are asking is whether things that have happened in the past should be reasons to hold things against them, or anyone else who might end up in the same type of situation. Are people supposed to be subject to the sins of their past for the rest of their life?

I have my own views on this question, which I’ll come back to, but let’s look at some recent examples.

We have to start with Bill Cosby who, even though he’s in his eighties, is now under charges and serious consideration for going to jail for accusations of sexual assault that he “allegedly” has perpetrated on women for over 30 years. The statute of limitations is up on all of them, yet he’s still going to trial for it in the state of Pennsylvania. Here’s a man who’s public acts merited lots of kudos, awards, and financial success, but a post that’s become too much to overcome will tarnish the legacy of anything good he did in the past.

We can mention the many religious leaders in the Catholic church and, of course, other churches (let’s throw in televangelists) who acted one way for years in the public eye, only to have the stain of sexual scandal come back to slam them and, pretty much, shut their careers down and, in some cases, send them to jail. Even if some of the acts these people did were considered as good accomplishments, they don’t get to escape their previous bad behavior.


I once hired someone who’s spent time in prison for embezzling funds. She did it because her child was sick and had some high medical bills she was having trouble paying; yes, it’s still criminal, but she wasn’t trying to use the money for her own benefit. She was contrite, owned up to it in the interview, and had a lot of skills I knew we could use.

I knew I couldn’t put her in a position where she’d have access to any money because that would have caused a firestorm, but I liked how she was honest and upfront about what she did and why; thus, I forgave her and hired her, even if upper management didn’t like it (since they pre-screened people, they could have stopped me from even knowing about her before I interviewed her, so…).

I also once met a guy at a hospital I was consulting at who always wore long sleeves and buttoned his collars at the neck. One day when it was just us two, he mentioned that he’d been a former white supremacist as a teen who belonged to a gang for about two years.

He realized he was wrong and changed his outlook and how he treated people, but during the time he’d been in the group he’d gotten so many tattoos on his arms and on his neck. He knew he had to cover them up to get a good job, and hoped that one day he’d make enough money to get them removed. He was nice and smart, and none of his co-workers knew his past, and I certainly wasn’t going to tell anyone because it wasn’t my right to tell.

Let’s come back to the original question; do people deserve to be condemned by their past?

My response is yes… with qualifications.

I believe that people can change from bad habits to good; if I didn’t, I wouldn’t ever talk about leadership training. I also believe that people only change when they want to.

If a person really wants to change and be seen as something other than what their past showed, it takes a couple of action steps.

The first is owning up to what they did that was wrong and, if it needs to be stated in the open then they need to do it.

The second is to change one’s actions, and then build up a resume of better behavior to prove that there’s been actual change of mindset and deportment.

Of course, if one’s ethics are in the right place, then these types of things wouldn’t happen to begin with. However, since we all come from different backgrounds with different experiences, it might take some people longer to figure that out.

Try not never let someone else control your future; you might not like the outcome.

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2016 Mitch  Mitchell

Back in January I wrote kind of a tongue-in-cheek post on leadership flaws in the X-Files TV show. Out of the five points I touched upon, the first one talked about how people kept underestimating the two main characters throughout the entire series, even though both of them had doctorate degrees (one of them was even a medical doctor).


Underestimating others, the effect you can have on them via your words and actions, and what they’re capable of is probably the biggest mistake I see not only among leaders but people in general.

They tend to underestimate the intellect of others, the talent of others, the dedication and passion of others. They tend to underestimate how much people want to learn, how much they want to be motivated, and how driven they are in wanting to be more than they are… even better than themselves.

The reason I call it “conceit” is because the way I see things, when you underestimate others you’re actually saying you believe you’re better than someone else. In most of life and especially in leadership, that’s a catalyst for bad things to occur.

There are only two reasons to ever believe you’re better than someone and not use it as underestimating someone else, and even then they’re dicey positions to have.

The first is when you’re competing in sports and you’re trying to build yourself up. If you underestimate your opponent with the belief that you’re so good that you don’t have to try, you’ll lose more often than you’d expect.

The second is when you see a consistent pattern of failure from someone you’ve been evaluating for a long time and realize that they’re probably never going to be more than what they already are or maybe not what you’re looking for in an employee.

Even if these two things end up being correct, they each have their flaws. When you underestimate others while trying to build your own confidence up, it’s problematic because you’re trying to use a negative for a positive result; positivity is always a stronger starting point. When you underestimate someone you’ve been tracking and know what their limits are, you might start treating them differently, or not follow the rules if you’re thinking about letting them go, and end up with bigger problems than you were prepared to deal with.


