Bacteria, the Death of Democracy, and Dealing with People You Can’t Stand

State Microbes

My native/home state of Wisconsin (Go Pack!) just announced an official state microbe – lactococcus lactis – used in making cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese. Most people don’t know that my adopted state of Arizona (Go Cards!) also has an official bacterium — politico stupidicus – used to govern. The legislative petri dish was extra-fertile in April with the passage of bills allowing anyone with a trigger finger to carry a concealed weapon; requiring anyone with a tan to carry papers proving their citizenship; and a pending bill requiring future Presidential candidates wanting on this state’s ballot to show a U.S. birth certificate. The birth certificate requirement doesn’t apply to many Arizona legislators who hail primarily from the planet Floyd in the Goober galaxy.

Take solace in the fact that the worst thing about democracy is that no decision is ever final, and the best thing about democracy is that no decision is ever final.

Democratic Decline

And while we’re on the subject of democracy — from Michael Gerson in The Washington Post – “The most basic test of democracy is not what people do when they win; it is what people do when they lose. Citizens bring their deepest passions to a public debate – convictions they regard as morally self-evident. Yet a war goes on. Abortion remains legal. A feared health-reform law passes. While no democratic judgment is final, respecting the temporary outcome of a democratic process is the definition of political maturity. The opposite – questioning the legitimacy of a democratic outcome; abusing, demeaning, and attempting to silence one’s opponents – is a sign of democratic decline. From the late Roman republic to Weimar Germany, these attitudes have been the prelude to thuggery.”

Dealing with Angry People and Fixing Broken Relationships

Public anger is an increasing fact of society. Growing citizen outrage causes government gridlock, lawsuits, stopped projects, election losses, loss of time, money, and ruined credibility. You’ll learn how to predict and prevent it, and how to rebuild lost public trust and relationships in our new two-day class constructed with Dr. Peter Sandman, probably the pre-eminent global authority in risk communication. Call or email me to talk about how we can customize the class for your group.

People That You Can’t Stand

We’ve all had or have that one particular someone that just gets under your skin or has that ability to push buttons that you didn’t know you had. You cringe when you know that you have another face-to-face coming up with them. Here are nine ways to talk with someone that you can’t stand.

Public Speaking – Second only to Death

It’s said that for most people the fear of public speaking ranks right behind the fear of dying but it’s probably a critical part of your career. Here are a series of tips from 28 pros.

Best Ways to Calm Your Nerves When Giving a Speech

While we’re on the subject of public speaking I ran across a simple story that should come in handy next time you have to get up front of a group.

Collaboration is the Only Way to Get Things Done and to Make Decisions that Last

Collaborative decisions last, decisions made by the winners at the expense of the losers results in the losers coming back with a vengeance. And then the battle starts all over again. Here are seven keys:

It’s Good to be King, but not Very Productive

While we’re on the subject of collaboration, here’s more on group decision-making.

Kids these days!

There’s been a lot written about the millennial (Y) generation’s presumed lack of work ethic, and we’ve talked about it here before. A story in the Washington Post this month took them to task again when Pew Research found that 18-29 year olds is the only age group in the nation that doesn’t cite work ethic as one of its principle ‘claims to distinctiveness.’ In older generations, at least twice as many people cited work ethic as a badge of their group’s identity. The story also quoted management consulting recruiters saying that youngest employees are far more likely to request flexibility to work from home and have little interest in putting in long hours simply because that’s what previous generations did.

And now the opposing view from the Harvard Blog:


I admit it. I’m finally getting to the point where I sometimes walk into a room and struggle to remember what I went in there for. Does that ring a bell? And by the way, who are you?

Here’s a good list of tips for remembering names.

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