Monday Morning Memo
by Alan Weiss, Ph.D., from Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo©
Reprinted with permission. Featured Image from Bentley Quarterly Magazine used with permission.
Bentley, our German Shepherd, loves to chase anything that moves. I believe the trait is called “predatory drift.” But he never kills anything, even the dumb ducks that always start running too late (our white ducks can’t fly). Most animals elude him or keep a safe distance.
Our prior Shepherd, Koufax, had 16 confirmed kills in six different species, from possums to skunks, geese to frogs. He was the only dog I ever saw that could consistently catch squirrels. After about two years of frustration, he learned to run between the squirrel and the nearest tree, sort of a Wayne Gretsky “skate to where the puck will be” tactic. It worked. Koufax ate nothing that he caught, he was simply engaged in the hunt, that’s how he was teleologically wired.
Bentley will play fetch with anything and anyone, and he has his own stash of sticks he accesses for guests and drops one on their shoes to start the game. Koufax would watch you throw something and wonder who was going to go get it, because it wasn’t going to be him.
There are generic dog traits, such as using scent to track or the ability to be domesticated. There are breed traits, such as Shepherds being “working dogs” which prefer to have routines and which need a lot of exercise. Then there are individual dog traits, which are unique to that animal.
I’ve engaged in these observations to remind you that we all look similar as humans, but we have cultural characteristics and specific characteristics. To label us by generation, or ethnicity, or gender, or race, or physical abilities and, thus, dismiss us as a group is a huge error. It doesn’t make understanding each other easier, it makes it impossible. That’s why I can love dogs, and even breeds, but I love each dog for who it is.
And thus my parable draws to a close.
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About Alan Weiss, Ph.D.
His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients such as Merck, Hewlett-Packard, GE, Mercedes-Benz, State Street Corporation, Times Mirror Group, The Federal Reserve, The New York Times Corporation, Toyota, and over 500 other leading organizations. He has served on the boards of directors of the Trinity Repertory Company, a Tony-Award-winning New England regional theater, Festival Ballet, and chaired the Newport International Film Festival.
His speaking typically includes 20 keynotes a year at major conferences, and he has been a visiting faculty member at Case Western Reserve University, Boston College, Tufts, St. John’s, the University of Illinois, the Institute of Management Studies, and the University of Georgia Graduate School of Business. He has held an appointment as adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Business at the University of Rhode Island where he taught courses on advanced management and consulting skills to MBA and PhD candidates. He once held the record for selling out the highest priced workshop (on entrepreneurialism) in the then-21-year history of New York City’s Learning Annex. His Ph.D. is in psychology. He has served on the Board of Governors of Harvard University’s Center for Mental Health and the Media.
He is an inductee into the Professional Speaking Hall of Fame® and the concurrent recipient of the National Speakers Association Council of Peers Award of Excellence, representing the top 1% of professional speakers in the world. He has been named a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants, one of only two people in history holding both those designations.
His prolific publishing includes over 500 articles and 60 books, including his best-seller, Million Dollar Consulting (from McGraw-Hill) now in its 25th year and fifth edition. His newest is Threescore and More: Applying the Assets of Maturity, Wisdom, and Experience for Personal and Professional Success (Routledge, 2018). His books have been on the curricula at Villanova, Temple University, and the Wharton School of Business, and have been translated into 15 languages.
He is interviewed and quoted frequently in the media. His career has taken him to 60 countries and 49 states. (He is afraid to go to North Dakota.) Success Magazine cited him in an editorial devoted to his work as “a worldwide expert in executive education.“ The New York Post called him “one of the most highly regarded independent consultants in America.“ He is the winner of the prestigious Axiem Award for Excellence in Audio Presentation.
He is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Press Institute, the first-ever for a non-journalist, and one of only seven awarded in the 65-year history of the association. He holds an annual Thought Leadership Conference which draws world famous experts as speakers. In 2014 his featured speaker was political pundit, best-selling author, and media favorite James Carville, in 2015 Master of Influence Robert Cialdini, and in 2016 Dan Gilbert of Harvard who has over 15 million views of his TED talk on happiness.
He has coached former candidates for Miss Rhode Island/Miss America in interviewing skills. He once appeared on the popular American TV game show Jeopardy, where he lost badly in the first round to a dancing waiter from Iowa.
Alan is married to the lovely Maria for 47 years, and they have two children and twin granddaughters. They reside in East Greenwich, RI with their dogs, Buddy Beagle and Bentley, a white German Shepherd.