As strange as it sounds, I always go into every situation where I’m interacting with others trying to overestimate what they might be capable of and what they might need from me. It’s one reason why I’m big on constantly training and writing procedures and trying to find ways to always improve things, even when they’re going well. It’s why I try to be more prepared than the other person, spend a lot of time thinking about multiple potential outcomes, and have as many answers ready as possible if needed.

I like to think it’s why I used to win a lot at individual sports, but was also a good teammate in team sports where I didn’t do quite as well when it came to being on winning teams. I never wanted to embarrass a teammate by thinking I could play a position better than they did, which means I let people make mistakes without ever getting on them for doing so.

The only problem with overestimating people is when you might be good at something and assume everyone should be as good as you are. If life has shown us anything, it’s that we all have talents that we’re good at that others aren’t, just like they have talents that we don’t have. Trying to fit everyone into the same image is like wishing we all had the same fingerprints; it’s just not going to happen, and it’s painful to try to achieve.

Something I’ve never done is underestimate the power of motivation. There’s something in seeing people’s demeanor change in a positive way because you’ve been able to touch them emotionally so that they feel better and want to do better. As a leader, you might decide that employees should motivate themselves, but that could be interpreted as you underestimating your influence or your own strength in connecting with others.

These days I hear a lot of people around my age complaining about millennials and how little they want to work and how hard they are to control. It’s easy and lazy and an underestimation of an entire group of young people who probably have talents most of us could never dream of having.

Although I don’t have a lot of experience in working with them, I’ve always been under the impression that people are people when everything’s been considered. I bet if they’re treated right and you show them how much you care about the job and about their being able to do the best they can at it that they’ll show they’re just as passionate about work as anyone else.

Leaders need to check their priorities when it comes to employees and verify with themselves that they don’t see their employees as less than they are. Only when we see the value in everyone will things work out the way one hopes they will.

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2016 Mitch  Mitchell

I’m going to admit something here. I get angry… often. There’s a lot of things to get angry about, based on things I see and hear, mainly online, since I almost never watch TV and, except when I’m consulting, spend a lot of time working on my own.

Wrath/This Woman Scorned
darwin Bell via Compfight

I can’t blame it all on social media though. I’ve dealt with anger for decades; who hasn’t, right? At some point all of us get angry at something, whether or not it affects us. Luckily, all of us don’t go grab a gun and go out shooting people; that would be overkill (pun intended), and none of us want to go to jail or have something worse come to us.

Anger is one thing; hate is another. I often say that I hate this or that because it’s a phrase that easily comes off the tongue, but when I think about it I realize that, though I say it often, I don’t come close to hating as many things as I say I do… and frankly that also applies to people.

But I do hate. I hate racism; sexism; bullying; other isms; physical and verbal abuse; the general disregard for human life. I think that’s fair; don’t you?

There are even a few people in my life that I’ve truly hated, to the extent that had I had some kind of weapon, not necessarily a gun, I’d have wanted to inflict some serious damage on those people. Even now I’m still mad at them, but luckily I don’t wallow in hate against them. These were people who made it personal; I feel pretty justified in my former hate against them and my every once in a while still angry self whenever I think of them.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s turn to dealing with hate in the workplace, and why it’s a leadership issue.

Only a naive person believes that hate as I described doesn’t happen at work. There are way too many accounts of all those things above (probably not as much physical abuse but the other stuff) for them to be ignored. Any real leader knows that when these things occur that they need to do something about it. That they don’t is inexcusable, if pretty regular.

Creative Commons License aeneastudio via Compfight

I get it; dealing with these things can be really uncomfortable. It can be even worse when the person you need to address or call out is your peer, not someone working for you.

Still… I’ve done it. I called a director out once for making a sexual statement towards a female employee in front of me. I first talked to her, since I happened to be there, to see how she felt and what she wanted me to do about it. Then I talked to him, told him what he did was inexcusable, and gave him an option for what he needed to do. It was handled and that was that.

I also called out two HR directors at two different hospitals for the lack of diversity at those hospitals when I was an employee, and I’ve mentioned it to upper management at a few places where I’ve consulted. I “mentioned” it; as a consultant, unless I’m there working on a diversity issue there’s not much change I can institute but as a black man I will always bring it up if there’s something blatant going on.

I’ve been lucky overall. I’ve never had to deal with anything personal at it pertained to race, and the one business issue I had to deal with had nothing to do with an “ism”… although I still had to deal with me.

Thus, I’m not afraid to call out hate when I see it; leaders have to be strong to eradicate these types of things because they can impact the workplace in a negative light.

And yet… well… there are some issues that even I’m not sure how to fully deal with as it pertains to leadership.

There are a lot of protests lately against police brutality. I support those protests; I don’t support the violence.

