Blame-U-Flu Season, Last TANGO and the Impotence of Proofreading

The autumn winds have finally blown us to Election Day 2011, and it’s time to bundle up against the finale of “Blame-U-Flu” season.

More commonly known as a fall election cycle, Blame-U-Flu is symptomized by candidates’ blame towards one another for anything and everything from bed bug infestation, restless leg syndrome & the lousy economy to indecisive cowering in the wake of Hurricane Katrina six years ago. These same folks are first in line to take personal credit for inventing 800 thread count sheets, defeating polio and scaring Hurricane Irene the hell away from Manhattan last summer.

There isn’t a cure for Blame-U-Flu. Unlike influenza, no drug store vaccinations, NyQuil or mom’s chicken soup will alleviate the aches & pains that some candidates can cause.

It’s simple, really: when the going gets tough, the (not-so) tough point fingers and yell. When things do go according to plan, you can bet that the people yammering for credit and headlines are probably standing on the shoulders of stoic, mild-mannered professionals who just went ahead and did the actual work. This dynamic reminds me of my favorite Jon Stewart quote: “(This) country is run by extremists because moderates have sh#%t to do.”

So, what’s a body to do? In a word, “Trust.” Trust the boys and girls in the trenches who, day in and day out, work the problems and find viable solutions with nary a thought of public adoration or pollster points.

In any collaborative effort, the value of these people – and the trust they deserve — cannot be overstated. We depend on them to help us decide who to follow, listen to, take advice from, confide in, or collaborate with. Trust needs to be nurtured, especially with the ones that “brung ya to the dance.”

The following article from the Harvard Business Review talks about the importance of trust, going as far as saying that it is the “new gold.” It is definitely worth a read:

So, to the people who actually do the work, thank you. Give yourself a pat on the back and enjoy some personal satisfaction in the knowledge that, if it wasn’t for you, it wouldn’t have gotten done. The problems that need fixing, and the future that needs to be planned, are not going to be fixed and planned by the people with titles, money or privilege. These things will be done by workers, staffers, grunts and specialists – in other words, by real people quietly going about the business of getting s#%t done. Trust them and, every once in a while, thank them as well.



Last “TANGO” (I Hope…)

In the cyber-parlance of our time, my newly-coined acronym (coming soon to an iPhone near you) stands for “Texting ‘Ad Nauseum’ Garners Obtuseness.” The following article explains why. Read on…


Proof All Pubic Materials

Ever since approving a 30,000 print run with that disorderly word, I’ve been sensitive to proofreading and inclined to work with really good proofreaders. Here are 10 of the best tips that I’ve seen yet:


Creating Reality

Again on the subject of trust: faith in business and government is the lowest it’s been in our lifetimes. Perception has created its own reality for the economy (fewer people spending + less demand = less production + higher unemployment) and political gridlock. Even the Wall Street Journal suggests it’s time we started helping leaders understand what trust is; how to build it and how to sustain it:


Fillers and Empty Words

I hate it when I see myself in self-help articles. If you’re a presenter, facilitator or trainer of any stripe, you may find this as useful and disturbing as I did:



Jerk or Milquetoast?


Come on…you know people who fall into one of these two categories. More to the point, you’ve probably worked for people who fall into one of these two categories.

As jobs get more complex and more competitive, and there are so many more demands on people’s attention, it’s tough for leaders to know how hard (or how little) to push and/or how assertive to be. This might help…a little:


IAP2USA – Join Us…Cheap!

And for all of our public involvement-inclined pals, have we got a deal for you! Right now you can join the International Association for Public Participation – USA — during our ‘Grand USA Opening’ — for only $99. Click on:


Great Training in Arizona in January 2012 (Average High 67º F)

For the first time in a long time, the five-day IAP2 Public Participation Certificate course will be offered in an open class in Phoenix/Tempe during the week of January 23rd. The two-day Emotion, Outrage and Public Participation class will be offered on January 31 and February 1, 2012.

The location is right on the light rail line near lots of great hotels, restaurants and night life. You’ll go home with both a measurably enhanced way of dealing with the public…and a tan!

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in General