I also support those athletes, at all levels, who are protesting in their own way, making statements by not standing for the National Anthem, raising fists in the air, taking a knee… after all, it’s a rising concern.

And yet… well… I wonder how I’d handle it in the workplace. What if an employee wanted to put something up on the wall of a cubicle showing support? For that matter, what if someone else wanted to put something up to support the police? Where does one draw the line when it’s about peaceful protest, even if it could destroy the foundation of a good working relationship?

Would I be a hypocrite if I banned it, even as I condemn coaches of college and major sports who are condemning the protesters? Am I a hypocrite if I recommend you not allow such things in the workplace while supporting athletes doing it? If so, would I do it anyway?

Lucky for you, just because I said I’m not sure how to fully deal with the issues doesn’t mean I don’t know how I would deal with it. 🙂


Whenever I’ve been in a position of leadership, even as a consultant, it’s always been my intention to bring everyone together so that we can work towards a common goal, that being to make things better. I talk to everyone, individually and in groups. I always establish what the goals are and work to make sure all of us are on the same page when it comes to the goals. I try to make it plain that, though I’m the one in charge, that everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute, to learn, and to progress.

When the need arises, I’ll also express an opinion on something, although I try not to be so blatant about that opinion. When it comes to external things, I can only remember one time where I expressed an opinion about something, and in that case it was an immediate reaction to something, which I gave myself 5 minutes for and then never talked about it again at work; thank goodness!

In other words, it’s important to establish good communications early and often because it makes addressing other things so much easier.

If I had already established this type of relationship, then when something like protests come up, I would have no problem in first talking to the individuals to see where their minds were, and then bringing a group of people together to talk it out. True, the workplace isn’t supposed to be a democracy, but even the most autocratic leader has to realize that if a majority of the employees are riled up that even if the leader tries to clamp down on them their concentration isn’t going to be focused, thus mistakes and bad results will prevail.

So, we’d talk, get things out in the open, and ask everyone’s opinion. After that, as the leader of the group I’d have to make a decision. Since I’d have already established our departmental culture, everyone would know that any decision I made would be, in my eyes, best for the department. Also, if need be, I’d have contingencies set up so that if things went badly based on that decision we’d go in a different direction, and I’d make that clear up front as well.

Outside of the isms, I’m good with freedom of expression as long as it doesn’t separate people in the workplace. Having a ban on political and religious discussions is one of the smartest moves any business can take; we don’t all believe in the same things, or in the same way. Everything else needs discussion, negotiation, and consideration.

In essence, I wouldn’t make a rule in this case until I talked to everyone to see how we stood. Leaders can’t be afraid to make decisions, but in the workplace we have to treat adults like adults. We can’t, or at least shouldn’t, make everything about our personal feelings. That’s the major problem with the coaches I’ve been hearing who have been against the protests; it’s their feelings they care about, and nothing else. How does that bring a team together?

Tough one isn’t it? I’d love to hear your opinion and thoughts.

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2016 Mitch  Mitchell

Some weeks ago my wife came home to spend a weekend with me, as she travels for her work. We were looking at some numbers on her Fitbit app when I noticed she had something I didn’t show.

need for intention

For those of you who don’t know, Fitbits are portable step trackers you can wear on your sleeves or like a regular pedometer. You use an app on your phone to sync with it to capture all the information you’re looking to track, and it gives you other information at the same time.

My wife had something that showed a pair of feet and a number of hours. Its purpose was to track how many hours, based on your own settings, you walked at least 250 steps. It’s purpose is to remind us that we need to get out of our chairs and onto our feet to move at least a few minutes every hour.

I added this feature to my phone, but instead of 9 hours I decided to go for 14. Since I’ve started following it I’ve made my goal to be to see if I can hit 14 of 14 rather than the number of total steps in a day. This gives me a mental break during those times when I’d normally be sleeping and a time period where I should be taking a mental break; whether I do or not is up to me.

The funny thing about this is that, though I’m only required to walk 3,500 steps a day based on this plan, I’ve been averaging 17K steps instead, often topping 20K steps. I’m hitting the 14 hours I’m scheduled for about 3 times a week, because we can’t always keep total control of our schedules.

I tell this story to help me get into the reason why I’m talking about the need for intention. Throughout my life I’ve found that when I go into things with intention I tend to not only achieve my goals but often surpass them. When I don’t… well…

When I don’t it takes a long time to get things completed.

When I put out my 2nd book on leadership last year titled Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, it actually was the culmination of a project I started 2 1/2 years earlier. I was pretty much floundering, allowing everything else to get in the way of my completing it. When I finally decided it was time to sit down and get it completed, it took me only a couple of weeks to get it done; intention!

For months I wondered about my falling traffic on this blog and others and figured it would take care of itself. Eventually I realized that wasn’t going to happen and so I spend about 3 weeks working on my mobile speed issues for all of my websites and now all of them are humming along; intention!

I find these days that I often need to schedule my intentions, first by logging them and then setting alarms to remind me to start working on them. The funny thing is that it’s not only for work purposes that I need to do such a thing.

I have alarms scheduled to go off twice a day to remind me to eat and take my medication. I sometimes have to set alarms to remind me to take breaks and get away from the computer, and not just to walk a few steps.

I even have to schedule alarms for phone calls I need to make, because otherwise I’ll stay engaged in other things and keep forgetting to do what I know needs to be addressed, but also know is going to take me away from what I happen to be doing at the time… sometimes knowing it’s just “busy work”.

I find that intention keeps my steady in other areas as well. For instance, something as small as picking up a piece of paper that’s on the rug in my living room takes intention because, like many men, I’d tend to pass it by and tell myself “I’ll get it later”. I’ve gotten into the habit of stopping and picking up change on the sidewalk or in the road (when it’s safe) because intention reminds me that “a penny saved is a penny earned.”

Most of us go through our days pretty much following routines we’ve gotten used to, whether it’s in our personal or work lives. Intention allows us to deviate from the norm. Intention encourages us to interact with others. Intention helps us become better leaders. Intention helps us focus on our short and long term goals.

Intention also helped me to write this article. What do you think about the process of intention and what do you do to reinforce it?

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2016 Mitch  Mitchell

About 4 or 5 years ago on the anniversary of this date, September 11th, and the planes flying into both the Twin Towers in NYC and the Pentagon, and of course the plane that went down in Pennsylvania, some guy on Facebook (who I didn’t know well and have never spoken to again) commented on a post I put up and asked “Why do people keep bringing this up? Can’t we move away from it?” Instead, I moved away from him because I was irked at him for even daring to say something like that, especially on a post by me, and I wasn’t ready to lay into him, which I’d have done and that wouldn’t have been pretty.

11 settembre 2001 - 11 settembre 2011
Riccardo Francesconi via Compfight

Today it’s the 15th anniversary of that day, a day that literally changed how this country perceives itself and those around the world. If we didn’t know how ugly things were as far as the rest of the world’s perspective on the United States before then, and if we didn’t know how vitriolic a large percentage of our population felt against those who believe in the religion of Islam before then, we certainly learned it after that day. We also learned how special so many people can be in light of a tragedy and how resilient we are; we don’t need to “make America great again”; America is already great, even with its few foibles and the like.

Today I’m actually ready to answer that guy’s question; it’s taken me 15 years to want to answer that question. I answer it now because of what’s going on in this country and around the world. I think it’s important enough to finally get to the “why” of the matter and what’s at stake for all of us.

The “why” is because we should never forget; that’s pretty much it. There are many reasons behind that one:

* we need to be reminded to always stay vigilant against threats;

* we need to be reminded that most people have no idea what a terrorist looks like;

* we need to be reminded that everyone isn’t going to agree with us and some people are ready to take things to the extreme;

* we need to keep making sure the truth stays the truth, unlike Texas and Bill O’Reilly trying to make slavery “friendly” or Japan trying to change the truth about their role in World War II;

* because too often history repeats itself, and maybe someone will remember a lesson and stop before something newly bad goes too far;

* because times change but people don’t, which means circumstances don’t either;

* because we should always honor those who ended up giving their lives, whether they signed up for it or not, for a cause that benefited the rest of us;

* because it’s the right thing to do

I think that covers it; at least it does for me today. Meanwhile, I’m linking to previous articles and one video that show my thoughts about the date from previous years. At this point I’m no longer mad, which took long enough; I just want to make sure that the significance stays alive while I still have the opportunity to talk about it.

For anyone suffering through memories of this day, I wish you peace.


Are We Ready For The 9/11 Anniversary?

8:46AM – 9/11/01

September 11, 2001 – I’m Still Mad

Sunday Question – Your Thoughts About 9/11/10?

September 11, 2007 – Six Years Later

9/11/01 9 Years Later; Never Forget

September 11, 2001; 11 Years Later

September 11th; The Day Trading Stopped Before It Started

Ten Years Later; Have We Moved On?

September 11, 2011; Ten Years Later

September 11, 2001; 11 Years Later

September 11th, 2001 – Other Stories, Other Articles

September 11th, 2001; 13 Years Later…

September 11, 2001 – 9:03AM… 14 Years Later

September 11, 2001 in 2015

Did Al Qaeda Win The Financial War?

Everybody’s Got A Little Hero In Them

The Day The Stock Market Didn’t Open

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2016 Mitch  Mitchell